Instructional Programs Include Golf, Track & Field, Tennis, Senior Yoga and Senior

Fitness Walking in NYC Parks

City Parks Foundation (CPF) is kicking off its 2019 Spring sports programs for young people and seniors this April. From April through June, City Parks Foundation will host over 800 youth and 600 seniors in over 20 neighborhood parks and recreation centers for participation in FREE sports programs. Youth programs include golf, track & field, tennis, and senior programs include tennis, yoga, and fitness walking. Registration for all programs are now open online with limited walk-up registration offered at each site.

CityParks Golf presented with The First Tee NYC offers youth, ages six to 17, the opportunity to play golf at the CityParks Junior Golf Center in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The program will be held in two seven-week sessions, running from March 9 through April 28 in addition to May 6 through June 28. The program offers golf instruction for all skill levels at our facility and use of equipment. The Center features a 6-hole par 3 course, putting and chipping greens, a driving range, clubhouse and classroom.

CityParks Track & Field, presented in partnership with New York Road Runners and supported by the Randall’s Island Park Alliance, gives New York City kids, ages eight to 14, the chance to learn the basics of the sport. From hurdles and relay races, to long jump, shot put and javelin throw, this program runs from April 20 through June 8 in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, with sessions once per week. The Jesse Owens Track and Field program introduces novice runners to cross country distance running through runs from East Harlem to Randall's Island Park. This program runs from April 7 - June 23 in Manhattan, and is held once per week.

CityParks Seniors Fitness, presented in partnership with New York Road Runners, is held in 17 neighborhood parks across the city. Seniors Fitness, offered from April 22 - June 14, gives New Yorkers 60+ the chance to participate in free tennis lessons, yoga and fitness walking. All equipment is provided. The program has served over 10,000 participants since it began in 2006 and encourages older New Yorkers to maximize their health benefits by staying active.

Online registration is now open for all spring programs at

Participants are encouraged to register online in advance, though walk-up participants may

register on-site if space permits. For more information and a full list of City Parks Foundation’s 2019 sports programs, please visit

Generous public support for CityParks Junior Golf Center is provided by the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson. Presenting sponsor Foundation Lacoste (logo) In partnership with NYC Parks (logo) Generous public support for CityParks Track and Field is provided the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson, including Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr., and Council Member Mark Treyger. In partnership with Randall's Island Park Alliance and NYC Parks.

Generous private support for CityParks Seniors Fitness is provided by David B. Pinter and Zwicker Electric Co., Inc., Northfield Bank Foundation, and the Eastern Adult Tennis Foundation. Generous public support is provided by the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson, including Council Member Diana Ayala, Council Member Margaret Chin, Council Member Costa Constantinides, Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr., Council Member Mark Gjonaj, Council Member Debi Rose, Council Member Helen Rosenthal and Council Member Mark Treyger. In partnership with NYC Parks.

About City Parks Foundation

At City Parks Foundation, we are dedicated to invigorating and transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life through sports, arts, community building and education programs for all New Yorkers. Celebrating our 30th anniversary this year, we program in more than 400 parks, recreation centers and public schools across New York City and reach 300,000 people each year. Our ethos is simple: thriving parks mean thriving communities.

City Parks Foundation’s Spring 2019 Sports Schedule

CityParks Track & Field presented by New York Road Runners

April 20 - June 9, 2019


Kaiser Park

Neptune Ave. & Bayview Ave.

April 21 - June 10

Saturdays, 10:00am - 12:00pm


Soundview Park

Lafayette Ave. & Morrison Ave.

April 21 - June 10

Sundays, 10:00am - 12:00pm


Forest Park

Myrtle Ave. & Woodhaven Blvd.

April 21 - June 10

Sundays, 10:00am - 12:00pm

CityParks Jesse Owens Track & Field presented in partnership with Randall’s

Island Park Alliance


Thomas Jefferson Park

E. 112th St. & 1st Ave.

April 7 - June 23

Saturdays, 10:00am - 12:00pm

CityParks Golf presented by The First Tee


Junior Golf Center

8850 14th Ave.

Session One: March 9 - April 28

Session Two: May 6 - June 28

CityParks Seniors Fitness presented by New York Road Runners

April 22 - June 14, 2019


Pelham Bay Park

Watt Ave. & Middletown Rd.

Yoga - Tuesday / Thursday, 9:00am - 10:00am

Tennis - Monday / Wednesday, 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Soundview Park

Lafayette Ave. btw Boynton & Colgate Aves.

Fitness Walking - Monday / Wednesday, 9:00am - 10:00am

Yoga - Monday / Wednesday, 10:00am - 11:00am

Van Cortlandt Park

Broadway & Mosholu Aves.

Fitness Walking - Tuesday / Thursday, 10:00am - 11:00am

Williamsbridge Oval

3225 Reservoir Oval E.

Yoga - Monday / Wednesday, 9:00am - 10:00am


Kaiser Park

Neptune & Bayview Aves.

Tennis - Tuesday / Thursday, 10:00am - 12:00pm

Marine Park Nature Center

Ave. U & E. 32nd St.

Yoga - Monday / Wednesday, 9:00am - 10:00am

South Oxford Park

S. Oxford St. & Atlantic Ave.

Yoga - Wednesday / Friday, 11:00am - 12:00pm


Carl Schurz Park

E. 86th St. & East End Ave.

Fitness Walking - Monday / Friday, 9:00am - 10:00am

Yoga - Tuesday / Thursday, 9:00am - 10:00am

Central Park Tennis Courts

93rd St. near West Dr.

Tennis - Friday, 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Inwood Hill Tennis Courts

207th St. & Seaman Ave.

Yoga - Monday / Wednesday, 11:00am - 12:00pm

Tennis - Tuesday / Thursday, 10:00am - 12:00pm

Sara D. Roosevelt Park

Chrystie & Forsyth Sts.

Yoga - Tuesday / Thursday, 11:00am - 12:00pm

Fitness Walking - Monday / Friday, 10:00am - 11:00am


Astoria Park Tennis Courts

21st. St. & Hoyt Ave. S

Tennis - Monday / Wednesday, 10:00am - 12:00pm

Cunningham Park

Union Turnpike & 193rd. St.

Tennis - Tuesday / Thursday, 9:00am - 11:00am

Yoga - Tuesday / Thursday, 10:00am - 11:00am

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Tennis Courts Meridian Rd.

Tennis - Monday / Wednesday, 10:00am - 12:00pm

Roy Wilkins Park

Baisley Blvd. & 177th St.

Tennis - Tuesday / Thursday, 11:30am - 1:00pm

Yoga - Tuesday / Thursday, 10:00am - 11:00am


Faber Park

Richmond Terrace & Faber St.

Yoga - Tuesday / Thursday, 11:00am - 12:00pm

Greenbelt Park

Brielle Ave. btw Rockland & Wolcott Aves.

