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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Celebration in Brooklyn

Music: It was a celebration to be sure! As Maa Sa Akhi Performing Arts Academy held its 16th annual concert recital, students and loyal supporters arrived in droves ready to clap and enjoy celebrating fantastic performances. Comment.

Next group of Griswolds heads for Walley World

Movies: National Lampoon’s Vacation is an enduring film franchise launched back in 1978 by the late John Hughes, the brains behind such Chicago-centric screen classics as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Trains, Planes & Automobiles; Home Alone; Uncle Buck; and Baby’s Day Out, to name a few. Comment.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Best of Enemies (R for sexuality, nudity and profanity) File footage documentary featuring the series of nine, nationally-televised, live-TV debates between liberal Gore Vidal and arch-conservative William F. Buckley covering such hot-button topics as politics, religion and sexuality, which degenerated into name-calling affairs where the pair referred to each other as a “crypto-Nazi” and a “queer.” Comment.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oxygen makes soulful Reggae

Music: Musicians no longer operate in one set genre. New emerging artists and bands are fusing sounds to generate their own new genre that speaks to their uniqueness and aesthetic. Comment.

‘Life in the Rain Forest’

Arts & Theater: Torrential rains in the Caribbean last year created a damp and dense atmosphere in the forested area where my family and I vacationed. The flora and fauna challenged us. We endured the constant buzz of the various insects. The melodious sounds of the birds, the beautiful flowers and plants were a joy to behold. Comment.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

All day feast on Jamaican Jerk favorites

Food: Queens might still be covered in jerk spices, smoke and proud Jamaican flags. With high praises, full bellies, cooking demos and plenty more, the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival took over the borough’s Roy Wilkins Park for a day of “food, family and fun.” Comment.

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‘Who are We?’ asks Kaios International

Arts & Theater: In asking the simple question, “Who are We?,” the Brooklyn-based Kaios International Mas Band hopes to be a strong contender in this year’s West Indian American Day Carnival Parade. Comment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One Destiny to showcase ‘Fantasy Of The Falls’

Arts & Theater: One Destiny Mas band, with costume designer Zeelema Verwayne at the helm, will showcase Guyana’s diverse culture, bringing into focus the country’s renowned Kaieteur Water Falls in a themed “Fantasy of the Falls” presentation. Comment.

A bittersweet boxing tale of redemption

Movies: Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) surmounted incredible odds en route to becoming the World Light Heavyweight Boxing Champ. After all, his prospects weren’t exactly brilliant, given how he’d been abandoned by his mother at birth. Comment.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Shades of Face/Off in brain transplant sci-fi thriller

Movies: In the 1997 thriller “Face/Off,” an FBI agent underwent a face transplant in order to crack a terrorist plot. It’s hard not to think of that film while watching “Self/Less” which revolves around another radical surgical procedure, namely, the implantation of a cancer patient’s brain inside the cranium of a healthy individual. Comment.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

THE TEMPEST TAKES HARLEM

Arts & Theater: What does the Caribbean and William Shakespeare have in common? In many depictions of his famous plays, the characters are often depicted to be white and set in the many countries of Europe. The Cultural Theatre of Harlem, however, is taking Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and infusing an Afro-Caribbean layer to create a universal story. Comment.

Friday, July 17, 2015

New Generation presents ‘Dream Catcher’

Arts & Theater: In continuing the legacy of her late Trinidadian-born mother Kathyann Hernandez, who went to the Great Beyond two years ago, Patrice Simmons says she is maintaining Hernandez’s high standards in presenting “Dream Catcher” this Labor Day. Comment.

BRAATA to tour Trinidad

Arts & Theater: Braata Productions, a New York based cultural non-profit, has joined the list of charitable organizations turning to crowdfunding as a means of raising funds. Comment.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

SoundCity Mas’ ‘Sucre’ for Labor Day

Arts & Theater: With about 30 years of mas-making experience, the producers of the Brooklyn-based SoundCity Mas are hoping to make a difference on Labor Day with “Sucre.” Comment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MLK Concert Series take a hit

Music: Once regarded as one of the best deals in Brooklyn, the annual Martin Luther King summer concert series returns with an abbreviated lineup that begins and end with only four performance dates. Comment.

Sneakers get a second chance

Fashion: Make your way down Flatbush Avenue between Hawthorne Street and Cortelyou Road. What do you notice? On each passing block you might take note of a surplus of nail and hair salons, Chinese American and Caribbean American restaurants and not to mention a plethora of sneaker stores. Comment.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Thousands attend African Arts Festival

Arts & Theater: The International African Arts Festival (IAAF) began in 1971 as the African Street Carnival, a PTA’s block party fundraiser for an independent school in Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn with local entertainers, about 20 arts and crafts vendors, along with food prepared by the parents. Almost 2,000 people came to the event and it was a success. Comment.

