Tag Archives: Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of Moving Image to celebrate Jim Henson’s birthday with puppet-inspired activities

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Mark Zimmerman/Flickr

The creator of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Bert, Ernie, Big Bird and many other beloved “Muppets” will be honored later this month in Astoria.

Jim Henson, the beloved puppeteer who produced “The Muppet Show,” will receive a special birthday celebration at the Museum of Moving Image with a number of educational activities for children.

The museum will host Family Fall Day on Sept. 26 and families will get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to create puppets, along with screenings of two shows produced by The Jim Henson Company.

From 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., kids will be able to build paper-bag puppets using several materials, design Henson-inspired characters and perform puppet karaoke at the museum’s Digital Learning Suite.

Scenes from episodes of “Dinosaur Train” and “Sid the Science Kid,” two children’s shows produced by The Jim Henson Company, will screen several times throughout the day and the 40-minute compilation will also include a behind-the-scenes clip about digital puppetry techniques used in “Sid the Science Kid.”

Adults and children 10 and up can also purchase tickets to a conversation with Rollie Krewson, a longtime Henson Creature Shop puppet designer and builder.

Henson began designing puppets in high school and created a five-minute sketch comedy puppet show while in college called “Sam and Friends.” He joined “Sesame Street” in 1970 and was responsible for developing characters for the show during his 20-year tenure. He also created puppets for movies like “Fraggle Rock,” “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.”

Henson, who died in 1990, would have been 78 on Sept. 24.

Museum admission for children 12 and under is free. The museum is located at 36-01 35th Ave. Click here for more information.


Kaufman Arts District’s first luxury condominium hits market

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Modern Spaces

A luxury condominium — the first of its kind in the newly designated Kaufman Arts District —has hit the market and seen instant success in just one week.

Real estate firm Modern Spaces has began sales for The Marx, located at 34-32 35th St. in Astoria, and in the first week 20 percent of the building has already been sold.

The Marx offers 33 one- and two-bedroom units at prices starting in the $600,000s and two-bedroom apartments priced under $1 million.

“The Kaufman Arts District is an established, dynamic neighborhood that gives people access to the best creative institutions the city had to offer. Living at The Marx presents a unique opportunity to move into a vibrant Astoria neighborhood that is rich with amenities, dining and service retail to serve the families that have long called the area home,” said Eric Benaim, CEO of Modern Spaces.

The building features homes with open layouts and hardwood floors, and many of the apartments have private terraces. Kitchens feature custom cabinetry, a breakfast bar and high-quality appliances. Master bathrooms include rainhead and hand-held glass-enclosed showers and heated towel bars.

Amenities at The Marx include a rooftop terrace with gas Weber grills, a private bike room, a fitness room, a virtual doorman security system and laundry facilities.

“We are very excited that The Marx has appealed to so many buyers. It’s the first luxury development that has opened since the area has been designated the Kaufman Arts District and shares the same streets where popular shows such as ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘Nurse Jackie’ and ‘Sesame Street’ are filmed. We think the building — like its entertainment neighbors — will be a big hit for many different types of buyers,” Benaim said.

The seven-story condominium, which is being developed by a joint venture between Kaufman Astoria Studios and Procida Companies, gets its name from the property’s history located on the site where the Marx Brothers filmed movies such as “Animal Crackers” and “Coconauts.”

The Kaufman Arts District, designated in 2014, includes institutions such as Kaufman Astoria Studios, Museum of the Moving Image and the Queens Council on the Arts.

“We’re thrilled to bring even more life to this thriving and historic neighborhood. Hundreds of professionals visit and work in our studios, and many have fallen in love with Astoria and all it offers,” said Hal Rosenbluth, CEO of Kaufman Astoria Studios. “We’re delighted to offer the homes at The Marx to our regular constituents and newcomers alike.”


