04/18/14 1:00pm


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.


04/09/14 1:00pm


The word “LEGO” is a combination of the Danish words “leg godt,” which mean “play well” in English. The original toys were made of wood, but in 1958, the LEGO Group introduced the interlocking brick, which currently comes in various colors, shapes and sizes and has a cult-like following around the world, mesmerizing adults as well as children. On Saturday, these plastic playthings will begin a long run in Queens, when the Museum of the  Moving Image offers 60-minute LEGO animation workshops for children twice a day through April 22nd. Led by a master builder, participants will work in teams to plan and create a stop-motion animated film. The same Astoria venue will screen The LEGO Movie in Dolby Digital 3-D from April 14th through April 18th. This stop-motion animated feature tells the story of Emmet, a perfectly average LEGO mini-figure who is mistakenly identified as the “most special, most interesting, most extraordinary person” and the key to saving the world. Meanwhile, the Queens Theatre on April 13th will open Iconic Symbols of the 1964 World’s Fair Reimagined — in LEGOs, a display of World’s Fair structures inspired by expert builder Cody Wells. They will be on exhibit through November 2nd. The Flushing Meadows Corona Park theater will go for more on May 18th with Build It!: A LEGO Workshop, three sessions after which each participant will leave with a mini-model of the New York State Pavilion.

Details for Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria): Master Builder Lego Animation Workshops, April 12th – 22nd, 1:30 pm and 3 pm, daily, $5 materials fee; The LEGO Movie, April 14th-18th, 1 pm daily.

Details for Queens Theatre (14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park): Iconic Symbols of the 1964 World’s Fair Reimagined — in LEGOs, April 13th – November 2nd, free; Build It!: A LEGO Workshop, May 18th, 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm, free.


Top photo: Flickr (notenoughbricks); bottom photo: MMI

03/31/14 1:00pm


The British aren’t coming! The British aren’t coming! But the Cypriots, Czechs, Estonians, French, Italians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles, Romanians and Slovenians certainly are. On April 4th, the Museum of the Moving Image kicks of Panorama Europe, a showcase of 17 contemporary feature and short films from the Old Continent, many of which are co-presented by their corresponding country’s cultural agency. Unit 7 (below), a cop thriller set in the Seville in the late 1980s, screens first with director Alberto Rodríguez in person for a Q&A. Other movies include the following: Paradise: Love, about a middle-aged Austrian divorcee who vacations in Kenya, where sex with the buff beach boys is booming—and ultimately ruinous; Rosie, about a sad-sack, 40-something gay novelist who moves back to his rural Swiss hometown to care for his ailing, alcoholic mother, dredging up their complicated emotional history; and Sonja and the Bull (above), a Croatian comedy about a big city animal-rights activist lobbying to end the sport of bullfighting. A pro-bullfighting contingent approaches her with a bizarre, put-up-or-shut-up wager. The fun lasts through April 13th.

Details: Click here for dates, times, venues and movie descriptions. All films at the Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria; or Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, Manhattan. 

Grupo 7.  Pelicula Alberto Rodriguez. ATIPICA FILMS

Photos: MMI

03/27/14 9:00am


An enclave of Astoria known for its concentration of cultural amenities is getting a new name: the Kaufman Arts District. The city will designate the area on Friday which covers, according to the New York Times, “31st Street to the west, 34th Avenue to the north, Steinway Street to the east and 37th Avenue to the south.” The new name, of course, comes from the Kaufman Astoria Studios, a major cultural force in the neighborhood. The area also includes the Museum of the Moving Image, Queens Council on the Arts, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and the United Artists Kaufman Astoria movie theater. The arts institutions in the area presented the idea of a cultural district to Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who helped push it forward. Unlike creating a Business Improvement District, which comes with many city approvals and hurdles, the Kaufman Arts District will become a reality with the Council Member’s proclamation.

The area will be similar to the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District, which is supported by millions in city money to foster more local arts-related businesses. For right now, the Kaufman Arts District isn’t getting any money or amenities. The Times reports that the special street signs haven’t even been ordered yet.

In Astoria Arts District, a Once-Gritty Pocket Will Embody Culture [NY Times]

03/04/14 1:00pm


Some cinema inspires without special effects, beautiful people and Hollywood endings. The ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival, which is presented annually in 15 U.S cities, features award-winning movies about people with disabilities, post-screening discussions and exhibits. On March 7th, ReelAbilities will start a three-day run in Greater New York City. The Central Queens Y will show Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, which tells the story of an autistic Rockaway Beach teen who rides the subway alone; Gabrielle (below), which is about a singer in a group home for developmentally disabled adults and her inseparable boyfriend; and Do You Believe in Love? (above), a Hebrew-language flick about Tova, who is paralyzed by muscular dystrophy, but works finding love matches for people with disabilities. The Forest Hills venue will also display Pearls Project Photography Exhibit through March 11th. Meanwhile over in Astoria, the Museum of the Moving Image will show Gabrielle and Stand Clear of the Closing Doors as well as Cinemability, a documentary on cinema’s effect on the evolving conception of disability; Little World, a Catalan movie about a wheelchair user who travels from Spain to New Zeland; and Run & Jump, which depicts a family’s struggles after the father suffers a stroke.  


Details: *New York Disability Film Festival, movies and an exhibit at Central Queens Y, 67–09 108th Street, Forest Hills, and movies at Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, March 7th through March 9th, times vary, click here for schedule.

