BOAST’s Message About Facebook

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We are joining other brands in suspending paid advertising on Facebook and its affiliate companies, including Instagram, for at least the month of July, and we will reassess after that. We feel that Facebook needs to do better in cracking down on hate speech and misinformation. Although this is a problem now, it goes much further back, including leading up to the 2016 presidential election. We hope to see improvements very soon.

We also think social media can be beneficial, so we will continue to publish unpaid content to these platforms during this time.


Statement from BOAST

We are devastated by the recent acts of violent racial injustice in our country. The BOAST: Best of Astoria organization grieves the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless others who have lost their lives too soon. We are committed to being allies to those who endure racism directly. Now is the time to support one another and condemn violence, inequity and injustice, as well as combat systemic racism. We will continue utilizing our platform and resources in impactful ways, and we will continue fighting for justice.


If someone you know needs assistance, Astoria Mutual Aid Network provides food and resource distribution for communities of color, immigrant and working class folk. They also have volunteer opportunities.

If you would like to make a donation, here are some suggestions:

National Alliance on National Health is a group offering free therapy to the black community.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund supports racial justice through advocacy and litigation, and the ACLU provides legal services and support for a broad range of people with civil rights complaints.


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Queens-bred KC Arora’s Debut Comedy Album is Out June 12

[From Shark Party Media]

ANNOUNCING KC ARORA’S DEBUT COMEDY ALBUM
DRAW 4
OUT JUNE 12 ON BLONDE MEDICINE

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Pre-order: https://music.apple.com/us/album/draw-4/1511605792

KC Arora is an Indian-American Queens-bred comic who was raised in a diverse neighborhood where everybody acted Italian. He’s been working for the last decade in clubs all around NYC. Draw 4, out June 12 on Blonde Medicine is KC Arora’s execution of the elusive triple entendre — motivated by Jay-Z’s lyric in the song “Light Up”; Often, an entertainer’s value is determined by their “draw,” the amount of people they can get to attend their show. In Arora’s career leading up to this album’s debut, he reports that he could easily say that he could draw… 4 people:

“Just look at my first attempt to record this album late last year — it was a complete failure. Fortunately, I got another shot and recorded at a club that was confident that I could bring the laughs, while they brought an audience.”

To represent the painstaking effort of putting together this record, the “4” on the cover was hand-drawn (that’s entendre number 2). The third entendre is the UNO reference. The Draw 4 is the most important card — it has the power to change the course of the game entirely.

“That is what this album is to me; an attempt to shift the course of the game I’m in.”

Over the course of the album, KC shares his philosophies on canon like dating, solving terrorism, and how to avoid jury duty. Special moments arise, though, when he splits the audience while making a case for why a certain chain restaurant is the best fast food in America, and telling a great story about the time he had his bike stolen.

Draw 4 will be released on June 12. It is available for pre-order here: https://music.apple.com/us/album/draw-4/1511605792

TRACK LISTING:
01. Draw 2 (Skit #1)
02. Intro
03. Italian + Indian = Guindian
04. Anti-Fertility God
05. Best Fast Food in America?
06. Skip (Skit #2)
07. Getting out of Jury Duty
08. Hitting on Women
09. Sex on a Full Stomach
10. Reverse (Skit #3)
11. Getting Old Together
12. Solving Terrorism
13. High at a Wedding
14. The NYC Bicycle Thief
15. Draw 4 (Skit #4)
16. Dirty Jokes 4 Blue (Bonus Track)

(more…)


APAC Presents The Insiders: Musicals from the Quarantine

The-Insiders

[From Astoria Performing Arts Center]

Astoria Performing Arts Center
in association with Teresa Lotz
presents
The Insiders
Musicals from the Quarantine
Six original musicals responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Astoria Performing Arts Center (Dev Bondarin, Artistic Director), in association with Teresa Lotz, presents six new musical shorts written in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Featuring the work of fifteen writers, five directors, and sixteen actors, the contributing artists joined the project in the early days of the crisis in the spirit of developing new work without being in the same room to do so.

Quarantine. Crisis. Connection. Hope. There are many stories to tell right now and with The Insiders, these writers have created six in response to the current situation. From the expressionistic to the satirical, to the reality of family members trying to communicate, each film tells a story based in the here and now while we experience this unprecedented moment of pain in the world together.

