My first time taking Victor Cruz’s acting class! – by Angelica

Pleased to make your aquaintence NYC Untold, I’m super excited to finally give you a little something this beautiful new year! I’ve been a little busy with spring semester preparations, work, new year resolutions and naps but I took a few hours out of my schedule to attended an acting class in the city of dreams, New York City, this previous week. I can hear some of you now “No, no, no. Acting class? That’s not for me!” But hear me out, it not only helped me grow as an actor but also kicked the “New Year, New Me” cliche mentality – we all NEVER say ūüėČ – into high gear.

My dad has been asking me to attend an acting class run by his good friend Victor Cruz, an already established actor and director in the business. He’s been asking for quite honestly almost a year now and I just couldn’t seem to find the time between rehearsals and work but when he called me that Wednesday, I was eager to attend the class with him since one of my New Year Resolutions is to finally commit to the love of my life: theatre. ¬†I couldn’t wait to go, come on now, it’s Victor Cruz.

Victor Cruz's Acting Class, NYC

Victor Cruz’s Acting Class, NYC

Wednesday night, we arrived in midtown and went up to the twelfth floor of an office building. When the elevator doors open we entered a hallway comparable to Broadway audition. It smelled of sweat, passion and was filled with the chatter of dancers, singers, and actors of all ages. I peeked into the classrooms empathizing with the girls singing their solos or trying to keep up in that beginner level dance class.

Our class commenced a little after 7 pm with about 12 people (actors, amateurs and even a contractor) standing in a circle introducing ourselves, talking our goals for 2015 and that we showed up this evening to advance ourselves through this beautiful art.

[I want to side track for a second about what the art of “acting” is because recently I’ve come to find that most have an incorrect perception of what it is to act and to be an actor. The first day of freshman year in college my acting professor defined acting as “living truely under imaginary circumstances” therefore to be a “good” actor one must know and be capable of safely exploring oneself. When an actor can be in tune with his or her self and carry that into the “imaginary world” you’ll find us pulling at your heart strings no maer how far back your seat may be. This connectedness actors posses is what draws many pedestrians to acting classes].

We clapped and laughed as we learned ¬†about each other, even got some advice from my fellow classmate, Genesis. “Put our shit shield up” her mother tells her in face of negativity. ¬†Victor then handed us something he wrote for us to work on during class, the first line stating “This is my year”. I know I was excited to work on this piece and it seemed everyone else in the class was just as fervent. We cold read, prepared the piece, presented and then got feedback from Victor before our second presentation. .

Victor was knowledgeable, funny, clear in his feedback and a joy to work with. It’s not easy to balance comfort and boundary pushing in an acting class but Victor Cruz succeed. I exited class with my spine a little straighter, my heart a little opener and my acting a little better. Whether you’re working on acting techniques or just want to become a better you check out his class!

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From Your Fellow Greek…

Well, hello there everyone!! With the end of the Fall ’14 semester and the beginning of the Spring ’15 semester, a worldwide sensation is currently taking place; you might all be wondering with this amazing sensation is, right? Well, let me fill you all in: all of the line in the Greek World from Fall ’14 have either crossed or are about to cross. Which means it is now my favorite part of each semester… RECRUITMENT!!

Before I continue, I would like to give a big round of applause to all of those who have crossed in Fall ’14; I know it was quite a journey to get here, but you finally made it!! Welcome to the Greek World my adorable little neos! I would also like to give a special shout out to my Mr. for finally crossing & gracing me with his wonderful presence again; you were deeply missed honey bun.

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Look at my baby!! Ain’t he cute?! Love you G-Quest!!

Ehem… anyways!! Since it is recruitment season (it’s actually always recruitment season; don’t get it twisted) I am going to give you a list of reasons as to why being Greek is about the best thing you can do with your college experience!! So ladies & gentlemen, I present you with… (insert drum roll here)

The Top Three Reasons Why Being Greek Is AMAZING!

Note: Greek Life is not about what you see on TV & in movies. It is more than just drinking & partying all the time (though occasionally who doesn’t enjoy a little drink and party?). Also, not all organizations haze. I repeat, NOT ALL ORGANIZATIONS HAZE.


