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Arts and Culture

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Nightlight is a co-production offered by the Flux Factory and the LIC Community Garden which is described as “an interactive light-based outdoor installation that investigates public and private land use after dark.”

Nightlight’s details –

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 7 – 7-10 pm
Open every evening in June
, in collaboration with the Long Island City Community Garden
49th Avenue bet Vernon Blvd & 5th Street, Long Island City, Queens
Flux Thursday @ LIC Garden: Thursday, June 12th – 8pm (Tonight!)
Closing Performance: Saturday, June 28th – 8 pm

Me and the Mrs. decided to head over on opening night and here’s some of what we saw.

LIC Community Garden is a great little spot, found on 49th Avenue in Hunters Point. There’s a “Little Free Library” in there, and it’s a nice green spot in an otherwise quite urban setting.

The fronticepiece facing the street was Julius Schmiedel’s “Dancing Tree,” which senses and responds to movement.

All over the garden, there are installations of various works, some are quite subtle, while others demand attention.

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It was a very good day for Satchmo. On June 30, 1964, the World’s Fair organizers declared the date “Louis Armstrong Day,” and the legendary Corona resident and his All Stars performed at the Singer Bowl in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In honor of this history — and to have another very good day — the inaugural Louis Armstrong International Music Festival will happen on June 29th in almost the same exact place, featuring live music, dancing, and a food truck rally. Multi Grammy Award-winning Cuban-American salsa singer Albita (above) headlines the show. Other scheduled performers are the Jon Faddis Quartet, led by trumpeter Jon Faddis (below); Junoon with Salman Ahmad; and David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band.

Details: The Louis Armstrong International Music Festival, produced by Kupferberg Center for the Arts/Queens College, Parade Ground near the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 29th, 1 pm to 7 pm, rain or shine, free.

Top photo: Albita; bottom photo: wiki

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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

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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.

Photos: Socrates Sculpture Garden

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The Forest Park Carousel opened for its second straight year this season back in March, and now the 110-year-old merry-go-round has new improvements to boot. The Daily News reports that the carousel’s aging mirrors were recently replaced with new ones, and 270 faded light bulbs were switched out with eco-friendly LEDs. The upgrade has been planned for months.

The landmarked carousel will be open in Forest Park until early November. The carousel opened to the public in 2012 after shuttering in 2009. The refurbishment process is expected to span an entire decade.

Bright New Look for the Historic Forest Park Carousel Just in Time for Summer [NY Daily News]

Photo via Instagram

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Today the Daily News spilled more details on the outdoor music and film festival planned by the owners of M. Wells at the now-vacant lot on Crescent Street. The M. Wells folks are bringing on two festival producers to help organize what they’re calling “The Lot LIC Music and Film Series.” The series will kick off in early August, running Thursdays and Saturdays through the end of September. On Thursdays, there will be movies and on Saturdays, concerts by indie-rock, folk and soul bands. The lot can accommodate around 190 people, and the events are only expected to last until around 9 pm.

Of course, M. Wells Steakhouse will provide the food and probably beer and wine as well. That’s a pretty good reason to get excited for the end of summer.

Food, Film, Fun to be Featured at ‘The Lot LIC Music and Film Series’ [NY Daily News]
M. Wells Wants to Host a Music Festival in Long Island City [Q’Stoner]

Photo by Nate Dorr

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Tonight, the owners of M. Wells will present a proposal to Community Board Two to bring an outdoor music festival to the empty lot at 43-29 Crescent Street. (The lot is currently home to Parting, a sculpture installed by Socrates Sculpture Park.) According to the Daily News, “The fresh air event will feature live music and movie screenings on the nearby lot… But organizers say they are keeping mum on the details — at least for now.” There’s no word yet on the dates, musicians, or how the space will be used.

We do know that the folks at M. Wells would have the help of Rockrose Development, who are the landlords of the M. Wells Steakhouse.

M. Wells Steakhouse Aims to Bring Music Festival to Long Island City [NY Daily News]

Photo by Nate Dorr

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Fox plans to debut a new TV show in 2015 called “Weird Loners.” The premise? “Four single 30-something underdogs who are unexpectedly thrust into one another’s lives and form an unlikely bond in a Queens townhouse.” Queens Courier reports that the show, which will be a single-camera comedy, takes place in Ridgewood. It’s only in early production, so there’s no telling how heavily the location will play into the series. Ridgewood: the new setting for hip, disenfranchised young people living in televised New York City? Only time will tell…

New Fox Show to Feature 30-Somethings Living in Queens [Queens Courier]

Photo via 2014 Fox Broadcasting Co.

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Starting tomorrow and running until May 18th, the 4th annual LIC Arts Open is bringing exhibitions, performances, artwork and artists to the neighborhood. Over 250 artists will take over 54 venues in Long Island City, with plans to hold over 85 exhibitions and events. And more than 160 artists will open their studio doors for the Open Studios weekend. Check out the full festival guide right here. And read about the participating artists here.

On a real estate related note, four vacant apartments at 4610 Center Boulevard will be transformed into pop-up galleries, displaying work from five LIC artists. Starting this Thursday, the 8th floor apartment galleries will be open to the public from 8 am to 8 pm through August 31st. The artists featured are painter Donna Levinstone, photographer Orestes Gonzalez, painter Sharon Florin, artist Paula Elliott and sculptor Toshiako Noba.

Photo by Junenoire Mitchell via LIC Arts Open

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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.

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