The six short musicals will launch online starting May 22nd. Viewing will be free of charge, but there is a suggested donation of $10 which will benefit Astoria Performing Arts Center and Indie Theater Fund (www.indietheaterfund.org/donate). More info can be found at www.apacny.org.
The Insiders is written by Krista Knight, Derek Hassler & Ryan Kerr, Rachel Kunstadt, Briana Harris & Teresa Lotz, Charles Inniss & Christopher Inniss, Marcus Scott, Blake Allen & Marc Chan, Annette Storckman, Naomi Matlow & Andi Lee Carter, Claire Tran & Blake Allen. The Insiders is directed by Dev Bondarin, Emily Brown, Daniella Caggiano, Kristin Rose Kelly, Justin Schwartz. The Artistic Producer is Teresa Lotz and the cast includes Dana Aber, Bailey Carlson, Ariel Leigh Cohen, Leana Rae Concepcion, Kristina Dizon, Ellis Gage, Staci Jo Johnson, Bee Michael, Michael Orlandi, Jason Pintar, Erin Solér, William Spinnato, Sara States, Tais Szilagi, Jeff Williams, Ariel Seidman-Wright.
(more…)


BOAST from Home

BOAST-from-Home_h_1500During this uncertain time, we’re spending a lot more time at home. We would normally be posting about all the cool places we’re going to, but since we can’t go out much, we’re starting a new segment called BOAST from Home. (Thank you Julia for the idea.) We will be doing some posts from our home, but we would also like to know what you’re up to. Are you cooking delicious food? Are you playing musical instruments or singing? Are you doing dramatic readings? Are you painting, drawing, or doing other arts and crafts? Are you doing projects on the computer, like making videos or animations? Either send us an email at hello@boast.nyc, send us a message through social, or tag us, and we may feature you on our website or social media channels. Please include your name, what it is you’re sharing, the photo(s) or video(s), and any other information about your submission. We wish you the best, and hope you are staying safe and healthy. —The BOAST Team


Coronavirus: things to keep in mind, prevention, how to get help, where to donate

Image from The CT Mirror

Image from The CT Mirror

At this point we hope everyone is taking this situation seriously. If you are not, just look at Italy (more than 53,000 cases and 4,800 deaths) and Spain (more than 25,000 cases and 1,300 deaths). The U.S. is on the rise. Here are some things to keep in mind.

– Stay home, unless you absolutely have to go out.

– If you do go out, including for walks, runs, and bike rides, try to keep a six-foot distance.

– When you come back inside, wash your hands with antibacterial soap for 20 seconds.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/world/how-to-wash-your-hands-coronavirus.html

– Once a day, clean the high-touch areas in your home, including door knobs, light switches, refrigerator doors, faucets, and your phone. Use wipes or spray that say Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/world/clean-home-coronavirus.html

– Here are the CDC Guidelines for prevention:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

– Many places are still open for takeout and delivery, and here is a list of those places in Astoria. However, we do not recommend ordering takeout or delivery since that puts employees and delivery people in danger. Instead, we suggest looking to buy gift cards from those places.

– If you or someone you know has been negatively affected economically, here is A Hub for Help During the Coronavirus Crisis:
https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-money-unemployment.html

– Please only buy what you need. We might be in this for a while, and everyone needs things.

– Do not flush wipes or paper towels down the toilet.

– When buying from Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com, and select a charity to support.

– Here are some links of places to donate to:

Compilation of organizations from the Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/21/how-you-can-help-during-coronavirus

Give Directly, putting cash in the hands of people directly affected by the virus
https://www.givedirectly.org/covid-19/

Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
https://www.usbgfoundation.org/beap

Musicians Foundation
http://www.musiciansfoundation.org

Entertainment Industry Foundation
https://www.eifoundation.org

The Actors Fund
https://actorsfund.org

Center for Disaster Philanthropy
https://disasterphilanthropy.org/cdp-fund/cdp-covid-19-response-fund/

Feeding America
https://www.feedingamerica.org

Meals on Wheels
https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org

Directory of Homeless Shelters
https://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/contact.html

– Finally, a huge thank you to those people who are working and can’t work from home, including scientists, doctors, nurses, paramedics, first responders, supermarket workers, post office staff, truck drivers, delivery people, therapists, and social workers.

Stay safe, stay healthy,
BOAST


Show support in this challenging time

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This is a very tough and challenging time for a number of reasons, and one thing we suggest doing is ordering gift cards (or e-gift cards) from businesses that are partially or fully closed. This is a great and safe way to show your support and care for the people who are being negatively affected.

We hope you stay safe and healthy. If you want to connect with us, you can write to us at hello@boast.nyc, or connect with us on social media: Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.


Music: Not Impossible Creator Network Event at MOMI

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I was fortunate to be selected for a viewing of Music: Not Impossible. I had no idea what to expect, but I left feeling very moved. Interpreters were faced with the task of translating sounds and music into sign language, which was fascinating to observe. As my friend and I arrived, we were suited with wrist and ankle devices as well as one that went over the chest. These devices vibrated to the sound of the music, which was incredible. I have full hearing, but the added effects were invigorating to experience. The goal was for everyone to experience music in the same way.

