There’s no place like hip-hop home. The rappers Havoc and Prodigy, who work together as the infamous Mobb Deep (above), will return to their native Queensbridge housing projects to give a free concert on July 17th as part of the NYC Parks SummerStage Presents series. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, featuring 15 of the world’s finest soloists and ensemble players and led by Wynton Marsalis, is also scheduled to perform this month, as are Ismael Miranda, aka “El niño bonito de la Salsa,” and laid-back Washington, D.C.-based R&B vocalist J. Holiday. But the extravaganza offers more than music, as the Harambee Dance Company (below) will perform and Puppetmobile and Teatro SEA will appear as part of SummerStage Kids.
It was a very good day for Satchmo. On June 30, 1964, the World’s Fair organizers declared the date “Louis Armstrong Day,” and the legendary Corona resident and his All Stars performed at the Singer Bowl in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In honor of this history — and to have another very good day — the inaugural Louis Armstrong International Music Festival will happen on June 29th in almost the same exact place, featuring live music, dancing, and a food truck rally. Multi Grammy Award-winning Cuban-American salsa singer Albita (above) headlines the show. Other scheduled performers are the Jon Faddis Quartet, led by trumpeter Jon Faddis (below); Junoon with Salman Ahmad; and David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band.
Details: The Louis Armstrong International Music Festival, produced by Kupferberg Center for the Arts/Queens College, Parade Ground near the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 29th, 1 pm to 7 pm, rain or shine, free.
Basically, she arrived on Broadway in the 1950s and never left. After being the ingénue in Flahooley in 1951 and then starring in the original musicals Plain and Fancy (1955), Candide (1956) and The Music Man (1957), Barbara Cook has gone on to win two Grammys, one Tony, a Kennedy Center lifetime achievement award and countless other accolades, including White House performances in front of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush I and Clinton. A silvery soprano, Cook is known for her purity of tone and warm-but-strong stage presence. On Saturday night, this Atlanta native will perform selections from her newly developed repertoire of jazz and swing while also reprising her classics from Broadway and the great American songbook at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts.
Details: Broadway Legend Barbara Cook, Colden Auditorium, Queens College, Kissena Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing, May 10th, 8 pm, $45/$55/$69 (save 20% off four tickets by using code barbara20, www.kupferbergcenter.org/events/barbara-cook).
They call him the “Martin Luther King of Brazil.” Abdias Nascimento was an author, playwright, senator and artist who was also a founding force in his South American country’s Black Pride movement. On April 28th, Queens College’s Godwin-Ternbach Museum will open an exhibition of 40 large-scale, brilliantly colored digital prints of Nascimento’s art which are deeply influenced by the African-Brazilian religion Candomblé, its sister religion, Santería, that originated in the Caribbean, and Haitian Vodou. There will be an opening reception on April 30th that will include a roundtable discussion on “Abdias Nascimento and Candomblé, Santería and Afro-Latino Politics in Brazil and Cuba.” This program is part of Queens College’s Year of Brazil celebration, which encompasses everything student and faculty exchanges to student-sponsored activities on culture, sports, and daily life to exhibitions, film screenings, and performances.
Remember: In Strawberry Fields, nothing is real. The Fab Faux, a world-renown Beatles tribute band whose members include Will Lee of Late Night with David Letterman and Jimmy Vivino from Conan O’Brien’s show, will perform at Flushing’s Colden Center on Saturday night. Famous for painstaking attention to detail and an unwavering respect for their idols, The Faux impeccably recreate the harmony, notes, sound and general experience of a Beatles concert, but with extra vocalists to achieve a double-tracked effect. For this show, the group will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show with a mixed set of favorites. They will be joined by the Creme Tangerine Strings and the Hogshead Horn.
Details: The Fab Faux, presented by JES Entertainment, Colden Center at Queens College, Kissena Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing, March 8th, 8 pm, $65/$55/$45.
