Tag Archives: Arts

Queens Museum hosts art education conference

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Event photos by Alina Suriel/Other photos courtesy of the Creative Growth Center

The United States Society for Education Through the Arts (USSEA) held their annual conference at the Queens Museum this weekend to discuss this year’s theme of inclusive art education.

Teachers from all around the country came to attend seminars to help participants share resources and expertise to take back to their respective classrooms, museums or community arts organizations. This year’s theme was “An Inclusive World: Bridging Communities.”

Deputy Queens Borough President Melva Miller delivered the conference’s opening remarks. She praised the diversity of Queens and the efforts of the Queens museum to make art available to wide audiences, and emphasized the importance of art in bringing different communities together.

“All of us here today know that if there’s one thing that can cross racial, ethnic and geographic boundaries, it’s the arts,” said Miller.

The first of the weekend’s four keynote speakers was Tom Di Maria, director of Creative Growth Art Center, an Oakland organization that provides a professional studio environment for adult artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities. The center has been open since 1974 and is free of charge to its artists, some of whom have been featured in the Museum of Modern Art and other internationally high-profile art galleries, and have received press coverage from major media publications such as The New York Times.

Other keynote speakers included Sherry Huss, vice president of Maker Media, a global platform for connecting artistic and technological innovators with each other; Tim Rollins, founder of Kids of Survival, an art workshop in the Bronx for at-risk students; and Sree Sreenivasan, the first chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Alice Wexler, an art education professor at SUNY New Paltz who serves as USSEA president, said that it was important to bring art educators together from different backgrounds and disciplines to cultivate a collaborative community.

“There’s a lot of territorialization that goes on, and it’s counterproductive,” said Wexler, who added that by adhering so closely to familiar academic boundaries, many art professionals could be found occasionally guilty of fostering an elitist environment not welcoming to outsiders.


Free summer festival featuring more than 60 performers coming to Astoria Park

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Astoria Music & Arts

Astoria Park will shine bright next month during a day-long festival featuring more than 60 live performers, visual artists and activities for all ages.

The nonprofit Astoria Music & Arts, which is committed to supporting the diverse artistic community throughout Astoria and Long Island City, will be holding the New World Queens Festival on Aug. 29 at Astoria Park.

From noon to 9 p.m., visitors will be able to enjoy the free event that will feature live music, visual arts, dancers, performance artists and interactive children’s events.

Music during the festival will include bossa nova, reggae, ska, R&B, rock, psychedelic, Americana, indie, funk, blue grass and Afro-Cuban.

“For over seven years, AM&A has brought music, art, dance, theater, comedy and film to the Astoria community, and this summer at Astoria Park we will be throwing the greatest music and arts festival in Astoria,” said Doris Cellar, director of operations for Astoria Music and Arts.

The festival, which is pet-friendly and will focus on eco-awareness, is also expected to feature a pie-eating contest by Astor Bake Shop, and a family fun dance party experience, sponsored by Little Club Heads, for children ages 1 to 12 and their parents.

Visitors will also be able to find a dance tent featuring Sol Dance Center, a puppet show by Wonder Spark from Raising Astoria, a giant Kaiju Big Battel monster and more.

For more information, email astoriamusicarts@gmail.com or visit www.astoriamusicandarts.org or www.facebook.com/Astoriamusicandarts.


Campaign started to bring new performance series to Sunnyside plaza

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Two groups are coming together to raise funds to bring a new performance series underneath the elevated 7 train in Sunnyside this summer.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District and the coalition ReCreate Queens, which aims to build more creative spaces in Sunnyside and Woodside, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Friday in hopes of bringing a new series to Bliss Plaza.

Bliss Plaza is a new pedestrian plaza that opened last October in Sunnyside underneath the elevated 7 subway line at the intersection of 40th Street and Queens Boulevard.

The campaign, which has a goal set at $5,000, will fund a new monthly performance series called “Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza” scheduled to start in June and run through October. It will provide local professional musicians and performers a public venue, making the plaza home to free concerts and a new site for culture and performance.

“Now that we have this great public space in the neighborhood, it’s time to program it,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “Bringing arts programming to Bliss Plaza helps create a more dynamic place and generates foot traffic and activity in the neighborhood, which benefits businesses, residents and visitors alike.”

