Announcing the Selected Animation Short Films for Crazy Talented Asians & Friends

Flushing Town Hall announces the films selected for the upcoming Asian Pacific American Heritage Month special event Crazy Talented Asians & Friends.  A screening of some of the selected films will begin at 6:00 PM EDT including a live panel discussion with seasoned professional animators and filmmakers. It will be followed by an hour of live stand-up and sketch comedy at 8:30 PM EDT with some of New York City’s premier Asian-American talent.

These selected animation shorts represent the top four percent among hundreds of submissions from around the world. Many of these artists are graduates from New York-based college animation programs such as Pratt Institute, School of Visual Arts and other U.S. programs at Cal Arts, Savana Arts Institute, and University of Southern California. These films were chosen for their superb art direction, storytelling, animation, production, and sound design. Ms. Hsiang Chin Moe is the Animation Lead Advisor, also the BFA Animation Chair at the School of Visual Arts. She is joined on the jury by seasoned professional artists Dominick Bedasse, Eric Kvatek, Melody Shih and Wendy Cong Zhao.

Besides the creative visuals and soundtrack, these films also share a diverse range of stories and experiences. Melt Down, a surreal and humorous story about a child who does not want to go outside and a world where people melt from stress by Amy Jingyi Xu; Boxed, about where ideas are born and the secret of inventions by Rasita Kartarahardja ; Latteship, about two otters working in a cramped coffee truck by Daishi Takishima and Flora Tsai. Lionverse, about a generational spirit that is being forgotten by Hayden Mok, to illustrate just a few.

“It is my extreme honor to celebrate APA Heritage Month with an amazing selection of animated films. Special thanks to all the filmmakers for sharing their stories with our audience and inviting us on a journey of imagination. Their talent is a true representation of how unique and creative Asian-American filmmakers are, and the celebration is expanded to all the Asian creators in the world.” said Hsiang Chin Moe.

“Flushing Town Hall is very proud to be sharing with the world these young, talented animators’ stories and their creative work.” said Ya Yun Teng, Flushing Town Hall’s Director of Chinese Initiatives. Our mission of supporting the global arts community is more critical than ever in this unprecedented global pandemic. I want to thank our dedicated staff and all the artists and esteemed jury for making this event possible through live streaming.”

We are incredibly pleased to present the full list of selected animation short films. Due to limited time, we will be able to show only some of the selected films at the 6:00 PM EDT May 30th event.

Event Screenings

“Balance,” Raymond Limantara

“Boxed,” Rasita Kartarahardja

“Do-ji-le,” Tzu-Hsin (Cindy) Yang

“Fish Fish Bish,” Christine Yan and Katherine Li

“Go! Go!,” Patradol “Dodo” Kitcharoen

“Godspeed,” Sunny Wai Yan Chan

“Latteship,” Daishi Takishima and Flora Tsai

“Lionverse,” Hayden Mok

“Melt Down,” Amy Jingyi Xu

“Moist” Chao Ming Lee

“Push,” Trilina Mai

“Sweet Dreams,” Chloe Tu and Tina Yuan Ting Chao


Also Selected 

“Another You,” Yira Qiao

“Candy,” Yin Xun

“Devil Fish,” Xintong Wang

“Filla’ Void,” Xinhui Ma

“Mt. Sundae,” Katharine Kow

“Murk,” Xuchen Wang

“Olive,” Doudou Liu

“Piece Forever,” Yi-Ting Chen

“Psyche,” Akimi Miyamoto

“Puppy Love,” I-Wen Chen

“Stand by You,” Hsiao Chien Hsu

“The Crane Lover,” Jinrou Zhang

“The Last Day of Summer,” Hsin Hsuan Yeh

“The Other Side,” Ching Chen



For more information about these films and the artists, please contact Ya Yun Teng, Director of Chinese Initiatives at


While all of Flushing Town Hall’s virtual programs are presented to audiences free of charge during the COVID-19 pandemic, viewers are invited to make a tax-deductible donation to the nonprofit, cultural institution’s Step Up for Flushing Town Hall campaign, which will help supplant the loss of earned revenue from ticket sales.