1. Brother & Sisterhood

  • You will fight, argue, hate, & want to kill each other; you will also love and always be there for one another. What does that make you? Why, brothers and sisters of course!!
    • The foundation of each fraternity & sorority is the bond built between the brothers and sisters of each organization. In becoming apart of an organization, you are blessed with a diverse group of individuals that you now get to have by your side for the rest of your life!!

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These are just a few of the lovely, goofy sisters of Phi Gamma Chi! I wouldn’t trade my sisters for the world… well maybe sometimes when they get on my nerves, but otherwise I love ’em to death regardless!


2. Social Development

  • Freshman year is such an intimidating experience. You’ve just graduated high school & you finally get to go off on your own & explore the world & its many wonders… but what do you do & who do you talk to because we all know roommates freshman year tend to suck because you don’t at all know them & you could be complete opposites. So now what? Well go Greek, my friend, & all you problems will go away!
    • Fraternities & sororities will offer you a well-rounded social life not only with those within your organization, but with people from other organizations & people with the community as well (but we’ll talk more about community involvement in just a few).
    • Organizations host millions & trillions of events that allow you to branch out & get to know people on campus who may not even be apart on Greek Life on your campus; you’re never limited to the amount of people in which you may cross paths with so be prepared to get to know all different types of people. The possibilities are endless!! (I’m corny, I know)

3. Community Engagement

  • Now let’s say you decided to go quite a distance away from home for college, you know absolutely nothing about you’re environment & the community beyond the campus’s borders; Greek Life can assist you there too! Ain’t that just dandy?! Hell yeah it is!
    • Service to the community is a founding principle of Greek Life. One day you may be at a Boys & Girls’ Club doing different types of activities & encouraging the younger generation to do what they believe in & stay true to who they are while the next you may be doing a Breast Cancer Walk around town. You not only get to become the role models for the next generation, but you get to prove to the older generation that you not only believe in a cause but that you support it.
    • In addition to that, it allows you to network with people all throughout the community; you never know who you may meet, guys! You could possibly meet the person who will be interviewing you once you get your diploma & you would never even know it! (So keep in mind that first impressions are everything!!)

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Peep my beautiful sisters after the finished the Breast Cancer Walk at Manhattanville College!


With that being said, I highly encourage you to all go out & explore the different organizations on your campus! Don’t ever feel pressured to go to a specific organization; go to an organization that not only supports the same beliefs & causes that you do, but an organization that makes you feel comfortable in your own skin. What you decide to do is ultimately a representation of who you are. & now I must unfortunately bid thee adieu, kiddies. Until next time!!

From Your Fellow Greek,

Aaliyah “Jam” Cardenas

dAnDElion

Top 5 Reasons My Bronx Childhood Was Awesome

Growing up in New York City is an experience unlike any other. Growing up in the Bronx, in NYC, is an entirely different experience unto itself. There is the good, and there is the bad in it. You will have some amazing experiences, and some that are best forgotten.

Today I will be sharing with you 5 of the most awesome things about growing up in the Bronx, right here in New York City.

Friendships and lifelong bonds

One of the greatest and coolest things about growing up in the South Bronx, in the 90s,¬†were¬†the bonds and¬†friendships that you made. There would be hundreds of kids living in the same building, across the street, up the block,¬†down the block. ¬†We all attended the same schools, played at the same arcades, and shopped at the same bodegas for those¬†25 cent “little hug” flavored waters!

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With that many kids in such a small radius, you were bound to encounter some really cool kids, as well as¬†some not so cool kids. But one of the coolest¬†aspects¬†of growing up in that¬†“hood”¬†environment, was definitely the friendships that one would make.

All that being said, in no particular order, here are five awesome things that we used to do growing up in the South Bronx!

Number one: Gaming!

Yes, gaming! Before online gaming was a thing, we’d actually play together, in person! Can you believe that concept? We¬†would all grab our game controllers, grab our games, and head over to one of¬†buddy’s houses for hours of gaming. This is the way it was done back in the days. To this very day, this is one of the things I truly miss most about that time period. There was nothing like waking up that saturday morning, and spending the day hanging out with your friends beating each other’s butt in video games.

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On a side note, I have been trying to set up a game night with some of my buddies for some time now. So far it has been postponed a few times, and has yet to happen. Isn’t that sad? So much planning and ceremony, just to get together with some friends and play a freaking video game. Yes, this is definitely one of the things I miss most from back then. It saddens me that my son will never truly experience this part of growing up in the hood. However, we had to forego this, in order to forego the negative aspects that we were protecting him from. Such is life.

