It’s In Queens!

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Tony Bennett might have left his heart in San Francisco, but the Astoria native would be very impressed by the wide array of romantic activities on Valentine’s Day in Queens this year.

Beyond the restaurant and hotel specials, there are bargains for tango, comedy, theater and a cruise. In the aftermath, Queens bursts at the seams with parades, live music, a bird count and even a video game convention.

Here’s the rundown.

Tonight (Thursday), Feb. 14, afroTango (special Valentine’s Day performance), 8 p.m. A world premiere with music arranged and directed by Latin Grammy winner Raul Jaurena, followed by a wine and tapas reception with the stars of the show. $35. Thalia Spanish Theatre, 41-17 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside, www.thaliatheatre.org.

Thursday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Dinner Cruise, 7 p.m. Take the Skyline Princess for a four-hour, all-inclusive, romantic tour of NYC harbor with a three-course buffet dinner, premium open bar, free parking at the marina, and DJ entertainment. $88. World’s Fair Marina Pier 1, Flushing, www.skylinecruises.com.

Thursday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Weekend Spectacular, 8 p.m. On the ultimate date night, a fantastic lineup of headliners-Mark Riccadonna, Leighann Lord, Andy Hendrickson, Scott Sharp, Miguel Dalmau and Dina Hashem-debating the hesaid/ she-said hilarities of life. $30, includes two soft drinks, glasses of wine or two draft beers. Laughing Devil Comedy Club, 47-38 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, www.laughingdevil.com.

Thursday, Feb. 14, Much Ado About Nothing, 8 p.m. On opening night of a show that runs until Mar. 2, patrons receive chocolates, a rose and two glasses of pink bubbly in a two-for-$30 deal. Tickets normally $18. The Secret Theatre, 44-02 23rd St., Long Island City, www.secrettheatre.com.

Thursday, Feb. 14, First Lady’s Last Supper, 1 p.m. A gut-wrenching, bellyaching, hilarious show with a surprise ending and the beautiful sounds of trumpeter Ralph Moore. Free. York College Performing Arts Center – 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica, (718) 776-3700, www.leroycomrie.com.

Friday, Feb. 15, Emilio Solla + Bien Sur, 8 p.m. Renowned Argentine pianist Emilio Solla presents tunes from his celebrated album Bien Sur! and new compositions with his New York quintet, featuring Chris Cheek (soprano/tenor), Victor Prieto (accordion), Jorge Roeder (bass) and Ziv Ravitz, (drums and cajon). $15 with two-for-one deal, use code xoxo50 when calling the box office or purchasing online. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing, www.flushingtownhall.org.

Friday, Feb. 15, Irish Movie Night: The Pier, 7:30 p.m. The Pier (2011) tells a common story in Irish literature and film: the returning emigrant confronts what has changed and what has remained the same. The director plays a man who, told his father is dying, travels from New York to Cork to discover the old codger looking a little healthier than expected. An amusing, touching battle of wills then develops. Writer and director Gerard Hurley will be present for a Q&A session after the show. $15. New York Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, www.newyorkirishcenter.org.

Friday, Feb. 15, The Tiki Tiki Club, 7 p.m. Join artists Shaun Leonardo, Andrew Leonardo and Ivan Monforte in re-defining the Tiki Tiki club. Originating from Mexican and Central American nightlife culture, these clubs invite men to pay a female $2 to be their dance partner for a song. The Tiki Tiki Club reverses this policy, giving women the chance to pay men for a dance. The No Longer Empty exhibition space is transformed into a nightclub for the evening with music and drinks contributing to the atmosphere. $2 per dance. The Clocktower, 29-27 41st Ave., Queens Plaza North, www.nolongerempty.org.

Friday, Feb. 15, IndieCade East: The Nation’s Premier Festival for Independent Video Games, 10 a.m. The country’s premier festival for independent games. Throughout the weekend, the Museum of the Moving Image presents The Game- Making Game, a workshop for children ages 8 and older. All festival attendees are welcome to visit Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off, an exhibition that commemorates the 50th anniversary of video games, on view through March 3. MMI, 36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, www.movingimage.us.