South Jersey Carib fest celebrates 15th anniversary

Music: The South Jersey Caribbean Cultural and Development Organization (SJCCDO) last Saturday celebrated its 15th Annual South Jersey Caribbean Festival at Wiggins Park at the Camden waterfront. Comment.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Turn up your grilling experience with Grace!

Food: The start of summer is literally days away. Barbeques, picnics and cookouts will be taking place in every community across the country by the thousands But there is something special, mysterious and magical about the mouthwatering flavors of the Jamaican jerk and barbeque seasonings and spices. Comment.

REGGAE SUMFEST

Music: KINGSTON, Jamaica – The buzz has begun about Reggae Sumfest, the acclaimed “greatest reggae show on earth.” Slated to begin next week at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, some of the biggest names in reggae are billed. Comment.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

‘Dingolay’ presents - Rave The Yellow Edition

Arts & Theater: Dingolay’s mas band one-color concept has put them in good standing. With a third place win at the 2014 Labor Day Carnival on Eastern Parkway, the band is now positioning itself to take home first prize when it invades the parade on Monday, Sept. 7. Comment.

Reggaefarians rally ‘Round the Red, Gold & Green

Music: KINGSTON, Jamaica – On one day, July One — acclaimed by reggae music lovers as International Reggae Day — a global celebration by more than 23 countries dominated the music industry by hosting events marking 21 years of tribute to the genre birthed in Jamaica. Comment.

Hot ‘N spicy but clean comedy

Arts & Theater: It is said that laughter is good for your health. A hearty laugh can change the outlook of a bad day, even if only for the few moments a chuckle might last. Comment.

The life of a 1960s Harlem kid

Books: Your last family reunion was a big one. It was fun, too, and eye-opening. You hadn’t really stopped to think about how many people are related to you until you saw aunts you hadn’t seen in decades and met cousins you didn’t even know you had. Comment.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

11-yr-old struggles to control her emotions

Movies: Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) was understandably unhappy when she learned from her mother (Diane Lane) and father (Kyle MacLachlan) that the family was relocating from Minnesota to San Francisco. After all, she’d be leaving behind her home, her hockey team and all her BFFs. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 10,000 Km (R for profanity, graphic sexuality and brief frontal nudity) Romantic dramedy, set in L.A. and Barcelona, about a couple’s (David Verdaguer and Natalia Tena) struggle to maintain a long-distance relationship. (In Spanish, Catalan and English with subtitles) Comment.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: The 11th Hour (Unrated) Psychological drama about a successful businesswoman (Kim Basinger) who resorts to desperate measures to become a mother after being informed by her doctor that she’s barren. Supporting cast includes Jordan Prentice, Sebastian Schipper and Peter Stormare. Comment.

Healthy twists on Caribbean dishes

Food: Can organic, healthy and Caribbean be said all in the same sentence? Words such as rich and heavy are often used to describe Caribbean food with jerk chicken, rice and peas and more leading the charge with hefty portions. Nola Ro is combatting these affiliations with her healthy twists on what Caribbean American food can be from tasty hummus filled cucumber bites to coconut wings. Comments (2).

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Loads of fun at Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival

Music: A cultural extravaganza to dial up the fun is what organizers have planned for the 5th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival NY on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at Roy Wilkins Park, Queens, New York. The popular Western Union Cultural Stage, with the multi-talented MC Sherry Morgan, promise loads of fun for adults and kids alike as fans feast on their favorite jerk cuisine. Comment.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Carib music in Central Park

Music: Reggae and soca fans reveled in Central Park to some of their favorite recording artists Saturday despite heavy showers and threatened thunderstorms in order to help celebrate the 35th anniversary of VP Records, an independent label reputed for its consistent dedication to the distribution of Caribbean music. Comment.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Street art inspires August Martin students

Arts & Theater: August Martin High School is known as the “worst school” in New York with a graduation rate of 39 percent. Students attending August Martin often describe their school as a jail or mental institution, however, their description does not apply to a too strict faculty or over-representation of school safety officers. Comment.

Vincentian designer celebrates anniversary

Fashion: With music pumping and patrons reveling in the atmosphere, leading Vincentian fashion designer, Zulema N. George, recently celebrated in style the third anniversary of AK Couture Boutique & Beauty Bar in the epicenter of the Caribbean community in Brooklyn. Comments (1).

