Sugary Divinity at Comfortland

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The creative team behind Queens Comfort rolled out Comfortland in September. QC moved west on 30th Ave taking over the space formally housing Sugar Freak at 36-18 30th Ave. Comfortland took over the old QC location just east of Steinway on 30th Ave.

The sugary creations at Comfortland made by Montana D’Alessio Barbier and Jackie Legge will keep you coming back eager to try their new baked goods. Follow Comfortland on Instagram and you’ll be counting down the days/weeks/minutes ’til your next visit.

The cute donut shop ambience makes for a fun quick meal. The buttermilk biscuit sandwiches are divine. Pair it with the delicious truffle tots and take your donut to go.

Your reviewer is currently too full to eat the nutella creme brulee donut now, but can’t wait to sink her teeth in it in a few hours!

Comfortland
40-09 30th Ave
(631) 457-9815


The Sparrow Film Project Signup at The Letlove Inn

[From Sparrow Film Project]

Sparrow Film Project 2018 is now in its 10th year with major sponsorship from Kaufman Astoria Studio. The Sparrow Film Project is a short film competition where filmmaking teams have three weeks to fully complete a three-minute film.

We are proud to announce will be hosting the signup for the 2018 installment of The Sparrow Film Project on the night of Sunday, September 9th, at The Letlove Inn.

Registration will begin at 7pm and will close at 10pm when the assignment will be announced and teams who are present may draw their specific details. For those unable to attend or stay through the drawing process, their assignments will be randomly selected and sent to the team contact via email the following day. Entry fee is $20 per team in cash, $25 when paid online.

We will once again offer online registration beginning on September 7th at sparrowfilmproject.com for those unable to attend.

For more information please visit sparrowfilmproject.com.


Mike Vecchione’s New Comedy Album

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Mike Vecchione, an Astorian comedian who recently appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, recently released his second comedy album, The Worst Kind of Thoughtful.

Recorded live on Long Island at Governor’s Comedy Club, this high-octane comedy album from one of NYC’s top comedians gives you over an hour and twenty minutes of autobiographical stand up comedy.

The Worst Kind of Thoughtful covers a wide range of personal topics including: growing up as an Italian-American in the rust belt with an overbearing father, becoming middle aged, failed relationships, dating in his 40’s, the pain and pleasure of Indian food, dealing with millennials, getting his car stolen and having to travel on a Megabus to perform his stand up comedy all while living under a train in Queens.

The album can be purchased at www.ComicMIkeV.com/thoughtful

Ample Hills is Open in Astoria (yum)

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Last Friday at 4pm, Ample Hills Creamery opened on 30th Ave by 34th St, shortly after the 30th Ave N/W subway station re-opened (yay!). A line wrapped around the building while staff members brought out samples of the new 20/20 flavor, which has a marshmallow taste and a cotton candy swirl. Our trusty taste-testers came back after dinner to find the line still long. They opted for scoops in cups and sat in one of the few booths in the front window. One taster thought it will make a great place for first dates!

The new Astoria inspired flavor, Nectar of the Queens, made with local baklava, tasted like a sweet Greek goddess. The classic Peppermint Patty had a refreshingly clean taste. The Munchies flavor was good, but adding the Chocolate Trip made for a delightful pairing since you can pick two flavors to put in a cup. The line was much shorter the following day once normal hours resumed.

A tip from the couple behind our group in line: Divide and conquer. Ample Hills and Chip (30-06 34th St) are across the street from each other. One person picked up cookies at Chip and the other was waiting to buy ice cream at Ample Hills. Sounds like they had a sweet sandwich!

 

Ample Hills Creamery
34-02 30th Ave
amplehills.com
Sun-Thu: Noon-11pm
Fri-Sat: Noon-12am


Summers Movies in Astoria and LIC

It’s June, and that means this month outdoor movies are starting in Astoria Park and Hunters Point Park South, by the LIC ferry station. All movies begin around sundown.

Here’s the schedule for Astoria Park:
Friday, 6/15: Grease is the drive-in movie at the Astoria Park parking lot

After that the movies are shown on the Great Lawn.
Thursday, 6/21: School of Rock
Monday, 7/23: Bambi
Monday, 7/30: Moonstruck
Monday, 8/6: ET: the Extra-Terrestrial
Monday, 8/13: Casablanca
Monday, 8/20: Black Panther

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Here’s the schedule for Hunters Point Park South:
Saturday, 6/9: The Wizard of Oz
Friday, 6/15: Moonstruck
Thursday, 6/19: Sleepless in Seattle
Thursday, 8/16: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Saturday, 9/15: Ratatouille

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A Community for Comedy: Lisa Huberman Interviews Zoe Yellen, Host of Truth Serum at Q.E.D.