Number two: Communication.

Back in those days we did not have texting, we did not have cell phones, and we weren’t allowed to use the home phone¬†a lot. We didn’t have any computers, email, or social media, none of that existed back then. I bet that you younger people who have grown up with this technology are probably scratching your heads right now wondering how the hell did¬†we communicate?

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Well, let me tell you kids, even I have become extremely dependent on email, social media, and all of the other modern methods of communication. I love them, and I’m not sure how I would survive without them today. However, I have not forgotten the way we used to do it back then. It was quite simple, if you wanted to hang out with Stefano, you would¬†go to your window, if it happened to face the same direction as Stefano’s, or you’d have to go downstairs by¬†their¬†window, and then scream their name.

STEFANO! YO STEFANO!!!! COME OUTSIDE!

Back in those days that’s how we communicated. You go to the window, and you scream for them. Then your friend would show up¬†and you could plan your day while screaming at¬†each from the¬†window. In some cases the parent of your friend, or one of your other lovely neighbors from the block would stick their head out the window and tell you to shut the hell up and stop screaming like animals because they were trying to sleep. On those occasions we would try and actually use the phone, but that was extremely rare.

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Number three: Hanging in front of the building.

I don’t know if this¬†is still safe to do. When I go to my old neighborhood, I do see kids hanging outside and playing. So I do believe it still happens, but I don’t see that around here. That¬†is strictly a hood¬†thing. These kids in this quasi suburban neighborhood will never know this awesomeness.

There was nothing as awesome as simply just hanging out with your buddies playing tag, talking crap, watching the pretty girls walk by, snapping on each other and making jokes all day. Just having a grand ole time.

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Now, hanging out in front of the building could become unpleasant when the bad kids¬†came around. It was a dangerous place to be when shootouts would happen, and on occasion when the police felt like¬†doing a raid, if you happened to be there you’d probably end up with your hands against the wall. However,¬†even with all that this was¬†definitely one of the most awesome perks of growing up in the hood. It was definitely one of the few things that I would consider a perk of the hood, hanging out¬†with¬†your buddies in front of the building just kicking it.

Number four: Cruising!

Basically my little group would¬†all get together with skateboards,¬†bikes, scooters or whatever rideable device you had at the time. We would coordinate and then we’d go riding to other neighborhoods where there was less car traffic.

A whole bunch of us would ride our bikes down the block, and across Jerome avenue. We used to go to this one place we called “Peace Land.” In hindsight, this wasn’t a very safe area for young kids, but it was sort of like an industrial space. We¬†called the area “Peace land” because¬†it was so desolate and seemed somewhat peaceful. The area was very¬†quiet, there were¬†maybe one or two houses, and the people there never really bothered us. The rest of the space was¬†occupied by lots,¬†factories and a few small businesses. It was a nice, quiet road where we could ride our bikes mostly uninterrupted by oncoming traffic.

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(Inwood Avenue in the Bronx. Google maps shows me that this area is much, much busier now. Weak sauce!)

On the next block over we had this other spot¬†we called¬†“Doggie biscuit.” This side housed a bunch of mailing and what I think were garbage trucks. I think they used to go park¬†there. The reason we call this one¬†“Doggie biscuit,” is because every time we went there and rolled by on our¬†bicycles we would get chased out by the local guard dogs.

I still remember the time that one of my friends lost his balance and fell of his bike. He was crazy, and stood there fighting off the dogs with his bike! That was absolutely hilarious, but it showed us all that this kid had some balls on him. I think he eventually made the dogs go away, and he walked out with his head held up high. He wasn’t scared, or at least he didn’t let on that he was scared.

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(Cromwell Avenue in the Bronx. Google map shows that there is a”Cubesmart” there now. LOL. Garbage trucks still sleep there though.)

One block further in¬†and you had what we called “Killer hill” and “Snake Mountain.” This is probably the steepest hill I had¬†ever seen in the area at that point. Only later in life when visiting San Francisco, and even here in NYC did I find steeper hills. However, to my young mind, this was a killer hill! Anyway, we would walk our bikes to the top of the hill, get on the road and then ride down at full speed! We’d come to the bottom and then¬†merge into the four-lane highway¬†which we had named “Snake Mountain” because it had so many twists and turns.