Museum of the Moving Image screens documentaries on hip-hop

| rmackay@queensny.org

Photo courtesy of CNN Films

Clive Campbell brought two turntables and a microphone to his sister’s birthday party in a Bronx apartment building on Aug. 11, 1973. This immigrant from Jamaica, who is now known as “DJ Kool Herc,” improvised a bit by scratching vinyl records to create beats and tell stories in rhyme while attendees danced. Hip-hop was born.

On Thursday, the Museum of the Moving Image kicks off Made You Look: Documenting the Art, History, Power and Politics of Hip-Hop Culture, a series of documentaries that examine this distinctly American genre from its origins to its current worldwide influence. “Fresh Dressed,” which features interviews with Kanye West, Sean Combs, Russell Simmons and urban fashion designers, screens on opening night. Then, director Sacha Jenkins, style legend Dapper Dan, and Elena Romero, who wrote “Free Stylin': How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry,” will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Martha Diaz, director of the Hip-Hop Education Center. This free event takes place at the Jacob Riis Settlement House in Queensbridge.

The four-month series then continues at the museum. “In My Father’s House” will be presented on Sept. 25 with another discussion led by Diaz. Set in Chicago’s south side, this documentary depicts the yearlong journey of Grammy-winning rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith, from homelessness and alcoholism to self-discovery and redemption, highlighted by a reunion with his homeless father.

Shake the Dust,” which chronicles breakdancing’s influence on poor neighborhoods around the world, will show on Oct. 23 with another Diaz-guided chat. Queensbridge-raised rapper Nas is the executive producer of this movie, which features jaw-dropping dance moves.

The series ends with Rubble Kings and a conversation between director Shan Nicholson and Diaz. This film tells the story of New York City gangs from 1968 to 1975, their influence on city life, and the way they finally chose peace.


Rural Route Film Festival returns to Museum of the Moving Image

| rmackay@queensny.org

Image courtesy of the Rural Route Film Festival

With only about 2,500 members, the Moken people form one of the smallest ethnic groups in Asia. These nomadic, seafaring people use nets and spears to fish, and they barter for material goods at markets where they live on the coasts of Burma and Thailand. For about eight months of the year, they live in temporary thatch huts, spending the rest of time in small, hand-crafted wooden boats.

A documentary on the Moken, “Sailing a Sinking Sea,” will help launch the Rural Route Film Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image on Friday with director Olivia Owens Wyatt in person. This eleventh annual, three-day event focuses on life in isolated areas with 19 films from 16 different countries.

This year’s theme is strong, independent women (behind and in front of the camera). In the Argentine movie “Dog Lady,” a nameless woman lives in a shack outside Buenos Aires. Without speaking or spending money, she cares for a pack of dogs, scavenges for food and water, and experiences a sexual encounter.

The production “Edén” is based on director Elise DuRant’s childhood in the 1980s. A nine-year-old girl is forced to leave Mexico with her artifact-smuggling father. Years later, her father dies, and she returns home to confront the man responsible for their emigration while realizing her new cultural identity. DuRant will attend this screening on Sunday, and the all-female band Mariachi Flor de Toloache will perform.

There’s also an emphasis on music this year. Barbara Oldham, a founding member of the Jackson Heights-based Quintet of the Americas, will play the alphorn during the opening night party atop Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm in Long Island City on Friday. The next day, the Main Squeeze Orchestra, an all-female accordion troupe, will perform before Funny Bunny, a comedy about a love triangle involving a farm activist.

Also, on Saturday, the festival will debut the world premiere of “Down Down the Deep River,” an experimental narrative about growing up in New Hampshire by Will Sheff of indie band Okkervil River. Sheff will perform before the motion picture and participate in a Q&A afterward.


Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image to present exhibit examining cats online

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of The Infinite Cat Project/Gallery by Thanassi Karageorgiou / Museum of the Moving Image

Updated Monday, July 20 

Cats lovers, unite.

Next month, the Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria, will launch a five-month exhibition called How Cats Took Over the Internet, looking at how these furry felines have mesmerized a generation of online users with their quirky actions and adorable looks.

