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Arts

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In 1928 the New York State Education Department devised an initiative to mark places of historical significance, and over the next four decades, almost 2800 such markers were placed all over the state.

The signs themselves are marvels of design, in my opinion. Most of them feature dark blue backgrounds with gold raised block lettering and trim, though there are variations in color, lettering, and very occasionally shape, just to change it up, I imagine. The state discontinued the series in 1966 after high-speed travel on expressways became the norm.

This flickr page that assembles photos of the markers taken by various photographers illustrates the basic, simple and readable design of these signs. 

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It’s TGIF and FFF. On May 1, Noguchi Museum will launch Free First Friday, a true-to-its-name program that will repeat on every first Friday of the month during spring and summer. The Long Island City sculpture garden/art gallery will not charge an admission fee during these times, and its doors will open to the public at 10 am with extended hours until 8 pm.

Guided tours will be offered in Japanese and English at 2 pm, and a cash bar with wine and beer will open at 5 pm. Plus, the venue will bring back its popular Center of Attention program, on some occasions a staff-led conversation on one of the collection’s pieces,  and at other times film screenings co-hosted with the Architecture and Design Film Festival.

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Cha, cha, cha. Cha, cha, cha. Ah, flamenco! The music. The dancing. The hand clapping, finger snapping, and guitar jamming. There’s a reason why this Spanish/Gyspy art form has become popular all over the world: It’s awesome.

In fact, it’s so awesome that UNESCO declared it to be a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010. And it’s so popular that there are now more flamenco academies in Japan than Spain.

From this Friday through May 10, Thalia Spanish Theatre will present an exciting show of traditional and contemporary flamenco that celebrates the various cultures that the genre brings together.

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Merrily We Roll Along begins at the end…and ends at the beginning. The Stephen Sondheim musical, based on a 1934 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, tells the story of a once-great Broadway composer who gives up his career and friends to try his hand as a Hollywood producer. 
Both the play and the musical were notable for telling a story in reverse, with the musical version opening in Los Angeles in 1976 and steadily moving backwards to the songwriter’s humble beginnings in 1950s New York. Merrily We Roll Along has a theme close to Sondheim’s heart, how a passion for creating art can be corrupted in the pursuit of success.
The Astoria Performing Arts Center is presenting a 20-show run of Merrily We Roll Along, directed by APAC artistic director Dev Bondarin, from April 30 until May 23. Click through for more information.

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The city unveiled a multi-faceted economic development “action plan” to prevent foreclosures, improve streetscapes, create affordable housing, and increase job-training opportunities in Jamaica on Wednesday.

The actions include creating a Jamaica-specific marketing and branding program, expanding free WiFi access via the LinkNYC program, and capital improvements to Rufus King Park and Brinkerhoff Mall Park in St. Albans.