Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights Returns in 2019 Bigger, Brighter and Greener

  • Bigger, Brighter and Greener – Holiday Celebration to Light Up the Bronx 

  • from November 21 to January 5

  • Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights is sponsored by Con Edison

As one of New York City’s greatest holiday traditions and for the first time since 2007, the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights will return in 2019 during the most festive time of the year with dazzling light displays that will cover and sparkle acres of the zoo. Visitors will be able to walk through the zoo to experience wildlife-themed LED displays, custom Asian lanterns, animated light shows on the historic Astor Court and more.

“We are bringing an updated version of a beloved holiday tradition back to the Bronx Zoo for the first time since 2007,” said John F. Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “The LED lights, animal-themed lanterns, and animated light shows will be set amongst the historic buildings on an expanded footprint that will take people throughout the zoo. The LED technology will also allow us to be incredibly energy efficient. We believe our visitors will come away really enjoying this ‘green’ holiday experience!”

Visitors can celebrate the holiday season with an enchanting adventure to warm up the entire family.

Festivities will include: 

  • The Ice Jubilee at the Bronx Zoo Includes an Ice Bar, Ice Throne & Ice Slide (December 21 to 31) – Holiday revelers will be able to take festive photo ops on the ice throne, where ice kings and queens can take their seat on an oversized throne made completely of ice, as well as breaking out your inner penguin and slide down a 20-foot ice slide. Visitors can also grab a specialty cocktail at the zoo’s 12-foot ice bar which will be available for purchase during Holiday Lights operating hours.

  • Nightly Ice Carving Demonstrations (Ongoing) – Throughout Holiday Lights from 5 to 9 pm, professional ice carvers will debut their talents as they use chainsaws and chisels to carve holiday and animal-themed sculptures with a live audience. All finished sculptures will be on display throughout the Dancing Crane Plaza.

  • Ice Carving Competition (December 28) – On Saturday, December 28 from 6 to 9 pm, the zoo will take ice carving to the next level when five professional ice sculptures will create 20 sculptures in an elimination style “speed carving” format over a three-hour period. This format is ideal for spectators to witness carvings formed in less than 30 minutes before their eyes. The competition will be emceed by an experienced carver to entertain the crowd and provide fun facts, as well as facilitating spectator participation. Visitors can also get involved in the carving judging. The 20 new sculptures will be displayed for future viewing.

  • Carolers, Characters, Train Rides & Lantern Safari – Visitors will be able to enjoy classic and modern holiday tunes sung by Victorian-dressed live carolers throughout the zoo, as well as taking photos with some of the zoo’s seasonal characters including lions, giraffes, gorillas, penguins and a friendly snowman. Families can also take a journey “around the world” along a dedicated section of the park that will be illuminated by hand-created lantern sculptures, while also learning about the work WCS scientists are doing to help save various species. Train rides will also be available for the whole family at Astor Court.

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights is sponsored by Con Edison.

Tickets for the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights are priced at $29.95 for adults, $22.95 for children, and $28.95 for seniors.

Hours for Holiday Lights will be 5 to 9 pm Sunday to Thursday, and 5 to 10 pm Friday and Saturday.

Holiday Lights will be closed on December 24. The Bronx Zoo and Holiday Lights will be closed on December 25 and January 1. 

For tickets and more information, visit

About the Bronx Zoo: The Bronx Zoo, located on 265 acres of hardwood forest in Bronx, NY, opened on Nov. 8, 1899. It is world-renowned for its leadership in the areas of animal welfare, husbandry, veterinarian care, education, science and conservation. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the flagship park of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) which manages the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks including the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium. Our curators and animal care staff work to save, propagate, and sustain populations of threatened and endangered species. We have educated and inspired more than 400 million visitors at our zoos and aquarium since our opening and host approximately 4 million guests at our parks each year – including about a half-million students annually. The Bronx Zoo is the largest youth employer in the borough of the Bronx, providing opportunity and helping to transform lives in one of the most under-served communities in the nation. The Bronx Zoo is the subject of THE ZOO, a docu-series aired world-wide on Animal Planet. For more information, visit

ShakesBEER - A Shakespearean Pub Crawl!

Do you like BEER? Do you like Shakespear? Then here you go!

New York Shakespeare Exchange (NYSX) announces the next  ShakesBEER, NYC's original Shakespearean Pub Crawl, on May 11 & 18, 2019 from 3-6 PM. The pub crawl begins at The Gaf (401 West 48th Street, NYC) at 2:30pm and moves to 123 Burger, Shot, Beer (738 10th Ave, NYC), The Waylon (736 10th Ave, NYC), and Perdition (692 10th Ave, NYC). 

Check-in is at 2:30 pm at The Gaf. Tickets are $49and are available at:

Tickets include performance and four drinks (beer, wine, and select cocktails). $25 "sober" tickets are also available (use discount code "SOBER" at checkout), which include admission only.

It's impossible to have just one! NY Shakespeare Exchange returns to Hell's Kitchen to serve up a fresh, new round of ShakesBEER, NYC's Original Shakespearean Pub Crawls, in May.

The latest edition of NYSX's wildly popular event, themed "The Games We Play!" will explore some of the great challenges, contests, and competitions in Shakespeare's most troubled dramatic relationships, including scenes from Hamlet, Henry IV Part 1, and The Merchant of Venice, and Much Ado About Nothing, directedby Martavius Parrish, Shane Breaux, and Ross Williams, featuring Alisha Espinosa, Brendan Averett, Tara Pacheco, Philip Gregory Burke, Katelin Wilcox, Alex Michell, Aurea Tomeski, and C Bain.

"...a great, boozy, old time, which mixes the best of drunken squalor with the highest of art. William Shakespeare would most definitely approve." 


"By the time the fourth and final bar and beer roll around, the edges of time and space blur, and I feel transported to Elizabethan times when crowds of regular people would gather for premieres of plays we now revere and guzzle beers as a community. Huzzah!" - Paste Magazine

"Whether you're a Shakespearean, a beer enthusiast, or simply looking for an unorthodox outing, the infectious spirit of the Bard takes over for an afternoon." - Plays to See

Produced by NY Shakespeare Exchange (NYSX), a company that inspires conversation and builds communal experiences through the work of William Shakespeare, the ShakesBEER Pub Crawls treat audiences to an immersive dipso-literary experience that harks back to Elizabethan times. But it is the ability of the Bard's timeless poetry to shed light on contemporary issues that NYSX is most eager to share.

New York Shakespeare Exchange is internationally known for its The Sonnet Project (in which more than 1,500 volunteer filmmakers from around the world have joined the discussion by creating short films in New York locations based on all 154 Shakespeare sonnets). NYSX produces at least one mainstage production a year.  In 2016, NYSX produced Hamlet10, in which 10 actors played the Danish Prince, and a stunningly relevant period-adaptation of Shakespeare's epic poem, "The Rape of Lucrece," which delved into sexual violence against women.  This past season NYSX staged a critically acclaimed, smart phone-obsessed Much Ado About Nothing, which plugged into the zeitgeist of fake news and alternative facts.  The company's most recent production, a new adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, was conceived and directed by Brendan Averett and ran in January/February 2019 at the Secret Theater in Long Island City, NY.

In the coming months, NY Shakespeare Exchange will offer a number of exciting community-based events. The next iteration of their Freestyle Lab series-part performance, part lecture, and part town hall conversation-presented free of charge on May 21 at the 53rd Street branch of the NY Public Library will use the current ban on transgender military service as a springboard for exploring how our idea of those who serve might broaden and change when we consider the experience of trans service members. The evening, entitled "Armor as Strong: Trans Warriors through a Shakespearean Lens" will feature trans actors performing speeches and scenes from some of Shakespeare's greatest tales of military conflict.

Britain's Top Swing Band 'The Jive Aces' Heads to Birdland, Dec 5-8

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The UK’s number one swing/jive band and “Britain's Got Talent” stars, The Jive Aces, present their new show “Jump Jive and Wail” at The Birdland Jazz Club at 7 p.m. on December 5–8.

The show features as special guest the glamorous American-Italian singer Annemarie Rosano. From beginning to end the show is full of vivid colors, ’40s and ’50s songs and rhythms with a dash of rock ’n’ roll. The show earned rave reviews at this year’s legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the band has exhilarated audiences all over the world.

