2016-06-22 / Front Page

City Parks Foundation Announces SummerStage Kids

Free Performing Arts Events in Queens
July 6 - August 18, 2016
City Parks Foundation announced the 2016 launch of SummerStage Kids, New York City’s unique, interactive family festival presenting nearly 100 performing arts events across 32 locations citywide. This free festival will run from July 6h to August 18th in Queens, exposing audiences to the local, national and international world of arts and culture, through a diverse collection of engaging artists unparalleled by any other festival of its kind in New York City.
Taking place predominantly on weekday mornings, SummerStage Kids brings free music, dance, circus, puppetry and theater performances to local neighborhood parks across the five boroughs. This year, festival-goers can look forward to fan favorite Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s fresh beats and rhymes, rollicking jug music from Lard Dog and The Band of Shy, and Latin-inspired tunes from jarana-player Sonia de los Santos, to name just a few musical acts. In addition, audiences will enjoy storytelling and tap dancing from Joseph Webb, comedy and juggling from the Gizmo Guys, African diaspora-rooted dance from Rashida Bumbray, and a host of other thrilling activities throughout the summer.
This year, as the SummerStage performing arts festival honors the distinctly New York musical form that is jazz, SummerStage Kids will celebrate in tandem, presenting jazz music and dance performances across the city. Audiences are invited to party New Orleans-style to zydeco, swing, and blues music from Jazzy Ash; jam out with jazz drummer Winard Harper & Jeli Posse; dance along to B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove; and enjoy a mix of Latin jazz, salsa, and rock tunes compliments of Mister G. A special jazz themed Community Family Day taking place in Queensbridge Park will feature jazz pianist, composer, and producer Marc Carey, who will host an open-invite jam session, and acclaimed jazz vocalist Brianna Thomas & The Jazz Travelers.
 season also marks the fourth year of SummerStage Kids’ focus on contemporary circus. This year, audiences will get the chance to see extraordinary circus performers from New York City and beyond, including world-renowned Chinese acrobat Li Liu, Harlem-based husband-wife duo Acrobuffos performing with fellow clown couple Rob and Miss Jane, and Brooklyn’s own aerialist-dance collective Hybrid Movement Company. These high-flying acts are sure to entertain and delight New Yorkers young and old.
“SummerStage Kids is a one of a kind performing arts festival that tailors its offerings specifically to an all-ages audience. The festival is thoughtfully curated to appeal to the rich cultural diversity of the New York City community, while also presenting unique and culturally specific music, dance, and circus performances that entertain, inspire and educate,” said Monique Martin, Programming Director for City Parks Foundation.
This year, the SummerStage Kids Community Family Day series will offer seven dates across all five boroughs. These weekend programs take place in the late afternoon and feature music, dance, circus, and other interactive activities, ranging from pick-up games, sports, and engaging, educational fun for the whole family. Special highlights this year will include performances from up-and-coming Brooklyn “gospel rapper” Ziearre, in Red Hook Park; celebrated children’s ensemble Justin Roberts & The Not Ready For Naptime Players in Central Park; and famed emcee DJ Spinna celebrating the songs of Earth, Wind and Fire in East River Park. Featuring African drumming and hip-hop dance parties, teen propelled spoken word, double dutch and everything in between, these Community Family Days will entertain toddlers, teens and adults alike!
See the complete SummerStage Kids schedule in Queens at qgazette.com. Schedule is subject to change. For the most up-to-date scheduling and line-up for all programming, visit www.cityparksfoundation.org/arts/summerstage-kids/.

