How the Other Half (Still) Lives at BDC

 

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) LivesBloomberg’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.

SMDH.

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.

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A Bronx Paradise

Last night, was the extremely successful opening reception of No Longer Empty’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.*

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*This is a lie. I did not hang out with Adrien Brody. I stood a few feet away from him and smiled awkwardly.

Andrew Freedman Home Gets Revamped

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.

‘Bronx Stories’ Showcases Borough’s Best

Friday marked the last Bronx Stories event of the year and it being my first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. To fill you in, Bronx Stories is a storytelling event (including various mediums like music, poetry, fiction, spoken word, etc.) that’s run by the Bronx Museum of the Arts.  It features artists with ties to Bronx in some way, shape, or form and opens the floor up to any brave soul willing to share their work at the end. This Friday’s line up included author and executive director of BAAD!, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, poets Skye Cabrera and Latanya DeVaughn, and musician Craig Tindal.

Each storyteller chose a piece or exhibit in the museum to reflect upon and performed their interpretation of it. As corny as it sounds, I was moved by each performance. They each had something unique and poignant to offer and you should definitely look them up and show some love to these awesome Bronxites.

Oh, did I mention that all of this was free? Yep. The next Bronx Stories event will be in February, I’ll be sure to upload a remider post. I consider the Bronx Museum to be one of the borough’s best hidden gems and though I wish I could keep it to myself, I think it’d be better if even more people knew about it, especially in the Bronx.

Of course, I forgot my camera so I had to use my my Lackberry, but here is one that came out somewhat decent, featuring Charles-Rice Gonzalez.

 

 

Riverdale Festival of the Arts

It was a gorgeous day in the Bronx yesterday giving the borough the opportunity to show off a bit. The Tour de Bronx gave residents and visitors alike the chance to check out historic districts and neighborhoods. According to NY1, over 6,000 people participated this year, which is awesome.

I, unfortunately, don’t own a bike, so I travelled cross-borough to the Riverdale Festival of the Arts to see what was happening.

Most of the activities were geared towards kids, so I walked around to check out some of the paintings up for sale and a performance by Alma and Rale  Micic.

I stopped by the Bronx Museum of the Arts table (the representative was super nice) and got some info on the Bronx Stories series, which I had heard about, but never got a chance to go to. That’ll change come December 9th for the next installment, I’m really looking forward to it.