New York City

Alpo Martinez: Where is the Infamous Harlem Drug Kingpin?

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Alberto “Alpo” Martinez is a name that most will not know, however if you happen to be a New York City resident or are a history enthusiast with a preference on the War on Drugs plight within the United States of America then you may have heard of his name as the legend, the myth, as one of the Drug Kingpins of Harlem.

However, like all popular Drug Kingpins–like El Chapo–who earn themselves a recognizable legacy the empire they’ve built tends to fall as does the legend who sits upon it.

But whatever became of Alpo?

For the last 25 years, Alpo has been believed to have been a resident of ADX Florence which is a federal supermax prison located in Fremont County, Colorado serving a 35-year sentence for 14 counts of homicide. However, according to those who are connected to Alpo that is no longer the case.

It is rumored that for the past few years Alpo has been out of prison, but the last place you may ever see him is back in New York City.

Back in the mid-1980s, during the early days of when the USA began its quest to combat drug-trafficking into the country in what has become known as the War on Drugs13-year-old Puerto Rican boy named Alberto Martinez—Alpo to those on the streets—rose in prominence within Harlem as a Drug Kingpin.

With a drug trade that consisted of transporting hundreds of kilos of crack-cocaine through various parts of New York City, other Northeast cities, and most noticeably Washington D.C.—where he lived during the last few days of his drug empire—Alpo became somewhat a street legend due to his dangerous lifestyle. Alpo’s life was eventually adapted into a 2002 movie entitled Paid in Full that starred rapper Cam’ron as Alpo.

 

 

He brought attention to himself. He was charismatic and outgoing. He had a party always going on around him and people gravitated to him,” remembers Kevin Chiles, a former Harlem drug dealer who knew Alpo, in a recent interview with Vice magazine back in 2015 where he disclosed that Alpo is no longer in prison.

While he was a legend for flashing his millionaire wealth with expensive cars, clothes, and jewelry, Alpo was also widely known for committing several murders during his drug kingpin reign.

In the 1990s, Alpo was involved in several murders that made him notorious. However, there was one murder that would begin the dismantling of both his drug empire and his legacy.

On January 3, 1990, Alpo and an accomplice murdered Rich Porter who was Alpo’s one time friend and actually sold drugs with when teenagers. It was Alpo murdering Porter that led those who once revered him to turn their backs on him.

Rich’s death had a huge impact on Harlem. The timing couldn’t have been worse,” said Chiles, “Richard was in the middle of negotiating the release of his 12-year-old brother, Donnell, who had been kidnapped and was being held for $500,000 ransom. Rich was killed, and then a few days later the body of his little brother was found in the same vicinity.”

While the death of Porter dented Alpo’s reputation, the silver bullet that would destroy his legacy would come after Alpo choose to testify against his former enforcer. Before an open court, Alpo turned on his former Washington D.C. enforcer in order to avoid serving a life sentence for the murders he had been arrested for committing.

After breaking the street law of snitching, Alpo was to serve as reduce sentence of 35 years for 14 counts of murder. However back in September of 2015, according to Don Diva magazine—a magazine developed by Chiles in prison that is devoted to the drug underworld and New York City street life—Alpo has been out of prison for the last few years.

Despite being rumored to being out of prison, the chances of Alpo returning to New York City is very slim.

I am most certain that Alpo won’t come back to New York. He knows he has a bullseye on him. That situation with Rich left Harlem scarred and people have strong feelings about it,” said Chiles, talking about the possibility of Alpo returning to NYC. “I could see a younger dude, on the come-up, try to make a name for themselves by taking Alpo out. They would be instantly infamous. I’m sure these are things he should be considering.”

So, where is Alpo Martinez? That is a question that may not be answered.

Ask Judy: Am I TOO Latina For My Co-Workers?

Judy Torres

Ask Judy

 

Dear Judy,

I have recently begun a new job at a fashion house that is pretty recognizable. It’s a European fashion corporation and I am one of the VERY few Latinas here. I am a natural woman with curly hair, makeup limited to mascara and lip-gloss, and a curvy figure. I feel confident in my abilities but I would like to connect with my co-workers.

The problem is that we have nothing in common. I grew up in “the hood” and they grew up in cozy cul de sacs. I am proud of my curves and they eat edamame for lunch. I just don’t have anything in common with these Barbie doll co-workers.

