Tag Archives: Jamaica Performing Arts Center

Bartlett Contemporaries celebrates their 50th anniversary with ‘A Weekend to Remember’

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony Giudice

From forming their band at Andrew Jackson High School in 1964, to being the first band to play at the New York State Pavilion during the World’s Fair that same year, to performing at Spike Lee’s wedding reception, brothers Carl Bartlett Sr. and Charles Bartlett Jr. have done it all in the music scene.

This September, they invite the public to join them for their band’s 50th anniversary weekend celebration in Jamaica.

Bartlett Contemporaries with the Next Generation Sound, presented by the Bartlett Foundation Inc., will be hosting “A Weekend to Remember” from Friday, Sept. 11, to Sunday, Sept. 13, to celebrate the band’s many accomplishments during their half-century of performing.

The Bartlett brothers had a lot of early success, opening for Latin performers Eddie Palmieri and Tito Puente.

“They used to call us Bartlette Contemporaries [with an E] to give us a little Latin flair,” Charles Bartlett said. “The reason why we got into Latin and jazz, and ultimately R&B…it enabled us to reach wide audiences.”

Some of the key performances by Bartlett Contemporaries over the years include performing for Oprah Winfrey’s book party in Miami, performing at Miles Davis’ 60th birthday bash, performing for six Essence Awards parties, and many more.

“For Spike Lee, that was his wedding reception, so that made it personal,” Carl Bartlett said. “It was a great experience for my brother and I as co-leaders of the band and the band members. On that same par, playing for Oprah was great because we knew that when we got this call to do a very important engagement in Miami, we knew that was big because they said, ‘Give us a wish list of whatever equipment you need down there.’”

The Bartletts’ popularity, technical skill and work as educators has won them several prestigious awards including the New York State Proclamation for Living Music Legends in Queens, the NAACP Community Involvement Award, a citation from Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi for service to Hofstra University, among several others.

The anniversary celebration kicks off on Sept. 11 for a meet and greet with the Bartletts at Proper Café in Jamaica.

On Sept. 12 the band will host their 50th anniversary concert at the Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center at York College. The black tie event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. where the band will perform “From Bebop to Hip-Hop,” featuring the music of Frank Sinatra to Justin Timberlake, from Madonna to Lady Gaga, from Earth Wind & Fire to Pharrell, and more. An after party will be held from 8 to 10 p.m.

“So many people consider them a dance band…so we built in the after party, which will be right there at the concert, and all of the ticket prices will include the after party,” said Philippa L. Karteron, president and CEO of Galleria Noire, and event planner for the anniversary performance.

Honorary hosts of the celebration include Congressman Gregory Meeks; state Senators Leroy Comrie and James Sanders Jr.; Assemblywomen Vivian Cook, Barbara Clark and Michele Titus; and Councilmen I. Daneek Miller, Donovan Richards and Ruben Wills.

On Sept. 13, the Bartlett brothers will hold a jazz brunch at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.

“That particular function is the type of function that will give the people the chance to …network,” Charles Bartlett said. “Businesspeople will get a chance and sit down and we’ll break bread together and we can connect and network. That is a very powerful brunch that will take place on Sunday. It’s the opportunity to mix a little business with a lot of pleasure.”


Participatory budgeting winners announced for District 27

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning


Councilman I. Daneek Miller announced on Wednesday the winners of participatory budgeting in his district covering parts of Jamaica, St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Queens Village and Addisleigh Park.

The ballot included 23 projects, which were proposed, selected and designed by community members in public meetings starting in July of last year.

The top five proposals will receive $1 million in funding between them.

At 1,029 votes, the top vote-getter was a plan to enhance the Roy Wilkins Park outdoor performance space for programming such as readings or small concerts. It is expected to cost $450,000.

The Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC), the performing arts leg of the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) will receive $120,000 for equipment purchases and repairs to upgrade the sound and lighting systems in the 400-seat theater.

Cathy Hung, executive director of JCAL, said she was ecstatic when she heard the news.

“Thank you to a team of artists and students who advocated on JCAL’s behalf and the community members who voted for us,” Hung said. “With this grant, we will be able to bring JPAC to the highest artistic quality that is possible and to present the highest quality programs, whether it’s theater, dance, music or multi-media that we have been planning for the community.”

Residents in the district also voted to provide $400,000 for road resurfacing projects to take place along major thoroughfares in the confines of Community Boards 12 and 13 to protect vehicles and pedestrians.

I.S. 59 in Jamaica received 607 votes and $60,000 to purchase 10 smart boards and an overhead projector.

