A Lazy Summer Afternoon at Poe Park Greenmarket

As a teacher, I spend 10 months counting down until summer – when I can wake up whenever I want and do whatever I want! The problem is that when the temperature is over 85, it turns out that all I really want to do is sit on my couch in my pajamas and watch Netflix (FYI currently in heavy rotation are: Stranger Things, Mad Men, and Gilmore Girls.) In addition to dedicating time to writing, I try to do one productive thing a day. Yesterday, that was getting rid of 2 of the 3 bags I’ve had sitting in the corner of my room for months for textile recycling.

If you’re unfamiliar, textile recycling is how you can get rid of your old clothes and linens in an eco-friendly way. These are items that are just so far gone that they can’t be donated to a thrift shop. According to GrowNYC, 193,000 TONS of textiles end up landfills every year. I cannot imagine 193,000 tons of anything, let alone clothes just sitting in a heap of garbage.

BUT, here was dilemma – I was soon comfortable chilling in my pajamas! Plus, I had had not one, but TWO breakfast failures (#1 baked egg boat and #2 avocado toast…can’t leave out an avocado in this weather for more than a day without it going bad!) so how could I possibly venture outside to drop off the clothes?! What’s another week? Well, Fiancee convinced me to get my lazy self outside and so I did and it was painless.

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Once I was there, I took in the aromas of fresh cilantro and onions and pondered (a bit too long) on whether or not I needed another jar of honey. In the end, I decided on a blueberry crumb pie from Francesca’s Bakery. Not a bounty of fruits and vegetables, but a pie.

 

 

Bronx Summerstage Calendar — Fat Joe Performs Tonight!

Annual NYC summer staple Summerstage is back this year. Featuring acts including Fat Joe (“Lean Back” is part of the soundtrack to my high school life) , DJ Kool Herc, and even the Metropolitan Opera, the series brings music, film, and dance to Crotona Park and St. Mary’s Park this year.

Check out the full schedule below:

Day

Date

Time

Artist

Park

Boro

Genre

Tuesday

Jul 5

7:00 PM

George Lamond / DJ Lucho

Crotona Park

BX

Music

Wednesday

Jul 6

7:00 PM

Fat Joe / Tony Touch hosted by Lyricist Lounge

Crotona Park

BX

Music

Thursday

Jul 7

7:00 PM

Tribute to Latin Jazz Great Dave Valentin

Crotona Park

BX

Music

Friday

Jul 8

7:00 PM

Nuyorican Poets Cafe: Craig ‘muMs’ Grant’s “A Sucker Emcee”

Crotona Park

BX

Theater

Saturday

Jul 9

7:00 PM

Acrobuffos / Rob & Miss Jane / Sxip’s Hour of Charm / It’s Showtime NYC

Crotona Park

BX

Circus

Sunday

Jul 10

7:00 PM

DJ Kool Herc / Little Shalimar / Screening: Rubble Kings

Crotona Park

BX

Music & Film

Tuesday

Jul 12

7:00 PM

Johnny Rivera / Joan Català

St. Mary’s Park

BX

Music

Wednesday

Jul 13

7:00 PM

Joe Bataan Meets Setenta / Joan Català

St. Mary’s Park

BX

Music

Wednesday

Jul 13

7:00 PM

The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series featuring Michelle Bradley, Kang Wang, Yunpeng Wang, and Dan Saunders

Crotona Park

BX

Music

Thursday

Jul 14

7:00 PM

Tito Rojas

St. Mary’s Park

BX

Music

Friday

Jul 15

7:00 PM

Felix Hernandez’s Rhythm Revue / Screening: We Like It Like That

St. Mary’s Park

BX

Music & Film

Saturday

Jul 16

7:00 PM

Full Circle Souljahs Presents: From The Streets To The Stage/Behind the Groove / Master Class: Kwikstep and Rokafella

St. Mary’s Park

BX

Dance

Sunday

Jul 17

4:00 PM

Legacy Women / Recess Monkey / Music with a Message / Double Dutch Dreamz

St. Mary’s Park

BX

Family

Bibliophiles Unite! Bronx Book Fair May 7 & 8

The Bronx Book Fair is back and better than ever (and I’m not just saying that because I’m on the planning committee this year!) Now a two-day event, the Bronx Library Center will serve as host to a diverse array of authors, poets, publishers, and discussions on the literary landscape of the Bronx.  Best of all, it’s free and open to all ages.

