Cheland Smith has had a tremendous decade in the hip hop business. Under the stage name “Rhymefest,” he co-wrote Kanye West’s song “Jesus Walks,” which won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Song in 2005. He also co-wrote “Glory” for the movie Selma‘s soundtrack, winning the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
At the same time, his father was slipping deeper and deeper into homelessness and alcoholism in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Rhymefest actually lost contact with his dad and presumed he was dead.
The new documentary In My Father’s House chronicles a year in Rhymefest’s life as he buys his father’s childhood home, learns that he is alive, and tracks him down. It’s a story of self-discovery and redemption, but the son quickly realizes that his father is not ready to take on the responsibilities of dealing with his issues.
On September 25, the Museum of the Moving Image will screen In My Father’s House and present a post-screening discussion with Martha Diaz of the Hip-Hop Education Center and the documentary’s co-producer Jameka Autry. More information and another image are on the jump page.
Alex Ross Perry defines the word “provocative.” The filmmaker’s work features dark humor and tremendous, emotionally transgressive acting. He can simultaneously invoke knee-jerk emotion and deep thought. From August 22-25, the Museum of the Moving Image will present four disparate feature films by Perry, including a special preview of his latest, Queen of Earth, with Perry and star actress Elisabeth Roth in attendance. The schedule is as follows: Impolex at 4:30 p.m. on August 22, The Color Wheel at 3 p.m. on August 23, Listen Up Philip at 5:30 p.m. on August 23, and Queens of Earth at 7:30 p.m. on August 25. Details on the movies and another photo are on the jump page. (more…)
Inspiring, blooming Taiwanese orchids are a main draw this week. Ditto for the LIC Block Party and Flushing Night Out, which will feature a little bit of everything (food, music, art, spontaneous creativity). Other options are concerts, comedy, films, puppets, and walking tours. Another photo and all the information are on the jump page.
Pets gone wild! Activities this week include a doggie ice cream party, a dragon festival, an exhibit on how cats are taking over the internet, and a screening of the movie ET. There are also various outdoor activities, such as the annual Jamaica JAMS concert and street festival with more than 500 vendors. Here’s the rundown.
August 6, Central Astoria Waterfront Concert Series, 7:30 pm. A live performance by Dance Machine, New York City’s only authentic 11-piece disco band. Bring a blanket or chair, but also bring bell bottoms, polyester shirts, and platform shoes. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between the Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool.
August 6, The Merchant of Venice, 7:30 pm. The Hip to Hip Theatre presents Shakespeare’s story about a Venetian gentleman who has to default on a loan from moneylender. Free. Children’s program at 7 pm. Crocheron Park, 35th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway, across from Golden Pond, Bayside.
August 6, Outdoor Concert, 7 pm. Orville Davis & the Wild Bunch perform country music — honky tonk with attitude — as part of a series sponsored by the Northern Woodside Coalition. Free. Sgt. Collins Triangle, Broadway and 58th Street, Woodside, 718-205-1030.
August 7, Free First Friday, 10 am to 8 pm. Free admission, public tours in English and Japanese, and Center of Attention, an extended conversation about a single work of art. (Noguchi’s Cloud Mountain is the topic on Aug. 7 at 7 pm.) Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City.
August 7: ET, about 8:30 pm. Outdoor screening of a classic movie with Midtown Manhattan in the background. Free. Hunters Point South Park, Center Boulevard and 51st Avenue, Long Island City.
Aug. 8, Chinese Theatre Works: Holding Up Half the Sky, 2 pm. This opera and puppet spectacle tells the story of four legendary women warriors, spanning 2,000 years of Chinese history. The piece was written and directed by Flushing Town Hall Space Grant recipients Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin. $8/$50 VIP package. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.
August 8, Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Concert, 2 pm to 7 pm. An all-day event honoring a jazz legend who lived in the neighborhood. Free performances by Sunnyside Drum Corps, Street Beat Brass Band, Lindy Hoppers, Sunnyside Wolverines, Sunnyside Social Club, Sunnyside Arch at 46th Street.