The last proposal to be funded, with 555 votes, was a technology upgrade to York Early College Academy in Jamaica. The school will receive $94,000 to purchase 13 smart boards with an overhead projector and laptop cart.

Miller said the relationships forged from this 10-month process are greatly valued in the district.

“This has been a tool to engage, empower, and organize our residents,” Miller said. “Regardless of who the final awardees are it is clear that our community has won. We’ve seen people come together — youths and senior and people from all different walks of life — to improve our neighborhoods and collaborate on meaningful projects.”


Queens arts center looks to become one-stop shop for artists and community

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning


After experiencing financial struggles amid an economic downturn, the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) is restructuring to sustain its programming.

JCAL, created in 1972 to revitalize a section of New York City that was lacking cultural opportunities, has opened its doors to the community to inspire children to take an interest in the arts and to artists as a place to cultivate their work.

Tonya Cantlo-Cockfield, president of JCAL, said the restructuring was necessary to preserve the quality of the center’s programs and events.

“We’ve tried to sustain the programming at JCAL but we couldn’t continue in the manner that we were for the organization,” Cantlo-Cockfield said. “So we decided to restructure, which unfortunately resulted in layoffs from staff.”

Staff members received a “generous severance package for their service to the organization for many years and to the community,” according to Cantlo-Cockfield.

Executive Director Cathy Hung, who joined JCAL last year after working at the New York Chinese Cultural Center as executive director for almost five years, said this change would not affect the big plans they have envisioned for the center.

“Nothing has changed in result of the structuring,” Hung said. “In the process of setting up all the programs for next year, we are really, truly excited about the new upcoming season and we will share with the public shortly when this information is finished.”

JCAL’s headquarters recently underwent a $10 million renovation, which includes an array of art galleries, dance spaces, music studios, visual arts classrooms and a visitor’s center. The renovation was subsidized by the city along with the conversion of the Jamaica Performing Arts Center located three blocks away, which used to be a Dutch reformed church.

JCAL staff members work closely with schools in the area, specifically with principals, teachers and parent teacher association coordinators to curate in-school, after-school and summer arts programs.

The Art Center Workshops offer a variety of classes in dance, movement arts, drama, visual arts and music. At the end of each session, children present what they have learned at an annual student recital, which will take place this year on Friday, June 13.

JCAL also fosters local artists and allows them to use the center’s space for free, Hung said.

Artists Co-Op is a program designed specifically to give Queens-based artists a chance to produce and present their work at a respected gallery for free.

Artist residencies, which last from three months to a year, allow artists to work on their art in designated studios and showcase their work at any point of production. Once the artist is ready to show his or her work, JCAL is in charge of all the press and promotion.

The addition of the Jamaica Performing Arts Center allows for JCAL to exhibit “high-quality” performances for the community, Hung said.

The 400-seat auditorium hosts a variety of performances including opera performances, Shakespeare productions, dance productions and more. The dance residency was recently added to provide individual dancers, companies and choreographers a space to rehearse and present their work.

The annual Making Moves Dance Festival, which takes place this year on September 27, stemmed from an effort to make the space available to dancers, according to Hung. JCAL also commissions new work so that dancers can use the space to create a performance and receive compensation.

Hung said the center strives to become a place where the community can access affordable programs, educators and students can receive quality workshops and classes, and artists can utilize the space for all of their activities.

“Basically, we are the one-stop shop,” Hung said. “We really, truly have the capacity to realize that and to make it happen and we are slowly going to that direction.”


Jamaica hosts auditions for new dance competition show

| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Dancehall Got Talent/Nicole Duhaney

Residents of Jamaica got to show off their reggae and dancehall moves in hopes of landing a spot on a new reality TV show named “Dancehall Got Talent.”

Auditions for the show, which will air on the OPM Digital Network, were held at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave., on Saturday. This was the first site for the competition and more than 60 performers came out to try to wow the judges.

The competitors were so talented that only about 10 of them were eliminated, according to Nicole Duhaney, the host and executive producer of the show.

“There were so many talented performers,” Duhaney said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The competition is the first of its kind and is solely based on reggae and dancehall music.

Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican music.

The acts included all types of Jamaican music, according to Duhaney, who said she is known as the “number one dancehall media diva worldwide.” This filming was the first of eight live New York tapings for the show.

Photo courtesy of Dancehall Got Talent/Nicole Duhaney

The competition was the brainchild of Kevin Royal, who is a partner at the OPM Network. They hope to air the competition on the network, which can be seen on such devices as Xbox or Apple TV, among others, at the end of fall.

The fate of the contestants will be determined by viewers of the show through a voting process.

