May 4th & 5th was the 5th annual Bronx Heroes Comic Con. If you remember, director Ray Felix was featured on the first edition of The Spotlight. The event featured screenings, talks, and workshops from a variety of comic book artists and authors. There were also tables featuring the likes of Mindy Indy, the Dodgeball Teens, J.M. DeSantis, and Moonbase Comics. I saw the tail end of Vanessa Verduga’s screening/discussion of her webseries Justice Woman, which was super cool.
I can’t claim to know a whole lot about comics of the comic book industry (I read a few Archie comics when I was young if that counts for anything!), but it was really cool to see this sort of subculture at work. It actually got me thinking about learning animation for some of my short stories.
From Public Prep Network:
Whoopi Goldberg To Be Honored at Public Prep Namesake Luncheon
WHAT: Third Annual Public Prep Network’s Namesake Luncheon Honors Award Winning Actress and Comedian, Whoopi Goldberg for her commitment to inspiring young women and her work as an education advocate
DATE: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
HOST: Public Prep Network, a non-profit that currently operates three
tuition-free, all-girls schools in the Lower East Side and the Bronx
CORPORATE Barclays Financial Services will be honored for their continuous
LOCATION: The Metropolitan Club
1 E 60th St.
New York, NY 10022
TIME: Reception 12:30 PM
Program 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
SPEAKERS: Whoopi Goldberg, Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-Winning Actress and Co-host of ABC’s The View
Ros Stephenson, Barclays Head of Corporate Finance and M&A at Barclays
Ian V. Rowe, CEO of Public Prep Network
THEME: The importance of early education in ensuring academic and life-long success for young women and the Public Prep Network’s role in making this happen in New York City
IN ATTENDANCE: Emma Bloomberg, Molly Jong-Fast, Bryan R. Lawrence, Coralie Charriol Paul, Michal Katz, Lauren Reiss Frank, Celerie Kemble and R. Boykin Curry IV, Brett Heyman, Beth Kojima, and Lisa Blau.
Last night, WNYC and WQXR sponsored the fourth annual Battle of the Boroughs competition at The Greene Space. To sum it up, Battle of the Boroughs gathers the best of the best from each borough and audience members (and the public) get to vote for who they’d like to represent their borough at the Ultimate Battle in June.
The musicians representing the Bronx were: Blue Meadow, Corky Has a Band, I am B 13, Yurby, Al-Lisha Burns, Bill Santen, Flow Freequan, Captains of Industry, Tee Dot Ohh and Liya Marie, Emily Angell, marie-claire, and Tyrone-Birkett/Emancipation.
The event was hosted by Terrance McKnight and the night’s commentators were
Though I’d love to give you a full review on each and every act (they were all really great. I’m excited to find out the finalists on Monday!), I don’t think you’re in the mood to read some long tome on the internet. Below are the groups that stood out to me the most:
Blue Meadow was the first group to perform. They began slowly coming to life as each member began to play his instrument. By coming to life, I mean that they were literally slumped over before and sprang up when one of their band members gestured to them. One of the coolest things I noticed about the band is that all of the members sing. The drummer was actually the first person to begin singing, so that was pretty awesome. They have a smooth, rhythmic rock thing going out, kind of like Maroon 5, but with a little more soulfulness. I could definitely see me buying their music.
Corky Has a Band
While live tweeting the battle, I said, “Corky Has a Band Just Did Unimaginable Things to a Piano Just Now” and I was not lying. Described as hyper-vaudevillian, their music is as surprising as it is carefully orchestrated. The duo incorporates the entire instrument into their performance in a purposeful discordant harmony. And there was a kazoo. Who can play a kazoo and make it work in 2013? Probably only Sergeant Whiskers and Professor Tickles.
I am B 13
He had me when he said, ” This is dedicated to the rappers who rapped about nonsense.” YES. Commentator Helga Davis (love her) said it perfectly after I am B 13′s performance when she said, “I can tell you read.” Educated rap is a beautiful thing. It’s so refreshing to hear multisyllabic words in a rap song. He said ‘pantomime,’ you guys. Plus, there’s just something really endearing about a rapper with braces who says lines like, ” If you got a problem with me, go to a mathematician.”
