DJ Rich Medina: Jump N’ Funkin’ For Fela Kuti & Teaching At Cornell University

“Fela Kuti is the James Brown of Africa. We have been pushing the idea that Afrobeat is apart of Black history for 13 years”. Rich Medina introduced a whole generation of dancers to Fela Kuti and Afrobeat with his Jump N’ Funk parties. The party has been branded “the first and most consistent DJ-based party dedicated to Fela Kuti and his message of peace and equality through music.” A a staple on dancefloors from New York to Berlin for over a decade.

“Rich Medina re-creates the vibe of a Fela Kuti concert, utilizing culturally relevant African photography and Nigerian dance videos for visuals and live percussion by Juan Carlos Izaguire and the legendary Leonard “Doc” Gibbs to accompany his turntable mixes, not to mention live performances by some of the world’s most respected Afrobeat leaders, including both of Fela’s sons, Femi and Seun Kuti. Other artists that have collaborated with Rich Medina for past JUMP N’ FUNK parties have been Zap Mama, Sandra Isadore, Akoya, Chicago Afrobeat Project, Wunmi, Ron Trent and many others.”

Started DJing at 10, graduated from Cornell University and today is teaching at Cornell, talking at Ted talks and and spreading the music of Fela. “The club is my Church”

The Measure of Michael Anthony Pegues

 Michael Anthony Pegues, a fixture of the downtown art scene and true NY icon has finally found a home at FB Gallery to present his vision. “My small story is that as an artist I relied on a lot of things and that one thing was creating something on canvas.” The Measure of an Artist is the culmination of Michael Anthony’s life-long dedication to his art.  We walk around the gallery as Michael shares the story behind some of his paintings, his story and the power of art. The show highlights the struggle, passion, and rise of a man fully aware of his unique aesthetic. His work displays child-like innocence coinciding with complex subject matter.

Since 1996 Michael Anthony has had his work consistently shown with an eye fixed on fame—his equivalent to credibility. However, this is the first large scale show to honor his vision rooted in the long New York tradition of the self-made, struggling artist. Never has he shared his story so unabashedly through not only painting, but also multimedia depictions of himself. His colorful and expressionistic strokes on canvas recount his resiliency through homelessness, theft, and ultimately his never ending hope and belief that he will be finally recognized as a true original.

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.

Maxim Magazine’s Top 5 Best Dinners, #2 Spur Tree’s Oxtail Stew

  I was having my usual sorrel & ginger beer at Spur Tree catching up with owner/chef Sean John and I see a Maxim magazine on the bar. The Braised Oxtail is the 2011 #2 Best Dinners in America according to Maxim. And reggae artist  Sean Paul wrote the review  “When I’m in New York, I like Spur Tree down on the Lower East Side for authentic Jamaican food. It’s a small restaurant, but the taste of the food is huge. It keeps me coming back, especially when I’m homesick. They do an oxtail Jamaican-style, so it’s braised and stewed down. The meat’s really tender, and it’s served with a really thick sauce and rice and peas covered in gravy. It’s bone-lickin’ good. I was home recently and thought, Lemme make some oxtail. I did, but it wasn’t as good as theirs.”

I coax Sean outside and ask him the small story with Maxim, new items on the menu, we happily sample the new Jamaican-asian mini-jerk steam pork buns..so good….so good..u cant go wrong. ..and where the name Spur Tree originates. 2011 is Sean’s year. He was also selected by MACY\’s as 1 of the Top NYC Chefs.


			

My Small Story Mix II

14 NYC stories in 14 minutes. A thread of conversations beginning with a new New Yorker  who is proof that people move to NYC from all over the world; a man roller skating w the bottom of a mannequin on his head  in soho; Freedom Bradley Dir-City Parks Foundations on what else “NYC Parks”; Founder of cleanplates.com the online healthy version of zagats; Guy wearing airtrekkers on Park Avenue; Iesha of Street Corner Resources, anti-violence teen protest @129 & Lenox; DJ Moma on going from engineer to DJ and “escaping the rat race”; Abby & Tori on the call that sent them to Haiti; Footwear designer Yusef Sirius El on 5 and 10 year business plans; Opera singer Joanna Bergin on the day she knew opera was her calling; Stylist Jason Rembert@Rocawear pop-up store on how he got his first internship at Elle; my first Yankee game, in the parking lot  I get schooled on Yankee culture by my host and former Yankee exec onYankee branding..but he has a World Series ring, I LOVE NYC; Cinematographer/producer Shawn Peters on what is Weeksville.

My Small Story Mix: Detroit To NYC

Detroit Inspired. NYC Executed. The initial stories I filmed in my hometown of Detroit have grown into over 100 NYC stories. This is a mix of clips from 12  stories: Motown to Grotown (a conversation @Detroit hospital is the impetus for http://www.mysmallstory.com) , Schott Free (former LOUD a&R, think Wutang, MoBB Deep), Stacey Mckenzie (Model/Entrepreneur told she was “too ugly to be” the supermodel she is today), Steven Mark Klein (New Yorker), Georgia (Family Beauty Business), Omar Dubois (Culture writer, traveler), Beans (Music artist@Label store), Openhouse Gallery (NYC’s #1 pop up space/experimential marketing), Uplifting Men (Homeless Activist), Samia & I@World Cup (unbeknownst to us, samia is 2-3 weeks pregnant with our daughter Chloe), Hussein Warmack (Founder, Nu South Lemonade) and Amel Larrieux (music artist loved by many, I first met Amel while filming the making of GURU’s Jazzmatazz).

Culture Critic Amy Linden on 28 yrs in Fort Greene, Rafael Saadiq & Obama

“Bitchin about what Brooklyn is now is like bitchin about what Hip-Hop use to be like..aint gonna happen..Paid In Full is not coming back out again.” Amy moved to Fort Greene 28 years ago from the Lower Eastside. We have been friends since  the 90’s when I lived in Fort Greene & Clinton Hill. After a stroll around my old neighborhood reminiscing about my Brooklyn days – my house parties, Brooklyn Moon Cafe,  Madiba, Franks, Mikes Diner, The Friendships  – I met up with Culture Critic-Substitute Teacher Amy Linden at the entrance of Fort Greene Park for an animated conversation on 28 years in Fort Greene, Rafael Saadiq, Charter Schools & Obama.


			

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