Tag Archives: The Museum of the Moving Image

Community calls homeless shelter at East Elmhurst motel an ‘abuse of power’

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

East Elmhurst residents blasted city officials Wednesday for placing a homeless shelter on Astoria Boulevard without community consultation, calling the move a “covert operation reeking of disrespect.”

More than 200 neighborhood residents packed an Astoria museum’s theater to speak against the decision by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to turn the Westway Motor Inn into a permanent homeless shelter to house more than 100 homeless families.

Community members say they are outraged they weren’t told or asked about the motel becoming a permanent shelter.

“It was a deliberate, furtive and covert operation reeking of disrespect of our local elected officials, community leaders and the community at large,” said Rose Marie Poveromo, president of the United Community Civic Association, which organized the meeting. ”We were advised after the fact and consider the action by DHS an abuse of power.”

Officials say that years ago the DHS came to the community requesting to turn the 121-room motel into a homeless shelter, but were met with opposition. At the time DHS stated it had no plans to convert the motel into a full-time facility and worked with the community on making the site only a temporary overnight shelter.

“When they came to us, we explained to them why this is the wrong place. Why there is nothing for these people to do during the day, this is a hotel on a dangerous service road,” said Peter Vallone Jr., a former councilman for the area who also worked with the DHS to come to the temporary shelter agreement. “To change that agreement you were supposed to come to the community and inform us. That never happened and that is an outrage.”

The shelter is being managed by social services provider Women In Need and currently houses a total of 67 families with 129 children, ranging from 1 to 17 years old, according to DHS representatives.

Residents who lined up to speak during the meeting, which went on for more than two hours, raised concerns over community safety, overcrowding of schools, increase in property taxes, environmental studies of the area and crime.

Antonia Papadouris, whose home driveway is adjacent to the backlot of the motel, said she has seen signs of marijuana and has found hypodermic needles on the ground. She also said that last Friday a teenager playing in the backlot pulled a knife on her father-in-law.

“I don’t feel safe in my neighborhood,” Papadouris said. “My husband wants me to take mace with me.”

However, Danny Roman, a resident of the homeless shelter, said his 15-year-old step-son, who was the one involved in the altercation, never pulled a knife. Instead, Roman said, he merely approached the man after hearing screams and having seen his step-son get injured during the fight.

“I didn’t go with any weapon. I went there humble,” said Roman, who lives at the site with his wife and four children. “I do understand. I do understand, this is a strong community. They have the right to fear…. But my kids go to bed at 8 p.m. Basically we are like in a prison.”

Lorraine Stephens, DHS first deputy commissioner, said the move was necessary because “right now we are in a crisis in New York City.” She blamed the Bloomberg administration, saying there was a “lack of planning around building the necessary capacity for shelter.”

“We were put in a situation where we have to shelter everyone that comes, that is deemed eligible for shelter,” Stephens said.“We were not looking at Westway a month, two months ago. But as of June we became in a crisis because our lack of capacity forced us to look throughout New York City and say where can we house these families?”



Curtain set to rise on 4th Annual Queens World Film Festival

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of the Queens World Film Festival

The 4th Annual Queens World Film Festival is ready to hit the stage strong and put Queens on the map.

The Queens World Film Festival, which brings together local and international filmmakers, will take place from March 4 through March 10 and feature 127 films, with 16 works from Queens. The films include short and feature narratives, documentaries, LGBT pieces and animation.

“We’re going to remind the world that Queens is the birthplace of the [film] industry in America,” said festival director Katha Cato, who arranged the event along with her husband, Don.

In the year since the last festival, Katha was diagnosed with three types of cancer and has had to undergo various surgeries and chemotherapy.

However, she continued to work on the festival, which brought in over 300 submissions this year.

“We’re very excited; we’re in very good shape,” said Katha. “It’s the love of my life, next to Donald. It’s a very fulfilling and challenging job. It’s sustained me as I imagined standing at the podium many times when things weren’t quite pleasant.”

The six-day festival begins at 8 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, with a block of four films. The evening will also honor the museum’s Executive Director, Carl Goodman, and maverick filmmaker Hal Hartley as “Spirit of Queens” honorees.

Opening night, which is already sold out, features films from one filmmaker from Kosovo, a directorial debut from a Southern Illinois University student and two New York filmmakers.

“The borough is going to look beautiful on opening night,” said Katha.

Katha and Don Cato

The celebration of independent films will continue as the works are divided into different blocks based on subject and shown at venues such as The Secret Theatre and The Nesva Hotel in Long Island City, and P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights.

