Kaufman Studios, a famed spot for filming movies and television programs in New York City, has just announced the launch of the very first “Backlot Festival.” Free and open to the public, the event will run from 2pm to 8pm on Saturday, September 21, 2019.
Organized by The Kaufman Arts District, the Backlot Festival was created to celebrate art, music, and community. It will feature live performances in the form of musical acts, literary readings, short stage plays, and visual art in over a dozen spaces that showcase the work of more than fifty artists overall. Moreover, The Bus Project — an imitative that brings arts to communities via a literal blue bus — will be on the grounds, welcoming visitors.
According to the official press release, the Backlot Fest promises a bit of something for everyone. Features will include:
· A spectacular OPENING CEREMONY, featuring the 40+ members of Fogo Azul, Astoria’s own all-female Brazilian drumline.
· The inaugural QUEENS MUTT SHOW, a dog show crowning the “Best Mutt in Queens,” staged in collaboration with Château Le Woof and the Animal Cares Centers of New York City. Launching at 4pm, the event will feature 35 mutts and judged by a three-person panel of experts, including a canine behavior specialist and a vet. Qualities such as looks, smell, demeanor, and behavior will be judged, with special points awarded for “issues.” The Mutt Show will award the coveted “Best Mutt in Queens” trophy, which will then reside with mutt and owner for one year, before being awarded to the best mutt in years to come.
· In addition to the Mutt Show, the Backlot Festival has over a dozen showcases, featiuring the combined work of over 50 individual artists, including:
· The TABLEAUX VIVANTS fashion show, from artists Raxann Chin, Jodie Lyn-Kee Chow, Rebecca Goyette, and Alexis Karl activating the costumes of the TDF Costume Collection.
· A very special visit from Sesame Street’s head of Character Design LOUIS HENRY MITCHELL, who will be performing live character renderings accompanied by his friend ELMO.
· The BACKLOT MARKET a selection of the best in Queens craft and small business, curated by Michael Gilllen, director of the Made in Queens initiative of the Queens Economic Development Corporation.
· The SNAQ-LOT @ BACKLOT an open-air food market curated by Joe DiStefano, the “Food King of Queens,” and founder of the popular Chopsticks & Marrow blog.
Moreover, the Backlot Festival will offer a wide range of performances staged via satellite venues throughout the Kaufman Arts District which subsequently animated the whole neighborhood. Some of these satellite venues include:
· RIOULT STAGE — A Black-Box stage at the newly-established Rioult Dance Center, hosting a series of performances from the Rioult Dance Company, the Astoria Performing Arts Center, and select local choreographers.
· ZUKOR THEATER STAGE — Featuring a pop-up film festival curated in collaboration with the Astoria Film Festival, and featuring local films, plus a special appearance by Astoria filmmaker Dito Montiel, hosting a very special presentation of his Astoria-made feature, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.
· UKE-HUT STAGE — A stage dedicated to the music of the “Jumping Flea,” at the City’s only dedicated Ukulele shop, featuring a free Ukulele workshop.
· BEANS&LAGER STAGE — A stage featuring jazz and comedy, from the neighborhood’s newest music and food venue, Beans & Lager.
· LITERARY STAGE — A stage dedicated to the literary arts, featuring poets from the Queensbound Poetry Project, writers from the Newtown Literary Journal, and a very special selection of readings by the writers of the Fortune Society writers’ workshop.
· LATIN BEAT STAGE — A purpose-built stage in the side-room of Tacuba Restaurant, showcasing the Latin sounds of the Alvaro Benavides Group, Strings N Skins, and more.
In addition to these satellite offerings will be a host of participating restaurants, offering food- and-drink specials, and more. The whole festival is free for all to attend. While tickets are not required, pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register, see here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/backlot-festival-2019-tickets-67247857151
For a complete and updated listing of events and timings as of 8/30, visit www.backlotfestival.nyc