Click the heading above to view pop culture events this month in Queens. Click the following links to go directly into one of these Queens Neighborhoods: Astoria, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Long Island City and Sunnyside.
African American History Revisited
African American Film Makers Explore Their Predecessors' Experience With Fresh Lens
Film Event In Sunnyside
February 17, 2014 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. On Saturday evening, February 22nd, the East Coast premiere of Freedom Summer is being hosted at the Sunnyside Reformed Church. Emmy Award winning filmmaker, Stanley Nelson, will be on hand to discuss the making of the new film which premiered at the Sundance 2014 Film Festival in January.
I spoke with Stanley via telephone about the documentary, which covers the summer of 1964 when Mississippi was burning. White Mississipians expected African Americans to bow their heads in deference and to step aside on sidewalks as white folks passed. Mississippi had a whole host of laws and customs set in place which denied African Americans their full rights as American citizens, and as fellow human beings. And anyone - white or black - who tried to question the norms; felt the wrath of the white supremisists who embraced the culture.
About seven hundred students from around the nation [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] went down to Mississippi to help African Americans exercise their rights. Three of them - Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Early Chaney - went missing. After intense media / television coverage and national outrage, the FBI began a manhunt. The victims' bodies turned up 44 days later. All three had been shot at close range. The photo above is a still from the film Freedom Summer.
The documentary incorporates historical photos and media coverage and a little heard recorded telephone conversation between LBJ and J. Edgar Hoover. This report also includes background on film maker Stanley Nelson who runs a film making company / incubator in Harlem as he will be present to discuss film making at the event. Click here to read the rest of our report about Freedom Summer - premiere of an independent film in Queens or click here to rsvp a ticket to the free East Coast film premiere in Queens.
Flicks In Sunnyside Gardens Park
More Fun Than A Barrel Of Monkeys
September 30, 2013 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. Saturday night, in the neighborhood of about one hundred kids and about four hundred people in total, descended on Sunnyside Gardens Park for a soiree of food, fun and flicks in the garden.
The event was hosted by Sunnyside Gardens Park and open to the general public. There was make-up, crafts, dance, food and flicks. The event was emcee'd by Ty Sullivan, the local tall, slim and very red mad hatter. Ty seemed to have a knack for getting the kids worked up over great cartoons like Betty Boop and Jack Frost. Like last years presentation of Flicks in the Garden 2012, Tommy Stathes provided the cartoon films.
I arrived a bit after dark and had missed some of the fun, but quickly found a general willingness to share it post facto. Click here to read more about Flicks in the Garden in Sunnyside Gardens Park in 2013, including photo slide show.
Jamaica: Queens Emerging Fashion District
Jamaica Collection Showcases Fashion & Culture in Queens
June 1, 2013 / Jamaica NY Neighborhood / Fashion in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the Jamaica Collection Fashion Show Saturday evening at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens. It was a beautiful summer evening as I approached the center, and people were standing outside, enjoying the calm cooling end of daylight.
This is the second year that the Jamaica Center BID organized this event - designed to highlight the bustling business district of downtown Jamaica - the backbone of which runs from east to west along Jamaica Avenue.
Jamaica is one of the more fascinating neighborhoods of Queens, rich in history as an agricultural and trading center dating back to colonial times; and rich in the modern multi-culturalism of 21st century Queens as well as being a significant metropolitan transportation hub. The Jamaica Center BID seems intent on nurturing the embedded community assets by showcasing them; and while they did a very nice job of it last year, this year they kicked things up another notch.
Click here to read the rest of our report on the Jamaica Collection Fashion Show in Queens.
Queens World Film Festival
Queens Film Festival Begins
March 9, 2013 / Astoria, LIC & Jackson Heights / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the 3rd annual Queens World Film Festival opening Tuesday night at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. As I arrived, independent film producers, directors, writers, actors and actresses mingled in the lobby.
A local TV film crew was interviewing one of the festival participants as I started mingling with the crowd. I met one man who has film showing Friday, another with a film showing Thursday, and a Belgian couple who co-produced a thirty second short that was to be shown at the opener tonight [they’re shown conversing with City Councilmembers Dromm and Van Bramer].