The exhibit, which runs from Aug. 7 through Jan. 31, 2016, will examine the history of the growing popularity of online cat-centric content while taking a look at things such as Caturday, lolcats, cat videos, celebrity cats and more.

“The Internet’s collective obsession with cats offers a window into the way we understand ourselves. This exhibition examines the many reasons for this deceptively frivolous phenomenon and highlights the new ways we’re creating, consuming and sharing culture,” said Jason Eppink, associate curator of digital media, who organized the exhibition.

How Cats Took Over the Internet will include a video screening at the museum’s amphitheater and features a gallery including a selection of Internet cat videos, GIFs and images that take a critical look at subjects such as anthropomorphism, the aesthetics of cuteness, the Bored at Work Network and the rise of user-generated content.

Together with the video screening, there will also be a selection of cat videos projected in a continuous loop, organized by Will Braden, curator of the Internet Cat Video Festival in Minneapolis.

There will also be a multimedia timeline capturing the significant moments of cats online, joined with a historical looks at the representation of cats in photos, film and other visual media.

The exhibition will also feature interactive stations where visitors will be able to create their own lolcats and contribute their favorite cat photos, GIFs and videos to the exhibition. There will also be a world map of international animal memes by The Civic Beat, a collective of researchers and writers focused on civic technology.

As part of the various live events that will occur throughout the five months, on Oct. 10 there will be The Cat-vant Garde Film Show in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater. This show will focus on how cats have inspired experimental films such as “Nightcats,” “Cat’s Cradle,” “Catfood,” “How to Draw a Cat,” and more. Other programs will be announced later on.

The Museum of the Moving Image is open Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on the weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, visit www.movingimage.us.


Long Island City ‘suffering from the side effects of its very success’

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

It has been on the minds of Long Island City leaders for a while, and during the second annual LIC Summit on Tuesday it was brought to light during the first panel entitled “City within the City.”

“It” refers to the struggle to maintain balance between building new residential and commercial structures while keeping older manufacturing spaces, which traditionally form the backbone of Long Island City.

The Long Island City Partnership, which co-hosted the LIC Summit with The Queens Courier and brokerage Modern Spaces, was even awarded a $100,000 grant in January to conduct a planning study of the neighborhood that would, in part, find an answer to maintaining the balance. The study is still in its preliminary stages, so a solution has not yet been found.

“Like with the city as a whole, in some ways Long Island City is suffering from the side effects of its very success,” said Seth Pinsky, vice president of RXR Realty, during the panel in front of more than 300 professionals and leaders in the Museum of Moving Image.

Pinsky pointed out that high demand to move to Long Island City causes land valuations to surge to levels where only residential projects would make financial sense, which stifles commercial development. In turn, developers convert industrial buildings into offices and retail, displacing old manufacturing jobs that many city residents without higher education have relied on for a long time.

But Pinsky’s point was challenged by Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, who urged against preserving spaces for older manufacturing and looking toward jobs for companies of the future, such as 3-D printing firm Shapeways and other technology businesses. These would require higher levels of education, which institutions such as the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island would provide.

“The emotional pull of manufacturing as we think of it in the past, the good blue-collar jobs for a population that didn’t have Ph.D.s, is not the future of manufacturing,” Wylde said. “Robots are going to replace people in most manufacturing. It’s not going to be the same kind of job provider that it has been in the past.”

Pinsky disagreed partly and countered that some old sections of manufacturing will still be important for the “foreseeable future,” such as construction, warehousing and distribution, because they will provide necessary services for businesses in the city. He added that there is a feeling that areas in LIC could easily become zoned residential and many workers would lose jobs as businesses close or move.

The problem of finding balance in Long Island City could be answered with a rezoning. Some of the first panelists agreed that the current proposal to rezone certain sections of Long Island City for more high-rise housing has to be examined more closely by the City Planning Department.

“I think that this is an opportunity for us to strike that right balance and find the density for the affordable housing that the administration is looking for,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said, “but also preserve some of the things that are worth preserving.”

