Live Comedy is Still Banned
Several have asked why QED isn’t hosting shows when places like Bartolino’s Restaurant in Astoria are. The DoH and SLA have approved the 5-page proposal I drafted for reopening. The only reason nothing has changed is because Gov. Cuomo has not signed off on it. If you’ve not read it, it’s available here: www.tinyurl.com/savenycomedy
That means that any ticketed arts and entertainment at any licensed venue is not allowed. If you are seeing it happen at venue that sells food & beverages, it is illegal. It’s a known risk for some or willful ignorance, flouting the rules, rolling the dice. Insert whatever idiom or description you want, it doesn’t make it more legal.
Selling food & beverages in an unlicensed venue is also illegal. A venue has to have license from the Dept of Health in order to allow any handling of F&B. To change the situation and allow ticketed arts & entertainment at licensed venues, Gov. Cuomo has to allow it. He’s the only one. He’s the solution and the problem.
We tried calling him out on this publicly during our 9/22 press conference. We got more press than I’ve ever gotten for any press conference I’ve helped on ever. It made zero bit of difference. Why? Cuomo. Again. He’s it.
Options to reopen legally:
1) Get the Governor to acknowledge the arbitrary and contradictory rules and change them / approve our proposal.
2) The State Legislature reconvenes and strips away his absolute power (Andrea Stewart Cousins and Carl Heastie hold this power, I believe) and then what? Maybe individual mayors can decide?
3) Is there a 3? Just wait until a vaccine or new Gov, whichever comes first? I don’t have time for that so I don’t think there is a 3. Am I forgetting another option?
His right hand Richard Azzopardi is active on Twitter. He’s the only one I know of that we can directly contact w/ any direct and immediate line of communication to the Governor. https://twitter.com/RichAzzopardi
If you have other insight or questions, drop them in the comments below.
Post-Taping Follow Up
We’re back in the Catskills for some R&R after Christian’s taping*.
We took the dogs to the lake and tuckered them out, had dinner along the Delaware River looking for any remaining bald eagles, and have been enjoying the bucolic scenery and perfect September weather. I pulled over a few times so I could take pictures of places to paint.
I told Christian, “I think I’ll paint some iconic sites from around Sullivan County and make postcards or a 2021 calendar.” I thought that would be a fun challenge and give me a bit of a purpose to my painting.Today he forwarded an event scheduled at the Yasgur’s Farm (site of the legendary Woodstock Music Festival) later this month hosted by Zane Grey Plein Air. As I was registering, there was an optional “add-on” to enter “Paint Sullivan County” an online, juried competition. It runs through October and I can submit up to three paintings of, you guessed it, sites around Sullivan County.
It’s been a long time since the Universe handed me such a clear and simple sign like that, so you better believe I’m taking it. I signed up to enter the contest and now will be traipsing all over the Catksills looking for good spots to paint. Any Catskills folks with some recommendations or pictures to share, let me know!
If you’re interested in joining the Zane Grey Plein Air event at Yasgur’s, it’s on Sept 26th and just a hop skip from our Rock House where we could retire for some afternoon tea. I’ll probably sign up for the 2-day event in October at the Zane Grey Museum but want to wait and see what happens with the Coronavirus and opening up QED. Anyway, find them online here: ZaneGreyPleinAir.com
Aside from painting, we have a long overdue kitchen countertop replacement project underway. Our counter is actually just plywood. It’s meant to look like butcher block, I think, but it’s starting to rot around the sink and it’s honestly never felt like the most hygienic of surfaces. Thankfully it’s a small space and so not a lot of money or a complex job. Just pop out the old counter and replace it with this quartz stuff that looks clean and cool.
For work, I’ve been helping organize a press conference and rally on Thursday the 10t at 10AM at Newtown & 30th Ave in Astoria. Councilman Jimmy Van Bremer is confirmed. I’m hearing good rumors re: the proposal I wrote to the Governor’s office but don’t want to talk too much about it and jinx it.