It wasn’t long before the festivities began, which included several speeches by sponsors [some are listed at the end of this report] and the Queens World Film Festival founders, Don and Katha Cato of Jackson Heights.
Free Things To Do In Queens I
Free Movies & Foreign Films In Queens
Queens NY / Updated August 8, 2012. This report includes a list of some of the free things to do in Queens this summer.
Click here to view a listing of the dates and times of free movies & foreign films free things to do in Queens Parks.
Free Things To Do In Queens II
Musical Performances & Free Concerts in Queens Parks
Queens NY / August 8, 2012. This report includes a list of some of the free things to do in Queens this summer. Thus far this posting includes mostly free music and free concerts in the parks.
Click here to view our listing of free concerts - free things to do in Queens Parks.
IndieCade Comes To The East Coast
Video Games & Gamers Descend Upon MOMI
February 19, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Film & Video Games in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the first annual IndieCade show at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria last Saturday evening. The show was an interesting blend of techno geek and techno cool, and most of the attendees were in their 20's and 30's. What struck me is that while the audience skewed a bit toward males, was far more balanced than I had expected. It seems the video gaming world isn't the predominantly male domain it once was.
I participated in a couple of the events, and spoke to some of the exhibitors and gamers about the show. Later this week we'll post a report, complete with photos, about the IndieCade show at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.
Rise of the Guardians
Animation Exhibit & Video at the Museum of the Moving Image
November 10, 2012 / Fashion Film & Music in Queens / Astoria / Queens Buzz. The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria just opened a new film exhibit about the soon-to-be released Dreamworks film, Rise of the Guardians. I’ll tell you more about the exhibit, after I tell you about the film itself, which opens nationally, Wednesday, November 21st in movie theaters around Queens and the nation.
In my mind, the movie is already a classic. The pop artwork is superb, the 3 D effects are the best I’ve seen [possibly in part thanks to MOMI facilities] and most importantly, the story is a well told tale - complete with Jungian archetypes and without any real violence. To a weather worn NYC public, this movie will be a welcome escape into a kinder, gentler, animated 3D world.
Click here to read more about the Rise of the Guardians 3D animated film exhibit in Astoria Queens.
Persona Performa - Ming Wong At MOMI
Museum of the Moving Image Steps Out In Astoria
January 21, 2012 / Astoria / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. People were lined up outside of the Museum of the Moving Image [MOMI] on both Thursday and Friday nights. They were waiting to see Ming Wong’s performance art production entitled Persona Performa. The production title tidily summed up its essence – an art performance based on an Ingmar Bergman film entitled Persona, which was being performed for Performa 11, the fourth biennial visual arts festival in NYC.
Artistic director, Ming Wong, developed the piece during his residency at MOMI in 2011. He told us that the inspiration for the production came from the minimalist architecture of the museum and an Ingmar Bergman film, Persona, which is generally believed to be one of the ten best works of cinematic art.
Click here to read our report of Ming Wong Persona Performa at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.
Rock Concert Dampened By Weather
… but the music played on …
August 21, 2011 / Astoria / Live Music / Queens Buzz. The Astoria Music Now venue had to be changed early Sunday morning due to weather forecast predicting severe thundershowers similar to what we saw a week ago. To make matters worse, it didn’t rain Sunday until after 4 pm, and even then it was only a quick light shower … but for those who followed the Astoria Music Now musicians into the Astoria performance venues around the neighborhood ... the music played on.
Given that the venues were dispersed around Astoria, we saw far fewer performances than in prior years, so we’ll link back to prior reports to give you a flavor of the concert musicians because there were a number of returning bands this year.
We started at the Quays where we saw two new comers to the festival: The Sorely Missed and Jon Christopher who performed with two new accompanists - Jason playing bass guitar and Ben Nathan percussionist [see photo above]. Click here to read more about the Astoria Music Now - rock concert in Queens.