Tennis - Monday / Friday, 12:00pm - 2:00pm


Top Travel Industry Leaders to Headline Trade Day Keynote at New York Times Travel Show, Friday, Jan. 25 at the Javits Center

Top Travel Industry Leaders to Headline Trade Day Keynote at New York Times Travel Show, Friday, Jan. 25 at the Javits Center    

Featured speakers include James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report; Christine Duffy of Carnival Cruise Line; Kristin Karst of AwaWaterways; Jennifer Tombough of Tauck; Jan Swartz of Pricess Crusies; and Jackie Friedman, Nexion Travel Group

NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2018 – The 2019 New York Times Travel Show invites travel industry professionals to join its Trade Day on Friday, Jan. 25, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, for its Travel Industry Conference and exclusive trade-only viewing of more than 600 exhibiting companies in the Exhibition. Travel professionals may register for the Trade Day here.

The Travel Industry Conference will offer a comprehensive educational program designed for travel professionals and features over 20 Focus Conferences across diverse travel categories. The Conference’s all new content will emphasize one-of- a-kind experiences available for clients, and vital marketing strategies and best practices that travel professional can use to drive revenue.

The keynote panel for the Travel Show’s Trade Day on the state of the travel industry will be moderated by James Shillinglaw, veteran travel editor and editor-in-chief of Insider Travel Report. Panelists include: Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line; Kristin Karst, Executive Vice President & Co-Owner, AmaWaterways; Jennifer Tombaugh, President, Tauck; Jan Swartz, President, Princess Cruises; and Jackie Friedman, President, Nexion Travel Group.

This year’s Show will also feature an all-new general session on the Leisure Travel Market with Steve Cohen, Senior Vice President, Travel Insights at MMGY.

Trade Day 2019 will feature more than 100 speakers including, among others:

Erika Richter, Director of Communications, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)

Lillian Africano, Past President, Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)

Anne Marie Moebes, Publisher, Travel Market Report


James Shillinglaw, editor-in-chief of Insider Travel Report”

Terry Dale, President, United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA)

Rainer Jenss, President & founder, Family Travel Association

Ignacio Maza, Executive Vice President, Signature Travel Network

Kate McCulley, Travel Blogger, Adventurous Kate

Todd Neuman, Executive Vice President, South African Airways

Sylma Brown, Director, Caribbean Tourism Organization-USA, Inc.

Arnie Weissman, Editor in Chief, Travel Weekly

Charles Sylvia, Vice President, Trade Relations, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

The Trade Day agenda follows:

7:30 a.m. Registration Opens (Tickets are $79 at the door and $59 in advance, and include admission to all Focus conferences, lunch, keynote address and exhibition floor)

9:00 a.m. General Session: Leisure Travel

10:00 a.m. Focus Conferences begin

12:15 – 12:45 p.m. Lunch (Included for ticket-holders only)

12:45 – 1:55 p.m. Keynote Address & State of the Industry Panel

2 – 7 p.m. Exhibition Open (Free for pre-approved and accredited travel professionals)

3:00 p.m. Focus conference

5 - 7 p.m. Networking Reception

Saturday, Jan. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 27 will be open to all attendees and feature global cuisine tastings, cultural performances, travel book signings, one-on-one conversations with travel experts and special discounts and offers for consumers of all ages from over 500 exhibitors.

2019 New York Times Travel Show Sponsors

South African Tourism is a Gold sponsor of the 2019 Travel Show; MSC Cruises, Visit Florida, and the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi are Silver sponsors; I Love New York is a Bronze sponsor.

2018 Travel Show Highlights

Special Note to Media: Travel writers and journalists may apply for Travel Show media credentials here. Credentials grant complimentary access to the Trade Day and both consumer days. Members of the media are invited to attend the Trade Day to meet with travel industry professionals and attend press conferences throughout the day. 

Industry sponsors include: Adventure Travel Trade Association, Africa Travel Association, American Society of Travel Agents, Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Education Foundation, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Cruise Line International Association, Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association, European Travel Commission, Family Travel Association, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, Millennials in Travel, Pacific Asia Travel Association, Professional Travel Bloggers Association, Travel Goods Association, Society of American Travel Writers, U.S. Tour Operators Association, and Well-Being Travel.

Girls LOVE Travel, GoNomad, Healthy Aging Magazine, Insider Travel Report, ManAboutWorld, Passport Magazine, TA Connect, TravAlliancemedia, and Travel Market Report are media sponsors for The 2019 New York Times Travel Show.

About The New York Times Travel Show (                   

The Travel Show is the largest and longest-running trade and consumer travel show in North America, featuring the Travel Industry Conference, Consumer Seminars, Meet The Experts Pavilion and an interactive Exhibition including more than 600 exhibitors representing travel to all seven continents, positioned within 16 pavilions (including Adventure, Africa, Asia, Australia/South Pacific, Canada, Caribbean, Cruise, Europe, Family, Global, Latin America, L.G.B.T.Q., Mexico, River Cruise, Travel Products, and U.S.A. Pavilions). In addition to discounts and special offers, the show provides educational seminars and live entertainment for families, individuals and couples and seniors. Join the conversation and follow @NYTTravelShow for the latest Travel Show news.

About The New York Times Company

The New York Times Company is a global media organization dedicated to enhancing society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news and information. The Company includes The New York Times, and related properties. It is known globally for excellence in its journalism, and innovation in its print and digital storytelling and its business model. Follow news about the company at @NYTimesPR.

Free Broadway Musical Performances Start Mon, Nov. 12 at The Shops at Columbus Circle


School of Rock, Kinky Boots, Anastasia & Be More Chill

Events are Free and Open to the Public, No Tickets, No Reservations

Just Show Up!

Photos by Lauren Elle Photography

On Monday, Nov. 12, The Shops at Columbus Circle will kick of its third year of Broadway Under the Stars, a five-week series of free public performances taking place this holiday season. Select cast from today’s hottest Broadway musicals will perform against the backdrop of the famous twelve massive stars. These stars are the largest specialty crafted exhibit of illuminated color display in the world, which hang from the 100-foot-high ceilings. Performances are free to attend and open to the public, no reservations or tickets are required.

