Tags Posts tagged with "Featured Artist"

Featured Artist

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Yvonne Hartung in Astoria Park

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Yvonne Hartung in Astoria Park
Yvonne Hartung in Astoria Park

TitleOccupation
Managing Director for Team Awesome Robot. Stage Manager, Director, Producer, Helpful Theater Hands

Where were you born?
I was born in Daytona Beach, Florida, and grew up in the woods of Ormond Beach.

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve lived in Astoria off of the Ditmars stop for four years (with a brief intermission in Harlem for one year).

How did you get involved with Team Awesome Robot?
Christopher Diercksen (Artistic Director) and I have been working together for the past three years in various working relationships (director-stage manager, director-assistant director, producer-director) and realized we wanted to have more agency in the projects we were working on and wanted to build on our collaborative natures within our own theater company. Thus, Team Awesome Robot was born.

 

What do you love most about Queens?
Queens feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, but you’re still able to find anything and everything you could possibly need or want.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
One day I was at a grocery store off of Ditmars, across from an Orthodox church, minding my own business when a nun mutters something to me and does the sign of the cross towards my face. I must have looked startled so she leans in and asks with a deep voice, “Are you Greek?” I say, “No, I’m not.” She replies, “Ah, must be Russian then. The Lord’s Blessings to you,” and then left the store without another word.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Food:
Queens has the best food and there’s always something new! Alright, so if you’re in my neck of the woods, you have to try SingleCut Beersmiths for beer and barbeque. Then head to QED on 23rd Avenue to see a storytelling show or stand-up (or anything really, check their website for whatever you might be into). And if you have a sweet tooth like me, get some gelato or pie to seal your evening from Martha’s Country Bakery. Perfect night without even leaving the stop.

Current/Upcoming projects?
Team Awesome Robot is holding a fundraiser tonight called Drinking and Dragons.

Drinking and Dragons is when we get playwrights together to play dungeons and dragons live on-stage for you. There is also drinking, and opportunities for the audience to affect gameplay, Hunger Games style. It’s going to be supremely silly and a great great time.
Our playwright adventurers are:
Berlings Beard wrote an original dungeon module for us,
Ross Wade will be acting as our Rules Wizard
And our Dungeon Master is none other than Daniel John Kelley, playwright to our next production in the Spring.
Tickets are $20 and all drinks are suggest donation.
7pm, tonight, at the Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street, Manhattan.
If you can’t come, but would still like to support us, you can always donate through Fractured Atlas.

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Alisha Spielmann

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Alisha Spielmann
Alisha Spielmann

TitleOccupation
Actor; Creative Partner with Flux Theatre Ensemble, Company Member for Retro Productions

Where were you born?
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve been in NYC for over 10 years but only moved to Astoria this past September, so…. 9ish months new!

How did you get involved in theater?
My mom always said that I knew how to sing before I knew how to talk, lol – apparently my cousin has a vivid memory of me singing along to the radio before I could talk too. I was definitely into plays at any early age, and my aunt and uncle use to take me to shows at The Children’s Theater and the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis. My first play I was a part of was in 2nd grade where I played a magic broom that saved the day (sidenote: so my mom made me a really great broom costume that apparently made a lot of noise, and I had the young acting smarts to know that when I wasn’t talking I should be doing something else (LOL), so I’d be dusting and “brooming” the room whenever I didn’t have a line, and my teacher made me stop because apparently my broom outfit was too loud and the audience couldn’t hear the other students…!!!) It wasn’t until 7th grade, though, when my middle school principal Dr. Young took my mom aside and told her that he thought I had that “something” worth giving to the world artistically that I started to really think that maybe this could be something that I could actually do for the rest of my life.

What do you love most about Queens?
I love that Queens is not Manhattan – it’s like the tiniest breath away from it though! Such a friendly and approachable neighborhood. The people, though, and the incredibly delicious food (as you’ll note down below) have a lot to do with why I love Queens – as well as Astoria Park!