ReCreate Queens launched a public call at the beginning of the month for performing artists, and submissions are due Friday.

“As a coalition of neighbors and creative professionals who want to ensure that the arts thrive in the area, it’s critical to us to showcase local artists and make their work accessible for everyone,” said Nancy Kleaver, founding member of ReCreate Queens. “With support from the community we will be able to pay our artists what they deserve, create a professional, festive performance area, and establish an annual series that will grow over time.

The series received initial funding from the Queens Council on the Arts and the first $1,000 donated through the online campaign will be match by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.

To donate, click here.


Artists gather at MoMA PS1 for Cultural Town Hall

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Jimmy Van Bramer's office

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer hosted a Cultural Town Hall meeting at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City on Wednesday, featuring Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Tom Finkelpearl, regarding plans to increase the number of affordable housing for artists.

Van Bramer and Finkelpearl also discussed recently proposed legislation to develop a cultural plan in New York City and enhancing the city’s Percent for Art program to grow community engagement.

Being an artist and living in New York is no easy task. Many of the artists in attendance for the town hall meeting said they are finding it tougher and tougher to be able to afford the rising cost of rent to stay and work in New York City. The fear is that this is leading to artists packing up and moving out of New York, and if the trend is not stopped, the city will be left without any artists.

“This administration has recently unveiled an affordable housing plan that includes 1,500 units for artists, dedicated units for artists,” Van Bramer said. “We’re making sure that artists can continue to live and create and make some money here in New York City.”

“The mayor announced that in 10 years we’re going to build 1,500 units…of affordable housing for artists, and 500 units of affordable studio spaces, which is also very important,” Finkelpearl said.

A really good example of affordable housing for artists is P.S. 109 in East Harlem, which is an old school building that has been converted into 89 units of affordable live/work spaces for artists, Finkelpearl explained. “It’s the first, new, affordable workspace for artists in a generation in New York City,” he said.

Aside from making New York a better place for artists to live and work, Van Bramer said that New York City has no comprehensive cultural plan, but that may soon change.

“We are, I believe, very close, we could be just a month or two away from passing the first ever comprehensive cultural plan in the city of New York,” Van Bramer said.

The piece of legislation requires the city to look at their current cultural priorities, determine how communities are being served and how they propose to better those services. The plan will study the condition of artists and plan how to remain an artist-friendly city. The city will go to communities and find out what they want and need in a cultural plan and incorporate what they hear into the plan.

“I think we’re really ready to embrace this,” said Finkelpearl, a former director of the Queens Museum of Art.

Creating a public art plan for New York will bring more art to the communities, but the Percent for Art program will procure the funding for public art works. The Percent for Art program is a law that was established in 1982 and requires one percent of the budget for eligible city-funded construction projects be allocated to public artwork. Since its inception, the Percent for Art program, managed by the DCA, has commissioned hundreds of site-specific projects throughout New York City.

“I think the more public art that we have in the city of New York, the better,” Van Bramer said.

One way to increase community involvement is to get them involved in the Percent for Art program process.

“Do you see an opportunity for more community engagement?” Van Bramer asked Finkelpearl.

“In general the procedures and regulations that the law has spawned, I think, are quite effective, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get better,” Finkelpearl responded.

“I’m thrilled to have this conversation,” on pubic art and about its perception, Van Bramer said.


Beat Nite features Ridgewood art space

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo: Anthony Giudice

The 12th installment of Beat Nite, hosted by Norte Maar, took art enthusiasts and collectors to some of the alternative art spaces in Bushwick and Ridgewood on March 6. The event, produced by Jason Andrew, featured 10 art spaces within the community.

“When it started in 2009, there were only about six or seven venues,” Andrew said. “But now there are so many, we have to limit it down to only 10.” Each year a different curator takes charge of the event and selects 10 spaces that he or she wants to feature.

This year, Ben Sutton is the curator and chose the 10 spaces, including the host space, Norte Maar located at 83 Wyckoff Ave.; the Microscope Gallery, Transmitter and Tiger Strikes Asteroid (TSA) at 1329 Willoughby Ave.; Sardine at 286 Stanhope St.; and Kimberly-Klark at 788 Woodward Ave.