  • Hosted by Actor George Psomas (Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific)

  • Broadway performances from the casts of:

    • School of Rock

    • Kinky Boots

    • Anastasia

    • Be More Chill

  • Stephanie Fink (The Shops at Columbus Circle) available to speak on behalf of the Broadway Under the Stars series

  • Media interviews, visuals and special access to the performances available

Monday, November 12 at 5 p.m. Performance will last approximately 20 minutes.
The Shops at Columbus Circle - 10 Columbus Circle
Second Floor Mezzanine

  • Nov. 19: Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show, Head Over Heels, The Band’s Visit, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

  • Nov. 26: The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Waitress

  • Dec. 3: The Prom, Dear Evan Hansen

  • Dec. 10: Mean Girls, Wicked


School of Rock, The Musical
Based on the hit film, this is a hilarious musical that follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band.
Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots tells the uplifting and heartwarming tale of Charlie Price, a young man reluctantly taking over his family’s struggling shoe factory and looking for a fresh idea. Charlie meets and finds inspiration in Lola and together, they discover that it takes a good friend to make a great pair.
The mystery that fascinated the world is now the musical that’s captivating Broadway. A rumor is spreading across the land: the missing princess of the Romanov empire may still be alive. Then, a young woman appears with no name and no family, but with the drive to discover her destiny. As she sets out on an epic journey in search of her past, clues unlock and memories return. Could she be the one they call Anastasia?
Blending the contemporary with retro sci-fi, this thrillingly exciting, comically subversive, and deeply felt new musical takes on the competing voices in all of our heads. And ultimately proves, there’s never been a better time in history to be yourself—especially if you’re a loser…geek…or whatever.
Visit for more information and an ever-changing list of events and happenings.

32nd National Equal Justice Awards Dinner Hosted by the NAACP LDF

(NEW YORK) – November 2, 2018 – Last night, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc (LDF) hosted their 32ndNational Equal Justice Awards Dinner (NEJAD) at the Ziegfeld Ballroom where they celebrated the achievements of several distinguished civil and human rights leaders and raised over $2 million to help further the mission of the LDF. 

In front of an audience of 650, Marian Wright Edelman (Founder/President of the Children’s Defense Fund) and Judge U.W. Clemon (Alabama’s first African-American federal judge) received the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, while theNational Equal Justice Award went to Bryan Stevenson (Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative) and philanthropist couple Dr. P. Roy Vagelos (Chairman of the Board, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) and Diana Vagelos (Vice Chairman of Barnard Board of Trustees and Vice President/Treasurer of the Marianthi Foundation, Inc.).

Additional attendees included author Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Insecure” actor Kendrick Sampson, Women’s March co-chair Linda Sarsour, Miss Haiti 2014 Christie Desir, and writer Jamilah Lemieux. TV and radio personality Jacque Reid served as emcee.

With the mid-term elections just five days away, voting was on everyone’s mind. LDF president and director-counsel Sherrilyn Ifillpresented a short documentary (produced by filmmaker Crystal McCrary McGuire) that chronicled the work of the LDF and the challenges they face in today’s political climate. The video featured commentary from LDF associate director-counsel Janai Nelsonamong others and underscored the evening’s theme of “Justice. Equality. Democracy.” 

In keeping with that theme, Tony and Grammy Award-winning artist Renee Elise Goldsberry performed the inspirational song “People Get Ready,” once sung by Aretha Franklin whose music was highlighted throughout the dinner.

“I’m standing on the shoulders of people who did so much more with so much less,” said Stevenson during his acceptance speech. “My grandfather realized that slavery didn’t end in 1865, it evolved. So he taught his daughter – my grandmother – that she had to fight. We cannot celebrate civil rights if we’re not willing to fight. We’ve got to fight!”


Special thanks to National Equal Justice Awards Dinner honorary chairs Kenneth and Andrea Frazier, co-chairs Angela Vallotand Kim Koopersmith and the entire LDF staff.


For video highlights from #NEJAD18, visit


About the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.

Tanisha LaVerne Grant a 2018 Black Women in Media honoree and Tom Ford Beauty - Saturday, November 3

Reporter Tanisha LaVerneGrant, Oscars 90'th. Photo Credit Lapacazo Sandoval.jpg

Tanisha LaVerne Grant a 2018 Black Women in Media honoree and Tom Ford Beauty - Saturday, November 3

On Saturday, November 3, 2018, Tanisha will be on hand at Tom Ford Beauty at Saks 5TH Avenue to discuss the brand with Tom Ford Beauty's lead makeup artist Allan Aponte.

The two will take guests through Tanisha' s favorite Tom Ford Beauty products and her favorite red carpet looks. Guests will be given a gift bag, a chance to win Tanisha's favorite Tom Ford Traceless Foundation, and an opportunity to get makeovers with Allan and other key makeup artists for Tom Ford Beauty as well enjoy lite bites and champagne. All guests will have an opportunity to talk with Tanisha about her career as an entertainment journalist and red carpet correspondent and how she maintains sustainability and credibility in the competitive space of entertainment news.

To register for this event please visit the Eventbrite link below:

@tanishalavernegrant Facebook

@tanishalavernegrant Instagram



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


#   #   #


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

Bryan Cranston, Joshua Henry, Jason Robert Brown- Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Last night, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence hosted their annual Bear Awards in honor of Jim “Bear” Brady in NYC, an evening that celebrated champions and real heroes in the gun violence prevention space.  Reflecting on one year after the Las Vegas massacre, the evening was inspiring, uplifting, and left guests feeling charged to create change. 

ROY WOOD JR. (comedian and actor) opened the evening followed by remarks made from KRIS BROWN and AVERY GARDINER, co-presidents of Brady.  The recently launched End Family Fire PSA was shown to guests as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done. The PSA, which was covered in The New York Times, Good Morning America, MSNBC, Refinery29, Bustle, PEOPLE and NBCamong others, aims to raise awareness around the chilling statistic of 8 kids unintentionally injured or killed by an improperly stored gun. 

A highlight of the evening was the live auction which featured items such as a set visit and meet and greet to MADAM SECRETARY generously donated by TEA LEONI, an ERIC CLAPTON experience at Madison Square Garden and tickets to The Golden Globe Awards official after party.  Amid the auction, BRYAN CRANSTON surprised both guests and Christie’s auctioneer ROBBIE GORDY by jumping on stage to offer two tickets to opening night of NETWORK, his new Broadway play opening this fall. The winner will enjoy two tickets, a backstage meet and greet, and access to the after party on December 6th.  After one guest rounded out the bidding at $11,000, which according to Bryan were tickets earmarked for his agents, he surprised the crowd again by offering a second pair for a matching bid, thus taking seats away from their “mooching relatives,” according to his wife who shouted from Table 8. 

As guests finished dinner, BRYAN CRANSTON took the stage and joked about the mood changer that is Roy Wood to Walter White. He spoke about his outrage and despair for what he sees on television and reads in the news on an almost daily basis, and made reference to his upcoming Broadway play that is based on the movie Network by Patty Chayefsky. He read a short passage that was written back in 1975 but rings true to today.  After sharing startling statistics such as there being 9 gun dealers for every Starbucks in the country, he introduced Tony Award winning composer JASON ROBERT BROWN.  Brown, a 2018 Brady Bear Award recipient, took to the piano to perform “A SONG ABOUT YOUR GUN,” followed by a duet with multi-Tony Award nominee JOSHUA HENRY. 