Step Up Soirée – A Virtual Gala on Saturday, June 13

The doors may be closed (for now!) but the world is still open at Flushing Town Hall. This June, the cultural gem will host the Step Up Soirée – A Virtual Gala, to raise funds while engaging and entertaining audiences – all from the comfort of their homes.

“Each year, Flushing Town Hall hosts its annual gala to raise funds to support our mission of bringing people together through global arts,” said Executive & Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek. “While the world has changed, our mission has not. This year is unlike any other, and so this year’s gala will be unlike any other we have held before – and free to watch. Though we must celebrate apart from each other, we still will come together virtually for a fun evening of song, of dance, and of community.”

As arts presenters citywide have temporarily closed their doors due to COVID-19, Flushing Town Hall has gone virtual, unveiling a series of innovative ways to engage audiences online through its free series, FTH at Home! and now through the gala.

This year’s re-envisioned event, the Step Up Soirée – A Virtual Gala, will be streamed on Saturday, June 13 at 7:00 pm, and will be open to the public on various online platforms. Attendees are invited to partake in this special event from home, dressed in a favorite gown, tux, or even pajamas (all festive attire is encouraged!).

Leading up to the Step Up Soirée, online audiences can enjoy a multi-day “Galathon” consisting of dance, cooking, and cocktail lessons:

  • DANCING | Wednesday, June 10 at 7:00 pm

Join Flushing Town Hall for a dance lesson. Move that coffee table and dust off your dancing shoes!

  • NIBBLES | Thursday, June 11 at 7:00 pm

Join Flushing Town Hall for a cooking lesson. Create hors d’oeuvres from what you have in your pantry!

  • COCKTAILS | Friday, June 12 at 7:00 pm

Join Flushing Town Hall for a cocktail mixology lesson. Prepare to toast Saturday’s Step Up Soirée!

  • STEP UP SOIRÉE | Saturday, June 13 at 7:00 pm

Flushing Town Hall’s virtual gala, the Step Up Soirée!

“We hope to bring our audiences – new and old friends – some enjoyment during these uncertain times,” Kodadek said. “Since our founding days, we’ve always served one of the most diverse communities in the world. All funds we raise will support the expenses for Flushing Town Hall to continue its mission of bringing people together by presenting arts and culture from around the world – now online. FTH at Home! brings Global Arts for a Global Community to new global audiences, and Global Arts for Global Kids to support children and families during this health crisis.”

There are multiple ways to sponsor the event, which you can discover here.

“We depend greatly on funds raised from the gala each year and invite you to support our efforts,” Kodadek said.


Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with Crazy Talented Asians & Friends

May marks Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and in a nod to its own neighborhood’s thriving and diverse Asian population, Flushing Town Hall will close the month with a celebratory presentation of artists on Saturday, May 30. Crazy Talented Asians & Friends will begin at 6:00 PM with an hour of animated short films and a live panel discussion with seasoned professional animators and filmmakers. An hour of live stand-up and sketch comedy follows at 8:30 PM with some of New York City’s premier Asian-American talent.          

The event’s first hour will feature exceptional animation shorts curated from the top four percent of several hundred submitted films, many from New York-based, college animation programs. They were selected for their superb art direction, storytelling, animation, production and sound design. The moving stories include a mother and son’s struggle to express their love, two painters battling over space to paint in their own style, and another on the ever-present stress of urban living. The selection committee was led by the event’s animation Lead Advisor Ms. Hsiang Chin Moe, BFA Animation Chair at the School of Visual Arts.

Moe is an active member of the global animation community, working with animation executives, recruiters and artists to foster talents all over the world. In addition to organizing and moderating an annual talent panel at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, she has made her own documentary, short and animated films that have screened in the United States and abroad, including Japan, Sweden, Taiwan, and Thailand.

“It is my extreme honor to celebrate APA Heritage Month with an amazing selection of animated films. Special thanks to all the filmmakers for sharing their stories with our audience and inviting us on a journey of imagination. Their talent is a true representation of how unique and creative Asian-American filmmakers are, and the celebration is expanded to all the Asian creators in the world.” says Hsiang Chin Moe.

The live comedy hour will be hosted by Otter Lee, featuring hilarious New York City-based comedians and comedy groups, including Michael Cruz Kayne, Dylan Adler, Nadia Iqbal, Srilatha Rajamani, Angel Yau and Overstep Comedy comedians Aarushi Agni, Jatin Chhugani, Jonathan Lu, Christian Luu, Andy Shartzer, Helen Shih and Migina Tsai.

