Music & Dance

Hell Gate Leads to Music and Art this Saturday in Astoria!

Posted on September 30, 2010. Filed under: Art, Astoria, Free, Great for Singles, Music & Dance |

Astorian Lizabeth Nieves has been busy these days. Here is the email I recieved about her latest project at Hell Gate Social:

Astoria Music and Arts Presents: Suspension of Disbelief – Art with Live Music at HGS

(Art curated by Lizabeth Nieves)

Come experience Art the Astoria way – not with wine spritzers and cheese plates, but with rock and roll and beer on tap!

On Saturday October 2nd, we’re coming to Hell Gate Social and we’re bringing music AND art with us:

8pm – the Astoria Debut of exciting local artist, ***Jessica Goehring*** ( Inspired by the abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning and neo-expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jessica Goehring paints contorted, sometimes exaggerated human figures.)

9pm – the smooth assurance of pro-fessional R&B songstress ***Nadia Kazmi***.

10pm – everybody’s favorite hometown bluesman – ***Mat Snow & the Way it Was***

11pm – And sonic psychedelia provided by ***The Static Rising***

12pm– ***DJ B-ANG***

***Drink Specials between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.***

No Cover

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Teach Your Little Ones to Dance at the Green Space

Posted on August 26, 2010. Filed under: Art, KIds, LIC, Music & Dance, Theater |

The Green Space wants to teach your little ones the creative movements of dance! Here is what they say about the project:

Sprouts & Seedlings!
Creative Movement for Children

10-week Saturday Session
September 25 – December 11, 2010

Free Trial Class: September 18th

Sprouts (ages4-6)
10:00 am – 10:45 am
Seedlings (ages 7-9)
11:00 am – 11:45 am

$10 Registration Fee
$140 Early Registration (by September 3rd post marked)
$150 Full Session (after September 4th)

The Creative Movement for Children classes at Green Space allow for a safe and nurturing community where children will enjoy discovering the exciting world of movement and dance! Each 45-minute class is built around the development of cognitive and social, as well as physical skills. As they investigate how they move, boys and girls will develop confidence and learn to work together. We will explore balance, coordination, and comprehension, as well as listening skills and class etiquette. Creativity will be fostered through the use of imagery, music, stories, and colorful props. The dance studio will become a playground where we explore, learn, and create.

The Green Space– 718-956-3037 37-24 24th St. #301 Long Island City, NY 11101

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Dragon Boat Festival in Queens!

Posted on August 5, 2010. Filed under: Art, Chinese, Flushing/Corona, Free, Music & Dance, Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Recreation, Theater |

It’s the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in the heart of Flushing Meadows Park this weekend Saturday August 7th and Sunday August 8th. Watch the as the magnificent dragon boats zip through Meadow Lake while the competing teams race to the finish. You don’t want to miss this once a year extravaganza! Before you rush the kids back to school this year, take them to the event of a lifetime (well at least the event of the weekend) The celebration begins early Saturday and continues throughout Sunday afternoon with The Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, traditional Indian dance, Shaolin Kung Fu demonstrations, kite flying,  jazz performances, the American Bolero Dance Company and much more!

Click here for a full schedule of events.

Dragon Boat Festival Aug 7 & 8 Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadow Park

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One Sharp Cookie: A Few Words With Astoria’s “Saw Lady”

Posted on August 2, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Music & Dance, Off the beaten path |

As a child I thought that the saw had only one purpose, to cut through mom’s famous holiday fruitcake. Little did I know that the tool is also used as a musical instrument. Natalia Paruz presents New York City’s Musical Saw Festival Saturday August 7, 2010 (supported by the Queens Council on the Arts). How does one play the saw, you ask? I have no idea, so I asked Natalia. Here is what she said:

Where are you from?

I was born in Israel, but I have been in NYC  for almost 20 years.

How long have you lived in Astoria?

About 18 years.

Exactly how do you play the saw?  Describe the sound.

The most popular way for playing a saw is in a sitting position. You place the handle between your knees, hold the tip of the blade with your hand and bend it towards the floor. With your other hand you strike the non-serrated edge of the blade with a bow (such as a cello or violin bow). The sound that comes out is best described as similar to a soprano opera singer’s voice. It’s angelic and haunting.

