Arts, Culture, Food, Shopping & Restaurants
February 2017 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Culture / Gotham Buzz NYC.
This section is dedicated to the Arts & Culture in New York City.
Panorama Music Fest on Randalls Island
Three Day Musical Festival Strikes a Grammy Chord
I attended the Panorama Music Festival on Randall's Island this past weekend. The music festival featured dozens of top and second tier bands and musicians with the event starting Friday and ending Sunday night. Some of the music festival headliners included award winning groups like Kendrick, Alabama Shakes and the return of LCD after a ten year hiatus. Panorama also featured a number of other highly regarded, well known groups - many of which are likely to continue gaining recognition.
In the photo at right, vocalist Sza, is performing in the Pavilion at the Panorama Music Festival on Randalls Island on Sunday.
The weather over weekend was a very seasonal hot, with temperatures hitting nearly 100 on Saturday [high 98], before descending into the low 90's on Sunday. But the island breeze coming across the East River on Randall's Island and not-too-high humidity, made strolling around the event campus not only doable, but enjoyable. There was also a public water station where you could refill your water bottle [free] and there was ample shade within the tree filled park.
The crowd dressed for Panorama to beat the heat, more than anything else. This translated into a near beach-like scene for people-watching, with many youthful men and women enjoying the glow of their Adonis-like years. In 1992 there was a gender equality lawsuit, which contested women's right to go topless without being arrested - a right men enjoyed in this country since its founding. More than a decade later, in 2015, panhandlers in Times Square began asserting that right by painting their bare breasts with American flags and other designs, while soliciting tips from resident and tourist passers-by, for the pleasure of viewing them. These 'performance artists' were nicknamed the 'Desnudas'.
NYS and NYC Government officials found a way to reign in this practice - as it was creating quite a stir - by confining the solicitations to specified areas within the Times Square Plaza. Fast forward to 2016 and things continue to evolve, with women now wearing swimsuit / lingerie-like tops as fashion statements, some of which were on display at the Panorama Music Festival.
In the photo at right, a woman sports a fashionable swimsuit / lingerie-like top, at the Panorama Music Festival on Randall's Island.
We'll have a bit more later this summer, including video and a discussion of some of the art on exhibit at the Panorama Music Festival on Randall's Island in NYC.
Irish Pubs In Manhattan
Irish Restaurants On St. Patrick's Day In NYC, UES, UWS, Midtown & Village
March 14, 2016 / Manhattan Bars & Pubs / Gotham Buzz NYC.
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us once again and it’s time for one and all, regardless of genetic history, to don their green clothing and head out to the Irish bars for a pint of ale or to the Irish restaurants for some down home Irish fare … or something like that.
This report is about some of the Manhattan Irish bars and restaurants that have survived the test of time, and likely a might bit … more. The Irish pubs include Irish bars and restaurants from the Upper East Side [UES], the Upper West Side [UWS], Midtown Manhattan as well as the East Village, as McSorley's remains not just a pub, but a good piece of history.
Click here to read our report about the Irish Pubs in NYC.
Saving Jamaica Bay
Local Documentary Film At The Queens World Film Festival
March 21, 2016 / Jamaica Neighborhood / NYC Environment & Health / Gotham Buzz NYC.
I attended the 6th annual Queens World Film Festival on Thursday where I had an opportunity to view a film that's been years in the making by a local filmmaker, Dan Hendrick. The film is entitled Saving Jamaica Bay and it's an hour and 16 minute documentary about the ecosystem of New York City's Jamaica Bay.
The film storyline and cinematography capture the juxtaposition and the intensifying struggle, between man and nature. The beauty of the bay is captured on film, showing us that the fair maiden is in distress. But she's being rescued, or at least fought for, by a naturalist and former manager of the National Park Service Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in tandem with a retired fireman and his son, who've taken upon themselves the mission of protecting what was shown to us to be an area of great urban abuse and refuse, but even greater beauty.
Click here to see more still photos and a review of the film entitled Saving Jamaica Bay at the Queens World Film Festival in March. The film is scheduled to be shown at other film festivals throughout the year, a few of which will be listed at the end of this report.