Captains of Industry
Captains of Industry utilized a recording someone had made on a seemingly ordinary day in Germany. or Austria. The base of their completely improvised performance was a soundtrack of cars honking, dogs barking, and people walking. The drummer used some sort of plastic tubes instead of drum sticks, which was very cool because you could hear the sound echoing through them. It kind of reminded me of Australian dj group, The Avalanches.
Check out some photos of the other musicians:
Have I ever mentioned how much I love the Bronx Culture Trolley? In addition to learning something new and amazing about the Bronx every time I’m on board, the looks people in the neighborhood give this vintage trolley rolling the South Bronx are just priceless.
Saturday, the Bronx Music Heritage Center hosted its Black History month celebration consisting of a trolley tour of historic music locations in the Bronx, an artisan market, a presentation by February’s subject of The Spotlight, Morgan Powell, and a performance by Malang Jobarteh.
The trolley tour was led by Dr. Mark Naison (a.k.a. Notorious Ph.D), an African American studies professor at Fordham who has also studied the musical history of the borough. It included stops such as the Big Pun mural, unofficial block party hub P.S. 99, and Maxine Sullivan’s house. The trolley moseyed along to an energetic soundtrack featuring songs from Elmo Hope to Tito Puente to Luther Vandross and Aventura.
The Bronx was once home to many famous jazz clubs such as Hunts Point Palace and the Blue Morocco. People, myself included, tend to know a bit more about the Bronx’s hip hop roots, but would be surprised to learn about the borough’s rich jazz history.
Dr. Naison attributed the borough’s astounding music history to the shared cultural interactions in the borough. ” People [referring to the rest of the U.S] can look to the Bronx to see how people can live together,” he said, noting that creativity can bloom in what may seem like the least likely of places.
As mentioned above, the trolley tour ended back at the BHMC lab where local businesses Natures’s Garden Beauty Supply, ECWM African Market, Island Lunch Box, and Crusticks sold food and a variety of wares.
Mogan Powell treated the audience to a glimpse into the Bronx River’s history and those who have fought to protect the Bronx’s environment and overall health.
To round out the event, Gambian musician Malang Jobarteh performed a collection of melodic tunes on this very unique-looking instrument called a kora (Seriously. Look it up. I want one in my house just so I can look at it.)
BMHC has a bunch of other really awesome events lined up, so make sure you check their website to keep tabs on them.
P.S. The Wall Street Journal did a very nice write up of the trolley tour, which features a video that is worth checking out. (I am in the background looking cute.)
I’m seriously backlogged with my posting, so there will be lots of activity in the next week or so of me trying to catch up!
On the 18th, I visited a preview of the Bronx Beer Hall at a pop up beer garden at the Valentine-Varian House. The thing is, I’m not a beer drinker. So, unfortunately, I can’t give any insight into the quality or taste of any of the Jonas Bronck’s varieties. You’ll have to see for yourself.
Sponsored by from the Bronx and Little Italy staple Mike’s Deli, the event featured a live jazz band in addition to serving up cold beer and to my surprise Bronx Pop. I wasn’t even sure if they were still making any since the last time I had checked online everything was sold out or out stock. So, my friend and I opted for a Lime Rickery and Black Cherry.
I was in the throes of a serious cold, but it was nice to be out of the house relaxing outdoors. Plus, I’d never been to the Valentine-Varian House before, and you guys know I’m a closeted history nerd, so it was cool to be able to check out the exhibits.
I’ll be sure to post when the Bronx Beer Hall opens this summer.
This past Wednesday, The Networks , a site that helps connect professionals for networking opportunities both on and offline, hosted a mixer at Babalu Restaurant on East Tremont. In addition to seeing some familiar faces and meeting people I knew from the Twitterverse, I was able to meet new people as well, including Elba Henriquez of Tootsiez Mobile Salon, Tammy of Fashion Glam Life, and Diva of Nail Me Design.
