Monthly Archives: June 2014

The American Black Film Festival 2014 Conversations and Panels

f834d8bb4f497a6b4909ec5961ae7d5cIt is day three of the American Black Film Festival and things are in full swing. Even with a few glitches of being in a new city, the events have been absolutely amazing. The panels have been informative and highlighted talked from some of the brightest stars in television and film.

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New York City Hosts the 18th Annual American Black Film Festival from June 19-22

587c187315c431fb6eb9fe8878022945The American Black Film Festival or as many people refer to it ABFF has been successful for 18 years now, but this year the festival founder, Jeff Friday surprised many by deciding to have the festival in the Big Apple. Over the years, the years, the event has been held in cities like Acapulco, Los Angeles and Miami, but now the time has come for New York City to host.

Even though the city and festival has changed, one thing that has not changed that it is going to be a great event. There will be interesting movies, informative panels and many other events happening during the 4 days for festival goers and guests. In fact, this year will be as exciting as all of the other years.

This year’s the 2014 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) will screen an impressive roster of films, including 12 world premieres, this year in New York City from June 19-22 at the SVA Theatre. Also, the New York premiere of Screen Gems’ Think Like A Man Too led the slate of the official film selections at the 18th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) on Thursday, June 19 at 8 p.m. The film, serving as the first of the two festival Gala Screenings, was the eagerly-anticipated sequel to Think Like A Man, the star-studded romantic comedy based on Steve Harvey’s best-seller: Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man.

On Sunday June 22 at 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. the world premiere of Spike Lee’s most recent work, Da’ Sweet Blood of Jesus, a feature film that centers on humans who are addicted to blood, will serve as the second Gala Screening and takes the most exclusive slot as the closing night film.

The roster of ABFF films include Gala Screenings (opening and closing nights) and Spotlight Screenings, along with official selections for the Narrative Feature and Documentary sections, as well as the HBO® Short Film Competition, finalists for which will be announced June 9.

This year’s ABFF Spotlight Screenings include the world premiere of UP’s original feature film, Comeback Dad, written by Kimberly Walker (the 2013 UP Faith & Family Screenplay Competition “Honorable Mention” winner), a heartfelt father-daughter reunion piece starring Charles S. Dutton, Tatyana Ali and Loretta Devine, “Black Dynamite,” the animated series courtesy of Adult Swim, chronicles the exploits of the central character, Black Dynamite, and his crew and Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee, presented by Macy’s and Daughters of Eve Productions are also part of the lineup. LEWRD features the legacy of the iconic and often poetic relationship between Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee told through the eyes of their grandson. Rounding out the Spotlight Screenings is Moguldom Studios’ slick documentary, A Genius Leaves the Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z, which archives the story of one of Hip Hop’s most successful artists and his career achievements as a result of refined business acumen and American Family Insurance’s Through A Black Lens, directed by this year’s Celebrity Ambassador, Morris Chestnut. Through A Black Lens is an online video contest that invites entrants to share their vision of the American Dream. The winning project is produced by American Family Insurance, and will premiere at ABFF.

f4da6200d6b750be811e41af17d7fba7The ABFF is a four-day event dedicated to showcasing quality films by and about people of African descent. Committed to the belief that Black content creators and artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the film and television industry. Today it is widely recognized as an important pipeline bringing new Black talent to prominence both in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world.

The American Black Film Festival is presented by Film Life, Inc., a multifaceted entertainment company headquartered in New York City. Sponsors to date include: HBO(r) (Founding and Premier), Cadillac (Premier), Black Enterprise (Premier Media), American Airlines, Colgate Optic White, Time Warner Foundation (Signature Sponsors), UP, BET Networks, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Stella Artois (Official Sponsors), and Adult Swim, American Family Insurance, Aspire, CNN Films, GentleTreatment, Grab Media, Moguldom Entertainment, Nielsen (Supporting Sponsors). Other Media Partners include EBONY, Astute Magazine, Filmmaker Magazine, Upscale Magazine, WBLS and Uptown Magazine.

Industry and Promotional Partners include 21st Century Fox, Barefoot Wine& Bubbly, Entertainment Power Players (EPP), IFP, Macy’s, Metropolitan College of NY, Motown The Musical, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), MoMA, National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT), NYC & Company, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Producers Guild of America (PGA), SAGIndie, Walt Disney, Walter Kaitz Foundation, Writer’s Guild of America East (WGAE), and Woman In Film Los Angeles.