Otter Lee is an actor, playwright, comedian, and voiceover artist born and raised in New York City. He produced and co-organized New York City’s First Asian Comedy Festival at the PIT in January 2020. His sketch, standup, and improv have appeared at such venues as the Upright Citizens Brigade, Face-Off Unlimited, Caveat, Union Hall, The Magnet, The Asian American Writer’s Workshop, and Buzzfeed. He co-founded Overstep Comedy which has performed sketch to sold-out venues in Manhattan. Their live performances cover a broad array of relatable Asian American experiences

In partnership with the non-profit Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, which has provided comprehensive primary medical care since 1971 with over 300,000 annual service visits, Overstep Comedy will perform a sketch on mental health to help de-stigmatize this important topic in Asian American communities, an even more pressing issue amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Cruz Kayne performs, writes, directs, and produces at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB) and recently made a televised appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Michael has also appeared in What I Did For Love, Baby Wants Candy, Improv Everywhere, Funny Or Die, and College Humor. He has written for Nickelodeon, Netflix, the Inner Circle event for Mayor de Blasio, Ben Stiller, Anthony Atamaniuk, Denis O’Hare, and others.

Dylan Adler is a comedian, actor, and musician based in New York City. He has performed musical comedy at the New York Comedy Festival and hosts musical comedy show “Baby Grand” at The Stand. He performs sketch on Maude Night at UCB on his team “Young Douglas” and co-hosts variety show Woke AF at UCB Subculture. He co-hosts Just Come every Tuesday at the Graham and performs musical improv on People’s Improv Theatre house team “Punch Funk” every Monday. He also cohosts queer mic “Snowflake Mic” at Club Cumming.

“This show highlights a bunch of super funny and super talented Asian-American comedians while celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and highlighting the importance of mental health. A two-for-one! Come see for yourself just how many talented and diverse voices are out there”, invites Andy Shartzer, a member of the Overstep Comedy Group.

“Flushing Town Hall has been a strong advocate of arts equity since 1979. We support local, immigrant, national, and international artists, developing partnerships and collaborations that enhance our efforts in supporting the global arts community,” says Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s Executive & Artistic Director. It is even more critical in this unprecedented global pandemic for the community to come together. I want to thank our dedicated staff for making this event possible through live streaming.”

Flushing Town Hall Announces New Lineup of Free, Virtual Programming for Month of May

As arts presenters citywide have temporarily closed their doors due to COVID-19, Flushing Town Hall has gone virtual, engaging audiences online through its free series, FTH at Home!, which successfully launched in April and continues with an all-new lineup in May. The series presents streamed concerts on Friday nights, arts education activities for children, and live gatherings for public participation — including a jazz jam and Zoom community hangs.

As May marks Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Flushing Town Hall is especially excited to present Crazy Talented Asians & Friends on May 30, which will feature an hour of animated shorts at 6:00 PM, followed by an hour of live comedy at 8:30 PM — including comedians Michael Kayne, Dylan Adler, Otter Lee and Overstep Comedy, and their friends.

While all FTH at Home! programming is presented free of charge, those who are able and moved to do so are encouraged to donate to the Step Up for Flushing Town Hall campaign, which will provide vital funding to supplant the staggering loss of earned revenue.

“If you have ever enjoyed a program at Flushing Town Hall or turned to the arts in times of joy or sadness, we ask you to please consider a tax-deductible gift today,” said Executive & Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek.

“We are committed to maintaining our beautiful and historic hall and to retaining our staff. We are acquiring new technology to facilitate remote work. We are paying our teaching artists to generate new content. But of course, these commitments all come at a cost, and we can no longer count on ticket sales during this pandemic. We must rely on the generous support of those who value our work.”

Flushing Town Hall’s Education team continues to provide support for schools and families by sharing arts content online through FTH at Home: Global Arts for Global Kids. Students from 14 NYC schools have enjoyed educational videos since March, with accompanying study guides on topics as diverse as the Queens community. Students can explore Colombian music with teaching artist Martin Vejarano, Chinese dance with teaching artist Ling Tang, Indian dance with teaching artist Abha Roy, and pop-up artwork with teaching artists Spica Wobbe and Karen Oughtred. In May, students can learn Mexican dance with teaching artist Alberto Lopez and African drumming with teaching artist Vado Diomande.