“This is going to be the show that everyone, no matter where they are, can watch,” Duhaney said.

Even though the first filming was a success, Duhaney said she wishes more people would have come to compete.

“I think a lot of people missed out on the opportunity to compete,” she said. “I’m inviting all of them out to any competitions coming up, even if you were eliminated already. We want a person who is willing to work in the competition.”

The next audition at the same venue in Jamaica will be held on Sept. 12 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to the show’s website.

To find out more about the competition, visit “Dancehall, GOT TALENT” on Facebook or www.dancehallgottalent.com.


Councilmember Daneek Miller gets to work his first two weeks in office

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Councilmember Daneek Miller is “rolling up his sleeves” and taking the ball into his own hands, creating partnerships throughout the southeast Queens community to form one voice for City Hall.

“There’s the potential to do really great things as a collective,” he said. “To be successful you have to be inclusive. You have to empower others, and you do that by being inclusive and engaging.”

Miller’s first two weeks in office have been a testament to his campaign – meeting with various community and clergy members to form those coalitions early on. He also introduced City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to area residents because “we have a different set of concerns. We needed her to come out and see specifically what to do,” he said.

Getting guns off the streets leaped to the top of Miller’s agenda after the city’s first murder of the year took place in Jamaica, when a 22-year-old man was fatally shot in the chest.

“I’ve been a young man in the streets. There’s no reason you should walk around here and not feel safe,” he said. “That’s not what this community is about. We’re better than that.”

He hopes to target the area’s youth, work on conflict resolution and provide a means to get them focused on school and employment.

Miller was officially sworn into office on Saturday by Mark-Viverito at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in front of a crowd of dozens of elected officials, community leaders and residents.

Former Councilmember Leroy Comrie passed the torch to Miller, and said he expects the new councilmember to not only lead the 27th district but to have a great impact on the city.

“Daneek understands government. Daneek understands more importantly people, the needs of people ,” he said.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Congressmember Gregory Meeks, Borough President Melinda Katz, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Mark-Viverito and labor leaders also spoke about Miller, and said he will be a voice for the middle class.

Moving forward, Miller is determining the feasibility of participatory budgeting, establishing community policing and taking “full advantage of all amenities that the district has to offer.”

“I’m going to shoot hoops at one of the youth centers later,” he said. “I don’t have to change who I am or what I’ve done in the past.”


Celebrate ‘Hollywood in Jamaica’

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Get ready to dress to impress and celebrate the arts at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC).

The Spectacular Fall Arts Gala will be held Friday, October 11 and promises to be a night of art appreciation and neighborhood pride at JPAC, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue, that will benefit both JPAC and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL).

The evening will honor Borough President Helen Marshall, WASA Architects and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC).

Event organizers wanted to thank Marshall for the “support she has given to both JCAL and JPAC,” said Philippa Karteron, event organizer and avid supporter of Jamaica arts

“This is our first gala and our first shout-out, thank-you to those who made it possible,” Karteron said.

Special guests will feature Percy Ellis Sutton, Keisha Sutton James, Vy Higginson, Hariette Cole, Deborah Gregory and Bernard White.

“This is something we had been planning over the years but never came to fruition,’’ said Tonya Cantlo-Cockfield, JCAL Board Chair.

Cockfield said Councilmember Leroy Comrie pushed for the fundraiser so JCAL and JPAC could get the exposure they need.

With that, Cockfield and her team got to planning, and what is set to emerge will be an “art formal,” black tie event on an evening that will be filled with surprises.

“We’re calling it, ‘Hollywood in Jamaica,’” Karteron said. “But the evening is really about Jamaica.”

VIP tickets are available for $150. The evening will start with a VIP cocktail reception from 6 to 7 p.m. in the “Noire Gallery” where guests can admire various works of art as well as a live painter.

After the VIP reception, those with VIP tickets will be ushered up to the “duplex skybox” where attendees can view the performances to come.

The Edge School of the Arts, ESOTA, the Carl Bartlett, Jr. Sextet, Soprano singer Mari-Yan Pringle, Braata Productions, and members of the Vissi Dance Theater will be performing from 7 to 10 p.m. for attendees to enjoy.

General admission ticket holders as well as the VIP will enjoy the evening of performances, local vendors, food from the Brownstone and of course artistry. There will be high and low tables, several stages, food and art stations and more.

“We want to show artists’ potential, support new and emerging artists as well as those who have a reputation,” Karteron said. “This is a smorgasbord of the arts.”

Sponsors of the event are JetBlue, TD Bank, Resorts World Casino, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, Astoria Federal Savings, RCGA+DM, Health First, EmblemHealth and Brownstone.