An ‘Invincible’ thriller for the king of pop

Music: On Friday, June 19, “Invincible”… A Glorious Tribute To The King of Pop made its New York premiere at the Apollo Theater in NYC. This totally fabulous production was adorned with precision lighting, timely bursts of fog and of course a collection of MJ’s most memorable outfits. Comment.

Caribbean African Reggae Fest

Music: Music is the international language that transcends culture and state lines. New York is a hub for international acts to reach another edge of their audience as seen in popular music festivals like Prospect Park’s concert series at the Bandshell. Comment.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Self-reverential sequel revives horror franchise

Movies: How do you revive an expiring film franchise that was ostensibly put out of its misery over a dozen years ago after audiences became jaded with over-saturated visual effects they no longer found spellbinding? Comment.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

City Council cite veteran Jamaican artists

Music: It was a busy Saturday for Councilwoman Laurie A. Cumbo but she carved out enough time from her hectic schedule to present citations to veteran performers whose contribution to Jamaica’s music industry is indelibly imprinted in the nation’s historical archives. Comment.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Amy (R for profanity and drug use) Bittersweet biopic revisiting the rise and fall of Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse who died of alcohol poising in 2011 at the age of 27. Featuring appearances by Tony Bennett, Mark Ronson and Mos Def. Comment.

Celebrate International Reggae Day July 1

Music: At the start of July, the world will be consumed by Reggae music. For 24 hours, International Reggae Day (IRD) Festival – a global media festival – will celebrate the best of Jamaica’s creativity and contributions worldwide. Comment.

Friday, June 26, 2015

MUSICAL ODYSSEY

Music: You know Carnival is here when steel pan yards are alive with music in the wee hours of the night. Pan music isn’t constrained to just Carnival season, a rich culture and history is beaten into every oil drum. Comment.

Tent prez happy with semi picks

Music: After being weary of what he had characterized as failure to select, over the years, very deserving calypsonians from his tent, the president of the Brooklyn-based Dynamite Calypso Tent, Ainsley Primus, has expressed delight with the number of selections for this year’s semifinal round in the National Calypso Competition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Comment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dine Caribbean in fine style

Food: Throw the word “diet,” “waist trainer” and the phrase “summer body” out the window. The second annual Caribbean Restaurant Week is upon us, from June 22 - 29. Fourteen different locations are prepared to satisfy your taste buds, stomach and most importantly your wallet with discounts prices. Comment.

Caribbean flair and fashion

Fashion: Georgetown-based fashion designer Sonia Noel literally turned the rotunda of Brooklyn Borough Hall into a runway on June 12. In just 45 minutes the Guyana Fashion Week CEO was triumphant in hosting 16 designers, presenting more than 40 pieces of garment and accessories, all the while showcasing the multi-cultural identity of the couturiers. Comment.

Sex abuse survivor copes with trauma

Movies: Amy (Amy Everson) has been left so haunted by demons after years of unspecified sexual abuse that today she dreams of crushing a rapist to death with her thighs. She also fantasizes about gouging out his eyes and sticking a pin in a penis. Comment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Foodies taste the islands

Food: Two words generally make a crowd of people happy: free and food. Brooklyn’s Borough Hall Caribbean American Heritage Month celebrations combined the two concepts Friday, June 12 with the annual Taste of the Caribbean event. Comment.

Move to drive Caribbean fashion forward

Fashion: The situation is dire when it is in the red. When it comes to any business, financials dipping into the red zone can signify possible closure due to poor money management, marketing etc. Comment.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Batkid Begins (PG for mature themes) Make-a-wish documentary recounting how the citizens of San Francisco collaborated to make five- year-old, cancer patient Miles Scott’s dream of becoming Batman a reality. Comment.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mowatt returns for another ‘groove’

Music: Veteran reggae singer Judy Mowatt, who thrilled fans as part of the Marcia Griffiths & friends package at last summer’s Groovin’ In The Park concert in New York, has been invited to perform at the festival for the second consecutive year. Beres Hammond is the only artiste who has performed at the annual festival twice. Comment.

Friday, June 19, 2015

BANDSHELL COMES ALIVE

Music: Some of the best things in life are free and when it comes to this year’s Prospect Park Bandshell concert, it was no exception! Barbados’ legendary Krosfyah played speedy, exhilarating soca at the June 11, 2015 Prospect Park’s Bandshell. Comment.