How long have you been playing the saw and what captivated your interest in it?

I’ve been playing the saw for 17 years. I was attracted to both the sound it makes, which is so unique and different from any other sound I’ve heard before, and to the visual of a saw being played. Not only is it a striking visual to see what we think of as a carpentry tool being played as a musical instrument, but it also has a very beautiful visual effect: the saw is one of the only musical instruments where when played, the entire instrument moves.

Tell me the process of putting together the ensemble and festival?

I first organized a gathering of saw players 8 years ago. At the time there were only 5 of us saw players around. Last year our numbers grew to 55 and we even got into the Guinness Book of Records for being the ‘Largest Musical saw ensemble’ … we’ve had saw players come all the way to Queens from India, China, Japan, Canada and Europe just in order to participate in the festival!

Why Queens?

Many people tell me that I should move the Musical Saw Festival to Manhattan, but I don’t want to do that. Queens is my home, therefore I care to give back to my own community. It is so nice to see the community’s involvement and excitement over the festival. I like the fact that the festival helps draw attention to Queens and that it brings people from other boroughs as well as all over the world to Queens. It helps our local economy because all these people usually go to local restaurants after the festival, and the saw players from out of NYC stay at local hotels. The festival draws attention to Queens – it seems that many people outside of NYC don’t know about Queens. Through talking about the festival I explain to them that Queens is part of NYC and that it is worth while to visit. Also, I think it’s important for Queens locals to have cultural events right in their own “back yards”. Last week, while I was hanging a flyer advertising the festival, a lady approached to ask me about the festival. She told me that her son plays guitar and that he would be so happy to attend the festival, because it’s not far from their house and he doesn’t get to go to concerts usually because they are too far away. This is a perfect example why it is important to have the festival in Queens.

Anything to add?

One can download the festival’s flyer from and also watch videos from previous years festivals there.

The 8th annual NYC Musical Saw Festival is on Sat. Aug 7th, 2pm at the Hellenic Cultural Center, 27-09 Crescent Street (corner of Newtown Avenue), Astoria.

Admission: $10

Natalia "Saw Lady" Paruz in the musical saw ensemble photo credit- Harris Graber

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Get Ready for Some Yankee Twang Friday Night!

Posted on July 27, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Free, LIC, Music & Dance, Outdoor Recreation |

I first heard Joe Thompson and the Comfortable Catastrophe at WNYC’s Battle of the Boroughs last month. With a fierce talent and sharp wit, their music cut through the room like the raging tide cuts though the calm sands at Rockaway… In other words, they blew audience away and won the Battle of the Boroughs.

Be sure to checkout Joey and the Comfortable Catastrophe as the opening act at Summer Stage in Queens July 28 at Queensbridge Park in Long Island City and in their very own concert at WNYC’s Greene Space July 30, this Friday night at 7pm. Meanwhile, you can get to know Joey a little better. I caught up with him to get the lowdown on drinking, eating and why he loves Queens so much. Here’s what he had to say…

Joe Thompson and the Comfortable Catastrophe

How has living in Queens inspired your music? I have lived in Queens in the same apartment in Astoria for nearly 8 years so the influence this community has had on my music is immeasurable.  There is a mindset in the people who live here, a blue-collar mentality very much akin to what I grew-up around in Western Pennsylvania.  That hard working, dirt under the fingernails attitude has really sunk-in and helped define the stories I like to tell.

In your recent interview with LimeWire, you received a lot of flack for saying that Queens does not have a big music scene, but it has a great music community, explain what you meant. I meant just what I said.  There is a treasure trove of talent living in Queens.  A supportive, esoteric community of truly gifted musicians.  That being said, there really aren’t very many places for original, live music here in Queens.  There are some coveted venues such as LIC Bar and Waltz Astoria.  While I do wish there were more venues for original live music out here, I will say I will take a community over a scene anyday.

You’re a mixologist as well as a musician. How have these two talents influenced each other in your experiences? As an independent rough and tumble country singer in New York City, it is necessary for one to find a means to pay the rent.  I have chosen the barcraft as my means.  This means I have been forced to spend a lot of time in establishments that serve strong spirit.  Tee hee.

