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The Year of the Toro

Benecio Del Toro is having a career renaissance this year. After falling off the silver screen after the not-so-well received horror film Wolfman (2010), Del Toro started to bounce back into our hearts thanks to a mid-credits scene featured in the unexpected Marvel juggernaut, Thor: The Dark World (2013). It was recently announced on Variety Magazine that Del Toro will help reboot the Predator franchise.

The Usual Suspects star doled out great performances in Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014) and Sicario (2015), the latter of which many thought he should have received an Oscar nomination. Last year he was also the voice of the snake in The Little Prince.

Del Toro will also keep things in the Disney family by starring in another franchise film for their subsidiary, Lucasfilm. He will be in Star Wars: Episode VIII, in an unspecified as yet role, alongside Lupita Nyong’o and Oscar Isaac in 2017. That same year he will be in the Terrence Malick film Weightless with former batman star Christian Bale.

The Predator is expected to hit theatres in 2018.

 

 

Latin Food at the Inaugural Meadows Musical Festival

This weekend at the inaugural two-day music fest, The Meadows, in Citi Field on Oct. 1 and Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Oct. 2, there will be a diverse array of mostly Latin food vendors ready to whip you up some grub just for $25.

Tortas Neza, which has a 4.5 rating out of five rating on Yelp will have a spot at the festival and will be dishing out Mexican mini pork tacos. If you want to check out Tortas outside the festival, it is located at 96-15 Roosevelt Ave Corona, NY 11368. 

If you are looking for something more South American, then grab a bite at the Arepa Lady food stand and have a taste of the Colombian arepa dish. Like Tortas, Arepa Lady has a 4.5 rating on Yelp. If you don’t get a chance to check them out at the festival you can find them at 77-02 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights.

Another staple of Jackson Heights that will be found at The Meadows festival is La Esquina Del Cameron Mexicano. Similar to Tortas and Arepa, La Esquina also has a 4.5 rating on Yelp. La Esquina will be making Mexican ceviche. At just a few blocks from Arepa, La Esquina can be found at 80-02 Roosevelt Avenue.

The non-Latin foods that will be featured at The Meadows include Than noodle soup from Pata Paplean and Nepalese momos from Dhaulagiri Kitchen. Pata can be found in Elmhurst and Dhaulagiri is in Jackson Heights.

It wouldn’t quite be a music fest without drinks. The Manzarita by Don Julio uses unique spices to get you in the mood for Fall. It has fresh squeezed apple juice, just a hint of lemon, and elderflower liqueur, a dash of cinnamon and a slice of apple. The scent of the cocktail will leave you wanting more. If you want to show friends what you are drinking, there will be a photo booth by the Manzarita truck. 

Other cocktails include Tito’s Harvest, which will have apple cider, vodka and cinnamon. At this station you will find a build your own Bloody Mary bar. Larceny will have three cocktails for you to try. There will be the Larceny Bourbon Peach Cobbler, Larceny Buck and Larceny Locked and Loaded. Last , but not least is The 1893 Ginger and Mint Julep Remix by Pepsi-Cola. Pepsi will have several cola inspired cocktail with different combinations of rum, gin, vodka, coconut, vanilla, and elderflower made by a mixologist. 

If you are a non-drinker, there will be sober drinks and a watering station.

Headlining day one of the festival is J. Cole, and for day two first up will be Kanye West. For more details on the musical lineup, foods, drinks and directions, go to www.themeadows.com.

Gina Rodriguez Needs to Rap on Jane the Virgin

Earlier this week, the fierce Gina Rodriguez, star of Jane the Virgin presented the world to “Cutz,” her rap alter ego on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

The host sneakily dug into the NYU alum’s past and asked her about her rap days. While at first stunned by Fallon’s reveal of her MCing ways, to a national audience on live television no less, Rodriguez admitted to not only rapping on campus but to writing lyrics and being a part of a duo with her friend who went by Lady Fury.