The “big excitement” for this year’s festival is the world premiere of the 159-minute director’s cut of the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Act of Killing.” The film will be shown at P.S. 69 at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 6.

Awards will be given to films on the final night of the festival.

“To be able to reach out to so many people is a really pretty amazing opportunity- we are certainly not doing it for the money,” said Don, who, together with a screening committee, choose the festival’s award winners. “We just keep it going because we started this thing and we’re trying to build something.”

Tickets for the festival are $10 for regular admission and $6 for students and seniors and can be purchased online here.



Courier Happenings

| aaltman@queenscourier.com



 ‘Jim Henson’s Fantastic World’

Photo courtesey of Sam Suddaby / Museum of the Moving Image

Ongoing from now through March 4

The Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35 Avenue in Astoria, has extended the exhibit “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” Take a look inside the world of the famed puppeteer, filmmaker and TV innovator with more than 120 pieces of work from his career. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday 10:30a.m.to 5p.m., Friday to 8p.m. and weekends to 7p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for students and seniors and $6 for children under 18.


One-woman show

Photo courtesy of York College Performing Arts Center

At 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., York College Performing Arts Center, located at 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in Jamaica, presents ZORA returns to Harlem. This one-woman show tells the story of Zora Neale Hurston who in 1925 moved to Harlem and became the first black woman to study at Barnard College and attend Columbia University. She was a writer and a pioneer of the Harlem Renaissance literary movement before earning a Guggenheim Fellowship Award to study in Haiti, Jamaica and the Gulf Coast. Ultimately, Zora became one of the world’s greatest literary figures. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.


Saturday, February 11

At 1:00 p.m., The Greater Astoria Historical Society, located at 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor, Long Island City, presents a reading and discussion about documents in American history. This series explores the foundation documents of our government and teaches attendees what these documents mean to us as modern day Americans. This month, they will discuss the historical background to Franklin Roosevelt‘s Four Freedoms and its relationship to the New Deal. This is a free event.


At 2 and 8 p.m. Andes Manta

Listen to the vibrant and exotic sounds of the pan pipe, Andean flute and quena as the Andes Manta performs traditional Andean music. The cultural collective will play over 35 native instruments at the Queens Theatre as part of its Latino Cultural Series. Tickets are $35.


At 8 p.m. Pilgrims Musa & Sheri in the New World. Hear the hilarious tale of an Egyptian cab driver’s love plight with an American waitress. This fresh and original comedy is part of the Queens Theatre’s Free Reading Series. Reservations are required and there is a $10 donation suggested.


Sunday, February 12

At 1 p.m., Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, will present a festival of herbal tonic soup with Dr. Hsing Lih Chou. Dr. Chou leads a panel of traditional healers from the Chinese and Korean communities to discuss and demonstrate the traditional remedy that he uses to purify the body and provide a tasting sample of each herbal tonic soup. For more information, call 718-463-7700 ext. 222.


At 1 p.m., Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, will present a fun, challenging class to introduce children and adults to various dance styles such as B-Boying/B-Girling, hip-hop, modern, jazz, African, and more for basic movements and techniques, and develop the movements into combinations. For more information, call 718-463-7700 ext. 222.


At 2:15 p.m., Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, will present Illstyle & Peace Productions (I&PP), which will perform contemporary and old school hip-hop with an eclectic mix of dance and performance disciplines including tap, ballet, Djing and beatboxing. I&PP has toured to critical acclaim both nationally and internationally and is committed to delivering a positive message to audiences young and old. For more information, call 718-463-7700 ext. 222.



Friday, February 17

At 7:30 p.m., Colden Center, located at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, will present four concerts by the talented young musicians from the Queens College Orchestra, under the musical direction of Maestro and QC Professor Maurice Peress. The repertoire will feature soloists from the orchestra and singers from the Aaron Copland School of Music’s vocal divisions. For more information, call 718-793-8080.


At 7 p.m., York College Performing Arts Center, located at 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in Jamaica, presents the Avalon String Quartet, one of the country’s leading Chamber ensembles. Formed in 1995 at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Quartet gained fame after participating in The Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall. In 1997, the Avalon String Quartet performed at The Chamber Music Encounters in Jerusalem. This event has a suggested donation of $10. For more information, please call 718-262-3750.


Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Broadway Rox! Fans of Broadway will rejoice at this Queens Theatre musical event which combines hits from beloved shows, including “Wicked,” “Jersey Boys,” “Rent,” “Mamma Mia” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Tickets are $35.