At the TSA gallery, artist Debra Ramsay had her three-piece project, which is part of the larger project “Generative Process,” on display. All three pieces work together to form one uniform concept.

Ramsay walked the same nature trail in upstate New Berlin each day and snapped 18 photographs — one every 100 steps. She did this for each season of the year. When she was done, she compiled a set of 72 unique and distinct colors, one color from each photo.

For the first piece of the project, Ramsay laid out the colors from season to season, displaying all the colors at once. In the second piece, the colors of spring hung on a line followed by the colors of summer behind them, then fall and finally winter. This allowed the viewer to see the change in color from the same spot throughout the entire year.

The final piece took all the colors from the spring season and combined them for an overall spring color. Ramsay did the same for summer, fall and winter. Finally, she took all the colors and combined them to create a single color that represented all of the seasons.

Photo: Anthony Giudice

Artist Debra Ramsay with one of her pieces (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

This artwork is designed to allow the viewer to process time in a different way, Ramsay said. By seeing the progression of color from one spot over the course of a year, it lets the viewer see what Ramsay saw each time she went out on her nature walk, she explained.

The art gallery, Kimberly-Klark, located on Woodward Avenue, is owned and operated by five artists. Each month the artists rotate who they would like to see featured in their space. This month Jonny Paul Gillette was selected and his exhibit, “Goals on Balls,” is on display from Feb. 28 to March 29.

Gillette took sports balls and placed a 16-by-20-inch canvas atop each ball. He then airbrushed a painting of the goal of each ball onto the canvas, while it was still perched on the ball. The football had a goal post and end zone painted on the canvas, the golf ball was accompanied by a painting of the cup and the dodgeball had an opposing player on its canvas.

Gillette lives and works in New York, and his exhibit at Kimberly-Klark is his first solo show in New York.

Robert Grand, one of Kimberly-Klark’s owners, lives in Ridgewood and is happy that he got a chance to open an art space his neighborhood.

Poster by Ellen Letcher

Poster by Ellen Letcher

Being in Ridgewood was a concern for him and his co-owners. “It’s been a really good turnout. And that was the question, would people come all the way out here,” Grand said. “People have been paying attention.”

One of the site’s other owners, Sydney Smith, said she was “really charmed by Ridgewood.”

“It is really fun exploring a new neighborhood. There is a good mix of people from all walks of life in Ridgewood,” she said.

The name given to the art space — Kimberly-Klark — follows a trend of naming art spaces after fictitious female characters and is a play on words with the famous personal care company Kimberly-Clark.

Kimberly-Klark is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., or by appointment.


LIC’s Secret Theatre to stay open after surpassing fundraising goal

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Orestes Gonzalez

The show will go on at one Long Island City theatre thanks to a successful online fundraising campaign.

Last month Richard Mazda, founder of the Secret Theatre, located at 44-02 23rd St., started an Indiegogo campaign looking to raise enough money to help keep the doors of the theatre open.

The fundraising site came after Mazda said the theatre had to deal with financial difficulties starting in late 2012 after the Department of Buildings (DOB) found the landlord’s certificate of occupancy was out of date.

The goal of the Indiegogo campaign, which ends Sept. 4 at 11:59 p.m., was set at $10,000, and as of Thursday afternoon $10,860 had been raised.

“I feel really good about it,” Mazda said about seeing the overwhelming amount of support. “Coming out and saying we’re in trouble was not easy. I feel very luck that so many people did rush to help.”

The Secret Theatre opened in 2007 and has since produced weekly children’s theatre shows, held classes for students, provided coaching services, produced in-house shows and co-produced productions.

Along with raising the money to pay for expenses, Mazda also said the funds will go toward renovations such as putting a restroom inside the Little Theatre, which had to be moved to an alternative spot in the 23rd Street building after violations were found by the DOB.

He also hopes to turn the theatre into a nonprofit organization.

Mazda said he plans to start the Queens Theatre Fund, a small organization which brings together the Queens theatre community to create funding for “exceptional and emergency circumstances,” such as the one in which the Secret Theatre found itself.