SARAH ULLMAN, filmmaker and founder of One Vote At A Time, introduced the Real Heroes portion of the evening - an opportunity to recognize the 2018 honorees including The Gun Safety Alliance, AMANDA WILCOX (Mother, Lobbyist, and Activist); JAMES SHAW, JR. (Father, Champion, and Activist); IVY SCHAMIS (Teacher, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and Activist); and AALAYAH EASTMOND (Student Survivor, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and Activist) who is using her voice to create real change. 

Five real life heroes were honored for their work and a special performance took place as well. A full recap is below, along with a link to photos. 

Independence Day Celebrations 15 August 2018 at Consulate General of India, New York

72nd Independence Day of India - 15 August 2018

On the occasion of 72nd Independence Day of India, Consul General, Sandeep Chakravorty hoisted the National Flag at the Consulate premises in the morning of 15 August. It was followed by the playing of the National Anthem. Consul General read out President’s Address to the Nation delivered on the eve of the Independence Day.

2. More than 200 people including prominent members of the Indian community and local dignitaries including Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman David Weprin, Assemblyman Raj Mukherjee, Senator Vin Gopal and also Bollywood actor Anupam Kher attended the ceremony.

3. A short cultural program was held by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, which included singing of patriotic songs and poetry recitation.

4. At the initiative of local Indian community organizations, iconic monuments in New York and surrounding areas were lit up on the occasion with the colors of the Indian flag. These included the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls among others.

5. This year, on the occasion of India's Independence Day, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) sponsored a seven member group consisting of acclaimed Kathak dancers - Sandip Mallick & group with Anuj Mishra and group to present Kathak! A short glimpse of their performances were shown during the morning ceremony.

6. The team in collaboration with this Consulate & Battery Dance Company will be performing at Robert F. Wagner Park this evening; Saraswathi Hall, The Hindu Temple Society of North America on August 16 and finally at Navatman's Drive East Festival on August 17 before heading to Dallas for other scheduled performances.

7. PTC Broadcasting did a live telecast of today's event; link:

15 August 2018 New York

Dates For 2019 New York Times Travel Show Announced; Tickets Available In Fall 2018


The Show, the largest travel trade and consumer convention in North America, marks its 16th year in 2019

NEW YORK, June 25, 2018 – The 2019 New York Times Travel Show will take place Jan. 25-27, 2019, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.

Next year's Travel Show will open with a Trade Day, open exclusively to travel industry professionals and writers, on Friday, Jan. 25, Saturday, Jan. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 27. will be open to the general public, as well as travel professionals and media.

Overall attendance at the 2018 Travel Show—its commemorative 15th anniversary year—was 32,398, the highest in the history of the Travel Show and represented an increase in confidence and interest in leisure travel. These consumer traveler attendees estimated that they would spend more than $100 million in travel trips in the next 12 months, according to Travel Show survey results.

Trade attendance was once again strong at more than 10,268, an 11% increase from the previous year. The estimated volume of travel business represented by travel agents in attendance was a record $3.3 billion, according to Travel Show survey results.

Participating exhibitors also hit a new record with 610 companies representing over 176 countries. In addition to networking and negotiating new deals with travel agents, the 2018 exhibitors estimated that they created additional consumer traveler sales of approximately $7.5 million, on-site or shortly thereafter, according to Travel Show survey results.

Over 1,300 members of domestic and international media – covering all seven continents and dozens of nations and regions – attended the 2018 Travel Show to gain insights from industry-focused seminars and conferences, in addition to two days of consumer events that featured 276 travel industry speakers and experts.

In the coming months, The New York Times Travel Show will announce a variety of dynamic speakers and performers, interactive conference sessions, and other presentations for the 2019 Show. Please visit and follow @NYTTravelShow for the latest New York Times Travel Show news.

For photos of the 2018 New York Times Travel Show, visit here.

For exhibition opportunities at The New York Times Travel Show, email

For speaking opportunities, email

Visit Florida is a Silver sponsor of the 2019 Travel Show; I Love New York is a Bronze sponsor.

Industry Sponsors include: Adventure Travel Trade Association, Africa Travel Association, American Society of Travel Agents, Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Education Foundation, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Cruise Lines International Association, Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association, Family Travel Association, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, Millennials in Travel, Pacific Asia Travel Association, Professional Travel Bloggers Association, Society of American Travel Writers, United States Tour Operators Association and Well-Being Travel

Media Sponsors include:  GoNomad, Healthy Aging Magazine, Insider Travel Report, ManAboutWorld, Passport Magazine, TA Connect, travAlliancemedia, Travel Market Report.

For sponsorship opportunities, email Brad Kolodny at

The New York Times Travel Show is the largest trade and consumer travel show in North America.

About The New York Times Travel Show (

The Travel Show is the largest and longest-running trade and consumer travel show in North America, featuring the Travel Industry Conference, Consumer Seminars, Meet The Experts Pavilion and an interactive Exhibition including more than 600 exhibitors representing travel to all seven continents, positioned within 16 pavilions (including Adventure, Africa, Asia, Australia/South Pacific, Canada, Caribbean, Cruise, Europe, Family, Global, Latin America, L.G.B.T.Q., Mexico, River Cruise, Travel Products, U.S and Wellness USA Pavilions). In addition to discounts and special offers, the show provides educational seminars and live entertainment for families, individuals and couples. Join the conversation and follow @NYTTravelShow for the latest Travel Show news.

About The New York Times Company

The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) is a global media organization dedicated to enhancing society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news and information. The company includes The New York Times, and related properties. It is known globally for excellence in its journalism, and innovation in its print and digital storytelling and its business model. Follow news about the company at @NYTimesPR.

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:

Top Notch Cinema Triumphs Using Video Technology

Bonobos has been offered a lucrative $310,000,000 deal from Walmart.
Dollar Shave Club was acquired for $1,000,000,000by Unilever.
Albertsons purchased Plated for $200,000,000.

What one single similarity do all three corporations share? Each one had a branding video that was designed and distributed by a New York corporate video production company, Top Notch Cinema. A short time after these videos were publicly shown, these start up organizations received their profitable solicitations.

In an ever-changing environment saturated with an abundance of information, it is essential to stand out in the crowd. Video production and distribution creates a unique niche for brands looking to capture the attention of all audiences, both small and substantial in size. A quality promotional and/or event video creates necessary brand awareness. It also helps the consumer feel personally connected to the brand, which creates brand loyalty and increases referral rates.

A quick Google search reveals that the top video production firms focus mostly on news and entertainment. It is evident that virtually everyone ignores videos for business. According to the owners of Top Notch Cinema, James Orfanos and Greg Parker, videos allow a brand to “personally connect with their audience, leading to a higher level of lead generation and higher conversions rates”. By adopting this focus, Top Notch Cinema has been able to secure top clients, including the famed luxury stay brand The Four Seasons, the digital wallet Venmo, andonline news source Elite Daily, among others. The work of Top Notch Cinema essentially guarantees a significant return of investment, which their clients have confirmed.

