Bulova x Windows of Hip Hop Host Hip Hop Celebration This Saturday 9/21 at Mall at Bay Plaza – FREE

Bulova and Windows of Hip Hop (WoHH), a Bronx Non-Profit Organization dedicated to preserving the history and education of hip hop, celebrate ‘Back to School’ season, partnering with New York based artist, Nicholai Khan, to design an exclusive storefront window of the world famous Macy’s Herald Square.

The custom window celebrates a new academic year as Bulova and WoHH continue together in their mission to preserve the history of hip hop and keep the love for music alive amongst the youngest of generations.

Together Bulova and WoHH are working to promote the educational, communal, and historical perspective of Hip Hop, specifically in the Bronx at CS 55 Elementary School. Earlier this year, the first part of their partnership took place with the launch of a hip hop music program. The next phase will be the construction of the first-ever recording studio within a New York school, for children to explore and express their musical creativity.

This Saturday, join WOHH and hip hop legend Grandmaster Caz for an interactive workshop, open mic, and other family activities at the Macy’s at Mall at Bay Plaza at 2 p.m.

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Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai’i Comes to NYBG

Renowned painter, Georgia O’Keeffe, famous for her intricate, close up paintings of flowers, went on a little known trip to Hawaii, creating a series of 20 painting based on her time there. Commissioned by what is now known as the Dole Pineapple Company, O’Keeffe was to paint pictures of pineapples for an ad campaign. Though skeptical at first, the artist became in awe of Hawai’i natural beauty. These paintings are now on display at the New York Botanical Garden, right here in Bronx. This marks the first time the paintings have been on display in New York since their debut in 1940.

Over in the Conservatory, visitors get a chance to experience a bit of what O’Keeffe did on her trip, taking in vibrant hibiscus flowers, birds of paradise, and fragrant frangipani among many others brought over for the exhibition.

In addition, contemporary Hawaiian-Chinese sculptor, Mark Chai, has a series of outdoor  sculptures inspired by the same plants O’Keeffe encountered on her trip, that are on display along Garden Way.

There’s also a new Poke Truck, which features four different types of poke. (I’m usually skeptical of food trends, but ever since trying poke for the first time last year, I’ve been hooked. So excited there’s a place to get it in the Bronx now, at the NYBG no less!) I tried to classic poke bowl which was a pretty good portion and the perfect lunch for a hot day!

If all of this isn’t enough, the New York Botanical Garden has partnered with Hyatt Resorts in Hawai’i and Hawaiian Airlines to offer a chance to win a trip for two to Hawai’i and experience its beauty in real life.

The exhibition opens this Saturday, May 19 and runs until October 28.

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Photo Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

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Photo Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

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Photo Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

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Photo Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

 

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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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?)

 

Grandmaster Caz
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.

 

Travel Tuesday: Lisbon (and Sintra!)

Even though I’m Stateside again (Surprise! Long story, whatever), I  still have a few more fantastic travel tales to share with you guys, so I’ll be sharing them on #traveltuesdays with my recommendations and experiences.

This week in Lisbon. In planning out my trip, everyone I spoke to had nothing but amazing things to say about Lisbon. How beautiful it is, how much fun it is, etc. Something I learned about myself while abroad is managing my expectations. It’s probably something I should’ve done with Lisbon. *hides from angry mob*

Let’s start at the beginning. So, I’d just come from having the time of my life in Madrid (see post here) . I took an overnight bus – worst sleep ever – to arrive bright and early at about 7 and make my way over to my hostel.

Where I Stayed 

If you remember from the Madrid post, I really loved my hostel, Safestay Madrid (also known as Equity Point Lisbon. I dunno.) . I was excited then when I was headed to Safestay Lisbon.  In case you don’t know, Lisbon has a lot of stairs. Like A LOT. I’d just gotten off of this overnight bus and now have to drag myself up all these stairs, I was huffing and puffing like a creeper when the employee got to the door. All I wanted to do was sleep. But check in wasn’t until 2 pm. Any museums I might want to check out didn’t open until 10 am so,  I ended up just hanging out in the common area with my Kindle Fire plugged in watching Netflix.