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Zoe Yellen at April’s Truth Serum show

“Horny! Horny! Horny!” comes the roar of the crowd at Truth Serum, the monthly comedy game show at Q.E.D. hosted by the boisterous Zoe Yellen. A comedian who performs regularly with the sketch comedy troupe Face for Radio at The Peoples Improv Theater, Yellen assembles a motley crew of drunken contestants for a raucous evening of trivia and dares that can include anything from the number of staircases at Hogwarts to a striptease accompanied by the Schindler’s List theme song. The crowd is invited to add their questions and vote for a winner by placing money into solo cups that is eventually donated to charity, and each night’s “Drunkest Audience Member” gets the honor of competing in next month’s show.

In between the game show rounds, Truth Serum highlights a wide variety of stand-up and sketch comedy. On the one side of the spectrum was Jack Pinsky telling jokes about awkwardly trying to sell a “g” of drugs in New Jersey, but unsure of whether that stood for a gram or a gallon, whereas as Aaron LaRoche’s deadpan served as a vehicle for jokes that riffed on how to avoid getting shot by the police, dead black fathers, and the sexual assault allegations against Morgan Freeman. The sketch troupe Mortals featured a dead-beat dad trying to impress his daughter by coming to her birthday party as “blender man” and a woman getting hit on by an HR rep while launching a #MeToo complaint.

I sat down with Yellen to learn more about the evolution of the show and what she loves about hosting shows in Astoria. Below are highlights from our conversation.

How long have been doing this show?
I started Truth Serum about two and a half years ago, but when I originally started, it was a talk show. It was me and one other person, and what we would do is it would be like a drinking game and casually get drunker…I would have one guest, and we would start out the beginning, we’d take a shot. And then there were certain rules to drinking, and basically the idea was that it would start out with kind of easy get to know you questions, and as we drank more it would get a little more ridiculous and a little more revealing. And in between the rounds I would have improv and stuff—and that was honestly mainly to get people there. At this point in this version of it, I feel like game shows need a break in between. I like having standup in between because it’s kind of like a palate cleanser. And so I did the talk show version of it for a while, and honestly it was just too much drinking….and it was podcast for a while. I’ve been doing it at Q.E.D. in this form since September or December.

And what’s your favorite part about working with Q.E.D.?
I like that they’re a community spot. First off, I love that it’s a 15-minute walk from my apartment. But even more than that, I love that it’s like—a lot of the people there and a lot of the shows are people from here, doing it for people here. I go here all the time for local events. So it feels almost like a home.

And how did you get into standup?
I started doing standup in college. I have since then not really done it very much because it is very time-consuming and I’d rather focus on other things. I just don’t think I am good enough to do it every so often. And then I started doing improv, and now I do sketch comedy and I like hosting, because it’s almost like the same high that standup gives you, but I don’t have to create a set, I can kind of just be myself and present something.

What do you think makes this show unique?
I’ve never seen anything like it—it’s something that I started cause I thought it was fun, and other people thought it was fun, and I just kind of kept doing it. It’s just kind of like a bunch of people hanging out and being loud and drunk together—but in a contained environment. There was one standup a couple of months ago who made this fantastic note about it. He was like, I saw this rowdy crowd and I was really nervous to go up there, and then as soon as the standup started you guys just kind of sit down like this. Everyone’s well-behaved when they need to be and rowdy when they need to be. And it just kind of feels like I’m having a fun night with my friends. It feels like a fun game night with my friends. (more…)


Brunch review: Bowery Bay

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Do you enjoy waking up early to a bowl of grape nuts and no caffeine on the weekends? Yeah me neither. I’d much prefer to brunch, ideally a bottomless one. If you aren’t familiar, this isn’t some protest against pants (save that for the living room), but rather an all-you-can-day drink oasis with delicious brunch noms.

On a recent visit to Bowery Bay (Ditmars and 21st St) I was rendered full, tipsy and very happy. So your basic brunch here is reasonably priced at $16 which includes coffee/tea and one brunch drink. If you want to step into boozy brunch-land for two hours add an additional $16. My table obviously opted for the unlimited drink option. We ordered the chicken and waffles and the steak & eggs. A proper steak & eggs should be medium rare with slightly runny eggs (those eggs better run). Both were prepared to order. There are also options such as salads, a burger, and various egg dishes. Every dish out of the kitchen looked better than the last. Drinks were served promptly and generously. We couldn’t have been happier and highly recommend this spot for brunch!

–Robin

Bowery Bay
19-33 Ditmars Blvd
(718) 721-1933
bowerybaybar.com


Review: Follies

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Bruce Sabath and cast in FOLLIES. Photo by Michael Dekker.

Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, currently in performance by the Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC) through the end of this month, expounds on such universal themes as love, innocence, loss and nostalgia. First performed on Broadway in 1971 where it won seven Tony awards (with two additional revivals), Follies begins in 1971 with the reunion of several of the “Weisman girls” at the theater where they performed back in 1941 between the two World Wars. The theater is about to be torn down and turned into a parking lot so this reunion represents the “last hurrah” of all those involved. While each of the women remember their younger days through dance and song, ghosts of their 1941 selves appear and immerse the audience in a multigenerational experience. While all the girls there look back to what they used to be, the central story line concerns two main couples: neurotic Sally (Tina Stafford/Andrea Dotto) and her salesman husband Buddy (Greg Horton/Spencer Hansen), and embittered Phyllis (Marcie Henderson/Tia DeShazor) and her famous politician husband Ben (Bruce Sabath/Ben Northrup). Sally and Phyllis lived together while they were Weisman girls, and were subsequently courted by the two gentleman callers. As often occurs in musicals, both women were in love with the same man: emotionally distant Benjamin Stone, who in the present day is unsure whether he ever knew how to love at all. This all builds to a climax near the end of Act II, when all the main players realize that their nostalgia and longing for the past is simply not enough to change the present. The lead actors are all superb in their own right, but it is the choreography by Sara Brians and direction by Dev Bondarin that allows the entire cast to shine. My favorite numbers were those where the 1941 and 1971 characters intertwine so you no longer remember which one is the present and which in the past. In addition, APAC’s understated set allows you to hear, see and feel the cabaret numbers in their pure emotionality. Who among us has not experienced regrets about lost love, how life might have gone if another path had been chosen? APAC has managed to take a master’s work and breathe fresh life into it.

Follies
Book by James Goldman
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Dev Bondarin

Featuring: Denali Bennett, Victoria Bundonis*, LaDonna Burns*, Denise DeMars*, Tia DeShazor*, Susan Cohen DeStefano, Christine Donnelly*, Andrea Dotto*, Dan Entriken*, Jonathan Fluck, Spencer Hansen*, James Harter*, Marcie Henderson*, Greg Horton*, Kathleen LaMagna*, Andrea McCullough*, Sharaé Moultrie, Ben Northrup*, Rusty Riegelman*, Bruce Sabath*, Carolyn Seiff*, Cliff Sellers, Lauren Alice Smith, Tina Stafford*, Noah M. Virgile, Mandarin Wu*

Musical Director: James Higgins
Choreographer: Sara Brians
Set Design: Ann Beyersdorfer
Costume Design: Jennifer Jacob
Lighting Design: Annie Wiegand
Sound Design: Caroline Eng
Prop Design: Andrew Short
Press Agent: Kimberly Wilson Marshall/Wilson Marshall PR/Events
Production Manager: Annie Jacobs
Production Stage Manager: Jessica McIlquham*
Assistant Stage Manager: Robert Peatman
Casting Director: Jason Styres, CSA.

Location:
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church
30-44 Crescent St. (at 30th Road), Astoria, NY 11102
Transportation: Queens-Bound N or W Train to Broadway.

May 3 – 26, 2018

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm
Saturdays at 2pm

Tickets on sale now at www.apacny.org; Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students and senior citizens, in advance.


BOAST’s Live Music Showcase Wrap-Up

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(L to R) Sea Sloat, Daniel Rauchwerk and Nicko Nicko

BOAST’s Live Music Showcase is in the books, and it was a success! Thanks to The Astorian, the musicans (Daniel, Nicko, Sea, Nicole and Christine), and everyone who came to support and listen. Also, congratulations to the raffle winners who won prizes to QED, Astoria Performing Arts Center, the Greater Astoria Historical Society, and Saloon Salon. Below are links for the musicians.

Christine Mitchell
https://soundcloud.com/user-193229804
https://www.facebook.com/ChristineMitchellMusic/

Nicole Denett
https://soundcloud.com/mohinsdahlia

Daniel Rauchwerk
https://www.facebook.com/drauchwerk/

Nicko Nicko
https://www.facebook.com/junicomusic/


BOAST’s Live Music Showcase Musicians

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Here is some info about the three musicians performing at BOAST’s Live Music Showcase on Sunday, May 6, 4–7pm. You can find out more about the event and get tickets at boast.nyc/music.

Daniel Rauchwerk
Best described as a “musical Wikipedia,” songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist seeks to educate as he entertains. A founding member of the internationally touring folk band The Lords of Liechtenstein, Dan has recently embarked on a solo career. His debut solo album, “We Are More Than What We Leave Behind,” will be released in late 2018.

Nicole Denett
Nicole is a New York City native, born and raised in Queens. She plays piano, guitar and ukulele and is influenced by the likes of Fiona Apple, Sara Bareilles, Carole King and The Beatles. Her songs are a blend of pop, soul, and jazz infused with a little bit of attitude and a lot of heart.

Christine Mitchell
Christine Mitchell is a singer/songwriter/guitarist from the Jersey Shore. Her musical influences have been Bob Dylan, Justin Townes Earle, Joni Mitchell and John Mayer. Christine has been accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston and was nominated for the 2018 Asbury Music Awards for Top Female Acoustic Act. She enjoys performing her original music as well as covers.