Top Notch Cinema focuses on enhancing the essence of every brand by creating a series of short and succinct videos. The content is both comprehensive and compelling, designed to engage all ages. Once completed, a strategic and schematic distribution is done through particular platforms and creative channels. All done within one day.

Take a second to schedule an in-depth consultation with Top Notch Cinema. For further information, visit their website 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.


Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel, Up & Close in New York (June 23 - July 23). #SistineUpClose

You love Michelangelo's work? You've heard of all his beautiful and amazing art work on chapel's ceiling at Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome? You have been wanting to go see it, but haven't had time, or money, or both. Well, you can see that artwork, right here in New York City, that to, up & close, from now until July 23.

The Oculus Mall (Westfield Mall?) at World Trade Center is holding this wonderful exhibition. It does cost $20, which seems a LOT, specially considering its all in open and you can see it just from outside (check out the pics) fro FREE. But if you wanna get closer, you can buy the tickets and go in. Checkout the schedule with more details and buy the tickets here:

The exhibition will move to various places all over country. Checkout the dates and details below.

Celebrate Thai New Year & Start of Thai Restaurant Week, April 22/29


Weeklong celebration features a Songkran Street Festival, April 22 & 29, 2017 in Woodside, Queens

New York - April 20, 2017: The Thai Community in New York in conjunction with The Royal Thai Consulate-General in New YorkTourism Authority of Thailand New York and the Thai Restaurant Chamber of Commerce of New York, are commemorating the Songkran Festival (Thai New Year) and Thai Restaurant Week. An eight-day celebration features a street festival in little Thailand, Woodside, Queens, April 22 and 29, 2017 and special limited-edition menus at Thai restaurants throughout New York City. 

The first and last day (April 22nd and 29th) of the week-long Songkran Festival which celebrates Thai New Year will include:

  • Thai cultural performances
  • Muay Thai showcase
  • A Beer Garden by Chang
  • Cooking demonstrations by Pinto Garden Restaurant's executive chef
  • Cooking competition
  • Thai street food booths
  • Artisanal umbrella painting
  • Dance workshops
  • An art exhibition by Thai Artists in New York (Only on April 29th)
  • A special exhibition celebrating the life and work of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand
  • Water blessing Ceremony

To kick-start the event on April 22nd, New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm and the Consul-General of Thailand will deliver addresses, followed by a traditional Thai Buddha procession which will culminate in the traditional water blessing ceremony.

 In addition to various cultural activities, attendees of the festival will have an opportunity to win flights to Thailand provided by Norwegian Airlines, visit the Pop-up Chang Beer Garden, and sample some of the best Thai cuisine in New York City from Yajai Restaurant, Pinto Garden, Topaz and Thai Select.

 To give participants the opportunity to experience Thailand first-hand, the Royal Thai Consulate-General in New York has partnered with Norwegian Airlines to provide complimentary flights for a few lucky winners. For a chance to win two round-trip tickets to Thailand on Norwegian Airlines, attendees of the Songkran Street Festival are invited to post a photo on Instagram using the hashtags #SongkranFestival and #FlyNorwegian. Diners experiencing Thai Restaurant Week should check-in by adding location at a participating restaurant on Instagram and post a photo of their dish using the hashtags #ThaiRestaurantWeek and #FlyNorwegian. Winning entries will be selected by the organizing committee.

 The Songkran Festival Street Fair will take place on Woodside Avenue between 75th and 77th Street, Queens, on Saturday, April 22nd and Saturday, April 29th from 12 pm to 6 pm. For further information, please visit the Royal Thai Consulate General NY page on Facebook.

 NYC Thai Restaurant Week will be in full swing from April 22-29. Participating restaurants will feature a special limited edition Songkran menu to celebrate the Thai New Year. For a list of participating establishments, visit:

 The Songkran Festival and Thai Restaurant Week are brought to you by The Thai Community in New York in partnership with The Royal Thai Consulate-General, New Yok Chang Beer; Tourism Authority of Thailand New York; New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm; Norwegian Airlines; the Thai Restaurant Chamber of Commerce of New York; Thailand Board of Investment, New York; Thai Trade Center, New York; and Bank of Thailand, New York.

@837NYC, VR experience is FUN and FREE! #LWDYK

Lapacazo, What Do You Know?  I know about virtual reality and in NYC, at the Samsung 837 experience it’s free and fun! 

Don’t fret when you get the notification that out of town guests are arriving at your door this season. So you can’t get them tickets to HAMILTON you can still give them a taste of innovation that costs them nothing and will entertain them for hours.  

Google the Samsung 837 “where technology and culture collide. It’s located in the heart of the cobble stoned streets in the Meatpacking district in NYC, where “Samsung 837 combines art, fashion, technology, and sport in unprecedented ways.” Check it. The place is filled with ideas and unique opportunities to try out the Samsung’s cutting edge devices including the Samsung V.R.gear but since it’s not a store, don’t expect to be able to purchase any Samsung products. 

The line up of FREE events at Samsung 837 isoff the chain good and it goes way beyond just concerts and screenings, it shows how their devices contribute to moments worth the buzz.!/

The space was designed by renowned architecture firm Wonderwall and features an amphitheater area, VR tunnel, customer service and workshop area, and café. Enjoy live DJs spinning every day from 1-7pm in their fully equipped DJ Studio. From house to reggae, we have a sound to match every taste. Every Sunday sign up for the 837 Run Club.  Be fearless and lace up your shoes and come sweat it out with expert-led jogs along the Hudson Highline.

Here is what you need to know about the Samsung V.R. gear that’s powered by Oculus. 

Lapacazo Sandoval: How Many Apps are in the Gear V.R.?

Samsung makes the gear V.R. and Oculus is the virtual reality content provider. There are over150 experiences currently in the Oculus app. 

LS: I was bowled over by the fact that you can enjoy Netflix on the Samsung V.R. gear?  Explain.

The Netflix app is downloadable through the Oculus app. You can log in and watch your choices. Anything that was shot in 360 degrees will show up all around you as you are watching it.  Anything that was not recorded specifically in 360 degrees will appear— like a giant screen— in front of you, as if it’s being projected. Imagine. Just like if you are sitting there.

LS: How can I enjoy this experience, with my friend, using an Avatar with the Samsung V.R. gear?

That’s a great question. When you download the Gear V.R. app (through Oculus app) one of the 150 experiences and that ranges from watching movies and playing games and also includes [a] social hangouts.  

Let’s say that you are in New York City and your friend is in Japan. If you both have Samsung gear V.R. and you’ve downloaded the [Netflix app] you can both ‘ virtually hang out ‘ in a social hang out setting and using a cartoon Avatar and it looks like both of you are in the same room.  Similar to a video chat or phone conversation. Using the character [Avatar] you can have a conversation and it feels like you are there with that person. 