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
Here’s one for the books: I had been working in Long Island City babysitting for a family every Monday from 8-5 for probably 3 years a bit ago.  I’d get on the train at around 5:10pm or so and the MTA guy who was working the booth would always wave to me, and being from Minnesota, I naturally waved back.  Cut to about 2 years after that and I’m hopping into the subway at 42nd Street after a show and my metro card has expired. I look at the ticket booth and there’s the same guy! We both recognized each other for the same reason: he would always wave and I would always wave back…. That for me is most definitely a NYC moment and a Queens moment all in one. 🙂

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Food:

Best bagels: Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company http://www.brooklynbagelandcoffeecompany.com
Best fried pickles: Sweet Afton http://www.sweetaftonbar.com
Best burgers: Bareburger http://www.bareburger.com
Best sliders: Snowdonia http://snowdoniapub.com
Best Greek: Taverna Kyclades http://www.tavernakyclades.com
Best BBQ: The Strand Smokehouse http://www.thestrandsmokehouse.com
Best cheese shop: Astoria Bier and Cheese http://astoriabierandcheese.com
Best panini’s: Il Bambino http://ilbambinonyc.com
Best coffee: The Queens Kickshaw http://thequeenskickshaw.com
Best bakery: Martha’s Country Bakery http://marthascountrybakery.com
Best cocktails: The Astor Room http://www.astorroom.com
Best wine: DiWine http://www.diwineonline.com
Best BINGO night: Blackbirds http://blackbirdsbar.com
Best outdoor hang: Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden!  http://bohemianhall.com
Best museum: The Museum of Moving Image http://www.movingimage.us

Current/Upcoming projects?
I’ll be performing in Flux Theatre Ensemble’s upcoming play RIZING by Jason Tseng from May 20th – June 4th at the Access Theater, and you can find all sorts of information about that at fluxtheatre.org/rizing and alishaspielmann.com ! 🙂

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Tara Pacheco (Jackson Heights)

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Tara Pacheco  (Jackson Heights)
Tara Pacheco (Jackson Heights)

TitleOccupation
Actor, Director

Where were you born?
New York, NY

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I grew up in Jackson Heights and have loved every second of it.

What was your experience like working on All Systems Go: Mission 3?
Working on All Systems Go was wonderful and crazy. There are so many artists working together to put together one night of fabulous theater – it’s a whirlwind. You’d think i’d be mayhem but the team is so top-notch and professional. Everything runs like clockwork.

Tara in All Systems Go: Mission 3
Tara in All Systems Go: Mission 3

How did you get involved in theatre?

I went to Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in LIC for high school. While there, I swapped majors from dance to theater and was hooked. I had some really supportive teachers and they really took a personal interest in helping me learn. I fell in love with theater because of them. Then Bruce Willis spoke at our graduation and was totally unprepared and awkward. It was a mess. I remember thinking – if this joker can be an actor so can I.   I got B.A.s in theater performance & psychology at Columbia University and then joined the Flea’s Resident Acting company (The Bats).

What do you love most about Queens?
It’s like a secret garden.
We have beautiful parks, historic neighborhoods, awesome beaches (none of my non-NY friends believe Rockaway is Queens), and amazing food! And until everyone else catches on, we have it all to ourselves.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
I once walked by Tina Fey and her crew filming a scene for 30 Rock and onto a subway car where a homeless man was pooping. I’m not sure if that’s an “only in Queens” or more of an “only in NY” moment but, either way, it’s definitely something.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Food:
Queens really is heaven for a foodie, you just have to be adventurous. But here are some of my staples.
Uncle Peter’s (mix of cuisine but they have amazing steaks)
Pio Pio (there are Manhattan locations now but it’s definitely a Queens thing)
Bohemian Hall (the original cool beer garden)
SriPraPhai (great thai!)

The columbian bakeries in Jackson Heights (I’m not even referring to one specific one. Some of the best cakes I’ve ever had have come from those bakeries.
Entertainment / Sights:
Flushing Meadows Park (It’s a beautiful park! take a ride on the 7 train and enjoy the grass)
PS1 (a bit of MOMA in our corner of the city)
 

Current/Upcoming projects?
I’ve been working on a show called Kapow-i Gogo at the People’s Improv Theater with a great group of people. The clearest way to describe it is as epic geek theater. It’s a completely original, live-action anime that draws on video games, and cartoons from the 90s. It’s a must see for anyone who enjoyed things like Pokemon or Final Fantasy but also it’s so accessible and hilarious that anyone and everyone will fall in love. It chronicles the story of a girl named Kapow-i Gogo and how she wants to become the worlds greatest fighter. Our next performance is August 29th.