The Jive Aces, who became famous for putting the notoriously grumpy Simon Cowell in “a good mood,” just received the 2018 prestigious Music Award for Best Band in London. The boys in their hallmark yellow suits have appeared on many world renown and world-class stages from Glastonbury to the Montreux Jazz Festival. TV appearances have included “Good Day LA,” “Strictly Come Dancing” (Dancing with the Stars)” and many shows on BBC Television. They have headlined at the Royal Albert Hall and performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

Their repertoire stretches from the timeless tunes of the swing era to the glitz of the Rat Pack. They feature songs made famous by such greats as Louis Prima, Bobby Darin, The Andrew Sisters and Ella Fitzgerald along with a wide selection of originals taken from their 10 studio albums. Their love for Louis Prima’s music led them to work with Prima’s wife and muse, icon Keely Smith, and their daughter, Toni Elizabeth Prima. It is from their affection for the Prima era that they got their now legendary jazzy rocking rhythm and spectacular showmanship. Theirs is not just great music but pure entertainment—with a British slant. The show will leave any audience uplifted and buzzing. 

The band have also worked with many of the top names in the business, including John Travolta, Van Morrison and Chick Corea and their recent charity single was produced by Mike Stock of Stock, Aitken and Waterman fame. 

Tickets are $20 to $30 and can be purchased at For more information on the band, visit Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @JiveAces and on Facebook @TheJiveAces.


America’s failure to provide accurate sex education in schools is comedy’s gain.


WHO: Host Dani Faith Leonard (Big Vision Empty Wallet, Lez Bomb)

Emmett Jack Lundberg (BROTHERS)

Keisha Zollar (Comedy Central)

Joanna Hausmann (Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix, Joanna Rants)

Selena Coppock ((Amazon's Red Oaks, VH1, NY Times)

Anna Suzuki (She's Gotta Have It, AzN PoP)

Eman El-Husseini (Just for Laughs)

WHAT: Hosted by Dani Faith Leonard, ADULT SEX ED combines personal storytelling from a diverse roster of guests, scripted sketches, and exploratory deep dives on sexual topics in a hilarious, spicy, and inclusive setting. Every storytelling segment concludes with an easily achievable and practical takeaway for the audience. The goal for these action items: to encourage our viewers to engage in immediate, healthy, and awesome sex. Okay, not totally immediate - we’ll ask them to Uber home first.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 28th at 9:00pm

WHERE: Caveat - 21A Clinton St. New York NY 10002

HOW: $15, 21+ - ticket link - Facebook event

On Wednesday, November 28th, Dani Faith Leonard brings ADULT SEX ED to Caveat, combining personal storytelling from a diverse roster of guests with scripted sketches and exploratory deep dives on sexual topics in a hilarious, spicy, and inclusive setting. Every storytelling segment concludes with an easily achievable and practical takeaway for the audience. The goal for these action items: to encourage our viewers to engage in immediate, healthy, and awesome sex. Okay, not totally immediate - we’ll ask them to Uber home first. This show is 21+. Tickets are $15 and available at

Photo credit: Caleb McCotter

Photo credit: Caleb McCotter

Dani Faith Leonard is a comedian, writer, and producer. In 2010, she co-founded BIG VISION EMPTY WALLET, an inclusion-focused incubator that develops and amplifies unique voices in film and TV, as well as BIG VISION CREATIVE, a NY-based, but palm-tree-loving production company. Recent producing projects include feature film THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, SXSW 2017 Audience Award Winner released in theaters last Fall in conjunction with UN Women, and feature film LEZ BOMB, executive produced with Bobby Farrelly, which opened in theaters on November 9th. Dani performs as a storyteller, has a background in sketch comedy, and almost dies or kills others on every vacation she takes. Like her new live show, ADULT SEX ED, her work typically sits at the intersection of comedy and activism and is best paired with a tequila cocktail.

Instagram: @danifleonard

Apollo Theater Releases Holidays At The Apollo Line Up Featuring CeCe Winans, The Walls Group, Hezekiah Walker and More

Celebrate Holidays at the Apollo With Festive Programs for Audiences of All Ages

COCA-COLA WINTER WONDERLAND Under the Apollo Theater’s Iconic Marquee

Saturday, December 15 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.


Featuring the Apollo Stars of Tomorrow Alumni Christian Guardino, Alexis Morrast, Leah Jenea Ganes and Emily Carr

With Special Guests The Walls Group

Hosted by Capone

Saturday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m.



CeCe Winans and Hezekiah Walker with the Love Fellowship Choir

Hosted by Marcus Wiley

Saturday, December 22 at 2:00 p.m.


A Night of Dance, Culture, Community, and Family

Featuring Abdel R. Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre,

With Special Guest

Sonia Sanchez

Hosted by Imhotep Gary Byrd

Sunday, December 29 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.

Harlem, NY – November 6, 2018 – This December, the Apollo Theater will celebrate the holidays with offerings for the entire family. Holidays at the Apollo includes programs that will celebrate culture, music, and community during the festive season. Additionally, as part of Holidays at the Apollo, patrons can save $3 per ticket by bringing a donated item (children’s toy, home goods, or canned good) to one of the holiday shows.

Highlights of the Holidays at the Apollo include:

Coca-Cola Winter Wonderland (Saturday, December 15) the theater’s free annual family event taking place under the iconic Apollo marquee, features live entertainment, presentations, a visit from Santa, and a toy and book drive for a Harlem charity.

9th Annual Amateur Night Holiday Special (Saturday, December 15), a special edition of the theater’s signature program Amateur Night at the Apollo showcasing talented young alumni of the show’s “Apollo Stars of Tomorrow” category. Performers include, Christian Guardino, Alexis Morrast, Leah Jenea Ganes and Emily Carr, with special guests The Walls Group. The holiday special is hosted by Capone.

Holiday Joy: A Gospel Celebration (Saturday, December 22) featuring CeCe Winans and Hezekiah Walker with the Love Fellowship Choir. The concert is hosted by comedian Marcus Wiley.

12th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night (Saturday, December 29) now in its 12th year at the Apollo, honors the principles of Kwanzaa through music, dance, and community celebration featuring Abel R. Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, and poetSonia Sanchez.

Save $3 per ticket by bringing an item (children’s toy, home goods, or canned good) for donation to one of the holiday shows. Use code GIVE to save. Limit to 4 tickets per transaction. Cannot be combined with any other offer.

Please see below for a full schedule of Holidays at the Apollo events:

Coca-Cola Winter Wonderland

Saturday, December 15 from 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Before the Apollo Amateur Night Holiday Special, the Apollo and Coca-Cola are partnering to bring the magic of the holiday season to Harlem. Under the Apollo’s iconic marquee, Coca-Cola will offer picture-taking with Santa Claus and singing under the marquee with local Harlem choirs, as well as other holiday-themed activities and performances. In the spirit of giving, the afternoon will also include a toy and book drive for a local Harlem charity. This family event is hosted by Billy Mitchell, the Apollo’s tour director and in-house historian.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information visit

9th Annual Amateur Night Holiday Special

Featuring: The Apollo Amateur Night Stars of Tomorrow Alumni

And a Special Performance by The Walls Group

Saturday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m.

The Apollo Theater lights up the holiday season with the Amateur Night Holiday Special. The ninth annual event under its signature programAmateur Night at the Apollo, showcases the talented young alumni of the show’s “Apollo Stars of Tomorrow” category and will feature performances by Christian Guardino (America’s Got Talent), Alexis Morrast (Showtime at the Apollo), Leah Jenea Ganes (The Four) and Emily Carr (So You Think You Can Dance). The holiday special will be hosted by Capone and will also include a performance by special guests The Walls Group.

Tickets for the Amateur Night Holiday Special start at $22. Tickets will be available at the Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street, and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, Tickets are on sale now.

Holiday Joy: A Gospel Celebration

Featuring CeCe Winans and Hezekiah Walker with the Love Fellowship Choir

Hosted by Comedian Marcus Wiley

Saturday, December 22 at.2:00 p.m.

Join us for an afternoon of soul stirring Holiday gospel music to lift your Holiday spirits and bless your Christmas season. Cece Winans will warm your soul and Hezekiah Walker with the Love Fellowship Choir will take you higher. Marcus Wiley, host and comedian, promises to delight you and your loved ones throughout the evening.

Tickets for Holiday Joy: A Gospel Celebration start at $30 and will be available at the Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305,253 West 125th Street, and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, Tickets are on sale now.

Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night

Featuring Abdel R. Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre

With Special Guest Sonia Sanchez

Hosted by Imhotep Gary Byrd

December 29 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.

Since 2006, the Apollo has established an annual performance with Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre to commemorate the holiday tradition of Kwanzaa. The Apollo’s celebration is a joyful evening of dance and music honoring the principles of Kwanzaa—family, community, and culture. This year’s performance will include the legendary poet Sonia Sanchez

Tickets for Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night start at $25. Tickets are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street, and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, Tickets are on sale now.

Get social! For exclusive photos, updates and more use the hashtags #HolidaysAtApollo and #KwanzaaApollo

Follow the Apollo Theater:


Amateur Night at the Apollo and Holidays at the Apollo are sponsored by Coca-Cola.

The Apollo's season is made possible by generous support from Coca-Cola, Citi, Time Warner, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Jerome L. Greene Foundation.

Public support for the Apollo Theater is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

About the Apollo Theater

The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.

With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo, the world premiere theatrical reading of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s National Book Award-winning Between the World and Me, 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved. The Apollo is a performing arts presenting organization that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; global festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention; international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and Special Projects, multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Billie Holiday, James Brown, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Dave Chappelle, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Sarah Vaughan, Gladys Knight, and Luther Vandross; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. For more information visit

Apollo Theater Information

Box Office Hours:

Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Saturday: 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

HSA Masquerade Ball and After Party on Monday Oct 22 - Do not miss it!



The Masquerade Ball and After Party, one of the most anticipated events of the Fall season, will be held at The Plaza Hotel New York, on October 22nd

The HSA Masquerade Ball and After Party has become one of the hottest tickets in town, and one of the most anticipated events of the Fall season.  The Ball, returns to The Plaza Hotel New York on Monday, October 22nd, and will be hosted by Fox 5 morning show host, Lori Stokes.  This annual event attracts a diverse group of patrons, among them celebrities, socialites, politicians and press in support of arts education and more specifically, to champion and ensure the continuation of the Harlem School of the Arts at the Herb Alpert Center for the Arts, and the work it has been doing for more than 50-years. 

This year, as in the past, a handful of individuals who represent excellence in the arts and education communities will be celebrated and awarded for their outstanding contributions.  These honorees include: actor Liev Schreiber, star of the hit Showtime series, Ray Donovan. A native of San Francisco, Schreiber grew up in New York City and attended Brooklyn Tech High School before going off to train at London’s Royal Academy of Arts and Yale School of Drama, where he received his degree. He will be the recipient of the Visionary Artist Award.  

The Visionary Lineage Award will be given to both Amsale Aberra, famed fashion designer who passed away in April, and to her daughter singer/songwriter, Rachel Brown.  Amsale’s husband, Neil Brown will accept the posthumous award on her behalf and her daughter will be performing at the event.

Outstanding young actor Caleb McLaughlin, an alumnus of the Harlem School of the Arts, and one of the breakout stars of the Netflix series, Stranger Things, will be the recipient of this year’s Alumni Award.  Caleb will next be seen in director Steven Soderbergh’s film, High Flying Bird opposite another former student of HSA, Zazie Beetz who wowed audiences this summer as Domino in Deadpool 2.

Two exceptional educators will receive the Distinguished Teacher AwardRashid Silvera, a Harvard Graduate with a master’s in education, has been a devoted teacher of social studies at Scarsdale High and recently retired from the profession.  He was also a groundbreaking model who made history in the 1980’s, becoming one of only four African Americans to be featured on the cover of GQ magazine.  Tsyala Khudad-Zade, known to her students as Miss Delilah, came to the U.S. as an immigrant, from the former Russian state of Georgia, almost 40 years ago. She was hired as a music teacher at HSA by Betty Allen, the legendary mezzo-soprano, who followed the organization’s founder Dorothy Maynor, as President.  Miss Delilah is a beloved teacher and an esteemed member of the HSA music department.  These two extraordinary educators are role models, not only to the students they have taught, but to the teaching profession as a whole.   They teach because they love inspiring their students and because they are inspired by the children they teach.

A newly added component to the 2018 Masquerade Ball and After Party is the Teen Reception, to be hosted by actor/comedian Chris Rock and Malaak Compton Rock’s daughter, Zahra Savannah Rock and actor and honoree, Caleb McLaughlin. 

Last year’s event raised a record-breaking 1.3 million dollars, essential resources that allow HSA to continue providing high-quality arts education and world-class training in an environment that is empowering, stimulates creativity, and builds self-confidence. Most of the approximately 3,000 young people that the organization reaches annually come from the greater New York Metro area, as well as, Westchester and the tri-state.  Many of these young creatives come from economically depressed backgrounds, and providing scholarship support is a vital component of the organization’s mission.  In addition to raising critical funds to help sustain the organization and its programs, the Masquerade Ball and After Party serves as an important stage to showcase some of HSA’s most talented and creative young students, and the world-class training that the organization and its impressive staff provide. 

For more information on purchasing tickets and tables for the 2018 Masquerade Ball and After Party at The Plaza Hotel New York on Monday, October 22nd, visit


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About HSA at the Herb Alpert Center for the Arts

New York City’s premier community arts institution, the Harlem School of the Arts at the Herb Alpert Center for the Arts, stands uniquely apart as the sole provider of arts education in four disciplines: music, dance, theatre, art & design, all within our award-winning 37,000 square foot facility.  The School’s reputation for artistic rigor and excellence attracts students of diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds from all five New York City boroughs, as well as Westchester County, and thetristate area, which includes Connecticut and New Jersey. HSA’s alumni and faculty are counted as being some of the most talented leaders in the arts.  

 For over 50-years, HSA has enriched the lives of tens of thousands of young people ages 2-18, through world-class training in the arts. HSA offers its students the freedom to find and develop the artist and citizen within themselves, in an environment that teaches discipline, stimulates creativity, builds self-confidence and adds a dimension of beauty to their lives, empowering them to become the creative thinkers and innovative leaders of tomorrow. To learn more about the Harlem School of the Arts, please visit

VISIT INDIA for FREE: Government of India's initiative 'Bharat Ko Janiye Quiz', the date for submission of application has been extended till Oct 15

Government of India's initiative is 'Bharat Ko Janiye Quiz', the date for submission of application has been extended till Oct 15. You can win a chance to visit India and win other prizes. Check below fro details.

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Kick Off Fall with City Parks Foundation Sports Program for NYC Local Youth

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Summer fun is over and school is back in session! 

You can still enjoy your favorite summer sports all year long with 

NYC’s staple foundation, City Parks Foundation. All across the boroughs, City Parks Foundation is kicking off its 2018 Fall Sports Program for young people and seniors this September. City Parks Foundation provides free programs each year to over 12,000 New York City children and 1,000 seniors.

This Fall, City Parks Foundation will host over 300 youth and 500 seniors in 26 neighborhood parks and recreation centers for participation in FREE programs in golf, track & field, street hockey, yoga and fitness walking instruction. Registration for all programs are now open online and in person at each park site.

See below City Parks Foundation Fall sports programming/timeline:

  • CityParks Golf presented by Fondation LACOSTE  and The First Tee NYC  - September 15 - October 28

  • CityParks Track & Field presented in partnership with New York Road Runners and supported by the Randall’s Island Park Alliance  - September 8 - October 27

  • CityParks Street Hockey presented by the New York Islanders - October 2 - November 8

  • CityParks Senior Fitness presented in partnership with New York Road Runners - September 17 - October 26

For more details, checkout the link below

Free comedy 9/8 - Laugh Exchange LIVE with Dulce Sloan, Ophira Eisenberg and more

Laugh Exchange LIVE!

September 8th at Littlefield in Brooklyn

Featuring Ophira Eisenberg, Shalewa Sharpe, Usama Siddiquee and More

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For images and info, visit

WHO AND WHAT: Laugh Exchange LIVE! welcomes Ophira Eisenberg, Shalewa Sharpe, Usama Siddiquee and many more to help introduce comedy fans and performers to Laugh Exchange, a game-changing new mobile comedy app. After a pre-show red carpet with photos by Jenni Walkowiak, host Carolyn Castiglia will be joined by co-hosts from the Laugh Exchange roster to introduce a live contest version of the app, with 48 comics doing 1 minute sets each, following 6 different themes throughout. At the end, eight winners will be chosen and everyone will dance the night away with DJ Donwill. Brought to you by Laugh Exchange.