Industry leaders also talked about the future of transportation, tourism, culture, zoning and LIC as a home for business in ensuing panels at the event.

And infrastructure problems in LIC, such as lack of green spaces and the need for more schools, were discussed as well. Van Bramer even promised that they are looking for spaces for new schools.

With various art and cultural institutions, restaurants, entertainment venues and a hotel sector— which is currently up to 26 buildings but has more than two dozen more in the pipeline — many recognized that LIC has become a destination with incredible growth.

During her opening speech, Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership, revealed renderings of LIC two years in the future after 10 new towers will be added to the growing skyline. The dramatic expansion shown through the image caused gasps from audience members.

“There is a lot on the way,” Lusskin said. “And we’re not talking 10 years, we’re talking two years.”


‘House Party’ celebrates 25 years at Museum of the Moving Image

| rmackay@queensny.org

Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema/Photofest

The plot is simple: a grounded teenage boy sneaks out of the house while his father is asleep. He ends up at an epic bash with dance contests, rap battles, and beautiful women who love to flirt. Hilarity ensues, aided by an all-star cast, including hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play, funk master George Clinton, and legendary comedian Robin Harris, who died nine days after the movie’s release in 1990.

House Party” is now a cult classic, and with its day-glo colors and old-school hip-hop soundtrack, it remains a reference to the music, fashion and spirit of the late 1980s. Plus, the comedy’s commercial success opened the door for 1990s films with rappers in the starring roles (i.e. “Juice” with Tupac Shakur and “Belly” with Nas and DMX). It also launched Martin Lawrence’s career.

On Friday, June 26, the Museum of the Moving Image will present a 25th anniversary special screening of “House Party,” as part of Changing the Picture, an ongoing series exploring African-Americans in film. Set to begin at 7 p.m., many cast and crew members — including Full Force, the group that made part of the soundtrack — will take part in a discussion moderated by the film’s producer, Warrington Hudlin.

A trustee of the Museum of the Moving Image and president of the Black Filmmaker Foundation, Hudlin, who also produced “Boomerang” and “Bébé’s Kids,” will also participate in a post-screening Q&A.


‘Rocky Horror’ celebrates 40 Years at Museum of the Moving Image

| rmackay@queensny.org

Photo courtesy of Rocky Horror Picture Show Official Fan Site

It’s a comedy, musical, sci-fi thriller and unrivaled cult movie. Released in 1975, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” quickly began a weekend midnight run at the Waverly Theater in Greenwich Village, where audiences dressed up as the film’s characters, talked back to the screen, threw rice during a wedding scene and danced in their seats.

By 1979, this carnivalesque tale of a wild-and-crazy group celebrating a transsexual, Transylvanian convention was playing in more than 230 cinemas around the world, mostly at midnight. There were “Rocky Horror” conventions, newsletters, international fan clubs and The Transylvanian magazine. Susan Sarandon, who played the curious-but-scared Janet, shot to stardom.

To celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary, Future of StoryTelling will present a special Rocky Horror event at the Museum of the Moving Image on Friday, June 12.

Featuring a live reenactment by the New York City Shadow Cast, the screening/performance will end with a Q&A with founders of the “Rocky Horror” fan club that sparked the worldwide aficionado movement.

Attendees are also encouraged to come dressed as their favorite characters, but certain items that are frequently used during showings, such as water guns and cigarette lighters, are prohibited.

The one-time celebration coincides with Sensory Stories: An Exhibition of New Narrative Experiences, a showcase on virtual reality experiences and interactive film which the museum is displaying in its Amphitheater Gallery until July 26. Conceived and organized by Future of StoryTelling, Sensory Stories gets visitors to engage new immersive technologies that influence sight, hearing, touch and smell.


New Astoria rental building The Grove to open and start leasing this fall

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Modern Spaces

Developer Tsilo Group is hoping to open and begin leasing in its new 62-unit Astoria rental building called The Grove this fall, according to representatives of Modern Spaces, which was chosen to exclusively handle marketing in the building.