I have a couple of other things brewing but nothing ready to be official. Check out my website for updates.


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Elizabeth Seldin

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Elizabeth Seldin
Elizabeth Seldin

TitleOccupation
Actor/ Writer/ Energy Healer/ Corporate Stage Manager

Where were you born?
Ithaca, New York

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
Astoria

How did you get involved in theatre?
Wow um…. i dont know if I even started forming memories yet. Oh wait! Okay. There was this group that came to our school and they were called Beauty and the Beast and the guy was beauty and the woman played the beast and they used to tell stories and put on two person plays and I would look forward to it all year.  And finally when I reached the third or fourth grade they came and did a workshop and taught us to tell stories and put on little one and two person shows… Since then I couldn’t get enough. 

What do you love most about Queens?
That you can be right next to Manhattan, a simple fast train ride in and yet there are mansions and haunted houses and gorgeous parks and I feel like I am in small town USA sometimes. So its this incredible retreat full of unique secrets if you find them.  Also the fact that Astoria Kaufman and Silvercup studios reside right in Astoria makes me feel as if its mini Hollywood without the Hollywood.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
Walking home, I live near astoria park, I heard this crazy music and turning the corner there was a FULL carnival … just chillin in the park. Needless to say I stopped what I was doing called some friends to join me and rode the crazy rides while eating cotton candy. BOOM. Only in queens.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
BARE BURGER! Also Astoria Park and the New Solstice summer ceremony in Socrates Sculpture Park with Mama Donna.

 

Current/Upcoming projects?
Currently work on creating a new musical called ‘Shadows’ as well as a new play called “Shelter In Place” Upcoming workshops to be announced. 

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Kim Wong (Woodside)

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Kim Wong (Woodside)
Kim Wong (Woodside)

TitleOccupation
Actor and Artistic Director of Accidental Shakespeare Company

Where were you born?
Sunnyvale, California

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
Woodside for 8 months, but Astoria for 5 years before that.

How did you get involved in theatre?

My parents sent me to Shakespeare Camp when I was 8. I think they sent me there because they thought it would help me academically… boy did that backfire! I got hooked on theater and Shakespeare. We did a 20 minute production of Twelfth Night, and I got to play Viola — though whether that casting was due to natural talent or the fact that I had a terrible third grade bob cut is up to you.

Now, 20 years later, I’m running my own Shakespeare theater company out of Queens. Accidental Shakespeare Company is an ensemble dedicated to promoting PLAY and spontaneity in classical theater. Founded in 2011, we have become most well known for our Hit & Run Shakespeare series. We’ve produced 14 of Shakespeare’s works so far, and we are continuing to work our way through the cannon. What gratifies me the most about the work we do is that we often get audience members who hate Shakespeare, who think it’s boring, who rarely go to the theater, and they will come up to me after a show and say, “I loved that! I totally get it now!”

Please check us out at: www.accidental.nyc. And if you feel like supporting the arts in Queens and making Shakespeare accessible, consider donating at: http://igg.me/at/accidentalshakespeare

What do you love most about Queens?
It’s the perfect blend of city and residential. There’s a great energy, awesome restaurants, places open late, but there’s also a great sense of community and of coming home.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
I love riding the 7 train home, right around sunset, the moment it comes above ground and you can see the New York skyline lit up in gold and pink. When I’m feeling discouraged or the actor life is getting me down, it’s the perfect reminder of the fact that I’m living my dream in the city of my dreams.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?

The taco truck on 30th Ave. It’s the thing I miss most about living in Astoria. Take it from this Cali girl, they’re the best tacos in the city.

The Yoga Room in Astoria and LIC. They have the BEST teachers, and the studio is so tranquil — you’ll feel like you’re at the spa!

Leli’s Bakery on 30th Ave. Order anything. Order everything. You can’t go wrong.

Matsu Sushi (the friendliest service I’ve had in NY), Seva for Indian food, Sweet Afton, Queens Kickshaw… can you tell I like food?

Current/Upcoming projects?

The world premier of a new play, RED FLAMBOYANT, by fellow Queens resident Don Ngyuen, runs until May 16. I’m super excited about this show because not only has it been a great challenge to bring to life Don’s very complex and deep characters, but I’ve also learned how to fly through the air on an aerial bungee.

