Featured Artist: Tyler Rivenbark

Featured Artist: Tyler Rivenbark

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Tyler Rivenbark
Tyler Rivenbark - taken at Martha's Bakery in Astoria

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.

Tyler Rivenbark
Tyler Rivenbark – taken at Martha’s Bakery in Astoria

Playwright, musician, Adjunct Lecturer

Where were you born?
Warsaw, North Carolina (never to be confused with anything South Carolina related)

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve been in Sunnyside for almost five years now!

How did you get involved in theater?
I stumbled upon theatre my junior year of college when wanting to take a screenwriting class. Playwriting was the prerequisite. At that point I had no theatrical experience at all, except for briefly appearing in an elementary school play about Thanksgiving. I immediately fell in love with the structure, or what I thought was the structure, of plays. And then when I finally took the screenwriting class it was glaringly obvious that my movie was actually a play. I never looked back.

Tell us about the play you’re working on in the Propulsion Lab?
I’m working on The Hydra: a play with puppets, which is the second part of a larger project that focuses on a veteran of the Iraq war. In The Hydra Ajax, our soldier, has found himself in a mythological world inhabited by gods, goddesses, a Greek chorus, and puppets, after taking his life in the previous play The Ostrich. He is thus sent on an epic journey to redefine who he is and what he wants.

What do you love most about Queens?
In the most wonderful of ways Queens reminds me of North Carolina. It’s unpretentious, gritty, beautiful, eclectic and full of delicious food and a treasure trove of off-the-beaten path sights and sounds. And Sunnyside in particular feels like a small town. Sitting on my stoop playing guitar or having a cup of tea neighbors stop to chat or yell from across the street. It’s pretty great.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
Every moment experienced in Queens feels like an “only in Queens” moment. I can’t help but think if it happened somewhere else it would be completely different.
But the 7 train is a unique Queens experience that I never tire of. The purple circle, the orange seats, the neighborhoods it passes through, 5 Pointz out the window. Some of these 7 train staples are changing which is disheartening, but the spirit remains.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?

Food (I’ll stick to Sunnyside for this):
Breakfast: Alpha Donuts (one of the best diners in NYC)
Lunch: Aubergine Café (lovely atmosphere and a beautiful street view)
Dinner: Dee, The Haab, Salt & Fat (there are many, many more, but I’ll mention just a few)
Pubs: PJ Horgan’s and Murphy’s (doesn’t get much better as far as Irish Pubs go)
Citi Field (always great to watch the Mets lose to the Braves)
Any of the numerous new literary reading series that have popped up all around the borough
Gantry Plaza – LIC (beautiful park with a beautiful view of the City)
Louis Armstrong House Museum – Corona (the house does justice to the larger than life personality of Armstrong himself)
Noguchi Museum – LIC (a breathtaking sculpture museum just across the street from Socrates Sculpture Park)

Current/Upcoming projects?
My collective, The Hammer and Pick, is developing new work; I am performing new music around the cit monthly; coordination of the 6th annual Louis Armstrong Residency has just started; and many more creatively fulfilling endeavors are to come. Check out my website tylerrivenbark.wordpress.com for more detailed information.


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