Hot like the sun

Music: Dancehall / gospel DJ Stitchie is scorching hot these days. The release of his new song titled ‘Letter to Dad’ has got everyone talking. Comment.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chef Sam makes street food for every island

Food: New Yorkers crave anything fast, easy and most importantly efficient. Show me a New Yorker who is not on-the-go and it is 99.9 percent most likely that they are actually a tourist. Speaking to Caribbean-American New Yorkers, Chef Samuel Branch makes island street food perfect for those New York minutes we are unable to spare. Comment.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets (Unrated) Black Lives Matter documentary about the trial of a middle-aged white man for the murder at a Florida gas station of Jordan Davis, an unarmed black teenager sitting in the back seat of a car playing loud music. Comment.

The boys are back for a bawdy adventure

Movies: “Entourage” went off the air in 2011, after enjoying a phenomenal, eight-year run on the HBO Network, thanks to its refreshingly-authentic take on cutthroat world of Hollywood. That semi-autobiographical TV-series revolving around the irreverent alpha-male antics of a fictional movie star and his posse was inspired by the life of its executive producer, Mark Wahlberg. Comment.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

DANCE CARIBBEAN

Arts & Theater: By Alley Olivier Who are you? What are you? Where are you from? These seemingly simple questions turn out to be loaded with layers of complexity to explore through what should be a short answer. Exploring the dimensions of what contributes in shaping our identities while managing the influence of Caribbean heritage – whether native or a descendant – Candace Thompson aims to push those conversations through dance. Comment.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Calypso Musical still relevant

Arts & Theater: It is said that art reflects reality. It is also said that history repeats itself. For “De Roaring 70’s A Calypso Musical,” despite the time period seeming so long ago, the message of struggle and oppression rings true today. Comment.

Dread publishes ‘Half’ Told memoir

Books: In a memoir published by Akashik Books, Doctor Dread reveals “The Half That’s Never Been Told,” a 256-page account about his encounters and travels promoting Jamaica’s reggae music and in addition tells another story that advances his own investments in the genre. Comment.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ida Owens, artist and educator

Arts & Theater: There is an extraordinary artist teaching art to school children in grades K through eight at the Gordon Parks School for Inquisitive Minds in Rosedale, New York. Her name is Ida Owens. She has been teaching art at The Gordon Parks School since 2007, when she also started a tradition, which has become a mainstay for the school, the student body, and the community, The Annual Arts Gala. Comment.

National Bakery caters to bread lovers

Food: Nothing better than the food that reminds you of home - whether that is in the states or the islands. Bread happens to be one of those foods you cannot avoid. Comment.

Bridging The Gap Fashion Show

Fashion: A bevy of designers will celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month on June 12, with a multi-ethnic fashion show titled “Bridging The Gap -Connecting Caribbean Style” set to take place at Brooklyn Borough Hall from 6 pm. Comment.

Chronicle Atlantic Symphony celebrates 49 years

Music: The pristine sound of the Chronicle Atlantic Symphony Steel Orchestra is still as sweet to the ear as it was 49 years ago, when musical visionary, conductor, composer, Rudy Bishop entertained the Guyanese community, and pan lovers around the world. Comment.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lin Shaye reprises role as psychic

Movies: The good news about “Insidious 3” is that you don’t have to be cognizant of the develoments in the first two episodes to follow this one’s plotline. That’s because it’s a stand-alone prequel which doesn’t revolve around the Lamberts, the family haunted by ghosts in the franchise’s previous installments. Comment.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Brooklyn Boro Prez kicks off Caribbean Heritage Month

Arts & Theater: President Barack Obama declared June as Caribbean Heritage Month on May 29, 2015. Friday June 5, 2015 Brooklyn’s Borough President Eric L. Adams kicked off his office’s month-long celebration featuring an array of Caribbean-fused activities. Comments (1).

Celebrating the best of Caribbean cuisine, culture

Food: Foodies across New York City and beyond can look forward to sumptuous food and beverage offerings with the return of Caribbean Restaurant Week New York, which will run from June 22 – 29! Comment.

Taste of Africa during NY African Restaurant Week

Food: Who’s hungry? New York African Restaurant Week 2015 (NYARW) kicked off May 31 with 23 different restaurants prepared to fill your waiting bellies. The NYARW is an annual cultural event encouraging people of all ethnicities to expose themselves to the spices and tastes of Africa. Comment.

Dancer’s spirit

Arts & Theater: Put on your dancing shoes. Whether you’re two or 102, there is a dancer’s spirit itching to burst out to the right chord of music. Comment.

