APAC Summer Stars Program

[From Astoria Performing Arts Center]


Astoria Performing Arts Center, “Adventurous theater in Astoria,” The New York Times says about the award-winning Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC), a not-for-profit organization founded in 2001. APAC’s mission is to bring high-quality theater to Astoria, Queens, and to support local youth and senior citizens through community programs at schools, senior centers and our performance venue.

Astoria Performing Arts Center Summer Stars Program; the organization’s 15 year-old summer program welcomes Queens residents ages 8 –13 to learn the basics of musical theater, theater jargon, team building skills and best of all perform on stage in front of their family and friends at the end of the program – all for FREE!

APAC host a one day audition for Queens, NY based children. The audition is first come, first served. Children are encouraged to perform a song (non-musical is fine) of their choice.

Summer Stars takes place August 14 – 25; Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm; parents must provide their children with their lunch/snack for the day. 

The big performance takes place Saturday, August 26 for all family and friends to see their little theater star! 

Audition, program and final performance will take place at:
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church
30-44 Crescent Avenue (enter at 30th Road)
Astoria, NY 

Summer Stars 2017 Audition:
Saturday, July 29th from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Summer Stars 2017 performance:
Saturday, August 26th


For questions, email info@apacny.org.

Enter to win dinner for two at Kurry Qulture


To promote its Spring/Summer menu, Kurry Qulture is offering six “Dinner For Two” gift certificates as part of a contest. Here is the link. You can enter until June 30, 2017, so get on it soon, and good luck! (If you haven’t been, it’s worth the trip, even if you don’t win.)

Disrupted N/W subway service in Queens starts tonight

Heads-up: subways won’t be running in Astoria on N/W line for 8 non-consecutive weekends, from the end of May through September. This starts tonight at midnight! The hours are 12:01am on Saturday through 5am on Monday (or Tuesday if it’s a holiday weekend).

Affected weekends: May 20-22, May 27-30, June 3-5, Aug 12-14, Aug. 19-21, Aug. 26-28, Sept. 2-5, Sept. 9-11

There will be shuttle buses going to and from each stop. Here is more information from MTA. 

New Spring Menu at Kurry Qulture


Kurry Qulture has been on our radar for quite some time. We were finally able to check them out this week, and we were not disappointed. We tried a wide variety of excellent Indian cuisine. Located on 30th Avenue, it used to be the cocktail bar Bourbon & Vine. I visited Bourbon & Vine a few times, but always noticed that there was a large dining room in the back that never seemed occupied. Kurry Qulture has remedied this. Over the past year, I’ve always meant to go inside and check them out. After sampling a great number of dishes and some cocktails, I will definitely be returning as soon as possible.

The restaurant is still split into two sections—the bar area, and the main dining room. If you are looking just for a drink, they have a very unique and delicious cocktail menu. We tried the Phone on the Range (Tequila, Mango, orange liqueur) and the Blurry S.O.S (bourbon, blackberry syrup, soda). Both were delicious and refreshing. The dining room is very spacious and has candles at every table. As the night went on, it definitely took on a more romantic vibe—a welcome change. We tried a few of the appetizers next. The vegetable fritters came with a nice tamarind spread and were very tasty and filling. The chicken Bukhni Kabab were two chicken patties with spinach and a green pineapple sauce. They were delicious. The most interesting appetizer was the Dahi Bhalla (lentil dumplings, yogurt, tamarind chutney). Served cold, they had a great combination of sweet and salty flavors. 

For the entrée samplings, we were served Kohlrabi Subzi (tomato curry with peas and carrots). It was great mixing that with the basmati rice. The Shrimp Moilee was out of this world. The two different types of naan were great for dipping in the different sauces and curries—especially the garlic naan. It might be the best I’ve ever had. The Langar Wali Dal (black and yellow chickpeas, red kidney beans) was very tasty, and I’m not necessarily a lentil fan. I loved every bit of it. By the end of the meal, I had all of the different dishes on my plate while mixing them with the rice and dipping the naan in the sauces. 

That still wasn’t the end though! We were then given a bread pudding dessert as well as Galub Jamun (Indian donut holes). The bread pudding was amazing. It was a fried dough with a sweet and sugary topping. When I bit into it, it melted in my mouth. Crunchy and sweet. The Galub Jamun was in a sugary syrup that really took the sweetness to another level. The overall experience here was fantastic. The wait-staff included. I live close by to Kurry Qulture, so I will be returning quite often now. If you live in Astoria, or even not close by, you should definitely check it out. We left completely stuffed and satisfied with every single dish that was offered. A welcome surprise. 

Here is the new spring menu, and here is the wine and cocktails menu.

36-05 30th Ave, Astoria, NY 11103
(718) 674-1212

Review of Raisin

L-R: Ebony Marshall-Oliver (Lena Younger), Sarita Amani Nash (Beneatha Younger), Brandi Knox (Ruth Younger) and Warren Nolan Jr (Walter Lee Younger)

L-R: Ebony Marshall-Oliver (Lena Younger), Sarita Amani Nash (Beneatha Younger), Brandi Knox (Ruth Younger) and Warren Nolan Jr (Walter Lee Younger)

Grasping for a Glimmer of Sunshine: Lisa Huberman on Raisin at Astoria Performing Arts Center

There’s something that is so comforting about jazz music on a rainy evening—the melancholy mixed with seductive combination of nostalgia and longing. Astoria Performing Arts Center’s deeply felt, soulful revival of Raisin left me warmed and transported on the misty Friday evening I saw it.

