LIFE: Home for the Holidays and My Hiatus Comes to an End in Memory of Mom

Mom taking in the sights in Iceland.

Mom taking in the sights in Iceland. Photo: Tania Fuentez


If you’ve wondered what’s been going on here lately, kind visitors, don’t fret since I’ve been away from the blogosphere. Simply put, I’ve been noticeably silent for months while faced with a progressively debilitating illness, financial hardships but most challenging of all, the recent death of my dearest and best friend _ my mom.

On the heels of the festive holiday season and High Holy Days, I find it especially difficult to write without a steady stream of tears. So, I promise to keep this post short as I fondly reminisce priceless moments with mom and our travels together. I speak with deep gratitude for the lessons and blessings she imparted over a lifetime. Despite all obstacles, I’ll “step out on faith” just like she would reassure me during our daily talks. I’ll respect my mom’s legacy by upholding her generous spirit, genuine kindness toward anyone she met and that famously boundless sense of adventure and humor.

While I miss her profoundly every day, our bond remains strong. It is my mother’s unconditional love that keeps my grounded and focused on being a better person who can make a difference in someone’s life while on this Earth. That’s something I felt was worth sharing today.

Now, let’s see what tomorrow holds for the hopeful.

ART: Welling Court Mural Project Felt Just Like Family for TOOFLY




Multitalented artist and longtime Queens resident TOOFLY returned to NYC in time to share her creative aesthetic at the fifth annual Welling Court Mural Project by Ad Hoc Art. Of course, the turnout was amazing and community-fueled for this massive public art project, with 128 murals by dozens of internationally renowned participants. TOOFLY’s back in Ecuador now, but she’ll be more than excited to see the fam again for the next installment.



Ad Hoc Art Gallery:

MUSIC: Everything’s ‘Copasetic’ When Manchildblack and DJ Afro Take the Stage




Did you miss Manchildblack and DJ Afro for The Copasetic‘s release party Saturday night in New York? Well, don’t sleep on the band’s performance next month during Slow Knights at Brooklyn Bowl. Without question, Manchild’s smooth, sophisticated vocals and DJ Afro’s sharp production skills and musicianship make an ideal pairing, with both delivering a vibrant mix of funk, R&B, disco and House music for our listening pleasure. If audience reaction is any indicator, I have no doubt this is just the tip of the iceberg. I was caught up in the moment watching the Copasetic’s full outfit energize a gathering at Friends and Lovers, a neighborhood bar in Brooklyn. Manchild and DJ Afro were beaming on stage while performing the new track, If I Ever (available on the Hype Life Music label), and a string of other original tunes.

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Always a supporter of sweet, underground grooves, I can see this act leading the charge in a return to high-quality, soulful music in the mainstream. I’m excited by what the future holds for them! Just listen to the difference. I recently featured Manchildblack on my blog’s Guest Spotlight (Music section). And, in case you’re somehow unfamiliar with DJ Afro’s extensive discography, see him in action with the popular Venezuelan band, Los Amigos Invisibles.


The Copasetic:



ART: Modern Hieroglyphics Magazine Prepares for Premiere Launch in San Francisco


The countdown is on as the hard-working team at Modern Hieroglyphics gears up for its premiere issue magazine launch in San Francisco this week. The crew’s “stoked” to announce that Joe Kay and Julio Galvez of Soulection from Los Angeles are providing vibes for July 25, along with plaad, Mikos Da Gawd and several other guests. Too bad I can’t make the West Coast trek, but I’m just as excited to be a part of the launch because one of my photos will be in the mix on its pages (shout out to 5Pointz curator Meres One)!

Modern Hieroglyphics is a “constantly evolving art publication” created by Jack McKain and respected street artist Chor Boogie. The début has 156 pages, featuring 10 artists from eight cities and more than 200 full-color images. Among interviews and artwork highlighted: Shaka (Paris); Blame One (San Diego, Calif.); Pez (Nantes, France); Nils Westergard (Richmond, Va.); Meres One of 5Pointz (Queens, NY); Chor Boogie (San Francisco); Andre Power of Soulection (Los Angeles); Deb (San Francisco); Well Dressed Vandals (Sydney, Australia) and Noah Scalin (Richmond, Va.).