Saturday, February 18

At 1:00 p.m., The Greater Astoria Historical Society, located at 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor, Long Island City, presents a history roundtable and screening of a documentary called “A Question of Habit.” This film takes a look at the representation of nuns in popular culture, more particularly their form of dress. A question and answer period will follow the screening. This event is free to GAHS members and $5 for non-members.


At 2 p.m., Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, presents their composer-in-residence Demetrius Spaneas, an award-winning musician trained in classical, jazz and traditional styles. He has previously toured throughout the United States, Eastern Europe and Asia.


At 8 p.m., Colden Center, located at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, will present Bebe & Cece Winans. R&B Gospel icons, both as a duo and as solo artists, Bebe & Cece Winans, who were recently awarded their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, will be making their only scheduled performance together in 2012 at the Colden Center. For more information, call 718-793-8080.


At 8 p.m., Queensborough Perfoming Arts Center at Queensborough Community College, located at 222-05 56th Avenue, will present Las Vegas Motown tribute concert. The concert returns to QPAC, featuring the music of The Temptations, The Supremes and The Four Tops — three of the most successful American vocal groups that helped define the Motown sound. For more information, call 718-631-6311.


Sunday, February 19

At 2 p.m., Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, lets the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Institute of New York introduce you to a variety of traditional dance styles and drum rhythms. Admission to this event is $5 for non members and free for members.


Monday, February 20

At 1:00 p.m., The Greater Astoria Historical Society, located at 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor, Long Island City, presents a screening of “National Treasure” for their President’s Day Family Event. This family-friendly feature film depicts a hunt for treasure left by the Founding Fathers after the Revolutionary War. Popcorn and hot chocolate will be served to attendees. This is a free event.


Thursday, February 23 through Sunday, March 4

Wednesday through Friday at 7:30p.m. and Saturdays at 8p.m., Queens Theatre, located at 14 United Nations Avenue South in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, presents the life of extraordinary superstar Ella Fitzgerald. Listen to the music of the “First Lady of Song,” and her experiences performing with Louis Armstrong. Tickets are $42.


Saturday, February 25

At 2 p.m., Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, presents their composer-in-residence, Paul Yeon Lee, as he performs his new piece called “Scattered Wind.” The concert will feature performances of the traditional Korean transverse flute daegeum, western instrument flute and piano. This performance is free to the public.


Friday, March 2

At 8p.m., Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, presents Daniel Bernard Roumain and The Mission, artists known for fusing classical music with a variety of sounds. They will be performing a piece called Civil Rights Reader, a musical story of figures from the civil rights movement. Tickets are $25 for non-members, $20 for members and $10 for students.


Friday, March 9

At 8p.m. Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, is hosting The Queens College Orchestra. Lead by music director Maurice Peress, the classical music group will feature solos from violinist Alicia Bisha as well as music by Beethoven, Mozart and Wagner. This event has a suggested donation of $20 for non members and $10 for members.


Friday, March 9 through Sunday, April 29

Flushing Town Hall

, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, invites you to experience nomadic life in Turkey through a display of handmade carpets and textiles from this exotic region. Beautifully crafted pieces of functional art will be on display, including two recreated dwellings. The textiles will also be joined by ancient ceramics, glassware and metal objects. Suggested admission for this event is $5.


Saturday, March 10

At 2:15p.m. Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, invites you to enjoy Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a bilingual show presented in both English and Spanish. This family-friendly performance features the award-winning SEA Teatro, a group that has performed in New York, Florida and Puerto Rico for over 25 years. Tickets are $12 for non members and $10 for members, $8 for non member children and $6 for member children.


Wednesday, March 21 through Monday, March 26

The Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum located at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale, invites you to experience the magic of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. This once in a lifetime event, called DRAGONS, celebrates the Year of the Dragon through astonishing feats and acts of bravery. Tickets range from $20 to $150. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.Ringling.com or www.ticketmaster.com.


Friday, March 23

7 p.m., York College Performing Arts Center, located at 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in Jamaica, presents James Spaulding, a jazz saxophonist and flutist who has established himself as a masterful soloist for ensemble performances. Originally from the Indianapolis, Indiana area, Spaulding is a modernist with solid roots in classical jazz. This performance has a suggested donation of $10.


Saturday, March 31

At 2p.m. and 8p.m., the Queens Theatre, located at 14 United Nations Avenue South in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park invites you to take a musical trip to South America with Tlen-Huicani, masters of the art of traditional folk music. This event is part of the Queens Theatre’s Latino Cultural Series. Tickets for this show are $35.