Friday, June 5, 2015

IRD 21: Celebrates Global Reggae Culture

Music: Big plans are now in motion to mark the 21st anniversary celebration of International Reggae Day. Comment.

BAM R&B Festival at MetroTech

Music: Events producer, Danny Kapilian promises that this 21st year of the R&B Festival at MetroTech will be fantastic. The festival opened on Thursday, June 4 with Bobby Rush a known show stopper and R&B legend. The festival which features 10 noon-time Thursday concerts will end on Aug. 6. Comment.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cicely Tyson’s insistence on quality roles

Movies: Cicely L. Tyson’s parents, both of them immigrants from the island of Nevis, were apparently so deeply religious that their daughter’s desiring to be involved in movies and such was the kind of pursuit deemed forbidden in the household. Comment.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grenadian trailblazer for ‘Schure’

Music: A Hollywood spotlight will focus on Grenadian Yvette Noel-Schure on June 19 when she receives Caribbean Heritage Organization’s Trailblazer Award. Comments (2).

Broke college student moonlights as stripper

Movies: Cash-strapped Katherine McCoy (Vivica A. Fox) is holding down a couple of jobs to make ends meet while praying that her sons stay on the straight and narrow path until they can make it out of the ghetto. Though grown, both boys still live at home; yet neither is helping their struggling single-mom much, financially. Comment.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rihanna in Cuba’s capital to record music video

Music: HAVANA (AP) _ Pop star Rihanna drew a crowd Friday while cruising down Havana’s Malecon shore boulevard in a classic American convertible from the 1950s. Comment.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Doomsdays (Unrated) Pre-apocalyptic comedy following the misadventures of a couple of slackers (Justin Rice and Leo Fitzpatrick) with a penchant for squatting in unoccupied summer homes in the Catskill Mountains. Supporting cast features Brian Charles Johnson, Jenny Bradley and Laura Campbell. Comment.

Relationship advice from the guys

Books: Relationship advice from the guys! On Thursday, May 20, Dr. Jean Alerte along with Frank Gateau held a book signing in Brooklyn, N.Y. for the newly released relationship book, “Single Man, Married Man.” Comment.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Celebrate Brooklyn 2015 opens with Chaka Khan

Music: The 37th Annual Celebrate Brooklyn Performing Arts Festival for 2015 opens with a concert by Grammy Award winning icon, Chaka Khan on Wednesday, June 3 at 8:00 p.m. at the Prospect Park Bandshell located at Prospect Park West and 9th Street, Brooklyn. Gate will open at 6:30 p.m. Comment.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

‘Fried Chicken & Latkes’

Arts & Theater: Rain Pryor’s one-woman autobiographical play will have its World Premiere at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre (NBT) in Harlem, running Tuesday, June 2, through Sunday, June 28. “Fried Chicken & Latkes” is the actress-writer-comedian’s funny take on her mixed-race heritage and growing up the daughter of one of the world’s most beloved and iconic funny men, comic genius Richard Pryor. Comment.

Vibrant headwraps

Fashion: Atop every woman’s head is a crown. Whether it is invisible or tangibly catching the rays of the sun, celebrating women’s strength and affluence go beyond one month or day. Paola Mathe, a Haitian native, is leading the celebration of women and their many hues of beauty through her fashionable, statement-making headwraps. Comment.

Friday, May 29, 2015

LEGACY OF ‘ROCKERS’

Music: It takes more than good lyrics and a nice sound to stay relevant in the music business. In an indsutry dominated by one-hit wonders, passing fads and an audience with a by-the-minute attention span, artists have challenges of rising and staying at the top. The only direction to go is down. Comment.

Harrowing earthquake adventure in San Francisco

Movies: If you were afraid to swim in the ocean after watching “Jaws,” you might be just as reluctant to visit San Francisco after seeing this spectacular disaster flick. Directed by Brad Peyton (Journey 2), “San Andreas” features a character-driven plot as riveting as its dizzying special f/x. Comment.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

AphroChic fuses culture and interior design

Books: Personal style goes far beyond the clothes on your back. How you style your home after graduating from the cutesy designs of your college dorm room courtesy of Target, says a lot about you, your interests and maybe even your cultural background. For the happily married Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason, interior design and culture go hand in hand. Comment.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Get into the hype with Majah Hype

Music: All things that are different boil down to expose that they are very much the same. In the Caribbean, there is a celebration of the differences in language, slang, food and even music but there is a thread undeniably connecting the people of Jamaica to Trinidad and beyond. Comment.