Despite Lady Fury & Cutz’s enthusiasm for making original music, the duo stuck to the tried and true musical classics at college parties.

We would write foolishly, then when we got invited to college parties and they would be like oh, rap! And we would be like right of the dome, phew!!! Not off the dome… but we were dropping those rhymes all over NYU.

Then Fallon popped his hand up with a hidden mic surprising Rodriguez in hopes that she will spit a few bars. Although she looked like a deer in the headlights at first, she was game and with an assist from The Roots she went in on Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass,” even though Fallon was hoping for a possible freestyle or Lady Fury & Cutz piece.

Watch below.

Are you hoping for a Jane the Virgin rap episode after watching Rodriguez drop some bars on the Tonight Show? I sure am.

Jane the Virgin third season premieres on Monday, Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. E.T. on the CW.

 

Mariah Carey’s here Darlings!

Jussie Smollett and Mariah Carey as Jamal Lyon and Kitty

Jussie Smollett and Mariah Carey as Jamal Lyon and Kitty

 

Diva extraordinaire Mariah Carey will be making her debut on the musical drama Empire next week Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 9 p.m E.T on Fox.

There are no official details as to how many episodes she will feature in, but she will be playing the sassy superstar Kitty.

Kitty will be a mentor to Jamal, the up-and-coming R&B singer of the musical Lyon clan, and help him get past his post-traumatic disorder and into the studio.

During Kitty and Jamal’s collaboration, the duo will produce the song “Infamous.” Listen to the audio below.

Carey’s unscripted docuseries Mariah’s World will be on E! Dec. 4 at 9/8c.

EDDIE ALVAREZ AND CONOR MCGREGOR WAR OF WORDS IGNITES UFC PRESS CONFERENCE

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Finally, it’s on. The most popular MMA fighting organization (UFC) is bringing it’s show to New York City. Dana White along with four UFC Champions and several additional top fighters were received with great enthusiasm at the fan-filled Theatre at Madison Square Garden.

“This is the biggest and best all-around card in UFC History,”

Dana proudly exclaimed.

The announcement that UFC 205 will take place at Madison Square Garden on November 12th was surreal yet felt right. The main event champion vs champion duel between UFC Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and UFC Featherweight champion Conor McGregor confirmation dominated the press conference as the two champions engaged in an exchange of heavy smack talking.

Eddie, the Puerto Rican from Philadelphia reminded Conor often that as the Lightweight champion that he was the bigger man in size and level.

“You bring that little boy belt because you are not winning the big boy belt,”

Alvarez pointed out. Eddie is of the mind that Conor does not have the stamina for the job.

“He’s an eight minute fighter,” Eddie said, “He deals terribly in bad situations.”

Conor, after pointing out that he outlasted a tri-athlete pretty much said that Alvarez is fortunate to get this opportunity and his motivation is not winning.

“He’s a weathered fighter and he’s on his way out,”

Conor responded,

“He’s just another broke fighter who has to pay his bills.”

In the end the good big man usually has the advantage. Conor showed in two duels with a bigger fighter like Nate Diaz that he can’t just dust off the competition as he does in the Featherweight division he rules. Eddie is quite confident of his place here and what not to expect on November 12th.

“Anybody who knows anything about fighting knows you have no shot,”

Alvarez retorted,

“On that day I will show the world that there is no Santa Claus.”

Either way New York City is hungry for Mixed Martial Arts. The UFC will bring in addition to Alvarez-McGregor two more title fights as UFC Welterweight King Tyron Woodley faces Stephen Thompson and UFC Womens Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk fights Karolina Kowalkiewicz. In addition Frankie Edgar, Miesha Tate, Chris Weidman, Rashad Evans, Thiago Alves, and Lyman Good are also slated to appear.

