They called him “Bix,” and his fans call themselves “Bixophiles.” He had a terrible addiction to alcohol and died at age 28, but still managed to play cornet with some of the greatest jazz legends of all time, such as Corona resident Louis Armstrong. In fact, many music lovers consider him to be the best cornetist of all time, partly because he invented a style that created a sound described a “bullets hitting a fan.” Finally, Bix Beiderbecke was born in Davenport, Iowa, where an annual jazz festival honors his legacy, but he died while living in an apartment at 43-30 46th Street in Sunnyside, Queens.
On Saturday, August 8, his adopted hometown will celebrate his life with another yearly festival: The Bix Beiderbecke Sunnyside Memorial Jazz Concert in the vicinity of the Sunnyside Arch from 2 pm to 7 pm. The theme is the Roaring Twenties, the honoree’s best decade. (He died in 1931.) Local groups such as the Street Beat Brass Band, Sunnyside Drum Corps, the Sunnyside Social Club, and the Sunnyside Wolverines, a pickup band that unites for this occasion every year, will perform either under a large tent or on a makeshift dance floor.
Check out more details and a photo from last year’s Lindy Hop performance 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.
What is Antonio to do? He’s a well-respected community leader, but through a complex effort to help a friend in love he owes a pound of his own flesh to a man who despises him.
And what about that pathetic Sir John Falstaff? He devised a get-rich-quick scheme that backfired big time. Now he’s being humiliated bigger time.
These two scenarios come to eight Queens parks in July and August (the Bronx, Jersey City, and Southampton, too). The Hip to Hip Theatre Company is back for its ninth year, providing free, family-friendly performances of Shakespeare plays. This summer, Woodside-based co-founders Jason and Joy Marr have chosen The Merchant of Venice, a dark drama about a 16th century merchant, Antonio, who defaults on a loan from a moneylender, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comedy about a flat broke, alcoholic aristocrat, Sir John Falstaff, who tries to bed the wives of two rich men. However, the women are not amused and respond with a series of practical jokes.
The fun begins on Wednesday with Merchant at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. On Thursday, Merry Wives plays at Crocheron Park in Bayside. Then, the professional actors do 17 more productions in such neighborhoods as Forest Park, Fresh Meadows, Long Island City, and Sunnyside.
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…)
You won’t believe your ears or your pocketbooks. Queens is about to experience a streak of fantastic, free, outdoor concerts over the next five days. Listeners will be able to bring their folding chairs, blankets, and dancing shoes to Flushing, Long Island City, Queensbridge, and Sunnyside and enjoy everything from hip hop to polka to R&B. George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, and the Chi-Lites are the biggest acts, but some performers, such as minimalist musician Florent Ghys (above), are masters of lesser-known genres.
Here is the schedule:
The Glukh Polka Band plays polkas, waltzes, and polonaises at Flushing Town Hall on July 12 at 2 pm.
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.
On your mark. Get set. Go…but not too fast. On July 12, the eighth annual Tour de Queens will take participants on a roughly 20-mile loop that starts and ends in Astoria Park. Basically a rolling parade, the tour rides en masse at a family-friendly pace –about 10 mph — with NYPD escorts, volunteer safety marshals, and occasional stops at intersections to gather riders. This year’s route goes through Long Island City, Sunnyside, Rego Park, Forest Hills, and Corona with an optional rest stop with light snacks and water at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.
Proceeds go to Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit that promotes bicycling, walking, and the use of public transit in New York City.
Details: Tour de Queens, meet in the Astoria Park parking lot off 19th Street and Hoyt Avenue North, Astoria, July 12, 8 am check in, $22.50.
Van Morrison, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Met Opera stars, and the Muppets are the world famous celebrities providing entertainment and enrichment in the borough this week. Other possibilities are a LEGO fest, comedy, seniors singing Broadway, a Summer Solstice event, and an International Yoga Day gala. Here’s the rundown.
June 18, Music Under the 7 Train, 6:30 pm. The Street Beat Brass Band presents a multicultural program of brass-based and street-based music from various parts of the world. Free. Bliss Plaza, Queens Boulevard and 46th Street under the 7 train station, Sunnyside.
June 18, Big Band Music, 6:30 pm. New York City Swing plays big band favorites by Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Duke Ellington. Free. Queens Library’s Howard Beach Branch, 92-06 156th Avenue, Howard Beach. (more…)
On Monday, we posted about the Historic Jackson Heights Weekend, which features two days of walking tours around the neighborhood. This was accurate as far as it goes, but it deserves an amplification, as there are guided treks all around the borough this weekend.
On Saturday, official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum gives his signature expedition, The World of the 7 Train. It’s actually a series of six walks along with subway rides. He discusses the history and impact of the 7 line, while stopping in Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona, and Flushing, where the event ends with lunch, probably at a Chinese restaurant. (more…)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Queens — where else? — this week. Other fun activities include a strawberry festival, a hot dog-eating contest, a theater festival, a mama’s expo, and plenty of live outdoor music. Here’s the rundown.
June 12, The Rocky Horror Picture Show Experience, 7:30 pm. This is a screening and live reenactment by the New York City Shadow Cast of the 1970s cult movie, which is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite character. $15. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Kaufman Arts District.
June 12, Unchained Theatre Festival, until June 28. This third annual extravaganza features 16 pieces, ranging from 10-minute shorts to full-length plays, performed three times in the course of three weeks. Voting by audiences and judges determines the top pieces, which receive an additional performance during the finale on June 28. $15/$18 for final round/closing ceremony. The Chain Theatre, 21-28 45th Rd., LIC. (more…)