Featured Artist: Samantha Walsh

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Samantha Walsh
Samantha Walsh

www.samanthafwalsh.com

Title\Occupation
Actress/Cake slinger

Where were you born?
Kansas City, KS

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
Astoria. About 2 and a half years.

How did you get involved in theater?
I’ve been in involved in theater since before I remember deciding to be involved in theater. It just kind of happened. If I look back and look for the moment I developed the crazy obsessive bug for it I would have to say it was when I was seven years old playing Clarence in the play A Kid in King Arthur’s Court at summer camp. I read the entire script (minus my lines) into a tape recorder, with breaks for my lines, so I could practice all the time. My drive while I was growing up was a little over the top.

What do you love most about Queens?
I lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan my first two years in New York and I have to say the thing I love most about living in Queens is that moment when you’re heading home on the train and it starts heading above ground at Queensboro Plaza. There’s just so much relief in that moment. You’ve emerged from the belly of the beast.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
Steinway Street. That’s it. Just. Steinway Street.
 

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
I love the movie theater at the Museum of the Moving Image. The acoustics in there are just insane. Let’s be real though. Queens is all about the food. I love Taverna Kyclades, JJ’s Asian Fusion, William Hallet, Sweet Afton, Seva, Brooklyn Bagel, Butcher Bar, and the list goes on and on.
 

Current/Upcoming projects?
Up next I’ll be playing Valerie in The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens which is running February 6th through February 23rd at The Secret Theater in LIC, Queens. Tickets are available here.  
 
 
 
Advertisements

Featured Artist: Tyler Rivenbark

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Tyler Rivenbark
Tyler Rivenbark – taken at Martha’s Bakery in Astoria

Title\Occupation
Playwright, musician, Adjunct Lecturer

Where were you born?
Warsaw, North Carolina (never to be confused with anything South Carolina related)

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve been in Sunnyside for almost five years now!

How did you get involved in theater?
I stumbled upon theatre my junior year of college when wanting to take a screenwriting class. Playwriting was the prerequisite. At that point I had no theatrical experience at all, except for briefly appearing in an elementary school play about Thanksgiving. I immediately fell in love with the structure, or what I thought was the structure, of plays. And then when I finally took the screenwriting class it was glaringly obvious that my movie was actually a play. I never looked back.

Tell us about the play you’re working on in the Propulsion Lab?
I’m working on The Hydra: a play with puppets, which is the second part of a larger project that focuses on a veteran of the Iraq war. In The Hydra Ajax, our soldier, has found himself in a mythological world inhabited by gods, goddesses, a Greek chorus, and puppets, after taking his life in the previous play The Ostrich. He is thus sent on an epic journey to redefine who he is and what he wants.

What do you love most about Queens?
In the most wonderful of ways Queens reminds me of North Carolina. It’s unpretentious, gritty, beautiful, eclectic and full of delicious food and a treasure trove of off-the-beaten path sights and sounds. And Sunnyside in particular feels like a small town. Sitting on my stoop playing guitar or having a cup of tea neighbors stop to chat or yell from across the street. It’s pretty great.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
Every moment experienced in Queens feels like an “only in Queens” moment. I can’t help but think if it happened somewhere else it would be completely different.
But the 7 train is a unique Queens experience that I never tire of. The purple circle, the orange seats, the neighborhoods it passes through, 5 Pointz out the window. Some of these 7 train staples are changing which is disheartening, but the spirit remains.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?

Food (I’ll stick to Sunnyside for this):
Breakfast: Alpha Donuts (one of the best diners in NYC)
Lunch: Aubergine Café (lovely atmosphere and a beautiful street view)
Dinner: Dee, The Haab, Salt & Fat (there are many, many more, but I’ll mention just a few)
Pubs: PJ Horgan’s and Murphy’s (doesn’t get much better as far as Irish Pubs go)
Entertainment:
Citi Field (always great to watch the Mets lose to the Braves)
Any of the numerous new literary reading series that have popped up all around the borough
Sights:
 
Gantry Plaza – LIC (beautiful park with a beautiful view of the City)
Louis Armstrong House Museum – Corona (the house does justice to the larger than life personality of Armstrong himself)
Noguchi Museum – LIC (a breathtaking sculpture museum just across the street from Socrates Sculpture Park)

Current/Upcoming projects?
My collective, The Hammer and Pick, is developing new work; I am performing new music around the cit monthly; coordination of the 6th annual Louis Armstrong Residency has just started; and many more creatively fulfilling endeavors are to come. Check out my website tylerrivenbark.wordpress.com for more detailed information.
David Lawson

Featured Artist: David Lawson

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

David Lawson
David Lawson

Title\Occupation
Playwright

Where were you born?
Alexandria, Virginia

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve lived in New York City for five and a half years and in Astoria for three and a half of those. Also of note: for three months I lived in this basement apartment in Sunnyside where the landlord who lived upstairs couldn’t know I was living there. I did a lot of hiding in the bushes, waiting for the right time to enter what was, at that time, my own home. There’s no metaphor there. There were actual bushes. I hid in them.

