07/08/14 1:00pm

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Is it possible to create twins via cloning? Because that’s the only way to enjoy all the top-notch live music in Queens this Thursday, when the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the country’s best Beatles tribute band come to town.

At 7 pm, the Met — in association with SummerStage and City Parks Foundation — will host a concert in Socrates Sculpture Park featuring Mary-Jane Lee (soprano), Ginger Costa-Jackson (mezzo-soprano), and Yunpeng Wang (baritone), accompanied by Dan Saunders (pianist). They will perform arias and duets from a variety of operas. At 7:30 pm, Strawberry Fields (above), a group that former President Bill Clinton praises in his book Giving, will take its audience on a Magical Mystery Tour through the Fab Four’s biggest hits as part of the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation’s 2014 Waterfront Concert Series. Then at 8 pm, the New York Philharmonic, which is the county’s oldest symphony orchestra, will venture away from Lincoln Center to give a free concert with Strauss, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, and Alan Gilbert as the conductor in Cunningham Park.

Opera details: Metropolitan Opera Recital, Socrates Sculpture Park (below), 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, July 10th, 7 pm, free. 

Beatles details: Strawberry Fields, Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool, Astoria, July 10th, 7:30 pm, free.

Orchestra details: New York Philharmonic in the Park, Cunningham Park, 193rd Street near Union
Turnpike, Fresh Meadows, July 10th, 8 pm, free.

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07/07/14 1:00pm

THE-PIROGUE

La Pirogue tells the story of 30 men and one woman who disembark from the Senegalese coast in a dinghy. The African passengers are from various ethnic and religious backgrounds, but they share the common desire to survive the perilous, seven-day trek to Spain in order to create better futures for themselves in Europe. On July 9th, this 87-minute drama, directed by Moussa Touré, will show on an outdoor screen in Socrates Sculpture Park as part of a 16th annual international film festival.

This eight-week collaboration with the Film Forum and Rooftop Films will focus on a different country or culture — Russia, Senegal, New Zealand, Italy, Argentina, Central Africa, Japan and France – each Wednesday evening. Before each screening, visitors will be able to enjoy live music and dance performances from each film’s native country or region.

Details after the jump (more…)

06/23/14 4:00pm

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Tomorrow evening, Socrates Sculpture Park is screening the classic New York film When Harry Met Sally. It’s part of Tribeca Film Festival’s “Film for All” event, in which the organization is screening the film in an outdoor venue in each of the five boroughs at the same time. Screenings are free and open to everyone. During the Tribeca Film Festival, the public was asked to tweet the film they thought all New Yorkers should see, and the result was this 1989 classic. Doors open at 7 pm, and the movie begins at 8:30 pm. For a list of screenings in every borough, check out the Film for All website.

06/16/14 1:00pm

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It only happens once a year, but there are three chances to celebrate it in Queens this weekend. This Saturday, Socrates Sculpture Park will welcome the new season with a Summer Solstice Celebration featuring various art workshops, face-painting, a nature-inspired ritual performed by urban shaman Mama Donna, a picnic, and of course, a wonderful Manhattan skyline. Plus, Norte Maar will present site-specific sound performances encompassing the entire park. These artists will create unique sound platforms through traditional instrumentation, amplification of objects, juxtaposition of voices, and experimental electronic sound. The same day but over in Jamaica, King Manor Museum will host ice-cream making, huge bubble creating, sun-inspired art and crafts, and historic games for children. Then on Sunday, the Queens Botanical Gardens will host its Festival de las Flores/Summer Solstice Celebration with purveyors of the beautiful Colombian craft of creating silletos or large medallions composed of flowers. Attendees can also enjoy live music and dance, craft and food vendors, bilingual story reading, face painting, botanical crafts, a petting zoo, and old-fashioned games for the children.

Details: Summer Solstice Celebration, Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, June 21st, 5 pm to dusk, free.

Bonus details: Summer Solstice Festival, King Manor Museum, 150-03 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, June 22nd, noon to 4 pm, free.

More bonus details: Festival de la Flores/Summer Solstice Celebration, Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, June 22nd, noon to 5 pm, free with admission.

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Top photo: Socrates Sculpture Park; bottom photo: Its in Queens

05/29/14 1:00pm

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Broadway is coming home. On May 31st, the Astoria Symphonic Choir performs at Astoria’s Trinity Lutheran Church, which is located a block from the roadway that stretches from Elmhurst to the LIC’s Socrates Sculpture Park and is called “Broadway.” Artistic Director Adam Eggleston leads the group through selections from musicals — My Fair Lady, Guys & Dolls, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Damn Yankees, Anything Goes, and West Side Story. Plus, there will be some extra excitement in the air as the choir’s sister group, the Astoria Symphony Orchestra, has just announced that Maestro David Štech, who has been the resident conductor since 2011, will be the music director for the twelfth concert season (2014-15).