The seven-story building at 30-40 21st St. will offer a mix of studios, one- and two-bedrooms apartments. The units will feature washers and dryers, maple hardwood floors, and kitchens with Italian cabinets and Caesarstone countertops. Amenities in the building include a gym, and a landscaped rooftop with lounges and sunbathing area.

Rental prices in the building have not been released yet, but average rental rates in the neighborhood are $2,395 per month for a studio, $2,588 for a one-bedroom and $3,393 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to data from Modern Spaces.

Those rates are much higher than those in most areas in the borough, but reflects the demand in the neighborhood due to its access to transportation, established commercial strips, diverse restaurants and entertainment venues, such as the Museum of the Moving Image and the Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall. Modern Spaces believes these community amenities will attract residents to The Grove.

“Astoria is a culturally diverse and established neighborhood with a true sense of community,” said Modern Spaces’ Greg Kyroglou, who will lead the marketing effort of the building. “The Grove will not only provide well-crafted homes to potential renters but also give them a chance to experience all that makes this area so special.”

A ton of new projects are planned for Astoria, including massive waterfront developments such as the Astoria Cove and Hallets Point plans.


‘Mad Men’ creator discusses show influences, exhibit at Astoria museum

| kmedoff@queenscourier.com

Photo by Thanassi Karageorgiou/Museum of the Moving Image

As “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner walked around the Museum of the Moving Image’s exhibit on his show for the first time, it was “a little bit like having someone come up and pants you,” he joked.

“I was like, ‘Wow, I agreed to put all this stuff out here, like my notes and my thoughts,’ and then I had some feeling…like it all happened to someone else,” he said.

Museum members, “Mad Men” fans and movie buffs packed the Sumner M. Redstone Theater on March 20 as the showrunner of the popular TV series, which comes to a close in May, visited the museum for “Inside Mad Men: An Evening with Matthew Weiner.”

“Huge fan” of the show Mark Kramer, 26, of Astoria, snagged a front-row seat.

“I heard [Weiner] speak a lot about the show on podcasts and interviews,” he said. “It’ll be great to hear him in person.”

In a conversation on stage with host Anthony Mason of CBS News, Weiner talked about his creative process, the film series “Required Viewing: Mad Men’s Movie Influences” and the exhibit, which Weiner called “the most expensive scrapbook ever made.”

Also in the audience was Andrea Basora, 50, a former resident of western Queens and a self-described “longtime movie buff,” who came to the event hoping to get an insight into the “Required Viewing” film series.

“I’m really interested in the whole series and what he has to say about how the films influenced ‘Mad Men,’” Basora said. Some of the film choices were self-explanatory to her, but “some choices, like ‘Blue Velvet,’ are interesting,” she said, and she wanted to know why Weiner chose them.

Mason guided Weiner through topics such as the inspiration behind the show, the casting of relatively unknown actors, the challenges of filming the pilot and how the creative team brought the time period to life.

Weiner also talked about the strange experience of seeing the “Mad Men” sets, costumes, props and more in a museum setting.

“I feel the sort of ghostliness going to a museum and seeing these things that are usually very old. These were recently inhabited. These chairs are still warm,” he said. “And the sets — the actors were just there.”

The exhibit, which remains open through June 14, features two large-scale sets (Draper’s office and the Draper family kitchen from their Ossining home), a recreation of the writers’ room, 33 costumes, a section contrasting the lifestyles and personalities of Megan and Betty, hundreds of props and a music listening station.

“I can’t imagine that 20 years ago when you took the first notes that would lead to this show you ever thought it would end up in a museum,” Mason said.

“No,” Weiner laughed. “I have had some lofty ambitions in my life that are completely unrelated to reality, and they’ve all been exceeded by this experience.”