Once I was checked in (at exactly 2 pm!), I went upstairs to my room (a 12 person mixed dorm) and crashed for a few hours. I do remember hearing some loud banging like construction at some point late at night and may or may not have cursed at my fellow roommates for talking too loud. I don’t remember, so maybe it was a dream?

Gotta say, I think this was my least favorite hostel that I’ve ever stayed in.  It wasn’t terrible, but definitely not on par with their sister hostel Safestay Madrid. For starters, there aren’t outlets located next to every bed. This sounds like a first world problem, and it is, but when you’re traveling, you really need your technology to be charged so you can get from place to place. As a result, everyone is in the common area charging their stuff and not socializing. Which leads to my second point, while the hostel staff was nice when I spoke with them, they don’t actually host any events. It’s all done through another company. So you have to go out of your way to find the group and do your pub crawl or what have you. Ok, for the walking tour someone comes and gets you, but it’s not the same as having someone you may actually see again in the hostel lead you around.

What I Did

Fado at Tasca do Chico

There happened to be a flier in the hostel advertising this venue for Portugal’s famous style of music. I still had some energy after dinner and this place wasn’t too far of a walk. I felt a little awkward when I came in since someone was already singing and there was  sit, so I just stood by the doorway until the singer finished. Some other people had come in too and we were invited to come further into the venue. It’s such an intimate event, it’s really like being at someone’s family gathering, and all of their family members happened to be super talented singers and all have cds for sale. It was pretty cool to experience, even with not understanding a single word of Portuguese.

Museu Colecau Berardo 

This was actually my favorite museum that I went to in Europe. (Yes, including Academy…. in Florence) Turns out I really like contemporary art. Lots of Warhol, pop art,  and some other super cool experimental art. I spent hours here.

Day Trip to Sintra

To be honest, I think my trip to Sintra is what really made my trip to Portugal. It’s maybe an hour or so outside of Lisbon, on a train similar to Metro North. Sintra is a cute little town that’s home to Peña Palace, the Moorish Castle, and the National Palace. I did this the very day I was to fly back out to Prague so I was on a bit of a time crunch and I definitely could’ve spent more time here, but it was beautiful and I was really glad I went. Peña Palace is just so breathtaking, with its striking colors and details. I didn’t love the Moorish Castle as much, there were beautiful views, but I think I’m kind of over castles. (And yes, I realize how ridiculously arrogant that sounds. ) I didn’t go inside the National Palace, but I did sit outside and soaked up the sun – in December!!! – with a pasteis de belem and pasteis de nata in hand. It was glorious.

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Where I Ate

Time Out Market

This is a huge food market, with loads of different vendors, similar to Chelsea Market downtown. I was a little hesitant to go here because I thought it might be too hipster-y or not “local” enough. But after reading up on it a bit and seeing that there’s space for real local vendors as well, I was persuaded to check it out. I tried some Stone Soup and some bacalao, both were delicious and reasonably priced.

Oficina do Duque

I found this cozy little restaurant on Yelp and decided to check it out. The service was great and the food was even better. I ordered lamb, which I never do since I’m not really a fan, but people had raved about it online so I figured it was worth a shot. It came with this mint sorbet on top and was just sooooo good. Such an unexpected, but delicious combination.

Ne Ne Restaurante 

This place was actually recommended by the walking tour guide. I sat inside and he helped me order from the daily menu (always handwritten and apparently the best deal). In addition to a full lunch, my meal also came with some tea, which if you know anything about me, you know I appreciate a nice cup of tea, especially if it’s included. It’s right by some of the more touristy sights, but the food was good and service was efficient and friendly.

Cafe Saudade

 After a packed morning seeing all of Sintra’s main attractions, I stopped here for lunch as recommended by one of my friends. For starters, the service was fantastic. So friendly and helpful (and nonjudgmental as I definitely downed that entire bottle of vinho verde by myself. Whatever. Vacation Mode.) The eclectic decor and inviting staff definitely made for a cozy atmosphere. Oh and the food was great too. It was a great place to check out right before I hopped on the train.