Friday, Feb. 15, Stories of the African American Experience, 7:30 p.m. The Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn offers a multi-media presentation exploring historical accounts of the middle passage, slavery, emancipation and history. $50. Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153- 10 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica, 1-718- 388-3900, [email protected], www.jamaica-performingartscenter.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, 17th Lunar New Year Parade, 11 a.m. Flushing fills with large crowds, ornate floats, dragon dancers and red ornaments. Basically, in and around Main Street at 37th Avenue, Flushing.

Saturday, Feb. 16, Lunar New Year Lantern-Making Workshop, 1 p.m. Following the Lunar New Year Parade, attendees can create and decorate traditional Chinese paper lanterns in various symbolic colors. Each lantern’s color symbolizes a different wish for a happy new year, and participants choose the color that expresses their wish and decorate a lantern to bring home. $2. Parking will be open for $5 per vehicle. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing, www.queensbotanical.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, Korea: 60 Years Later, 1 p.m. Some called the Korean War the last chapter of World War II, others, the opening salvo of the Cold War. Before it was over, millions of Koreans were casualties, and more than 120,000 American troops were either killed or wounded. Take a look back at America’s Forgotten War on the 60th Anniversary of the armistice ending hostilities. $5/free for veterans. Greater Astoria Historical Society, 35-20 Broadway, Astoria, www.astorialic.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, Flamenco Vivo, 2 p.m and 8p.m. One of the nation’s premiere Spanish dance companies brings the fiery passion of Flamenco to Queens Theatre. Under the direction of Founding Artistic Director Carlota Santana, Flamenco Vivo transcends cultural boundaries with its cutting edge, dramatic works that the Washington Post has called intense and vivid. $25/$46. QT, 14 United Nations Ave. S., Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, (718) 760- 0064, www.queenstheatre.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, Jewish Love Songs from the Shtetl to Second Avenue, 2:30 p.m. The Capital Heights Lyric Opera presents this tribute to the Jewish love song, from the traditional (“Tum Balalaika”) to the immigrant era (“My Yiddishe Mame”) to the golden years of Yiddish Theater (“Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn”). Free. Fresh Meadows Library, 193-20 Horace Harding Expressway, Fresh Meadows, www.queenslibrary.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, The 39 Steps, 8 p.m. (repeats every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Mar. 2). A raucous comedy by Patrick Barlow, adapted from the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 British thriller film by Alfred Hitchcock. A man with a boring life and no passion meets a mysterious woman who claims to be a spy. When she is murdered in his apartment, he finds himself running across Britain from the police and an organization of enemy spies. $14/$12 seniors. Grace Lutheran Church, 71st Road and Union Turnpike, Forest Hills, www.gracelutheranny.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, It’s Time To Take A Stand, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The St. Albans Baptist Church puts on It’s Time To Take A Stand, a play that brings viewers back to when segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation, humiliation and devastation were sweeping the nation. $30 with group discounts. Black Spectrum Theatre, 177th Street and Baisley Boulevard, Jamaica, 1- 718-723-8005, [email protected], www.sabconline.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, Music from the Mind of the Trumpet, 3 p.m. The Eddie Allen Quintet pays tribute to such legendary trumpeters as Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis. Free. Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, www.queenslibrary.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, Alex Blake, 7 p.m. Alex Blake is a musician, composer and educator with roots in Latin and salsa, jazz, and fusion, rock and roll, R&B, funk, soul and global styles. $10/$20. York College Performing Arts Center, 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica, 1-718-262-2281.

Saturday, Feb. 16, Southside, 8 p.m. Southside, which honors the tradition of Earth Wind & Fire, Parliament/ Punkadelic, Chicago, & U2, rocks the house with delicious cuisine. $20. Afrikan Poetry Theatre, 176-03 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica, www.afrikanpoetrytheatre.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, The Great Backyard Bird Count, 10:30 a.m. Why count birds in midwinter? To compile important data on how winter snowfall and temperatures affect bird populations, migration patterns and differences in bird diversity in various regions. Bird species and numbers will be added to a database that will allow scientists to track migrations and populations and then make informed conservation decisions. More than 50 species of birds have been spotted at Queens Botanical Garden, including Red-tailed Hawks, American Robins and Ringnecked Pheasants. Free, but registration is required. QBG, 43-50 Main St., Flushing, 1-718-886-3800, ext. 213, [email protected], www.queensbotanical.org.