I’m also a guest speaker for an event with the Texas Tribune Festival. I took part in this event back in 2013 or 2014, I think, and it’s well organized and chock full of interesting stuff. Take a gander and join me if you can. It says 9/25 now but I think it will actually be on 9/23. Pencil both in, I guess.
* Christian’s one hour stand up taping at QED went very well, thank the heavens. Victor Varnado directed and had a great crew of pros. Editing will begin soon and then…we don’t know. Will it air on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube or just on a loop at QED? Time will tell.
That’s it over here. What’s new with you?
Astoria at Home – Cookbook
Here’s something fun AND useful. Curated by and for Astorians, the Astoria at Home cookbook celebrates the neighborhood’s vibrant food scene while raising money to support the Astoria Mutual Aid Network.
QED Astoria has a cocktail recipe in here as well as a story written by me about the time an NBC Sports announcer dissed my neighborhood during the NYC Marathon broadcast and my subsequent reaction to his nasty comments.
Order your digital download here & proceeds will benefit the Astoria Mutual Aid Network.
Art Auction for QED
Hey there! How are you? I started painting about a year ago and shared some of my work online along the way. Folks asked if I’d ever sell my work. I didn’t intend to but, well, I didn’t intend to get wrapped up in a pandemic either so…
Money raised will go directly to QED and a portion to our friends at Mount Sinai Queens where I had surgery and treatments for cancer. They are the heroes here. My heart is aching for the special village we’ve carved out of the big city of New York. Thank you for your bid and contribution to making sure we can rebound from this. The pendulum will swing back. It always does.
The eBay collection is not live yet so it’s blank but here’s the link. And if you want to check them out on the QED site, here you go. 🙂 I might add a few more over the next few days.
NYC Marathon Memory & Queens Pride
A @nycmarathon@nyrr memory & how a flippant comment inspired: In 2009 as women leaders ran through my neighborhood an @NBCSports TV announcer said, “the runners are now in the less-than-picturesque part of Queens.” I was appalled. How dare he? I LIVE HERE!
Of course no one was there greeting runners so it looked like an uninhabited sh*thole. The announcer kinda had a point. I mean on my block the only lame playground is across the street from a strip club. Mornings were littered w/syringes, Four Loco cans & bloody, ripped t-shirts*.
I vowed to return the next year to that very spot the announcer dissed & REPRESENT! In 2010, I made a sign for me, (bright orange “Welcome to Queens”) and my Chihuahua (¡Andele! ¡Andele!).
We stood at the foot of the Pulaski Bridge & made a ruckus. No way an announcer would have the gall to say something nasty now! A happy lady & her dog were standing in that sh*thole proudly holding her homemade sign!
FF to 2015 a friend texted me a picture of a portait hanging in the @MuseumofCityNY & asked, “Is this you?” Why, yes it is! Don Emmert snapped it for @GettyImages@AFP & the Museum included the photo in its exhibit celebrating the NYC Marathon https://mcny.org/exhibition/new-york-city-marathon
This glorious portrait & memory serves as a reminder that even sh*tholes are comprised of real *people*. We the people can choose to gripe about a rude comment & demand to speak to the manager, or we can invest our time & energy into making that announcer wrong. Very wrong.
That jerk announcer injected me w/some #Queens pride! Since then, I’m so invested in this “less-than-picturesque” part of the @NYCMarathon that I tattooed the iconic World’s Fair Unisphere onto my body & built a performance/community space @QEDAstoria from scratch. F that dude.
Tomorrow as the @nycmarathon runners exit the Pulaski Bridge, I’ll be there again welcoming them to my fair borough w/the same sign (different dog) before I head to @QEDAstoria, a brick & mortar symbol of my devotion to #Queens. Be the change…yada, yada, yada.
But seriously, F that dude.
