04/18/14 1:00pm

Kaboom

Decisions, decisions, decisions and decisions. Or to be more specific: science, kites, film noir and eggs. There are some great options for family fun, entertainment and enrichment in the borough tomorrow, April 19th. It’s probably easiest to list them in bullet form.

  • Doktor Kaboom! This loveable nut performs original interactive “science comedy” for audiences of all ages. Blending the dramatic with the wonders of scientific exploration, the Good Doktor (above) keeps the crowd riveted with interest and rolling with laughter going on a sidesplitting journey of increasingly spectacular (and often successful) experiments designed to involve, excite, educate, and entertain. Back by popular demand, he returns to Queens Theatre (14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park) for 1 pm and 3 pm shows on Saturday$14 per ticket or $100 for a Family Series Flex Pass (10 tickets to use however you want.)
  • Let’s Go Fly a Kite! It’s National Kite Month, and the King Manor Museum (150-03 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica) is offering a chance to learn about these objects that can be used for scientific discovery, fun or design. Attendees will create, decorate, fly and take home kites. Noon to 3 pm, free.
  • Spring Egg-Stavaganza! Easter weekend at Queens Botanical Garden (43-50 Main Street, Flushing) is known for two things: blooming flora and egg hunts. Due to popular demand, there will be two sessions that will include games, crafts, scavenger hunts and prizes. noon to 1:30 pm and 2 pm to 3:30 pm, $5.
  • The Real Mann! Hollywood legend Anthony Mann was one of the greatest directors of two genres that seem very disparate: film noir, featuring nocturnal and claustrophobic dramas; and the Western, with dramas set against wide-open landscapes. The Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria) launches an eight-film retrospective on Mann with two movies on Saturday. T-Men at 4 pm is about treasury agents who go undercover to penetrate a gang of Los Angeles counterfeiters. Raw Deal at 7 pm tells the story of a woman who helps spring her boyfriend from a state prison so they can flee to South America. If these movies inspire, the museum will screen two more —  The Great Flamarion and Border Incident — on Sunday.

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04/11/14 1:00pm

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Its real name is the “Bronx-Whitestone Bridge,” but most people simply refer to the span by the Queens neighborhood it touches. (i.e. “Traffic is steady on the Whitestone.”) Inaugurated by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia on April 29, 1939, this suspension bridge, which spans the East River, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. On April 13th, the Queens Historical Society will host a special lecture by Mary Hedge, an archivist for MTA Bridges & Tunnels, and Aris Stathopoulos, deputy chief engineer at MTA Bridges & Tunnels. They will discuss the history and unique aspects of the Whitestone, such as its ultra sleek design, and the many measures the MTA has taken to make it more wind resistant.

Details: Bronx-Whitestone Bridge Anniversary Lecture, Queens Historical Society, Kingsland Homestead, Weeping Beech Park, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing, April 13th, 2:30 pm, free.

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Photos: QHS 

04/10/14 1:00pm

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The maestro has met the MC… and they make great music together. On April 12th, Flushing Town Hall will host Wil B and Kev Marcus, the members of the revolutionary group Black Violin. These classically trained violinists — who say their influences range from Shostakovich and Bach to Nas and Jay-Z — have created a music genre that mixes the violin, which first emerged in Italy’s Bresica area in the 16th century, with Hip Hop, which evolved organically at block parties in the Bronx during the 1970s. Get prepared for rhymes, dulcet tones and some great stage antics.

Details: Black Violin, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 12th, 2:15 pm, $12/$8 children. Buy two family shows and the third is free.

Bonus details: The Mark Wade Trio, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 11th, 8 pm. $15/$10 students. Bassist and composer Mark Wade leads his dynamic trio in an evening of original jazz compositions.

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Photos: Black Violin FB

04/02/14 1:00pm

Frogtown

Portland’s A-listers are ready to rock Flushing Town Hall on April 5th. One Night in Frogtown is a multi-media musical based on a story by Emmy-winning author/composer Philip Pelletier (seen above with a few co-workers). This multi-faceted show celebrates multi-culturalism with different social groups of frogs that play different kinds of music — R&B, Classical, Jazz, Hip-Hop, etc. — while living in the same pond. The tale comes alive through beautiful illustrations, projected animations, live narration and live tunes by Portland’s best musicians. Pelletier, whose book won two National Gold Awards in Children’s Literature, handpicked the talent, which includes saxophone star Devin Phillips as lead character Tad, the jazzy tadpole. Attendance has some side benefits, too, as Pelletier will autograph books after the show and those present can enter a contest to win four tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s show Amaluna, which is currently running at Citi Field.

