Click the heading above to view performing arts 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.
Holiday Lights Festival on Skillman Avenue
Titan Theater Company Performs Vignette Queens Theatre Show
The 8th annual Skillman Holiday Lighting and 3rd annual Skillman Avenue Holiday Lights Festival began around 5 pm Saturday evening and ran until about 8 pm. A nine block stretch along Skillman Avenue, from 43rd to 51st Streets, had been cordoned off from vehicular traffic. And there was unseasonably balmy weather, with temperatures hovering between 50 and 60 degrees.
As I made my way toward the festival, coming from Woodside [see above story], I looked down the hill noticing that all of the blocks along Skillman Avenue, except between 48th and 49th Streets, were largely empty.
Ironically, it seems that traffic had been rerouted - possibly away - from the very businesses that this event had been designed to promote.
But that said, there was a healthy crowd gathered on Skillman Avenue between 48th and 49th Streets, with possibly as many as a couple of hundred people in attendance. This block is adjacent to the courtyard at Sunnyside Reformed Church, where the main stage was situated.
CCM Jimmy Van Bramer took the stage and told us how he had kept a campaign promise by investing in the Skillman Holiday Lights eight years ago, and this year - which I believe is the third year of the festival - he had allocated $15,000 of taxpayer dollars to support this holiday event. NYS Senator Michael Giannaris greeted the crowd, mentioning that CCM Van Bramer was currently one of those in the running to be the City Council Speaker.
Next up were the performers of the Titan Theater Company. The Titan Theater Company is the resident theater group at the Queens Theatre in the Park. This year, from December 8 - 22, they will be performing Dickens' A Christmas Carol, so they treated us to a bit of the holiday performance fanfare, which I captured on video.
The holiday music was so good that it just might put you in a holiday mood. I hope to post it late tonight or tomorrow. Enjoy.
InSitu: Choreographed Communal Catharsis
InSitu Dance Festival Brings Dancing Dument to Waterfront
It was a warm summer day as I made my way down to the Long Island City waterfront parks to witness the possibility of the dawning of a new age of dance along the East River waterfront. There were 24 local choreographers who had organized 75 performances to be given at four Queens parks along the East River waterfronts of Long Island City and Astoria.
InSitu Dance Time: Gantry State Park
I arrived at Gantry State Park in the late afternoon and made my way to the North Basin at the north end of the park. There was an audience gathered, watching the performance of Timepiece, Or: Another Imperfect Measurement by Melissa Riker and the Kinesis Project Dance Theater. The dance explores the measurement of time through the metaphor of sand being released through motion. And the soundtrack reverberates with the constant acoustics and vocal reminders of how trapped in time we have made ourselves.
InSitu Dance Gender: Queensbridge Park LIC
As the performance wound down, I hopped aboard my bike and made my way north along Vernon Blvd in search of the next InSitu dance performance in Queensbridge Park. I arrived early for this performance, which was scheduled to begin shortly after I arrived. Fragile, a piece choreographed and performed by Red House / Project 44 began with the dancers making their way up the park walkway, in some measure like small children clumsily learning how to walk. The piece explores male gender identity and how to enable masculinity and tenderness to coexist in the same man.
InSitu Founder & 'The Great Dictator' in Socrates Sculpture Park
My next and last stop was Socrates Sculpture Park and Hallets Cove. There I met Svea Schneider, the driving force behind InSitu, as well as her urban dance company, Kinematik Dance. Svea was excited at how well the weekend had turned out both weather-wise and performance-wise. The first performance in Socrates Sculpture Park was underway, so I hurried over.
The performance was by the Blue Bus Project + Tyler Gilstrap, performing a piece entitled The Great Dictator. The piece references an old movie made in 1940 as WWII was breaking. It's satire about a Jewish boy who replaces the Great Dictator who is persecuting the Jews. Charlie Chaplin, who had a mustache cut similarly to Hitler's and representative of the times, played the star role and made a famous plea to humanity at the end of the film. The performance used the music of the time and the speech as the soundtracks which accompanied the dance.
InSitu Dance Ecology: Modern Dance at Hallets Cove & East River
The next piece was performed along the Hallets Cove shore along the East River. This performance was by violetsound who did a piece they named Terroroir. In this piece they fabricate an allegorical exploration of who to blame for the earth's troubles, while unearthing underlying currents of human wonderment. People lined the rail along Vernon Blvd to watch the InSitu spectacle ... which would be the final performance of the day and weekend.
I departed the East River waterfront dance performances with plenty to contemplate. It was an interesting late afternoon, early evening of human sculptured art forms in motion. I shot some video along the way and hope to post it when I get the time to do it right.
InSitu was performed on Saturday and Sunday, July 8th & 9th, at Hunters Point South Park, Gantry State Plaza Park, Queensbridge Park and Socrates Sculpture Park. InSitu was a collaboration between the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement and Kinematik Dance Theater.