What can I do to connect? I feel like failing to connect will hinder my progress in the company and I don’t want to seem antisocial.

Sola en este cubicle,
Yolanda

 

Hola, Yolanda!!

Congratulations on your new job!! You go, girl! Believe it or not, I know how you feel..I too am a natural woman with curly hair, and I always say I may be chunky, but I’m funky! I read your letter today, and shortly after, I went to a zumba class, where I found myself the only Latina there as well. I looked around: Caucasian, African-American, Indian and Asian…what a mixture!! I could tell all the ladies were regulars, but it was my first time there. So, I decided to do all the things I suggest you do.

Instead of feeling uncomfortable that I was the only Latina, I was happy. In my mind, I told myself, “I’m going to show these women how much fun I can be!” So there I was, shaking my booty, and yelling out, “Wepaaaa!” And in a few minutes some of the ladies were hooting and hollering with me. Some looked at me as if I was a strange alien, but I didn’t care. And that’s what you need to do.

Yolanda, you were hired because you are obviously very talented and the right person for the job. Perhaps your company felt it was time to bring in someone new, someone Latina. This is your chance to show them…to represent us. Be yourself. If you try to be anything else so you can “fit in,” you are going to find yourself disliked. People can see through fakeness.

I bet as time passes, they will appreciate your uniqueness. And remember if you don’t love yourself first, no one else will love you. So flaunt that curly hair and curvy figure!! I can tell already you are absolutely beautiful! Wepaaaa!!!

Love,
Judy

New York’s Mom & Pop Businesses are Being Replaced by BIG Corporations

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Hey! Want to grab a bite to eat at the original 2nd Avenue Deli in the East Village?

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How about we grab some lunch at Manatus restaurant on Bleecker Street?

Then maybe grab something from Ralph’s Discount City up in TriBeca?

And why not stop by the great home of punk rock CBGB in the East Village, yeah?

Well, you kind of can’t anymore since these notable New York City landmarks are no longer around.

Considered local fixtures in the neighborhoods, familiar and popular mom-and-pop stores, diners, restaurants, and shops are slowly becoming extinct in the evolving city due to staggering rent hikes and a lackluster economy. Unable to withstand the hardship, many of these familiar shops are being replaced by big name corporations like Subway or Dunkin Donunts or banks like Chase and Capital One.

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In their photo book Store Front – The Disappearing Face of New York, photographers James T. and Karla L. Murray take readers on a visual tour of some of the familiar and irreplaceable store fronts that line street after street of New York City.

Choosing places that “look like they’ve been around forever” the duo has in a way allowed such locales to exist forever in photographic form. Organized by borough and then subdivided into neighborhoods, the photographic book poses as an encyclopedia of sorts that manages to preserves the now extinct shops that have become replaced by commercial businesses.

“The purpose of the photos in the before and after project is to clearly spell out and provide documentation of not only what storefronts have been lost but also what is often lacking in what replaces them,” said the photographers.

The book depicts the dramatic alteration in the appearance of many familiar local spots in New York City. From 2001 to 2007, the book contains a good decade of how scathing rental prices are forcing out mom-and-pop shops which are being replaced with chain stores belonging to commercial businesses.

The shop-owners frequently acknowledged that they were at the mercy of their landlords and the ever-increasing rents they charged,” and if the shop-owners could not meet the increasing rent, “big rent hikes meant that many small businesses closed to be replaced by chain stores or banks, which could afford the higher rent.

According to the book, Max Fish, a bar located on the Lower East Side is an example of being a victim to rising rent costs. The bar opened in 1989 and its rent was a mere $2,000 a month, however after a series of rent increases and being opened for a good 24 years the bar closed with a reported $16,000 rent cost. The rent was due to increase again if the bar remained opened.

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Until you place them side-by-side and really look at the two photos, you cannot get the true sense of loss,” explained the Murrays, discussing how powerful the images taken are when you show what was beside the what is.

The two also add, “the trend we noticed very early on while photographing the original stores was that if the shop-owner did not own the entire building, their business was already in jeopardy.

Mom-and-pop shops are not the only familiar local spots being replaced by commercial businesses. Late last year, 5 Pointz–5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin’ or the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center–was an outdoor graffiti haven considered an art cultural center to many was white-washed—the numerous art pieces that were spray-painted on its wall was marked out with white paint—by the builders owners.

