Spur Tree * Fashion Week * Opening Ceremony * By The Water

Taxi conversation with Sean John as we leave his restaurant Spur Tree at Orchard street enroute to pier 57 NYC for a week long food and fashion event. And Spur Tree is on the menu. Our conversation covers Spur Tree’s plans in London, Naomi Cambell, how he he was chosen to be apart of Opening Ceremony’s 1st fashion week show and the last 5 years in business “the first year was the hardest, I use to sleep at the restaurant. It was hard, but I knew it would work”- Sean John.

Life Lessons From A Tribeca Homeless Man

 “When I first became homeless, I use to pray that I die for 6 months…that was back in ’87” Jerry,52, may be homeless but his mind isnt. I met Jerry in Tribeca. Our conversation is inspiring to say the least.  The street lights are on a timer. They come on and off every 2 minutes. Jerry’s face begins to appear at the :35 second mark. He shares his story, a new year’s resolution, tips if you become homelsss, this favorite Bible passage and strongly suggests that everyone “diversify their finances”.

Georgia Salon & Boutique “Phase II”

  After 4 years, Georgia’s has decided to “close in order to expand” the beauty brand. On their last day of business, I stop by to talk with both about what they have learned running a NYC retail business and whats next for Georgia. Part beauty store and part salon, Georgia harbors a soft spot for the frizzy-haired masses. Named after co-founder Jodies corkscrew-curled daughter,  their inspiration is Harlem native Madam CJ Walker. As a manufacturer of hair care products for African American women, Madame C. J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, became one of the first American women millionaires. http://www.georgiany.com/index.php Georgiawas one of the first small business stories I filmed early last year.

What is Jem?

 After walking by Jem a number of times, I had to satisfy my curiosity. When I walked, I saw aisles and aisles of colorful fabric from the ceiling to the ground. I loved the environment. Jem is not your typical fabric store.  Jem is owned and operated by a brother-sister team, Michelle Zahabian, who is 24 years old, and her brother David. Their father was the owner of Fabric Warehouse across the street. After his passing a year ago, Michelle and her brother opened JEM, continuing their family tradition and a downtown staple. Located at 355 Broadway in NYC.

When I asked Michelle to describe their first year and half in business, she said it has been ” a lot of mini-miracles along the way”. Support NYC small business.

Extreme Hopscotch: “You got beat by an 8yr old!”

Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins..get your Extreme Hopscotch game up! Yesterday at a BBQ in Brooklyn, while filming the kids "hopschotchin", they challenged myself and my longtime friend Jon Cropper to try. He said "no way". I tossed him my camera and thought how hard could it be? Well, I got schooled by an 8year old and they filmed it. It happens. I am not going to let it get me down. LOL. But I will get my Extreme Hopscotch game up.

Brad & Simone: The Organizers Behind HarlemStage/Aaron Davis Hall, Inc.

Since 1979, Harlem Stage has been one of the nation’s leading arts organizations devoted to the creation and development of new works by performing artists of color. Brad Learmonth & Simone Eccleston are the passionate organizers behind the programming and arts education departments.  We take a tour of HarlemStage, discuss its history, E-moves, DJ Rich Medina and partnerships with NYC schools.  Harlem Stage has joined forces with the Apollo Theater and Jazzmobile to present the first Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival May 9, 2011.  Celebrating the unique legacy of jazz in the uptown community, the Festival will bring both established and emerging artists to some of the famed venues where jazz flourished in Harlem: Lenox Lounge, Showman’s Café, the Apollo Theater, Alhambra Ballroom, and Minton’s Playhouse. Other festival events will take place at Harlem Stage Gatehouse, Columbia University and a variety of locations throughout the Harlem area.

The Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile have partnered specifically to create a resurgence of jazz opportunities in Harlem with this week-long festival. Jazz will be presented in all its various forms and diverse formats including jazz dance, concert, club, cabaret and dance events. Conceived as an annual offering, Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival will enable the partners to create a dynamic range of programming, highlighting the role that local Harlem venues have played in the development of jazz.The three partners are also collaborating with Columbia University and its Center for Jazz Studies and Institute for Research in African American Studies to bring humanities programming that will further highlight the cultural significance of the Festival. 

Maya Contreras: Drummer, Author & Editor-In-Chief of The Dirty Durty Diary

 Born in Denver, Maya grew up in a creative family. She has done everything in the arts from writing, performance to management. We had a refreshing conversation at NYC’s Gramercy Park Hotel about her novel “The Him Book: One Woman’s Almost Religious Search to Find the One” ,   NYC , Family, longer editorial, Jeffrey Wright and the story behind her bi-annual print magazine THE DDD – Dirty Durty Diary. As an Artist Manager, Maya has worked with distinguished stage and film composers including, Marvin Hamlisch who received an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe and Pulitzer Prize, as well as Bill Conti, an Oscar and three-time Emmy winner and one of Hollywood’s most sought-after composers and conductors.As a musician, Maya has worked with producer Dallas Austin, Professor Griff, composed the music for the Jomadi/Crossroads production of Six from the Rainbow, and was a student of Grammy Award winning drummer Woody Williams.

As a professional writer Maya has covered everything from New York Nightlife to the current climate of the music industry. Her interview credits include: Legendary MCs- KRS-ONE and Pharoahe Monch, Editor-in-Chief of Complex, Noah Callahan-Bever, Editor-in-Chief of the Austin Chronically and Founder of SXSW Louis Black, playwright and actor Paul Stoval-Oakley (Clear, Metamorphoses, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci), actor Amina Robinson (Precious, Mamma Mia), Award Winning Director and Producer Jeremy Simmons (Trans-Generation, Eyes of Tammy Faye, One Punk Under God, and The Last Beekeeper) and legendary New York Graffiti crew The Tats Cru.

Stacey Mckenzie in NYC for Teen Vogue University & Psoriasis Awareness Month 

Yesterday, I ran into Stacey McKenzie during her 1 day in NYC. She was the only model asked to speak at the Teen Vogue Fashion University alongside fashion big names such as Vera Wang, Anna Wintour and Jason Wu. In addition,October being Psoriasis Awareness Month, the super model and former Canada’s Next Top Model judge and coach has been touring Canada with Psoriasis Connections, sharing her experience and helping others find more information on the condition. I filmed my first interview w Stacey over the summer. Stacey’s story has to be the most inspiring “my small story” i have filmed. https://mysmallstory.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/stacey-mckenzie-the-scout-jean-paul-gaultier-workshops-passion/

Brooklynite Gallery: STEN & LEX, Mixed-Media, Street Art & Portraits

   Rae McGrath is the curator and owner of Brooklynite Gallery, located at 334 Malcolm X Boulevard. He purchased the space two years ago with his wife, Hope, it was intended to serve as his studio. He transformed the space into a living, breathing art gallery, which opened as the Brooklynite Gallery in 2008. This exhibition features STEN & LEX. They are widely considered to be the pioneers of “stencil graffiti” in their Italian homeland, doesn’t necessarily mean they are content with resting on the title. Best known for introducing their “halftone stencil” technique, these two self-proclamined “Hole School” artists spend ample time hand-cutting pixel dots and lines to compose their imagery which is best viewed from a distance.

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