Tag Archives: Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby coming to Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Erinn Chalene

Hey, hey, hey, Bill Cosby is coming our way.

On Saturday, April 6, one of America’s most beloved and respected comedians, will be taking the stage at the Colden Auditorium at Queens College to share his stories with anyone looking for a night filled with laughs.

“For me to perform at a college is usually an opportunity to speak and perform. I do not come out and do ‘educational questions;’ this is a performance,” he said. “You get Bill Cosby, the talking comedian who performs his own writings.”

No matter the generation gap or gender of his audience, Cosby has fascinated fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and best-selling books. Cosby promises the upcoming show will be “hilarious” and will include the audience’s identification with the subject of conflicts at home, parenting, and relationships pertaining to the student.

“It’s not about the changing of a chair that the student sits in, or whether or not someone can record what the professor is saying or whether one has a computer or a number two yellow pencil,” he said. “It’s about the human beings.”

Having experience with raising five children with the former Camille Hanks, Cosby believes it is very important to bring such subjects out on stage and watch everyone laugh and have them know that the person talking to them knows something about their feelings.

“People come out saying things like ‘how did he get in my house?’” he quipped.

Cosby holds fond memories of Queens when the Huxtables made their move from Brooklyn to Astoria, spending many years filming “The Cosby Show” at Kaufman Astoria Studios and where later “Cosby,” a CBS comedy TV series, was also filmed for three years.

“Many times there are people who have shot their shows there and they always say ‘we were in your studio,’” he said.
Breaking television’s racial barrier with the series “I Spy” in the 1960s, Cosby became the first African American to costar in a television series while winning three consecutive Emmys. He also went on to create and produce the Emmy award-winning cartoon “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” designed both to entertain and educate viewers.

With Cosby’s intent on portraying an American family, “The Cosby Show” was about a close-knit, upper middle class African-American family. The show conquered the number one spot for years, earning admiration for its contribution to American entertainment and culture.

In his current best-seller titled “I Didn’t Ask to Be Born, But I’m Glad I Was,” Cosby talks about everything from the Bible to being a grandfather.

For those not familiar with his style of performing, Cosby recommends they watch scenes from his recent appearances on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” or the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Cosby’s performance is part of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts’ “Best of the Best Series.” Tickets are $35 to $65 and are available by calling the Kupferberg Center Box Office at 718-793-8080 or online at www.KupferbergCenter.org.

 

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Hollywood in Queens? Kaufman Astoria Studios fighting to expand


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kaufman Astoria Studios

A second take on a review process is preventing Kaufman Astoria Studios from calling “action” on their planned expansion – a project which has already been green-lit once before.

Senator Charles Schumer is urging the National Park Service (NPS) to authorize Kaufman’s proposal, which would create New York City’s first outdoor movie studio lot.

Kaufman plans to enclose 36th Street between 34th and 35th avenues within the lot and construct an entry gate at 36th Street and 35th Avenue in Astoria, creating a studio campus similar to those in Hollywood.

The outdoor lot will allow production companies to film exterior and special effects shots directly adjacent to interior sound stages, attracting movie and television clients that would have previously chosen another location to fulfill their needs.

Schumer is hoping the NPS, which deeded the land to the city in the 1970s for the purpose of building the outdoor studio, will act quickly to allow the space to be available for filming by the summer of 2013.

Kaufman has already received approval through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) – a local process which includes authorization from the NPS, Landmarks Preservation Commission and State Historic Preservation Office. However, due to the institution of changes requested by the city’s Public Design Commission, which wanted to give the area a more “gritty, industrial feel” by altering the gate, the NPS informed Kaufman that they had to review the project again. Schumer says the second assessment could push the $2 million project four months behind schedule.

“It’s time to say ‘action’ on this project, so that New York City can become the new star of the film and television industry,” said Schumer. “By building the city’s first ever outdoor studio lot, we can attract film and TV clients that would otherwise have to choose Los Angeles. We can provide a huge boost to New York’s booming film and television industries by getting this project completed so that major production companies can begin using the studio by summer of next year. This outdoor lot could become an iconic New York City destination like the great studios of Hollywood, but the NPS needs to stop the needless bureaucratic delays and allow this project to move forward.”

Despite Schumer’s concern, Jane Ahern, a spokesperson for NPS, says the service expects the project to continue on schedule.

“We are happy to report that all of the parties involved are working together,” Ahern said. “The NPS and all entities are supporting the project moving forward. It should be moving forward on time with no delays.”

New York City’s film and television industries have seen a boom in business over the last decade. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced that the industries generated $7.1 billion in 2011 and have employed 130,000 residents since 2004. According to published reports, 188 films and a record 23 prime time television shows were shot in the five boroughs in 2011.

The outdoor lot is the second expansion in as many years for Kaufman, which spent $23 million on an indoor studio in 2010.
“The creation of the city’s first studio back lot is another chapter in realizing our vision for the studio as a complete campus,” said Hal Rosenbluth, president of Kaufman

Astoria Studios. “The back lot will add to the growth of the Kaufman Astoria Studios campus, the industry in New York and the economic development of the neighborhood.

We are excited to see this project move forward.”

Kaufman, which opened in 1920, is currently a location for major motion pictures, independent films, television shows and commercials, and its stages have been host to countless acting legends, including Bill Cosby, Harrison Ford, Meryl Streep and Al Pacino.