Musical Saw Festival 2011 In Astoria
What’s The Buzz – Tell Me What’s A Happening
July 16, 2011 / Astoria Neighborhood / Live Music / Queens Buzz. I attended the 9th annual Musical Saw Festival this year. It was held at the Hellenic Cultural Center just off Crescent Street in Astoria. And while I had read about the festival for the past two years, and seen videos of it on the internet last year, I can now assure you that it’s not nearly as good as being there.
I arrived midway through the four-hour festival and many of the headlining talent had finished playing. But as a novice whose sole interest was to experience the festival, exactly who was playing didn't matter as much as it might to an aficionado. I had come to see, hear and talk to people who play music on their saws.
Click here to read more about and see photos of the Musical Saw Festival in Astoria Queens NYC.
Fashion, Film & Music In Astoria
Museum Of The Moving Image - Film Museum in Queens
Astoria Now Rock Concert - Astoria Park
Queens Fashion Week - 2010
Flushing Town Hall
Home Of Jazz & Asian Culture
This is a report on the Flushing Town Hall located in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens NY. The Flushing Town Hall is run by the Flushing Council On The Arts.
Queens Theatre In The Park
Bacon Brothers & Band / Renovations
Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael performed at Queens Theatre In The Park in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens NY. The Bacon Brothers just released a new CD called 'White Knuckles'.
Click here to read our report about the Bacon Brothers Band at Queens Theatre in the Park & renovations.
Fashion, Film & Music In Flushing & Corona
Queens - The Home of Jazz
Louis Armstrong House Block Party & Jazz Mobile
August 20, 2012 / Corona Neighborhood / Live Music in Queens / Queens Buzz. The Louis Armstrong House hosted a block party last week, including one of the current jazz greats, Arturo O'Farrill. Arturo's work has been nominated for several Grammy Awards and he won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2009 with the work entitled Song For Chico.
The album is dedicated to Arturo's father, Chico, who worked with many of the NYC jazz legends including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman, as well as Latin jazz great Machito. Both Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman lived in Queens, and are said to have jammed with Louis at the Armstrong House in Corona. Arturo is shown above playing at the Louis Armstrong House Block Party in the Corona neighborhood of Queens.
I also had the opportunity to speak with Robin Bell-Stevens, whose father played with Duke Ellington who was a friend of Louis'. Robin runs the Jazzmobile which was the sponsor of the event. Click here to view our report and photos of the Louis Armstrong House Block Party & Jazzmobile in Queens.
Queens World Film Festival
Queens World Film Festival 2013
February 12, 2013 updated from February 29, 2012 / Jackson Heights / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. The 2013 Queens World Film Festival runs March 5th through March 10th 2013. Check the March events calendar in the Things To Do section of this site [see top tool bar] - for films, viewing times and location - as the event approaches.
I visited the home of Don and Katha Cato this past weekend. Don and Katha are the duo that are organizing the second annual Queens World Film Festival, which opens Thursday night, March 1st at the Museum of the Moving Image – and then returns to its home in Jackson Heights for the remainder of the weekend.
I spent hours talking to Don mostly about the films, and talking to Katha about film as well as various aspects of planning and organizing the film festival [they are shown in the photo to the right]. The following report includes a general overview of the Queens World Film Festival logistics, as well as many previews of the films that will be shown. The festival includes about twenty films by Queens based film makers. And who knows, perhaps one day one of them will be receiving their Oscar from the Academy in Hollywood.
Click here to read our report about the Queens World Film Festival 2012.
What's Playing At 78th Playstreet?
Closed Street Quickly Becomes Intrinsic Part Of Park
August 5, 2011 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. I went to check out Friday Night At The Movies, which spontaneously began the last week in July on 78th Playstreet next to Travers Park in Jackson Heights. Don and Katha Cato, organizers of the Queens World Film Festival, came up with the idea. And they implemented it with the help of a few friends, notably Elliott and Elena Madison of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance.
The weekly Friday Night At The Movies on 78th Playstreet will continue Friday, August 12th beginning at dusk [between 8 and 9 pm] at 78th Playstreet, which is adjacent to Travers Park and provides additional recreational space for families and kids living nearby in Jackson Heights.