The popular video series has been warmly received in virtual school classrooms, as well as senior centers, and received over 2,500 YouTube views in April.

Each Friday at 7:00 PM, viewers can look forward to a live, FTH at Home: Facebook Watch Party!, which will stream prior shows at the venue. May will feature performances from: Korean drumming group Light & Beat; Latin Grammy-winner Gustavo Casenave and his quartet; Joe Kye and Jason Chu, whose show Migrants presents a hip hop story set to looping violins and percussive beats; Karrin Allyson and the Roberta Piket Sextet, who pay tribute to the jazz compositions of Marian McPartland; and a Korean, chamber music ensemble taking listeners on a journey from Bach to Piazzolla.

Finally, Flushing Town Hall will continue to host live, online gatherings for public participation:

The next Virtual Jazz Jam: Celebrating the Legacy of Louis Armstrong will take place on May 13 after its first-ever session online in April. Led by Carol Sudhalter, the traditionally in-person Jazz Jam is one of the organization’s most beloved, monthly gatherings. Flushing Town Hall is now inviting 20 jammers from anywhere in the world to register for participation, and audiences will be able to tune in and watch live from either Zoom or Facebook.

For friends of the organization and community members looking to connect, Flushing Town Hall will continue hosting a weekly Zoom Community Hang every Thursday at 1:00 PM that is open to all, as well as a dedicated hang on Fridays at 5:00 PM exclusively for artists in Queens.

May 2020 Schedule:


Global Arts for Global Kids

Teachers and families can access Flushing Town Hall’s growing archive of instructional arts videos with at-home activities for children here:



Zoom Community Hang

URL: or join by phone: (646) 558-8656

Meeting ID: 444 441 183


Zoom Hang for Queens artists

URL: or join by phone: (646) 558-8656

Meeting ID: 283 009 195



Live, Facebook Watch Parties

May 1: Light & Beat from Korea

May 8: Gustavo Casenave Quartet – A South American Jazz Tale

May 15: Joe Kye, Migrants

May 22: Roberta Piket Sextet featuring Karrin Allyson – Celebrating Marian McPartland

May 29: A Journey – Bach to Piazzolla



Virtual Jazz Jam: Celebrating the Legacy of Louis Armstrong

To watch live, tune in to Facebook or Zoom.

To participate, email and identify the 3- to 4-minute tune you intend to play.



Crazy Talented Asians & Friends: an evening of live comedy & animated shorts


Stay tuned to the organization’s website for more details, coming soon.

Flushing Town Hall’s facilities are temporarily closed to the public in accordance with COVID-19 safety regulations. Flushing Town Hall’s latest statement pertaining to COVID-19 can be found here. 

Flushing Town Hall greatly appreciates the supporters of our current campaign, Step Up for Flushing Town Hall, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we cannot list every donor, Flushing Town Hall is grateful for all gifts received and wishes to thank everyone for their ongoing generosity.

Crazy Talented Asians & Friends: An Evening of Live Comedy and Animation Shorts is sponsored by a generous anonymous donor. Flushing Town Hall thanks Charles B. Wang Community Health Center at Flushing New York for their support.

Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts dba Flushing Town Hall is a not for profit organization which receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mayor Bill de Blasio; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Council Members Adrienne Adams, Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Barry Grodenchik, Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz, Francisco Moya, and Paul A. Vallone; and the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, and the Booth Ferris Foundation.

