Dancing While Black May 3-5

Mark your calendars (how many of you are still using paper calendars?) tomorrow through Saturday for the fifth anniversary of Dancing While Black. See below for more info:

Celebrate the voices of Black dance artists at Dancing While Black’s fifth anniversary festival. Presented by Angela’s Pulse and BAAD!, the three-day event will  feature performances led by guest artists, Dancing While Black Fellows and BAAD!’s youth dance program, AATT Academy along with post-performance conversations, a special screening of Gabri Christa’s Another Building dance narrative series, long table discussion and dance party.

Guest master artists for this year’s celebration include ArthurAviles, co-founder/artistic director of BAAD!; Chanel DaSilva, co-founder/artistic director of MOVE (NYC); Jason Samuels Smith, Emmy award-winning tap dance master and Donna Clark, associate director of Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company. Alethea Pace, J. Bouey, Jasmine Hearn, Kayla Hamilton, NIC Kay and Shelby Felton are featured as the 2017-18 Dancing While Black Fellows.

Dancing While Black’s Fifith Anniversary Festival takes place hursday-Saturday, May 3-5 at the Bronx Academy Of Arts and Dance, located at 2474 Westchester Ave, Bronx, NY. Tickets range in price from free and pay what you can to $15-20 for the dance performances on days two and three. For more information, visit http://www.baadbronx.org/boogie-down-dance-2018.html.

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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.

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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 🙂

A Trip to the 70s at the Huntington Hustle

This past weekend, the Huntington Free Library in Westchester Square held the Huntington Hustle, the 70s themed sequel to last year’s glamorous 20s party. With proceeds going to Loving the Bronx (They are doing such amazing for our Bronx parks) and drinks sponsored by Deep Eddy Vodka, you know I was bound to have a good time. Metro Optics sponsored the door prize for best eyewear (that my mom won, btw) and Morris Perk was there to serve up some light bites.  Plus, who can pass up a costume party?

Anyhow, check out a couple of photos I took at the party. And hopefully we’ll see you at the next one!

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Hip Hop Legends & Street Artists Come Together for Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo

This weekend kicks off Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo -” A Celebration of the WILDLIFE that is Bronx Culture and History” featuring a full line up of Music, Art, Dance, Food, and MORE.” 

Read below for more info:

The Bronx Zoo is celebrating wildlife and the diverse culture of the Boogiedown Borough like never before at a series of springtime events fittingly titled “Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo.”

For more than 120 years, the Bronx has been the birthplace of culture that has changed history and created movements. From humble beginnings, the Bronx is the home of global legends and leaders that have had a profound influence on the world through hip hop, breakdancing, doo wop, street art, salsa, AND wildlife conservation. The Bronx has it all!

 Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo presents a variety of many cultural contributions that have resonated from the Bronx. Starting on Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22, and continuing weekends from May 5 through June 3, artists and performers from a diverse representation of Bronx cultures will be on-site to celebrate the Bronx Zoo, Bronx culture, and wildlife.

Many iconic forms of music have originated in the Bronx. Working with Bronx-based organization Windows of Hip Hop, the zoo will host musical performances by hip-hop pioneers, world-class DJs, and teach guests how to “scratch,” create an 8-meter rhyme, and more.

Special appearances by Grandmaster Melle Mel and Scorpio ‘Furious Five’ and The Sugarhill Gang will be the backbone of the of the musical line-up. Hip hop legendGrandmaster Caz will be on site at “Caz’s Corner” each weekend teaching everyone how to create rhymes and emcee like only he can.

The street corners of Arthur Avenue in the 50s, helped solidify doo wop’s place in New York City.  Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo will take a step back in time to feature performances from artists that will keep everyone dancing. Guests can also enjoy some of the cuisine from the real Little Italy. (June 2-3.)

Music and dance performances derived Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Afro-Caribbean rhythm and dance that emerged and thrived in the Bronx will take center stage on themed weekends that will include music, dance, and traditional cuisine samplings. (May 26-28.)

Not only is the Bronx Zoo home to historic sculptures and architecture like Rainey Gate, Rockefeller Fountain, and the landmarked beaux art buildings on Astor Court, but Boogie Down events will feature Bronx artists creating new masterpieces live for the crowd.

Graffiti started as a scourge that transformed into a modern art form that can be seen and appreciated in murals around the Bronx, New York City, and around the world. Renowned street artists will create wildlife works on the zoo’s historic Astor Court.

