Live music is everywhere in Queens this week, and most of it is outdoors. Ditto for movies, and again most are outdoors. There are also surf competitions, festivals, and an International Mud Day celebration. Here’s the rundown.
June 25, Astoria Park Festival, through June 28. This annual summer favorite is jam-packed with rides, games, food, and entertainment. Free. Astoria Park Parking Lot, 19th Street and Hoyt Avenue, Astoria.
June 25, King Kong, 8:45 pm. Outdoor screening of a classic film. Free. Gantry Plaza State Park, Center Boulevard and 47th Avenue, Long Island City.
June 25, Interfaith Ramadan Dinner, 7 pm. The Turkish Cultural Center and Central Queens Y present this second annual meal with light kosher and halal cuisine, Turkish music, a call to prayer, and a short discussion on religion. $10. CQY, 67-09 108th Street, Forest Hills.
When people describe Queens as “diverse,” they usually cite the residents and restaurants. But the borough has varied music as well, as it is a veritable treasure trove of composers, ensembles, and singers.
You can enjoy everything from classical to cutting edge during the fourth annual Queens New Music Festival this week.
Some enrichment options head outdoors with such events as a carnival, a gardening extravaganza, and a guided walk. But with “April Showers” in mind, the borough also hosts indoor fun, such as comedy, live music, film, theater, photography, and some 3-D magic. Here’s the rundown.
It all began in 14th century France, when the Black Plague was raging. A desperate monk decided that the best remedy was to “let them die laughing,” so he jaunted through devastated villages with a red-nosed group known as “God’s Zanies,” providing his version of sacred relief.
This Peter Barnes play, Red Noses, was first produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1985. This month, it comes to Queens, but Nicu’s Spoon Theater Company will set this Olivier Award-winning drama in modern day New York City with a score featuring contemporary music.
Directed by Stephanie Barton-Farcas, performances will begin with a special opening night gala on April 8th at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City, and they will continue through April 19th. More information and another dramatic photo are on the jump page.
Roxanne is a lonely transgender sex worker whose life changes drastically after she takes in an abandoned 11-year-old girl. Alifa is an optimistic shepherdess in Somali who is positive that her life is going to change for the better. Hannah has a hard time juggling being six years old and a “big girl” at the same time. These three stories will play at various times in the borough during the fifth annual Queens World Film Festival, which starts on March 17th. At venues in Jackson Heights, the Kaufman Arts District, and Long Island City, the six-day celebration will present 117 films with diverse lengths, topics, and national origins. Details on the movies, venues, blocks, and themes are on the jump page along with another photo.
About two months ago, The Secret Theatre had to launch an Indiegogo campaign to defray unforeseen NYC Department of Buildings fines and pay for required building upgrades. Well, the Long Island City-based arts organization exceeded its $10,000 fundraising goal, and it’s currently presenting more of its characteristically unique programming, including a camp, a short play competition, and a dance festival. More info on the jump page.
For the best classically trained talent, try the Queens New Music Festival. Organized by the composers’ group Random Access Music, this third annual extravaganza promotes the borough’s composers, musicians, choreographers, artists and ensembles, while also highlighting some out-of-borough talent. This year, attendees who flock to The Secret Theatre in Long Island City from May 16th to May 18th can check out eight distinct — and distinctive — programs, with everything from cello to dance. One of the scheduled performers, TAK (above), is a chamber group comprised of soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, percussion, and electronics. Another crew that’s ready to go is Face the Music (below), the only teen ensemble in the U.S. dedicated to the creation and performance of music by living composers. There is also an “appetizer concert” this year at The Church-in-the-Gardens in Forest Hills on May 10th. Check below for details.
There will be movies from around the world — and around the corner. On March 4th, the fourth annual Queens World Film Festival will kick off a six-day moving image rampage of everything from feature films to shorts. Attendees can check out a dazzling selection of foreign flicks from such exotic ports of call as Belgium, Iran, India, Spain, Kosovo, Switzerland and Vietnam and enjoy the work of 18 borough-based auteurs. Like-minded films will be blocked together and will roll at Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image, The Secret Theatre and Nesva Hotel in Long Island City and PS 69 in Jackson Heights. The fun starts with an opening night party featuring the world premiere of the director’s cut of the of 2014 Academy Award-nominated documentary The Act of Killing. Directed by English-born Joshua Oppenheimer, the movie portrays his country’s national guilt potentially exhumed by a love of movies.
Details: Queens World Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue), The Secret Theatre (44-02 23rd Street), Nesva Hotel (39-12 29th Street) and PS 69 (77-02 37th Avenue), March 4th through the 9th, click here for times and venues, click here for tickets.
Jason Sagebiel was sent to Iraq to make war, but he still found time to make music. While on assignment, the Marine Corps scout sniper befriended a few Iraqi musicians, who taught him how to play the oud, a pear-shaped, stringed instrument common in the Arab world. In other encounters, Sagebiel sustained a serious brain injury. Once home, the Houston native retaught himself guitar, and in the process, regained his cognitive and musical abilities. In 2012, he founded Sage Music, a Long Island City music school where he teaches guitar and oud with a specialty in music therapy. (He also conducts the NYC Guitar Orchestra and performs with the folk band Mappa Mundi.) This Sunday, Sagebiel will perform The Iraqi Book, a concert featuring two string quartets, two Iraqi songs and a solo oud jam, at The Secret Theatre in LIC.
Details: The Iraqi Book, The Secret Theatre, 44-02 23rd Street, LIC, October 27th, 7:30 pm, $20 with $10 discount for veterans. (Event is made possible in part by the Queens Council on the Arts with funds from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.)
Set in the 1950s, A View from the Bridge tells the tragic story of Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman who lives with his wife and orphaned niece, Catherine, in Brooklyn’s Red Hook. As the play develops, Eddie’s overprotective crush on Catherine turns into an obsession. Two cousins — Marco and Rodolpho — arrive illegally from Italy, and Catherine falls in love with the effeminate Rodolpho. A desperate Eddie calls the immigration bureau in a failed attempt to get Rodolpho deported, prompting a fight during which Marco fatally stabs Eddie over his betrayal of family and the Old Country. On September 12th, the Secret Theatre launches an eight-show run of this Arthur Miller play in its Mainstage auditorium, an intimate setting where theatergoers will feel like they are inside the Carbones’ apartment, living the family’s drama.
Details: A View from the Bridge, The Secret Theatre, 44-02 23rd Street, LIC, September 12th to September 21st, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm with 3 pm show on Sunday (September 15th) and Saturday (September 21st), $18.
Photo by Secret Theatre/FB