Artistic beat heard in all corners of the borough

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Photo gallery

LA Blacksmith & Jazz Plus perform at Jazz Thursdays in Forest Hills. Photo by Robert Salnave
(Clockwise from top) Saxaphonist LA Blacksmith entertains the crowd during Jazz Thursdays on 70th Road in Forest Hills. Photo by Robert Salnave
Festival goers fill Austin street during the Shop Forest Hils Fall Arts Festival. Photo courtesy Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce
Jewelry is one of many items available at the Shop Forest Hils Fall Arts Festival. Photo courtesy Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce
The film, "Uomo," directed by Rafael Esolar, was featured in this year's Queens World Film Festival. Image courtesy Rafael Escolar.
The documentary, "From Queens to Cairo," which depicts an Egyptian American returning to Cairo one year after the Egyptian Revolution, was one of several films shown at this year's Queens World Film Festival. Image courtesy Sherif Sadek
Violin students Sai Matsumoto (l.) and Stiles Meccini from Tarumi Violinists based in Douglaston perform at the Douglaston Village Arts Festival. Photo by Christina Santucci
Liz Giangreco and her son Thomas, 3 1/2, peruse toys at the Bayside Village BID Arts Festival. Photo by Christina Santucci

Here’s something to look forward to during the final weeks of this bleak winter: Queens’ arts festival season starting in March. Combining culture, community, commerce and good times, these events connect residents and visitors to every facet of the arts, while celebrating local talent and giving small businesses a much-needed boost.

It’s impossible to get bored in Queens with so much going on. So here’s a handful of memorable 2012 events and the scoop on upcoming events.

Queens Jazz

The myriad approaches to the art of jazz will be explored extensively this April at the Flushing Town Hall Queens Jazz Over Ground Fest. A free day of jazz performances by Queens-based musicians and students, plus free workshops and clinics for jazz fans of all ages. QJOG is a musical collective of borough instrumentalists, working to stimulate a wider audience with the eclectic variations of the jazz craft. The event will prove to be an important destination for live music, cultivating a diverse array of talents enriching the cultural life of those in attendance in a day long celebration of jazz.

Save the date: April 27, noon


Flushing Town Hall

137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing

(718) 463-7700

LIC Arts Open

The entire community will be abuzz during the LIC Arts Open Mega event in Long Island City May 15 through May 19. An explosion of dance, theater and jazz, outstanding art exhibits and galleries galore, the event spans 10 buildings, where 200-plus artists welcome visitors to their studios, showcasing works from graffiti and abstract to hyper-realism. Installations will be on view at MoMA P.S. 1 and throughout Long Island City in close to 30 different venues. Folks also enjoyed improv acts, the kids’ art contest, and a great street fair.

For more information, including a downloadable map, visit

Queens New Music Festival

The popularity of new-music has been growing, and you can experience what it’s all about during the annual Queens New Music Festival -- now in its second year at The Secret Theater (L.I.C.).

Presented by Random Access Music (made up of eight composers) from 45 submissions by emerging and well-established artists and ensembles, eight amazing concerts offer audiences a taste of a refreshingly different genre, with roots in the classical avant-garde, and a bit of rock, pop, and jazz added to the mix.

Save the date: May 16 -19, 2013

Tickets: $20 (on sale April 16).

All performances at:

The Secret Theatre Main Stage

44-02 23rd St., L.I.C.

Forest Hills Festival of The Arts

“Cultural arts feed your soul, and we need more arts in Forest Hills,” says Leslie Brown, Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce president and founder/concert producer of Jazz Thursdays In August, a free outdoor concert series.

Courtesy of the FHCC – Forest Hills arts fest -- along Austin St., from 69th Ave. to 72nd Rd. gives Queens residents a chance June 9 to meet and greet local business owners and check out all the unique shops and eateries. Last year’s fest took place on a rainy Sunday in June and on a Saturday in September.

Nearly 125 of Forest Hills own businesses will be exhibiting at the fair this year, with fun entertainment in the morning and fantastic music in the afternoon. “Beginning at 12 p.m., we showcase local talent from Forest Hills dance studios, martial arts centers, and bands,” says Brown.

2 p.m.: world class entertainers with shows every hour till 6 p.m. You can hear great jazz, R & B, Soul, Caribbean, Latin, and Rock. Visit: in May for a list of performers.

Save the date: June 9, 2013

12 p.m.—6 p.m.

Entertainment Block: 70th Rd. off Austin St.

(Kids’ activities too)

Rain or Shine

3rd Annual Queens World Film Festival

The indie filmmaking spirit is alive and well here, thanks to Queens World Film Festival. Newbie and student filmmakers had an opportunity to grow and be recognized, with local screenings at this signature event in March.

Earlier this month 127 films on five screens were showcased. Opening Night at the Museum of the Moving Image featured Spirit of Queens Honoree, filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman, president/co-founder, Troma Entertainment, for his almost 40 years of true independent filmmaking (including his film, “The Toxic Avenger”).

Short films featured 2 world premieres: “War Story,” an Iranian anti-war film; “Queen,” a heartbreaking LGBT film. Other events included a banned Bangladeshi film, and a documentary, “whilewewatch” (focused on the Occupy Wall Street Movement).

This year’s festival expanded its global reach, with though-provoking and challenging films getting a chance to shine in the Queens spotlight.

QWFF returned to the Museum of the Moving Image with an opening night program March 5, with special guests and honorees including Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and actress/70’s icon, Karen Black, who was honored for her unique contributions to cinema and enduring commitment to aspiring filmmakers.

Tuck away a reminder to watch for next year’s festival.

Updated 10:32 am, March 26, 2013
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