LS: Describe the worlds’ largest selfie?

The photo mosaic here at Samsung 837 is the world’s largest selfie. You take a picture wait just a few seconds and it pops up on the world’s largest social media display and this screen, as we call it: it’s 96, 55’ inch panels. Once it takes your photo, it’s comprised of 55 thousand Instagram images.  

LS: That’s great family connectivity and it’s free except for the coffee bar upstairs.  

Correct. At Samsung 837 we sell nothing but you can experience everything. Our events are free but RSVP is essential. Go to Event Brite Samsung 837 event bar. One of the newest attractions is the 4 D virtual roller coaster experience where the chairs move.  All free!

The 6th Annual Bayou 'n Brooklyn Music Festival-Brooklyn's Only Cajun, Creole and Zydeco Festival May 13-15, 2016

Bayou 'n Brooklyn and Jalopy Theatre bring local talent together with an amazing line-up of Louisiana musicians for three full days of music, dance, workshops, community jam sessions, and food in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Louisiana-born Courtney Granger and Blake Miller are this year's headliners, and to welcome back long time supporter of the festival, Jesse Lege. Also in this year's line-up are Amelia Biere and Darren Wallace. The celebration kicks off with dance hall bands on Friday May 13, 2016 at 8pm, and the party continues until late Sunday night May 15, 2016. This three-day festival takes place at Jalopy Music Theatre (315 Columbia Street, Between Hamilton & Woodhull, Brooklyn, NY 11231).  Three-day Weekend Passes are available for $60, and attendees may participate in music workshops in guitar, Cajun Song, Country Song, Cajun fiddle, Cajun accordion and bass for $30 each.  Admission for day passes ranges from $25 to $35. For more information and to purchase workshop tickets, visit


Now in its sixth year at the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, Bayou 'n Brooklyn is Brooklyn's ground breaking, one of a kind Cajun, Zydeco Festival.  Celebrate with a three-day-weekend full of music, dance, and regional Louisiana Jambalaya. Get a taste of Louisiana without leaving New York! Enjoy the musical excitement of Cajun and Zydeco bands and nonstop dancing.  Look forward to community jam sessions, delicious dishes - including Louisiana-famous gumbo served at the Jalopy Tavern - and our famous Saturday Jambalaya Supper.  Learn more about the festival by listening to Radio Free Brooklyn here:


You won't find a lack of things to do during this three-day festival with the abundant food, brews, jam sessions, workshops, and dancing - you can even get a drawing made of you or your favorite musician!  Have brunch while experiencing duo and trio performances at the Jalopy Tavern, equipped with a full bar and delicious menu.   In the theatre, back-to-back bands will keep you dancing.  Musical workshops begin at noon for musicians of all levels, followed by the Cajun Community Jam outside on the sidewalk. Bring your instruments, no experience required.  


The Grandson of well-known accordion builder Larry Miller, Blake Miller, has been surrounded by Cajun music and culture his entire life. Hailing from the small town of Iota Louisiana, Blake, a fluent French speaker and songwriter, managed to acquire a degree in Francophone studies from The University Of Louisiana at Lafayette, and in the mean time founded the popular young Cajun band, The Pine Leaf Boys, and became a member of the premiere Louisiana roots band, The Red Stick Ramblers. He has also served stints in just about every other Cajun/Creole band of note including Balfa Toujours, Les Malfecteurs, and Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole bringing his strong cultural identity and accomplished musicianship to the world. 

Courtney Granger, fiddle & vocals, was born in Eunice, Louisiana. Master fiddler and extraordinary strong singer, Courtney hails from the Balfa family lineage, which is evident in his powerful vocals and heavily Balfa-influenced fiddling. Courtney produced his own solo CD in the mid 90s, which brought him praise from the Cajun music scene, landing him several CFMA awards. In 1999, Courtney joined Balfa Toujours on bass and fiddle. Courtney has also recorded with the legendary Tim O'Brien.

Courtney's endless repertoire of both Cajun and classic country tunes, as well his impeccable thoughtful fiddling and soulful singing, has made him one of the most sought-after Cajun fiddlers in the world, playing with legends Jason Frey, Dirk Powell, Horace Trahan and The Pine Leaf Boys (4 time Grammy nominees). This fall Courtney will release his long awaited debut Country album on Valcour Records. 

Originally from twin cities, now from Lafayette, LA, Amelia Biere has grown in a household steeped with music, falling asleep to the sound of fiddles and stomping feet as lively barn dances ran late into the night. She was exposed to music and rhythm and the social connection that comes with enjoying music together and now has a well practiced music that resulted in a belting voice  

A native of Lafayette, LA, Darren Wallace started playing fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and bass fiddle at the age of 15. Soon after, he began to seek out the older musicians in the area to study their style. This lead him to master fiddlers, Lionel LeLeux and Varise Conner, as well as many other great Cajun musicians from which Darren absorbed their music, as well as Western Swing, C&W, and Bluegrass and eventually developed his own unique style of playing.  Over the years, Darren has shared the stage with many of the legends of Cajun and Zydeco music, some of which include Dewey Balfa, Canray Fontenot, Bois Sec Ardoin Eddy Lejune, Rockin Dopsey, and Merlin Fontenot. He spent a number of years as the house fiddler for Randol's Restaurant playing with a different accordion player every night, five nights a week

Deborah Monlux, producer, and pioneerBayou 'n Brooklynin 2011, paving the way for cultural exchange through music, art, dance and folklore. She was first inspired by the music of renowned Cajun fiddler David Greely former Mamou Playboy's fiddler, in 2010 and bridged the geographic gap by starting video-conference lessons with him shortly after. Deborah often travels to Louisiana to participate in festivals and workshops and soak up the Louisiana-born music and culture. She has played a prominent role in promoting the introduction of Cajun, Creole and Zydeco music and culture to a Brooklyn, NY audience by producing performances and jam sessions at venues that include Jalopy, Franklin Park Nyack, Lincoln Center BID, Postitively 8th in NYC, Galapagos Arts, the Atlantic Antic and Flatbush Frolic. She also plays fiddle in the NY based Catahoula Cajun Band.

Jesse Lége, creative visionary, artistic and sound directoraworld-renowned Louisiana accordion player and vocalist, is a strong supporter and creative director of the festival and a luminary for many musicians who are passionate about this special form of American Roots music. Jesse hails from Gueydan, Louisiana and has an impressive track record of more than 40 years of performances, including appearances at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Chicago Folk Festival. He is also a winner of numerous Cajun French Music Association awards, and was inducted into the Cajun Hall of Fame. Jesse Lége, continues to give his full support to Bayou 'n Brooklyn. As a true visionary, and Louisiana native, Jesse is the ambassador of Louisiana-born music and culture at Bayou 'n Brooklyn.