“I tried to be very transparent and sincere and a lot of people have said to me that what I was saying to them hit home. They understood from the way that I communicated the message,” Mazda said about the overall fundraising experience. “I think they realized the Secret Theatre is a resource for the community.”


Jackson Heights to celebrate arts during day-long festival

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Carlos Martinez, Hibridos Collective

Jackson Heights will bloom with the arts on the first day of summer.

For the second year, the Jackson Heights Arts Festival is slated to bring the community an all-day public event featuring free art workshops, music and outdoor art exhibitions during a Summer Solstice Celebration. The event will take place on June 21 at Diversity Plaza, a pedestrian plaza located on 37th Road between 73rd and 74th streets.

The outdoor festival is organized by the Friends of Diversity Plaza, a community partnership of local organizations and residents committed to re-envisioning Diversity Plaza as a space opened to the community.

Co-organizers of the festival are Hibridos Collective, an interdisciplinary collaborative co-founded by Carlos Martinez and Beatriz Gil, and Jackson Heights artist Nitin Mukul.

“In collaboration with the Friends of Diversity Plaza we want to build on the local arts community, increase the visibility of artists that live and work in the neighborhood, promote community-based arts and open a dialogue for empowerment through the arts,” Gil said.

The day-long festival will kick off at 11 a.m. with two art education workshops, followed by hourly musical performances starting at noon as part of Make Music New York. Artists performing include Bethany Wild, CoCo Wade, Roopa Mahadevan, Nova Safra Bateria, AC Haley, Roberto Buscarsi, SA, and The Live Cultures.

“Our community represents one of the most culturally diverse ZIP codes on the planet. There is no better way to celebrate that diversity than the arts,” Mukul said. “This exhibition brings together community artists in a public space, creating both intentional and accidental intersections as a metaphor for the strong, vibrant, eclectic community we are.”



Block party to be held at Kaufman Astoria Studios

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


To start off the summer, the Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) will host a block party in the newly formed Kaufman Arts District filled with local artists, food and much more.

The QCA Block Party, which will take place on the first day of summer on Saturday, June 21 from 4 to 10 p.m., will be located at the backlot of Kaufman Astoria Studios and feature musicians from Make Music New York, a barbecue throwdown by local restaurants, a poetry slam and an evening film screening.

In March, Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Museum of the Moving Image and the Queens Council on the Arts announced the designation of the Kaufman Arts District, the first of its kind in the borough.

The Kaufman Arts District spans from 31st Street to the west, 34th Avenue to the north, Steinway Street to the east, and 37th Avenue to the south.

This block party, which is expected to be the kickoff of more upcoming Astoria events, is QCA’s fourth Moveable Feast Artist Dinner event, which serves as a fundraiser to support the High School to Art School Portfolio Program.

Admission to the QCA Block Party will be $35. For more information click here.



Citywide initiative to help cultural nonprofits, art funding

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


The infamous moniker of “one percent” gained an innovative, positive meaning among the arts community.

At MoMA PS1 on Tuesday, January 8, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced his support for the One Percent for Culture campaign, a citywide initiative aimed at increasing funding towards art institutions and impressing upon the city the value of cultural nonprofits. The coalition, containing 245 members thus far, seeks to ensure that nonprofit cultural establishments, responsible for assisting the city to generate billions in annual revenue, are granted one percent of the city’s annual budget.

Currently, arts and culture organizations receive a quarter of one percent of the city’s yearly budget.

“We know that that number and the billions in revenue that get spun off because of that could not happen without culture and the arts,” said Van Bramer. “The economy of the city of New York could not stand without culture and the arts. It simply could not.”

Arts and culture bring in $7.6 billion for the city of New York every year and provide jobs for roughly 100,000 New Yorkers. According to Van Bramer, the tourism boom, recently announced by Mayor Bloomberg, is in thanks to art institutions that entice visitors from all over the world, adding that culture and the arts is one of the few areas of the city budget that generates revenue.