Twitter: @CPFNYC
Facebook: City Parks Foundation
Instagram: @CPFNYC


July

Wednesday, July 6
Jazzy Ash
Astoria Heights Playground, Queens
30th St. & 45th Rd.
10:30 AM

Monday, July 11
Acrobuffos + Rob and Miss Jane
Rochdale Park, Queens
New York Blvd. & 134th Ave.
10:30 AM

Tuesday, July 12
Acrobuffos + Rob and Miss Jane
Rufus King Park, Queens
Jamaica Ave. at 151st St.
10:30 AM

Wednesday, July 13
Todd Rolle: Kids Day Out
Astoria Heights, Queens
30th St. & 45th Rd.
10:30 AM

Monday, July 18
PuppetMobile’s Puss in Boots
Rochdale Park, Queens
New York Blvd. & 134th Ave.
10:30 AM

Tuesday, July 19
Music With a Message
Rufus King Park, Queens
Jamaica Ave. at 151st St.
10:30 AM

Wednesday, July 20
PuppetMobile’s Puss in Boots
Astoria Heights, Queens
30th St. & 45th Rd.
10:30 AM

Monday, July 25
Chinese Acrobat Li Liu
Rochdale Park, Queens
New York Blvd. & 134th Ave.
10:30 AM

Tuesday, July 26
PuppetMobile’s Puss in Boots
Rufus King Park, Queens
Jamaica Ave. at 151st St.
10:30 AM

Thursday, July 28
PuppetMobile’s Puss in Boots
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Near the Unisphere
10:30 AM

Hopalong Andrew
Queensbridge Park, Queens
41st Ave. & Vernon Blvd.
10:30 AM

Sunday, July 31
COMMUNITY FAMILY DAY featuring Marc Cary: The Harlem Sessions / Joseph Webb: Dancing Buddhas / WBGO Kids Jazz feat. Brianna Thomas and The Jazz Travelers
Queensbridge Park, Queens
41st Ave. & Vernon Blvd
4:00 - 7:00 PM

August


Monday, August 1
Moona Luna
Rochdale Park, Queens
New York Blvd. & 134th Ave.
10:30 AM

Thursday, August 4
Lard Dog & the Band of Shy
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Near the Unisphere
10:30 AM

Diva’s 3 Music
Queensbridge Park, Queens
41st Ave. & Vernon Blvd.
10:30 AM

Monday, August 8
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Rochdale Park, Queens
New York Blvd. & 134th Ave.
10:30 AM

Thursday, August 11
B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Near the Unisphere
10:30 AM

PuppetMobile’s Puss in Boots
Queensbridge Park, Queens
41st Ave. & Vernon Blvd.
10:30 AM

Thursday, August 18
Shine & The Moonbeams
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Near the Unisphere
10:30 AM

B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove
Queensbridge Park, Queens
41st Ave. & Vernon Blvd.
10:30 AM

SummerStage Kids is supported by Disney. Additional support is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the NYC City Council. Additional funding generously provided by NYC Council Member Mark Levine and NYC Council Member Margaret Chin. The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre and CityParks PuppetMobile are supported by Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, The Prescott Fund for Children and Youth, and The Weininger Foundation.
City Parks Foundation is the only independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to offer programs in public parks throughout the five boroughs of New York City. At City Parks Foundation, we are dedicated to invigorating and transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life through sports, arts, community development, and education programs for all New Yorkers. Our programs and community building initiatives -- located in more than 300 parks, recreation centers, and public schools across the city -- reach 425,000 people each year. Our ethos is simple: we believe thriving parks reflect thriving communities.

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Being a good corporate citizen is a time-honored Disney tradition. Through contributions, collaborations with local organizations, in-kind gifts and volunteering, Disney helps to brighten the lives of kids and families in need and strengthen communities around the world. For more information visit, thewaltdisneycompany.com/citizenship or twitter.com/CitizenDisney.

Artist Descriptions

Chinese Acrobat Li Liu
Li Liu was born in the city of Shenyang, located in Liaoning Province in The Northeast of China. When she was six years old she began learning acrobatics with her father. The following year she was chosen to attend The Chinese National Circus School in the capital city of Beijing. While in Beijing she trained for eight hours a day until the age of 16. In 1984 her artistic cycling act won a gold medal at the prestigious Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris, France. She and her sister, Liu Ying, were awarded “The Golden Lion” prize for their hand-balancing act at The Wu Qiao International Circus Festival in 1995. For many years Li traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa and Asia with The Liaoning Acrobatic Arts Troupe. She performed with Zirkus Knie in Switzerland, Circus Krone in Germany and with countless other touring shows in Italy, Holland, France, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and; Burma. She came to the United States in 2000 with Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus and toured all over the US for two years. Li has been living in the US and working as a freelance performer since 2002. She is a regular performer on the NBA halftime circuit and with Princess Cruise Lines.