Jim Moore -Social Media Directoris a photographer who has documented the variety arts since the 1970s. His photographs helped Philippe Petit plan his tightrope walking stunt between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 and were prominently featured in the Oscar-winning film Man on Wire.Jim produces a weekly online radio show Bayou 'n Brooklyn Music HouronRadio Free every Wednesday at 7pm.

A Boy’s Life. Cartoons and Bullets

Given recent barbarous attacks in Paris, I am publishing  an article from Creativity Is Risky: Free Speech in a Charlie Hebdo World about a French boy threatened with his life for standing up for his beliefs. The full magazine, published September 1, and related content can be found here

A week after the murder of 11 journalists at CharlieHebdo’s offices in Paris, a boy at Marcelin Berthelot de Saint-Maur-des-Fossés school in Val-de-Marne, southeast of Paris, published an homage to the fallen in his high school paper. In response, he received death threats in a series of seven brief letters, two of which contained bullets.

“We want your death,” said one letter. “Say your goodbyes.”

Pierre, a French currency trader living in a suburb of New York City with his wife and two sons, attended Marcelin Berthelot and grew up reading comic books by Charlie Hebdo editors Jean Cabut, whose pen name was Cabu, and Georges Wolinski.

He feels particular pain over what happened and a true sense of nostalgia. “They were legends, as famous as Jon Stewart,” he said during a recent interview in a bustling café across from Grand Central Terminal. “I grew up with them.”

Pierre was an avid reader of Cabu’s “Legrand Duduche,” a comic strip that debuted in 1963 featuring a blond and lanky schoolboy wearing glasses — one who closely resembled Cabu. In the 1970s, “Legrand DuDuche” became an anti-authority and antimilitaristic character, and he evolved over the years into a pacifist and ecologist.

Those who murdered the Charlie Hebdo journalists and, shortly thereafter, shoppers at a kosher supermarket attacked the very heart of French society, said Pierre. “They attacked what we stand for and how we express ourselves. They attacked the way the French have designed to live together in religion.”

He is not surprised at the death threats against the young journalist, not because of any ill will against individual Muslims but because of tensions in French society.

While the lycée is in an affluent area, in the same region as the Château de Grosbois, Muslim ghettos are not far away. These areas are called zones d’education prioritaires, or priority education zones, and were created in 1981 to address the needs of disadvantaged and immigrant students — to “give more to those who have less.” The so-called ZEPs have proved a failure, as French Education Minister Vincent Peillon has said. Last year the French government enacted a series of reforms in an attempt to stem the “ghettoization,” according to L’Express.

“The socioeconomic problems are really explosive,” Pierre said. “The norm for teenagers in the ghettos is to hate the West. They don’t trust traditional media, which drives them to social media, where they read ISIS propaganda.”

Pierre would agree with Minister Peillon that the state has failed to craft policies that could help integrate Muslims into mainstream French society. Referring to the ZEPs, he said, “They don’t teach civics properly. Many Muslim students are not given the chance to understand democracy.”

As for the student, he was under police protection as of late May.  A more recent update could not be found.

Seeing Free Speech Through Pictures: An Interview with Photographer Michelle Zapata

Last week, we featured an article about the e-mag Creativity Is Risky: Free Speech in a Charlie Hebdo World, published by Manhattan resident Sally O’Dowd to raise awareness about the persecution of writers and cartoonists around the world.

A tribute to the 11 Charlie Hebdo journalists murdered in January by two Al Qaeda terrorists, Creativity Is Risky reminds us how easy free speech can be whittled away. While writers in the West are curbing Internet searches for fear of government retaliation, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is getting lashes in Jeddah.

While the magazine’s articles cover a wide range of intersecting issues related to free speech, the original photography is a story in and of itself. Creativity Is Risky art director and photographer Michelle Zapata guides us through it. You’ll never take graffiti for granted again.

What got you involved in this project?

I was completely crushed when I heard the news of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. These murders were such a violation of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom in all its ways. When talking with Sally about her editorial direction, I saw the opportunity to showcase an objective visual that could be touching and also deep in its creative expression.

What was your creative vision?

I wanted to combine various elements and viewpoints from different communities while taking people on a virtual walking tour of New York City. Such is the beauty of the Freedom Tower as it stands tall behind Washington Square Park – the focal point of our cover –or the photo of the Muslim prayer rug at the Met, which accompanies Sally’s piece about multicultural understanding and tolerance. Further downtown, graffiti became a big player.

Why graffiti?

For many years, graffiti has widely been considered vandalism – less so today but the stigma is still there. It is one of the rawest forms of expression and art. In the height of the fight against graffiti, people were arrested, beaten, fined and in some instances artists had physical fights with each other. We have since come a long way. We now have places internationally that are dedicated to showcasing these amazing artists. From coast to coast, communities celebrate this form of expression. This was an art form that many people paid for dearly to pave the way to acceptance and appreciation. In this way, graffiti is like Charlie Hebdo’s satire.

Different snippets from a mural appear throughout the magazine. What’s the story behind that? 

That was a terrific find! The mural is north of Houston and signed by a Mr. Must Art. Two NYU students who said they were on their way to the library stopped to let me photograph them reading Charlie Hebdo.

This enormous piece of art serves as a metaphor for many themes in the magazine.  The bird is a natural complement to Sally’s epigraph celebrating the “deathless inspiration” of the phoenix and its capacity for vision – the very same traits shared by writers and artists. The baby represents hope, while phrases such as “the world is ours” and “love, peace and universal blessings” remind us to respect other people’s right to free speech while also reminding us that we have the power to choose how we want to live with one another. The many faces and eyes in the mural, coupled with the phrase, “keep your eyes open” serve as a metaphor for government surveillance, which we talk about in the latter part of the magazine.

We noticed the prevalence of the Protect Your Magic sticker and the Protect Yo Heart stencil.  Are stickers and stencils emerging as another street form? Yes, stickers are becoming quite popular among young artists because they are inexpensive to produce and easy to place around town. Stencils have been used for years although they are still considered vandalism. We happened across “Protect your magic” and “Protect yo heart” throughout the day – we couldn’t have dreamed up a better way to summarize the magazine’s free speech mantra. We continue to find the Protect Yo Heart stencil in a variety of colors all over the city. For us, it’s a good omen.

What is the message you want people to walk away with?

The only way to eradicate ignorance is through education, and that was Sally’s main goal. She wanted to educate people about the threats to free speech in general and also ask people to know the facts underlying a satirist’s work. It was my hope to illustrate and support the stories with interesting visuals that would make people think beyond the obvious, which is exactly what satire aims to do. All of the images I shot for Creativity Is Risky were with the idea of bringing awareness to an unjust situation. If we silence our creativity or forms of expression because of someone’s discontent we will limit our divine potential.  Let’s stop placing limits on our freedoms and celebrate our expressions of it! Let’s learn acceptance and tolerance worldwide. Let’s evolve.