Support for our programs is also provided by Acrobuffos/Seth Bloom & Christina Gelsone, Angela An, Robin Bell-Stevens, Viviana M. Benitez, Dongjiang Bi, Cathay Bank, Douglass Chan, Amy Mak Chan, Calvin W. Chan, Sharon Chen, Ginger Chinn, Dr. Hsing-Lih Chou/New York Institute of Culture and the Arts, Con Edison, Crossings TV, Exploring the Metropolis, Kuang-Yu Fong/Chinese Theatre Works, Barbara Garii, Matthew Goldner, Howard Graf & Kathy Donovan, Guru Krupa Foundation, Lily Han, Heather Harrison, Belinda Pilin Hsu, Alice & Steve Huang, Hung Pin Hung, Investors Foundation, Raymond D. Jasen, the Jim Henson Foundation, Ellen Kodadek, the Laura B. Vogler Foundation, Nelson Lee/Flushing Bank, Janet T. Leow, Anne Lewent, James S. Liao, Emily Lin Lin & Loveall Foundation, Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Frank Macchio, Materials for the Arts, William McClure/Queens College, Mets Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Jassy Z. Min, New York Chinese Chorus, Northwell Health, TeHsing Liu, Carlos Ortiz, Queens Art Education Center/Arthur Liu, Richard Quantaro, Queens Courier, Resorts World, Camillo Reyes, RuDance/Asian American Dance Sport Corp., Dominique Sellers, Helen Shieh, Richard Siu, Curtis Smith, Mike Sperendi & Jan Schneider, Taipei Cultural Center in New York, Michael Tang, Veronica Tsang, Tai & Tony Wang/Glow Foundation, Jay Wegman, Constance Wingate, Lucy Wong, Anna Wu, Minwen Yang, Hank Yeh, Sandy Yeh, Shane Yeh, and Angela Qi Zhang. 

We are extremely grateful to the anonymous donor who contributed a $40,000 challenge gift in honor of our 40th anniversary and inspired so much generosity in others.

 About Flushing Town Hall

Flushing Town Hall (FTH), a Smithsonian affiliate, presents multi-disciplinary global arts that engage and educate the global communities of Queens and New York City, in order to foster mutual appreciation.  As advocates of arts equity since 1979, we support local, immigrant, national, and international artists, developing partnerships and collaborations that enhance our efforts.  As a member of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), we serve to restore, manage and program the historic 1862 landmark on behalf of the City of New York. FTH celebrates the history of Queens as the home of Jazz, by presenting the finest in Jazz performance.  We are committed to arts education and hands-on learning, for the arts-curious, arts enthusiasts, and professional artists.  We serve one of the most diverse communities in the world and strive to uphold the legacy of inclusiveness that has defined our community since the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657.

For more information:

(718) 463-7700 x222

137-35 Northern Blvd. Flushing, NY 11354



Experience a Dialogue between Konghou & Kugo by Masatora Goya

On Sunday, May 24, Composer Masatora Goya will present a new duo piece for konghou and kugo, ancient Asian harps with the same roots as the culmination of his Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composers Residency at Flushing Town Hall. Recently revived once-extinct harps, konghou (China) and kugo (Japan), will meet once again in New York City to find a new story.

The event is free, but with RSVPs. The event starts at 1:30 PM.

We talked with Masatora Goya about what’s in store.

Tell us about your background.

I was born in Malaysia and grew up in Japan. I loved singing and played rugby through my teenage years. I majored in sociology and started performing in musicals and bands while in college. Initially, I came to the US to study and pursue a career in musical theater both as an actor and writer, but while pursuing music degrees, one thing led to another and eventually the composition in a broader context has become my main focus.

Why did you pursue this career path?

I was a kind of kid always daydreaming, talking in my head and playing imaginary movies in the back of my mind. I always wanted to create something and express my imaginary world. However, I am extremely clumsy and never was good at playing instruments at all. I sang well, but my parents kept discouraging me all the time so that I never thought I was capable of creating anything. In my later 20’s I felt I really needed to write something and wrote a song. It took me another 10 years to become a composer, but I just felt I couldn’t live without giving shape to my imagination.

At your performance, what will audience members experience?

I am presenting a duo piece for two Oriental harps that went extinct once in history. They share the same roots, but China and Japan revived them in different shapes, which I felt very intriguing. When I write music, I always have this imaginary cinema and a certain kind of emotional quality that I try to convey (which I am figuring out so hard right now!). I am hoping that the audience can feel the emotional journey of the two harps and relate to it. 

What audience members will your presentation appeal to?

Given the nature of instruments, Asian people may show an interest in this, but it should appeal to any music-loving people.

What do you want people to take away (learn, discover…) from your presentation?

The combination of these two types of harps, konghou and kugo, would be the first and only of its kind. I hope people can witness the process of this wild challenge.

Is this your first time presenting at Flushing Town Hall? What does Flushing Town Hall mean to you?