Details: One Night in Frogtown, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 5th, 2:15 pm, $12/$8 children (buy two family shows and the third is free).

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Top photo: PP; bottom photo: FTH

04/01/14 1:00pm

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With many original species and more than 100 years of commercial cultivating experience, Taiwan is the world’s largest exporter of orchids with an estimated 86 countries buying types of this diverse, flagrant and flowering plant from the East Asian island. This Saturday, the Queens Botanical Garden and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office will celebrate spring by hosting Taiwan: A World of Orchids. As expected, a stunning display of blooming flowers and some tasty recipes from the homeland are in the mix, but the event will also feature children’s crafts (10 am to 5 pm or while supplies last), a Techno Prince Dancing Doll performance (12:45 pm), a garden tour (1 pm), a tea ceremony (1:45 pm) and a live musical performance (around 2 pm). The fun continues on Sunday with a plant sale featuring — what else? — a wide selection of orchids.

Details: Taiwan: A World of Orchids, Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, April 5th, 9 am to 5 pm, free with admission ($4 adults/$3 seniors/$2 students with ID and children over three).

Photo: HD Backgrounds Point

03/28/14 1:00pm

ASO

Forget the aspirin. Take two Queens concerts this weekend, and you will feel great on Monday morning. On Saturday, the Quintet of the Americas (below), a group of woodwind specialists with a South American sound, will perform tango songs with world-renowned pianist/conductor Pablo “King of the Zarzuela” Zinger in Flushing. Unique to its core, the quintet was actually formed 1976 in Bogotá by U.S. citizens who were principal wind players in the Colombian National Orchestra. The group relocated to Queens in 1979. On Sunday in its home neighborhood, the Astoria Symphony Orchestra and Choir (above) will perform German masterpieces, emphasizing the dichotomies of classical vs. romantic, choral vs. orchestral and Mendelssohn vs. Wagner vs. Mozart. Those who arrive 30 minutes before the show will be able to chat with Maestro Silas Nathaniel Huff, who will discuss the program, the musicians and other secrets.

Saturday details: A Celebration of the Tango, Flushing Library, 41-17 Main Street, Flushing, March 29th, 1:30 pm, free.

Sunday details: Dichotomies, Mount Carmel Institute, 23-20 Newtown Avenue, Astoria, March 30, 5 pm, $20/$15 for seniors and students.

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Top photo: ASO; bottom photo: QOTA

03/26/14 1:00pm

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There’s no argument, Ron Carter (above) is the most prolific and influential bass player in the jazz world. He has contributed to more than 2,000 albums, including collaborations with one-time St. Albans resident Lena Horne, Thelonius Monk and B.B. King. The Michigan native has also toured the world many times, including gigs with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and one-time Corona resident Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley. Add the film scores, such as projects with the Public Broadcasting System, and awards, such as two Grammys, and the lectures, clinics, classes and ensembles and this distinguished professor emeritus at City College of New York has had a very full life. On Friday, the Ron Carter Quartet will perform at Flushing Town Hall, a city landmark which just finished a $1.2 million renovation and now features traditional wood flooring, a new HVAC system and even new seating with a special tweeting section. 

Details: Ron Carter Quartet, Flushing Town Hall (below), 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 28th, 8 pm, $40/$20 for students.

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Top photo: Ron Carter; bottom photo: Flushing Town Hall

03/25/14 1:00pm

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Forget the thermometer, the Queens calendar of events has declared that “Spring has Sprung!” The borough will host countless outdoor activities over the next month, starting with a few running, walking and peeping opportunities this weekend. The fun starts on Friday with the 5 Miles Marking 5 Decades Fun Run, a two-loop road race that starts and ends at the north end of Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake, at 4:30 pm. Organized by Queens Distance Runners, this event commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair.