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The white-washing came after 5 Pointz owner and supporters lost am ongoing battle to remaining standing. The building is scheduled to be torn down and make way for new condos and business shops in its place.

While the book can be a bit grim showcasing the demise of familiar shops, shops that are either replaced by corporations or gutted to the group, the book also contains some hope.

Among some of the photos taken, the Murrays have included side-by-side photos of old shops being replaced not by large corporations but fellow and new mom-and-pop shops. These images show some hope that not all is being taken over by large commercial businesses but there are still regular folk with businesses of their own trying to make it in this ever changing world.

Chef Aaron Sanchez to Join “MasterChef” TV Show

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Celebrated chef and restaurateur Aarón Sánchez will join Chefs Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi as the third judge throughout Season Eight of the hit culinary competition series MASTERCHEF, premiering Summer 2017.

A James Beard Award-winning chef, Sánchez is chef/owner of Mexican restaurant Johnny Sánchez, with locations in New Orleans and Baltimore. He co-starred on “Chopped” and “Chopped Junior,” and is the author of two cookbooks – “Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours” and “La Comida del Barrio.” An active philanthropist, Sánchez launched his own charity, the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund, empowering aspiring chefs from the Latin community to attend culinary school. An avid tattoo lover, he also is a partner in the world-famous ink shop “Daredevil Tattoo” in New York City.

Sánchez was a guest judge on Season Seven of MASTERCHEF and also will be featured in upcoming episodes of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR Season Five, airing Thursdays (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

MASTERCHEF is produced by Endemol Shine North America and One Potato Two Potato and is based on a format created by Franc Roddam and Endemol Shine. Elisabeth Murdoch, Eden Gaha, Michael Brooks, Robin Ashbrook, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Patricia Llewellyn and Ben Adler serve as executive producers. “Like” MASTERCHEF on Facebook at facebook.com/MasterChef. Follow the series on Twitter @MASTERCHEFonFOX and join the discussion at #masterchef. Follow the judges on Twitter: Gordon Ramsay – @gordonramsay; Christina Tosi – @christinatosi; AarónSánchez – @Chef_Aaron.

EVENSONG: YOU WILL NOT LOOK AT THE HOMELESS THE SAME AGAIN

From L to R: Daniel Prado, Chad Carstarphen# Marie Louise Guinier# #Member of Actor's Equity Association

From L to R: Daniel Prado, Chad Carstarphen# Marie Louise Guinier#
#Member of Actor’s Equity Association

photo credit: Michael Dekker

The vast majority of us live from paycheck to paycheck. If we were to lose our jobs, our soul source of security, most of us would be solvent for perhaps a month tops before savings start to drain to zero. Perhaps some of us would have to leave our apartments or homes, maybe end up in a shelter if help is not readily available.

In Christina Quintana’s play “Evensong” we learn that our view of the homeless, which is the one we know best, the one’s who sit or sleep on the sidewalks, disheveled, asking for dimes or nickels. We think we are not like them. We are wrong. We also carry hidden prejudices for people who are labeled with the homeless tag. “That is the central question in Evensong,” Christina said, “Where do we get these judgements that we make?” Directed by David Mendizabal, the ideas we hold are broken down for view into their smaller components, then splattered across the stage.

Statistically 44% percent of the homeless population actually hold jobs and pursue careers. It’s deceptive. Just such a person is explored through the main character Teo Aguilar, played vibrantly by Daniel Prado.

“The biggest thing about Teo in this play, he surprises us all,” Quintana explained, “He is not who you would imagine to be homeless.”

Daniel Prado (L) and Chad Carstarphen# (R) #Member of Actor's Equity Association
Daniel Prado (L) and Chad Carstarphen# (R)
#Member of Actor’s Equity Association

The first image of the play are the series of empty cots neatly arranged in rows and a buffet of food. We are introduced to Teo, who is a young, gay man from San Antonio, Texas who is fulfilling a dream of visiting New York City while in the shadows of personal setbacks that brings him, a guest, to the church homeless shelter. He is judged in triplicate and it takes it’s toll on his morale. “There is a lot of shame,” Christina points out, “As a man, not living up to his potential.”