Sorry: A Work of Art ... a Masterpiece?
Modern, Multi-media Melange Explores Emotions of Misunderstanding
I attended a performance of Sorry, a multi-media dance, poetry and theatrical work that came about from a two year residency at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City. I went in expecting to see a modern dance performance, but experienced so, sooo much more.
I was instructed to arrive a bit early as there's free form dancing that begins about thirty minutes prior to the performance opening. When I arrived, I couldn't distinguish between the audience members and the cast, as some of the people in the crowd were quite good dancers.
The performance was held on the stage of the Main Theatre, which the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center has quite skillfully transformed into a modern dance / theatrical space - which is quite separate, but a subset of the original, traditional, Grecian auditorium style of the Main Theater itself.
After a while the performance began with an Islamic, American immigrant poetically recanting a mournful separation he was in the midst of experiencing with his girlfriend. One of the walls lit up with a life-size passing #7 subway train, as the orator took us with him on a current-day journey through the boroughs of New York City as witnesses to the angst in his life.
It was a bit like the movies, although so much more real, as we sat huddled in the ambient darkness of the theater, with life size video murals sweeping by, accompanied equally large still life photos and a three performer live cast. The music and choreographed dances allegorically captured the powerful troubled feelings of the characters portrayed.
The work explores the near universal, difficulty of human relationships in a modern, mixed, urban environment. Relationships complicated by gender roles, ethnicity and cultural learning - that are being sorted out simultaneously by all of us whether knowingly or not, as we travel through space and time in what may intermittently seem our lengthy, but short lives.
Later this week I'll continue this, including the addition of video and photos, but you only have a few days left to see it [Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at 8 pm] - and seating is limited [www.lpac.nyc - $20].
Astoria International Cultural Festival
On Saturday May 21st from 1.30 until past 6 pm, there was a series of cultural performances held on the Great Lawn of Astoria Park. The event was hosted by the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition [CALDC] to showcase the multi-ethnicity of tne neighborhood.
Nearly a dozen local cultural groups performed, including Ballet Los Pampas representing Argentina, KUD Halaturko representing Bosnia, Croatian Franciscan Fathers Youth Club, Ayazamana Cultural Center representing Ecuador, Cretan Association representing Greece, NYC Bhangra representing India, McManus School of Irish Dance, The Braata Folk Singers representing the Caribbean / Jamaica, and the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Center.
There was a crowd that numbered in the hundreds over the course of the afternoon. Many brought lawn chairs and blankets to sit upon while they watched the show. The weather cooperated as the temperature was in the 60's and while at times cloudy, it was dry.
Several food vendors came out to augment the cultural celebration, now in its second year. As I came late in the afternoon, I had missed the prime time of that part of the event. In the photo at right you can see one of the performers walking up the Astoria Park Great Lawn after her performance.
Click here for a brief video of some of the 2016 International Culture Festival in Astoria Park.
SummerStage Queensbridge Park w/ G. Clinton
I just received a few photos I had requested to post from some of the folks I met at SummerStage. I had attended the event Saturday evening, as I wasn't able to make it on Wednesday when George Clinton made an appearance as part of SummerStage at Queensbridge Park last Wednesday.
George Clinton is generally a big attraction whereever he plays in NYC, and it was no different here in Queens as you can see by the photo at right shot by Eliana Rowe.
Clinton & his band performed to the audience's delight on a hot summer night.
SummerStage in Queensbridge Park
Refreshing, Rhythmic & Moving The Audience
On Saturday evening, after a bit of rain during the day, I made my way through the hot and humid streets of Queens, down to the East River waterfront in Queensbridge Park.
At 7 pm there was to be a performance by a Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet, a professional dance company; and at 8 pm a dance performance by the Rashida Bumbray Dance Diaspora Collective.
I arrived in between the two sets, and enjoyed the setting of the sun, along with the other hundred plus members of the audience. As the sun set and the air began to cool, three of the Rashida Bumbray dancers took to the stage, dancing to a slow, bluesy Jimi Hendrix tune [see photo at right]. The crowd loved it. The tune was Red House which was recorded in December 1966 and was one of the earliest 'Experience' pieces created by Hendrix before he died three short years later in 1970.
What followed was a series of performances by the Rashida Bumbray Dance Diaspora Collective. The Rashida Collective hails from Oberlin College in Ohio, lead by Adenika Sharpley. They choreograph dance movements to the music of the African diaspora from around the globe. Cultural references are embedded into the dance pieces, and set to the musical rhythms created by African descendants.
"The bluesy notes from Jimi's guitar, slowly began vibrating through the electro-magnetic fields of our corporeal bodies.
As the acoustical resonance started journeying through the neurological pathways lying dormant within our humanoid forms.