Isa Shares Emotive New Single ‘Good For Me’

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Following the release of her heartfelt ballad “Take It Slow” earlier this year, the sultry Bronx-born Afro-Latin singer, songwriter, and model, Isa, takes us into the complicated situations of love with her fiery new single “Good For Me.”

Classically trained, Isa flexes her silky fusion of pop/soul and contemporary r&b on the new track. “Good For Me” is the second single from Isa’s forthcoming sophomore EP Mirrors Volume 1, due out October 28.

“‘Good for Me’ details the candid internal struggle of having to choose between two lovers. Following through with the theme of ‘Mirrors Volume I’, I decided to be brutally honest with myself and face the situation in song as the story itself was unfolding in my life. It gives a perspective into the other side of relationships that is blatantly selfish and mischievous.” – Isa

 

Listen to “Good For Me” on SoundCloud:

Isa is set to perform at Uptown Soul Lounge in New York City on Friday, September 30. The show is free with an RSVP here.

The Aftermath of the Trump vs. Hillary Debate

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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are currently just about tied in the 2016 presidential race and Monday, September 26th, their first presidential debate was held at Hofstra University in Long Island. It was scheduled to last for 90 minutes with the moderator, Lester Holt of NBC News, planned to have three 30-minute segments to focus on one issue each: America’s prosperity, America’s direction, and America’s security. Timing didn’t go exactly as planned, as in a real world nothing ever does, but much better planned than any of Trump’s speeches.

They both agreed on very little, which was to be expected, but Clinton managed to ruffle Trump’s feathers a bit. One statement she made was about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado of Venezuela, who recently became a US citizen. She called Trump out on his comments about Machado, such as the “Miss Housekeeping” name-calling because of her Hispanic heritage and the “Miss Piggy” comments because Machado had gained a little bit of weight since winning her crown in 1996. He seemed to give no empathy for the woman Clinton mention he body-shamed and humiliated 20 years ago.

I’m sure many viewers were hoping that they would stick to the issues at hand, which this debate did for the most part, but Clinton did bring up Trump’s business shortcomings, which he managed to squeeze in “that makes me smart” when she accused him of not paying federal taxes in connection with his failed Atlantic City casinos. But, not surprisingly, Trump didn’t give much detail, if at all, on his policy stance for the issues that were for discussion that night.

So who won? Depends on who you ask. As of Tuesday morning, #TrumpWon was trending on Twitter but no longer is as of this writing (¡gracias a Dios!). Either way, make sure you vote. Tuesday, Sept 27th is Voter Registration Day and if you haven’t noticed, various social media sites have been assisting their users to register, if they haven’t already, such as Facebook. Cleverly using this hashtag, actor Misha Collins eloquently tweeted: “Let’s make sure #TrumpWon is something we laugh about, not a nightmare we have to live with. Register to #vote! Vote.gov

 

GARY SANCHEZ: THE MATURE BABY BOMBER

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The youth movement the New York Yankees put into operation has made for a lot of excitement in the closing days of 2016. They traded away veteran assets to get younger and hopefully better.

But the one Yankee that has surpassed all expectations early on is a 23-year old catcher from the Dominican Republic. He has already looked like the finished product as his stats (.329 average, 19 home runs, 38, R.B.I’s, and 56 hits in only 45 games) have screamed All-Star if projected over a full season.

But it should not be a surprise that Gary has proven to be the most mature not only in performance but temperament. You grow up quick when your parents divorce and you are the youngest of five children raised by a single parent.

But after being accused of going through the motions which is understandable when you get a $3 million dollar signing bonus at age 16. Gary pointed out the birth of his daughter, Sahaira, as the turning point in his professional fortunes.

“When she was born, a new life began for me'”

Gary admitted.

Now, with a wife and child to support, Sanchez’ work ethic improved. But not immediately. He had to defeat the stigma of his conditioning and depending too much on his raw talent.

“The way I look at it is, you learn from your mistakes and move forward,”

Sanchez pointed out.