He is a proud man who meets Bob, a volunteer, who emphathizes with Teo, but draws the line when he tries to make a move on him. Bob likes Teo and even refers to him as one of “The Good Ones.” Teo takes the rejection negatively. Chad Carstarphen was brillant in his role as an outsider who cares and his chemistry with Daniel Prado is the cornerstone relationship of the play, even without the type of payoff one would of expected after the fireworks that were launched after a couple of intimate kisses. This relationship is a variation on a real life experience Christina spoke about encountering a homeless woman who flirted with her during a volunteer stint. The question of whether she would date her opened up further thought on how as people, the homeless lose their humanity in our eyes. “I found I could be friends and hang out with someone who was homeless but to the point of having a relationship is a whole another level.”

Christina pointed out that though the lead character is Gay, that this is not to be assumed to be an LGBT story. “Yes, Teo is Gay, it’s not what the story is about,” Quintana explains, “It’s about a guy who has found himself homeless and it can be anyone.”

As one can surmise the intent of this play was to explore the inner pain of having had standing in a society and then, in Teo’s case, in an act of love, drain his resources to care for the health of his grandmother. In pursuing his dream, he is relegated by necessity to the underside of city life. He puts up a tremendous front, tries to work through the obstacles, but it is his own prejudices that initially place him above those that occupy what Bob refers to in the play as “The Rolls Royce of Shelters.”

Teo is too embarrassed to admit to family, in particular Beny, his cousin, that he is homeless. He tells his friend Hague and soon regrets it as he is equally pitied and shunned from the circles friends normally share. He has become the elephant in the room.

Daniel Prado (L) and Sai Somboon# #Member of Actor's Equity Association

Daniel Prado (L) and Sai Somboon#
#Member of Actor’s Equity Association

Here we must make a strong mention of Sai Somboon, who showed great vitality and flexibility in playing three roles. He was family member, friend, and lover. A actor who can hold degrees in diverse fields like Dance and Anthropology is just the type who can pull this off so well.

Teo is also put in his place by Gladys, played by Marie Louise Guinier who appears to be mentally off but we learn just has never adjusted to the drastic changes in her lifestyle and is quick to remind Teo that he is no better than her since they share the same situation. Guinier, an IRNE nominated actress who has been on ABC’sWhat Would You Do” showed great depth making Gladys funny but maddening at the same time.

The diverse points of societal punishment Teo encounters reflects the duality challenges of the playwright. Christina was raised in Louisiana and is of Cuban heritage. It certainly had an impact. “It’s a huge part of me. They both inform me as a writer,” Christina recalls,

“New Orleans, Pre-Katrina is a black and white place. Because of that and being Latina, in that environment, I experienced a lot of micro-aggression.”

Christina described herself as obsessed the idea of the American Dream and what it means. She displays this through story examples. For Randy, later Tragedy (Doug Rossi), the homeless subway hobo who spouts poetry and enjoys harassing our lead throughout the play, it was about him and his wife getting out of the shelter system together. Her death ended the dream but his advice, though given while applying a submission hold, brings Teo some clarity.

Rosa and Ricardo, were very much like a modern “I Love Lucy” view of life. Ricardo (Francis Mateo) and Rosa (Arlene Chico-Lugo) displayed a great interaction delving well into how couples struggle when they don’t quite rely on each other. Arlene also did a nice double impressively playing not only a young wife but Teo’s abuela. The contrast was quite believable.

Daniel Prado (L) and Arlene Chico-Lugo # (R) #Member of Actor's Equity Association

Daniel Prado (L) and Arlene Chico-Lugo # (R)
#Member of Actor’s Equity Association

Teo wanted the New York dream. But he has lost his faith along the way and settles for one night stands with guys like “Len” who were physically attractive but little else outside of providing a place with a hot shower. His knowledge of his grandmother’s passing has removed his lone anchor. Bob finds Teo on a sleeping on a park bench while jogging a day after they fought. He offers Teo a chance of a shower before going to the bank teller job he is slaving over, he refuses.

A look at meanings for a moment. The word evensong was chosen when she came about deciding the setting of this play. When you look it up it is defined as “a service of evening prayers, psalms, and canticles, conducted to a set form.” In certain churches it is conducted through song.

“I had an idea of a chorus underscoring what would happen,” Christina shared this insight,

“What is the pulse of the city that connects us and isolates us at the same time? I found that in a sanctuary that had rehearsals which fit what I was looking for.”

Teo hears the singing of just such a service. He likes it. It seems to remind him of his grandmother who even in death appears in his dreams watching over him. He experiences temporary solace.