What’s your favorite cuisine (or place to eat) in Queens? Ooooh.  That’s a tough question to answer!  For simple Italian American I like Bartolino’s.  For Greek I like Agnanti over by Astoria Park on 19th Street.  Gleason’s on Broadway has a great burger.  Bai Sushi has the best kimchi I have had in the city.

What’s your favorite neighborhood watering hole? If I am cocktailing, Sweet Afton or Dutch Kills.  If it’s a beer and whiskey night Daly’s Pub or Gilbey’s (used to be Gibney’s)

Your new album is titled- Yankee Twang, tell me about the name and what it means? I was raised in Pennsylvania by a family of fiercely loyal Texans.  Anyone who has ever met a Texan knows how proud they are of their homestate.  Until I was 18 I was a little ashamed that I was a Yankee until I realized how proud I was, in turn, of the Keystone State.  So Yankee Twang is the reflection of the duality of being a country singer in the heart of Yankee Territory as well as that Pennsylvania kid with big Texas dreams.

What has it been like working with WNYC and winning the battle of the boroughs? The folks at WNYC have been fantastic and I couldn’t be happier to be working with them.  Winning the Battle of the Boroughs is still a bit of a shock to me and I still have to pinch myself to believe at times.

Anything to add? Head on over to to hear the songs, see the show schedule and sign the mailing list to receive our newsletters!  we will love you…

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Queens First International Theater Festival This Week

Posted on July 22, 2010. Filed under: LIC, Music & Dance, Theater, Woodside/Sunnyside |

For the next week (July 21- July 29) La Guardia Performing Arts Center will host the first international theater festival, Which Direction Home?, in collaboration with The Internationalists. The creative experience takes its audience through a unique interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey. Watch as eight directors from six different countries use the epic poem as a platform for their own theatrical story.

La Guardia Performaing Arts Center– 31-10 Thomson Ave Long Island City, N.Y. 11101

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Hot Weather and Full Moon at Astoria Music Now Festival Saturday!

Posted on July 22, 2010. Filed under: Art, Astoria, Astoria Street Fairs, Free, LIC, Music & Dance, Outdoor Recreation |

It’s going to be 100 degrees and a full moon Saturday. While all the werewolves are shedding their fur and howling at the moon, you will be dancing in the green grass of Astoria Park with the Astoria Make Music Now! festival. Get out of your stuffy apartment and join the live bands and local artists from all over the neighborhood. This event happens only once a year so don’t miss it!

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Summer Stage in Queens!

Posted on July 14, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Free, LIC, Music & Dance, Outdoor Recreation, Theater | Tags: , |

I remember waiting in line for hours under the hot steamy sun to see  Sonic Youth (among many other boated old punksters)  in Central Park’s Summer Stage. Now, I don’t even have to leave the neighborhood. For the next two weeks Summer Stage is setting the scene in Long Island City & Queens! Enjoy hip hop, theater, jazz, opera and more this side of the East River. Here are some highlights from this season’s schedule below. For a full Summer Stage schedule, click here.

Ryan Leslie R&B

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 7:00PM in  Springfield Park


Funk Master Flex (1980s hip hop)

Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 7:00PM NYC Revolutions Series: EPMD and Funkmaster Flex, Presented in Association with Globe Star Media
 in Queensbridge Park


Seewe African Dance Company and Balafrohop

Friday, July 16, 2010 at 7:00PM
 Queensbridge Park


Pharoahe Monch (hip hop) Hosted by Danny Castro of Lyricist Lounge

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 7:00PM
at Queensbridge Park


Theater“blood pudding”

Friday, July 23, 2010 and Saturday, July 24 at 8:00PM

“blood pudding” by Sharon Bridgforth, Directed by Baraka de Soleil
in  Springfield Park blood pudding explores the history of Black people in New Orleans through a magical layering of theater, dance and song.Catch blood pudding on July 24th (Springfield Park, Queens) and August 6th and 7th  (Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan)


The Metropolitan Opera: Summer Recital Series Featuring Monica Yunus, Matthew Plenk, Donovan Singletary, and Jonathan Kelly
 Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 7:00PM Queensbridge Park

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