A Day at the Opera

Until Saturday, I’d never been to an opera. It was something I always thought I should do eventually, but made no real effort to go. So when I learned that the Metropolitan Opera Summer Series was happening in Williambridge Oval Park as part of SummerStage, I knew I had to check it out. Plus, it was the first time that they’ve ever performed in this park, which is pretty cool.

We’ve all seen some kind of opera on tv at some point in our lives (I am specifically thinking of this episode of Hey Arnold) but let me tell you that seeing it in person is something totally different.

Performing a variety of songs from Verdi, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner (among others!)  Gabriella Reyes de Ramirez (soprano), Gerard Schneider (tenor), and Adrian Timpau (baritone)  did such an amazing job conveying the passion and conviction of each song that it didn’t matter that I didn’t actually understand what they were saying. It’s really moving and captivating, not to mention that their vocal abilities are insane.

While this was their only show in the Bronx, they have two more shows coming up in Jackie Robinson Park in Manhattan and Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. I highly recommend checking it out if you can.

 

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Sixth Annual Bronx Book Fair – May 5, 11 am-7 pm

Mark your calendars – the sixth annual Bronx Book Fair is this Saturday, May 5 from 11AM- 7PM. Keep reading for more info:

This year’s fair will be keynoted by Noelle Santos, founder of The Lit Bar, the only bookstore in the Bronx.

The Bronx Book Fair is the borough’s premiere literary event and features a variety of diverse literary voices. This year the fair will welcome special guests poets Willie Perdomo and Sokunthary Svay, children’s book author Tiffany Papageorge, Dawn Aldrich, MD, author Annette Libeskind Berkovits, romance novelists Rebecca Brooks and Eartha Hicks Watts, storyteller, Thelma Ruffin Thomas, poet Carmen D. Lucca, author and poet Edward Currelley, readings, workshops, and panels. There will be special programs for children and families. National Writers Union and Book vendors will also be available.

All Bronx Book Fair activities are free of charge and open to the public. The full fair schedule can be found at bronxbookfair.com.

“We are excited to once again bring the Bronx Book Fair to our literary community,” said Michael Alvarez, Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries at The New York Public Library. “And this year, having Noelle Santos keynote, highlights the importance of turning a passion for literature into entrepreneurial opportunities to serve your community. Noelle is the perfect speaker to inspire participants in this year’s fair.”

“This year Bronx Book Fair activities will not only address the cultural and educational interests of the Bronx, but health issues as well,”  said Lorraine Currelley, Bronx Book Fair Executive Director. “We have a panel of health professionals, who will address issues such as mental health, obesity, hypertension, diabetes and asthma. We must avail ourselves of all opportunities to share information that can potentially save lives. The Bronx Book Fair will continue to work to create and implement programming, to enhance the literary and artistic experiences for community residents, toprovide opportunities for the Bronx literary community of poets and writers and advocate for reading and literacy.”

The Bronx Book Fair is sponsored by the New York Public Library, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Citizens Committee of New York City, the Poets Network & Exchange, Inc., Lehman College, Bronx Community College, Literary Freedom Project and Malcolm Entertainment, and through public funds from the New York State Department of Cultural Affairs.

AUDITORIUM

11:15 – 11:25 AM
Welcome – Jean Harripersaud, Bronx Library Center & Lorraine Currelley,
Bronx Book Fair

11:25 – 12:10 PM
Bilingual Reading & Book Launch
of My Yellow Balloon by Tiffany Papageorge.

12:20 – 1:00 PM
How to Get  Your Work Published
Carolyn Butts, Editor/Publisher, African Voices Magazine, Steve Bloom, writer. and Jennifer Bakercreator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and contributing editor for Electric Literature. Moderator: Gary Johnston, Publisher, Blind Beggar Press and poet

1:10 – 1:50 PM
Our Health: A Community Forum
Medical professionals and writers discuss health and self-care issues in underserved communities of color, the causes and how can we save our lives?
Dawn Aldrich, MD (Authority on cancer, obesity, diabetes & sickle cell anemia) Radhiyah Ayobami, MFA writes and workshops with pregnant teens and
Lorraine Currelley, MS MHC, Executive Director, Mental Health & Healthy Aging.

