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Musical Festival to Take Place in Sunnyside This Sunday

The 49th Street Band rehearsing for Sunday’s Summer Jam (Photo: Facebook Summer Jam 2021)

July 8, 2021 By Ryan Songalia

A free music festival featuring members of rock bands Sonic Youth and The Modern Lovers will take place this Sunday in Sunnyside.

The event, called Summer Jam, will take place from 12:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Skillman Avenue and will feature several Queens-based artists performing music, comedy and dance exhibitions. The avenue—between 41st and 42nd Street—will be closed to traffic and locally-made films will also be screened.

Among the artists who will perform are Steve Shelley, drummer of the iconic alternative band Sonic Youth, Ernie Brooks the bassist with Modern Lovers, and David Nagler of the electronic pop group Nova Social. The trio will team up with Pete Galub, an underground art-rock musician, to perform as Tape Hiss at 3 p.m.

Comedian David Juskow, known for his appearances on TV shows like The Sarah Silverman Program and Dr. Katz, will emcee the event.

The event will conclude with a mini film festival, beginning at 8:45 p.m., which includes screenings of Junk Mail, Organic, Elucidation and Immigrant Island.

Memo Salazar, the event’s main organizer, said the idea of putting on the festival began after the city council passed the “Open Culture” program last year to promote public performances on closed streets.

“I was determined to use it to bring music to Sunnyside. Even if it was just our little band…it was too important not to do, after a year of being a hermit, of people dealing with anxiety, isolation,” says Salazar.

Salazar says that the Tape Hiss super group came to the festival through Brooks, a long-time Long Island City resident who Salazar knew through their work with the Western Queens Community Land Trust, a group that promotes affordable housing and commercial space for Queens residents.

“[Brooks] happens to have played bass on one of the greatest punk albums of all time, The Modern Lovers, which is just a crazy fun fact you’d never know if you met him,” Salazar said.

Salazar says he hopes to make the festival a regular event.

“The goal is really just to give this community a fun day after a long year and a half. And I do hope more people get involved with it so that this becomes a regular thing, and evolves and morphs but always stays true to its grassroots and community,” Salazar said.

 

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