*Movies will also show in Brooklyn; Manhattan; Staten Island; the Bronx; Garden City, Great Neck and Huntington, Long Island; and Mamaroneck and Pleasantville, Westchester. Click here for full list of films.

Photos: NYDFF

02/28/14 1:00pm


Who needs Hollywood when there’s Mumblecore? Only a little over a decade old, this movement of DIY filmmaking is known for its micro-budgets, improvisation, naturalistic conversations in real places, single characters in their 20s and 30s and minimal soundtracks. Some movies are in black and white. This Saturday and Sunday, the Museum of the Moving Image will celebrate this genre with a six-film retrospective on one of its major figures, Joe Swanberg (above, left), who will be present for all screenings.

Details: Mumblecore, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, 0n March 1st, the films are Hannah Takes the Stairs, 2 pm; Nights and Weekends, 4:30 pm; and Silver Bullets, 7 pm; on March 2nd, the films are Art History, 2 pm; Uncle Kent, 4:30 pm; and All the Light in the Sky, 7 pm, free with admission.


02/25/14 1:00pm


There will be movies from around the world — and around the corner. On March 4th, the fourth annual Queens World Film Festival will kick off a six-day moving image rampage of everything from feature films to shorts. Attendees can check out a dazzling selection of foreign flicks from such exotic ports of call as Belgium, Iran, India, Spain, Kosovo, Switzerland and Vietnam and enjoy the work of 18 borough-based auteurs.  Like-minded films will be blocked together and will roll at Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image, The Secret Theatre and Nesva Hotel in Long Island City and PS 69 in Jackson Heights. The fun starts with an opening night party featuring the world premiere of the director’s cut of the of 2014 Academy Award-nominated documentary The Act of Killing. Directed by English-born Joshua Oppenheimer, the movie portrays his country’s national guilt potentially exhumed by a love of movies.

Details: Queens World Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue), The Secret Theatre (44-02 23rd Street), Nesva Hotel (39-12 29th Street) and PS 69 (77-02 37th Avenue), March 4th through the 9th, click here for times and venues, click here for tickets.


02/21/14 1:00pm


It’s time to meet the muppets! Tomorrow, author Craig Shemin will discuss his new book, The Muppets Character Encyclopedia (2014, DK Publishing), and lead an afternoon of video clips, trivia, impressions and general mania at the Museum of the Moving Image. Among the featured contests will be “Man or Muppet,” during which attendees will guess if an unusual name belongs to a real person or a Muppet character, and “Piggy, Babs, or Both,” in which contestants try to determine if certain biographical facts pertain to Miss Piggy, Barbra Streisand, or both. A book signing will follow.

Details: The Muppets Character Encyclopedia, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, February 22nd, 1 pm, free with admission ($12 adults/$9 seniors and students with ID/$6 children ages three through 12).

Photo: Cover of Official Muppet Character Encyclopedia (2013, DK Books)

02/14/14 1:00pm


It’s time for the Muppets to meet the Makers. The New York City public school system will be on vacation next week, but parents don’t need to worry about finding fun, educational and enriching activities during the down time… if they stay in Queens. On February 17th, the New York Hall of Science will kick off Engineering Week with a day of activities and tables run by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Each following day will cover a different engineering concept—from nano to mechanical, accompanied by activities and challenges to put those ideas into practice. The Tuesday focus will be on chemical engineering with a Make Polymer Slime activity. Wednesday will be for nanoengineering, Thursday will go to mechanical engineering with a chance to build rockets, and Friday will feature biology with Zoob inventor Michael Joaquin Grey. Meanwhile over in Astoria, the Museum of the Moving Image will screen 1970s episodes of The Muppet Show. Carol Burnett, Steve Martin and Rita Moreno join Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and the Swedish Chef during this series, which will show three episodes a day for the week.

Details: Engineering Week, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, February 17 through February 21st, times vary, $11 for adults/$8 for children 17 and under.

Details: The Muppet Show, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, February 17th through February 21st, daily at 1 pm, free with admission ($12 adults / $9 seniors and students / $6 children 3–12 / free for Museum members).


02/13/14 1:00pm


There are games. There are long-running, high-tech, state-of-the-art games. And then there’s IndieCade East! On Friday, the Museum of the Moving Image will kick off a three-day extravaganza featuring all kinds of video pursuits and the independent creators who make them. Attendees will enjoy talks, panels, workshops, exhibits and games curated from IndieCade’s designers, thinkers and players. Keynote speakers will be Bennet Foddy and Auriea Harvey, designers who are featured in the Indie Essentials exhibit currently on display at the museum. Included in the fun will be the highly popular IndieCade Show and Tell, an eSports tournament and a new spin on IndieCade’s Night Games event. Throughout the weekend, the museum will also present The Game-Making Game, a workshop for children ages 8 and older (materials fee applies).

Details: IndieCade East, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, February 14th (10:30 am to 6:30 pm), February 15th (10:30 am to 7 pm and 7 pm to 10 pm) and February 16th (10:30 am to 6:30 pm). On February 14th, passes are $45 ($35 discounted). On February 15th passes (including access to Night Games) are $55 ($45 discounted). On February 16th passes are $45 ($35 discounted). Admission for children (ages 3–12) is $10 per day.