WHEN: Saturday, September 8th - doors and red carpet at 7:00pm, show at 8:00pm
WHERE: Littlefield - 635 Sackett St. Brooklyn NY
HOW: Free ticket and drink with RSVP -

On September 8th at Littlefield in Brooklyn, Laugh Exchange LIVE! welcomes Ophira Eisenberg, Shalewa Sharpe, Usama Siddiquee and many more to help introduce comedy fans and performers to Laugh Exchange, a game-changing new mobile comedy app. After a pre-show red carpet with photos by Jenni Walkowiak, host Carolyn Castiglia will be joined by co-hosts from the Laugh Exchange roster to introduce a live contest version of the app, with 48 comics doing 1 minute sets each, following 6 different themes throughout. At the end, eight winners will be chosen and everyone will dance the night away with DJ Donwill. Brought to you by Laugh Exchange. Admission is free with RSVP and includes one drink. 21+.


Partial lineup (subject to change): 


Rufat Agayev

Erik Bergstrom

Farah Brook

Mike Brown

Chris Calogero

Carolyn Castiglia

Selena Coppock

Abbi Crutchfield

Jessica Delfino

Ayanna Dookie
Ophira Eisenberg
Wanjiko Eke
Negin Farsad
Courtney Fearrington
Tyler Fischer
Myka Fox
Katie Hartman
Calise Hawkins
Courtney Maginnis
Adam Mamawala
Larry Owens
Sharron Paul
Khalid Rahmaan
Anna Roisman
Casey James Salengo
Shalewa Sharpe
Usama Siddiquee

Dulce Sloan
Lillian Thakuria
Jes Tom
Rebecca Vigil
Emily Winter
Bryan Yang
Angel Yau




Laugh Exchange is the future of mobile comedy, and we want you to join us there! The beautifully designed app launches October 2018 with a exciting short-form comedy competition show. Creators will submit material for themed episodes in advance, and the top eight contestants compete for prize money on the streaming show, which airs three nights a week. Winners are chosen by interactive audience vote. But don’t worry - at Laugh Exchange, everyone wins! All creators who submit will have their material featured on the app. After each show, creators can easily share their submissions to other social channels, directly from the app. Audience members can also make money from watching and voting. Laugh Exchange’s format of simple, real-time episodes and a gamified engagement and compensation model is fresh, exciting and rewarding for anyone who loves a good laugh.

The Music of The Beatles for Kids, and more!

Let’s start with rock & roll.  The Rock & Roll Playhouse’s winter concert series has three locations, which makes it easier to plan a family weekend activity.  It’s a weekly dance party for kids ages three to eight where they rock-out to some of the best bands of all time, played by live bands and veteran DJs, as well as other kid-friendly activities. Created by concert promoter and all-around music biz entrepreneur Peter Shapiro and Amy Striem, a certified early childhood and elementary teacher, Rock and Roll Playhouse has staged more than 400 music happenings since its inception in 2013. To learn more go to Rock and Roll Playhouse



Escape the Cold at  Museums & Exhibits.  Stay warm and get educated.  There are happenings at museums all over the city. Including  Birds of a Feather: Joseph Cornell’s Homage to Juan Gris.  A collection of nearly a dozen Cornell shadow boxes is featured in “Birds of a Feather: Joseph Cornell’s Homage to Juan Gris”; the works were inspired by the artist’s visit to a Manhattan gallery in 1953, where he saw the Gris Cubist collage, “The Man at the Cafe.” Now through April 15 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Gallery Online:


Window to the Heart

February in Times Square is part of the Valentine Heart Design, curated by the Design Trust for Public Space.  Every year, Times Square Arts invites architecture and design firms to submit proposals for a public art installation celebrating love in Times Square in February, and the winner for 2018 is “Window to the Heart”, by ArandaLasch Marcelo Coelho.  Feb. 1 - Feb 28

Located at Father Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th Streets) Tickets: free



Teknopolis is an interactive playground and it’s back at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

Described as an "interactive multi-space digital art showcase", The playground is designed to inspire creativity and explore new frontiers in interactive technology. Featuring both local and international digital artists and technologists—including Google Spotlight Studios and Fingerlab—the selected installations use technology to inspire the same exploratory and creative impulses satisfied by more traditional arts like theater and music. Tickets are for timed entry, with a 90-minute session during the day, and two-hour sessions in the evening. 

Feb. 24 & 25; Mar. 1 - 4, Mar. 9 - 11.  Ages 6 & up. Tickets: $18/day entry; $25/evening

BAM Fisher Online:


Block Party at the Brooklyn Children's Museum is bringing the party inside with its latest visiting exhibit, "Block Party," created in collaboration with Anderson Zaca. Kicking it old school with interactive games and activities like hopscotch, jump rope/Double Dutch, and Skelly, and even man a DJ mixing table. A wall adorned with drawings of Brooklyn Brownstones provides the perfect background for stoop selfies. Through June 10, 2018.  Tickets: $11/person

718-735-4400.  Online:

7 FREE things to do for New Year's Eve in NYC!

New York City and New Year's Eve have lot more in common than just sounding similar by being called NYC and NYE! NYC is synonymous with NYE celebrations, the best known and most popular event being the New Year's BALL DROP at TIMES SQUARE. But if you do not have the patience to stay out like that for hours and hours, in this freezing East Coast cold, there are few other FREE things that you could do to celebrate New Year's Eve in New York City.

  • NYRR Midnight Run & Fireworks in Central Park: It's not FREE to participate in the run, but it is free to watch and party in Central Park. The party starts at 10 pm, with a LIVE DJ. And you enjoy the amazing fireworks too. You can also go and do some ice skating at Wollman Rink.
  • Staten Island Ferry Ride: It's a fun ride (for FREE!) to take any time of the year, but on New Year's Eve, you can enjoy the fireworks in Manhattan (also Brooklyn and Jersey City) while admiring the NYC skyline. You can also buy drinks and snacks, from the bar on the boat. Plus they have a toilet (unlike Times Square Ball Drop). Just make sure to get your winter coat, and stay warm!
  • NYE Fireworks in Prospect Park: Enjoy amazing fireworks with the background of beautiful NYC skyline at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Just make sure to RSVP.
  • NYE Celebration and Fireworks at Coney Island: Coming into its fourth year, guests can dance to live music throughout the night and watch some of Coney Island's most notable side show performances. Enjoy a fireworks display at the stroke of midnight at this free family-friendly celebration. Free live entertainment begins at 9:00 p.m. at the Steeplechase Plaza. Free admission starts at 6:00 p.m. on the B&B Carousel. And a lot more. Enjoy!
  • Hang around Times Square (SECRET TIP!): You may not be the "IN" crowd, being inside, but you can walk close to the celebrations, like around 40th Street, or 50th Street, on Broadway or 7th Av. You can go to a bar or pub, or just hang outside around midnight. You can hear the noise, you can somehow hear the music, and still be part of the fun from outside. Better than standing in the crowd, in cold, for hours and hours. And you an walk to the center after midnight, and get some pictures (and even claim that you were there!).
  • Just go to a bar/pub/restaurant: That's an easy one, you are in NYC! Go to a bar, pub, restaurant or anything. Most places have some special or something going on for the NYE. Specially bars and pubs. Just step out of house and walk in to any of the places. You'll have a good time. It's NYC!
  • Or just STAY HOME, and watch TV: Honestly, in this freezing cold, it's never a bad idea. That's what I'm going to do. Watch the BALL DROP on TV, or any of the Holiday or New Year's special movies, or Netflix/Amazon/Hulu. There's so much going on, that you can have an amazing time, just at home. And there's social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc etc) to connect with your friends and family, as you celebrate and welcome the New Year's. 


TOP 5 places for Holidays in NYC: Beautiful Christmas Decorations, Holiday Shopping, Ice Skating & LOT MORE!