Thinking back to this time, we are so very lucky that we didn’t get killed back then. (This was Edward L Grant Highway, and the hill was on West 169th Street.) Seriously, we are lucky we didn’t get killed! As a parent today, I can’t imagine my son doing this, the danger was immeasurable.

This is the top of Killer Hill.

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The bottom of Killer Hill connects to a 4 lane highway. What where we thinking?

snake mountain

I remember this one time one of my buddies lost control of his bike and he couldn’t make the turn from killer hill into snake Mountain. So he ended up going across Snake¬†Mountain with cars coming from the left and the right! Dude just went straight across a four lane highway! The fact that this guy did not get hit and killed by a car that day was absolutely miraculous.

The downside of Cruising.

You may be wondering how cruising can go bad? It’s quite simple, sometimes we’d get a flat tire while we were¬†far away from home, and we’d¬†have to walk the¬†bike’s¬†back. Of course at that point you now increase the risk of getting robbed for your bike. The thugs were always trying to steal our bikes, and if you couldn’t ride the bike to get away, you had a greater chance of getting caught.

The most memorable time for me was at Crotona Park. I was much younger, and naive. I was invited to hang out with a group of kids, so I joined them. Next thing I knew, I was surrounded, had a knife put to my neck, and I was getting punched and kicked. That day, they succeeded and stole my very cool bike. I still remember my family running over with cooking knives, ready to fight. LOL. They were long gone by then, those kids were bigger, faster, and apparently quite skilled at riding a bike with one hand, and carrying a stolen one with the free hand. Ahh, the future prison population!

I remember another¬†time I was riding my bike while the Grand Concourse was closed off for bicyclists, and some guys started launching tree branches at¬†me trying to get me to fall off my bike. By then I was a bit older, and wiser. Though the branch hurt, and I did stumble, realizing that I was in their hood, and greatly outnumbered, I didn’t stop. I kept going and I managed to get¬†away from the punks.

Another time one of the guys from my own block was trying to steal the¬†inner tubes from my bike! I let him borrow my bike for a “ride.” It was quite common to have someone say “Yo, let me get a ride.”¬†He was gone for a while, which wasn’t uncommon with this particular person. He was one of the local bullies, and I figured it was best to comply rather than risk having him or his gang steal it from me. So I was going to go home for a while and come back later, when I entered the building, the freaking guy was emptying my tires attempting to switch my functional inner tubes with his broken tubes. I took my bike back and walked away, I couldn’t do anything to him, like I said, he kind of ran the block.

So all that is what¬†we used to call “cruising.”

Number five: Going on “adventures.”

This was kind of like the movie “Stand by me,” but the ghetto version. For instance sometimes we would take the long treacherous walk from 169th St. and the Grand Concourse over to Highbridge pool in Manhattan. To get there you would have to walk on highways, and cross bridges,¬†and we would do all that on foot.¬†Times were so different back then!

There is a bridge called High Bridge, it was out of service back then. It seems like they are working on, or have reopened it to pedestrians now.

high bridge

However, back in those days, it was closed. Now that didn’t stop some creative individuals from using¬†supermarket carts to build a pathway in from the Bronx side of the¬†bridge! You would cross the bridge,¬†and then on the other side someone¬†had tied some ropes so that we could get over the barricades and wall that they built.

Understand the magnitude of what I’m telling you. We were teens, unarmed, during a time when cell phones were unheard off. We used to cross an¬†abandoned bridge to get to High bridge pool. This was an area where you were pretty much isolated from main society once you were in there.

When I think back to that, and consider the risk and danger that we put ourselves¬†in, its mind-boggling to me. I can’t believe that I made it out of there unscathed! Not only did I climb the rope, I remember hanging from it upside down, and making faces! Imagine if that thing snapped and I fell! I’d be done! Not to mention that we could have gotten jumped, robbed, raped, thrown off the bridge and no one would know what happened! At least not until a fisherman found us!

