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.

Flor De Liz Perez with her Grandmother, Hortencia, in Corona, Jackson Heights
Flor De Liz Perez with her Grandmother, Hortencia, in Corona, Jackson Heights

TitleOccupation
Actress, Writer/Performer with the NY Neo-Futurists

Where were you born?
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I came here when I was five and was raised in Jamaica Estates, Queens until moving away to upstate NY for middle school. There were a lot more stops along the way, including schooling in PA and NC, but the road always leads back to Queens! (More on that in the next few answers).

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I live in Astoria now (again). I moved to Astoria after grad school and lived here for a year. Then I migrated to Greenpoint, BK for about 6 months, after which I came back to Astoria, where I’ve been ever since (this leg of the journey is going on 2 years).

How did you get involved in theater?
It started with storytelling. My mom was really into reading and telling me stories when I was a kid. When we started doing plays in elementary school (P.S. 131 in Jamaica Estates, Queens), I discovered such joy in acting out stories and getting to be different characters (my favorite roles included a piranha and a penguin). I continued cherishing written stories and found more and more ways into performance as I grew.

However, it wasn’t until college when I decided that I wanted to dedicate myself to the theatre as a profession. I majored in English Lit and Theatre, and studied abroad in London for a semester at the London Dramatic Academy. There, I was infused with a new appreciation for what being a theatre artist in the world meant.

Being in a culture where theatre was viewed as an essential part of society; and seeing how my teachers, who were working actors and theatre-makers themselves, had created lives rich in creativity, community, action, dedication to the craft, social consciousness and citizenry inspired me.

I knew then that I wanted to be a part of the theatre in some form for the rest of my life.

What do you love most about Queens?
I ADORE the wide range of neighborhoods, diversity, people, FOOD! Every nook and cranny of Queens offers a different experience.

Also, Queens=family! My mother grew up in Corona, Jackson Heights (off the Junction Blvd stop) with her brothers and mother. A lot of her family came through Jackson Heights upon arriving from Dominican Republic in the 50s/60s. My uncles actually still live in the house they were raised in with my mother! They made it a split-level, so one is on the first floor with his family, the other on the second floor with his family. So my cousins, aunts, uncles and abuela are all in one place! I knew I always had a home there.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
I remember doing a performance of “Jackson Heights 3AM” at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights with Theatre 167 (another Queens-based company!). Walking into the school for the first time, the message board by the entrance astounded me. There were school notices posted in about 15 languages, from Spanish to English to Bengali. I thought, “Wow.” It was a moment of true reflection about the neighborhood we were in.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Ooh…this is a tough one. Off the top of my head:

Jardin de China (off Junction Blvd 7 stop. Legit Chino-Latino food!! My mom used to come here as a kid and I remember meeting the owner when I was young. His family still runs the place. BEST fried rice, pork ribs, platanos…everything.
http://m.yelp.com/biz/jardin-de-china-corona)

1) Sweet Afton (off 30th Ave N stop. Love Love LOVE their fried pickles! Great atmosphere.
www.sweetaftonbar.com)

2) The Sparrow Tavern (great bar off Astoria Blvd N stop…right around the corner from my house!
www.thesparrowtavern.com)

3) Othello’s Deli (also around the corner from me. Great for late night sandwiches…and they deliver!
www.othellodeli.com)

4) Rapture (amazing bar off 30th Ave N stop with great nightly specials. 2-for-1 pitchers of sangria!? Yes, please. Eclectic atmosphere and clients.
www.rapturelounge.com)

5) Socrates Sculpture Park (Beautiful place. LIC, 7 train.
www.socratessculpturepark.org)

6) Noguchi Museum (I remember being struck with a sense of such peace and awe when I first visited here. LIC 7 train.
www.noguchi.org)

7) Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (off Mets Willets Point 7 stop. I learned to ride my bike around the Unisphere out there. World’s Fair! And they filmed Men in Black there. Sweet place.)

**I haven’t even hit on the great Indian food found out by 74th St off the E/7/R/M Roosevelt Ave stop! Just take a trip out there and get lost. So many unique spots.**

Current/Upcoming projects?
I’ve recently filmed a few episodes of “The Good Wife” on CBS recently, with the next one airing December 15.

We just closed the premiere of PIRIRA by J.Stephen Brantley, directed by Ari Laura Kreith (also with Theatre 167).
www.theatre167.org

And I leave in December to work on the world premiere of Marcus Gardley’s beautiful play THE HOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND, directed by Patricia McGregor, at Berkeley Rep and Yale Rep. Very excited to be a part of telling this story. Look it up! Fascinating and moving tale of a free woman of color and her three daughters in 1860s New Orleans (loosely based on Lorca’s THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA).
www.berkeleyrep.org
www.yalerep.org

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