Queens World Film Festival celebrates fifth year’s opening night

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

With the luck of the Irish, the Queens World Film Festival kicked off its fifth year of helping bring independent films to the big screen.

The six-day festival, which gives international and local filmmakers the opportunity to screen their films in Queens, celebrated its opening night on St. Patrick’s Day at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

Opening night featured five films, including two from local Queens filmmakers Jamil Lahham and Lisa Melodia. The films ranged from animation to short narratives. The night also included a bonus screening of Sundance Film Festival-winning film “World of Tomorrow,” which filled the room with laughter.

“I love this film festival because I love Queens, and everything and anything that is good starts right here in my home borough of Queens County. We do it right,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “I admire and respect and really have come to love Don and Katha Cato because you can tell they pour everything, their heart and soul, into this festival.”

The Queens World Film Festival, which will run through March 22, is organized by husband-and-wife duo of Don and Katha Cato, and this year will feature a total of 117 films, with 19 works from Queens. The films include feature narratives, documentaries and LGBT pieces.

Through the week, the films will be sorted out into different blocks based on subject and will be shown at venues such as The Secret Theatre in Long Island City, P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights and the Museum of the Moving Image.

“[Katha and Don] have literally catapulted this festival to heights that not many folks could have foreseen when they first started this,” said Borough President Melinda Katz. “Katha and Don and all the folks that are involved in the arts have truly been using the diversity that we bring to this borough to catapult us in tourism.”

Opening night also recognized director Leon Ichaso, known for movies such as “El Cantante,” “Ali” and “Hendrix,” as a “Spirit of Queens” honoree. Don Cato said Ichaso, who has been called the “poet of Latin New York,” was receiving the awards for his artistry, integrity and humanity.

The festival will also present Ichaso’s film “Bitter Sugar” on Wednesday at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“To all the filmmakers that are here please don’t lose the hope, it’s a hard world making movies,[but] it’s worth it,” Ichaso said. “It is festivals like this that in that journey we can take a rest, we can show what we do, we can meet each other and thank God they exist and thank God for the Queens World Film Festival.”

Closing night of the festival will feature a screening of the film “Dukhtar (Daughter)” by Afia Nathaniel, followed by an award ceremony at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“Experience these films during our festival, talk about them,” said Don at the end of the night. “The films are the stars of this festival.”

For a full schedule of the festival and to purchase tickets, visit www.queensworldfilmfestival.com.


Queens World Film Festival to kick off fifth year

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy Jamil Lahham

Along with recent celebrity sightings, including Oscar winner George Clooney, Astoria is ready to continue shining with this year’s Queens World Film Festival — bringing over a hundred unique local and international films to the booming borough.

The festival, celebrating its fifth year running, will take place from March 17 through March 22 and feature 117 films, with 19 works from Queens. The films include short and feature narrative, documentaries, animation and LGBT pieces.

“It will be a week of something for everyone,” said festival director Katha Cato, who arranges the event along with her husband Don and a group of volunteers. “I’m so excited about the caliber of what we are about to expose Queens to.”

This year the six-day festival, which officially received a nonprofit status this year, brought in over 400 submissions from across the nation and around the world.

“Five [years] just feels like I can breathe a little bit. We made it to year five and that’s important,” Cato said. “We are experiencing and feeling it.”

The festival begins on March 17 at 8 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria. The evening will feature a block of six films, including two from Queens filmmakers.

“You can do any kind of shot and any type you want in Queens, to represent any nation or any demographic. You can find it somewhere, somehow in this borough,” Cato said. “You can create a lot of different worlds here and with these studios starting to understand that and with a film festival, this could be a huge industry here in this borough.”

The short narrative "Short Steps" by Queens filmmaker Laura Aguinaga is one of 19 Queens films at the film festival.

The short narrative “Short Steps” by Queens filmmaker Laura Aguinaga is one of 19 Queens films at the film festival.