Cultural leaders from across the city joined Van Bramer to announce the initiative and speak on its behalf, including Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA PS1 and Eric Pryor, executive director of the Center for Arts Education. Charles Rice-Gonzalez, executive director of Bronx Academy for Arts & Dance (BAAD!) said increased funding for arts organizations creates a symbiotic relationship between culture and community, which serve to nourish and inspire each other.

“One Percent for Culture is about giving this vital segment, the arts of our city, a chance to come up to speed with the rest of the industry,” said Rice-Gonzalez. “We have managed to make a great impact with modest amounts. Imagine what could be done if one percent of the city’s budget is given to culture?”

Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of Long Island City playhouse The Chocolate Factory, said that with extra funding, she could afford to increase wages for the 100 artists on her payroll, purchase better equipment and decrease ticket prices.

“If we don’t value [art], we might lose it,” said Lewandowski. “One Percent for Culture is very valuable to my organization, a small very experimental organization, because it says we’re valuable. It’s the city saying ‘we see what you give back to the economy, to the quality of life, to everything.”

While Van Bramer called the announcement “a very exciting time,” the councilmember added that it was imperative to secure “the expense funding to follow the capital funding.”

“We have to be aggressive as a community. We have to know our value to the city of New York and make sure others know it too. Not everyone knows that we are keeping the city running. No one should ever doubt the power of art and the power of artists.”


Woman dragged into Hunters Point parking lot and raped by group of men

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Woman dragged into Hunters Point parking lot and raped by group of men

Cops are hunting for a group of men they say raped a woman on a dark Queens street early Sunday. The 20-year-old woman was walking near Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street in Hunters Point when two men grabbed her and dragged her into a parking lot at about 3:45 a.m., police said. As the two suspects held her down between two cars, a third man — who is in his late 20s and about 5-foot-10 with blond hair and blue eyes — raped her, cops said.  Read More: Daily News

Queens rape victim was falsely imprisoned for robberies; now she sues city cops for falling for her attacker’s story

A QUEENS rape victim who was locked up for robberies she didn’t commit is suing city and Long Island cops for falling for her attacker’s “preposterous hoax” of a revenge plot. In a federal lawsuit, Seemona Sumasar claims NYPD cops protected her attacker, Jerry Ramrattan, because he was secretly funneling them information about other crimes while working as an informant. Read More: Daily News

Parents and officials say Department of Education has turned back on Jamaica High School

Even though the Department of Education’s (DOE) decision to close Jamaica High School was finalized in February, current students are still hoping for a quality education. Currently in the process of being phased out, Jamaica High School no longer accepts new students and is expected to close its doors for good in 2014. Read More: Queens Courier

At Top Public Schools, the Arts Replace Recess

All of this concentrated learning — activities parents commonly think of as enrichment — was taking place not after school hours, but during recess, the once-unstructured midday break that for some elementary school students is slowly being squeezed out of the day. Jump rope, freeze tag and the jungle gym have some new competition. At some of the city’s highest-rated public elementary schools, recess is now being seen by parents and educators as a time to pack in extra learning. Read More: New York Times

Giants, Mets Trade: New York Trades Angel Pagan To San Francisco For Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez

Walking across the hotel lobby, New York Mets manager Terry Collins smiled. “We rebuilt our bullpen in one day,” he said. In a rapid-fire series of moves at the winter meetings that took 1 1/2 days to put together and 1 1/2 hours to finalize, the Mets agreed to trade center fielder Angel Pagan to San Francisco for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez, and reached agreements with free-agent relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Read More: Huffington Post

Ex-corrections officer acquitted of attempted murder charges in Queens

A former correction officer who was facing up to 25 years in prison for shooting two men outside of a Queens bowling alley was acquitted of double attempted murder and assault charges. “His defense was one of self-defense,” said Michael Lavecchio’s trial attorney, Stephen Worth, after a jury cleared his client of all charges on Monday night. Lavecchio, 55, was working as a security guard at the AMF bowling alley on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights on February 6, 2010 when he asked Justin Donaghy and Gerard Hourigan to leave the building.  Read More: New York Post

MTA forgot about stranded blizzard train

The MTA’s subway boss admitted yesterday that transit officials got so overwhelmed during last year’s Christmas-time blizzard they “forgot” about an A train stuck on the tracks for nine agonizing hours with 500 passengers on board. Read More: New York Post

Astoria Boulevard: Voices in Motion

| bdoda@queenscourier.com


Astoria Boulevard – one the most popular indie folk/pop acts in the New York City circuit – was never meant to be a band. It happened by chance. Founding members Dan Scott and Phillip Drennen, who met while on the national tour of Altar Boyz – a mockumentary musical of sorts – passed the time between shows by fooling around with a ukulele and writing music. By the time they got back to New York, they had enough solid songs ready for to be recorded.