In Search Of A Civilization Lost By Mass Media
LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center Uses Theater & Art To Stimulate Cross Cultural Community Conversation
February 9, 2015 / Queens Theater & Arts / Art & Theater in NYC / Gotham Buzz NYC.
It was nearing sunset on Saturday evening as I made my way through a beautifully quiet Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The clean white snow glistened gently in the fading light, and the leafless trees along the road provided what felt like an ancient natural cathedral.
I checked in at the admissions desk and made my way to the second floor of the Queens Museum. The Queens Museum was once the home to the United Nations and hence provided the perfect context for this community conversational performance. The floor to ceiling windows looked out onto the landmarked Unisphere which emanated a universal vibe. In the long wide hallway a crowd was engaged in clustered conversations following the conclusion of four performances shown that afternoon. I had seen the performances at an event earlier in the season.
I began talking to Tasneem, a member of the audience who is shown in the photo at right standing alongside a photo taken by a friend of hers who is shown in the photo. Tasneem came from Jordan twelve years ago, only two years after 911. She said that it's important for the general populace of Muslims to stop being afraid of showing they're Muslim, because otherwise New Yorkers and the rest of America will be left with the picture of Islam as depicted by a few extremists which is amplified and continually repeated by the American mass media.
I couldn't deny it. It seems American television stations, radio stations, newspapers and magazines are obsessed with providing the Islamic terrorists all the publicity they want.
But here, tonight, in the Queens Museum; I would not see any of the faces shown by our mass media. I would see only the faces of everyday Islamic New Yorkers who generally receive no publicity at all. Muslims who hail from dozens of cultures around the world. And there wasn't a single terrorist among them. Hence - and likely not coincidentally - there also wasn't a single mass medium reporter covering this event.
Tasneem told me how she, like many other American Muslims, fears showing she's Muslim because of the stereotypes created by the terrorists and perpetuated and blown up by the American mass media. The notion of a silent majority came to mind.
It occurred to me that the gore of the Islamic extremists must be good for tabloids and TV ratings. And I pondered what it must feel like to be stereotyped by this relentless, distorted depiction of one's culture and people. Andy Warhol's characterization of the mass production of images came to mind.
I thought about what it would be like if I lived somewhere else in the world where the nation's media mass produced stereotypes of Americans, depicting us as murderers, rapists and thieves. That could easily be done if a nation's media decided to portray Americans by solely covering the 5.6 million violent crimes and the 17.1 million property crimes that took place in this country in 2011 alone [source: Wikipedia / Bureau of Justice Statistics]. That just wouldn't be right ... would it?
And yet, it seems that this is exactly what's been happening to Muslims in America, because of the unbalanced coverage of Islam by the big American mass media companies. The TV and newspaper tabloids make a living by sensationalizing - spinning things out of context - but aren't the real journalists supposed to provide perspective by putting things back in context?
This seems generally not to have been done.
And so the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center applied for and received a grant to begin such an effort. An effort to provide exposure to the lives and contributions of the other billion Muslims who go peacefully and productively about their lives each day, just like most of the rest of us. An effort to create a community conversant with a deeper and broader understanding of a millenial and centuries old culture that is embedded in the lives of over a billion people on the planet. People who live in dozens of nations around the globe, and none of whom are terrorists - and hence generally not represented in the American mass media.
I met American born Charles Bernett of Rego Park who had traveled to Cairo in 1979. Thirty-five years ago he was about to embark on his second trip through Africa ... [see photo at right].
The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center exploratory, year-long, theater and arts, cultural endeavor entitled Beyond Sacred: Unthinking Muslim Identity, more of which you can find on our Queens Buzz website. Click here for a related piece done around the same time about Art & Theater in NYC: Exploring Islamic / Muslim identity in America.