Recycling Indie Films – New Green Initiative
The films being aired are from the first Queens World Film Festival. The films shown the night I attended included 38 minutes of shorts, and … Click here to read more about Friday Night At The Movies At 78th Playstreet.
Queens World Film Festival
New Film Festival Debuts In Jackson Heights
March 2, 2011 / Jackson Heights / Queens Buzz. This report includes all the info about the first Queens World Film Festival in Jackson Heights, including a link to their website.
Click here to read more about the Queens World Film Festival in Jackson Heights.
Fashion, Film & Music In Jackson Heights & Elmhurst
Fashionable Clothing in Queens
Come To Fashion Show Features Local Designers & Models
April 30, 2012 / Jamaica NY / Fashion in Jamaica Queens / Queens Buzz. On April 21st the first annual Come To Fashion show stepped out into the fashion world in the Jamaica section of Queens. The fashion show featured local fashion designers, models and retailers doing business in Jamaica Queens.
When I arrived at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, I was pleasantly surprised by unique set design for the show. Jamaica Center, the Jamaica BID, had hired a designer to create an original venue through which to present the models and the designers' clothing.
Click here to view photos and read our report about the Come To Fashion show - fashionable clothing & fashions in Jamaica Queens.
Good Music, Food, Variety & A Good Time
August 6, 2011 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Live Music / Queens Buzz. The folks in Jamaica sure know how to throw a party. I enjoyed Jamaica JAMS this year far more than last year, because the weather was much more comfortable and the streets weren’t quite so crowded. This year I went in the late afternoon of the second day of the two-day event.
Jamaica JAMS is a big Street Musical Festival and Shopping Fair. There were somewhere between a half dozen and dozen musical acts performing Saturday afternoon / evening and hundreds of vendors.
Click here to view a slide show and read more about the Jamaica JAMS Street Music Festival in Jamaica.
Queens Fashion Kicks Up Its Heels
September 20, 2010 / Queens Buzz. I had the opportunity to cover Queens Fashion Week's second runway show. The event was held at NY Designs which is located on the campus of LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City. This was a nice change from their first venue, as NY Designs is in the business and has facilities to accommodate a runway show.
There were six designers and some forty models, which was comparable to the first Queens Fashion Week show last winter. The diversity of the models and a wide range of designs, ranging from T-shirts to 1940's Hollywood, provided a flavorful spice to the evening.
Click here to view the rest of the story including numerous photos of Queens Fashion Week Spring 2011.
Irie Jamboree Reggae Rocks
Jamaica / September 7, 2009. The seventh annual Irie Jamboree rocked Queens this past Sunday. There were some twenty of the top reggae musicians from all over the country and Caribbean who came to play at this increasingly popular concert. Thousands of Queens residents flocked to the concert to enjoy a great day of warm sun, great music and delicious food. The concert was held on the York College Campus in the Jamaica section of Queens ['Jamaica' does seem like a fitting place for a reggae concert]. Spice is shown on the big screen at the Jam. Click here to view a full report and Irie Jamboree 2009 photos. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.
Fashion, Film & Music In Jamaica
The Astoria LIC Film Festival
Film Festival Showcases Local Film & Musical Talent
October 16, 2011 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Fashion, Film & Music / Queens Buzz. I attended some of the weekend long second annual Astoria LIC Film Festival. The Astoria LIC Film Festival presented 54 new films, including documentaries, comedies, shorts and super shorts; and thirteen music videos. Dennis Cieri and Bonnie Rush are the founders and driving forces behind the event.
The opening and closing parties were held at the Z Hotel, which is one of the new hotels in Long Island City offering both a subterranean bar downstairs from the lobby, and a rooftop bar with a panoramic view of the city.
The films were shown several blocks away, at the Secret Theatre and the E-garage, which are in the same complex; as well as at the Variety Boys & Girls Club of LIC. I attended the music videos segment of the festival, which was curated and hosted by an LIC musician, Gus Rodriguez, Sunday night at the E-garage.