I still remember the first time I read the script. There’s a stage direction that says:

“Two women hover high above… The women fly onto the stage.

Yes, they fly.”

That tells you the kind of show you’re in for!!

But awesome theatricalities aside, I’m so honored to be a part of sharing this very, very important story. It is a story that needs to be told, that DESERVES to be told. The stigmatization of AIDS in Vietnam and the ignorance around the disease means that most HIV+ men, women, and children cannot get the treatment or help they deserve. Currently, the real Pham Thi Hue (who the play is based on) is looking after 50 children who have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS is Hai Phong. She wrote to us on opening night: “I hope the image of faithful, heroic and resourceful Vietnamese women will be recognized throughout the world.”

Red Flamboyant
April 24 – May 16
The Olmstead Salon
61 Gramercy Park North

Tickets: redflamboyant.brownpapertickets.com

This poignant, moving, imaginative piece blends realism and fantasy to tell the true story of Pham Thi Hue, the first woman to open an HIV/AIDS support group in Vietnam. Her story is interwoven with the folk tale of the Trung Sisters, two magical warrior women who lead an army against the invading Chinese. The staging combines aerial arts, martial arts, music, and shadow puppetry to support humorous, lyrical, and powerful dialogue. This is a story of true heroism, and what it means to be remembered.

*10% of all ticket sales will go to support the real live Mrs. Hue’s efforts in serving victims of HIV/AIDS in Vietnam*

See you at the theater!

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Kristopher Wettstein (Astoria)

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Kristopher Wettstein
Kristopher Wettstein

TitleOccupation
I’m a songwriter, composer, music director, pianist, teacher… I wear a  few hats!

Where were you born?
Calgary, Alberta in Canada.

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I now live in Astoria off of the 30th ave stop. I lived up by Ditmars before that for about a year. I’ve lived in Queens for almost three years.

How did you get involved in theater?
I spent 5 years when I was a teenager living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and I got involved in theater while I was there because it was something fun that happened indoors, where the air conditioning was.

What do you love most about Queens?
I love the incredible diversity: people and culture from all parts of the globe. Also, a general lack of pretension. A supportive artistic community. It’s the most mixed, most interesting Borough.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
Probably biking under Roosevelt avenue. For the most part, Queens is really quiet and pleasant to listen to and I enjoy hearing all the different noises and languages as I get around on my bike. Roosevelt Ave is a different story, with the 7 train clattering around like an angry dragon overhead. But what could be more Queens than Roosevelt avenue! I’ll never be able to fully understand everything that goes on on that street. Such a dense mix of cultures and smells and total chaos. It’s like Queens distilled in a shot glass.
Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
I love the Isamu Noguchi Museum, it’s my favorite place in the city. His sculptures have this wonderful vibe to them, you’re not sure if they came from the ancient past or the distant future. I was there once yammering to my girlfriend about how I wished there was more music that had his sensibility, and she said “well, why don’t you write it?” So since then I’ve written a growing body of songs about specific sculptures on display there.
I also love Bahari’s restaurant on Broadway, they can do amazing things with just simple vegetables.
The COFFEED Inspired Word open mic is just a great, warm scene of Queens writers and musicians.
Current/Upcoming projects?
I’m pretty excited about a show I’m playing at Art House Astoria (23-35 Broadway, intersection of Broadway and Crescent St) on Saturday, March 21st at 7pm. I’ll be playing some new songs with an all-star band of Adrianna Matteo  on violin (she directs Face the Music, an amazing Queens-based youth orchestra/band), and Alex Lambert on drums. Then my friends Universal Thump will be playing some of their wonderfully imaginative pop songs from a new record they just made at Abbey Road (yes, THE Abbey Road!). Their lead singer and songwriter, Greta Gertler-Gold, also does some fabulous work in musical theater. Just $10 at the door. It will be fun, consider coming!

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This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

TitleOccupation
Actor

Where were you born?
Saugus, Massachusetts (a small town in the North Shore of Boston)

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
Astoria. I’ve lived here off and on for 12 years. I’ve been in my current apartment now for 2 1/2. I’ve lived all over the Burroughs….but I always come back to Queens.