It’s extremely romantic, and thanks to a special discount, it’s a cheap date. Put simply, Christine Andreas and Martin Silvestri are the masters of the amorous ballad. This husband-and-wife team makes audiences laugh, smile and cry (sometimes at the same time) with brilliant lyrics and melodies mixed with stage antics, humor and human chemistry. Andreas (above), who once starred in Broadway revivals of My Fair Lady and Oklahoma, likes to combine her soprano voice with wheeling vibrato and the emotionality that springs from her acting past as she sings traditional pop, cabaret and theater tunes. Silvestri tickles the ivories with skill and grace. On Valentine’s Day, these lovebirds will perform at LeFrak Concert Hall, and the host (Kupferberg Center for the Arts) has decided to offer a $5 discount to Queens Brownstoner readers.
Details: Love Is Good, LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College, vicinity of Horace Harding Expressway and Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, February 14th, 8 pm, $38-$59 (Use code “valentine” for $5 off tickets.) (more…)
These fables are timeless, ageless and great with musical accompaniment. On Sunday at LeFrak Concert Hall, the Queens Symphony Orchestra will present Peter and the Wolf, the classic Russian tale of a young lad and his refusal to obey his grandfather’s demands. Composed by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936, this legend is frequently performed to introduce children to the symphonic form. QSO will also present The Frog Prince, a musical retelling of a beloved fairy tale with a new score by composer and conductor Victoria Bond. Plus, the free afternoon will begin with a “Meet the Instruments” gathering at 2 pm, when concert-goers can speak with orchestra members and learn about their instruments.
Details: The Frog Prince & Peter and the Wolf, LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College, vicinity of Horace Harding Expressway and Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, February 9th, 3 pm, with chance to meet the instruments at 2 pm, free. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. RSVP through the Kupferberg Center Box Office at 718-793-8080 is suggested.
The Super Bowl is coming to Queens! Well, some of the pre-game hype is. On January 27th, J. Cole (above and below) will open the six-concert VH1′s Super Bowl Blitzat the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. One of the genre’s most respected lyricists, this German-born hip-hop sensation’s first album hit number one on the Billboard 200 in 2011 and scored a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. On the following nights through February 1st, other VH1 Super Bowl Blitz shows will include Janelle Monáe in the Bronx, Fall Out Boy in Brooklyn, TLC in Manhattan, Goo Goo Dolls in Staten Island and Gavin DeGraw in New Jersey. The concerts will be streamed live in the VH1 App and made available on-demand in the app and at SuperBowl.VH1.com the day after each live concert.
Details: J. Cole, Kupferberg Center for the Arts, Vicinity of Horace Harding Expressway and Kiseena Boulevard, Flushing, January 27th, 9:30 pm, buy tickets here.
They’re not actors. They’re politicians playing actors. This Saturday, elected officials from around the borough will star in Legislative Acts, a show which will let them display their musical, acting, singing, dancing and comedic talents for two good causes. Basically a series of parodies of classical movies, well-known TV series, Broadway shows and songs, the performance will benefit two Queens College initiatives: Big Buddy, which pairs homeless children with college-student mentors; and Women and Work, a job-training and life-skills program. So far, more than 30 legislators have agreed to participate. They include everybody from City Council Member Mark Weprin (above) to Congress Member Grace Meng to Borough President-elect Melinda Katz. Plus, Queens College drama and music students are involved in the production, which is directed by actor, playwright and teaching artist Kevin R. Free.
Hangeul, the Korean writing system (or alphabet), was invented in the 15th century. It is somewhat unique because the script was created from scratch, rather than evolving from pictographs or other written languages. Masterworks of traditional and modern hangeul by Yoo Sung Lee, a distinguished calligrapher who goes by the pen name “Aram,” will adorn walls at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum from today until November 23rd. Aram’s traditional pieces include the woodblock printing style, the transcript style, the palace style and the commoner style. His contemporary pieces exhibit a re-interpretation and transformation of written script into a fine art form. (A larger show, The Art of Ink in America 2013/2014, will run in the same museum from November 21th to December 30th.)