And the musical rhythms began seeping in, initiating movement,
... relaxing ... engaging ... swaying ... dance ...
giving us the feeling of being one unified, individuated, planetary people."
Aahh yeh, today's pop culture is the grown seedling of the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960's and 1970's. The performances at Woodstock some 45 years ago, which frightened the Nixonian establishment, are now the classical blues and rock music of today. And so much has changed ... with some for the better and some not.
It looks like we're heading into the hot part of the summer, in the city, when life must slow down ... so
... relax and pamper yourself ... and let the rhythms ... of the seasons ... of life ... in.
SummerStage organizes cultural events like this to help bring us together. We'll post more next year when they return to Queens. In the meantime there are a number of other, locally-organized cultural events that are also of good interest. Click into the Things To Do section along the top tool bar, or click into the music, film and theater sections on this site to find out more about free and paid cultural performances in Queens.
Choreo_Politics @ PS1 MoMA
Highly Intellectual Discussion About 21st Century Life, as Seen by Contemporary Activists & Early Modern Philosophers
January 25, 2015 / LIC Neighborhood / Art in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the Choreo_Politics discussions on Sunday in the dome of the courtyard of PS1 MoMA in LIC. The event was hosted by Cristina Caprioli and included four panelists, including Peggy Phelan, Avital Ronell and Adham Hafez.
For the segment of the afternoon that I was in attendance, Peggy was the primary speaker. She appeared well read as she made numerous references to several of the late 19th and early 20th century German and French philosophers, including Nietzche, Kant and Bataille.
It was a deep philosophical discussion which included comments from the audience about finding meaning or trying to understand the life and times in which we now live. In one segment of the conversation Peggy talked about female gender roles and how being a woman affects one's persona. Some of the rhetoric included questions such as do women invite male aggression as a part of being a woman? Where is the boundary for a welcome advance versus an unwelcome push? Do women trip themselves up or are they suppressed by the male dominated environment? These aren't her exact words, but a facsimile of them, as I was distracted having just lost my notebook.
After a brief search for the lost notebook, I returned. Peggy was talking about communication. How gestures can undermine what we say. She said that we need to communicate because of our failure to communicate. She went on to talk about falling ... falling ill, falling in love and falling asleep. She was linguistically and philosophically aware, and seemed to have a sense of both the audience and her theatrical surroundings. I was sorry I hadn't arrived earlier.
I'll post a bit more including a photo slide show of this event later in the week.
Shakespearean 'Titan' In The Park
First Play By 'Theatre Company In Residence' At Queens Theatre In The Park
October 6, 2014 / Flushing Neighborhood / Queens Theater & Theatres / Queens Buzz. I made my way into Flusing Meadows Corona Park to preview Titan Theatre Company's production of the Shakespearean comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. The play is an adapted version of the old bard's work.
In the adaptation Titan Theatre Company added a dash of 'gay-eity' to it and also edited down the play in both verbiage and performance time. The intent of the adaptation is to make performances of the 400 year old play more modern and appealing to present-day audiences.
I sat down in the little theatre of Queens Theatre In The Park shortly after the show had begun. Puck, the fairy, was administering the love potion - per his master Oberon's orders. But alas - Puck makes a mistake - and a string of comedic errors is set into motion.
In the photo at right is Bottom, one of the actors in the play-within-the-play, who's been transformed into an ass by a fairy Puck. Seated in the background is the devlish Puck who administered the magical serum.
We'll have more about Titan Theatre Company's performance at Queens Theatre In The Park, including a photo slide show, at a later date.
Can One Connect Communities Through Culture?
Islam & America: LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center Artistically Explores Muslim Culture
September 29, 2014 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Queens Theater / Queens Buzz. On September 11th, 2001 the Muslim culture came front and center into America's consciousness. It was a disastrous day for Americans including Muslim Americans. But for Muslim Americans it also created, and left behind, a long lasting negative bias toward all Muslims - not just those associated with the 911 atrocities.
Most of what America hears and knows about Muslim culture comes through the war torn lens of the Middle East, even though more than 80% of Muslims in the world live outside of that region. The reason America pays so much attention to the Muslims of the Middle East is that they are inextricably tied up with the world's - and our own - oil energy needs. Hence many of the stories we see and hear are generally associated with either the terrorists involved in 911 or the multi-millenia old blood feuds of the Middle East. Yet examining Muslim culture using the battles of the Middle East as the peephole, is akin to learning about German or Japanese culture through the narrow lens of World War II.
Historically America has had a generous heart, even toward those with whom we've fought. Two centuries ago we fought the Revolutionary War For Independence against Great Britain. And it was less than 70 years ago that both Germany and Japan were our nation's greatest enemies. Germany attacked our Atlantic crossing ships and Japan dropped bombs on our Navy at Pearl Harbor. Yet today we now count all of these nations among our closest friends.