Even the Bronx Zoo’s resident wildlife will get into the spirit of the Boogiedown as they contribute their own artwork to the festivities to create original paintings like no other.

Painting is a form of enrichment that some of the animals at the zoo engage in, and provides a great opportunity for them to interact with their keepers. These animal paintings will be the basis for some of the artwork finished by famous street artists like Crash, Tats Cru, Andre Trenier, and others.  The finished paintings will be one-of-a-kind works.

Participating performers:

  • Grandmaster Melle Mel, Scorpio ‘Furious 5’
  • The Sugarhill Gang
  • Grandmaster Caz
  • Rokafella (breakdancer)
  • BombaYo (Bomba music)
  • Rock Steady (doo-wop music)
  • Luis Damon salsa band
  • Mighty Bengal Step Team (student step team from the Bronx’s PS 55)
  • Dynamic Rockers Crew
  • Hip Hop Dance Conservatory

 

Street Artists:

  • Tats Cru (Bio, Nicer, BG 183)
  • Crash (John Matos)
  • Andre Trenier
  • Giz
  • Menace 2
  • Resa Piece
  • Shiro
  • Ian Sullivan
  • Matt Buck
  • Son of a Finch
  • Kay Love
  • Lovie Pignata

 

        DJs:

  • DJ Sammy
  • DJ Jazzy Jay
  • DJ C Styles
  • DJ Lady Love
  • DJ Jazzy Joyce

Take a look at a sample of the cool art project that combined art created by actual otter at the zoo that artist BG183 transformed:

I can’t wait for you to hear Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz perform “Animals and MCs” , it’s legit. (New summer anthem?)

 

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Melle Mel

Curtis Fisher
Melvin Glover

For tickets and a full schedule of performances, activities and themed weekends, visit www.BronxZoo.com/boogie-down.

Last, but not least, a huge shout out to Windows of Hip Hop for their work on this project.

It’s going to be amazing, get your tickets now.

 

A Taste of Bronx Cookspace

Friday, I had the chance to visit Bronx Cookspace, one of WHEDCo’s many programs aimed at helping the Bronx community. The Cookspace provides commercial kitchen space and equipment to entrepreneurs in the food industry. It also offers resources to members to help them with different aspects of starting a business, such as insurance, product marketing, and networking opportunities. Membership packages start at $140/month or without a package at $25/hour.

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Here are some other cool facts about Bronx Cookspace:

  • 66% of the tenant are own by women
  • 76% of the tenants are people of color
  • 43% of tenants are Bronx-based (A number I’d personally love to see increase over time.)

But, let’s cut to the chase – the food. *insert hungry face emoji*

Everyone I encountered was super friendly and served up some delicious treats, but here are my favorites:

Sustainable Snacks – healthy and delicious dark chocolate-covered bite-sized snacks that you can take with you on the go. I tried the spicy cherry with almond and blueberry and pecan flavors and they were so delightful, and that’s coming from someone who will literally choose almost any flavor over chocolate. I also just love the pairing of fruit and nuts and the idea of providing an alternative snack option (although Takis are amazing…) Another bonus of course is that the owner is a Bronx resident!

5 Island Blend – Created by a husband and wife duo Randall and Guiatrie Sapp, these sauces bring the flavor without all the extra added salt. I loved listening to their stories (and of course trying a sample of chicken which had been marinated in the sauce and then topped with a little extra sauce for extra flavor. A cool fact I learned was that Mr. Sapp was actually born in the building that houses WHEDCo back when it was Morrisania Hospital. Can you get any more local than that?

Joon – I got to try something new when I stopped by Joon’s station, which serves up Persian stews in crispy rice cups. I got to try to the chicken walnut pomegranate and it was soooo good. They can usually be found at the Queens Night Market out by the Hall of Science, but hopefully we’ll see them at some Bronx events soon (hint hint).

Sweet Zahra – Another new experience was getting to try Persian Love Cake which  was adorned with flowers and fresh cardamom. This combination of flavors along with the perfectly sweet icing was so unique and of course, delicious.

 

 

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Take a Hike

I always used to say that I respect nature so much, which is why I stay far far away from it. While I was away, I got the opportunity to explore nature and go on a couple of (easy) hikes. I can’t say I’m absolved of my fears of trees falling on me or a wild animal attacking me, but I can say that I’ve come to appreciate it a little more and besides, it’s a free workout.