*The playground has been closed for renovations for almost two years now with zero work done on it over long stretches of times. The strip club continues to thrive and is actually quite nice.
I had to work on my birthday weekend but it’s okay because it included a science-themed kids party with a live demonstration of lava, dry ice, goo and more plus a cake decorated with the periodic table of elements. Then there was a one-year-old’s birthday party that had the dad dressed as a shark. Both parties were a lot of fun and the families were all so appreciative. As I tell private party guests, it’s a real privilege to be included in these milestone family events. QED (and me) become part of the fabric of their story. What an honor. I got a lovely note from the dad which I’ve shared below. Notes like that breath new life into me!
I enjoyed some frozen yogurt with my sweet friend Lauren, got a gorgeous bouquet of tropical plants including a bunch of miniature bananas! Christian got me some funky new Keds and I got a Cause Box filled with wonderful summer treats (the straw tote pictured below is one) made by women and all for worthy causes. All in all, it was a lovely birthday and while working parties are a lot of work, they are so worth it! Glad to have them and hope for more!
I just wanted to send a quick note to you and Christian and tell you how thankful we were for all of your hospitality and help celebrating [baby’s name] 1st BDay. Kids parties are always a little bonkers, and ours was no exception. We had a comedy of outside errors yesterday which derailed our morning but you and Christian were the only solid ones. I’m so happy we were able to cater and have your space taken care of for us. Everything quickly came together albeit a little late. Thank you again for being so clear with us and accommodating. We hope to see you guys again soon.
QED on HGTV
Set your DVRs! Fri, Feb 1 at 10pm EST, QED and I will appear on HGTV’s House Hunters as my friends Moody McCarthy and Molly Mandell search for their new apartment in Astoria, Queens!
Here’s the HGTV website link: https://www.hgtv.com/…/house-…/episodes/stand-up-in-new-york
Adult Spelling Bee #1 at QED
My fellow word lover and should-have-been-a-librarian, Liz Simons and I hosted the first ever Adult Spelling Bee at QED with great success! I had a bumble bee pin in my hair for the occasion and enjoyed some delicious custom-made donuts from Sugar & Water shaped as the letters Q.E.D. with little bees on them!!!
It was a super fun night with 24 contestants and great prizes from local Queens businesses. The competition was tough but supportive with people high-fiving, cheering, oohing and aahing. I hope the next one is just as great even though it’s a school night. Save the date: Thur, Feb 21 at 7PM. Limited to 25 contestants!
I shocked myself at my use-it-in-a-sentence improvisational skills. I definitely want to use the online dictionary for this in the future but it was fun coming up with random sentences including this part that my niece Kaelyn will appreciate for the #Hamilton reference.
Thanks to Rory Scholl for taking pics and videos and Jenn Wehrung who slung drinks and laughed at all my dumb jokes. And, of course, this couldn’t have happened without the support of our sponsors:
Noguchi Museum, Loose Leaf Tea, The Bonnie, Lavender Label, Lagree NY, the aforementioned Sugar & Water. And starting next month, the Museum of the Moving Image has donated passes for prizes. How great is that?! Again, save the date: Thur, Feb 21 at 7PM. Limited to 25 contestants as we anticipate this selling out every time!
Shop Local at QED for Small Business Saturday
Love my QED t-shirts & wish you had one? Want to support a woman-owned business? Want to
#shopsmall? Of course you do! Now’s your chance to get one & have it by Christmas! Order by 11/30 or else. Plus, tomorrow is day of the big Shop Small / Small Business Saturday holiday bazaar. We’ll have 25 of the
neighborhood’s foremost creative makers selling their wares at QEDAstoria tomorrow from 12-5pm. Expect to come across one-of-a-kind ceramics, hand-made jewelry, imaginatively designed greeting cards, eye-catching art and super delicious treats.
When you #ShopSmall with a vendor at QED, you’ll receive a free souvenir tote while supplies last. And, if you make a $10+ purchase from QED, you’ll receive an Admit Two pass good for a future show!