Click here to read the rest of our report on the second annual Astoria LIC Film Festival, including a review of many of the music videos, and excerpts from interviews with founder, Dennis Cieri and some of the festival producers, directors and actors.
New York Irish Center In LIC
Brings A Bit Of The Old Country To The New One
January 15, 2011 / Long Island City LIC / Queens Buzz. I went to hear Ashley Davis and Cormac De Barra perform at the NY Irish Center in Long Island City. It was my first visit to the center in a while, and the first time I’d attended a cultural event there.
Harpist Cormac De Barra hails from Ireland, while singer, songwriter and guitarist Ashley Davis hails from Kansas. I became fascinated with the Irish harp, as this was my first experience listening to a harpist outside of a major classical concert hall. The Irish harp has long been a symbol associated with Ireland, along with pixies, fairies and Irish tales. The photo to your left shows Cormac playing the Irish harp.
Click here to read more about the Ashley Davis & Cormac De Barra performance at the NY Irish Center in Long Island City, Queens. The report also includes information about the Irish harp, the NY Irish Center and its programs, and a slide show of Cormac playing the Irish harp along with story photos.
1st Annual Astoria LIC Film Festival
October 24, 2010 / Long Island City / Queens Buzz. I attended the Astoria LIC Film Festival this weekend at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City. About sixty films were shown, including feature length, shorts, and including eleven music videos, most of which were produced by local musicians and directors.
They opened the festival Friday evening with a reception [BTW - you can always find these events posted before they happen in the Queens Events section of this site - updated weekly]. And on Saturday they hosted many popular films during the day, two of which garnered their highest audience attendance.
Later today you'll be able to click here to read our full report on the 1st Annual Astoria LIC Film Festival including a number of photos of the event.
Fashion, Film & Music In Long Island City LIC
Sunnyside Shorts / Flicks In The Park
September 10, 2011 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. It was a comfortable Saturday evening as I headed into Sunnyside Gardens Park. Upon arrival I met Sherri Gamilin, one of the four producers of the event. A small crowd had already gathered and a local blues band was setting up. In the photo to your right are members of the audience who came to watch Sunnyside Shorts and Flicks In The Garden in Sunnyside Gardens Park.
Sherri talked about the changes made to the festival this year. They added live music, the Broken Hearted Blues Band, and joined forces with the organizers of the first annual ‘Flicks In The Garden’. Click here to read our full report, including synopses of the films shown and photos of the Sunnyside Shorts and Flicks In The Garden Film Festival.
American Meat - Unfinished Film
Documentary About Current State Of Food & Farming
Film Making in Queens / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Food & Wine / Queens Buzz. I managed to obtain an invitation to a screening of American Meat, which is an unfinished documentary film, at Cafe Marlene in Sunnyside. The screening was sponsored by Queens Harvest Co-op, which is an organization working to build an organic food cooperative in Queens.
The film is a rather eye opening look into how the economics of food / meat production in this country have taken us down an unsustainable path. A path which not only has significant health implications, but possibly even more dire consequences. The film provides an intelligent, behind-the-scenes look at how economics have been driving: 1) food production methods, 2) the composition of what's in the meat being sold at the grocery store, and 3) what we're feeding our children and ourselves.
The film was envisioned and began production in the spring of 2007 and the producers are hoping to finish it in 2011. Click here to view our preview of the unfinished documentary film entitled American Meat independent film at Cafe Marlene in Sunnyside and hosted by Queens Harvest Co-op.
What Happened At The Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival?
Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival 2010
September 25, 2010 / Sunnyside / Queens Buzz. The Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival ended last weekend. After the festival there was animated chatter about the films which included a blend of comedy, drama, animation and documentaries.
So I set about to interview members of the audience to see which film they liked best. And to my surprise everyone seemed to favor a different film - including me. The photo to your right is a clip from 'Some Jobs Are Simple'. Click here to read our report and view photos of the Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival 2010.
Fashion, Film & Music In Sunnyside & Woodside
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