• April 24, 2015
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Queens Chronicle

qboro: Arts, Culture & Living

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Creating paper, where water is the master

With his left thumb held perpendicular to the rest of his fingers, Mustafa Yasar made a sturdy base against which to beat the rosewood staff of his paintbrush. The force sent globules of bright dye from the brush’s horsehair head into a rectangular pool, which was about the size of a large birthday cake pan.After dropping more layers of multicolored paint, which pooled out into translucent coins upon impact, Yasar plucked a long, needle-like implement from a collection of tools and poked the water, dragging to manipulate circles into hearts, spheres into swirls and lines into lacey patterns. After layering more dye and swirling more designs, the water resembled stained glass. He gingerly plopped a sheet of acid-free paper on the surface.

American Indian art, observed with a wide lens
Posted: April 23, 2015

Indigenous North Americans and First Nations peoples are some of the most marginalized groups in the United States.

The many cultures composing what most regard as “Native American” are often represented through stereotypical images of squaws harvesting corn in fringed hides and warriors wielding bows and arrows riding bareback on pintos.

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Usher in springtime with risotto — twice
Posted: April 23, 2015

Hearty arborio rice is a sturdy canvas for this season’s rainbow of fresh vegetables and berries. Add any roasted or sautÈd seasonal spring greens such as leeks, fiddlehead ferns, fava beans, fennel, peas or asparagus for a savory dish; for dessert, add whatever berries you come across at your neighborhood farmers market.

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With a musical timeline, quintet revisits jazz
Updated: April 23, 2015 - 11:19 am

Queens hardly needs an introduction to jazz.

Once a haven for musical greats such as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie, the borough often is called to mind alongside New Orleans and Chicago when listing bastions of the genre.

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Male-driven Shakespeare, with a female twist
Posted: April 16, 2015

In perhaps its most daring venture yet, Titan Theatre Company will bring an all-female version of “Othello,” one of Shakespeare’s most gripping dramas, to Queens Theatre for a limited run of 11 performances beginning April 17.

And, perhaps most shockingly, the women are not playing the traditionally male roles as men; they are playing them as female characters, creating some interesting and, at times, deeper new relationships among the characters.

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Thursday 04/16/2015
Sampling the flavor of life with Louis Armstrong
Posted: April 16, 2015

Fourteen folks press in around an impressive Thanksgiving turkey, most with grins on their faces. But one familiar smile shines a bit brighter than the rest. A new exhibit, “Red Beans and Ricely Yours” at the Louis Armstrong House in Corona, explores the jazz great’s passionate relationship with food.

A 1951 photo titled “Holiday Dinner in Corona” depicts the scene described above, a rare treat for Satchmo, who toured tirelessly around the world. Others depict his wife, Lucille, in the kitchen, the Armstrongs relaxing with their neighbors at a cookout and the couple after a “dee’licious meal in Prague,” with an extra note written directly on an empty plate in the photo: “yum yum.”

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Thursday 04/09/2015
A tour of Latin America, no passport required
Updated: April 16, 2015 - 11:56 am

At the front of a room lined with children’s books, two guitars, their players dressed in deep cerulean, trill melodies from long ago. Always in sync, one hums a steady gallop of rich lower notes that harmonize with the other’s longing song that cascades like waterfalls in an ebb and flow of emotion.

While audience members weren’t lounging on a Caribbean beach or sipping velvety coquito in Old San Juan, the music filling Sunnyside Library last Saturday conjured a convincing-enough auditory journey to the isle of Borinquen, America’s vibrant commonwealth that spawned a rich — albeit different — Puerto Rican culture here. Yet the instrumental music that Lisa Spraragen and JosuÈ Perez played with engrossing emotion and skill, their fingers tickling strings as if human digits were always meant to, is far from the reggaet—n, bachata and salsa that pumps from clubs and front stoops today. Their music is from an older time.

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Taking from the streets to reimagine the studio
Updated: April 10, 2015 - 5:25 pm

Tucked away in Long Island City, just a few blocks from the growing number of glass high-rises, is the art space and studio Local Project.

Once based inside the legendary halls of 5 Pointz, the outdoor space for spray-paint and mural art that was regarded by many as an art institution before being torn down, Local Project serves as an incubator for artists who join together in projects and inspiration.

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New York Irish Center blends fine tunes for spring
Posted: April 09, 2015

It’s hard not to slip into affection for concerts at the New York Irish Center, even when the inspiration behind some songs is a darker moment in Queens’ recent history.

“Spiraling winds howl so loud,” sang Rockaway-based singer Bernard Smith. He was moved to pen “Sandy,” after the “Frankenstorm” ravaged his neighborhood.

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Thursday 04/02/2015
In Glendale, an abstract union of Queens perspectives
Updated: April 09, 2015 - 11:57 am

Queens has a new artistic epicenter.

And, there’s beer, too.

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Playful and cerebral, Baw pays homage to mundane
Posted: April 02, 2015

Like the body-slamming hug of a 4-year-old, Lisa Chin-Jung Baw’s works shock and destabilize the viewer, sometimes conjuring aggressive happiness or causing a gust of air to escape sharply yet joyfully from the lungs.

Baw’s oil-on-canvas paintings, pottery and calligraphic works are now on display in her “Windows of Inspiration” exhibit at the Queensborough Community College Art Gallery through April 9. Baw is presented as not only a QCC student but also as an accomplished artist informed by Monet, van Gogh, Kandinsky and Matisse.