A 1974 musical adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 classic play A Raisin in the Sun, Raisin brings us into the world of the Youngers, a working-class black family on Chicago’s South Side looking to expand their prospects and claim some of the American Dream for themselves. Opportunity comes in the form of an impending check from the late patriarch’s life insurance policy, with each member of the family having different ideas on how to invest it. Walter wants to invest his father’s money to invest in a liquor store, which will allow him to quit driving a taxi for rich white men and give his young son something to look up to. His mother Lena, on the other hand, has her sights set on a new house in a better neighborhood, while also putting some money aside for her daughter Beneatha’s medical school. Beneatha’s concerns, on the other hand, are less on the material and more on the cultural, finding herself drawn to the world of her Nigerian beau Joseph Asagi.

To be honest I am often dubious of musical adaptations of small, intimate plays or films. Sometimes a big score will overwhelm and drown out the stillness and subtlety of such a story. Happily, APAC’s production of Raisin under Dev Bondarin’s direction maintains the delicacy—expanding the emotional reach of the world just enough.

The songs by Judd Woldin and Robert Brittain, which range from jazz to Motown to African tribal music, are rarely used to convey exposition, but rather to reveal human moments of the main characters they can’t always share with others in their family. In a story of people with difficult lives, the jazz-inflected score injects a measure of joy and transcendence.  (more…)

Blink Fitness Turns Off the News for National Stress Awareness Month


[From Blink Fitness]

Americans are experiencing record levels of stress, according to an annual survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA). To raise awareness of the importance of mental health during National Stress Awareness Month, Blink Fitness today launched “Tune Out While You Work Out,” an initiative to encourage members to minimize stress and focus on themselves. 

Every Monday for the month of April, all Blink locations will be switching its television programming to mood-lifting and news-free content in all locations, while inspiring members to take a step back from social media and all of their daily stressors through exercise. The content will include comedy, entertainment, music and educational programming. This initiative is a part of Blink’s “Mood Above Muscle” philosophy, which celebrates the positive feeling you get from exercise, not just the physical benefits.

32-27 Steinway St, (718) 880-3620, blinkfitness.com

APAC “Homecoming” Benefit and Upcoming Show


On Monday, March 20, we attended Astoria Performing Art Center’s “Homecoming” Annual Benefit party at the Paper Factory Hotel. The night’s events included a buffet dinner, open bar, songs by APAC performers, a raffle, and ended with DJ music and dancing. This season APAC is exploring the meaning of home, so with that theme, the night celebrated all who have considered APAC home over the years.

The energy was high throughout the entire event, and people seemed genuinely excited to be there supporting APAC. The upcoming spring show is Raisin, which is a musical adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play A Raisin in the Sun, so two of the performed songs—“Booze” and “Measure the Valleys”—were from that show. The other songs were “Home” from Gumbo, “Home” from Resident Alien, and “For Good” from Wicked. James Higgins, the Music Director at APAC, played accompanying piano.

We spoke with Executive Director Jessica Bathurst about the upcoming season and what makes APAC unique.

She said she’s excited about Raisin opening soon (weekends May 4-27, with tickets available now on the APAC website), and mentioned that it hasn’t been in New York City since it won the Tony for Best Musical in 1975. Right now APAC is towards the end of its season, as Raisin will be the second main stage performance after Evensong in the fall. APAC’s season starts in August with Summer Stars, which is a program for kids. Then there is the fall play, followed by development work in the winter, the spring play, and then Senior Stars in June, which is a revue performed by people over 60 years old.

She says one thing that makes APAC unique is that performers who are part of the community also sometimes take part in the programming that’s offered, and that is rare among performing arts groups.

She is proud that APAC is bringing high-quality professional contemporary theater to the Western Queens community, and is making tickets affordable, including discounts for students and seniors.


THEATER | Good Shepherd United Methodist Church | 30-44 Crescent Street @ 30th Rd. | Astoria NY 11102

APAC OFFICE | Kaufman Astoria Studios, 34-12 36th Street, Rm 1/232, MB 40 | Astoria, NY 11106 | e: info@apacny.org | p: (718) 706-5750


Photos by Michael Dekker courtesy of Astoria Performing Arts Center

BOAST’s Spring Soirée 2017


By popular demand, we are happy to bring you BOAST: Best of Astoria’s Spring Soirée, happening on Sunday, March 26, 7:30–10:30pm! We’re stoked that the location, Sek’end Sun, is a multiple BOAST winner (Best Bar for Atmosphere, Best Bar for Trivia Night, Best Happy Hour and Best Date Spot). We’ll provide light snacks, along with the live music until 8pm. Enjoy Happy Hour drink prices through the entire event ($2 off draft beer, wine, and well liquor drinks). Following the live music, we’ll have a more structured segment for getting to know people you don’t already know. Then we’ll have time at the end to chill and hang out with new and old friends. It will be $12 in advance, and $15 at the door. You can get tickets with this link. And you can RSVP on Facebook with this link.

We hope to see you there!

Spring is around the corner,
The BOAST Team

An Astoria Mystery


Does anyone know why there are no ads at Astoria subway stations? There haven’t been any since the end of 2016. If you know, comment on this post, email hello@boast.nyc, or fill out the Contact form. We want to solve this mystery!