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Q & A with Poet Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari

Next in the series of interviews with participants in this year’s Bronx Book Fair is poet, fiction writer, essayist, and teacher Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari.

MercyBookfair

Are you from the Bronx? If yes, which neighborhood? 

I am from The Bronx. I grew up on the Grand Concourse, but later moved to Co-Op City. I just moved to New Rochelle (which is right outside of The Bronx!) four years ago with my family.

 

Does the Bronx play a role in your writing? If so, please explain. 

 

The Bronx is a character in my life, in my existence, and everything I am and do. So, yes, it plays a role in my writing. My kids go to their suburban elementary school in Tims, and I keep my door-knocker earrings nearby. My feet touch Bronx concrete at least three times a week, to keep me grounded and keep me aware of my beginnings. I know and accept fully that to call myself a “Bronx Poet” means that I still need to be Bronx, regardless of where I am. We are Bronx, and my children are reminded regularly of where they were born, and where their mother is from. Part of my reminding them is to write about my experiences. Who I am, today, I would not be if I did not have The Bronx as my setting for all the stories and poems I tell.

 

What are you most looking forward to at the Bronx Book Fair? 

 

I am most looking forward to doing my thing on a Bronx stage. I am so, so grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way, but there is nothing like repin’ your borough and getting love from your borough, right in your backyard.

 

What would you like attendees to take away from your reading/talk? 

 

I want them to be open with what I share. Whatever they get from what I give, I want that take-away to be my gift to them.

 

Please tell us about any current or upcoming projects you are working on that we can look forward to. 

 

Over the summer, I will be attending a Callalloo writing workshop at Oxford in the UK. I will be attending The College of New Rochelle in the Fall to receive my second Masters. There, I will be getting my MFA in Creative Writing. I am currently organizing my poems for my second collection of poetry. I can be found on FB, IG as mercy_lapoeta, and mercytullisbukhari.com. Until my next collection comes out, I am going to continue to promote my first collection of poetry, SMOKE.

 

Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari will be on the panel A Conversation: Women, Arts Activism, Creativity and Social Responsibility on May 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm.
 

Q & A with Bronx Book Fair Participant Edward Currelley

Next in the Bronx Book Fair Q&A series is Edward D. Currelley, an author and artist. He was awarded honorable status by Writer’s Digest for Stage Playwriting in 2008. His children’s book “I’m not lost, I’m with you” and young adult novel “That Krasbaum Kid” will be published this year. He is the president of Pen To Mind Books & Child Development Concepts, Inc.

edwardcurrelley

What brought you to the Bronx?

Originally I’m from Manhattan, Harlem.Thirty or so years ago my sister Lorraine Currelley planted roots in the Wakefield section of the Bronx. There was so much development in the literary arts that she encouraged me to move there, I did, with her.

Does the Bronx play a role in your writing? If so, please explain.

Yes, the Bronx is one of the few remaining untapped sources of raw talent. I’ve witnessed and participated in programs sponsored by various Bronx organizations and facilitated by Lorraine, writers that had no voice, now publishing, poeting, doing open mic performances. I find it very inspiring. The Bronx is so large with so many voices you don’t have to go far to be heard in a significant way.

What are you most looking forward to at the Bronx Book Fair?

I’m looking forward to connecting with other artists, to expand my scope, to understand what the community needs and want to read, what kinds of literature will make a difference. Positive impact, that’s what I hope to have and find.

What would you like attendees to take away from your reading?

Joy, fun, a little excitement to get involved with reading more and/or writing. Sharing their inner voice.

Please tell us about any current or upcoming projects you are working on that we can look forward to.

Besides being a co-feature at The Bronx Book Fair on May 7th, 2016 at 4:50pm I’ll also be co-featuring at Poets Network & Exchange, Inc. at the Countee Cullen NYPL, 104 West 136th Street NYC on April 23rd, 2016. My short story “Fractured Soul”will be published in Writing For Peace’s 2016 anthology edition of Dove Tales, Metaphor Magazine’s 5th issue due April 2016 will feature three of my poems from an up coming collection.

Edward Currelley will be participating in A Weaving of Voices: An Intergenerational Poetry Reading on May 7th at 4:50 pm.

***Full disclosure: I am a part of the planning committee for this year’s Bronx Book Fair. ***

 

Bronx Book Fair Q & A with Charlie Vázquez

This month, I will be doing a series a interviews with participants in this year’s Bronx Book Fair.  I am currently on the planning committee and am so excited to introduce you to some of the amazing writers that will be a part of this amazing literary event.

