Bronx International Film Festival Returns Jan. 22-31!

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The 12th Bronx International Film Festival kicks off tomorrow featuring over 70 films made by both local and international filmmakers. Films made about the Bronx or by Bronxites include:

GRAFSTRACT: The Bronx Street Art Renaissance by Dan Perez. By enlisting the help of some of the world’s top street artists, J. “SinXero” Beltran has made it his mission to legally beautify the Bronx, the birthplace of graffiti, through his TAG Public Arts Project (The Art of Grafstract).
LIKE A BOSS by Bryan Christian. A foolishly heroic guy gets himself into fights against thugs to save innocent people but gets beat up until his ‘kick-ass’ girlfriend come to the rescue.
WRITE WITH ME…by Hannah Leshaw. A woman longs for a songwriting partner but, terrified of the vulnerability inherent in the act of creating, retreats into the safety of her mind.
AMERICAN BEATBOXER: THE DOCU-SERIES 1ST EPISODE by Manavaskar Kublall. From the creators of the award winning documentary American Beatboxer, currently being broadcast on Revolt TV, accepted into the NYU’s Hip Hop Education Center Archive upon its world premiere, the Harvard Hip Hop Archive, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives and most recently the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center Founders Library at Howard University, comes American Beatboxer the Docu-Series. This fresh, compelling, exciting and ground breaking series follows the lives of five beatboxers on their way the finals of the 6th American Beatbox Championships. The cast is ethnically diverse, the talent is phenomenal and the performance are amazing!

The films will be screened at Studio Theatre at Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd West.

A festival pass for admission to all screenings is only $30. Daily passes are $7. Visit http://bronxfilmfestival.com for film details, trailers and to purchase passes. Follow the festival on http://facebook.com/bronxfilm and http://twitter.com/bronxfilm.

BJ’s Riverdale Review & Giveaway!

Before we begin, maybe you’re like “BJ’s? Lisa, didn’t your last two posts talk about supporting small businesses and sticking it to the man?!” Yeah, totally. Absolutely. And you should definitely support all of our Bronx small businesses, but I do have a bone to pick with some of them, we’ll get to that in a second.

Because I spent the past couple of months seeking out small businesses and feeling very cheerleader-y for them, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when I was invited to tour the new BJ’s in Riverdale. A big box corporation? I don’t know about this. However, I’m happy to report that I was wrong.

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As someone who lives in an apartment alone, I thought getting a membership to a wholesale club was a waste of money and space. (Seriously, one of those 6 packs of paper towels lasts me forever.) It’s not that I never buy in bulk and certainly not that I don’t like saving money, but it’s bad enough that I take the bus almost 30 minutes from my house to Aldi so I can buy organic food at a reasonable price (and then drag it back on the bus in my cart.)

My biggest issue with the local bodegas and supermarkets near me in Bedford Park is the lack of affordable, healthy food. (I’m looking at you, Met on 198th!) Whether the price is jacked way up or the produce is going to go bad in a couple of days, it can be a difficult task to eat healthy here. The Norwood CSA saves me in the summer, but it can be a lot of food for one person and I don’t sign up for the winter share.

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This is where BJ’s won me over. They have a massive, open space dedicated to fresh produce, meats, and cheeses. I was happy to learn that they partner with local farms in their farm to club partnership and even happier to see that some of their prices even beat Aldi. They have a wide variety of produce as well including varieties of potatoes and greens. There are also plenty of non-bulk items that are super affordable, but won’t take up an extra closet in your apartment.

Other cool things I learned on the tour: of the 180 jobs the club has, about 75% of them went to Bronxites, BJ’s donates to local nonprofits when they open a new club, AND they accept manufacturer’s coupons. So, if I’m going tell you about a corporation, let it be one that hooks us up with some nice perks!

Though it’ll still be a bus ride over to BJ’s, at least I’ll be saving more money while I’m at it.

Plus, BJ’s has kindly decided to give one lucky reader a chance to check out the savings for themselves. Yes, it’s time for a giveaway! One of you will win a $50 gift card to BJ’s. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or like The Bronx Socialite on Facebook.
  2. Leave a brief comment on what you’d use your BJ’s gift card for. Each comment grants you one entry.
  3. Winner will be chosen Saturday, January 23, 2016!
  4. Good luck!

 

 


3rd Annual Gentrification Conference – Now What?

On a stormy Sunday, Bronxites from across the borough gathered at gathered at the New Settlement Community Center to discuss one of the biggest issues facing the Bronx today – gentrification *cue dramatic music.*  The conference kicked off with a preview of Vivian Vazquez’s documentary Decade of Fire, which takes a look at how the Bronx was abandoned during it greatest time of need, the string of arsons that engulfed the borough in the 70s.