I have attended a few performances at Flushing Town Hall before as an audience member. This venue has become my favorite workspace through the Exploring the Metropolis ConEdison Composers Residency program. It is a very unique gathering place in the heart of a very Asian area of New York City. Every time I come here, I feel like traveling to a foreign Asian city, which has been the main inspiration for my duo piece.

Flushing Town Hall’s statement regarding the coronavirus

(March 12, 2020) – Bringing people together and supporting one another have been an essential part of Flushing Town Hall’s organizational culture since our founding days. We are grateful for the support of our community, and audiences of all ages who come to us seeking new and exciting experiences.

We always want to ensure that we provide a welcoming and safe environment. So in recent weeks, we’ve watched with concern as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has reached our country, and, our city.

Out of an abundance of caution and given recent developments – large event cancellations, and recommendations from officials to socially isolate from others – we have decided to postpone this weekend’s two events, Global Mashup 2: Hungary meets Ghana on Saturday and The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Sunday. We do plan to bring them back to Flushing Town Hall at a later date.

If you purchased a ticket to an event that has been postponed, we will honor that ticket when the event is rescheduled, or you may request a refund by contacting our box office. We also ask you to consider converting the ticket to a tax-deductible donation, which would be greatly appreciated at this time.

We continue to actively monitor the latest information from public health officials regarding the coronavirus and are following their recommended guidelines. The city has not shut down, though officials have offered direction on how to take preventive measures.

At Flushing Town Hall, we encourage our audiences, artists, staff, and volunteers to follow the widely reported hygiene practices, taking necessary precautions to prevent community spread. That can be as simple as:

  • practicing good hygiene in public;
  • covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with a tissue (then throwing out the tissue);
  • using hand sanitizer;
  • avoiding touching your face, eyes, and mouth;
  • washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; and,
  • if you are sick, stay home and call a doctor to seek medical assistance.

These are some of the easiest and best ways to avoid the spread of infectious disease.

Visit here to access the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s Coronavirus prevention recommendations:

We recognize that there is heightened concern about the reach of this virus, particularly given the endless news cycle. This is an uncertain time for everyone, and we will continue to make decisions informed by the information we have and the guidance of public health officials.

We are following guidance from city, state, and federal agencies, especially the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, which is working closely with cultural institutions on public land such as Flushing Town Hall. We proactively increased and intensified our already thorough cleaning routines and will continue to do so.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will adapt our protocols as directed to keep Flushing Town Hall as safe as possible for all who come through our doors. Flushing Town Hall is exploring postponing dates for all upcoming events currently scheduled through March 31st.  This is a very time consuming and challenging process, and we ask for your patience during this difficult time.  We urge you to check our website,, for updates.

It’s important to us as an institution that we do our part, because we care about our community, and the future of our city.

Ellen Kodadek

Executive and Artistic Director

Flushing Town Hall

Global Mashups is Featured on WNYC!

In keeping with its mission to present global music to a global community, Flushing Town Hall’s popular series of Global Mashups has returned in 2020 for its seventh season, bringing together a truly international array of artists in concert and collaboration. The series kicked off on February 29 with its first concert, Klezmer meets Venezuela, and will next present Hungary meets Ghana this Saturday, March 14, the second of five concerts presenting through May.
Sami Abu Shumays, Flushing Town Hall’s deputy director and one of the series’ organizers, sat down with WNYC radio host John Schaefer to discuss the inspiration for this beloved series. He was joined by klezmer trumpeter Frank London who participated last year and Martin Vejarano, whose Cumbia River Band will perform this April in Colombia meets the Philippines.
You can listen to the full show by clicking on the video below!

Jazz Vocalist Akua Allrich Pays Tribute to Powerwomen Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba on March 28, 2020 at

On March 28, in honor of Women’s History Month,  jazz vocalist Akua Allrich will deliver a soul-stirring tribute to powerhouse musician-activists Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba at Flushing Town Hall.

As a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Jazz Touring Network Artist, Allrich exudes extraordinary talent and crowd-moving passion. With finesse and charisma, the vocalist, composer, and teacher has successfully etched out a place for her unique musical expression, electrifying audiences with sold-out performances.