QED will be featuring lots of great drink specials for this event such as $6 draught beer, house wine & mimosas! Plus we’ll have plenty of mulled wine, hot apple cider, fresh popped popcorn and yummy snacks from This Chick Bakes.
Here’s where to pre-order a tee shirt: https://www.customink.com/fundraising/qedastorianyc
Q.E.D. is the only independent, woman-owned and operated venue for the arts in Astoria, Queens in NYC. It’s a labor of love, really. As a small community space, we’re very proud to pay artists, producers, teachers and creatives for their work and provide a free space for performers of all types at our open mics.
At Q.E.D. you’ll find stand-up comedy shows with performers ranging from the beginner to the very famous. We also have arts and crafts workshops, writing classes, board game meet ups, storytelling, movie screenings, watch parties and everything in between. Our affordable classes and shows are as diverse as Queens itself. With 100 or more events each month, there’s something for everyone.
Show your love of Q.E.D. and the arts by wearing an official Q.E.D. t-shirt, hat or hoodie! Your support will ensure Q.E.D. can continue to bring Astoria, Queens incredible programming. Plus these shirts are super fashionable and show the world you have great taste in entertainment!
Life and QED Update
It’s been a fun two days for mail deliveries. We got new showroom tables, my renewed liquor license, all my renewed insurance policies and a dress I got online that I’m wearing to my dear friend’s wedding. All that insurance and renewal paperwork was so easy this time around. I remember it being a bit overwhelming last year and it brought me back to the anxious headspace I was in during the weeks before QED opened. This time? It was a cinch and took mere minutes.
August was slow as expected, but we’ve got some really fun shows and classes for fall that I’m really excited about. We also have a nice list of people wanting to produce here, so that’s good.
Our summer intern is starting as a real employee tomorrow now that she’s 18. She’s the best. She’s also from Peru which is one of my favorite places on earth, so when I see her it reminds me of our magical two weeks in the jungle and mountains and on rivers and lakes.
I’m on day 5 on my sugar detox reboot which always seems like it’s going to be so difficult *before* I start and isn’t so bad once I *do* start it. Why do I always forget this?
I’ve been getting more and more time away from QED (I’m going back to the cabin on Sunday), and have been enjoying the hell out of “Fargo” on Hulu.
I guess that’s about it here. How’s things with you?#SmallBusinessFun
Update: Bathroom lock fixed, bathroom faucet fixed (only $60!), floors mopped, toilet scrubbed, worker’s comp & disability insurance renewed for 2015-2016, first annual tax return filed, payroll processed, inventory done, bank deposit made, fresh pastries & sandwiches in stock, food & beverage orders placed and new desserts added to inventory.
A/C chilling the place to a cool 71 degrees and I’m ready for two shows tonight.
I slept more hours in the last 72 than I have all month. It’s rejuvenating and I immediately went into pitching and producing mode. I’m excited about what this means for year two of QED.Yes, I’m aware I’m writing this at 4am, and I can’t sleep from all the worries. But now, instead of just anxiety and the fear of the unknown, my creative juices are flowing again. A very nice awakening.
Sound absorbing room dividing curtain and stage curtain plus all the fixtures, tracks, everything needed to install have been ordered at a final tally of $3,850. GUH! A steep price to be sure but so, so, SO much cheaper than the sliding doors I wanted and, it turns out, much more sound proof than any barn door cutting down on 70% decibels or whatever the lingo is.
They’re one of the biggest expenses of this whole venture but essential to the success of the space. If this place goes belly up, I will not even be able to set these drapes on fire since they’re certified fire-proof to satisfy the fire code. But I’m not gonna have that problem, will I? NOPE!