Epitaph To An Era: Whitewash In LIC
Long Island City Loses A Bit Of Its Heart & Soul
Jeffrey Leder Art Gallery Showcases Demise Of 5 Pointz Through Artwork Of Its Circle Of Graffiti Artists
Saturday evening I made my way into Long Island City to attend the opening night of the Whitewash art exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery. Whitewash is an exhibit of the art works of a collection of the 5 Pointz graffiti artists. These artists recently lost their artistic and spiritual home – the 5 Pointz building in LIC - and the exhibit opening was part funerary rites and celebration of a new beginning. The photo to your right shows one of the paintings on exhibit at the Whitewash art exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery in LIC.
As I got off the #7 train, I decided to swing by the building to witness its whitewashed walls. I took a couple of photos of them, recalling prior visits to the outdoor art gallery, where every five to ten feet, in vivid living color, one could witness the creation of a local graffiti artist. The outdoor gallery exhibits would change, piece by piece, week by week, month by month and year by year. There always seemed to be a few artists working the walls. The 5 Pointz building is southeast of the Court Square subway stop, and for drivers it’s just across from PS1 MoMA on Jackson Avenue between Crane & Davis Streets.
As I shot photos of the walls and loading dock area, I could still see in my mind, the outdoor parties of the past. I recalled the art exhibits that had been thrown over the years, with music emanating from somewhere. Intellectually we all know it was within the building owner’s rights to whitewash his own building. And it isn’t hard for anyone to understand why the building owner would want to reap a huge profit by razing the building and erecting a new structure from which the cash will flow. I reckoned we were lucky to have had the years we had, to enjoy the beauty and the beat of the graffiti on the street, seen from the windows of the subway train as it snaked its way through LIC.
So with these thoughts, I headed onto 45th Road, to the Jeffrey Leder art gallery to witness and participate in the Whitewash art exhibit opening night reception. Click here to read our report about Whitewash art exhibit / 5 Pointz in LIC. NYC Art & Artists NYC.
Frieze Art Fair NYC - Randall's Island
Fun Fair Attracts Artists, Friendly Financiers & Fashionistas
The Third Annual Frieze Art Fair turned out to be ... in a word ... FUN.
It was held on Randall's Island, which once one makes the effort, turns out to be an easy and enjoyable get-away from the din of the big city. Traffic thins out and slows down, and one can again see the horizon. With the NYC skyline in the background and the East River water slowly flowing on by, the locale almost seems idyllic.
Inside the white tented structure, complete with flowing ribbons and a lofty airy vaulted ceiling, there were literally tons of people milling about. But the fair managers had done a good job of figuring out how to comfortably accommodate the 8,000 people who passed through daily [except Saturday due to rain].
The fair easily encompassed enough space to hold one or more football fields. The structure was designed as a rectangle with four quadrants. And where the quadrants met, there was a cafe / rest area / and outdoor patio space.
We'll post more at a later date including a photo slide show of the 2014 Frieze Art Fair in NYC.
Jamaican Jerk Festival NYC
Afro Caribbean Cultural Event In Queens
It was a warm, dry, sunny Sunday, as I made my way into Roy Wilkins Park in Jamaica. Today was the 2nd annual Jamaican Jerk Festival, that I’d been waiting in anticipation for over the past few weeks. The Jamaican Jerk Festival is a combination reggae concert and food festival.
I entered through the gates of Roy Wilkins Park in the southern Jamaica neightborhood of Queens, as a slight breeze willowed its way through the trees and crowd. There were retail vendor tents to my left, with displays of vibrantly colored clothing and fashion jewelry Afro Caribbean style. Caps, hats, dresses, shirts and scarves hung loosely in little white tents, as shoppers and merchants mingled and did business.
Click here to read our report and view photos of the Jamaican Jerk Festival in Jamaica Queens NYC.
Taste of LIC - Food Festivals in Queens
The Chocolate Factory Theatre Produces Another Winner
The Chocolate Factory of LIC has been putting on avante garde theatrical productions in LIC since 2004, and organizing the Taste of LIC since 2005. I’ve attended a couple of them, and the Taste of LIC seems to provide the right blend of scene, scenery and 'tasty' nibbles and drinks, which keeps us coming back.
In this report we’ll journey to about a dozen food and beverage tables where I sampled some of each restaurateur’s wares. Click here to read the rest of our report and view the photos of the delicious food and beverages provided by LIC restaurants & wine stores at the Taste of LIC 2012.