Acrobuffos
Put up your dukes! Inspired by classic boxing movies, this punch-drunk, knock-out slapstick comedy team brings their hilarious boxing ring to you. Oh, and they get stuck in giant balloons. Not to be missed, great for all ages. The Acrobuffos: Seth Bloom & Christina Gelsone met at a circus in Afghanistan, were engaged while street performing in Scotland, and married in China. Since becoming clown partners in 2006, they have created six shows together, competed in international circus festivals, performed in over 20 countries, juggled on Letterman, headlined at the Big Apple Circus, and were featured in The New York Times. They live in Harlem.

B-Love’s Hip-Hop Jazzy Groove
B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove is written, directed, and choreographed by Traci Bartlow and featuring Ray F. Davis. A native of Oakland, California Ms. Bartlow is proficient in many styles of dance, and uses African, Jazz and Hip Hop as a base for her choreography. Ms. Bartlow’s choreography has been presented at the Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival, the Black Choreographers Festival, and The Sisyphus Syndrome-A Jazz Opera by Amiri Baraka. She has received commissions for her choreography from the Illadelph Legend Dance Festival in Philadelphia, and the Eastbay Community Foundation in Oakland, and is proud to be an official Frankie Manning Ambassador of Lindy Hop. As a historian on black dance she has worked for a wide range of artist and organizations such as Rhodessa Jones, Dessy Di Lauro, Martin Luther McCoy, The Coup, Cal Shakes and, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Davis.

Brianna Thomas & The Jazz Travelers
According to Will Friedwald at The Wall Street Journal, vocalist Brianna Thomas "... may well be the best young straight-ahead jazz singer of her generation." Thomas was born and raised in Peoria, IL where she first cut her teeth as a performer. Initially taught and influenced by her Father, drummer and vocalist Charlie Thomas, Brianna comes from a rich background of diverse musical influences. Brianna moved to NYC in 2007 to attend college at The New School and has since established herself as a talented vocalist on the scene today. Since graduating in 2011 she has performed with jazz greats Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, Russell Malone, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra and longtime hero Dianne Reeves. Thomas has also performed Nationally and Internationally ranging from the "Women In Jazz Festival" at Jazz At Lincoln Center to the prestigious Montreaux, Umbria, Bern and Sochi Jazz Festivals. Brianna recently released her debut album "You Must Believe In Love" Feb 17th 2014 on Sound On Purpose Records. The best illustration of Ms Thomas is given by the words of legendary trombonist and Jazz Messenger Curtis Fuller: "a marvelous new artist who has all it takes to reach the top of the jazz profession and music in general."

CityParks PuppetMobile
The CityParks PuppetMobile presents the classic "Puss in Boots" tale, with a twist. Once upon a time there lived a young man named Ferguson Mundingle. Fergus has just the bare essentials in life - a roof over his head, the clothes on his back, and his ever faithful pet cat. One day when lamenting his poor lifestyle, Fergus is astounded when his cat stands up, begins talking and introduces himself as Puss. Puss reveals to Fergus that he is very intelligent and well traveled, and even has an idea to help Fergus improve his situation. With that in mind, Puss dons a snazzy pair of boots and sets off on an exciting magical journey. Despite his reputation as a sly trickster, Puss soon proves himself a caring friend to all, willing to help at any cost!

CityParks PuppetMobile, one of the only traveling puppet theaters in the country, brings Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre productions and puppet making workshops to all corners of the city, free of charge. Traveling the five boroughs in a PuppetMobile equipped with a stage and staff of professional puppeteers, the CityParks PuppetMobile brings entertainment to 20,000 children and families each year. Performances are held in parks, playgrounds and recreation centers from May to October.
Divas 3 Music
In the tradition of legendary girl groups like the Supremes & Martha and the Vandella’s, DIVAS3 MUSIC blends sounds from gospel, blues and jazz to create their signature sound. With unique backgrounds, quirky personalities andvaried musical inspirations - Sonya Rogers, Grace Young and Patricia Pope- together make DIVAS3 an electrifying musical experience. Their high energy stage show, tight harmonies and constant reinvention make them a one of a kind act. Together the ladies have appeared in large productions, performed with some music’s biggest names, appeared across 5 continents and yet they remain and are most proud of the work they do locally as community citizens giving back. Despite their incredible accomplishments, every time they perform audiences are reminded that they are just getting started….