On Saturday, early risers can enjoy a bird walk through Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge led by American Littoral Society naturalist Don Riepe.  Meanwhile at 1 pm, attendees can combine a stroll with a nature lesson at Bayside’s Fort Totten, where Urban Park Rangers will discuss scientific concepts and weather phenomena, such as lightning, thunder, clouds, the water cycle, hurricanes and extreme storms.

On Sunday, the official Queens historian, Jack Eichenbaum, will guide a historic stroll through Flushing. He will take his troops to the 1964 Quaker Meeting House, the 1661 Bowne House and the (1774-1785) Kingsland Manor, where the Queens Historical Society is exhibiting Practicing Equality, Quakers in Queens. If that’s not enough, hardcore types can walk the winter-ravaged Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and learn beach dynamics with American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen. There will be plenty of flotsam and jetsam and the chance to learn about the area’s surprising wartime history.

Details (one): 5 Miles Marking 5 Decades Fun Run, Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake, March 28th, 4:30 pm, $25/$15 for members of Queens Distance Runners and the Queens Tourism Council/$8 for junior high and high school students.

Details (two): Early Spring Bird Walk, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, March 29th, 10 am. Free, but RSVP to NEChapter@littoralsociety.org or 718-474-0896.

Details (three): Exploring Clouds, Fort Totten, Bayside, March 29th, 1 pm, free.

Details (four); Quaker Flushing, meet at northwest corner of Main Street and 37th Avenue, March 30th, noon, $15/$20 with part of the proceeds going to the Queens Historical Society. RSVP required to Jack Eichenbaum at jaconet@aol.com.

Details (five): Spring Tide Walks, meet at parking lot near Jacob Riis Park’s Entry Pavilion, March 30th, 10: 30 am, free but RSVP to bmcohen2@gmail.com or 718-474-0896.

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 Top photo: Fort Totten FB; bottom photo: American Littoral Society

03/12/14 2:00pm

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It’s the food-and-networking event of the year … and Queens Brownstoner will be there as a sponsor and taste master! The Queens Economic Development Corporation recently announced that Queens Taste 2014 will take place at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, 135-20 39th Avenue in Flushing, from 6 pm to 9 pm on April 29th. The reasons to attend are as diverse as the borough. Foodies can expect everything from sweet to savory to salty; Mexican to Malaysian to mainstream; and crunchy to creamy to crispy. For example, La Fusta in Elmhurst is planning to bring Argentine cuisine, while Flushing’s Mamak will serve Malaysian treats and Jamaica’s O Lavrador (below) will delight with Portuguese paella. Plus, clients of the Entrepreneur Space, a food-and-business incubator that QEDC operates in Long Island City, will be giving out samples of their artisan specialties, including gourmet cheesecake balls, soul snacks and designer meatballs. Then there are the drinks. LIC’s SquareWine headlines a spirits group that includes Queens Brewery and Punzoné Vodka. Finally, the networking. QEDC hopes that at least 1,000 people will attend, and most of them either live in Queens or do business in the borough.

Queens Taste 2014 costs $100 per ticket or two for $175. Click here to buy tickets. For more information, call 718.263.0546 or send an email to rmackay@queensny.org.

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Photos: QEDC

03/12/14 1:00pm

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The five-month theater renovation is finished, and Flushing Town Hall is going to celebrate just like it did before the restoration: with great music and top-notch acting. The fun starts on Friday night with the Trumpeters in Queens Part II concert. Ron Horton’s Sextet and Josh Deutsch’s Pannonia Band, both part of the NYC jazz scene for years, will perform an homage to such inspiring trumpet players as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry, who all lived in Queens. On Saturday, the British educational theater troupe Tall Stories will perform The Snail and the Whale. Based on the award-winning book by Julia Donaldson, this family-friendly play tells the story of a tiny snail that longs to see the world, so she hitches a ride on a huge humpback whale’s tail. Together they go on an amazing journey, experiencing sharks and penguins, icebergs and volcanoes mixed in with music and sound effects created live on stage by an electric viola player with an effects pedal.

Details: Trumpeters of Queens Part II, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 14th, 8 pm, $15/$10 for members and students.

Bonus details: The Snail and the Whale by Tall Stories, UK, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 15th, 2:15 pm with a workshop at 1 pm, $12/$10 for members/$8 for children/$6 for member children.

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