How did you get involved in theater?
I was a total hyperactive fuck up in elementary school. It was only getting worse as I got older. I had this brilliant sixth grade teacher named Brett Heflin who made a deal with me: If I kept it together during the day I would get a few minutes in front of the class every morning to put on a little show. It was a masterstroke. It chilled me out, gave me clarity and gave me something to work towards. The days I misbehaved and lost the show were crushingly upsetting and made me not want to misbehave again. That’s when I knew I was a theatre guy. After sixth grade I lost contact with Mr. Heflin but recently he tracked me down on Facebook. He’s married with kids and still working in education. It was great to tell him just how much influence he had on my life.

Tell us about the play you’re working on in the Propulsion Lab?
It’s called The Algeria Alternative. It’s about a woman who works at an office facilitating drone strikes and decides to leak information detrimental to the company.

What do you love most about Queens?
Village Voice had this great article on Philip Glass last year. Glass says that in the late 60s/early 70s (that time that every Millennial hears about fucking constantly) Glass was living for $150-$200 a month in the East Village. He says in that article “One of the things that’s made New York so impressive is the constant wave of young people looking for fame, fortune, art, whatever, something…they were bringing the energy and ambition and determination.” He then goes on to say “which is still happening, except now they can’t live in Manhattan anymore.”

Where that’s “still happening” is in neighborhoods like mine in Queens.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
I was waiting for the M60 bus one night near Hoyt Park. There’s an old woman sitting next to me. This guy walks by and, talking to no one in particular, he screams out “AS LONG AS YOUR ASSHOLE ISN’T FACING DOWN, LIFE CAN’T BE THAT BAD.” I think this is brilliant and grab my notebook and write it down instantly. The old woman sitting next to me points to the part of the page where I just wrote this phrase down, she looks me in the eye and says “That’s true you know.”

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Food stuff: Chicken korma at Seva on 34th Street, the Hollywood sandwich at Othello Deli on 24th Avenue, spicy pork with the works at El Rey Del Taco on 30th Ave, souvlaki gyros at Pita Pan on 30th Ave, Hawaiian burger at the original Bareburger on 30th Ave (they’re going national next year!), Sparrow Tavern on 24th Ave and the biggest no brainer: Bohemian Hall Beer Garden on 24th Ave.Entertainment stuff: The Secret Theatre (where it’s Chekhov one night, and a new play about an alien invasion the next night) Socrates Sculpture Park (best acid trip you ever had), walking the Queensboro Bridge, Citi Field (even if you don’t care about the game, dancing to “Lazy Mary” during the 7th inning stretch is an amazing tradition). I haven’t done so yet but I’ve been meaning to check out the growing comedy scene in Long Island City at The Laughing Devil on Vernon Blvd and The Creek and the Cave on Jackson Avenue.


Current/Upcoming projects?
My solo show about pornography VCR Love is available to purchase through Original Works Publishing (http://originalworksonline.com/store/monologues/vcr-love/). It’s an actual “book book” with an ISBN number and everything. So in 200 years you can look up my ISBN number and know I was once alive and I wrote a show called VCR Love. That’s reassuring.

Featured Artist: Ilene Fischer

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Ilene Fischer
Ilene Fischer

Title\Occupation
Television Producer and Associate Director who writes screenplays and stage plays in her spare time.

Where were you born?
Chicago, IL

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
Astoria since last November. I was supposed to move in November 1, but we had a hurricane instead. I camped on an air mattress for two weeks waiting for my delivery to get rescheduled.

How did you get involved in theater?
I first took the stage at 5, performing stand up comedy in Elkart Lake, WI.

What do you love most about Queens?
I grew up in a Greek neighborhood in Chicago. Astoria immediately felt like home. I love the mix of people who live here, like the YaYa in the window on the corner who keeps an eye on the block. Also, 24 hour access to produce.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
I was in one of those very produce stores when a man with one accent was asking a woman with another accent where she got her “squoze”. Confusion ensued. Woman at the counter, speaking a third language tried to help, and eventually they realized he wasn’t a pervert, he just wanted some squash.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
William Hallet has become my favorite place for a nightcap.

Current/Upcoming projects?
I have about four scripts on varying states of undress.I’m also trying to breathe fresh life into my blog which tends towards pop culture, food, and whatever else I feel like yammering on about.

In the spirit of the season, here’s a chestnut I wrote a few years ago about the lessons learned from the Classic Christmas Special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: http://javasaurus.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html

You can check out my website at vassarstreet.com and enjoy my pithy commentary on twitter @iafischer