It's In Queens (January 31 through February 6)
February is Black History Month in the United States, and Queens is teeming with related activities. In just the upcoming week, the borough will host a tour of African-American cultural venues, movie screenings, live jazz, a panel discussion on the TV series Roots, a concert and a display of African-American art by MoMA. Other activities include a mime, a murder mystery/five-course dinner and a lecture on Astoria. Here’s the rundown.
- Jan. 31, Dictator Game, 6 pm. A participatory game show during which audience members come onstage. One participant receives some money and has the option to share it or not. More power goes to the second participant and so on, making the exchange relationship more complex as the game progresses. Free. The Clocktower, 29-27 41st Ave., Queens Plaza North, www.nolongerempty.org.
- Jan. 31, Winter Art Collective, 6:30 pm – 9 pm. Art opening for Caro Clarke, Emily Stedman and Charlie Chessler with wine and cocktails. The evening’s special cocktail will be a Pisco Portón Sour, and Miguel Martin from Long Island’s Palmer Vineyards will be present to talk shop. Free. Court Square Wine & Spirits, 24-20 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, 718-707-9911, www.courtsquarewine.com.
- Jan. 31, Romeo and Juliet, 7 pm. Maspeth High School’s version of William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy about two star-crossed lovers from rival families. Romeo and Juliet are forbidden to fall in love, but they can’t control themselves. $7 adult/$5 student. Maspeth High School Auditorium, 54-40 74th St., 718-830-7100, www.maspethhighschool.org.
- Feb. 1, NYC Black History Month 5 Boro Tour, 10 am – 7 pm (every day until Feb. 28). Celebrate Black History Month by visiting the African Burial Ground National Monument, Langston Hughes Community Library & Cultural Center, Louis Armstrong House Museum, MoCADA, National Jazz Museum, Sandy Ground Historical Society Museum, Schomburg Center, Weeksville Heritage Center and the Woodlawn Conservancy. Check in at each site and pick up a gift from Applebee’s. Simply mention Promo Code: NYCbhm and receive 10 percent off a meal purchase at Applebee’s. The 5 Boro Tour is self-guided, and hours vary by venue. www.NYCbhm.org.
- Feb. 2, Noguchi Open Studio Drop-In Program for Families, 11 am – 1 pm. Families can explore the galleries and spend time in the education room making art. Educators discuss gallery connections, introduce materials, and assist in artmaking. $10 per family, includes materials. No registration is required. Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd., Long Island City, www.noguchi.org.
- Feb. 2, Tour the Epicenter of Graffiti Culture at 5Pointz, 2 pm – 3:30 pm. Explore the colorful walls of this industrial complex-turned-art exhibit affectionately nicknamed “The Institute of Higher Burnin.” Curator Meres One narrates 5Pointz’s history and purpose and explains its ties to the music community. There is a live spray-painting demonstration and one of the most breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. $35. 5 Pointz, 45-46 Davis St., Long Island City, 317-219-2685, www.5ptz.com.
- Feb. 2, Michael Cooper: Masked Marvels and Wondertales, 3 pm – 4 pm. Michael Cooper is an eye-popping visual artist and virtuoso mime whose exquisite performances have dazzled audiences for over 30 years. His one-man extravaganza combines beautiful handcrafted masks, original stories of courage and wonder, outlandish stilt dancing and a physical repertoire that ranges from the madcap to the sublime. $20/$12 children under 12. Kupferberg Center’s Goldstein Theatre, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, 718-793-8080, www.kupferbergcenterarts.org.
- Feb. 2, L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, 3 pm. This is a groundbreaking survey of 36 independent films made by African and African American filmmakers at UCLA beginning in the 1970s. The movies screen on weekends from Feb. 2 through Feb. 24. Among the feature films are Daughters of the Dust, Black Sisters Revenge and Bless Their Little Hearts. First screening is Passing Through on Feb. 2 at 3 pm. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria/Long Island City, 718-777-6830, www.movingimage.us.
- Feb. 2, Isha: A Tell-All Tale, 4 pm. Meenakshi Thirukode will be present for a screening of her new movie, Indian food, a brief Q&A and information on her next webisode. The Clocktower, 29-27 41st Ave., Queens Plaza North, www.nolongerempty.org.
- Feb. 2, Murder at the Oscars! (Murder Mystery Dinner Show), 8 pm – 9:30 pm. A full, five-course dinner, dancing and The Killing Kompany’s brand new audience participation murder mystery where diners are the guilty parties. $45 per person. Riccardo’s by the Bridge, 21-01 24th Ave., Astoria, 718-721-7777, www.riccardos.com.
- Feb. 2, African-American Works in MoMA’s Collection, 2 pm. Explore the MoMA Collection’s diverse and vital works created by African American artists like Elizabeth Catlett, Kara Walker, Jacob Lawrence and others and discuss the social and political context in which they were made. Free. Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, www.queenslibrary.org.
- Feb. 2, Jazz at St. Albans: Riza Printup, 5 pm. The beautiful rarity of the jazz harp by Riza Printup, the premiere artist of this unique genre. Riza is a fixture at Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, recently performing with Chick Corea. She also performs with the Fiery String Sistahs. Free, but donations welcome. St. Albans Congregational Church, 172-17 Linden Blvd., Jamaica, www.rizaprintup.com.
- Feb. 3, Sunday Concerts @ Central: Kaïssa, 3 pm. Known for her unique blend of African, reggae, jazz, R&B, makossa and Brazilian fusion, Kaïssa will perform contemporary African/world music with Cameroonian roots sung in Douala, one of Cameroon’s many languages. Free. Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, www.queenslibrary.org.
- Feb. 4, Forgotten New York Lecture: The Village of Astoria, 7 pm. The inlet Halletts Cove recalls the family that moved to the land 360 years ago, but Astoria was named for a man who apparently never set foot in the neighborhood, entrepreneur and real estate tycoon John Jacob Astor (1763-1848), once the wealthiest man in America. (As it turns out, he could see the village from his home on what is now East 87th Street near York Avenue.) Kevin Walsh’s presentation takes a look at Astoria Village, which is now vanishing quickly to new housing and development. $5. Greater Astoria Historical Society, 35-20 Broadway, Astoria/Long Island City, 718-278-0700, www.astorialic.org.
- Feb. 4, Roots stars among guest speakers at Changing the Picture Series, 7 pm – 9 pm. A discussion with four stars of the TV series Roots, Ben Vereen, Lou Gossett Jr., LeVar Burton and Leslie Uggams. Roots, which first aired in 1977, was one of the most influential and highest rated television events of all time; the final episode had more than 100 million viewers. Thirty-five years later, the series still resonates. $12. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria/Long Island City, 718-777-6830, www.movingimage.us.
The Queens Tourism Council produces the It’s In Queens! column with the hope that readers will enjoy the borough’s wonderful attractions.