Friday is going to be a ball. On January 11, the South Queens Ball at the American Legion in Broad Channel, will bring together some of South Queens’ best bands under one roof to raise some money, while camera crews film live to shed light on how the area bounced back after Hurricane Sandy, and how more work still needs to be done.
It’s gonna be a rockin’ time on Friday night as Sasha Dobson, Hop City Hellcats, Walker and his bands, Brotherhood of the Grape and Q-South, Indaculture, Wine With Sue, and others come together for a good cause. The bands are donating their time to raise money and give back to a place that has served the community in positive ways—American Legion Hall Post 1404. Meanwhile, the whole thing is going to be filmed by Queens Public Television (QPTV) for the second part of their award-winning documentary on the music of South Queens Sandy recovery.
South Queens, including Rockaway, Broad Channel and Howard Beach, was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, but it didn’t take long before the area proved that it was determined to bounce back. The summer after Sandy, Walker Hornung, Jimmy Dowd and Boarders hosted the annual Rockstock and Barrels festival on the beach to show that Rockaway keeps rocking no matter what’s thrown at it. Parts of the festival were filmed by Joe Valva of QPTV and it was made into a short documentary that went on to win an award. Now more than six years later, QPTV hopes to shed light on where the area stands now since the storm, showing the progress and bringing attention to how some are still not back home. So they’ll be filming some of the same musicians that rocked the post-Sandy Rockstock at a can’t-miss music festival on Friday, while local online radio station, Rockaway Beach Broadcasting Company, will broadcast the whole thing live.
Walker Hornung, who has organized the sweet lineup for the show, said the pieces for the South Queens Ball fell together. “I’d been in touch with QPTV and Joe said he wanted to do a follow up to the last documentary, showing how the area has rebounded and how everyone made out after the storm, whether they had a good experience or a poor one. He’s going to interview people that weren’t happy with how things turned out after Sandy, and people who are pleased,” he said.
Around this time of year, Hornung and his bands perform at B.B. Kings in Manhattan, but after the venue shut down last year, he was looking for a backup plan. “They offered me the Cutting Room and the new Sony Theater, but I figured we might as well stay local and raise money for those at home,” he said. Hornung reached out to the Broad Channel VFW, where he often performs at local fundraisers for friends in need, but those at the VFW directed him to another venue that could use some help—American Legion Post 1404. With the bands donating their time, the $20 admission to the show will go right back to the American Legion. Hornung says Jimmy Smallman of the American Legion has been a big help in making the show possible. Plus, the arrangement wound up working out well as the Legion offers a bigger space for more people to enjoy a big show such as this, plus its own stage, which will make filming easier. “We’re really killing 10 birds with one stone by hosting this show locally, filming the show, having local bands volunteer their time and making money for the American Legion,” Hornung said.
The lineup is full of some great performers that will offer a little something for everyone during their 45-mintue sets. Almost all of the performers are based in South Queens, and all of them either were themselves or know someone that was personally impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The Hop City Hellcats hail from Oneonta, but are no strangers to Queens stages and they’ll be kicking off the music at 6:45 p.m. Sasha Dobson of Norah Jones’ band will be performing her own tunes starting at 7:45 p.m. Walker and The Brotherhood of the Grape will be performing some songs from Walker’s Q-South Days, his Kings Heartbeat reggae days and their own songs, starting at 8:45 p.m. Local original favorite Indaculture will kick off at 9:45 p.m. and Wine With Sue will be playing their classic party covers to end the night starting at 10:45 p.m. Kooly Chat will be handling the sound and BMWA of the Kings Heartbeat will also be stopping by for a special performance.
Throughout the show, QPTV will be filming the concert, in between interviewing those who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy in different ways. Hornung hopes that the follow-up documentary will be a good reminder to politicians and various agencies that Hurricane Sandy’s effects are still lingering. “I hope that people who haven’t gotten everything fixed already are able to get it fixed. We can’t all contribute financially but it seems like people got lost in the shuffle and lost in paperwork and if we can get bring them out of that by bringing attention to what still needs to be done, it could be a big help. I was fortunate to come back after a year, but there are people who are still not in their houses yet and it’s insane,” Hornung, of Howard Beach, said. “It feels like tragedies happen so frequently now and everyone moves on to the next thing, so if the people in South Queens don’t take of each other, then no one would. Politicians come in for photo ops, but if we film a TV show that brings light to what’s still going on and air it a few times, we might attract attention that will bring help to those that still need it. It’s embarrassing to see that this is still going on, and it seems like the most action is done when officials are embarrassed by something or it’s in their face. So hopefully something good comes from this.”
The South Queens Ball kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion at 209 Cross Bay Blvd. Admission is $20, which goes right back to the American Legion. A cash bar will be available. If you can’t make the show, RBBC Radio has you covered. They’ll be broadcasting the show live on www.RBBCRadio.com.
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