New York City is an amazing place to be at, all year round. But Holiday season becomes even more special with so many amazing things that pop up in NYC, that are unique to this wonderful city. Here are our top suggestions for THINGS TO SEE/DO in NYC during Holiday season:

  • Rockefeller Center: The biggest and best Christmas tree in NYC, and maybe the entire world is at Rockefeller Center. It's FREE and open to public everyday from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm, until January 7th. While you are there, you can also enjoy some iceskating and go visit the Rockefeller Center itself.
  • Bryant Park: If we are talking about Christmas Tree and Ice Skating, another amazing place in NYC would be Bryant Park. The winter time is the time for WINTER VILLAGE at Bryant Park. It brings amazing pop-up shops which have some cool crafts, art, holiday gifts and so much more. You have to be there to check it out. Ice Skating is free, if you have your own skates, else your an rent them for just $20. Time for Ice skating, holiday shopping, and rinkside dining make magical winter memories!
  • Central Park: Another iconic place to do ice skating in NYC would be the one and only, Wollman Skating Rink at CENTRAL PARK. It's not free like Bryant Park, but it's lot of fun to skate under the stars, surrounded by trees in middle of Manhattan, in the amazing Central Park. You can also enjoy, to of other mazing things that Central Park has to offer.
  • Times Square: The host to NYC New Year's Ball Drop, Times Square is one of the most visited place in the world. Filled with some amazing marquees, shops, characters and so much more, it's always a fun place to check out. And if you are around on New Year's eve, go checkout the Ball Drop as well. Or you can just watch it on TV in cozy environment and enjoy Times Square before or after. There' also a cool Holiday Market filled with amazing pop-up shops, on Broadway between 39 & 41 street, in Garment District. Make sure to check that out too!
  • Macy's New York: Macy's and 34th Street  in Manhattan, New York have an iconic connection to Christmas and Holidays. So, you definitely do not want to miss the holiday fun at Macy's. From there cool beautiful HOLIDAY WINDOWS right outside, to decorations inside, it's sure something that will delight all the young ones, and some adults as well. Plus you can shop at the biggest departmental store in the world, a delight for everyone.

Also, all of this can be covered in one day, if you like. Start from 34th Street at Macy's, walk to Times Square, then to Bryant Park, followed by Rockefeller and then Central Park. They are all not too far away from each other. So much fun, with family, with your loved one, with friends or even just by yourself. NYC is the best place to be for Holidays. Enjoy!

Checkout the video at the link below, to see a walk I did from Macy's to Bryant Park.


Langston Hughes Festival FREE Thursday, November 16, 2017 The City College

How many of us have recited and pondered the words of this epic poem by the great Langston Hughes, he asks “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?... Or does it explode?” Hughes further comments on the power of dreaming and the value of dreamers, offering this advice, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” And knowing full well the weight of life outside of prose and verse, he offered these words of encouragement that ring, still, inside the ears and lives inside the hearts of many who love Langston Hughes. He said: “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”

For the third straight year, Total Equity Now will again co-sponsor the Langston Hughes Festival at The City College of New York on Thursday, November 16.  

The event will honor the 2017 Langston Hughes Medal Winner world-renowned author Zadie Smith, whose work will be celebrated at the free LHF event. 

Langston Hughes Medal Award winner Zadie Smith is an award-winning British-born novelist.  She joins a list of literary luminaries, including James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Walter Mosley, who have received this honor.

Smith is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has twice been listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists. Her first novel, "White Teeth"(Random House, 2000) was the winner of The Whitbread First Novel Award, The Guardian First Book Award, The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, and The Commonwealth Writers' First Book Award. Her second novel, "The Autograph Man" (Vintage Books / Random House, 2002), won The Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize. Smith's third novel, "On Beauty" (Penguin Books, 2005) received the Orange Prize for Fiction, The Commonwealth Writers' Best Book Award (Eurasia Section) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her fourth novel, "NW" (Penguin Press, 2012) was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Women's Prize for Fiction. "Swing Time" (Penguin Books, 2016), Smith's most recent book, has been shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. In addition, she published an essay collection, "Changing My Mind" (Penguin Books) in 2009. 

Smith writes regularly for the New Yorker magazine and the New York Review of Books. She is a tenured professor of creative writing at New York University.

The evening will include a reading by Zadie Smith, a conversation between the honoree and writer and City College Professor Emily Raboteau, award presentation by Jacqueline Woodson and a special musical guest.   

On November 1st support #RockThoseReads by carrying 

reading materials publicly and proudly everywhere you go--on Wednesday, November 1 (Literacy Across Harlem Day).

Consider showing of Zadie Smith and/or the Langston Hughes poetry collection featured in our very special list of books about Harlem.

You can find Zadie Smith's books at Sister's Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center (156th St. & Amsterdam Ave.) and at your local Harlem branch of the New York Public Library. 

Celebrate Diwali with Indian food, dance & cultural program, Nov 4th in Stony Brook, NY!

Diwali – the festival of Lights is one of the most avidly celebrated religious events in the Indian sub-continent. Celebrated by many religions and cultures, this festival depicts the driving off of evil and ushering in the good times of peace, joy and happiness by lighting lamps, dressing in colorful clothes, meeting friends and feasting.

To commemorate this festival, Diwali Stony Brook Cultural Program will be organized on November 4th at JFK Middle School, Port Jefferson Station, NY. The cultural program was initiated in 2008 as a way to bring the local Indian community together to celebrate the festival of Diwali. What started as a small gathering several years ago became a highly anticipated event and is currently one of the largest Indian cultural shows in Suffolk County. This program is focused on the younger generation, giving them a venue where they can showcase their talent. Children dance in colorful traditional costumes, encompassing Bollywood, Classical Kathak and Bharatnatyam and popular and energetic Bhangra performances.

Over 450 people attended the cultural program last year, and 130 children served up a multitude of performances, culminating in a sumptuous feast. Children of ages from 5 to 18 will participate in the show and many have been performing at this show year after year.

“Bringing the community together to showcase the talent of the children is the main purpose of this event along with celebrating the festival. This program reveals the vibrant nature of the Indian community and also gives an opportunity to the children as well as adults to remember their roots and exhibit their culture” states the organizer, Mr. Harbinder Singh.

The 10th annual Diwali Stony Brook Cultural Program will be held at JFK Middle School, Port Jefferson on Nov. 4, 2017 from 2:30 pm to 8:00 pm. This year, the performances of children will be complimented by a photo booth, henna tattoo artists, a pre-event Indian snacks and a post-event sumptuous vegetarian Indian dinner adding further enjoyment to the festivities. Tickets are $24 for adults (14 and older) and $21 for children (ages 4 to 13). To purchase tickets, visit

Date of Event: Saturday November 4, 2017
Location: JFK Middle School, 631-306-4291 200 Jayne Blvd, Pt Jefferson St, NY
Time: 2:30 PM

CONTACT: Harbinder Singh

HSA Benefit Gala, Fall 2017 ~ Want to party with Mary J. Blige and Renee Elise Goldsberry & Debra L. Lee. Hosted by Sunny Hostin of ABC’s The View?

Harlem, you hold more treasures than most would dare to imagine.  It’s not just the stuff that makes the tourist flock to 125th and now they trek to 145th to gawk at the Hamilton House—“thanks for that Lin-Manuel Miranda” (@Lin_Manuel) for a long time, we were too far uptown for the gentrification epidemic, but that’s another story for another time.

Back to Mary J. 

The Harlem School of the Arts (HSA), a renowned school offering art programs to students of all ages will be hosting their annual benefit party on October 23 and this year the theme is a Masquerade Ball & After Party at the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City beginning at 6:00 pm. Hosted by Sunny Hostin of ABC’s The View, guests are encouraged to participate in the theme with elaborate and festive masquerade masks that accompany their black tie ensemble. 

This year’s honorees include: singer, songwriter, producer and actress Mary J. Blige, who will be awarded the Dorothy Maynor Award; American composer Ray Chew, who is set to receive the Inaugural Alumni Award; Tony Award Winner for Best Featured Actress, Renée Elise Goldsberry for the Visionary Artists Award; and Debra L. Lee, Chairman & CEO of BET Networks, who will receive the Betty Allen Corporate Award.

The Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) will be transforming The Plaza Hotel into an unforgettable masquerade benefit gala to raise money and awareness surrounding their world-class arts education facility. 

Guests will enjoy a preliminary reception followed by a sit-down dinner, complete with performances and live auction, offering one-of-a-kind items.  The party will continue after the gala with open bar, dessert, and music by D-Nice. 

“Following the heels of Dorothy Maynor, Betty Allen and their extraordinary dedication to and leadership in the arts, we’ll recognize an incredible group of artists and women at this year’s Gala, such Mary J. Blige, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Debra Lee, alongside Ray Chew,” says HSA Chairman, Charles J. Hamilton, Jr. Esq. “I'm proud of HSA's renewed vitality during these past seven years and the Gala marks a special time to celebrate HSA's accomplishments of those being honored while raising vital support to continue providing students with the transformational access to the arts for which it is known.” 