The festival is definitely going to be one festival goers are going to be talking about for a while. For more information on the festival, visit their website. Also, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeand Instagram. If all goees as well as it looks, they might just be back in NYC, next year.

World Cup Madness Not Just for the Millionaire’s Club Only

56b8ce226a117259f923feed645790e2Many individuals all over the world love sports. Some people love to play sports while others just enjoy watching. While some sporting events seem to attract a certain status of personas such as members of millionaire clubs, it is definitely a subject where many can share as they encounter others during their travels, business dealings or throughout their daily lifestyles.

This seems to be one of those moments. It is that time once again for the FIFA World Cup which has captured international attention. In the US and around the world, fans are attending the affair as well as watching it on television and cheering as their favorite team plays for the final trophy.

For 2014, from June 13 through July 13, Brazil is hosting the event and it has attracted personalities from the average sports fan to the millionaire club sports fans. The attendance and buzz has been absolutely amazing. Major celebrities have been a part of the event. Singer and superstar Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull opened with an explosive performance and each day there are thousands more of movers and shakers, millionaire matchmakers, politicians, along with other high profile individuals attending.

For the folks who were not able to travel to Brazil, there are FIFA World Cup parties in almost every major city in the world. Sports bars in cities like London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, San Paulo, Beijing, Geneva, Cape Town, Sydney, Frankfort, and Moscow are providing a venue for fans to gather with other sports fans alike.

Even individual sport fans and enthusiast have created or thrown their very own parties in their homes. Some have taken it a step further and took the opportunity to rent out venues in their perspective city to invite their friends, family and colleagues to enjoy the love of the World Cup with them.

Having this access to view such a major global event almost gives the average person not actually attending the World Cup, the feeling as though they have reached the millionaire players status. They can witness all the excitement and action and enjoy just the same.

The World Cup is such an international occurrence that all can enjoy no matter what and seems to bring people of all cultures together. Whether you are there live and up close or watching on a television screen, the experience is no less exciting for people who really do love the game. So, even if you are not a Millionairematch member or not, you are encouraged to enjoy the game, the conversation and the overall experience.

Black Stars of The Great White Way at Carnegie Hall

ae8a3bb3feaa080c6b9c7e3b7e1bdee3It has only been a few days since the successful broadcast of the 2014 Tony Awards, but New York City is still buzzing from all of the excitement and the festivities. To keep the momentum going, Carnegie Hall will be hosting an event on June 23, 2014. In attendance will be current and former Broadway stars celebrating the achievements of one another.

Broadway choral director/arranger Chapman Roberts (Your Arms Too Short., Eubie, Five Guys Named Moe, Smokey Joe’s Cafe) has created this blockbuster evening of showstoppers saluting a parade of some of the greatest musical heroes in history including Louis Jordan, Eubie Blake, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Paul Robeson and a special tribute to Langston Hughes.

This unprecedented assemblage of Broadway’s Best will include performances by Tony Award winners and nominees Ben Vereen (Pippin), Chuck Cooper (The Life) Ben Harney (Dreamgirls) Billy Porter ( Kinky Boots) Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess) Keith David (Jelly’s Last Jam) Andre De Shields (Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Wiz) Larry Marshall (The Color Purple, Porgy and Bess) original cast members of “Five Guys named Moe”, “Smokey Joe’s Café”, “Motown”, Maurice Hines (Sophisticated Ladies), Scottsboro Boys, Bring in The Noise, Bring in The Funk), 3 time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle (Miss Saigon, Tap Dance Kid) Clifton Davis of “Aladdin”, “Matilda” “Lion King” and “Raisin”. Larry Marshall appeared in the film “Jesus Christ Superstar”, as Cab Calloway in “Cotton Club” with Richard Gere and with Sting in “Three Penny Opera”. Keith David appeared in and narrated more than 150 films and TV presentations including THE BIBLE and is currently represented on the Hollywood screen by “Cloud Atlas co-starring with Halle Berry and Tom Hanks.

“Live The Dream” Executive Producer Norm Lewis was seen as Javert in Cameron Macintosh’s 25th Anniversary TV production of “Les Miserables”, in the TV series “Scandal” opposite Kerry Washington and now Broadway as the new Phantom of the Opera.