At Flushing Town Hall on March 28, Allrich will lead a sizzling hot band in renditions of beloved classic songs made famous by Simone and Makeba. Tickets for Allrich’s 8 PM performance are $18 for non-members, $12 for members and students, and available at or by calling the box office at (718) 463-7700 x222.

“These two were mainstays in my development as a child. My parents came out of the civil rights movement, and Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba were artists who made music based on freedom and self-expression, and particularly African expression,” says Akua Allrich, “I am thrilled to perform my tribute to these two great women during Women’s History Month at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, the most diverse place on earth.”

Allrich is the child of a musical familyher father, Agyei Akoto, was a founding member of the jazz group, Nation, and recorded two albums during her youth. Her style is fluid and ever evolving, and her musical roots run deeply into soul and rhythm and blues, with a clear grounding in jazz and pan-African music. She sings in many languages, including Portuguese, French, Spanish, English, Xhosa, and Tw, and has inspired music lovers from all walks on an international scale. Akua offers an artistry that she aptly—and perhaps playfully—summarizes as “Jazz + Neo Afro-Soul-Blues-reggae-funk-rock-folk music.” 

The innovative sound of her albums, A Peace of Mine, Uniquely Standard, Akua Allrich Live!, and her latest album, Soul Singer, has earned the young artist’s music and performances international acclaim. Given her ability to capture the essence of a broad range of musical genres, Allrich is often likened to legendary artists such as Makeba and Simone.

You can experience a taste of what’s to come at Flushing Town Hall by watching this video.

Teens can attend the concert for free: in 2020, Flushing Town Hall is continuing to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) are welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available. More information is available at

Hungary meets Ghana at Flushing Town Hall’s Second Global Mashup Concert of 2020

On Saturday, March 14, the Hungarian folk band Életfa will join the Ghanaian Kotoko Brass on stage at Flushing Town Hall for the second concert of the venue’s five-part Global Mashups series.

Beloved by world music fans, this is the seventh season for the popular series in which Flushing Town Hall mashes up two cultures on stage with an open dance floor. Each concert features a pre-show dance lesson. Audiences then enjoy a separate set from two different musical ensembles who then collaborate in a grand finale jam session. At Hungary meets Ghana, audiences can look forward to highly energetic and danceable beats.

Inspired by the traditional drum rhythms of Ghana, Kotoko Brass performs a joyful, improvisational style of West African dance music described by The Boston Globe as “propulsive, infectious party music.”

The band was founded by Massachusetts-based brothers Ben Paulding, a performer and scholar of Ghanaian drumming, and Brian Paulding, a longtime trombone player in Boston’s reggae scene. They joined forces with Kwame Ofori and Attah Poku, both master percussionists from Ghana, and rounded out their rhythm and horn sections with M’Talewa Thomas of Antigua on the bass, Yusaku Yoshimura of Japan on keyboard, and Andrew Fogliano of Connecticut on the saxophone.

“At its core, our music is a celebration of tradition, diversity, and unity,” say the band’s leaders.

Joining them on stage will be Életfa, the beloved house band of the Hungarian community living in New York and New Jersey. Originally founded in 1987 by the children of Hungarian immigrants, it is now comprised of both Hungarian and first-generation Hungarian-American musicians dedicated to spreading the joy of authentic, Hungarian folk music, song, and dance.

From Életfa audiences will experience the familiar sounds of the violin, bass, and accordion, as well as discover the traditional folk music sounds of the kontra (a three-stringed Hungarian viola), the gardon (a Hungarian cello), and a woodwind instrument known as the tárogató.

“Our vision for Global Mashups was inspired by this city,” says Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “When you think about New York City, on an everyday basis you have people of all different cultural backgrounds who live together and work together. So we thought that it would be fun to bring artists of different backgrounds together in performance. And it really has been great fun. That’s why we bring the series back each year with a new lineup.”

Concert goers are invited to arrive early for a 7:15 PM dance lesson before each 8:00 PM concert to learn the traditional steps of the countries presenting music that evening.

Hungary meets Ghana concert goers are also invited to attend a 4:00 PM panel discussion led by Society for Ethical Culture leader and historian Jone Johnson Lewis that will explore the connections between the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and New York’s feminist Seneca Falls convention of that same year.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available. More information is available at

In 2020, Flushing Town Hall will continue to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.