Arts & Culture

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Stand-Up Tara Cannistraci On Outdoor Comedy, and Why Indoor Shows Make Her Feel Like Bronx Barbie

(Photo courtesy of Tara Cannistraci)

From the cold, slightly damp ground in Prospect Park, mild laughter dissolved into the Friday evening air in late September. Comedians stepped up onto the “stage” (a small hill) and competed for attention. If it wasn’t the music from the Zumba class 50 feet away that was stealing it, it was the child’s birthday party marked by large mylar balloons. Usually the most disruptive thing in a comedy club is the drunk heckler, but a heckler probably wouldn’t be heard here by anyone other than the family next to him with the baby on a picnic blanket.. The show was hosted by Tara Cannistraci, a comedian from the Bronx. “I have a show tonight because laughing is essential,” she tells people. “I’m basically a nurse.” More →

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How a Spontaneous Street Band Saved the Summer in Prospect Park

Alegba Jahyile (Photos: Raphael Helfand)

Haitian roots musician Alegba Jahyile stumbled on something special this spring. He went out to Prospect Park with his guitar one day in April, picked a spot on the brick patio between the Boathouse and the Lullwater and started to play. He came back the next day, and the following day, and the day after that…  More →

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NY LGBTQ Film Festival Is the Latest to Park at the Drive-In

While New Jersey’s indoor movie theaters were allowed to reopen earlier this month (hence this weekend’s screening of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, limited to an audience of 150), it’s still crickets inside of New York City’s cinemas, much to the chagrin of theater owners and even some local lawmakers who are calling for an alternative to #Netflixandchill. More →

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Museum of Chinese in America’s President Nancy Yao Maasbach On Racism, Recovery, and Reopening

Among all of the arts and culture institutions that were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. the Museum of Chinese in America had a particularly devastating 2020. On January 23, shortly before the city grinded to a virtual halt in March, the Mulberry Street building that housed MOCA’s collections and archives caught fire. As the pandemic unfolded, anti-Asian sentiment also rose rapidly. Statistics gathered by advocacy groups show that across the country, over 2,000 Covid-related anti-Asian-American hate incidents were reported between March and June.  More →

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As Filming Resumes in NYC, It’s ‘Lights, Camera…Action?’

Before Covid-19 tore through New York City, the film industry was alive and thriving. In February, Law and Order SVU was shooting its 22nd season at Chelsea Piers while Billions filmed on the Upper West Side. Roberto Lopez, a stunt coordinator and gear-rigger, was working on the set of For Life with 50 Cent when everything came to a screeching halt. “We were shooting a lot of stuff in the prisons, particularly Kew Gardens, which the show is about,” he remembered.“Then everything just shut down overnight. We packed up the sets and no one came back.” More →

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Lincoln Center’s New York Film Festival Is Latest to Go Drive-In

Rooftop Films’ Brooklyn Drive-In

They closed down Lincoln Center and put up a parking lot.

The New York Film Festival is the latest to announce that it will screen movies a la drive-in. Film at Lincoln Center announced today that the 58th iteration of its annual festival will open with not one but three Steve McQueen premieres and will take place, in part, at the Queens and Brooklyn drive-ins that were set up by Rooftop Films earlier this summer. More →

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Rooftop Films Brings a Drive-In Movie Theater to Flushing Meadows Park

Last week we noted that several of the New York City area’s summer film festivals are– quite delightfully– taking the form of drive-in movie theaters. On Friday, Rooftop Films started its Brooklyn Drive-In with a screening of John Lewis: Good Trouble (eerily, news of the congressman’s death broke right after the documentary’s screening) and today the consummate curators have announced the details of their forthcoming Queens Drive-In. More →