Sunday, the Husband and I decided we’d head to Van Cortlandt Park to try out one of the hiking trails. We figured we’d start off easy, and chose the John Kieran trail, which takes you over a short, wooden bridge and past the lake. Of course we’re in this weird winter-spring limbo, so while it was peaceful, I bet it’s even more gorgeous once the trees are in full bloom.

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At the end of the trail (it was actually really easy, almost too easy…), we spotted a sign with a tortoise and a hare and I remembered that there was a tortoise and hare statue somewhere in the park, so we decided to follow it. The trail took us through the Northwest forest, where an occasional runner would pass us by. This was the sort of hike I was hoping for. It turns out we were on the Cross Country Trail, on the three mile path.

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Turns out, we could’ve just walked across the sport field to the tortoise and hare statue, but I guess that’d be cheating, right?

Then, of course, after all of that work, we had to reward ourselves with a slice of carrot cake from Lloyd’s across the street.

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Not a bad way to spend a Sunday at all. And if you’re participating in the #Not62 movement, hiking is something that can easily be modified and like, I said, is totally free.

Have you hiked in any of our Bronx parks? Which trails should I check out next?

Travel Tuesday: Day Trips from Prague

As I’ve stated several times over, Prague is beautiful and though I’m obviously biased, it is one my favorite European cities. But, that doesn’t mean that your visit to the Czech Republic should stop there. With just a short bus ride, you can check out some other cities CZ has to offer. I unfortunately only got to visit two of them, but I did have great time visiting both.

Cesky Krumlov 

Approximately a three hour bus ride from Prague, Cesky Krumlov is often described as a “fairy tale” town and is rumored to be the place that inspired the setting of the Disney film Pinocchio. It’s the absolute definition of the word quaint, with its horizon dotted with auburn rooftops on either side of theVltava river that winds through the town. Here’s an abbreviated itinerary of what I did during my trip:

Breakfast at MLS Creperie – It’s a small space, so be prepared to wait a bit! We sipped on some tea and coffee while we waited.

Climb to the top of the castle tower – Weird fact: The castle has bears. Like, roaming around in this trench-like area. Apparently they were initially used as protection, but “aristocrats” have continued to provide the town with bears as a present. (Who are these modern day aristocrats?!) This practice is controversial as some people feel that there is no reason these bears should be kept in captivity for the amusement of tourists and of keeping up this tradition. Anyhow, you can get a pretty good view of them if they decide to come out or just the town in general.

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Explore the Castle Gardens – The spring or summer (or fall like I did!) is the perfect time to take a stroll through the garden’s labyrinth and sit by the fountain. So peaceful.

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Like I said, this is an abbreviated itinerary, if I had the chance to go back, I’d go rafting down the river and check out the museums. All the more reason to return…

Another cool trip (and a shorter ride than Cesky Krumlov), is Karlovy Vary, which is actually a sister city to Carlsbad, CA, which I’ve never been to, but sure. Known as a “spa city” this town is known for hosting visitors who want to relax in the mineral springs and go skiing. (Read: lots of wealthy people).

Sip a cup of tea at Republica Coffee – Or, you know, have a cup of coffee

Buy a souvenir cup and drink up some of the mineral water Karlovy Vary is famous for – It, um, an acquired taste? It’s supposed to have wonderful healing properties, so try it at least once! And if it’s not for you, at least you have a cool shot glass to take home!

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Hike (or take the tram) up to the Diana Observation Tower – With a little bit of sweat and determination (only if you hike, you weirdo), you’ll be rewarded with a sweeping view of the whole city. You’re also in the middle of the forest, so it’s a nice time to take a breath and relax for a bit.

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Relax in a Mineral Bath….If You Show up on a Weekday at Spa 5 *face palm* – Like….who closes of their main attraction on the weekend. So frustrating, but we were determined to make the best of it and utilized their whirlpools and jets. It was a community pool vibe for sure, but lemons into lemonade, right?

Dinner and Drinks at Pepe Lopez – By no means an authentic Mexican dining experience, the staff was really friendly and their drinks were spot on and reasonably priced. Bonus points for iPad menus.

 

This is just the start, people. There are tons of cute Czech towns waiting for you to visit (jk lol probably not, but still go!)