August 8, 78th Street Play Street, dusk. The Queens World Film Festival collaborates with the Jackson Heights Green Alliance to present indie films under the stars. Free. Travers Park, 78th Street and 34th Avenue, Jackson Heights.
August 8, Storytime & Craft, 2 pm. A relaxing afternoon with nature-inspired stories followed by a botanically-themed craft activity. Free with admission. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing.
There’s no denying it: felines rule cyberspace. With viral sensations such as Caturday, lolcats, and Lil Bub, these purring pets are serious click bait.
On Friday, the Museum of the Moving Image will open an exhibition, How Cats Took Over the Internet, that takes a look at why web surfers are so transfixed by these finicky fur balls. To be on display in the amphitheater gallery through January 31, 2016, the expo will feature videos, GIFs, and images demonstrating these creatures’ undeniable cuteness. Plus, a multimedia timeline will demonstrate significant cat moments online, and interactive stations will allow visitors to share their own photos, GIFs, and videos.
More information and another adorable photo are on the jump page.
Five-time Grammy winner James Taylor comes to Queens to give a concert this week. He might want to arrive early and leave late so he can enjoy a huge foodie event, a ghost tour, outdoor movies, festivals and concerts, and even a chance to watch top-notch cricket. Here’s the rundown.
July 30, Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria, 7:30 pm. This two-hour stroll visits some lesser-known historical sites and reveals tales of the neighborhood’s grim and ghostly past. Astoria is filled with tragic Hollywood film stars, voodoo, potters’ fields, grisly murders, poltergeists, hidden treasure, and deadly waters. $20/$25 at the door, location upon registration.
There’s English-speaking Hollywood. There’s Hindi-tongued Bollywood. And there’s Mani Ratnam, the man who revolutionized and popularized India’s other major movie genre, Tamil-language cinema. Over a four-decade career, Ratnam has made boundless films that criticize politicians, challenge social mores, question intellectual thought, and reap commercial success.
The Museum of the Moving Image will pay tribute to this prolific director by showing three of his most powerful works—Roja, Bombay, and Dil Se—all of which investigate romance against the backdrop of Indian politics. (more…)
Outside. Outside. Outside. There are very few indoor events in Queens this week. Whether theater, film, music, magic, a brew fest or an American Indian pow wow, it’s happening under the sky and stars. The exceptions include tango dance lessons, a story-telling contest, and a scanning party. The details follow.
July 23, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 7:30 pm. The Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents a Shakespeare classic with seduction, temptation, mayhem, and hilarity. Children’s program at 7 pm. Free. Crocheron Park, 35th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway, across from Golden Pond, Bayside.
July 23, Johnny Cash Tribute, 7:30 pm. Michael Patrick’s Ring of Fire Band takes the audience on a journey through the struggles, challenges, and adventures that Johnny Cash sang about. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the public pool, Astoria.
July 24, 37th Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow, through July 26. New York City’s oldest and largest pow wow features three days of intertribal Native American dance competitions. More than 40 nations are represented, and a large selection of unique Native American art, crafts, jewelry, and food are available. $10/$15 for weekend pass and $5/$7 for children. Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park.
July 24, Rural Route Film Festival, through July 26. This 11th annual series screens 19 films about rural life from 16 countries (and all seven continents), with filmmakers in person and live musical performances. $12/$9 seniors and students. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 25,Botanical Brew Fest, noon to 3 pm or 4 pm to 7 pm. Enjoy a selection of craft beers from local and international breweries, plus food and live music. Tickets required, ages 21+ only, early bird tickets for $35 through July 24, $50 at the gate. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing.
July 25, 78th Street Play Street, dusk. The Queens World Film Festival collaborates with the Jackson Heights Green Alliance to present indie films under the stars. This week is all about documentaries. Free. Travers Park (aka 78th Street Plaza), 78th Street and 34th Avenue, Jackson Heights.