How can people support your message?

People can find the magazine at and click on the link to Creativity Is Risky: Free Speech in a Charlie Hebdo World. They can share the entire publication or a specific article. They are welcome to comment on Sally’s site and share their views on their social channels using #freespeech and #creativityisrisky hashtags. Sally tweets from @sallyodowd and her public Facebook page is Sally On Media – those are good places to stay up to date on the issue.

For more info and to share content, please visit O’Dowd’s blogTwitter andFacebook.

New Yorkers Speak Out About Press Freedoms

charliedoorway "Image Credit: Michelle Zapata"

charliedoorway "Image Credit: Michelle Zapata"

Persecution of writers and journalists abounds in our society, including the murder of 11 people at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by two Al Qaeda terrorists for their cartoons of Muhammad; the jailing of Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari in Iran for his involvement with The Daily Show; and the torture of Raif Badawi, the founder of the internet discussion group Free Saudi Network, who has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison.

Several New Yorkers have collaborated to raise awareness about these and other examples of how writers, journalists and cartoonists suffer at the hands of extremists and also democratic governments with surveillance programs, including the United States.

Creativity Is Risky: Free Speech in a Charlie Hebdo World is a multimedia e-magazine featuring original reporting, personal essays, an interactive map on press freedoms, videos and music. It tells a story both sad and hopeful about the state of free speech around the world.

“Creativity Is Risky is designed to educate and engage people around the world on issues related to free speech—from violent threats to the more subtle, everyday challenges,” says Manhattan resident and publisher Sally O’Dowd.

O’Dowd’s Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn teammates include:

cover page charlie hebdo -   "Image Credit: Michelle Zapata"

cover page charlie hebdo -  "Image Credit: Michelle Zapata"

  • Michelle Zapata, a producer and art director for U.S. Spanish-language consumer magazines
  • Communications executives Jon Porcasi, e-magazine producer and graphic designer; and Marian Berelowitz, who provided editorial guidance and served as copy editor
  • Emmanuel Letouzé (Manu), a French cartoonist and development economist, who analyzes Charlie Hebdo’s mission
  • Katy Glenn Bass, deputy director of free expression programs at literary human rights organization PEN American Center, who provided insight on the adverse impact of government surveillance programs on writers
  • Singer-songwriter Chaz Langley, whose songs relate to the magazine’s themes of free expression and resilience of writers who stand up to persecution.
“Our team invites readers to engage in the conversation on this essential human right by using the hashtags #creativityisrisky and #freespeech,” O’Dowd says. “Our team is passionate about this issue, and we want to hear from readers. Where do you see free speech being celebrated or curtailed? Help us create a #freespeech movement.

For more info and to share content, please visit O’Dowd’s blog, Twitter and Facebook.

The School of American Ballet's Workshop Performance Benefit 2015 Raised More Than $890,000

The School of American Ballet's Workshop Performance Benefit 2015 on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 raised more than $890,000 for scholarships and school programs. The evening began with cocktails at 5:30pm in Juilliard's Morse Hall, followed by the performance at 7pm in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Lincoln Center, and concluded with a seated dinner at 9pm at the Mandarin Oriental. The evening celebrated the legendary Rudolf Nureyev and commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Scholarship

"We are thrilled to announce that this year's Workshop Performance Benefit was a huge success," said Margie Van Dercook, executive director of The School of American Ballet.  "The tremendous generosity of our attendees made our first live auction an exciting and fruitful endeavor."

The performance was attended by nearly 700 guests, and was followed by a seated dinner at the Mandarin Oriental. The dinner was attended by nearly 500 patrons, including the School's board members and alumni, as well as leaders from the New York corporate and social communities. 

Notable attendees included: Chairmen Michele Barakett, Linda S. Daines, Hillary Lane Hochberg, Nell Kleinschmidt, and Max R. Shulman; Corporate Chairmen Alexandra and John Galantic; and Young Patron Chairman: Stephanie Anna Linka; Jenny and John Paulson, Julia and David Koch, Coco and Arie Kopelman, Sasha and John Galantic, Laura and Will Zeckendorf, Jean Shafiroff, Emily and John Rafferty, Susan Pilarre and Chip Zien, Suki Schorer, Jonathan Stafford, Ashley Bouder, Peter Martins and Darci Kistler, Jill Kargman, Kay Mazzo, Craig Hall, Troy Schumacher, Lourdes Lopez, George Skoras, and James Lipton.

This year's benefit celebrated the legendary Rudolf Nureyev and commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Scholarship. At the peak of his career, Mr. Nureyev spent many hours in SAB's classrooms, polishing his technique alongside SAB's students in Stanley Williams's acclaimed advanced men's class. In 1994, the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation generously presented the School with funding for an annual scholarship to support promising students in honor of Mr. Nureyev's affinity for SAB and Mr. Williams's teaching.

In 1964, Alexandra Danilova, George Balanchine's former classmate at the Imperial Ballet and a leading ballerina of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo joined SAB's faculty. In 1965, Madame Danilova established SAB's annual year-end Workshop Performances, giving the School's advanced students an opportunity to participate in professionally staged, publicly performed productions of classic ballet works. Since its inception, the Workshop Performances have seen hundreds of SAB's advanced students make their public debut as they prepare to leave SAB and go on to dance on the world's top stages. The New York Times coined Workshop a "spot-them-before-they-are-stars showcase". Scores of notable SAB alumni have performed at Workshop, including Merrill Ashley, Peter Boal, Maria Kowroski, Lourdes Lopez, Sara Mearns, Benjamin Millepied, Ethan Stiefel, and Wendy Whelan.

The post-performance dinner has evolved through the years, from an intimate gathering hosted by SAB co-founder Lincoln Kirstein at his Gramercy Park townhouse into a festive fundraiser held in the SAB studios. The continued success of the Workshop Performance Benefit led SAB to the use of another wonderful New York venue.The post-performance dinner took place in the magnificent ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental with the City's iconic skyline as a backdrop.

The 2015 Workshop Performances program included 19th & 20th Century Masters (Petipa, Bournonville, Balanchine & Robbins); Harlequinade ("Ballabile des Enfants"), Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Riccardo Drigo; William Tell (pas de deux), Choreography by August Bournonville, Music by Gioachino Rossini; The Sleeping Beauty (pas de deux), Choreography by Peter Martins (after Marius Petipa),Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky; Valse-Fantaisie, Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Mikhail Glinka; Stars and Stripes (3rd Regiment "Thunder and Gladiator"), Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by John Philip Sousa, arranged by Hershy Kay; and Fanfare,Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Music by Benjamin Britten.