A box is sent to the wrong address. The couple spoken of earlier has had a personal issue haunt them. Rosa lost a child while pregnant. The name was similiar to the one on the package. She sees this as fate to be fulfilled. She finds Teo at the bank she goes to and puts two and two together.

Teo is quite rude with her but she convinces him to vent his problems with her, a stranger. He is suspicious of her motives but surprisingly complies. “It’a part of this play,” Quintana explained, “I am always amazed how strangers look out for each other here. There are these crazy connections, somehow they happen.” He opens the box and takes out the gloves that his grandmother sent to keep his hands warm. He smiles. Symbolically they seem to represent the helping hand Bob talked about earlier and weaved itself throughout the play.

He tells Bob about a possible job lead. Bob is pleased to hear it. Teo has his faith restored now and as he holds his abuela’s gift, he is reminded that he is loved no matter how he is tagged by society. As Christina was told by one who read the play. “I went outside and looked at everybody differently.” Though each of us take our unique views from what we view, the playright also hopes that the audience can identify hers for a production like this that is quite personal. What did Christina want people to take from this?

“I would like us to be a little aware, open, and more compassionate. What more can you ask for?”

Christina summerizes. Evensong is the first production of the 2016 season of APAC, who is now in their 16th season. The show continues to run at the Astoria Performing Arts Center in Astoria, NY until November 19th, 2016.

Christina, who volunteered at The Friends Shelter whose base is the Friends Meeting House and Seminary in lower Manhattan wants you to know that volunteers are always needed. For those interested you may contact volunteer coordinator Katy Homans at katy@katyhomans.com or via the website www.friendsshelter.org.

ANTONIO LOPEZ: A Tribute to the Puerto Rican–Born Fashion Illustrator and Artist

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Antonio Lopez and his partner Juan Ramos changed the fashion world forever with their open celebration of difference—racial, ethnic and even gender difference. They permanently broadened high-fashion’s definitions of beauty by focusing attention on men and women that were often marginalized from the industry. We are thrilled to celebrate their phenomenal body of work with this exhibition that features over 400 images, many of which have never been exhibited or published before.”

–           Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Senior Curator at El Museo del Barrio

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TOBBY LOVE PRESENTA SU NUEVO ALBUM “BACHATA NATION” EN NUEVA YORK

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En medio de prensa, luces, cámaras y decenas de seguidores el famoso exponente de Bachata Pop TOBY LOVE presento formalmente al publico de Nueva York su nuevo sencillo titulado ”Entra en mi Vida”.

Tobby Love es famoso por sus fusiones y mezclas de la tradicional bachata dominicana con ritmos urbanos como el R&B y Hip Hop. Una fusión que el artista a denominado “Crunkchata” – música romántica , corta venas con influencia de soul y jazz norteamericano.

El artista de origen puertorriqueño promociona el quinto sencillo de este álbum.“Entra en mi Vida” es un tema originalmente grabado por el grupo mexicano SIN BANDERA llega con nuevos arreglos vestido de bachata y trópico e interpretado por Toby junto al cantante Karlos Rose.

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Los inicios del este popular cantante se remontan al año 2000 cuando comenzó como vocalista del popular grupo AVENTURA , donde permaneció hasta comenzar su Carrera como solista en el 2006 y lograr posicionarse como uno de los artistas mas exitosos del genero.

Tobby Love ya ha obtenido dos codiciados premios Billboards y varias nominaciones a importantes premios internacionales.

“Entra En MI Vida”es uno de los temas incluidos en el popular álbum BACHATA NATION” lanzado conjuntamente con Elegante Records y que ya ha ocupado los primeros lugares de popularidad.

Sin lugar a dudas, TOBY LOVE con su estilo romántico y su voz melodiosa se perfila indiscutiblemente como el nuevo rostro internacional de la bachata

Fun Family Cinema Returns for 8th Annual KidCinemaFest Film Festival in New York

More Than 40 Films From Over 25 Countries For All Ages

Free Entrance and All Foreign Language Films are subtitled in English

Cine Art Entertainment Productions, in collaboration with Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez, Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center, and Catholic Charities proudly presents the 8th annual edition of KidCinemaFest Film Festival, October 13th to the 19th, 2016.  