Opening night will also recognize director Leon Ichaso, known for movies such as “El Cantante” starring Jennifer Lopez, as a “Spirit of Queens” honoree. The festival will also present Ichaso’s film “Bitter Sugar” on March 18 at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Throughout the festival, the independent films will be divided into different blocks based on subject and shown at venues such as The Secret Theatre in Long Island City, P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, and, for the first time, daily showings at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“It’s about pairing [the films] together to create the proper context so they all look, sound and feel the way the filmmaker wanted it,” Cato said. “And we are creating community within these filmmakers who are perhaps on the same journey and might perhaps work together [in the future].”

Closing night of the festival will feature a screening of the film “Dukhtar (Daughter)” by Afia Nathaniel and be followed by an award ceremony at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“I just hope everyone knows that a lot of love went into this festival and we’re going to fix any mistakes we encounter, but we want you to really experience the films,” Cato added. “Just experience them, don’t judge them. It’s a different medium, there aren’t studio films.”

Tickets for opening night and the rest of the festival are still available at www.queensworldfilmfestival.com.


‘Mad Men’ exhibit at Museum of the Moving Image to coincide with show’s final episodes

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of AMC

Madison Avenue is coming to Astoria.

A “Mad Men” exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image featuring large-scale sets, costumes, props, advertising art and video clips from the hit AMC series is opening on March 14.

The show’s creator, writer and executive producer, Matthew Weiner, will also be at the Museum of the Moving Image next month to discuss the series, just weeks before the final episode.

Don Draper fans can get a look at his office, kitchen, suit and a box with “objects that reveal his true identity.”

More than 25 iconic costumes and hundreds of props will be on display — including Joan Holloway’s red dress from the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce holiday party and Megan Draper’s “Zou Bisou Bisou” dress — and some items will later be added to the museum’s permanent collection.

But the exhibit, Matthew Weiner’s “Mad Men,” goes beyond what’s on screen.

Photo: Carin Baer/AMC

The Draper’s kitchen will be part of the museum’s exhibit. (Photo: Carin Baer/AMC)

Fans will also be offered insight into the origins and making of the series. There will be an installation featuring key elements of the writers’ room with story notes for the first half of its seventh and final season listed on whiteboards, and index cards, research material and other elements created and used by the writers of “Mad Men.”

The exhibit is the first time objects connected to the production of the show will be shown in public on this scale, according to the museum.

“We are grateful to AMC, Lionsgate and the extraordinarily talented team of creative professionals behind ‘Mad Men’ for giving us an unprecedented degree of access to objects that inform and define this landmark television series,” said Carl Goodman, executive director of Museum of the Moving Image.

The dress worn by Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) as she sings "Zou Bisou Bisou" at Don's birthday party will be shown in the exhibit (Photo: Ron Jaffe/AMC)

The dress worn by Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) as she sings “Zou Bisou Bisou” at Don’s birthday party will be shown in the exhibit. (Photo: Ron Jaffe/AMC)

Weiner will appear at the museum for a conversation about the creation and production of “Mad Men” on March 20. His talk kicks off Required Viewing: Mad Men’s Movie Influences, a 10-film series featuring movies curated by Weiner — including “The Apartment,” “Les Bonnes Femmes,” “The Americanization of Emily” and “North by Northwest” — that inspired the show, from March 14 to April 26.

”’Mad Men’ is much more than a popular television series, it has become a cultural touchstone inspiring a renewed interest in a critical time in the country’s history,” said Barbara Miller, the museum’s Curator of the Collection and Exhibitions. “With the generous participation of Matthew Weiner and his production team, we are able to reveal how Weiner’s profound commitment to exploring cultural history and human relationships informed the production of ‘Mad Men,’ and offer unique insight into the creative process behind the series.”

Matthew Weiner’s “Mad Men” runs from March 14 to June 14, at 36-01 35 Ave., and coincides with the series’ last seven episodes, which air on AMC beginning Sunday, April 5, at 10 p.m.


Astoria featured in city tourism campaign

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via NYC & Company

For people near and far, Astoria is the next go-to destination, according to a new neighborhood tourism campaign.

