Come and visit. You’ll like it. Lonely Planet named Queens the best tourism destination for 2015 this morning. The travel media company commended the borough “for topicality and buzz-worthiness,” while praising the food, diversity, hotels, events, and unique neighborhoods.
“Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015. “Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria.”
The editorial continues: “The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block Kaufman Arts District. If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.”
Western South Dakota came in second on the list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA).
Paramount Pictures is currently promoting Noah, an epic feature film based on the well-known Biblical character and his equally well-known ark. The movie has generated tremendous controversy and coverage by Christian and Jewish media outlets. Can mammon-soaked Hollywood create a film that respectfully portrays Noah and his tremendous faith? How much artistic license do the actors — including Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins — take?
This Monday, the Museum of the Moving Image will screen this blockbuster, followed by a wide-ranging conversation with Darren Aronofsky, the film’s director, and Patti Smith, who wrote a lullaby, “Mercy Is,” for the soundtrack. They will discuss everything from the spiritual details behind making the movie to how Smith, who is known as the “Godmother of Punk Rock,” could create a lullaby. Has she gone soft? At the end of the event, Smith, whose 1975 song “Gloria” includes the line “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine,” will sing “Mercy Is.”
It’s the silver anniversary of the first free parliamentary elections in Poland, and the Museum of the Moving Image is celebrating with 13 films from the Eastern European country. Over 11 days, the Kaufman Arts District venue will screen seven features and six documentaries that were created between 1977 and 1990, the tumultuous time when communism begrudgingly gave way to the Solidarity movement. Some of the scheduled flicks were banned in their home country due to their negative portrayals of government. Interrogation, which is set during the height of Stalin’s power in the 1950s, depicts the imprisonment and torture of a Polish actress who refuses to denounce a friend. The Mother of Kings follows a widow and mother of four from the 1930s through the Stalinist era. Escape from the Liberty Cinema combines fantasy with political satire as actors step out of the screen to protest censorship.
Sometimes Queens is so diverse it’s scary. Upcoming Halloween events include everything from senior events to youth events; cemetery fun to casino fun; and food-making to mask-making. And let’s not even begin to discuss all the great neighborhoods for trick-or-treating. To aid decision-making, the Queens Tourism Council suggests the following activities because they combine enjoyment with safety, enrichment, and even some sweet treats. They appear on the jump page.
Be scared. Be really, really scared. The Museum of the Moving Image doubles down on dismay with See It Big!Horror and the Korean Horror Picture Show on its oversize screens. Six Hollywood classics – The Exorcist;Nosferatu;The Phantom of the Opera;The Bride of Frankenstein;Night of the Living Dead; and Poltergeist – screen in late October. Meanwhile, the recent resurgence of the Korean horror genre will be on display with Killer Toon,I Saw the Devil, Lady Vengeance,Epitaph, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and A Tale of Two Sisters. A full schedule and descriptions of the movies are on the jump page.
The Museum of the Moving Image is showing its bookish side. Next week, the Kaufman Arts District venue will host two events featuring prolific authors. On Sunday, Robert E. Kapsis, a professor of sociology and film studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will speak before a screening of The Jerk, which stars Steve Martin (above). Kapsis, who has penned books on Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen, has just published Conversations with Steve Martin(University Press of Mississippi, 2014), a collection of interviews and profiles that focus on Martin as a writer, comedian, actor, artist, and original thinker. After the film, which is an expanded version of one of Martin’s comedy routines about a nitwit who grows up as “a poor black child” and decides to become white, Kapsis will sign copies of his book.
More information on this event and a discussion with a best-selling feminist author after the jump.
Just another day at the office! In the above photo, a professional stuntman performs a “high fall” from a scissors lift near Kaufman Astoria Studios. Usually these daredevils do this kind of stuff for a living, but on Sunday, they’ll take risks solely for the public’s enrichment during New York on Location, a celebration of film production in the Big Apple. Presented by the Museum of the Moving Image, Theatrical Teamsters Local 817, and Kaufman Astoria Studios, this family-friendly, outdoor street fair will offer attendees the rare opportunity to explore more than 20 movie trailers and trucks and chat with movie professionals about what they do on set. Some trucks will feature star dressing rooms, while others will contain props, cameras, wardrobes, and special effects. More details and another image on jump page.
Films from Taiwan’s New Wave Cinema Movement, which had its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, are marked by their realistic and sympathetic portrayals of a society that was dealing with urbanization, poverty and political upheaval. Generally, the movies depict regular people with normal lives, and instead of building to a climactic finish, they often carry on at a real-life pace. The leader of this movement is Hou Hsiao-hsien, a prolific actor, singer, producer, and director known for his minimalist dramas with extensive improvisation and sensuous nuances.
From September 12th through October 17th, the Museum of the Moving Image will host Also Like Life, a series that will screen all of Hou’s 17 features on celluloid (including two new 35mm prints), plus rare shorts, and a sidebar of related films, such as Olivier Assayas’s documentary HHH: A Portrait of Hou Hsiao-hsien. Before some screenings, film experts will provide introductions.
The Museum of the Moving Image announced an awesome street fair planned for September — New York on Location. It’ll take plan on Sunday, September 21st from 11 am to 5 pm. This is a free, day-long and family-friendly event at the Kaufman Astoria Studios offering a special look at film production in NYC. Kaufman Astoria Studio will open movie trailers and trucks to the public, and movie professionals will be on hand to talk about about what they do on set. There will also be stunt professionals demonstrating high falls, street fighting and stunt driving. Food will even be available from movie catering trucks.
It’ll all take place on the backlot at Kaufman Astoria Studios, at the Museum of the Moving Image and on the surrounding streets. Can’t wait for this one!
Photo by Pat Alvarado for the Museum of the Moving Image
This Friday, Hong Kong’s prolific movie director Patrick Lung Kong will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from another Asian director, Tsui Hark, at the Museum of the Moving Image. A true pioneer of Cantonese cinema, Kong wrote 14 films that he directed between 1966 and 1979 and starred in 60 films between 1958 and 2002. The museum will then screen The Story of a Discharged Prisoner (below), followed by a conversation with Kong and Hark, a native of Vietnam who remade this film. The event will kick off Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Cinema of Patrick Lung Kong, a nine-film series featuring rare titles imported from Hong Kong from August 15th through August 24th.