Proceeds from the Gala enable Harlem School of the Arts to provide over 2,000 students access to exceptional art instruction and professional development, including financial aid to families from disadvantaged communities and merit scholarships to students pursuing careers in the arts. 


The schedule for the evening of Oct 23, 2017 is as follows: 

The Grand Ballroom at The Plaza • New York City
6pm Reception | Terrace Room
7pm Dinner & Performance | Grand Ballroom
9pm – 12am After Party* | Terrace Room

Masquerade Formal Attire. Bring Your Mask!

Janice Savin Williams & Christopher J. Williams
Alexander Smalls
Rona Sebastian & Herb Alpert Foundation
Keisha Sutton-James

Julio Peterson and Michelle Fizer Peterson
Stephen and Emily Usher
MARY J. BLIGE | Dorothy Maynor Award

RAY CHEW | Inaugural Alumni Award

RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY | Visionary Artist Award

DEBRA L. LEE | Betty Allen Corporate Award

CK Swett

Tickets are available at, with options to purchase tables, single tickets and/or after-party tickets; donations are also accepted via the site. 

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Tables, as well as single tickets, are available for purchase at

Ballet Hispánico Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month w/ Dance - September 15 to October 15, Free performances, a Block Party, and more!

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Ballet Hispánico will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, 2017 with free events, performances, exhibitions and dance lessons for children and adults. Events include a Salsa Extravaganza, an "A la Calle" Block Party, an Instituto Coreográfico dance showing and discussion, an intimate Tablao flamenco performance, and an exhibition of visual artwork at the Ballet Hispánico's headquarters, The Arnhold Center, at 167 W. 89thStreet.

"No other Latino organization can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month like Ballet Hispánico, because we will do it with dance!" said Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Hispánico. "We've been bringing individuals and communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures and the shared human experience through dance for more than 45 years. Our Hispanic Heritage Month events and activities will bring the celebration to the Upper West Side neighborhood, which has been our home from the very beginning of Ballet Hispánico."

  • The celebration begins on Friday, September 15, 2017* with the PBS broadcast of Lincoln Center at the Movies presents Ballet Hispánico at 9 pm. The program opens with CARMEN.maquia, a modern take on Bizet's passionate opera featuring physically charged and sensual choreography by Spaniard Gustavo Ramírez Sansano. The second part of the program, Club Havana, is a virtuosic reimagining of a sizzling nightclub by Cuban-born choreographer Pedro Ruiz. Originally filmed as part of the Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance series, the PBS broadcast will draw the largest national audience in Ballet Hispánico's history. (* check local listings)
  • On Saturday, September 23 from 5:30-7:30pm, Ballet Hispánico will host a Salsa Extravaganza, giving New Yorkers the opportunity to revel in the music and dances of Latino cultures.This free, two-hour event will offer lessons for all ages in three dance genres: salsa, merengue and bachata, followed by a celebratory dance for all, with refreshments.  Both experienced dancers and first-timers are welcome to join in this joyous celebration. Refreshments will be provided by Calle Ocho/Bodega 88.
  • "A la Calle" Block Party on Sunday, October 1 from 2-6 pm,  a four-hour celebration of Latino dance, music, art, food and community, will take place on West 89th Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues),  Ballet Hispánico's home for more than 45 years. The event will include dance performances by our internationally renowned Company, School of Dance students, and BHdos as well as a musical performance by Los Hacheros, free half-hour dance classes for adults and children, and a variety of activities for children and families. A special free raffle will include items donated by 89th Street NY Kids Club and Preschool, Blu Dot, Book Culture, Children's Museum of Manhattan, Flywheel Sports, Macaron Parlour, Modell's Sporting Goods, Rachel Realty, SoulCycle, and The Vitamin Shoppe.
  • This year's Instituto Coreográfico on October 5 at 7 pm will feature the work of acclaimed Spanish choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra. Moderated by Ballet Hispánico Artistic Director & CEO Eduardo Vilaro, the program will include a showing by Guerra, as well as a lively discussion with the choreographer and the dancers.
  • On Saturday, October 14 from 8-10 pm, Ballet Hispánico will offer the inaugural performance of the Ballet Hispánico Tablao seriesHeadlined by internationally celebrated dancer Nelida Tirado, thistwo-hour intimate performance will bring the Flamenco nightclub scene to the intimate Penthouse Studio of Ballet Hispánico. Tickets are $20 and there will be refreshments.
  • Throughout the month, Ballet Hispánico will curate an on-going exhibition of visual artwork from celebrated and emerging artists on the first floor of the West 89th Street carriage houses, transforming our home into a beautiful, emotionally moving gallery. 


Ballet Hispánico, the premier Latino dance organization in the United States, brings individuals and communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through dance. Whether dancing on stage, in school, or in the street, Ballet Hispánico creates a space where few institutions are breaking ground. The organization's founder, National Medal of Arts recipient Tina Ramirez, sought to give voice to the Hispanic experience and break through stereotypes. Today Ballet Hispánico is led by Eduardo Vilaro, an acclaimed choreographer and former member of the Company, whose vision of social equity, cultural identity and quality arts education for all, drives its programs. Ballet Hispánico, a role model in and for the Latino community, is inspiring creativity and social awareness in our neighborhoods and across the country by providing access to arts education.

EDUARDO VILARO joined Ballet Hispánico as Artistic Director in August 2009, becoming only the second person to head the company since it was founded in 1970. In 2015, Mr. Vilaro took on the additional role of Chief Executive Officer of Ballet Hispánico. He has been part of the Ballet Hispánicofamily since 1985 as a dancer and educator, after which he began a ten-year record of achievement as founder and Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. Mr. Vilaro has infused Ballet Hispánico's legacy with a bold and eclectic brand of contemporary dance that reflects America's changing cultural landscape. Born in Cuba and raised in New York from the age of six, he is a frequent speaker on the merits of cultural diversity and dance education.

Mr.Vilaro's own choreography is devoted to capturing the spiritual, sensual and historical essence of the Latino cultures. He created over 20 ballets for Luna Negra and has received commissions from the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Grant Park Festival, the Lexington Ballet and the Chicago Symphony. In 2001, he was a recipient of a Ruth Page Award for choreography, and in 2003, he was honored for his choreographic work at Panama's II International Festival of Ballet. In 2016, he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame.


Ailey Extension for Teens New York City’s Premiere Master Teachers August 7 to 18

Great news for the young dancers in your life, the Ailey Extension will be opening their doors, this summer, to kids and teens who are serious about the art of dance.  They are offering three immersive, multi-day training workshops taught by New York City’s top choreographers and master teachers. Ailey Experience NYC Jr., Ailey Experience NYC, and Fabrice Herrault’s Ballet Summer Intensive allow young dancers to learn technique, musicality, and performance skills.

Started in 2005, Ailey Extension has fulfilled Mr. Ailey’s life-long commitment of bringing dance to everyone by offering “real classes for real people.” To that end, the Ailey Extension offers over 25 different dance and fitness techniques such as Horton, Ballet, Masala Bhangra, West African, Samba, Jazz, Zumba, House and Hip-Hop. Over 125,000 people call Ailey home and it’s New York’s largest building dedicated to dance, where dancers of all levels and walks of life can learn and be inspired – body, mind, and spirit! 