2:00 – 2:30 PM
Keynote Speaker –  Noëlle Santos, owner The Lit Bar: the only bookstore (and wine bar) in her native Bronx, New York. Member of the American Booksellers Association Advisory Council.
Introduction: Lorraine Currelley, Executive Director Bronx Book Fair.

NoelleSantos

2:40 – 3:10 PM
Librarian Panel – What to Read Next
Bronx Library Center Librarians: Elvira Ramos Paralles – Adult Librarian,
Elisa Garcia – Teen Librarian, Deborah Allman – Children’s Librarian
Moderator: Jean Harripersaud, Managing Librarian

3:20 PM
Featured Poet: Sokunthary Svay
author of Apsara in New York and the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association, Board President

3:45 – 4:25 PM
Silver: The Next Chapter-Sustaining a Career
Author/Poet/Multimedia Artist, Edward D. Currelley, Poet Carmen D. Lucca
and Thelma R. Thomas, Storyteller and Artistic Director Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers. Moderator: Poet Americo Casiano

4:35 – 5:15 PM
Women in Leadership: Arts, Activism & Social Responsibility
This panel will discuss stereotypical narratives of women in leadership & our responsibility as women to redefine and create empowering new paradigms.
Yolanda Rodriguez, Co-founder and Executive Director, BxArts Factory; Dairanys Grullon-Virgil, Co-founder, Mi Gente Latinx and Sister Circle Collective; and Poet
and Author Mercy Tullis-Bukhari. Moderator: Lorraine Currelley, Executive Director Poets Network & Exchange and Bronx Book Fair

5:15 – 5:45 PM
Protecting Your Literary Work
National Writers’ Union members Zigi Lowenberg, Stephanie Rogers, and Raymond Nat Turner.

5:45 PM
Featured Poet Willie Perdomo,
author of The Essential History of Shorty Bon BonSmoking Lovely, and Where
a Nickel Costs a Dime.

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6:15 – 6:45 PM
Project X Performers (Youth Slam Poets)
Noel Quinones, Rebecca Rivera, Danyeli Rodriguez Del Orbe, and Gabriele Guajardo (Gigi Bella) & Alejandro Heredia. Facilitator: Peggy Robles-Alvarado

Rebecca Rivera


CONFERENCE ROOM

1:10 – 1:50 PM
From Start to Finish: Picking and Finishing the Writing Project You Want to Submit this Year
An interactive writing workshop meant to help writers decide how to narrow down their choices so they can finish and submit something in 2018! Will include in class writing prompts, planning guides, samples of projects and their path to publication, and handouts on viable new markets for starting writers.
Facilitator: Melissa Coss Aquino

2:30 – 3:10 PM
The Use of Photography in Writing
Facilitator:  John Maney

3:15 – 3:45 PM
Talking Romance: A Conversation with Rebecca Brooks and Eartha Watts Hicks
Romance writers Rebecca Brooks and Eartha Watts Hicks explore and discuss the multi-layered genre of romance writing.

4:00 – 4:40 PM
Thousand Worlds: Multidisciplinary Approach to Creative Writing
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words but when you want to effectively create a multidimensional world with words in print, you need to develop a multidisciplinary skill set to challenge the notion of literature as a two-dimensional medium because art should always aspire to be larger than life. Facilitator: Orlando Ferrand

4:50 -5:30 PM
Fiction Presentation
Alcy Leya, author of “And Then There Were Crows” (published by Black Spot books) will be released on July 3rd and is the first in the Shades of Hell series.

Children’s Story Hour Room
Children’s Storytelling/Craft
Led by Bronx Library Center librarians


MAIN FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM

12:40 – 2:00 PM
Literary Speed Coaching
Poets and writers: need assistance with writing or performance? Perhaps you have some ideas you need assistance with? Consult with one of our literary speed coaches: Radhiyah Ayobami, Mercy Tullis-Bukhari, Edward Currelley, and Aisha Sidibe.  Time Manager: Oscar Sanders

REGISTRATION OPEN NOW & ENDS MAY 4th, 2018!Click on link for details.
https://bronxbookfair.com/speed-coaching-sessions/

 

Photos courtesy of the Bronx Book Fair 🙂

The Art of TATS CRU Opening This Week at BronxArtSpace

Internationally renowned graffiti artists, TATS CRU, will be the subject of a new exhibit at  BronxArtSpace. It’ll kick off with a block party this Saturday, June 3rd and an artist talk and documentary screening on June 22nd.

