Local718 Video Shorts

World Class Dancers in LIC

Posted on April 25, 2010. Filed under: Entertainment, LIC, Local718 Video Shorts, Music & Dance, Off the beaten path |

Juan Zapata is just 19 years old, but he already has some big shoes to fill. In 2007 the Colombian native started the Queens based dance troupe, the World Class Dancers, a group that teaches kids about improving themselves through hip hop dance classes. Every weekend the group gathers at the Long Island City YMCA to practice their moves for hours at a time in preparation for their upcoming dance competitions. I was lucky to catch up with Juan and the group to ask them a few questions and watch them showcase their talents. I had a great time while making the video. I could see that the kids bonded and saw each other as a second family. They were not only interested in bettering themselves on the dance floor, but also by applying their dance strategies to the real world. Read my conversation with Juan below to find out what the World Class Dancers is all about. Watch the video to see them in action!

Q & A With Juan Zapata:

What was your motivation?

Basically we were just tired of settling and not really challenging ourselves when we knew we had it in us to make it happen.  We also watched other crews starting to rise to the top and we knew deep down we had the potential to make it as well.

How do you go about choosing dancers- ie what is the rehearsal

process, ages of dancers, what level of dance skills?

Every few months we hold auditions but we’re pretty selective with the audition process… we always provide weekly workshops for the beginners-level dancers or ones that just want to improve.  We also encourage our advanced dancers to take weekly workshops in various locations all over the city in order to challenge them and sharpen their skills as well as their experience. The beginners practice once a week in a two hour class, the advanced rehearse three days for a four-to-fice hour session, sometimes more depending on competitions and such. Our dancers range from 11 to 22 yrs old, and our youngest member is actually one of our stars in the advanced class.  Everyone’s experience varies, but it depends on how hard the dancers are willing to work to improve on their skills; as choreographers we can always tell who’s practicing and receiving training on the side.

What does your organization do for the community?

Well we began doing a lot of charity showcases for the church we started in, helping them raise funds for a huge renovation project they have committed to.  We have also performed for local hospital/police events at Hoffman Park in the summer.  Last year we were involved in a dinner to benefit AIDS awareness day, and this Christmas we are planning to visit the Children’s Hospital and make some of these kids’ holiday season memorable.

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Sunday Night Dinner in Astoria is Forking Fantastic!

Posted on April 3, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Cheap Dining, Cuisine in Queens, Fine Dining, Local718 Video Shorts, Off the beaten path | Tags: , , |

Authors of Forking Fantastic, Tamara Reynolds and Zora O’Neill began cooking for friends about six years ago, for what has now turned into the famous Sunday Night Dinner club. With over 600 members, the club has Tamara opening up her home and kitchen to twenty strangers and friends each month to share her recipes and company with them.  This twice monthly dinner is now run by Tamara out of her Astoria apartment. All diners need to do is sign-up, wait for her email invitation and the first twenty who respond will get a seat into Astoria’s most popular dinner party! I was fortunate to meet with her and ask her a few questions about her club. Watch this video to get a candid look into her culinary journey as she shares tips for creating your own dinner party!

Keep up with Tamara and Zora:

Tamara will teach you how to cook April 25 at 2pm at the Brooklyn Kitchen

Listen to them speak at The Brooklyn Museum as guest speakers for Target First Saturdays about their cookbook Forking Fantastic! Put The Party Back In Dinner Party.

May 7 Tamara will be cooking the first dinner in the new Dinners on The Farm series at The Queens County Farm Museum.

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Toy Piano: Love at First Sound

Posted on March 1, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Local718 Video Shorts, Music & Dance, Off the beaten path | Tags: , , |

While visiting the quiet town of Milford, Pennsylvania, I was invited to a piano concert at the local high school. Little did I know that the featured musician, Phyllis Chen, was a fellow Astorian herself. After the concert I spoke with the uniquely talented pianist who not only plays the standard piano, but the toy piano as well. Her gift for music is truly extraordinary. In this video, she takes you through an invention of new sounds, through her collection of various toy pianos, and found instruments, and through the process of altering the basic tune of the modern piano.

Music in this video includes the following pieces composed by Phyllis Chen– Hallucinate (for toy piano & bowls), Carousel (for music box and toy piano), and Toroko (for music box). On the grand piano she plays a piece composed by John CageThe Perilous Night.

Listen to her full debut CD UnCaged Toy Piano which is also the name of her composition competition that she founded to “…further expand the repertoire for toy piano and electronics.”

Be sure to check out Phyllis live in concert- 

April 3, 2010: Music For Autism at the 92nd St Y 1 Pm

April 11,2010: Barbés in Brooklyn, NY

April 21 Baby Grand in Chinatown, NY

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Sugar & Joe Hits the Sweet Spot

Posted on November 20, 2009. Filed under: Bakery, Brunch, Cheap Dining, Coffee/Tea Shop, IceCream/Ice/Gelato/Fro-Yo, Local718 Video Shorts, RIP, Woodside/Sunnyside | Tags: , |

Local718 is sad to say that Sugar and Joe’s has closed . RIP

Baking out of a tiny kitchen in Sunnyside, Sugar & Joe’s is serving up sweets of all kinds. This cafe is run by a mother and daughter team with the help of their baking assistant. See what inspires Christine and her daughter Emma to make such mouth watering delights day in and day out. (For those who are too tired to bake, ask about their Holiday special orders)

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Doggie Style in Queens

Posted on October 14, 2009. Filed under: Art, Astoria, Entertainment, Fashion, Local718 Video Shorts, Ridgewood | Tags: , , , , |

Queens is jumping with creative people who are making a difference in the community. With inspiration from his dog Oscar, John Vega began designing his own doggie clothing line and started a petition for a dog park in his neighborhood of Ridgewood Queens. Watch how he got started in this video, the first in a series of videos about the creative and inspiring people of Queens!

For more information go to www.fleasandbiscuits.com

Fleas&Biscuits will be debuting at the Jumping Bulldog fashion show in Astoria this Thursday.

Pawject Runway

Thursday, October 15 @ 7:00 PM

The Jumping Bulldog’s daycare center/ Astoria Queens
26-11 23rd Avenue

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