There are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making it the second largest religious / cultural group in the world [there are 2.2 billion Christians]. And Muslim culture spans the globe, from the Middle East [317 million], to Europe [44 million], Africa [248 million], Asia [986 million] and the Americas [4 million]. But that said, only between four and five million of Muslims live in the Americas.
Hence, to broaden and deepen our understanding of Islamic culture beyond the Middle Eastern crises, the LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center applied for and won grants from the Association of Performing Artists, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art to widen our lens of Muslim culture. And they added more than a dash of NYC spice to it.
Thus on Friday evening, I attended a dance performance entitled Leap of Faith, the second event of the year long series entitled Beyond Sacred: unthinking Muslim identity. The performances included a belly dancer, a swirling dervish, and three modern interpretive dances - two of which explore personal journeys by Muslim Americans who are children of both cultures. We'll post more later today including a photo slide show of the performances.
They Disco'ed Silently In The Park
Lincoln Center Local Hosts Silent Disco In Hunters Point South Park
Just ahead, in the borough's shiny new park - Hunters Point South - there was an end-of-summer gala organized by Lincoln Center Local. This was, to be sure, the second last weekend of the summer.
In the neighborhood of one or two hundred people were corralled inside the Lincoln Center Local Silent Disco. They had arrived early enough [sign up started at 5.30 pm] to obtain a set of wireless headphones so that they could listen to the rhythm and beat of a couple of NYC DJ's - Bill Coleman and Bobby Morales.
At 6 pm those who came early were treated to a free dance lesson, and then from 7 pm - 10 pm they danced along the waterfront.
Click here later today for the rest of our story and a slide show of the Silent Disco in Hunters Point South Park in LIC. The event was organized by Lincoln Center Local with the support of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.
Where For Art Thou?
Hip To Hip Theatre In The Park Keeps Wisdom Of Old Bard Alive In Queens
August 4, 2014 / Sunnyside Neighborhood & LIC Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. I attended one of the four Shakespeare in the Park performances this past weekend in Queens. Two Gentlemen of Verona was performed in Cunningham Park on Thursday and in Gantry State Park on Saturday and Cymbeline was performed in Sunnyside Gardens Park Friday evening and in Socrates Sculpture Park in LIC on Sunday evening.
Hip to Hip Theatre Company of Woodside was the theater company performing the 400 year old works which contain themes of love, friendship, greed, envy and (dis)trust that remain relevant to this day.
The actors wear microphones connected wirelessly to speakers, so that the audience is now able to hear every word they utter. In the early years of outdoor theater this wasn't possible. Thus technology has made watching outdoor theater far more enjoyable, not to mention easier on the actors' and actresses' vocal chords so that this weekend four performances were possible without so much as hearing one hoarse voice.
The free Shakespeare in Queens parks continues through the coming two weeks.
City Council Meeting: Democracy or Farce?
The Highly Interactive Virtual Reality Play
The play is the brainchild of a producer / writer who came up with the idea while attending a city council meeting on Portland, Oregon.
The writer lives in Brooklyn and has a residency with an arts group in Manhattan. He began attending City Council Meetings in NYC and around the nation, and soon his idea began to take form. He invited a couple of friends to help him flush out the idea, and we saw a very good sketch of the most interactive performance I've seen, at the LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center.
We'll have more on this sometime soon. It was well worth the visit and there's a lot of real life analogies / things to consider that came out of it.
Click to quick scroll down to:
Dance & Theater In Flushing & Corona
Jerry Stiller At Queens Theatre In The Park
Dance & Theater In LIC Long Island City
Experimental Theater / Maids At LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
Dance Entropy / Green Space At LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
White Box Festival At The Secret Theatre
The Tempest At The Secret Theatre
Three Sisters Vanishing At LaGuardia Performing Arts
The Geometry At The Chocolate Factory
Act V At Secret Theatre
24 Hours At LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
Rioult Dance Company At LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
Dance & Theater In Sunnyside & Woodside
Six Cylinder Love At Unity Stage Company
Chaos, Community & Culture At Topaz Arts
DANCE & THEATER IN QUEENS
Click Queens Restaurants
Click to view Queens Shopping & LifeStyle
Queens Related Info
Click this link for promotions, discounts and coupons in Woodside, Sunnyside and Queens.
Click this link to go to the Astoria Neighborhood / Long Island City LIC Neighborhood / Sunnyside Woodside Neighborhood / Jackson Heights Elmhurst Neighborhood / Flushing Corona Neighborhood / Jamaica Neighborhood.
Site Search Tips. 1) For best resul
ts, when typing in more than one word, use quotation marks - eg "Astoria Park". 2) Also try either singular or plural words when searching for a specific item such as "gym" or "gyms".
Click this link to search for something in our Queens Business Directory.
Click the log in link below to create an ID and post an opinion.
Or send this story to a friend by filling in the appropriate box below.