How did you get involved in theater?
Hm. Well, I was a dancer and thought I’d be a choreographer one day. Truth be told, that wasn’t my dream. Dancing was just something I did well, like my Mom. She was a beautiful dancer. So I was 17 years old, and I was all set to go to Emerson College on a big dance scholarship, when I blew out my left knee in the middle of a performance. I had to undergo reconstructive knee surgery and I was looking at about a 2 year recovery time. I lost my dance scholarship, and my folks couldn’t afford to send me to Emerson without it, so I went to Salem State College and auditioned for their BFA program as an actor. I figured, “I can’t dance for 2 years, but I’d like to be on stage. So I’ll try this.” To make a long story short – I fell in love with acting when I was 18, and that was it.

What do you love most about Queens?
I love coming home at the end of the day from the loud ass City to a quiet neighborhood with lots of artists and families. There’s something really cozy about Queens. I haven’t found that feeling in any other neighborhood of New York.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
Every night I go to the deli on my corner and get a sandwich. And every night the owner (an old man in an apron) says, “You gotta work, right kid?! You gotta work to pay bills!” And every night I say, “I know! Thank God for work!”
So one night he asks me what I do for a living, and I say, “I’m on Broadway”.
There was this huge, awkward pause. And he blinked, about 10 times. Then finally he replied, “…the street?”  I laughed and said, “Yes. I work over on Broadway.”

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Taverna Kyclades (best seafood I’ve ever had in NY)
Astoria Bier and Cheese
Astoria Park (by the water underneath Hellsgate)
The Studio (outdoor bar great for watching football games)
The Beer Garden
Silvercup Studios
Current/Upcoming projects?
Shooting season 3 of Orange is the New Black, and getting ready to go into rehearsals for LIPS TOGETHER, TEETH APART at Second Stage.

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Amy Witting

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Amy Witting

TitleOccupation
Playwright

Where were you born?
I was born in the beautiful and underrated state of New Jersey.

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve lived in Queens since 2008.  Started in Long Island City and have been in Sunnyside for the past four years.

How did you get involved in theater?
My family encouraged me to put my drama on the stage.  Ha.  Gratefully my parents enrolled me in a theatre group when I was in kindergarten after being cast as the Fat Cat in my preschool play.

What do you love most about Queens?
It’s home.  I lived in Brooklyn for many years with roommates, and when I looked to get a place of my own with decent space I could only afford Queens.  It was a hard move from Brooklyn but now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.  I have a nice community of friends in Sunnyside, and it really feels like a neighborhood where people have roots.  Of course, living off the Bliss stop in Sunnyside I’m always happy.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
Not sure if it’s an “only in Queens” moment but the first summer I lived in Sunnyside I went to the grocery store and came across a jazz festival underneath the big Sunnyside sign.  People were dancing, laughing, and the performers were really talented.  It was an eclectic group of folks listening to the music, dancing, and celebrating the life of Bix Beiderbecke.  I had no idea who Bix Beiderbecke was but every year I have made a point to sit and listen to the music.  It’s a real neighborhood event.  Also discovered that Bix was a jazz legend who lived around the corner from my current apartment in the 1920s.
Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
The wonderful thing about my neighborhood is that you can find so many different types of restaurants you’ll never get board.  Outside my neighborhood I love Gantry Park.  It’s one of my favorite places to just sit and watch the world go by.  They’ve recently expanded the boardwalk and you can have a picnic underneath the Pepsi Sign.
Current/Upcoming projects?
I’m pretty excited to workshop my play Day 392 at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC in August as part of NNPN’s MFA Playwrights’ Workshop.  I will also have a workshop production of Road Veins at TADA! in NYC this November thanks to the generous support of The Anne Freedman Grant.

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A. Rey Pamatmat
A. Rey Pamatmat

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

 

A. Rey Pamatmat
A. Rey Pamatmat

TitleOccupation
Playwright and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I live in Sunnyside as of September 2012. I lived in Jackson Heights from February 2006 – September 2011.

How did you get involved in theater?
My first real involvement in theater was with the Port Huron Community Theatre. I played Eeyore in The House at Pooh Corner. I had acted in a couple of Christmas shows in Catholic School prior to that, but it was playing Eeyore that got me really hooked on theatre.