“Black Stars” Conceiver and three time Grammy winner Chapman Roberts (the original HAIR, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Hello Dolly”) who created acclaimed vocal arrangements for numerous Broadway hits including the original jukebox musical “Bubbling Brown Sugar” will supervise and direct the entire production.

Highlights of the evening will include the Inaugural presentation of The Black Stars of The Great White Way Award to two time Tony Award winner Geoffrey Holder (The Wiz), Choreographer Louis Johnson (Purlie and The Wiz with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross) “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, Producer Stephen Byrd, and The first Black Phantom Robert Guillaume by Phylicia Rashad, Chita Rivera and Cicely Tyson.

The event will be one the audience will be talking about for months and years to come. For tickets, visit the Carnegie Hall boxoffice. If you happen to be in New York, you can visit Carnegie Hall at 57th Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan or call 212-247-7800. Also, you can keep up with the event by visiting their website and via social media on Facebook and Twitter. This event will be a smashing success so don’t miss it.

TinyStic in NYC Helps to Turn Your Smartphone Into a PC

be8d92023a40381ea55293e584bfb0d0There is something new happening in a small startup office in New York City and if you don’t know about it now, you will in just a few months. It is a new product called TinyStic. What is TinyStic? TinyStic is a new technology that turns your smartphone into a PC. Based on core Miracast technologies, the new USB sized device (the TinyStic) allows users the ability to connect a Bluetooth keyboard (included) and a Bluetooth mouse (included) to a smartphone.

Users can then connect their smartphone to an external large display or big screen TV to access and enjoy all of their files, including office productivity tools,games, movies and more. “The smartphones of today are 30,000 times more powerful than the computer that I programmed on as a 7th grader” said Eric Hamilton, founder of TinyStic. “It only makes sense to use technology to unleash the true power of our smartphones.”

Traditional notebook computers are seeing less and less usage. Nonetheless, consumers still desire the use of larger screens and keyboards when performing certain computing tasks. The TinyStic is destined to be a hit among the mobile consumer.

Pricing and Availability – The TinyStic will be available fall of 2014 at an estimated retail price of $149. However, early adopters will be able buy the TinyStic in July on Kickstarter.com for $99 for a limited time. For more information on the TinyStic visit them at: http://tinystic.com.

And definitely tell your friends. This product will something all will be talking about soon.

Highlights from The Annual Dance Parade on May 17, 2014

e7b08d6f9b29f4e6b06cfcf50289992fOn a beautiful sunny day in New York City, many very talent dancers were displaying their signature steps to the crowd. There was a whole lot of moving and shaking in the streets of Manhattan for the 8th annual Dance Parade. The event was open to the public and for all to enjoy. The event consisted in total of 142 Dance groups with 10,000 dancers and 77 Different Dance Styles who danced down Broadway! Check out this video, here.

One of the dance group was lead by Vaydra Snow. Vaydra’s groups dance style consists of a mixture of salsa, zumba and a hip hop style flavor dance. She is truly unique with the ability to use her talents to glide in and out of different styles of dance. With all of Vaydra’s years of dance experience, she definitely teaches and brings you a new way of training your body.

Vaydra has also been participating in the Dance Parade for years as a result of her own experience as a dancer. Now, one of her goals is to give back by teacher young dancers the value and discipline of dancing. Also, by having them participate in this annual event, it allows them to display their hard work to the public.

Vaydra started dancing at the age of ten at a local dance school in Queens, New York and it was there that she found her passion for dance and the performing arts. She knew right away, dance was something that she wanted to pursue as a career.

e3ec836809d0a96b22cfb8536d252b1bShe attended Fiorello H. Laguardia High School for the performing art & music and art in New York City. She also trained at Ballet Hispanico and performed at Alvin Alley with an independent Hip-Hop Group and at many venues/clubs in New York City. Now, she currently teach at NYSC (New York Sports Club) and the YMCA and works independently as choreographer for groups, and specialevents.

With all of the styles of dancing, there is definitely something for everyone. Another of Vaydra’s goals is to continue to participate each year in the Dance Parade and help in making to become even bigger and provide more opportunities for young dancers. With the success of the most recent event on May 17, 2014, it is almost certain, that next year will be event better.