What was great about this event is that it didn’t have those awkward moments other networking events have where it seems like everyone already knows each other or seem generally unapproachable. I think the ambiance definitely helped with that, too. My photos below definitely don’t do it justice. The bar sweeps across in a large semi-circle with dimmed lights setting the mood throughout the restaurant. My favorite feature was the open seating area which allowed for a nice breeze on a (finally!) nonhumid evening. Plus, who doesn’t love outdoor dining? Unfortunately, I’m battling a cold, so I didn’t get to sample any of the cocktails, though they looked amazing. I know I’ll be back soon, though!
Ah, this post is a little late, but bear with me, it’s been a crazy week (and it’s only Tuesday!)
Friday, I finally made it to the Bronx Documentary Center for the opening reception of Ana Brigida’s How the Other Half (Still) Lives: Bloomberg’s Legacy. The photographs depict residents living in deplorable, toxic conditions in NYC’s public housing complexes.
And I don’t mean the piss in the hallway, freakishly large rats racing each other type of situation (although, that’s horrible as well). This exhibit captures the city’s repeatedly failed attempts to rid apartments of mold, install doors where they should be in the first place, leaking ceilings ready to cave in type mess. The great thing about this exhibit is that there were also copies of the NYCHA complaint forms that the residents filled out. It’s one thing to just stand and look at pictures of these horrible conditions but it’s an entirely different beast to see the sheer volume of complaints and the way that NYCHA has gone about repairing some of these damages. You don’t need to be a professional model removal contractor (yeah, apparently that’s an actual job title) to know that painting over mold will not only fail to work or fix the problem, but it just makes the situation worse. These residents have developed serious respiratory ailments that didn’t exist prior to them moving into the complexes.
Alas, luckily they do have groups advocating for them, such as South Bronx Churches, which sponsored the event.
To see for yourself (which you should), the exhibit is on display until this Friday.
We’ve got to do better. There’s no excuse for this.
Last night, was the extremely successful opening reception of No Longer Empty’s This Side of Paradise at the Andrew Freedman Home. I can’t even express how much I loved this event. From the flappers and dapper gentlemen ready for the speakeasy fundraiser to the wide variety of exhibits, there was something for everyone. And I really mean everyone, the place was packed! It was cool to see so many people in the Bronx for an art event like this (though, as you’ll see below there’s a Post-It note someone left on a mirror. I’m inclined to agree.) For a little background info on what’s going on, check out my post about the Andrew Freedman Home’s makeover.
I took a ton of pictures (the longest slideshow on the blog to date!), look closely and you may see a piece that made an appearance from my visit to Linda Cunningham’s studio a couple of weeks ago.
Plus, I got to hang out with Adrien Brody.*
*This is a lie. I did not hang out with Adrien Brody. I stood a few feet away from him and smiled awkwardly.
Nice to be back after a slow blogging week. What do you guys know about the Andrew Freedman home over on the Grand Concourse? The West Side is like another world! Luckily, the Bronx Bohemian has a really great write up from ’09 that sums up its history nicely.
In short, Freedman was a wealthy man during the early 20th century who helped fund the first subway line. He enjoyed the finer things in life, as a true socialite would (I can totally relate), such as wine, theater, music, and art. In his will, he dedicated some of his money to a place that would house and assist elderly citizens who loved the arts like himself. The money ran out in the ’80s and then the Mid Bronx Senior Citizens Council took over. They still use part of the building, but now there are new plans to use other parts of the building for a variety of activities. (Yay!)
The nonprofit, No Longer Empty has a dance performance event called Dance Here coming up on 4/28 as well as cooking demonstrations during ‘What’s Cooking in the Bronx’ weekend beginning 4/21. They have a lot of other things going on to, so it’s worth it to check out their website.
And, according to The Tourist Traps, there are also plans to turn part of it into a bed and breakfast. Interesting.
The Work Office is an art project at the Bronx River Art Center that mimicks the Work Progress Administration of the Great Depression by giving artists projects to work and paying them the Depression-era wage of $23.50. The projects include tasks such as: build a bridge, make a mixed CD, and give a concert for your plant. There’s a pay day party at then end of each week where the artists receive their paycheck and invite the public to check out their work. My favorite piece was Moira Williams’ Bronx Tarot Cards project.