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.
Journalist, editor, poet, and arts event curator.
Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve been living in Long Island City and Astoria for my entire life!
Can you tell us a little more about Newtown Literary and the reading series you curate?
Newtown Literary (http://newtownliterary.org/) is Queens’ own literary journal – my fellow writer Tim Fredrick founded it, and I’m just an enthusiastic supporter 😉 The Queens literary community is really pushing forward, and it’s so exciting to me – there are now readings in Astoria, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Kew Gardens, and LIC popping up, and both writers and curators are reaching out, becoming so much more aware of each other, what exists here, and what has the potential to exist here. My “Nature of the Muse” reading and live writing events will be every couple of months – they play with the nature of inspiration and what moves us to write. Thus far – the writers I feature read their previously written work but then have to write live from a random prompt written by someone in the audience! It’s been such a fun and outrageous experience – the second edition of the event is on April 4th and you can find out more about it here: http://audreydimola.com/tag/nature-of-the-muse/.
What do you love most about Queens?
I’m a local girl through and through. Queens is in my blood – I love it, am proud of it, and will continue to crusade for arts and culture here for the rest of my life. I love the diversity, the mix of city life and beautiful public spaces, the hidden gems, the diversity of the people, the voices, the neighborhoods. The arts here are incredible! Spoken word, live music, theatre, visual arts of all sorts… And overall – there’s just a different feeling here. That sense of authenticity, “realness,” that many people ascribe to Queens is absolutely true, and I feel that more and more.
Do you have any “only in Queens” moments you’d like to share?
Just being able to have such special, one-off experiences – the first thing that comes to mind happened at Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights. I was interviewing my longtime pal, musician/curator Gus Rodriguez, for a magazine article, and he mentioned the kind of culture-blending experiences that are only possible in Queens. A little while afterwards, during the show he was playing at Espresso – he and his fellow musician, Jonny Meyers, who were playing rootsy rock and roll, spontaneously started jamming with African musicians playing traditional hand drums and a stringed instrument called a kora – they had randomly stopped in from a gig down the street! I was so happy to be there that night – it was just so classically Queens.
The Yoga Room in LIC and Astoria is my second home. I always go to LIC’s Socrates Sculpture Park to clear my head and sit by the river. LIC Bar is so classy with its tin ceilings and of course the amazing carriage house with the fireplace out back, and Waltz-Astoria also always feels so cozy and welcoming to creatives of all types. I’ve been going to Sanfords Restaurant on Broadway in Astoria for years, and I truly believe Samaria Pizza (also in Astoria) is made in heaven. Terraza 7 in Jackson Heights is one of my new favorite places – the First Tuesdays reading series (http://jacksonheightspoetryfestival.wordpress.com/) is held there, and not only do they have a “floating” stage on the 2nd floor where incredibly diverse talent can share their words and works – but there’s also hammocks!
Writing and doing readings – always! I’m constantly connecting with creatives, art enthusiasts, local business owners, and anyone passionate about Queens – I love finding out about their passions, spreading the word about what’s going on in the borough, and helping to connect people and promote their efforts. Lately I’ve been working on interviewing Queens creatives for my longtime friend/collaborator Liz and I’s webzine Glitter and Doom (http://glitteranddoom.com/), curating and hosting more local events with fun and unexpected themes, and editing my second book of poetry and prose, “Traversals.” See you all ’round town – say hi! Check out Audrey’s next reading event.