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New performance space to open, offering improv classes and standup comedy


Sept. 10, 2014 By Michael Florio

A new performance center for adults is on its way to Astoria.

Q.E.D., located at 27-16 23rd Ave, will act as an ‘after school program for adults,’ offering open mics, poetry slams, comedy shows, tastings, heritage nights and a variety of classes, according to owner Kambri Crews.

The classes will consist of composting and gardening, which will be held in the backyard, language, writing workshops (such as memoir writing), stand-up comedy classes, as well as sketch and improv classes.

There will also be a paint & sip class, which consists of oil painting lessons and wine tasting. However, before Crews is able to offer that class, she needs to get her wine and beer license.

She says a lot of creative class ideas have been discussed, including pottery, henna tattoos and belly dancing.

“We are open to anything and everything,” Crews said. “We want to offer anything the community asks for.”

Crews has not yet determined how much the classes will cost but hopes to keep them affordable. Eight-week courses could cost up to $400, but the fee would cover the cost of materials. Each class would likely be an hour to 90 minutes.

There is no set class schedule yet, as Crews wants to remain flexible as she learns what the community wants. However, open mics will likely be every Sunday night, followed by a screening of shows such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.

Crews is in discussions with potential teachers, and says each class will be taught by an expert in a given field. She will teach a basic sign-language class for adults and toddlers herself, as well as a marketing/promotion class for artists.

Crews has spent the past two years on tour for a book she penned called “Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir,” which is about being raised by deaf parents.

She has experience in comedy, as she was the Director of Marketing and Publicity at the comedy club Comix, which was located in the Meat Packing District for four years. In the basement of that club she opened her own performance center called Ochi’s Lounge. When Comix closed, Ochi’s Lounge was forced to shut down as well, and Crews has wanted to open another location since then.

Her husband, Christian Finnegan, is a standup comedian and has appeared on Chappelle’s Show and Are We There Yet? He will be hosting a monthly comedy show.

Crews is targeting October 10th as an opening date, but says that might be too ambitious. While a stage has been constructed, she is still finishing the ceiling and has paint work to do.

She said she is also putting in a concession stand, which will sell coffee, soda, pastries and, when approved, beer and wine.

If the business is successful, she hopes to remodel the basement and turn it into a rehearsal center.

While she is unsure as to the hours, she said Q.E.D. will likely close at 10 pm during the week and midnight on weekends.

Crews came up with the name Q.E.D. since it is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase ‘quod erat demonstrandum’ which translates to, “that which was demonstrated.”

Crews is originally from Texas and has lived in Astoria for the past 14 years. She originally lived in the Ditmars area, and now lives in the Kaufman Arts District.

She says that the neighborhood is in need of a place like hers, since there is a lack of venues in Astoria where residents, including Crews and Finnegan, can go to practice their material or just perform.

“This is my neighborhood,” she said. “I wanted to open something unique that the community has a real need for.”

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