Queens culture and comedy

Dance and laugh your ass off.

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  • Water Taxi Beach

  • Louis Armstrong House Museum

  • The Creek and the Cave

  • Kew Gardens Cinema

Water Taxi Beach

 

The club night that started it all
Queens just may have Water Taxi Beach to thank for its growing reputation as a nightlife destination. DJs Nickodemus and Mariano chose the outdoor LIC hot spot as the permanent home for their Turntables on the Hudson party in 2008: The duo spins an eclectic mix of hip-hop, house, Afrobeat and Eastern European Gypsy. At the Friday 30 soiree, special-guest deck-wreckers Deepa, Dreidel and Derek Sessions will all spin deep house—sweat out your troubles, dig your toes into the sand and enjoy the views of Manhattan far, far away from its stifling, crowded bars. 2 Borden Ave at 2nd St, Long Island City (212-742-1969, watertaxibeach.com). Subway: G to 21st St, 7 to Vernon Blvd--Jackson Ave. Party every Friday through Sept 10 8pm--3am; $10.

Hear Louis Armstrong rehearse
You may not be able to blow a horn like Satchmo, but you can ogle the gold-plated one the trumpeter played at the Louis Armstrong House Museum. The King of Jazz called the home his "little pad in Corona," and the vibe hasn't changed much since his wife Lucille purchased it in 1943—right down to the music wafting from hidden speakers (today, you'll hear original recordings of Armstrong practicing "Blueberry Hill," among other audio treats). The museum also organizes free summer concerts in the Japanese-style garden, with upcoming shows featuring Carol Sudhalter's Astoria Jazz Band (August 28 at 1pm). 34-56 107th St at 37th Ave, Corona (718-478-8274, louisarmstronghouse.org). Subway: 7 to 103rd St--Corona Plaza. $8, concerts free.

Open-mike madness!
It would be easy to mistake Waltz-Astoria for just another quaint brick residence on Ditmars Boulevard. But the live music streaming through the open windows every Tuesday and Wednesday night sets it apart: Twice a week, the caf holds an open-mike series that draws audiophiles from Brooklyn, the Bronx and New Jersey. "Sometimes we'll have a rapper, sometimes we'll be listening to classical piano," says artistic director Song Gonzalez. Waltz-Astoria also hosts some of the most locally supported comedy shows in the borough, and Gonzalez often holds competitions like last fall's Battle of the Sexes. (Next stand-up showcase: August 12 at 8pm.) 23-14 Ditmars Blvd between 23rd and 24th Sts, Astoria (718-95-MUSIC, waltz-astoria.com). Subway: N, Q to Astoria--Ditmars Blvd. Tue, Wed 8:30pm; $10 food and drink minimum.

A comic-book shop for purists
Forgoing the toys packed in the crevices of other stores, Silver Age Comics devotes itself entirely to new and vintage books, with a half-price bin that yields some filler issues with slashed prices. Can't find what you're looking for? The staff will use its own super powers to help track it down. 22-55 31st St between Ditmars Blvd and 23rd Ave, Astoria (718-721-9691, silveragecomics.com). Subway: N, Q to Astoria--Ditmars Blvd.

Laugh, dammit
The gem of the Queens comedy scene is The Creek and the Cave, a burgeoning multilevel comedy palace in Long Island City. Owner Rebecca Trent programs shows seven nights a week, and you can catch up to six free performances on a busy weekend night. The Creek has everything a budding comedy collective should offer its patrons: cheap Mexican food; a ramshackle theater hosting larger sketch and improv events; a smaller space downstairs for intimate stand-up or storytelling nights; and a bar with adjoining patio on which to press friends for their opinions when the jokes are over. 10-93 Jackson Ave between 11th St and 49th Ave, Long Island City (718-706-8783, creeklic.com). Subway: G to 21st St, 7 to Vernon Blvd--Jackson Ave.

Laugh MORE, dammit
On the first Thursday of each month, Astoria Brewhouse's aptly titled Astoria Brew-HAHA (8pm; $5) transforms the upstairs banquet room into a makeshift club: Patrick Mitchell hosts comics such as Dan St. Germain, Harrison Greenbaum and Julian McCullough on a tiny platform abutted by windows directly overlooking 31st Street; as the N and Q trains rattle past, they add environmental punctuation to jokes about life in the city. The next Brew-HAHA is August 5; but you can stop by for the pub's weekly open mike on Wednesday 28, which takes place on the Brewhouse's airy covered patio. Astoria Brewhouse, 28-50 31st St between Newton and 30th Aves, Astoria (718-728-0050, astoriabrewhouse.com). Subway: N, Q to 30th Ave.

Poetry for the soul
The Jackson Heights Poetry Festival welcomes ten readers a month for its First Tuesdays Open Readings. "We always see a very diverse group—both in age and cultural background," says JHPF director Marina Yoffe. "Poets are welcome and encouraged to read in their native language, as long as they provide a summary or translation in English." Terraza 7 Train Caf, 40-19 Gleane St between Britton and Roosevelt Aves, Elmhurst (jhpfest.org). Subway: 7 to Roosevelt Ave-82nd St. Sign up to perform at 7pm, readings begin at 7:30pm; suggested donation $5.

$7 movies!
The Kew Gardens Cinema is a movie-palace-turned-XXX-cinema, revamped in 1999 into a shiny new movie house—with stadium seating in every theater and 3-D offerings. Refreshments aren't your typical popcorn and Sour Patch Kids either—fresh-baked cookies are on the menu at the concession stand. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, all tickets are just $7. 81-05 Lefferts Blvd at Austin St, Kew Gardens (718-441-9835, kewgardenstheatre.com). Travel: E, F to Kew Gardens--Union Tpke, LIRR to Kew Gardens. Regular admission $7--$12, special events $8--$20.

 

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