What do you love most about Queens?
I LOVE TO EAT. So the many food adventures in Queens are probably what I love the most.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
I don’t have any “only in Queens” moments, but I love walking down blocks and seeing those buildings where there’s a Latin American lawyer’s office under a Filipino martial arts studio next door to a Turkish restaurant. It always blows my mind wide open.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
SweetLeaf LIC for coffee. Taqueria Coatzingo in Jackson Heights for Mexican, although vegans won’t want to miss out on vegan mole at De Mole in Sunnyside. Sripraphai forever for Thai food. Joju’s in Elmhurst only has so-so banh mi, but they do have an amazing invention called loaded kimchi fries (get it with the fried egg). If you’re a lazy Filipino vegetarian who doesn’t feel like cooking, Payag in Woodside is pretty much the only Filipino resto that will accommodate your veggie-ness. Zenon Taverna is my go-to for Astoria Greek food. Hop the N/Q further into Astoria and go to Martha’s Country Bakery for pie and cheesecake when your done. And, finally, the Xi’an Famous Foods in Flushing is WAY better than the one in the East Village if you don’t mind navigating through a sketchy underground food court.
Current/Upcoming projects?
The Mysteries, including my short play Something in the Water, is currently playing at The Flea until July 14. A presentation of A Power Play; Or, What’s-its-name will be at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference July 16 and 17We Have Cookies will be produced at the Yale Summer Cabaret August 14 – 17 as part of their Summer Shorts. My short play Some Other Kid is being presented throughout the U.S. as part of The New Black Fest’s Facing Our Truth: 10-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race, and Privilege. And, finally, after all the terrible things I do will premiere at Milwaukee Rep in October 2014 before heading to Boston’s Huntington Theatre in spring 2015.
For more information on Rey, check out http://www.areypamatmat.com

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Kevin Christopher Snipes
Kevin Christopher Snipes

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Kevin Christopher Snipes
Kevin Christopher Snipes

TitleOccupation
Playwright

Where were you born?
Plantation, Florida. I’m Swamp Trash.

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I live right on the border of Woodside & Sunnyside. Technically my address is Woodside but I tell people Sunnyside because, frankly, I have yet to learn the consequences of lying.

How did you get involved in theater?
I grew up in Central Florida where we had a pretty amazing regional theater called Seaside Music Theater. One of the first shows I remember seeing at SMT was Marsha Norman & Lucy Simon’s The Secret Garden, and it kind of changed my life. It was the first time I remember being completely transported to another world and being deeply affected by the power of theater. After that I started seeing theater regularly. I joined my school’s drama club. I started acting. I wrote plays. I stopped acting. I kept writing plays. And now here I am. (Incidentally, my childhood infatuation with theater via The Secret Garden has actually been turned into theater. Former Sunnyside playwright/composer Matt Schatz used my “theater awakening” story as inspiration for a song in his musical LOVE TRAPEZOID. The song is called, appropriately enough, “The Secret Garden.”)

What do you love most about Queens?
I like that Queens keeps surprising me. I’ve lived here almost a decade and yet every year I discover something new to love about it. Some hidden gem of a restaurant. A museum. A park. Queens doesn’t really advertise itself so it’s up to you to find out what it has to offer. I like that it makes me put in the effort.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
April 22nd was the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair in Queens.  To mark the occasion, the city briefly re-opened the long-neglected but still standing New York Pavilion. More than 6,000 people stood in line for (sometimes) more than five hours for the chance to go inside the historic structure for five minutes. Including me. That is some hardcore Queens love.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
In my opinion there is no greater restaurant in all of Queens that De Mole. It’s the most delicious, least expensive Mexican food I have ever had. They even make an insanely good cheeseburger.  If you like tapas (and who doesn’t like tapas?), the chefs at Salt & Fat are endlessly inventive. I just had a dessert there that consisted of beet sorbet, chocolate “dirt,” and mint sprigs. It was so quirky and delicious I couldn’t stop smiling.  The Queens Museum and Unisphere are amazing. They’re located in Flushing Meadows (the former site of the 1964 World’s Fair) and you could spend a whole day walking the grounds.
Current/Upcoming projects?
In June I’ll be heading up to the Berkshires for the Berkshires Playwrights Lab’s 7th Annual Gala. My one-act THE AGE OF IRON will be part of an evening of short plays that are being staged to help raise money for BPL.