From BXNYCreative:

The Art of TATS CRU will show a representation of past projects through photographs and videos produced by Miguel Teck Arteaga. There will be works on canvas by NICER, BIO, and BG183, and a new mural collaboration reproduced as a poster to commemorate the exhibition. “We are looking at a unique rise to art world success. It’s inspirational in that it illustrates that every artist doesn’t need to follow the standard, art school, gallery system, connection-based path,” says co-curator Eileen Walsh.

The Block Party will feature homegrown, Bronx entertainment. DJ Pusha will keep the party going, with additional dance performances by BBoy & Emcee Chief69, and Hip-Hop legend Rokafella’s Full Circle Souljah‘s dance troupe.

Live music performances by up and coming Bronx MINDIE artists Statik Vision, and alternative music group, The Nobodies, and a presentation by spoken word artist and rapper, Safiel Vonay.

The exhibition for this event is sponsored by JCAL Development Group. Neighborhood businesses participating in the block party include ID Studio TheatreZaro’s Bakery, La Grata Italian RestaurantFiltered Coffee, and Bronx Native. We are also happy to have the support of Port Morris Distillery and The Bronx BreweryThe Bronx Children Museum will host creative activities for children and families, and will have their museum on the Go Bus parked on the street outside the gallery. The event is free of charge and all are welcome.

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Photo Courtesy of BXNYCreative

Perfect Spring Saturday

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the Daffodil Celebration and Wine Weekend at my backyard the New York Botanical Garden. After a long week of back to back rain, I was glad that it was not only sunny, but hot enough to break out my new maxi skirt. Win-win.

Last time I attended the Wine Weekend, I sampled so many delicious wines and even took one home with me! My favorites Brotherhood Winery and Winemakers New York,  were there among so many others. I got to sample a rose honey wine from Mysto Mead and a sweet blush wine from Hudson-Chatham Winery. I wanted to buy some pear cider from Brotherhood, but I waited until the end and they were sold out of everything!

It was also great to see the new CHIHULY exhibit. Dale Chihuly’s colorful and intricate glass sculptures enhance the beauty of the garden and are simply beautiful. To think of how much effort went into these sculptures is really breathtaking. See for yourself below and be sure to visit the New York Botanical Garden to check out the daffodils!

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Celebrate the Literary Culture of the Bronx at the 2017 Bronx Book Fair

Saturday, May 6, the Bronx Book Fair returns for an annual celebration of literature. This year’s line up is even better than ever (and I’m not just saying that because I’m facilitating a workshop and am on the planning committee!) Check out the schedule below:

11:00-12:00

Focus on Vendors
Kick off your day by browsing (and buying!) books from over 30 vendors in the Bronx Library Center’s spacious lower level. Vendors will be present throughout the event through 7:00 p.m.

AUDITORIUM

12:00-12:10

Welcome/Opening Remarks

Michael Alvarez, Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries at The New York Public Library
12:10-12:55

“The Business of Writing” : Literary Organizations discuss needed elements for a successful writing career.

Panelists: Kevin Larimer, Editor-in Chief of Poets & Writers Magazine and Michael Mejias, literary agent at Writer’s House. Moderated by Americo Casiano Jr
1:00-1:45

The Bronx “Book Desert”: Fighting Back through Public Libraries and New Bookstores
Panelists Noëlle Santos (Lit Bar), Oren Teicher (American Booksellers Association), Melissa Coss Aquino (Bronx Community College) and Gesille Dixon (Director of Bronx Libraries for the New York Public Library) will discuss the lack of bookstores in the Bronx and what the borough is doing about it. Moderator: Robert Farrell.
2:00-2:30

Keynote Speaker

Kevin Young, poet, essayist, Director of the Schomburg Center for

Research in Black Culture and incoming Poetry Editor of the New Yorker Magazine.