The Festival aims to enrich children’s appreciation for film making and cultural diversity through a program of over 40 films that includes documentaries, fiction films as well as animations from 25 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.  The festival welcomes attendees of all ages to view some of the most exciting, smart, and reflective movies of this decade.  Entrance is free and all foreign language films are subtitled in English.

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KidCinemaFest opens October 13, 7:00pm at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center the U.S premier of the Dominican feature film LOS FABULOS MA’ MEJORES directed by Carlos Manuel Plasencia and produced by Celines Toribio. This Dominican film is for all ages and tells the story of, Chelo Rosario, a kid baseball coach who’s not doing very well. He has no money, no job and his baseball team, although wonderful, is spectacularly bad at playing baseball. One day an announcement is made on the radio regarding the first ever Kid’s Baseball Tournament in the Dominican Republic and Chelo decides to ask the beautiful Joanna (Denise Quiñones) — who is the mother of one of the kids — for help to enter the tournament. The result is a fun-filled family oriented comedy where kids as well as adults will enjoy the crazy adventures of this fabulous team and the importance of fighting for your dreams regardless of how difficult they may be.

KidCinemaFest closes on October 19, 7:00pm at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center with the French feature film Belle and Sebastian. Adapted from the popular series by Cécile Aubry, Belle and Sebastian is a breathtaking adventure set high in the snowy Alps during a dramatic time in history. Sebastian is a resourceful young boy raised by an eccentric guardian (played by Tchéky Karyo, one of France’s most popular actors) in a peaceful mountain village. Sebastian meets a much feared wild dog, known by herders as ‘The Beast.’ Playing together in the alpine meadows and water holes, the boy and the dog come to love and rely upon one another; Sebastian calls her ‘Belle’. When German Nazis arrive, looking for Jewish refugees crossing the treacherous pass to Switzerland, courageous Belle and Sebastian join the resistance.

As the film festival founder and director, Armando Guareño says, “This year’s film program strives to enrich the lives of children through the art of cinema, enabling children and families to learn from different cultures without having to leave New York City.” While Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez shares similar thoughts on the festival, “As a longtime supporter of the KidCinemaFest, I’m incredibly proud of the success the program has enjoyed. Over a few short years it has become the preeminent children’s film festival in New York City, broadening the cultural horizons of hundreds of our youth.” 

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The complete programming is organized in four sections. KID FLIX 1 section, composed of a colorful collection of short films from around the world. KID FLIX 2 section, a distinctive international short films collections that includes directors Olga and Tatiana Poliektova film My GRANDFATHER WAS A CHERRY TREE (Russia),  Ainslie Henderson newest short film STEMS (United Kingdom), Natalia Chernysheva’s film TWO FRIENDS (France and Russia), and from the directors of PHANTOM BOY and A CAT IN PARIS we also bring you ONE HELL OF A PLAN (France).

VIVA SHORT section, a collection of short film’s of the best shorts from the Brooklyn Film Festival’s Kidsfilmfest. FEATURE FILMS section, an international selection of the best contemporary films within the children cinema industry; including Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol’s film A CAT IN PARIS (France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium), Laurent Boileau and Jung Heninl’s film APPROVED FOR ADOPTION (France, Belgium, South Korea, Switzerland), Franck Ekinci and Christian Desmares’ film APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD (France), Yasuhiro Yoshimura’s film PATEMA INVERTED (Japan), Walter Tournier’s film SELKIRK, EL VERDADERO ROBINSON CRUSOE (Uruguay, Argentina, Chile), and Tomm Moree’s film THE SECRET OF KELLS (Belgium, France, Ireland).

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KidCinemaFest venues are:

  • Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center (530 West 166th Street and Amsterdam)
  • Casita Maria in the South Bronx (928 Simpson St at 163rd Street
  • CUNY in the Heights (5030 Broadway at 213th)
  • Comisionado Dominicano de Cultura en USA (541 West 145th St (2nd Floor)
  • Public schools throughout Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the Bronx.

The event is free and open to anyone and everyone who wishes to attend!

The 8th Annual KidCinemaFest Film Festival in New York is a project of Cine-Art Entertainment Productions and is made possible with the collaboration of City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, The Dominican Film Festival in New York, Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center and Catholic Charities and sponsored by LatinTRENDS Magazine, Manhattan Times and in collaboration with, Brooklyn Film Festival’s Kidsfilmfest,  CUNY in the Heights and GKIDS.tv.