The music ranged from a full orchestra to a light show with sound effects. The final segment of the event was a video of a woman dressed in an ethereal outfit and crown, in Times Square, approaching people without sound. As expected, those she interacted with had no clue what was going on and were largely dismissive. Watching that made me a little sad, although I understood that people can be nervous around concepts they don’t understand and being approached by strangers. This segment did also include music, as the woman wandered into an abandoned boat and explored the surroundings. I wondered how much we don’t give people a chance because they are different. The whole show was about an hour, in a small auditorium for around 150 people. The creator of the event, a deaf man, signed how grateful he was for the opportunity. It seemed like an experiment—one I hope they will continue. The event was free to those selected for the two showings. I only went to the first showing and I don’t know if they were the same or not, but I suspect that they were. Congratulations to all those involved for this innovative concert and to MOMI for hosting such a wonderful community event.

Text by Briyah

Photos by Briyah and Dov


Restaurant Review: Anassa Taverna Astoria

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Anassa Taverna Astoria is a lovely new addition to the Greek restaurant landscape in Astoria. They take the customer experience seriously. As I walked in someone offered to check my coat. They definitely have a swanky feel. Beautiful sweeping twinkling lights adorn the ceiling of this restaurant on Astoria Boulevard and 28th Street.

Soon after I sat down a small bowl of hummus on a platter with warm bread drizzled with olive oil was delivered to my table. Since I am a vegetarian, I did not partake in the bountiful seafood and other meaty options upon their menu. I thought I would enjoy an appetizer and dessert. Was a little bummed they didn’t have a dessert menu but at the end of your meal they bring you a small piece of cake. It’s called revani. (The waitstaff each spelled it differently when I asked for the spelling for my Instagram post.) It’s a sweet yellow cake in a honey-like sauce.

Speaking of honey, I got an order of cheese saganaki for my meal. It was amazing. I wished I had saved more of my bread to pair with the cheese dish. Oh that bread. I will sing its praises endlessly. The appetizer I ordered was a  Greek gruyere fried in honey and lemon. It’s served bubbling hot! It was a lot of cheese for one person so I will be back and bring friends. I enjoyed the cheese and bread with a glass of rosé called Agiorgitiko. Nice meal that’s super close to the Astoria Blvd subway stop. I could see this becoming a new habit!

Anassa Taverna Astoria
28-10 Astoria Blvd
(718) 721-5050
astoria.anassataverna.com

Photos by Emily


Restaurant Review: Astoriana Diosa del Taco

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Astoria has a new taco shop and it’s not like the others. “It’s as if a Mexican fell in Greece,” says executive chef, Sebastian Royo, of Astoriana Diosa del Taco. We were greeted warmly at the new space, which recently had its soft opening. We proceeded to try a great selection of tacos, including Roasted Lamb with tzatziki, Chicken, Shrimp Tempura, Carne Asada and their newest, Al Pastor (marinated pork with pineapple). The tacos came beautifully presented, with pickled orchids as a garnish. All the tacos were very tasty and served with a variety of salsas, ranging from mild to hot. The Carne Asada was served with seared cheese, a new take on the classic Mexican dish. I asked for no cilantro since I have an aversion to it, and Royo teased us in a playful way, but he did oblige. The establishment also serves Mahi Mahi and seared Ahi Tuna as part of their Tacos Marineros, served with Napa cabbage, tartar sauce and pickled leeks. We drank delicious, cooling Agua Frescas—creamy Horchata and tart Hibiscus Flower. For an appetizer, we were served Quecas, or corn empanadas, filled with mushrooms and also with short rib. They were a favorite. The flavors were so good, with the crunch of the corn exterior and the tangy sauce. The menu is fairly extensive and we look forward to trying the Shishi-Lotes—baby corn and shishito peppers, tossed with tangy aoli and cotija cheese—a unique take on classic Mexican street food, Elotes. The vibe is relaxed, with music playing in the background and there is a long communal table as well as a few for 2–3 people. The space used to be QNS Café and the owners haven’t changed it too much, except to spruce it up and add a mural representing their vision. You can order at the bar/counter and the food will be brought to your table. The prices are average for the area, with tacos costing between $3.25 for 4″ street tacos and $6.50–$7 for more filling 6″ tacos. Vegetarians can choose from appetizers like grain bowls as well as cauliflower and Hibiscus flower tacos. We wish Astoriana much success. Welcome to the neighborhood!

—Briyah

Astoriana Diosa del Taco
22-35 31st St
(929) 522-0202
diosadeltaco.com