Um, what else? My amazing contractor and I plotted out the specifics for the concession stand equipment, tile and stone top. Much to the dismay of the folks at HGTV who try to brainwash me, I did not insist on GRANITE COUNTERTOPS! I chose a more cost-effective, sturdy, man-made Caesarstone top and we’re still pricing tile for the front. We want an opalescent, gradient tile but it’s probably way more expensive than what my contractor budgeted. We’re shopping around, though, and it will be a-okay no matter what.
Christian started cutting the moulding and might divorce me over it. We got more paint samples and settled on paint color per my post below. I’ve started adding shows and classes to the website (just a couple as I’m still not clear on the interface and am tweaking things before I go whole hog), Jeremy Doucette kindly volunteered to plot the floorplan to satisfy the NY State Liquor Authority’s requirement and Kyria Lydia Abrahams volunteered to work on the draft menu. Grateful to both of them for allowing me to check off two things, while I work on the 1,000 other things. I did get my passport photos taken for the license application and met with Liam McEneaney and Lisa Levy about shows and stuff. Liam has booked a ton of great things for November which really made me kick myself into gear and say to myself many, many times:
THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!
Today I met with three dudes named Z, Fritz and Cyclone. I’m ready to start a boy band or a World of Warcraft team. Also met with Katya an NYC architect now living in Brussels who just happens to be in Astoria for three weeks and agreed to draft up a quick plan for the bar. Serendipitous!
Thanks to Cyclone Jjs for swinging by from Canarsie to donate an XLR cord and microphone covers. Fritz is building the stage and singing to Jamaican dance music as I type this. I’ll paint the third coat on bathroom walls & ceiling once Fritz leaves. Ceiling tiles arrived as planned, and I booked Jenn Dodd for a character building class & graduation show. Details to come.
The stage is almost finished at QED: A Place to Show & Tell! I’m sneaking in early in the morning to “bury” a few things under the stage before it’s sealed up. If the whole thing goes belly up, some dude is gonna find a little gift during demolition.
Stage finished and primed, another coat on about 3/4 of the bathroom, 2/3 of ceiling tiles in place. Huge thanks to John O’Donnell, Joe Garden, Liam McEneaney & Christian Finnegan for the helping hands and good company. Very satisfying day. Now to fall asleep on the couch sitting upright like the tired, old lady that I feel like.
Oh, yeah, and wires from walls cut and capped, walls spackled, lighting chosen thanks to Eric Vetter‘s friend Tamora and plans drawn by my new architect friend thanks to Cathryn Lavery.
QED Progress Report
Progress on QED: A Place to Show & Tell this week.
— I got the kitchen cabinets, granite from the backyard, an interior door and a cabinet island all removed. The huge exhaust fan is being removed, too.
— Stripped the windows of the old signage & cleaned of the sticky residue then covered the windows with craft paper.
— Requested estimates for replacing the big sign above the windows.
— Decided to replace the ugly, stained drop ceiling with these, most likely. Waiting for samples of white, sand & latte to make sure on the color.http://www.proceilingtiles.com/Stratford-Ceiling-Tile-Sand.html
— Got a 3-month liability insurance plan bought & paid for so people can come in and paint, work, help with no worries.
— Established a Con Edison account.
— Rounded up some tree stumps from the cabin to turn into little side tables.
— A million other things like pricing equipment & furniture, emailing possible vendors for food & beer, vacillating on design ideas.
Am woefully behind on emails because of the above & Christian’s Off-Broadway musical. Donations and ideas and help are ALL welcome & appreciated, but I might be late or remiss in getting back to you. ***Regular email is always the best way to reach me so I can more efficiently keep track.***
I’m most in need of help finding cool ideas for classes, teachers, performers, and the physical stuff like tables, chairs, glasses, anything you see at a bar or cafe I probably need. For example, I bought a paper towel dispenser for the bathroom for $5 at a reuse center, snagged bunch of mason jars & old wooden crates, a coffee maker for $5, two old picture frames that I turned into bulletin boards & a window pane that will become something TBD.