Astoria has been selected by NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for New York City, as the next spotlight area in its Neighborhood x Neighborhood campaign.

“From the remarkable Greek and international cuisine, to the fascinating cultural and arts scene, we are pleased to be promoting all there is to see and do in Astoria,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “We invite visitors from around the world and across the United States to discover and rediscover Astoria.”

Starting Tuesday, Astoria is being highlighted as the third feature in a three-part Neighborhood x Neighborhood documentary series. The videos in the series feature a local’s guide to the neighborhood, focusing on shops, restaurants, attractions and the history that makes the area distinct. They also include reasons for both tourists and locals to explore.

“It’s no surprise that the borough of nations is home to Astoria, a culturally diverse community known as both a creative neighborhood full of praiseworthy cultural institutions and a food destination popular for everything from Greek to Italian to Brazilian cuisine,” said Marty Markowitz, vice president of borough promotion and engagement at NYC & Company. “There is something for everyone in this bustling Queens neighborhood, and we encourage New Yorkers and visitors to spend a day in Astoria.”

This announcement comes just a few weeks after NYC & Company launched a three-month promotional campaign called “See Your City” showcasing 10 neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs, including Jackson Heights and Long Island City.

The “must-see Astoria” highlights featured in the Neighborhood x Neighborhood campaign include the Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria Park with its views of Midtown Manhattan, the neighborhood’s prominent Greek culture, restaurant and social scene, and boutique designers. 

The Neighborhood x Neighborhood campaign, first launched in 2013, targets outside visitors and New Yorkers and was designed to highlight the diversity of the city’s five boroughs and encourage people to explore outside “traditional tourist locations.”

For more information, visit nycgo.com/nxn.


George Clinton brings funk to Astoria during book signing, talk at Museum of the Moving Image

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Asha Mahadevan


George Clinton proved his legendary status Monday night when more than 100 fans chanted “just funk it” at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Clinton was at the museum to sign copies of his memoir, “Brothas Be, Yo’ Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?: A Memoir.”

The event was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. but Clinton arrived 20 minutes early and seeing the long line of fans waiting to meet him, immediately started signing books.

The artist, known for the 1970s funk bands Parliament and Funkadelic (P-Funk All Stars), said it was “great to be in Queens.”

“It feels good to be here to jam in this neighborhood for people of different cultures,” Clinton said.

The fans were no less excited to see their idol in their neighborhood.

“I am really glad to see him in Astoria,” said Hye Ryu, an Astoria resident, who said she has followed his music for more than 20 years. “We are getting a chance to see him. It makes the neighborhood special.”

“He was probably the first funk musician I ever listened to in college,” said Ryu’s husband Young Yun. “To me, he is like a rockstar.”

Andre Doughty, 22, stood in line with his childhood friend, William Clyde. The two were introduced to Clinton’s music by their fathers, who were good friends and often played his songs.

“Funk keeps the energy. He gets straight to the point,” said Doughty.

Daniel and Liz Cousins grew up listening to Clinton in Virginia and California respectively. “It’s got an infectious sound,” said Daniel as Liz added, “It is sort of like cartoon characters meet music.”

The book signing was followed by a screening of “Cosmic Slop,” a three-part TV special that Clinton hosted in 1994. George Logan, who played one of the principal characters in the TV special, was at the book signing too.

“I’ve followed his music since the 60s,” said Logan. “It has stood the test of time. Lots of rappers today use his beats.”

After the screening, Clinton participated in a Q&A with his friend and Grammy-winning artist James Mtume. The discussion touched upon the first time Mtume saw Clinton (the latter was dressed in a tutu and a diaper), the funk artist’s musical influences and his decision to produce musicians at different labels at the same time.

When one of Clinton’s fans asked him life advice, he suggested she “just funk it.”

After the discussion, Clinton once again signed books for fans. A total of 180 books were sold over the course of the evening, according to a publisher’s representative.