Here is what is happening from August 7 to 18:

Ailey Experience NYC, Jr. – Aug. 7-11, 10am - 3pm (Ages 8-12)

Young dancers between 8-12 years old can experience a variety of techniques during this one-week workshop, including ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, Horton, and Broadway jazz. Each class is designed to encourage creativity and help each child gain confidence in a non-competitive environment. Great news.  No prior dance experience is required. Twelve world class instructors from Ailey Extension and The Ailey School lead the training sessions, including Ailey II dancer Terri Wright($650 per child)

Ailey Experience NYC – Aug. 7-11 & 14-18, 10am - 6pm (Ages 13-19)

Modified for teenagers between 13-19 years old, Ailey Experience NYC offers dancers the opportunity to train and perform a variety of techniques, such as ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, Horton, and Broadway jazz. Held at the home of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, this program will culminate with a performance for family and friends. Week 1 is already sold out, but there’s still a chance to sign up for week 2 or the full two-week experience, which is led by top instructors from The Ailey School and Ailey Extension, including NY Style Mambo’s Katherine Jimenez, hip-hop pros Jonathan Lee and TweetBoogie, and ballet extraordinaire Peter Brandenhoff($675 for week 2 only / $1,250 for two weeks)

Fabrice Herrault Ballet Summer Intensive – Aug. 7-11 & 14-18 (Ages 10-19)

Renowned ballet instructor Fabrice Herrault returns this summer to lead his two-week intensive rooted in the tradition of the Paris Opera Ballet. Committed to the growth of each student, this program has a strong focus on technique, artistry, and musicality. The daily classes are open to advanced beginner, intermediate, and advanced dancers, and will offer ballet technique, pointe variations, and men’s classes. Sofiane Sylve, principal ballerina of San Francisco Ballet, will join Mr. Herrault as a teaching artist. ($600 one week / $1,200 two weeks)

In addition to these workshops, Ailey Extension offers over 25 different dance and fitness classes, seven days a week for students 16 years or older.

To learn more about how to get the kids in your life dancing, visit for the full schedule.

Top 5 places to enjoy Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, in NYC!

New York City is awesome the year around, but Holidays are even more special here in the city. There's just so much to see and do in the city. Here are the top 5 must see spots this holiday season:

Macy's 34th Street Herald Square: One of the largest departmental store, that's right here in Manhattan, is also known for some wonderful holiday celebrations etc. And it's not just Thanksgiving and Macy's Thanksgiving parade. This Macy's happens to have beautiful Christmas and holiday themed "display windows" around Holidays. It's definitely a must see!

Bryant Park - Winter Village: Walk few blocks north on 6th Avenue and you arrive to Bryant Park. During winter they have "Winter Village", there, which is basically this winter market with tons boutique shops and wonderful food etc etc. And they have a beautiful Christmas Tree as well. However the best thing is the free ice skating rink (provided you have your own skates, else you can rent skates for cheap). Skiing under the stars, in middle of the city, surrounded by iconic NYC buildings. It's wonderful. And again, it's FREE!

Time Square, NYC: Walk a block west, and you're at center of the world aka Times Square. Is it special for Christmas or Holidays or even winter? Not really. But IT's special all year round. It's freakin' TIMES SQUARE!

Rockefeller Center: Well, if your'e talking Christmas and Holidays, you can't miss this spot. This is where the famous Christmas Tree of NYC is planted. And there also skiing!

Central Park: Walk few blocks north and you arrive at Central Park. Central park is evergreen place to visit, like Times Square. But it is special in winter with another ice FREE skating rink under the stars, in middle of the city, in the beautiful & magnificent Central Park, NYC.


Barry Jenkins's Moonlight and Medicine for Melancholy screen alongside a selection of the director's inspirations

Jenkins in person January 5

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announces Illuminating Moonlight, a selection of major works of queer, black, and international art cinema handpicked by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, January 4-9.

With the ravishing, unforgettable Moonlight, which made its New York premiere at the 54th New York Film Festival, Barry Jenkins has established himself as one of today’s major voices in independent American filmmaking. This series brings together Jenkins’s two features (including his ripe-for-rediscovery debut, Medicine for Melancholy) and a pair of his shorts with a selection of films that informed the making of his latest, handpicked by the director himself.

His selections are, like Moonlight, stylistically sensual, compassionate portraits of outsiders, and include Killer of Sheep, Charles Burnett’s landmark of African American cinema and “milestone of eloquent understatement” (Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe); Carlos Reygadas’s quietly devastating domestic drama Silent Light; Nagisa Ôshima’s Gohatto and Claire Denis’s Beau travail, both striking meditations on repression and release; and masterpieces by two of cinema’s foremost empaths: Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Three Times, which served as a direct inspiration on Moonlight's triptych structure. 

Illuminating Moonlight also features two of Jenkins’s short films—A Young Couple, a documentary companion piece to Medicine for Melancholy, and his student film, My Josephine—as well as shorts by Kahlil Joseph and Phil Collins. Taken together, the films in this series serve to contextualize Jenkins’s work and offer insight into the making of a modern masterpiece.

Barry Jenkins will appear in person on January 5 for a conversation following Moonlight at 6:30pm, and will introduce Medicine for Melancholy at 9:30pm.

Tickets will go on sale Thursday, December 21 and are $14; $11 for students and seniors (62+); and $9 for members. Tickets for the Moonlight special screening featuring a conversation with Barry Jenkins are $18; $13 for members. Plus, see more and save with the 3+ film discount package. Learn more at

Organized by Dennis Lim.

Special thanks to A24, Kahlil Joseph, the Institut Français, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.

Films & Descriptions
All films screen digitally at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St) unless otherwise noted

Beau travail
Claire Denis, France, 1999, 35mm, 92m
French, Italian, and Russian with English subtitles
Claire Denis’s loose retelling of Billy Budd, set among a troop of Foreign Legionnaires stationed in the Gulf of Djibouti, is one of her finest films, an elemental story of misplaced longing and frustrated desire. Beneath a scorching sun, shirtless young men exercise to the strains of Benjamin Britten, under the watchful eye of Denis Lavant’s stone-faced officer Galoup, their obsessively ritualized movements simmering with barely suppressed violence. When a handsome recruit wins the favor of the regiment’s commander, cracks start to appear in Galoup’s fragile composure. In the tense, tightly disciplined atmosphere of military life, Denis found an ideal outlet for two career-long concerns: the quiet agony of repressing one’s emotions, and the terror of finally letting loose. Print courtesy of the Institut Français.

Screening with:
The Meaning of Style
Phil Collins, Malaysia/UK, 2012, 5m
Malay with English subtitles
British-born filmmaker Phil Collins intersperses images of Malaysian skinheads idly lounging, reading magazines, and playing cards with a more confrontational scene unfolding on the streets of Penang. Courtesy of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.
Friday, January 6, 9:00pm
Saturday, January 7, 5:00pm

Nagisa Ôshima, Japan, 1999, 35mm, 100m
Japanese with English subtitles
Nagisa Ôshima returned, fourteen years after his previous feature, Max mon amour, with a final film. Like the scandalous In the Realm of the Senses (NYFF14), Gohatto deals with the anti-authoritarian sway of sexuality, a nearly taboo topic in Japan at the time of its release. The setting is a 19th century samurai school, where an impossibly handsome new recruit (Ryûhei Matsuda) spreads trouble and desire through the ranks of enlisted men and officers alike (among them Beat Takeshi). Filmed in a stately, burnished style, Gohatto is a late-life statement from one of the genuine masters of the medium. An NYFF38 selection.
Friday, January 6, 7:00pm
Saturday, January 7, 9:00pm

Happy Together / Chun gwong cha sit
Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong/Japan/South Korea, 1997, 35mm, 96m
Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish with English subtitles
Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai are lovers from Hong Kong adrift in Buenos Aires in Wong Kar-wai’s haunting, pungent tale of exile and love turned sour. Winner of the Best Director award in Cannes, Wong’s sixth feature is a straightforward, intimate work—a rich and atmospheric meditation on relationships that whirls from tango bars to Taiwan, from black-and-white to color, from desperation to hope. Lensed by Wong’s longtime collaborator Christopher Doyle, Happy Together beautifully captures the vivid colors, the crisp images, and the reflective and restless moments of love. An NYFF35 selection.
Wednesday, January 4, 9:00pm
Saturday, January 7, 7:00pm

Killer of Sheep
Charles Burnett, USA, 1978, 35mm, 83m
A masterpiece of poetic realism, Charles Burnett’s landmark UCLA thesis film is a haunting, almost documentary-like chronicle of 1970s black life in Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. A series of nonlinear episodes form a portrait of the dead-end life of Stan, a slaughterhouse worker struggling to provide for his family and resist the corrupting influences that surround him. Amidst urban blight, Burnett finds indelible, magic images—a young girl wearing a hound-dog mask, boys leaping from rooftop to rooftop, a couple slow dancing to Dinah Washington’s “This Bitter Earth”—captured in evocatively grainy black and white and set to a soundtrack that moves from Paul Robeson to Rachmaninoff.

