26 THE QUEENS COURIER • SEPTEMBER 13, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Big anniversary gift for Flushing Town Hall
from an anonymous donor comes with a dare
BY JOSH TOWNER
firstname.lastname@example.org / @QNS
Flushing Town Hall received a very
generous gift anonymously to mark 40
years of cultural programming — but the
present came with a sizable challenge.
An anonymous donor provided
$40,000 to Flushing Town Hall, but said
there would be another $40,000 coming
next year if the nonprofi t cultural institution
raises $40,000 on its own over the
next six months.
Th e donation comes during the 40th
anniversary season of the Flushing
Council on Culture and the Arts, which
operates the historic Flushing Town Hall.
Th e challenge only applies to new and
increased contributions. Pre-existing
fi nancial commitments will not be included
in the challenge.
Any new money donated by individuals,
foundations and businesses from now
through Feb. 28, 2019 will be counted
toward the $40,000 goal.
Th e mystery donor is described only as a
patron of the arts. Th e donation and challenge
were conveyed through a member of
Flushing Town Hall’s Board of Trustees.
“I hope this challenge motivates others
to see what I do: an institution that presents
with a passion and a purpose, that
opens its doors to everyone, that celebrates
diversity, and creates community,”
the anonymous donor said in a statement
issued through the board.
Th e donations will help Flushing Town
Hall continue to off er free and aff ordable
programming that provides diverse arts
to a global community and brings in various
artists from across the globe.
Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s
executive and artistic director, voiced her
excitement for the challenge and appreciation
of the donation.
Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall
“We’re confi dent that many of those
people – from Queens and beyond – who
have enjoyed Flushing Town Hall will
step up and show their support. Every
dollar not only counts – but will be doubled,”
You can visit fl ushingtownhall.org/
donate to make a contribution.
New Queens-based play focused on the nation’s political climate set to make its debut
A Queens-based play entitled “It Can
Happen Here” is set to premiere at the
Jamaica Performing Arts Center, located
at 153-10 Jamaica Ave., on Sept. 30 at
Th e play, written by Queens-native
Judith Sloan and described as “a dramatic
comedy with songs,” tells the story
of two hairdressers, Riva and Serena,
who embark on a new journey together
and pursue their passion for singing and
tending to community members while
their nation suff ers in a political climate
Th e characters in the play include a
numbers-obsessed math teacher and
DACA recipient, an older man who lost
everything in Hurricane Sandy and an
Indian-American immigration lawyer.
Sloan’s work is a reference to Sinclair
Lewis’ novel “It Can’t Happen Here”
which follows the fi ctitious election of a
populist politician who instills fear in a
nation by promising a return to patriotism.
But although the classic has been
referred to as the book that predicted
Trump by Th e New York Times, Sloan
claims that her latest piece is not about
life under President Trump.
Instead, “It Can Happen Here” is
about colorful people from diff erent
walks of life who are handling societal
and political tensions diff erently. Sloan
said that she indeed drew some inspiration
for the play from the great literary
classic, but that she drew even greater
inspiration from her where the conversations
she had with Southeastern Queens
residents. For nine months Sloan talked
with people about their fears, resentments
“What struck me over and over were
stories of love and support that oft en
fl y under the radar in times of extreme
duress, of neighbors being deported, of
families wondering about their survival,
of artists wanting to dream,” said Sloan.
She came across dozens of stories of people
co-existing and collaborating.
“Like the novel, ‘It Can’t Happen Here,’
my play is inspired by real events,” said
Working on the play based and about
residents in the most ethnically diverse
borough of the city has kept Sloan in
touch with her love of learning, listening
and challenging others in the face of
Sloan describes her most recent play as
a dark comedy. Her other works include
Crossing the BLVD and 1001 Voices:
Symphony for a New America. Th e fi rst
is a 400-page book following the lives of
new immigrants and refugees in Queens.
Th e second is a multimedia orchestra
and chorus performance, also inspired by
Queens residents’ stories, about migration
and the search for home.
Sloan love of her roots and the always
changing borough that raised. Her work
combines humor and and a love for the
absurd as she places a mirror against
American social and political culture.
“It Can Happen Here” was commissioned
by the the Queens Council
Meah Pace is the lead singer and actress in “It Can Happen Here”
on the Arts’ (QCA) inaugural Artist
Commissioning Program (ACP) and was
one of four out of 100 applicants chosen
for the award.
For more information about Judith
Sloan’s work visit www.earsay.org and
for more information about the ACP visit
Writer and director Judith Sloan also
performs in “It Can Happen Here”
All photos are courtesy of Judith Sloan.