July 25,Summer Scan Party,1 pm. Bring old photos of the neighborhood or family gems to scan. Free. Greater Astoria Historical Society, 35-20 Broadway, Long Island City.
July 25, The Wings of Eagles, 2 pm; Mogambo, 4:30 pm. Shown as part of The Essential John Ford, a tribute to the consummate American filmmaker, Wings of Eagles is a about a Navy flier who fought back from paralysis to become a World War II Navy commander and screenwriter. Mogambo is a remake of Clark Gable’s 1932 Red Dust. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 26, Modern Ruin, 2:30 pm. Screening of a documentary about Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion from the glory days of the 1964 World’s Fair through its demise over the following 50 years. The film details its use as a 1960s concert venue and 1970s roller rink, plus the years of neglect and the recent advocacy efforts to save and repurpose the structure. $10 with limited seating. Queens Historical Society, Weeping Beach Park, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing.
July 26, Upstream, 2:30 pm; Fort Apache, 4 pm. Shown as part of The Essential John Ford, a tribute to the consummate American filmmaker, Upstream, presented with live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin (keyboard) and Joanna Seaton (vocals), is about an egotistical actor and a vaudeville couple who partner in a knife-throwing act. Fort Apachedepicts the travails of Thursday, a rigid West Point officer who tries to take command of a desert outpost town and tragically mishandles several clashes with the Native American population. Shirley Temple plays Thursday’s daughter. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 27,The Moth StorySLAM, 7 pm. This open-mic storytelling competition is for anyone with a five-minute yarn on the night’s theme, “Business: Selling Out or Buying in.” Participants throw their names into The Moth “hat.” A half hour later, names are drawn to determine the order slammers take the stage. Judges, selected from the audience, pick a winner from 10 featured stories. $10. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.
July 29, Kings of the Wind & Electric Queens, dusk. Outdoor screening of a documentary as Bollywood film, reporting on Sonepur Fair, a festival held at the confluence of the Ganges and Gandak rivers on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Kartika. Free. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.
July 29, Wayne “Superius” Garland, 11 am. Children love this magical presentation starring the original hip hop magician, ventriloquist, and comedian. Free. Beach 97th Street and Shore Front Parkway, Rockaway.
It’s another huge week for outdoor music with classical, funk, gospel, hip hop, jazz, a tribute to the Beatles, and two Italian nights. Other options include a new night market, sculpture, story-telling, an e-waste recycling event, an art conference, pie-crumbling, and poetry.
July 16, SummerStage: Lyricist Lounge, 7 pm. Large Professor, a hip hop producer from Flushing, and Marley Marl, a hip hop producer from Queensbridge, perform. Free. Queensbridge Park, vicinity of 41st Road, 40th Avenue, Vernon Boulevard, and the East River, LIC.
July 16, Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band, 6:30 pm. Through the Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza program, Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band present Latin jazz fusion invigorated by Afro-Caribbean musical styles. Free. Bliss Plaza, Queens Boulevard and 46th Street under the elevated 7 train station, Sunnyside. (more…)
George Clinton and Funkadelic highlight a series of free outdoor concerts this week. In addition to the live music, fun-seekers can choose a Colombia flower extravaganza (above), a noncompetitive bike race, a book festival, plenty of movies, and a night market. Here’s the rundown.
July 9, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, 7:30 pm. The Central Astoria LDC’s 2015 Waterfront Concert Series begins with a night of music from the Harlem Renaissance (1930s-1940s). Free. Astoria Park’s Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between the Hell Gate Bridge and the pool.
July 9, Preview Screening of Boulevard with director Dito Montiel in person, 7 pm. The movie Boulevard premiered to warm praise at the Tribeca Film Festival, but its release was delayed after main actor Robin Williams’s death last summer. Now it premieres on July 10, but it screens at the Museum of the Moving Image the night before with Astoria-born director Montiel in attendance. $15. MMI, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.