Omar Hakim “There is a science behind the drumsticks..my favorite is Vic Firth.”

Omar Hakim is one of the best drummers alive. What’s the story behind his drumsticks? He has drummed for Patty Labelle, Dire Straits, Sting and Daft Punk to name a few. He has been using the same drumstick brand for over 30 years. Omar shares the story of meeting Vic Firth 30 years ago, the designer of  his drumsticks. While he is trying on clothes at http://www.Schuyler4.com showroom to wear at his Grammy performance with Daft Punk, Omar also gives us a great breakdown on the history of drumsticks, talks about the drummers who have influenced him, his new website and the drummer’s community.

Notable artists he has played with are Anita Baker, Sting, Weather Report, Mariah Carey, Madonna, David Bowie, Miles Davis, Chic, Bryan Ferry, Aziza Mustafa Zadeh, Everything but the Girl, Marcus Miller, Kazumi Watanabe, Lee Ritenour, Chieli Minucci, The Rippingtons, Bobby McFerrin, and Daft Punk, among others.

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”.

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.

Kobie Brown “From Fatherless To Fatherhood” (2012 Film)

 I along with millions of Americans have grown up “Fatherless”. And today 40% of American children live in a fatherless home raised by single mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other female caregivers. Kobie Brown’s 2012 film From Fatherless To Fatherhood explores the causes, effects and possible solutions to turning the corner on father absence. We met at Central Park for an unscripted, insightful conversation about the inspiration for the film, his family story and his goals. I love and support what Kobie is doing, solutions through dialogue.

“Before You leave this planet, it is important that you get in touch with what your purpose is and not be defined by what your job or career may be..but find out what it is you are suppose to do for the betterment of mankind and everything else will fall into place.” – Kobie during our Central Park conversation

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.


			

The Blisslife of Amel Larrieux from Groove Theory & Sweetback

Today’s temperature was uncomfortably hot and humid but I perked up when I bumped into R&B songwriter Amel Larrieux at Broadway and 10th street. She has just returned from a vacation in the Bay area. We walk along 10th street and she shares the excitement about having her daughter in her band which comes out later this year on Blisslife Recordsr; her love of taking walks and “daydreaming in New York”; her definition of knowledge/wisdom and advice for going after dreams.

Amel Larrieux, was born in New York City’s, Greenwich Village, her mother was a dance critic and professor named Brenda Dixon Gottschild. She was always a creative minded person since a tender age, and fortunately was surrounded by talented family members and inspiring artists.

John Perry’s Hunger Strike (Day 4)

Manhattan artist, John Perry, is on day 4 of his hunger strike @ Kenmare Sq (Lafayette/Spring St) protesting Tad Friend’s New Yorker’s article from last summer. A piece Perry says killed his reputation, hurt his art career and left him without a steady teaching job. The article, “Sleeping with Weapons,” portrays Perry as a violent stalker whose threats chased former musician and actor John Lurie the founder of legendary punk group Lounge Lizards from Manhattan. Blog Dangerous Minds is a source that has been following this situation for 2 years.
Yesterday morning I filmed John Perry’s story. I had a number of questions: Why a hunger strike? How are far is he willing to go? Does his family know? For more info visit John Perry’s website:


			

Larry Wright: Talent, Drumsticks, Concrete & Buckets@West 4th Street Subway Station

IF you ride the NYC subways, with delays comes entertainment.The  West 4th station has the best bucket-drummer in NYC – Larry Wright. And yesterday, I along with 75 other people waiting on the uptown and downtown orange line were well entertained..as will you. People cheered from platform to platform. The 5 minute delay was definitely worth it. Gotta Love NYC!

FREEDOME BRADLEY: Director of Theatrical Programs for New York’s City Park Foundation & SummerStage (Central Park)

I spent the day in Central Park with a friend of 20 years. As Director of Theatrical Programs for New York’s City Park Foundation and SummerStage, Freedome is a passionate force behind New York’s largest free performing arts festival, bringing over 100 performances to 18 parks throughout the 5 boroughs. If he ever decides to run for NYC Parks Commisioner, he has my vote. Freedome is driven to bring “top flight art” to adults and kids via Central Park’s SummerStage, The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre and Puppet Mobile. I filmed our conversation as we tour the Swedish Cottage (the theatre where the puppet shows take place daily); learn Freedome’s story; the mission of the City Parks Foundation; meet the Puppet Mobile crew; and view the new development at Marcus Garvey Park, which opens June 2nd.

This story was filmed April 26th, 2011. I began sharing “My Small Story” April 26th; thus, I could not think of better story to begin my 2nd year of stories – a person that is committed revitalizing NYC parks and bringing art to New Yorkers in parks in all 5 Boroughs. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.

The Swedish Cottage, built in Sweden in 1875, was placed in Central Park in 1877 at the suggestion of Frederick Law Olmsted. Since its arrival in the US, the Cottage has served a variety of purposes, perhaps most importantly being used as the headquarters for the Civil Defense during World War II. It was also formerly a tool house, a library, and Central Park’s entomological laboratory.

In 1947, the Swedish Cottage became known, as it is today, as the home of the Marionette Theatre. In a show of patriotism, both Swedish and American flags fly from the roof of what was once a traditional schoolhouse.

The 2011 season of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, brings over 100 performances to eighteen parks throughout the five boroughs. With performances ranging from American pop, Latin and world music to dance, spoken word and theater, SummerStage fills a vital niche in New York City’s summer arts festival landscape. Since its inception twenty-six years ago, more than six million people from New York City and around the world have enjoyed SummerStage. The festival runs from June 7th until September 2nd.

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