 

While I didn’t love Lisbon as much as Madrid, it was still a cool trip. I’d definitely love to go back in the summer some time.  Check out some more pictures below (including some really dope street art that was up by my hostel!)

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The Prague Socialite: Ciao! Milan & Florence

A couple weeks ago, I got to visit Milan and Florence for my friend Elisha’s birthday.  Obviously, I was excited to celebrate her birthday, but also of course to stuff my face with delicious Italian food and drink allllll the wine.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people who say that Florence is one their favorite cities. It’s not hard to see why – the architecture is gorgeous, the food is amazing, and you can walk everywhere.

We only spent a few hours in Milan and we saw the Duomo and walked around a bit to see some of the shopping. It was okay.  It’s very much a shopping city, and everyone is so well dressed, but since I wasn’t there to shop for luxury brand name items, there wasn’t a whole lot for us to do.

Florence

Where I Stayed:

We stayed at the Locanda Daniel hostel, which is just a short walk from the train station. It’s a small hostel, and you get that cozy feeling as though you’re staying at someone’s house. They also had probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on at a hostel. It’s a no frills kind of place, but it was perfect for the three nights we stayed there.

What I Did: 

We saw the Duomo, (whose detail is absolutely mind-blowing), the lush Giardino di Boboli, and of course stopped by the Galleria dell’Accademia to see the statue of David. Despite seeing pictures of the statue of David throughout my life, it was actually really impressive to see in real life. Unlike, the  Mona Lisa, which was really underwhelming when I saw it in person (like 1,000 feet away -_-).

One of my favorite things we did was actually just watch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo while drinking a bottle of wine we’d brought with us.

What I Ate:

I ate so much pizza and pasta, I definitely can’t name all of the places I went to, but I’d say the best pizza I had was at a cute little restaurant called Simbiosi. It was not too far from our hostel and had a really cozy ambience. Another plus is that their ingredients were organic, which was a nice bonus (considering that when I’m eating pizza, I am really not concerned about my health!)

We also stopped by the central market for breakfast. Actually, it was only breakfast in name, being the first meal of the day in the morning. I went straight for a cannoli and some lemon gelato. It was amazing.

To be totally honest, Italy hasn’t ever been high on my list of places to go, but of course I’m so glad I went.

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The Prague Socialite: A Weekend in Bratislava

One of the best things about Prague is its central location, making it super easy to travel to other countries. In the time it would take us in the Bronx to take a bus to D.C., you could be in an entirely different country. It’s really cool. 🙂

It hasn’t been the easiest month for me, that’s a post for another day, but I felt the need to get away, so I booked a trip to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Because I know I was asleep in history class, I’ll give you a very brief history lesson here. The Czech Republic and Slovakia used to be one country (Czechoslovakia, which you are definitely not to call either of these countries, it’s considered a major faux pas) until they decided to separate in 1993. It’s apparently the only former socialist state to separate without violence, according to Wikipedia anyway.

Anyway, Bratislava is only about a 4 hour bus ride from Prague, so I booked some tickets and a cheap hostel and packed my book bag with a change of clothes. As much as I like to think that I’m spontaneous and go with the flow, I’m starting to just accept the fact that I like to plan things out a research information so I know what to expect. But, with all the stress I was dealing with, I literally only planned the hostel I was staying at and a brunch spot. It was actually really refreshing to just wander the city and say “Oh, that’s a cute street, I’m gonna walk over here.”

Where I Stayed:

Because I planned the trip so last minute and just needed a place to sleep for one night, a hostel was my best bet. In the States, I think hostels get such a bad rap (probably because of that movie I never saw), but I’ve been in some really great ones all over the world and they’re especially great when you’re on a budget. I stayed at Patio Hostel because of its affordability and proximity to the city center. I stayed in a mixed 6-person dorm, which consisted of bunk beds and drawer-style lockers. I always bring my own combination lock when staying at a hostel. It was okay. Literally a place to lay my head at night.The woman working at the front desk gave me some suggestions of where to go and where to eat and gave me a coupon I could use for 10% off a nearby restaurant.   They did provide a free welcome drink, which I definitely appreciated.

[I use HostelWorld to search and book hostels. I’ve used it for about five years or so and I have no complaints.]