The Yankees trusted the new Gary so much that they traded John Ryan Murphy and Gary matched up with Austin Romine as backups to Brian McCann. Suddenly they both surpassed him after the late call-up.

As the fastest player to reach 19 home runs in modern baseball history one has to wonder if we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. At least we know as a husband and father, he won’t settle for less than his best.

Want to take a Dump in a Gold Toilet?…Now you can

No, Trump isn’t allowing the general public to his golden toilet – because it’s not even his. On display now, and available for use, in NYC’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art is a golden toilet by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, titled “America”. The toilet isn’t displayed behind a glass; it’ll be located in one of the museum’s facilities on the fifth floor.

As you can see, it is solid gold, not a generic toilet plated with gold. Being that this particular porcelain god is 18 karats of solid gold, one has to wonder what its value is. According to HuffPost, Gothamist did the math and calculated that, given the current value of gold, it could be worth as much as $2.5+ million!

See it in exhibition on view (and use) at the Guggenheim, located 1071 Fifth Avenue, just a few blocks north of the Met and a few blocks south of El Museo del Barrio. Suggested adult admission is $25, but you can pay what you wish Saturdays 5:45–7:45pm. Good Luck!

Queen’s First Hip-Hop Festival

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On Friday, Sept. 23 the inaugural Queens Hip Hop Festival will kick off at 10 p.m. at Flattops in Astoria.

The three-day event is the brainchild of entrepreneur and blogger Ashley Dean, 25, who goes by the name of Queen of Astoria, which is also the name of her events planning business.

As a big lover of all aspects of hip-hop and Queens artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, and Puerto Rican star Noreaga, also known as N.O.R. E., Dean felt that it was time for the borough to have a music fest that represents its cultural impact on the genre.
ashley-dean

I don’t think there is an event that I know of that really just celebrates Queens [hip-hop]. There is obviously a Brooklyn hip-hop festival, but there is nothing to showcase the talent in Queens and that currently pay respects to the greats that came out of the borough,” says Dean.

For Dean, hip-hop is not just a bunch of songs that comes out the radio.its more than just the music,

“It’s more than just the music, it’s about community and predominantly what is affecting the urban community, whether it be music, what’s in the news … and it compasses art, film, and dance,” says Dean.

All of the artists at the Queens Hip Hop Festival and 95 percent of the businesses, which will have representation there, are from the borough.

“In general, there aren’t a lot of venues that showcase hip-hop, so I thought it was important to make a stand out of that,” said Dean.

Dean hopes to grow the new annual event to further help the Queens community.

“I want to add educational components for kids and adults, and a volunteer outreach portion as well. The main goal is to get it throughout the borough, not just in western Queens,” says Dean.

Dean also helps out monthly at the Pan Am homeless shelter in Elmhurst and works with the youth leadership program Road to Greatness in Sunnyside.

“The borough really need this. There isn’t a lot hip hop [venues] here or things to do for young people,” says Dean.

I just wanted to start something to celebrate all of the hip-hop that comes out of the borough and just the community of artists that have come out of Queens and the future of hip-hop.”

Now, thanks to the Queen of Astoria, there will be. Flattops is located at 33-06 Ditmars Blvd and will have music from DJ Rob Swift and feature an open cypher.

On Saturday, there will be a free art show in QNS Collective from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 36-27 on 36th Street. A graffiti walk will take place at 4 p.m. at 31-05 28th Road Astoria. Shillelagh  Tavern at 47-22 30th Avenue in Astoria will have a concert from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. featuring artists Wordsmiff, Cake Man Maine, ConflikMelSwimsGood, Jon Lewis and DJ ButchRock.

Sunday at the Museum of the Moving Image there will be a screening of Belly starting 3 p.m. at 36-01 35th Avenue. The Blvd. Brunch Closing Party at La Gloria, which is located at 86-11 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights, will be where the fest come to an end.

For tickets go to www.queenshiphopfestival.com.