Saturday, Feb. 16, A Free Afternoon of Digital Awesomeness (ages 13-18), 1 p.m. The Maker Space at the New York Hall of Science is super excited to host its first “Learning Labs Pop-Up,” a social environment with fun, engaging, youth driven activities! Try 3D printing, beat making, computer animation and more. $5. The Maker Space, NYSCI, 47-01 111th St., Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, www.nysci.org.

Sunday, Feb. 17, Black Stars of the Great White Way!, 3 p.m. Broadway choral director/arranger Chapman Roberts has created this blockbuster evening of Broadway show stoppers delivered by an allmale cast featuring Norm Lewis, a Tony Award nominee for Porgy and Bess, and original cast members of such Broadway hits as Eubie Blake’s Eubie, Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies and Fats Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin. $35. Queensborough Performing Arts Center, 222-05 56th Ave., Bayside, 1-718-631-6311, www.qcc.cuny.edu/qpac/.

Sunday, Feb. 17, Walking Tour of Queens Plaza, 11 a.m. Queens Plaza is a nexus of early 20th century transportation improvements. The Queensboro Bridge, Northern and Queens boulevards, IRT, BMT and IND subway lines, and the restructured LIRR mainline all converged to support what became NYC’s largest and most modern industrial area. $15. Meet at the fare booth of 39th Avenue station (N, Q); the tour will end at the Clocktower building (formerly the Bank of Manhattan) whose first floor has been transformed into magnificent permanent gallery space. See the current free exhibit How Much Do I Owe You? www.nolongerempty.org.

Sunday, Feb. 17, Chaturang: Traditional Dances of India, 3 p.m. Chaturang is a Hindi word meaning four colors. Under the direction of Malini Shah and Nritya Kala Kendra, this new program features four outstanding local and international artists demonstrating four signature styles of classic Indian dance. See how facial expressions, hand movements and rhythmic footwork help tell grand stories with the music of harmonium, tabla and tambura. $20 adults/$12 children 12 and under. Kupferberg Center’s Goldstein Theatre, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, www.kupferbergcenter.org.

Sunday, Feb. 17, Cos Fan Tutte, 6 p.m. Mozart’s beloved comedy comes to life. Sopranos Anna Noggle and Elspeth Davis, mezzo-soprano Julia Teitel, tenor James Baumgardner, baritones Adam Cannedy and Peter Walker join forces with pianist Christopher Bradshaw in this concert version of the opera. $15. Church of the Redeemer, 30-14 Crescent St., Astoria, www.redeemer-astoria.org.

Sunday, Feb. 17, Genealogy Workshop, 2:30 p.m. Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution hosts a special genealogy workshop for people interested in tracing their ancestry. $8. Kingsland Homestead, 143-35 37th Ave., Flushing, www.queenshistoricalsociety.org.

Monday, Feb. 18, A President’s Day Family Movie Event: Night at the Museum, 1 p.m. A newly recruited night security guard at the Museum of Natural History discovers that an ancient curse causes the animals and exhibits to come to life and wreak havoc. Museum guard Larry (Ben Stiller) turns to a wax replica of President Roosevelt (Robin Williams) for a little advice on keeping things intact, but Teddy seems to think that a man of Larry’s greatness needs little help. A discussion of this movie and tour of Greater Astoria Historical Society artifacts follow. Free. GAHS, 35-20 Broadway, Astoria, www.astorialic.org.

Wednesday, Feb. 20, Mid Winter Nocturnal Hike, 5 p.m. Explore Alley Pond Environmental Center’s trails in search of evening animals. A special early evening hike for children ages 7 and up. $13 with required preregistration. APEC, 228-06 Northern Blvd., Douglaston, www.alleypond.org.

The “It’s In Queens” column is produced by the Queens Tourism Council with the hope that readers will enjoy the borough’s attractions.

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