“We played them for the cast and they thought we had something special going,” said Drennen. “We immediately got ourselves into a recording studio and self-produced a five song EP entitled ‘One of These Days.’ Our friends seemed to respond very positively to our music, so we put together an EP release party.”

Before they could perform their songs for the first time with a full band, they needed someone who knew his way around the acoustic guitar while adding a third part harmony. Through cosmic intervention, they both knew the right man for the job. Max Demers went to high school with Drennen. They sang in several groups together and later met Scott singing in the “Voices of Gotham,” a New York City barbershop quartet. He also turned out to be a great songwriter, according to his band mates.

“When we got together for our first rehearsal, the sound of three voices singing our music seemed to be the missing link. From then on, our duo was a trio.”

While the introspective storytelling, feel-good songwriting and unsuspecting old-school vibes are core strengths of the band, their ability to “hook-up” during moving harmonies gives Astoria Boulevard a decisive edge. When listening to their first full-length album, “This is Astoria Boulevard” listeners will hear that no one part is greater than the whole. For a band comprised of 20-somethings, it’s the vocals that are mature beyond their years.

“All three of us started harmonizing at a young age,” said Drennen. “Much like dancing or painting, there is a natural skill that people are born with, but if it’s nurtured at an earlier age, it becomes second nature. . . The only way to keep our harmonies tight is to listen to each other. Before shows, we sing through songs just to listen and lock chords, even songs we’ve been singing for a couple years. That being said, we knew there was quite a strong chemistry between the three of us from the first time we sang together.”

Like other emerging Queens artists, the band members are supportive of the local scene citing other acts like Aaron Lavigne, The Yes Team and Mat Snow.

“[The Queens music scene] is up and coming at the moment,” said Scott. “There are many great bands and singers and songwriters just waiting to be discovered.”

“When we first started out, we played an open mic night at Waltz Astoria,” Drennen continued. “It’s a great place for emerging artists to try out materials and get comfortable in front of an audience. It’s a gracious crowd.”

After playing more and more shows, the gracious crowd is beginning to reciprocate the love the band feels for their audience by singing along to songs like “Just So You Know” – the first song they wrote together and “Pappy Van Winkle” – a staple at their live shows and self-professed buddy-drinking anthem.
“The ultimate goal of any artist is to have some sort of impact on people’s lives and give them an outlet to deal with the emotions they’re feeling, be it good or bad,” said Drennen. “Early on, a friend of mine posted “Just so you know, I like my coffee black” (a line from “Just So You Know”) on his Facebook status and I got major butterflies in my stomach. It’s very rewarding to hear people say “I know how you feel,” or “Did you write that song about me?” It means we’re able to take something specific and make it accessible for the general public.”

With bands like The Shins, The Avett Brothers, The Decembrists and Mumford and Sons bringing folk rock back to the forefront of the music scene, the timing could not be more perfect for Astoria Boulevard to make their mark. Currently, they are focusing on playing live shows in New York City with aspirations of branching out to other cities like Philadelphia and Boston. Like their laid back album, the band is taking things as they come and is grateful to be invited to play venues and events.

Their music is available on iTunes and on their website www.astoria-boulevard.com. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to learn about upcoming gigs. For a band that almost never was, they are certainly happy to have a fan base that gets their music and feels the universal themes in their songs.

“Our goal for every show we play, every song we write is never to say, ‘look how cool we are, look how high we can sing, look how trendy our clothes are.’ It’s to say music should be fun, stories should be told, and as humans, our basic emotions are all the same. . . Maybe we won’t change the world with our music or solve your problems, but I bet you’d forget about them if you came to our show. And I’m sure you’d be smiling,” said Drennen.