Featured Artist: Kari Bentley-Quinn

Featured Artist: Kari Bentley-Quinn

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Kari Bentley-Quinn
Kari Bentley-Quinn

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.

Kari Bentley-Quinn
Kari Bentley-Quinn

Playwright/Founding Member of Mission to (dit)Mars

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I live right on the Astoria/Woodside border. My zip is Woodside but if I walk one block I’m in Astoria. I’ve lived east of Steinway off 30th avenue for almost 9 (!) years now.

How did you get involved in theater?
My first role was a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz when I was in 6th grade. The following year, my class went on a school trip to see Les Mis. Blew my little 12 year old mind! I have been doing theater ever since. I was an actor until I was in my 20′s, and then writing took over.

What do you love most about Queens?
Queens is awesome for so many reasons, but I really think one of its biggest strengths is that the people who live here are laid back and not pretentious. You can throw on a pair of jeans and no makeup and head out to a bar with no worries. It’s affordable, safe, and extremely ethnically diverse. What we lack in brownstones we more than make up for in diversity and character. I love it here. I’ve lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Queens is by far my favorite. It’s my home.

Do you have any “only in Queens” moments you’d like to share?
I was standing in line one day at Gian Piero bakery (30th avenue and 45th street, best Italian bakery in Astoria!) and I heard 5 different languages being spoken at the same time. That’s Queens in a nutshell for you.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Other than Gian Piero (and really any of the bakeries in Astoria, you can’t go wrong) my top picks are:
Trattoria L’Incontro (Astoria) – the best Italian restaurant in the city. No question. It’s super highly rated in Zagat and half the price of comparable places in Manhattan. Don’t order off the menu. Get the specials. Trust me.

Sorriso’s Pork Store
 (Astoria) – Wonderful Italian salumeria on 30th avenue. Their soppresata is made in-house, as well as their fresh mozzarella, and the warm friendly staff is more than happy to let you try before you buy.

Off the Vine
 (Astoria) – a wonderful wine store with warm, friendly owners and a selection of smaller producers. They hold wine tastings frequently and they usually have a delicious spread of cheese and nibbles available.
Sugarfreak (Astoria) – A little bit of New Orleans in Astoria. I have never had a bad meal there. I’m kind of obsessed.
Museum of the Moving Image (Astoria) – Just go. It’s awesome.
Alewife (Long Island City) – Gorgeous space, amazing beers on tap, good food, great staff.
Nan Xiang Dumpling House (Flushing) – Soup dumplings. I’m just saying. And Flushing is awesome. It’s like visiting another country. Lots of great Korean/Chinese food
There are many many many more, but those come immediately to mind.

Current/Upcoming projects?
I have a workshop of my play THE UNLIKELY ASCENT OF SYBIL STEVENS opening this weekend at another great Queens institution – The Secret Theatre. It’s directed by Chris Diercksen (a Mission to (dit)Mars artist!) and it runs only three performances…so get tickets now! All the info, including a description of the play, is here. Tickets are only $10. Hope to see everyone there.


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