The magazine will be on sale at the John Colins launch party in downtown San Francisco. Can’t wait to get your hands on a copy? Pre-order online and it ships Aug. 1.

ART: ‘Born in the Bronx’ Brings Visual Record of Hip-Hop’s Early Days to the West Village


Think you know Hip-Hop culture? Test that knowledge while taking in the full scope of Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip-Hop, an extensive tribute now showing at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in the West Village. It ends this week, so don’t miss the chance to thumb through a bin filled with Afrika Bambaataa’s record collection (duplicates, of course) or check out Joe Conzo‘s acclaimed vintage prints from back in the day. And, there’s more detailing the vibrant history of an artistic phenomenon that continues to reach new heights and span the globe 40 years after its inception.

Remember those old-school ghetto jam flyers? Well, Born in the Bronx showcases the many designs of Buddy Esquire, called the “king of Hip-Hop flyers” in an NPR article earlier this year following his death. “Some of the most important surviving documents from that period were the party flyers,” the story notes. Other highlights from the exhibit include a grid of original cells from the animated sequences of Charlie Ahearn’s classic Wild Style.

Born in the Bronx, curated by Johan Kugelberg and exhibited by Boo-Hooray, runs through July 26.


FOOD: I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream



Nothing spells summer quite like a big scoop of yumminess of your favorite flavor on a hot day. This weekend, Brooklyn Flea celebrates National Ice Cream Month (who knew!) with its annual Creme de la Creme fest at two locations. First up, check out the massive Fort Greene Flea on Saturday where more than a dozen ice cream vendors will be on hand with mouth-watering selections galore. If you miss it, hit Kent Avenue on Sunday for the Williamsburg Flea. Who can resist more than 50 flavors and “every kind of frozen perfection you can imagine” at both fleas, according to event organizers. Rain or shine, I’m SO there!

Creme de la Creme 2014 Vendor Lineup:

Alchemy Creamery
Blue Marble Ice Cream
Butter & Scotch
Fort Grace
Hay Rosie
La Newyorkina
Monsieur Singh
Morgenstern’s Finest
Odd Fellows
People’s Pops
Phin & Phebe’s
The Good Batch
Victory Garden


Brooklyn Flea’s Creme de la Creme:

HEALTH: Up to the Challenge? #ChangeOneThing This Summer



An ambitious group of New York City teens are spending their summer inspiring friends, family and the rest of us to make healthier choices by example. Food Bank for New York City launched its EATWISE Change One Thing social marketing campaign this week (July 7-Sept. 5) — spreading an important message across five boroughs via Instagram and Twitter, radio and more. Participating students will even hit the road in a revamped ice cream truck featuring an interactive video game, nutritious snacks, recipes, bottled water and prizes.

Change One Thing helps guide teens toward practical, healthy choices they can make without breaking their budget or disrupting their social lives, according to program organizers. Eating healthy, they explain, doesn’t have to mean overhauling your diet or buying expensive “health food.” It can start with just one healthy choice per day. I really like this initiative because it makes a lot of sense and keeps things simple, whether you’re 14 or 44. Take the stairs instead of the elevator in the morning. Reach for fresh fruit rather than a bag of chips. Skip the lunchtime soda and quench your thirst with a glass of water.

Hey, putting fitness first may be a lot more fun than you think! Are you up to the challenge? Look out for Change One Thing ads on buses, in stores and phone kiosks around the city. If you see them, send a pic and experience the tour with EATWISE teens using #ChangeOneThing!

Visit the following links to learn more about CookShop, the centerpiece nutrition education program offered by the Food Bank for New York City. CookShop for Teens (or EATWISE: Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating) gives young people the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about what they eat and drink and living an active lifestyle.


Food Bank for New York City:

EATWISE: A Youth Nutrition Program:


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