General admission tickets are $100, and students with identification can purchase $50 tickets. To purchase tickets online, visit web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/9812569. To become a sponsor, call 718-658-7400.



What to do with the kids this weekend

| ctumola@queenscourier.com



Friday, September 21

4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Viva La Comida!, the first-ever 82nd Street Partnership event, will shine a spotlight on the fun, food and entertainment options in Elmhurst/Jackson Heights. Food trucks will be everywhere, and the event will include the 82nd Street dance troupe from the Mestizo Art Center, performances by the NY Jazz Academy, the International String Duo and a pop-up crafts market in the Jackson Heights Cinema. Free.

Saturday, September 22

11:30 a.m., Come to aspecial screening of “Hotel Transylvania” at the Museum of the Moving Image before it hits the movie theaters on Sept. 28. In this major animated motion picture, Dracula (whose voice is provided by Adam Sandler) invites some of the world’s most famous monsters—Frankenstein and his bride; the Mummy; the Invisible Man; and others—to celebrate his daughter’s 118th birthday. Free with museum admission.

1:10 p.m., At Bark in the Park 2 attendees of the Mets baseball game against the Miami Marlins will have the opportunity to sit with their pooches and fellow dog lovers and their pets in designated seats. The profit of the dog ticket and a portion of the human ticket will benefit the North Shore Animal League. To participate in the pre-game dog parade, report to the Bullpen Gate by noon with tickets. This gate opens at 11:40 a.m.

3 p.m. – 8 p.m.,The Queens Museum of Art, in partnership with El Museo del Barrio, The Studio Museum in Harlem & cariBBeing, presents Carnival Panorama: Families Celebrate Carnival Traditions as part of the public programming for the current exhibition Caribbean: Crossroads of the World. This free event will include demonstrations of old Carnival Caribbean traditions, including musical workshops and performances. There will also be face painting and balloon sculpting.

6:30 p.m., The second annual Flicks in the Garden at Sunnyside Gardens Park will feature family-friendly live music and rare cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s. The folk Irish duo New York Trad will play music near an open dance floor before an outdoor cinema will be created.

7 p.m., The Third Annual Making Movies Dance Festival at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center will feature the Creative Outlet Dance Theatre, Synthesis, Dance Project, MAWU Dance and Latihente Dance.

Saturday, September 22 – Sunday, September 23

10 a.m. – 4 p.m., At the 2012 Fall Mamas Expo get insider access to local schools, services, specialists and products currently available to Queens families. Plus, there will be a marionette performance, business promotions, a screening of the Charlie Chaplin movie “The Kid” and all-day access to the Museum of the Moving Image.

11 a.m. – 6 p.m., The 30th Annual Queens County Fair at the Queens County Farm Museum is a traditional county fair with blue-ribbon contests in livestock, produce, home crafts, pie-eating, corn-husking, arm wrestling, hayrides and carnival rides.

Sunday, September 23

11:00 a.m.  – 2:00 p.m., Come to the Fall Family Festival at the Samuel Field Y for a day of arts and crafts, carnival rides and games, food and refreshments  as well as the first Summer Camp and Early Childhood Open House of the new season.

12 p.m., The annual Queens Hispanic Pride Parade in Jackson Heights will be held on Sunday afternoon.

2 p.m. – 8 p.m., A Time to Remember: An Evening of Positive Entertainment is a family event featuring interfaith and multicultural entertainment and messages in the form of music, dance, steel pan playing, arts, crafts, fashion, face-painting and games. Bring chairs and blanket. Free.



Friday, September 21 – Sunday, September 23

10:30 a.m. (Friday, Saturday) 1 p.m.(Sunday), Sesame Street Live will be at the Nassau Coliseum for three days, starting September 21.

Saturday, September 22

12 p.m. – 1 p.m., At the Museum of Modern Art’s Animal Adventures event, children and their parents can watch classic animated and live-action short films with an animal theme.

Saturday, September 22 – Sunday, September 23

11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., Come to the Long Island Children’s Museum this weekend to see Dora the Explorer Live! “Dora’s Pirate Adventure.”

Sunday, September 23

11 a.m., Family-friendly band Lunch Money is performing at the 92YTribeca, singing about roller coasters, giant cookies, getting dizzy and more childhood themed topics.

1 p.m. – 4 p.m., At the Eighth Annual Kite Flight on the rooftop of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, there will be free kite making and flying workshops, a musical performance by Louie & Subanda, a flying yoga demonstration by Om Factory, jugglers, unicyclists and other circus performers, face painting, street games and an old fashioned hot dog cart. Free.