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Exhibit provides a new lens on a famed artist
Updated: April 03, 2015 - 12:59 pm

Under the white-hot sun, a staircase ascends to nowhere; on the ground below, a pair of massive bowls bear Sanskrit inscriptions of celestial bodies. These are the photos of famed sculptor Isama Noguchi on display at his namesake museum in Long Island City, showing the early 18th-century Indian observatories that inspired his work.

Stemming from his 1949 worldwide trip, Noguchi would continue to draw upon the photos and sights he captured for decades. The exhibit also displays models and sculptures inspired by them that would become his projects.

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Thursday 03/26/2015
Welcome to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce
Updated: April 02, 2015 - 11:57 am

“Mr. Draper will see you now.”

High up in a Manhattan office tower sits advertising agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. You’ve been called into the office of Don Draper, one of the group’s partners.

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A brassy punk makeover for a musical favorite
Posted: March 26, 2015

A decades-old theater favorite has gotten a little help from 1980s New York.

A production by Queens College’s Drama, Theatre & Dance department has captured the uproarious fun of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s work, “The Threepenny Opera,” written in 1928 Germany, just as fascism was starting to bear its teeth. Famously, it challenged the definition of opera.

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With an unworldly pull, art explores the unknown
Posted: March 26, 2015

At the center of the Milky Way Galaxy a supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) ejects and draws in matter towards its event horizon. That which plunges past the point of no return will be powerless to escape gravity’s pull.

Climbing the long staircase to reach the Radiator Gallery on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City evokes a similar powerful draw inwards as visitors ascend from street level and leave the noise of the world behind. The small, quiet, sparse space is a fitting location for the “Ensign Sgr A*” exhibit, on display there until April 10. The exhibit, curated by the artists’ collaborative Over the Opening, features artists whose works creatively use ideas of negation and absence. The gallery describes these as being used “as ensigns or banners for states of exploration and loss,” and it is stunning just how much these states come across in varying degrees in the works on display.

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Thursday 03/19/2015
A new ‘voice of Flushing,’ orchestra springs to life
Updated: March 26, 2015 - 12:10 pm

And so it begins.

There are few opening bars as instantly recognizable as those in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. According to some scholars, the first four notes, vigorous, expressive and teetering on dark, are a manifestation of “fate, knocking on the door.”

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Queens on pins and needles for tattoo convention
Posted: March 19, 2015

Hundreds of artists from different countries will gather at Resorts World Casino this weekend.

Their canvas? The human body.

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Raw and real, new play navigates taboo topics
Posted: March 19, 2015

Suicide and religion: two subjects most don’t talk about. When they are addressed, any attention to the topics almost always involves a sort of explanation aiming to answer “Why?“ and “How?”

“Running Away From the One With The Knife,” at The Chocolate Factory Theater, tackles both religion and suicide in a refreshingly open-ended way. It doesn’t solve anything and doesn’t tie a big red bow around the plot. It is merely a series of fragmented thoughts, memories and moments of consciousness that are sometimes funny or extraordinarily sad.

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Thursday 03/12/2015
High drama — with a minimalist approach
Updated: March 19, 2015 - 11:55 am

Just as the iconic character of Carmen herself, a haughty gypsy with enough venom to disarm even the most brazen Real Housewife, clutches hold of heartstrings despite the opera’s proletarian focus, this weekend’s production of the famous work promises to pack a punch.

Yes, the setting of the bewitching opera, composed long ago by Georges Bizet, may be the Spartan basement of a church tucked away in Forest Hills. The curtain may squeak. The orchestra, of barely 10, may face low ceilings threatening to throw off acoustics while the chorus, with several members nonprofessionals, strain to match volume.

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Stark and surprising, exhibit ruminates on theft
Posted: March 12, 2015

The Flux Factory makes no attempt to impress visitors with fancy lighting or distressed brick walls. It’s about as bare-bones as it gets.

Visitors walk down a dark and dingy hallway with low-hanging ceilings that force taller folk to slump downward until they get into the gallery space.

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Irish comfort food recipes, no luck required
Updated: March 13, 2015 - 12:10 pm

In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, take a culinary journey to the Emerald Isle. These recipes are sure to help thaw winter while ushering in promises of spring.

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Thursday 03/05/2015
Within floral collages, artist crafts tiny worlds
Updated: March 12, 2015 - 12:15 pm

Like a hybrid between the artistry of collage and the craft of terrarium-making, artist Paul Lin’s ornate plant-based “paintings” combine nature and imagination to present enchanting micro-worlds.

Within the more than 30 pieces Lin created — with patience, steady hands and a bit of help from Mother Earth — biological materials such as twigs, pressed petals, dehydrated leaves, corn husks, feathers, and tiny dried blossoms harmonize to represent landscapes, portraits and animals.

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Queens theaters ready for the spring season
Posted: March 05, 2015

The warm lights of Queens stages gearing up for the spring theater season are turning on just in time for audiences to thaw after a long winter’s spell. Devotees of musicals, in particular, will have much to revel in, with half a dozen opening in the next few weeks.

Already up and running is Jack Heifner’s comedy, “Vanities,” one of the season’s few straight plays. Bittersweet in tone, the play chronicles three young Texas cheerleaders who go their separate ways, reuniting briefly years later to find they have little in common.

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Seeing things differently, via comic book creation
Posted: March 05, 2015

In a colorful Rego Park basement, some seniors are embracing their retro sides.

A free weekly class teaching the principles of drawing — while aiming for each participant to ultimately take home a hand-painted narrative comic book — has just begun at the Rego Park Senior Center. Mollie Hosmer-Dillard, with the Queens Council on the Arts, said the class is not only a fun outlet, but a bridge to a new way of seeing.

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