What I Ate:

Since I still had about an hour to check in, I took my 10% off coupon and headed to Slovak Pub.  To be honest, I wasn’t super excited to check this place out because Czech food has a reputation for being very heavy – lots of meat, potatoes, and bread. So I  figured Slovak food would be similar. Thankfully, I was wrong, I got a cheesy garlic soup in a bread bowl, which would have been enough, but I was starving so I also ordered a dish with chicken and potatoes. I even got two glasses of wine for 1 Euro each. I was stuffed afterward.

Another really cool place I went to, and the only place I actually looked up beforehand was a cute, trendy restaurant called Urban House I went to on Sunday for brunch. The decor was really warm and inviting and the food was delicious. I ordered a slice of avocado toast and some eggs benedict with smoked salmon.

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What I Did:

Like I said, I pretty much just showed up. So on Saturday, armed with a map from the hostel, I looked at some things that sounded interesting. I walked to the presidential palace, Bratislava Castle and gardens, the city walls, and Old Town. Sunday, it was raining so I headed to the Natural History Museum, the Nedbalka Gallery (which resembles the Guggenheim in Manhattan!) and explored the Europe Galleria mall.

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As it turns out, my visit coincided with Bila Noc, an art festival that uses lights in all kinds of different ways, so I bought a ticket, and wandered around Old Town following the crowd. My favorite exhibit was a series of lights shone through e metal square with a variety of slats so a new design shone through with the changing of the lights in time with music.

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Overall, it was a really great weekend trip and definitely worth a visit. I never would have though I’d find myself in Bratislava but I’m so glad I did.

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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

Rejuvenate Yourself at Freckles Juice

I’m back at work again, which means happy hours on happy hours on Fridays. Unfortunately, ever since I crossed the threshold of 25 two years ago, my body seems to no longer agree with this philosophy. (I’m still not wise enough to listen, though.)

Needless to say, I was faced with a mild hangover and intended to trade all of my Saturday plans for hours on my couch watching Netflix. (How were hangovers dealt with before the internet?!) That is until my friend Karen called and asked if I wanted to finally check out Freckles Juice. We’ve been saying we should go for weeks and just hadn’t gotten around to it.

The shop is bright and airy with walls adorned with art of all sorts. (I particularly loved “Dear Pretty Brown Girl” by Ronald A. Draper.) A massive chalkboard menu displays a wide array of smoothies and juices. Karen went with the Air Drizzy and I of course forgot the name of mine, but it was a delicious blend of mango and other tropical fruits.

The woman working even offered us a sample of butternut squash soup, which was so good we both ordered some to go.

So, if you find yourself uptown, be sure to treat yourself to something healthy at Freckles Juice.

 

Represent the Bronx in the Tell-A-Commute Photography Project

Having just come back from a short vacation (Texas is another world entirely, you guys) I’ve found myself picking up and noticing little things on my normal walk home – the beautiful mint green curlicue fire escapes on Bedford Park,  the guy that always sits out on his porch taking in street scenes – you get the picture-  but it’s so easy to overlook these little details during the normal hustle and bustle of our commutes. This is why I was so excited to learn about Tell-A-Commute.

Run by artist collective /rive, the project is a way for New Yorkers to share their commutes and capture the neighborhoods they know and love in the face of an ever changing city. The best part of the photo diary is that the photos become a part of a larger photo collage featured in PLATFORM at the New York Transit Museum.

Here’s how it works, from Tell-A-Commute:

It’s very easy to participate: just text START to 917 746 5505. You’ll receive text message instructions inviting you to take 3 photos around your neighborhood as you walk to and from your local train station and text them back to this number. Your photos will then be included in a dynamic online portrait of NYC’s neighborhoods linked by subway lines. This photo collage will be featured at the Transit Museum’s PLATFORM, a cross-disciplinary program series devoted to creative musings on mass transit, in Fall 2015. (If you submit your photos before September 14, 2015, you’ll also have a chance to win a free Transit Museum membership.)

So, who’s with me in making sure the Bronx has the best pictures? (I’m looking at all of you Bronx IGers out there!