Featuring Female Talent at Astoria’s Resident Theatre Group

Did you know there’s a resident theatre group in Astoria, Queens? Ophelia Theatre Group (OTG) has been around for thirteen years, first in California and then in New York, producing sketch comedy, immersive theatre, Shakespeare and even full-length musicals. And as more and more actors move to Astoria, earning the area the nickname “Actoria,” Ophelia Theatre Group has become an artistic home for many. OTG even run a theatre gym on Monday nights where directors, actors, and playwrights can bring in material to workshop in a supportive and judgment-free zone. There’s also a Monday night reading series where actors work on a play for one day and present it to the public for free.

So you get the idea. OTG is a very active community that constantly produces and provides opportunities to get involved. The cool thing about OTG this season specifically is the investment in female talent. OTG, originally founded by Californian Sarah Bennett, has always featured strong women, but this season marks a concerted effort to go above and beyond.

This season at OTG includes twists on classic literature, all adapted by women. The next production on the slate is the classic play Hedda Gabler, written by Henrik Ibsen and adapted and directed by Kelly McCready. The production also boasts an all female design team and crew. The adaptation itself is also a little unusual, clocking in at an electric 80 minutes with no intermission and featuring only five cast members. “Everything about the adaptation is condensed and immediate, but each character is still fully formed and complicated in their own way. It’s just much more arresting,” says McCready. (more…)

Blink Fitness Launches First Casting Call for Gym via Social Media for 2017 Ad Campaign

(From Blink Fitness)

Blink Fitness, the premium-quality, value-based gym with locations in Queens, announced today the launch of a brand-wide casting call for the company’s 2017 ad campaign. As part of Blink’s continued efforts to challenge the fitness industry’s norms and advocate for body positivity, the company is inviting its members to “audition” via social media from September 12 to October 7. Over 300 people have already submitted since launch.

Blink’s nearly 300,000 members are eligible to audition for the casting call by submitting a photo or video on Instagram that flaunts confidence and explains why they should be chosen. (See below for additional details)*

Following the submissions, the finalists will be chosen and called back to stand in front of a panel of influential “casting agents” to explain why feeling good is the new looking good. Panelists will include Dascha Polanco, known for her role as Dayanara Diaz on Orange is the New Black and NFL punter, Steve Weatherford.

Blink’s 2017 campaign is an evolution of its “Every Body Happy” platform, which launched earlier this year. The initiative highlighted a variety of confident and happy gym-goers of all shapes and sizes. The campaign continues to support and expand upon the brand’s unique philosophy, Mood Above Muscle™ that celebrates the positive feeling you get from exercise, not just the physical benefits.

*Who can participate?

Current Blink members can audition for the casting call by submitting a photo or video on Instagram that flaunts their confidence and tells Blink why they should be chosen while tagging #BlinkCastingCall and @Blink_Fitness. This is the first time a gym has cast for an ad campaign through social media. The casting call will run from September 12, 2016 to October 7, 2016.

A very fun BOAST Summer Party 2016

We had our summer party at The Bonnie on Sunday, and it was a ton of fun. We were outside on the patio, and totally lucked out with the weather, which was just about perfect. We had some appetizers, such as Beer-Battered Pickles, Avocado Deviled Eggs, Chicken Wings, and French Fries, and some people ordered other food as well. (Highly recommended were the Pork Sliders and the Mac & Cheese.) Our group had all sorts of beverages, including beer, wine, cocktails, and sangria, which was especially delicious. We appreciated the atmosphere and ambiance of the bar (it wasn’t a BOAST winner for nothing), so if you haven’t been, we recommend you check it out. Below are some photos from the event.

What Are You Afraid Of? A review

We went to the show “What Are You Afraid Of?” hosted by Mara Wilson at Q.E.D. tonight, and it was thoroughly entertaining. Mara opened the show with some of the things she’s afraid of, then we heard from three comedians about their fears. In between sets Mara taught the audience the proper way to breathe deeply, and we played Two Fears and a Lie.

Lyssa Mandel was the first performer, and her main fear was that she did not matter, or she would be forgotten about. But there was a happy ending; after she took mushrooms, she realized that she is meant to be here.

Jo Firestone was next, and she is so freaking good. So good! If you haven’t seen her perform, definitely check her out. She hosts Punderdome in Brooklyn, and she’s all over the city. ANYWAY, she’s a very funny person, so the story she told had funny parts, but it was a scary and not funny at all situation she was in. Luckily the story ended well.

Will Miles was the last comedian, and his fear of not having end dates on jobs, or stop signs on the road, was interesting. And that story ended in a good place also because he’s now in a relationship, and that does not have an end date, and he’s pretty OK with that.

This was a short show, just over an hour, but it was enjoyable, and we recommend checking it out. It’s the last Thursday of the month at Q.E.D. ().

BOAST Summer Party 2016!

Mark your calendars… BOAST is throwing a summer party!

It’s set for Sunday, August 28 at 5pm, at The Bonnie, on the back patio. If it’s raining, we’ll head inside.

There will be some delicious snacks (beer-battered pickles, avocado deviled eggs, and chicken wings), but those are limited so be sure to arrive early!

You’ll be able to order off the Happy Hour menu, and that includes specialty cocktails for $7, house wine for $6, and select drafts for $5. And if you get hungry for something more substantial, The Bonnie has a dinner menu as well, and you can check that out here.

It will be $10 in advance or $12 at the door. RSVP and buy your tickets with this link so we can know how many people to expect. You can also RSVP on the Facebook event page here.

We can’t wait to celebrate with you!

Stay cool,
The BOAST Team


Best Places to Drink Outdoors This Summer

The Strand Smokehouse – For those days when you’d like to spend the afternoon, evening and night in one place eating and drinking, The Strand is your best bet. They have an excellent brunch and delicious BBQ, as well as reasonable prices on beer pitchers and cocktails. Claim a picnic table out front or in a corner inside and enjoy live music with Astorians of all ages around you.

The Bonnie – If want an outdoor experience that’s a little more sophisticated, this is your place. Order an expertly-crafted cocktail and a farm-fresh dish and enjoy it in leisurely fashion in their spacious backyard.

Judy & Punch – For those nights you are craving local craft beers that pack a punch, this is your place. Stake out a picnic table in their backyard (open till 10, after which you’ll have to migrate inside) and see how many of their 12 drafts you can get through while holding on to your beer guru skills. For an additional challenge, head to Astoria Bier & Cheese on Broadway and do the same in their backyard.

Sek’end Sun – Amazing (and affordable) cocktails and a glowing neon sign of Queens as your drinking backdrop. What more could you need on your Saturday night? Schlepping to Brooklyn for your hipster experience is no longer necessary.