For a complete list of films and show times please visit www.kidcinemafest.com

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.

(Dominican Influencer Series) Wilton Cedeno, Engineer, Philanthropist & NY Economic Development Board Member

WILTON CEDENO

 By Clara Galvano Rivera

TÚ PUEDES! ATRÉVETE A TRIUNFAR!!

In 2011 something really exciting happened in the province of Azúa de Compostela in the Dominican Republic. About 100 people, a mix of adults and youths, showed up en masse at El Restaurante Mesón Suizo. They had heard about a new, free program that could help them with their personal development. Wilton Cedeno, who coordinated the launch of this motivational program entitled CURSO ATRÉVETE A TRIUNFAR with his sister, Sandra Céspedes, an economist and expert in human development, was elated, but stunned. He never expected so many to show up! “Invitamos a los niños, pero todo el mundo quería ver lo que estábamos ofreciendo. It was amazing.” The following day, the press received the following: “En el desarrollo del curso motivacional, la profesora Céspedes comenzó distinguiendo entre actitud y aptitud como elementos clave para lograr el éxito en la vida y la importancia de aprender a desarrollar la mentalidad de abundancia que les permita hacer los cambios de paradigmas necesarios para lograr resultados de calidad.” Whew! Did you get that? Positive changes are coming!

Cedeno knows the value of helping others and, after a pause, relates this great example: “When I was growing up in NYC, my mother’s apartment was like a hotel. Everyone she knew that was arriving stopped first at our house and stayed until they were working. Some stayed weeks, some months. Everyone was welcome. Dominicans are a tight-knit group and continue to help each other, even though conditions have changed because as a group, we have progressed and those arriving have more information that enables them to find living quarters and jobs much faster.”

Cedeno’s journey has been long and fruitful. He is currently at Consolidated Edison. His responsibilities are many and include working on state regulatory affairs, developing and implementing internal and external communication strategies and advocacy related to state energy policy, including developing company positions on state energy policy issues. A seriously busy man, he makes time to support the youth as a board member of the Brooklyn Technical High School Alumni Foundation and as a judge in the FIRST Robotics Competition in New York City Regional. He is also the founder of the Cooperative Technical High School Intern Program, which enables high school students to work at Con Edison.

“Yo nací en el campo de Santo Domingo; no había luz ni agua, pero en mi trabajo con Con Edison, tengo la responsabilidad de proveer la luz a muchos. Quiero ahora que otros tengan las mismas posibilidades. Cuando nos organizamos, podemos llegar lejos y ayudar a otros. No solo para los Dominicanos, pero todos los Latinos. Uno se tiene que superar y la gente joven son el futuro.”

A member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, he is a past president of the organization. “Yo quería progresar en la rama de energía, so I joined the AABE thinking I would learn more about the industry. What I found was inspiration, a brotherhood that welcomed me with open arms and wonderful friendships. I was a little surprised when I was voted in as President. When I joined, I think I was the only Latino there. I served for two years and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Another great experience has to be when he was appointed to the New York Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. On June 24, 2015, the de Blasio administration announced the appointment of ten new members and Cedeno was the only Latino in the group.

This is an important board. As the primary economic development vehicle, NYCEDC leverages the City’s assets to create good jobs and drive growth, ensuring equitable and sustainable development across all five boroughs. “Fue un gran honor. La junta está haciendo un gran trabajo. They want to ensure that 30-40 years down the road, everyone has enough energy. There is work to do there.” Simple words from an amazing man who is highly valued not only in business, but for creating Tú Puedes! Atrévete a Triunfar, which is helping his fellow Dominicans back on the island succeed.

 

LT: Are you connected to the Island and if so, how do you maintain that connection?

WC: “The plan is to develop the program [Curso Atrévete a Triunfar] in different areas of the Dominican Republic. Right now, we are focusing on success principles, because they are desperately needed, but we will be looking to start providing skills such as speed coding and more in future training seminars.”

 

LT: Do you think Dominicans are united as a group?

WC: “Absolutely. You see it everywhere. Dominicans help each other with housing, jobs, education, language. We are a tight-knit group. We have to be.”

 

LT: What would you point to as notable progress among Dominicans in the U.S.?

WC: “Education. We are making education a goal and that is what will allow us to progress further and further.”

 

→See for more of this story in this month’s issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine.

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