Hopalong Andrew
Singing the great folk songs, fireside ballads, and cowboy favorites from the silver screen, Hopalong Andrew's concerts are geared towards all ages. A one-man band, with guitar, banjo, harmonica, and a vintage Samsonite suitcase drum, Hopalong Andrew is a bit like Roy Rogers meets Pete Seeger and Jesse Fuller. You’ll square dance, dosey-doe, ride the “Hopalong Express,” visit the “cozy corral” and “cozy campfire,” and have an all-Americana good time. Hopalong Andrew is former NYC Urban Park Ranger Andrew Vladeck. He began his career as "The Singing Ranger" while stalling an event for the NYC Parks Commissioner’s arrival. He is also touring musician with a number of outfits (Fireships, The Honey Brothers). In a typical day he'll play for children in the morning, seniors in the afternoon, and a rock venue at night.

Jazzy Ash
Jazzy Ash invites the whole family to come along on a Crescent City inspired, jazzy music adventure with her band the Leaping Lizards. Jazzy Ash’s songs celebrate the magic of movement, with a lot of sugar and sass thrown in, New Orleans-style. Her latest album, Bon Voyage features gypsy jazz, zydeco, swing, blues, and Dixieland to encourage kids and grown-ups to celebrate the music of New Orleans as part of the American folk music heritage. Jazzy Ash’s cover of the Louis Armstrong classic “Heebie Jeebies”was the #1 song on SiriusXM Kids Place Live radio, and NPR's All Things Considered calls Jazzy Ash "one of the most talked about children's music artist this year.”

Joseph Webb and the Dancing Buddhas
Joseph Monroe Webb is an international award winning dancer, choreographer, actor, educator and poet who has showcased his talents in a number of performances throughout the years, including the Tony Award winning Broadway production, Bring in ‘Da Noise Bring in ‘Da Funk. Following his Broadway success, Webb ventured into acting in television and film, including Martin Scorsese’s film Bringing Out The Dead, Black Nativity starring Angela Basset and Forest Whitaker, a short film by Red Bull Academy Music NYC, and more. Joseph was cast as a principal in a short Morningstar Farms documentary, to be released in April 2016. He has also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. Joseph has appeared as a feature and/or starring act in the cast of the Thank You Gregory, Tap Stars (Hamburg, Germany), Cotton Club Parade with Wynton Marsalis, and more. Joseph received raves reviews for his first major work at University Settlement, with the NY Times citing Joseph and his ability to blend various genres of art into one show as, “too hard to categorize, but there is no doubt he is a natural star.” In March 2016, Joseph returned to University Settlement (NYC) to debut the premiere of his latest work, Dancing Buddhas: The Three Jewels, to a sold out audience. Joseph is excited to continue developing part II and III of this dance-theatre series with the Dancing Buddhas professional dance company.

Lard Dog and The Band of Shy
Lard Dog and The Band of Shy present an all-ages musical extravaganza that promises to entertain adults and kids alike. The Human Lard Dog is a cartoon character come-to-life who descends from planet Belopio on a Giant Pretzel to take you and your family on a musical journey of absurdism, frivolity, and unbridled joy. Lard Dog and his 6-piece Band of Shy invite you to their unique audio-visual universe complete with catchy songs, interactive props, multimedia graphics, and a pretzel toss! Come play along and slurp the noodle of life. After all, Life's A Real Dream.