Click here to read our report and view photos of the Taste of LIC 2012. Food Festivals in NYC.
Persona Performa - Ming Wong At MOMI
Museum of the Moving Image Steps Out In Astoria
People were lined up outside of the Museum of the Moving Image [MOMI] on both Thursday and Friday nights. They were waiting to see Ming Wong’s performance art production entitled Persona Performa. The production title tidily summed up its essence – an art performance based on an Ingmar Bergman film entitled Persona, which was being performed for Performa 11, the fourth biennial visual arts festival in NYC.
Artistic director, Ming Wong, developed the piece during his residency at MOMI in 2011. He told us that the inspiration for the production came from the minimalist architecture of the museum and an Ingmar Bergman film, Persona, which is generally believed to be one of the ten best works of cinematic art. The Ming Wong video piece Persona Performa Panorama will continue to be on view in the lobby until April 1st of 2012.
Click here to read our report of Ming Wong Persona Performa at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria - avante garde film in NYC.
Fashionable Clothing in Queens NYC
Come To Fashion Show Features Local Designers & Models
On April 21st the first annual Come To Fashion show stepped out into the fashion world in the Jamaica section of Queens. The fashion show featured local fashion designers, local models and local retailers doing business in Jamaica Queens.
When I arrived at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, I was pleasantly surprised by top tier polished look and feel of the entire production. Jamaica Center, the Jamaica BID, had hired a designer to create an original venue through which to present the models and the designers' clothing and those of us who attended were able to mingle with the models via the unique set design used for the show.
Click here to view photos and read our report about the Come To Fashion show - design, style & fashion shows in NYC.
Feared Immigrantula Seizes PS1
Hundreds Held Spellbound & Released Unharmed Saturday
I have to admit, it was frightening. I was there and I saw it. The long feared 'Immigrantula' swept through PS1 Art Museum and captivated a spellbound audience Saturday afternoon.
I arrived at PS1 Art Museum around 3 pm. I had decided to check out the Saturday afternoon art performance entitled 'We Have Come To Take Your Jobs'. And even though it was a nearly perfect day outside, I found hundreds of people waiting for the performance to begin, in one of large rooms on the third floor of the museum. The lights were out and videos were playing on two large screens that hung along the back wall of the large room. It was hot and steamy, as drapes hung over the doorways, sealing the human heat inside. Modern music with a rock beat filled the space. It reminded me of a downtown Manhattan club in the late 80's.
Click here to read more about the live art performance and photos of Immigrantula at PS1 Art Museum in Long Island City LIC. Art, artists, galleries & musems in NYC.
American Meat - Unfinished Film
Documentary About Current State Of Food & Farming
I managed to obtain an invitation to a screening of American Meat, which is an unfinished documentary film, at Cafe Marlene in Sunnyside. The screening was sponsored by Queens Harvest Co-op, which is an organization working to build an organic food cooperative in Queens.
The film is a rather eye opening look into how the economics of food / meat production in this country have taken us down an unsustainable path. A path which not only has significant health implications, but possibly even more dire consequences. The film provides an intelligent, behind-the-scenes look at how economics have been driving: 1) food production methods, 2) the composition of what's in the meat being sold at the grocery store, and 3) what we're feeding our children and ourselves.
The film was envisioned and began production in the spring of 2007 and the producers are hoping to finish it in 2011. Click here to view our preview of the unfinished documentary film entitled American Meat independent film at Cafe Marlene in Sunnyside and hosted by Queens Harvest Co-op. NYC Health Issues & Food Quality in NYS & America.
Fresh Pasta Made Daily In Queens NY
Cassinelli Food Products Company
The Astoria neighborhood used to be heavily populated with Italian immigrants, particularly in the first half of the 20th century. They brought with them their knowledge and skills about food and wine, the products of which became, in time, a part of the American culture.
This is a report about the Cassinelli Food Products company. It's one of the last old world Italian pasta making companies in Queens. The Cassinelli pasta company makes fresh pasta in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens daily.
Click here to read the full report about fresh pasta in Astoria Queens NYC.
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