Screening with:
Until the Quiet Comes
Kahlil Joseph, USA/UK, 2013, 4m
Joseph’s spellbinding and ethereal collaboration with Flying Lotus shares several crucial motifs with Moonlight—most notably, the prone body submerged in radiant water.
Wednesday, January 4, 7:00pm
Sunday, January 8, 8:45pm

Medicine for Melancholy
Barry Jenkins, USA, 2008, 88m
Shot in luscious sepia tones, Jenkins’s feature debut considers what it means to be young, black, and bohemian in rapidly gentrifying San Francisco. Wyatt Cenac and Tracey Heggins exude chemistry as Micah and Jo, two hipsters whose one-night stand stretches into a 24-hour odyssey through the city. In between bike rides and underground dance parties, Micah grapples with his identity as a black man in an overwhelmingly white indie scene, while Jo questions her commitment to her white boyfriend. Intimate, engaging, and gorgeous to look at, Medicine for Melancholy ponders big picture questions—about race, class, housing—while never losing sight of the human story at its center.

Screening with:
A Young Couple
Barry Jenkins, USA, 2009, 13m
In this documentary short—a companion piece to Medicine for Melancholy—the director interviews his friend John and John’s girlfriend Jenny, stumbling upon a frank and moving portrait of a modern relationship.
Wednesday, January 4, 4:30pm
Thursday, January 5, 9:30pm (Introduction by Barry Jenkins)
Monday, January 9, 9:15pm

Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 110m
Barry Jenkins’s three-part narrative spans the childhood, adolescence, and adulthood of a gay African-American man who survives Miami’s drug-plagued inner city, finding love in unexpected places and the possibility of change within himself. Moonlight offers a powerful sense of place and a wealth of unpredictable characters, featuring a fantastic ensemble cast including André Holland, Trevante Rhodes, Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali—delivering performances filled with inner conflict and aching desires that cut straight to the heart. An NYFF54 selection. An A24 release.

Screening with:
My Josephine
Barry Jenkins, USA, 2003, 8m
Arabic with English subtitles
Jenkins’s student film pairs kinetic and distinctly post-9/11 imagery with a confessional voiceover in which a young man named Aadid talks about the laundromat where he works the night shift and the affinities between the co-worker for whom he pines and Napoleon Bonaparte’s first wife, the titular Josephine.
Thursday, January 5, 6:30pm (Q&A with Barry Jenkins)

Silent Light / Stellet Licht
Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany, 2007, 35mm, 139m
Plautdietsch with English subtitles
Having established a reputation as something of a bad-boy provocateur with his first two features, Japón and Battle in Heaven, Mexico’s Carlos Reygadas made an unexpected about-face with this austere drama set in a modern-day Mennonite community on the outskirts of Chihuahua. Filmed entirely in the German-derived Plautdietsch language and starring a cast of mostly nonprofessional actors, Silent Light weaves a poetic and affecting tale of a marital and spiritual crisis, revolving around the affair between married farmer Johan (Cornelio Wall Fehr) and a neighbor woman (Maria Pankratz), while Johan’s wife (Miriam Toews) suffers, knowingly, in silence. An NYFF45 selection.
Thursday, January 5, 3:30pm
Sunday, January 8, 6:00pm
Monday, January 9, 6:30pm

Three Times / Zui hao de shi guang
Hou Hsiao-hsien, France/Taiwan, 2005, 35mm, 139m
Mandarin and Min Nan with English subtitles
Hou Hsiao-hsien’s rapturously beautiful 2005 feature is a triumph about the melancholy play of time and memory. The action is broken into three different love stories, each set in a different era — 1966 pool hall, a prosperous 1911 brothel, and contemporary Taipei — but starring the same leads, the impossibly glamorous Shu Qi and Chang Chen. While these stories deliberately echo his earlier works, Hou uses them to chart the transformation of Taiwanese life, love, and the relationship between men and women over the last hundred years. He captures all this with the poetic intensity that has defined his work — an absolute mastery of space and rhythm and a humane tenderness suffuses every frame. An NYFF43 selection.
Friday, January 6, 4:00pm
Sunday, January 8, 3:00pm

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.

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LIVE Musical Party with Karen Ortiz, at GRILL ON THE HILL: Aug 27, 2016

This August 27, at 8:30 pm, there's a party at Grill on The Hill, that you can't miss. The Grill On The Hill is a lot like “cheers” but with African-Americans, Latino and a vibrant rainbow tribe.

Their new musical series — designed to give new bands a new home — the first in the series begins on Saturday, 8.27 with a feisty Latina.  

Karen Ortiz loves music and music loves Ortiz.  The singer/songwriter knew her heart, from a very early age and at 9 year old, she shared the stage with South African legend Hugh Masekela and Paul Simon at Carnegie Hall.  

Fast forward to circa 2016, her voice is stronger and the message of her original songs stress the power of positive changes and the value of tolerance. 

Originally from the boogie-down Bronx, the gifted songstress/songwriter is bringing her band to Grill On The Hill, on Saturday, August 27th (9:30pm) as part of the new program to promote up and coming singers in Harlem. 

Q: Karen, How would you describe your music?

I think every artist has qualms with answering this question because it makes you define an extension of yourself. I write my own songs and I'm a primarily a singer so that would put me under singer songwriter, which is funnily a genre for a lot of people, though it doesn't say much about the music itself. I'm unsigned, so I guess that's indie? I write a lot of folky, kinda rock stuff but I'm brown so I get labeled some variation of soul quite often. I tend to not try to describe it at all. People can make of it whatever they want. I'd only describe it as honest.

Q: As a songwriter, in this city, where do you cull your inspiration?

City life, for sure. I have a song, "Bartender", as many artists in this city find themselves in the service industry to support their craft. In it I talk about how exhausting it is to do something for the sole purpose of building something somewhere else and living at night. The type of people you surround yourself with when you live at night, either serving cocktails or serving up songs at a venue, they're never in work mode, though you always are. Writing songs is a way for me to deal with stress and the high demands this city has on us, especially with the cost of living... and i don't just mean financially. The removal from all things natural and limited access to it and how we adapt is always interesting to me. I also have a song called "Dogs Used To Be Wild," and it essentially explores to what extent we can be removed from our nature and be domesticated into becoming a totally different animal. That's what us city folk do.

Q: Top 3 musical influences.

These will change in a week but I would say vocally, Jeff Buckley has always inspired me. Not just his power and range but he was extremely versatile. Bob Dylan's lyricism is amazing because he tells a story the whole time and it's hard for you to know his music without listening to what he's actually saying. Same goes for Father John Misty. Nina Simone I relate to on many personal levels. I remember the first time I heard her was a live recording of a performance. Her rapport with the audience was so relaxed and nonchalant, as if she couldn't tell that everyone was in love with her. And she definitely left a lot of space for silence. I LOVE when an artist doesn't feel like they have to entertain in between songs and is just themselves for a moment. I know this is cheating but Ella Fitzgerald's style is unmatched and I'd totally fan girl over her if i could get in a time machine and do that. 

Q: Why do you love being on stage?

That's a good question! I dunno if I love being on stage, I just know I have no choice. I don't really know how to be happy without it and my mental hygiene suffers. I don't covet the limelight, I just wanna create something better than I am that has more lasting power than this useless body. What I do love is representing the underrepresented. So I won't be making any love songs or shaking a scantily clad body anytime soon. Hahahaha, luckily for you. That's just not my bag and there are plenty of people that already do that and do that really well, lol. They're killing it out there with the live songs and the booty shaking and good for them! What I do love is giving someone a message they relate to that no one else is talking about but they actually deal with, like feeling kind of lost or like you're not really building anything. Before you think I'm some saint about it, i should clarify that it's totally selfish. I just have to do it. Haha

Q: In NYC you top 3 watering spots?

Ha! I drink at places I notice the staff doesn't hate their lives. That and at home. Lol-in all seriousness, probably where is convenient for everyone else. Only if I'm trying to impress someone or am dragged somewhere do I go to "nice" bars. Well.... Here's a better answer: anyplace with boardgames, dogs, or not a line to get to the bar. If it's summer, a big neighborhood bar with plenty of picnic tables is always nice. Or spicy food and sake in the winter. You know, I'm afraid of giving real answers of real hidden gems on account of all the changes happening in our neighborhoods, haha. Stick with the Lower East Side, guys. That's already yours.

Q: Fill in the blank:  I make music becasue

I must. That's who I am, a musician.


Click the link below, to get tickets for the event:

GRILL ON THE HILL. SATURDAY, AUGUST 27th. 9:30pm. Part of the New Music

Series. FREE