The audience also got a chance to view the Bronx Photo League’s Jerome Avenue Worker’s Project, which profiled workers along the area of Jerome Avenue that would be impacted by the Jerome- Cromwell rezoning proposal. Many are immigrants scraping by as is and with the city’s plan to work with developers to introduce “affordable housing,” their future in the neighborhood is all but done for.

The last and certainly most lively part of the conference was the panel featuring Vivian Vasquez, photographer Rhynna Santos, HPD Commissioner Vicki Been, and CASA Tenant Leader Fitzroy Christian. Attendees called out Been on the city’s faulty affordable housing plans and offering up low income neighborhoods up to developers on a platter.

What most moved me was seeing how many people came out, even on such a crappy day, to show their concern for the Bronx and try to protect it from gentrification. It’s rare to see such solidarity here in NYC and it was really motivating. The real test now, is to see what actions we all take to really show that we’re serious.

Let’s not be armchair generals when it comes to potential (and in a sadly increasing rate for small businesses) displacement in the Bronx – we need to get our hands dirty and put in the work to back up our voices.

The Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision has monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month from 6-8 pm at New Settlement Community Center. Childcare and Spanish interpretation is available as is dinner, so spread the word to your friends, family, and neighbors.


What I Learned from Only Shopping at Local Bronx Businesses for the Holidays

Taking on the Bronx Holiday Shopping Challenge was just that, challenging. I travelled all over the borough and had to do a good deal of research, but overall I learned a lot. Specifically, that while shopping local can be a little stressful because many businesses do not have a strong online presence and much of your shopping is done by going there in person, I had really great conversations and interactions with local business owners. They even came with special touches, like free gift wrapping (far better than I could ever do!), discounts, and freebies.

It was a challenge to be open-minded and to sometimes think outside of the box if I couldn’t find exactly what I had in mind. Case in point, I wanted to find a nice terrycloth bathrobe for the fiancee, but apparently, we just don’t do those lol. We do flannel and super soft cotton, but, no, not terry cloth. So, I opted for accessories for his fancy camera. The robe will have to wait until his birthday next month. :)

Full List:

UFO Necklace, Zen Lunatic

Peppa Pig Beanie Babies with free key chain, Castle Hill Toys & Games

Burgundy Sweater, Adja’s Boutique

Coquito, Port Morris Distillery

Tirado Moonshine, Tirado Distillery via  Wine and Liquor Super Store (Side note: This place always has tastings, which is amazing!)

Two pairs of girls’ Pajama Pants, Brand Names for Less (which has the look and feel of a 99 cent store, which I wanted to avoid. BUT, they did have many brand name clothing items such as Vince Camuto, Calvin Klein, etc. Some items were priced as high as $80, so decidedly not a discount store in the traditional sense.)

Two pairs of earrings from Paper Crane Heart via Bronx Museum Holiday Market

The Last Puerto Rican Indian by Bobby Gonzalez, Bronx Museum Gift Shop

Tea kettle, Cee & Cee Department Store

Word Search book, Cee & Cee Department Store

The Big Snow and Other Stories Wave Hill Gift Shop (Signed up for my IDNYC membership while I was here. The staff was so wonderful and friendly. Plus, they were having a members only holiday sale with 20% off gift shop items!)

Conch earrings, Native Tec via Bronx Museum Holiday Market

NYC Taxi Driver Calendar via Bronx Museum Holiday Market (The perfect gag gift!)

Morris Perk Bronx blend coffee, Morris Perk via Bronx Museum Holiday Market

Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels, The Chocolate Place

 

 

 


Visual Poetry Art Exhibition TODAY 5- 10 pm

Visual Poetry Invitation


Bronx Holiday Shopping Challenge Update!

With less than a week until Christmas, I decided I’d post an update on some of the gifts I’ve bought during the Bronx Holiday Shopping Challenge. Of the 13 people on my list, I only need to get a present for ONE more person. *pats self on back*  After Christmas, I’ll post a full list of everywhere I’ve gone, but for now, I’ll just show you.

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The Art of Peace Dec. 17 6-10 pm

I ran into Lady K Fever this past weekend at the Bronx Museum’s Holiday market and she told me about a really great event happening tomorrow, Dec. 17 from 6- 10 pm. See below for details:

Artists for Peace BX Present: The Art of Peace

“Celebrating the Inaugural Artists for Peace Indoor Gallery: Honoring Peace December‘s 30 days of Peace featuring Artists that make art with, about, and for Peace. ”

Where: Al Iman Community Center, 2006 Westchester Ave.

For inquiries contact: Artists4peacebx@gmail.com


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