Marc Carey: Harlem Jam Sessions
Jazz pianist, keyboardist, producer and composer Marc Cary holds tight to his roots in Washington, D.C.’s go-go music scene, but they represent only one element among the myriad. Cary’s interests run from Indian classical to Malian music to hip-hop. He started his career working with Betty Carter, a legendary vocalist famous for drawing soul and sincerity out of her bands, and went on to work with Roy Hargrove, Dizzy Gillespie, Erykah Badu, Shirley Horn, Stefon Harris, Q-Tip and – most influential of all – Abbey Lincoln.

Moona Luna
MOONA LUNA is the kindie group that the New York Daily News says is providing “the missing soundtrack for bilingual/bicultural kids.” After making a splash on the family music scene with their accordion-driven, Latin-inspired debut album, Piñata Party (2011), Moona Luna delivered something fresh in its sophomore album, Vamos, Let's Go! (2013). Songwriter and bandleader, Sandra Velasquez, found inspiration in American pop hits of the 50’s and 60’s, and staying true to her bilingual mission, crafted Spanish and English lyrics for each song. Having bilingual lyrics is just the icing on the cake because the tunes are so finger - snapping good and cater to extremely wide audiences.

Music With a Message
Renaissance Youth Center is proud to present the dynamic and talented, Bronx-based Music With A Message (MWAM) Band! MWAM captivates audiences of all ages delivering powerful messages through soulful renditions of classic songs and innovative original compositions that emphasize issues such as gun violence, asthma (“Asthma Can’t Win”), homelessness (“We Need You”), and more lighthearted songs like “Pull Your Pants Up”. Ranging in ages from 6-21, this twenty-five member group is currently hard at work, preparing for their annual Summer Tour, where they are scheduled to perform 50-60 shows between June and early September. Directed by Mr. Bervin Harris, they have performed in over 700 shows and counting. With performances at local parks and community centers as well as larger events at Yankee Stadium, Six Flags, Hershey Park, and Madison Square Garden under their belt, the MWAM Band are conscious-minded youth, with raw talent, which they use to inspire positive changes within their communities.

Rob and Miss Jane
Rob and Miss Jane met when they shared a stage at the World Expo in Yeosu, South Korea in 2012. They realized they could create a brand new show together by combining the grace and beauty of Jane’s dancing with Rob’s circus skills. Throw in a healthy dose of rapid-fire physical comedy and you have a winning combination that will excite audiences around the world. But there’s also a serious side to the slapstick shenanigans. Rob is dedicated to enhancing social awareness through his art and developing accessible engaging circus theatre. Some unforgettable moments include performing at a refugee camp in Kosovo and entertaining young children in Andkhoi, Afghanistan. Rob was also the first Chinese-American clown to perform in Russia at the 2013 Yekaterinburg International Clown Festival with his partner, now wife, Miss Jane! Jane is a citizen of the Ukraine and she is very excited to be in the United States of America for the first time working with her husband Rob. Having a dance background, she has always been comfortable in front of an audience but learning the tricks of the clown trade has been completely different. But as she puts it, “Making people smile and laugh is a skill that takes years of practice and I’m happy that I get to travel around the globe with someone I love putting that practice to the test!” Rob and Miss Jane are very excited to bring their unique brand of comic derring-do to SummerStage!

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Combining the excitement of hip hop with the magical world of childhood, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is a one of a kind, stand out star in the family music scene. With sophisticated instrumental funk and positive, witty wordplay, he and his family band have earned a loyal national following. Skidoo's GRAMMY-nominated fourth album, The Perfect Quirk, is classic Hip Hop spiced with Motown, reggae, club thump, blues and the occasional pirate shanty. Along with his daughter, MC Fireworks, 23 Skidoo creates unique and heartwarming party music that has garnered national awards, seven #1 hits on SiriusXM Global Radio and praise from TIME, NPR, USA Today and many others.

Shine and the Moonbeams
Shine and the Moonbeams exploded on the children's music scene four years ago and have not stopped rising to the top of the genre. They bring the soulful melodies of family life along with rhythm and bass of childhood to the party. They are currently working on their second CD due out this summer.

Todd Rolle: Kids Day Out
Kids Day Out features singer, actor, musician and arts educator Todd Rolle with guitarist Steve Bloom. Together, they perform hand clappin, foot stompin sounds that will keep your whole crew in the groove.


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