First up is Charlie Vázquez, the Director of the Bronx Writers’ Center as well as Editorial Trance CCO and NYC Coordinator for Festival de la Palabra de Puerto Rico.
 
CharlieBridge

Are you from the Bronx? If so, which neighborhood?

 

I was born in Fordham Hospital in 1971 and grew up near Crotona/West Farms in my earliest years. We moved to Fordham in the mid-1970s and then to the Olinville neighborhood where my mother still lives. I live in the Pelham Parkway area currently.

 

Does the Bronx play a role in your writing? If so, please explain.

 

The Bronx plays a very major role in everything about me. The stigma that being a Bronxite carried (and still carries) has given me the propulsion and fearlessness for writing whatever I feel like expressing, whether that be about my Puerto Rican and Cuban heritage, growing up poor, or identifying as a queer man later in life. Writing from marginalized perspectives takes a lot of courage and armor in the face of judgement and criticism–a radical act if you think about it. That energy has found its way into everything I’ve ever written, whether poetry or erotic fiction. If people would like to know more they can follow my Facebook author page.

 

 What are you most looking forward to at the Bronx Book Fair? 

 

This will be my third year at the Bronx Book Fair. What I love most about it is that it creates the opportunity for local readers to learn about local authors. Disengagement with literature is a serious issue that we need to address. One way of doing this is by supporting local authors who are publishing books with diverse protagonists and children-of-color.

 

What would you like attendees to take away from your talk? 

 

As relates to publishing, that there are options. Not to fall too quickly into the self-publishing platform out of temptation for instant gratification. Writing can be a solitary act, but writers benefit from finding peer groups and writing circles where they can share their work, to get the feedback necessary for making it the best it can be before publishing it. All books, regardless of style and voice, should be looked over by someone with a critical eye to make sure grammar and formatting are professional enough. Your book’s quality is a direct reflection of how professional you are.

 

Please tell us about any current or upcoming projects you are working on that we can look forward to. 

 

We’re collaborating with PEN World Voices for our Bronx:Africa exhibit in late April and we’ll be hosting three Poetry Town Halls (a new program I created) from April through June. We also have a fiction writers group that meets once a month at the Poe Park Visitor Center. That info can be found on our website and folks can write to me directly to request being added to the Bronx Writers Center newsletter.  My email is charlie@bronxarts.org.

 

Charlie Vázquez will be participating in the  Getting Published: How to Get Your Work in Readers’ Hands panel.

Bronx International Film Festival Returns Jan. 22-31!

bxiff_info_graphic

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.

Bronx Food & Wine Festival

This past week the first Bronx Food and Wine Festival took place at the Mall at Bay Plaza. This had my name written all over it!

Let’s start with the highlights:

Beforehand, I was a little worried that I would leave starving; that vendors would give you a tiny sample and send you on your way. I’m happy to report that that was not the case and I left as full as I would have leaving a restaurant for dinner. And the wine booths didn’t skimp on their samples either. It was wonderful to see so many different vendors including one of my faves the Bronx Beer Hall as well as Flaco Coquito, Bistro SK, Euro Products, Frozen Peaks, Havana Cafe, among so many others I know I’m leaving out. Everything I sampled was delicious. Plus the swag bag contained samples, coupons, and a dorky nifty little wine glass holder for lushes  people who were holding lots of things, such as myself.

As it was the first of its kind, there’s always room for improvement…

On the one hand there were a lot of people, which was great! But it did get a bit crowded and you had to kind of shuffle around  to find a free space. Another thing that would have been helpful was chairs and tables! With all of that food and a full wine glass, it would’ve been nice to have a place to sit and enjoy it. Lastly, something that was confusing was the way it was marketed alongside the Bronx Fashion Week event, which led me (and others) to believe that the two events were connected, particularly since they were only two floors away from each other. It was still easy enough to view the fashion show…well…until you were shooed away (nicely) by the mall’s security guards. Something that could have been cleared up in the wording or advertising of the event.

Overall, though, I had a great time and can’t wait until next year!

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Bronx Native American Festival Tomorrow in Pelham Bay Park

Tomorrow at Pelham Bay Park, the annual Bronx Native American Festival will take place from 12-4 pm. I’ve posted about the festival before, but this upcoming one is of particular interest to me because the Boyfriend who runs Native Tec will be selling his beautiful handmade jewelry this time. So stop by and support!

native fest 2015