Introduction: Michael Alvarez, Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries at The New York Public Library
2:40-3:25

The Next Chapter

Our panel of writers and poets will discuss their writing and publishing careers, sharing their personal experiences as young writers to present.Topics to include ageism, genderism, racism, their thoughts on the key to longevity and what’s the next chapter to a long and distinguished career? Writers and poets at all levels as well as those interested in literary pursues will appreciate their insights.

Panelists: Edward D. Currelley, Ed Friedman, Kate Rushin, and Carmen D. Lucca. Moderator: Lorraine Currelley
3:30-4:00

Get to Know Your Library

Bronx Library Center staff discuss the roles of librarians and the importance of reading and literacy in the Bronx.  Facilitators:  Jean Harripersaud, Managing Librarian of the Bronx Library Center and Michael Alvarez, Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries at The New York Public Library.
4:05-4:50

We’re Here!

LGBTQ writers of color discuss opportunities, support, writing, and social justice issues under the new presidency. Panelists: Imani Rashid, Meriam Rodriguez, and Orlando Ferrand. Moderator: Charles Rice-González
5:00-5:45

A Weaving of Voices

A poetry and spoken word presentation featuring Cyd Charisse Fulton, Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin, Jesus “Papoleto” Melendez and Noel Quinones. Facilitator: Oscar Sanders
6:00-6:45

Musical Performance

Jackie Flowers Quartet performs

6:45-7:00

A Gathering of Community

CONFERENCE ROOM (Upper Level)

12:40-2:00

Speed Coaching

Poets and Writers: Need assistance with writing or performance? Perhaps you have some ideas you need assistance with? Consult with one of our Speed Coaches: Mercy Tullis-Bukhari,  Edward D. Currelley, Peggy Robles Alvarado & (Coordinator), Lorraine Currelley. Ramatu Mohammad (Time Manager). ALL SESSIONS ARE FREE, but are limited and early registration is required.  Click on link for details.

CONFERENCE ROOM (Lower Level-C1)

12:10-12:55

Women’s Literary Workshop

The Abuela Stories Project will be at The Bronx Book Fair. Award winning performance poet Peggy Robles- Alvarado and Bronx blogger Lisa Gomez will facilitate a workshop using The Abuela Stories Project Book as a tool to generate original writing. Writers of all ages, identifiers, genres and levels are welcome. To end our workshop, participants will share their work to cheers, claps and finger snaps in our open mic! The Abuela Stories Project Book will be available for purchase but will not be required for the workshop. Join us for an afternoon of Abuela Stories at The Bronx Book Fair! For more information on The Abuela Stories Project Please visit abuelastories.com
1:00-1:50

“How to Publish” Getting Your Work Out.

Facilitator Gary Johnston will talk to attendees about how to get your work published.
2:45-3:30

Zine Publishing and Beyond

Learn different ways of self-publishing, and walk away with ideas on how to create, print, and distribute your own publication.  Facilitators: Margot Terc, Ana Maria Hoffman, and Tammy Lopez.
3:45-4:30

Funding Literary Artists and Literary Institutions (Nonprofits).

Facilitated by Americo Casiano, this workshop will focus on basic funding available to both the writer of creative literature (fiction and poetry) and nonprofit organizations whose focus is the Literary Arts and/or whose mission is the promotion of the fine arts in which creative literature (fiction and poetry) serves as one of its programming focuses. It will begin with a short summary of the funding landscape in general and then focus on the central theme of the workshop.
4:35-5:20

Youth on the Mic

A youth poetry and spoken word presentation, featuring Oyindamola Shoola (Bronx Community College), Rebecca  Perez (Bronx Community College), Gabrielle O’Connor (Lehman College), Dimitrios Lefas (Lehman College), and Sasha Smith, BCC alum and Poetry Project 2016-2017 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellow. Facilitated by Melissa Coss-Aquino.
CHILDREN’S STORY HOUR ROOM (2ND FLOOR)
11:00-11:45

Children’s Programming: Bilingual Storytime

Stories, music and movement!
1:00-1:45

Family Time

A program for the family (Parents with children are invited to participate in reading aloud and craft.  Each child that attends will be given 1 free book.

2:00-2:45

Mother’s Day Card Making

Each child will make a card for Mother’s Day

As always, the fair is FREE! It’ll be held at the Bronx Library Center, 310 E. Kingsbridge Rd.