Details: Broadway, Astoria Trinity Lutheran Church, 31-18 37th Street, Astoria, May 31st, 8 pm, $20-$25 at the door/$15-$20 in advance.

Photo: Astoria Symphony Orchestra

05/20/14 4:00pm

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Thanks to We Heart Astoria for spotting the cinema schedule for this summer at Socrates Sculpture Park! The series kicks off on Wednesday, July 2nd with the film Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer. It then continues seven more Wednesdays until August 27th with films from Senegal, New Zealand, Italy, Argentina, Africa, Japan and France — the film series is aimed to celebrate the cultural diversity of Queens. Films begin at sundown, the pre-screening performances begin at 7 pm. Each event is free and visitors are invited to picnic on the grass.

Photo by Riely Clough

05/20/14 1:00pm

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It’s a permeable, overground tunnel created by shiny, overhead Mylar ribbons that connect pairs of stainless steel poles… but it reveals the forces of nature. When the sun is shining, Scarecrow shimmers. When the wind blows, the new site-specific installation at Socrates Sculpture Park hums. When the sky and nearby East River change color due to a rising or setting sun or artificial light, the 250-foot-long and 13-foot-high piece emanates a different vibe. Created by Lithuanian native Žilvinas Kempinas, who currently lives in Queens, Scarecrow is in constant motion, even though its poles stretch deep into the ground and its ribbons are stretched taught across the canopy. And furthermore, it can appear like a horizontal, monolithic structure from a distance, but up close, it becomes obvious that each pole — and each corresponding plastic strip — has a distinct personality and its own way of reacting to its environment.

Details: Scarecrow, Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, on view through August 3rd, free.

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Photos: Socrates Sculpture Garden

05/12/14 4:00pm

LICBUS

Western Queens art patrons got a new reason to jump for joy — and relax in a seat — last Saturday, when the LIC Arts Bus made its maiden voyage. Scheduled to run every weekend until September 14th, the free service will stop at Socrates Sculpture Park, The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1. The 25-passenger vehicle, operated on a first-come-first-seated basis, departs from Socrates on a continuous loop from noon to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. (Click here for a schedule with up-to-the-minute updates.) 

Seen in top photo before the launch are (from left) Noguchi Director Jenny Dixon, Socrates Director of Development and Communications Katie Denny, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Socrates Executive Director John Hatfield, MoMA PS1 COO Peter Katz and Noguchi Director of Administration and External Affairs Amy Hau.

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Top photo: It’s in Queens; bottom photo: Noguchi Sculpture Center

05/02/14 2:00pm

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The above photo popped up on Socrates Sculpture Park’s Instagram account of SuralArk, a sculpture piece now in progress. According to the Architectural League of New York, the work will be an “inverted, seemingly unfinished (or perhaps decomposing) boat hull rising from the ground to provide a canopy and a place for reflection.” It will be ready by May 11th, which is the debut of Socrates’ 2014 Folly Exhibit. Here’s another incredible work that will be on display this season.

04/24/14 1:00pm

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In 2001, Pawel Althamer built a tree house in the heart of urban Warsaw. That same year, he interrupted a lecture he was giving and led the audience on a walk through the streets of the Polish capital. At the end, he informed that some of the passersby were hired actors who had orchestrated the experience. Althamer likes to combine visual experience with active participation from his observers. This sculptor and performance artist (video, installation, action) also likes to play with relocation of context. Currently, he is re-assembling his monumental, mixed-media piece Queen Mother of Reality at Socrates Sculpture Park. The larger-than-life figure is dedicated to — and inspired by — Queen Mother Delois Blakely, a U.S. Ambassador of Goodwill to Africa, whom Mayor Rudolph Giuliani swore in as “Community Mayor of Harlem” in 1995. The figure is supposed to bring attention to the Blakely’s pet cause: New York City’s displaced and homeless population. It will be at the Long Island City public space through August 3rd, but there will be an opening on May 11, featuring art workshops presented by the Minor Miracles Foundation and an experimental social project, Nails Across America, by artist Breanne Trammell. More Queen Mother-related programming is being planned for the summer.

Details: Queen Mother of Reality, Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, LIC, currently on view, but officially on display May 11th through August 3rd, free. Opening party on May 11th, 2 pm to 6 pm. 

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Photos: Socrates Sculpture Park