Another dangerous activity that we used to take part in during our adventures was rooftop jumping. We used to go to a roof and make our way over to the other building’s roof. Sometimes they were connected and you could just climb¬†down from one side to the other, and other times there was a gap and you’d have to jump.

bronx roof

I remember one time we jumped from one roof which was higher, and we dropped really¬†hard on the other rooftop! The picture above shows the actual buildings I’m talking about, take a look. So the guy who¬†lived on the sixth floor came upstairs with a weapon screaming and threatening us because we were messing up his¬†chandeliers while¬†jumping. I wonder how that fool would do with my current noisy neighbors! Back then you’d stab a motherfreaker, today we write letters to coop boards! SMH.

On a side note, apparently they are leaving this Friday, I’m counting the days! Interestingly enough, I just heard screaming in the hallway, followed by banging, guess who just walked into their apartment? Right now I’m blasting “Home” by Daughtry to drown out their incessant noise. This is an appropriate song considering I’m writing about my old home.

One of my buddies actually fell down six stories from a rooftop. Thankfully, this dude is still around today! We can laugh and joke about those days, but there was nothing funny about falling from a roof. My man is extremely lucky to be alive today. In fact, considering some of the things that we used to do, many of us are lucky to be alive today.

No awesome growing up in the Bronx column could be complete without talking about the POMPA!

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The fire hydrant provided us with much needed cooling down during those hot summer days. I also recall drivers would stop in front of it to get a quick wash! Not everyone was happy with this practice though, clearly we were wasting water, and the water pressure in the buildings would become very low because of this. Many a time we had the cops and firemen called on us, and other times one of the tenants would just curse us out from the window and make us close the hydrant.

Most of these stories I’m¬†sharing with you took place while we were still relatively young, and for the most part we were still innocent kids. Though inevitably life did become more complicated as we got older, and things started to change.¬†Some of us moved to new neighborhoods, and though we tried to remain close, friendships are affected by distance. Thankfully I am still in touch with most of my close friends from that era, and thankfully most of us went on to lead safe and productive adult lives.

These few personal experiences that I have just shared with you are some of the awesome experiences I had growing up in the hood. This was the South Bronx back in the 90s.

If you have any memories or stories that you would like to share with us, please do so in the comments and we will share any outstanding ones in a future post.

This post originally appeared on NYCTalking.com and has been reprinted with permission from the owner.

Jason Pagan youngest in the business to start his own record label, helps artists become So Phenomenal!!

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At 23 years old, Jason Pagan becomes the youngest person in the music industry to own his own entertainment company and record label. The 23 year old business tycoon and musical genius recently launched the new So Phenomenal Entertainment , helping his artists Be True, Be You, Be So Phenomenal, Catchy right!! So Phenomenal Entertainment went from a small label, to a full out entertainment company helping artists by providing their talent with holistic and forward-thinking management.Pagan believes that artists should stay true to their character and not just put a personal for sales or publicity.

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¬† Pagan started SPE because of his unhappiness with the lack of talent in the entertainment industry. More over he was more upset with the music industry in general he believes that “major labors were becoming notorious with giving ‘slave deals’ to new up and coming artists; leaving the artists indebted for their whole careers.” ¬†This became Pagan’s inspiration to turn So Phenomenal Entertainment from an independent record label to a full blown entertainment company. So that the artists can not only do what they love and perform but to also learn how to market themselves in the new age of technology, mixed with social media and business.
Pagan the young professional in the business always had a love for the business, but did not pursue it till the young age of thirteen. At the age of thirteen Pagan had dropped out of school to search for ways to pursue his dreams. He started to master his craft in music after following and learning from a producer who was dating his older sister. From there learning from the producer caused him to follow the passion for music, he believed it was better for him because it kept him off the streets and he really enjoyed what he was learning.
With the powerhouse he created in 2015 he also took on two very talented artists one of them being 21 year old Grizelle Rodriguez, and long time friend and colleague Oz. The three of them together from my observations is the perfect trifecta of the music industry.
About the Artists:
(biographies courtesy of So Phenomenal CEO Jason Pagan)

Grizelle is a 21 year old R&B singer and song-writer. Through heartbreaks, obstacles and life experiences, 251649_1725657592480_5324471_nher music is her personal way of healing. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and spent 5 years in Florida but came back to New York at the age of 15 to pursue her music career. When she was younger she competed in national dance competitions, trained professionally in Hip-Hop, Ballet, Salsa, Jazz, and Tap. Her humble and down to earth personality is what makes her such an inspirational artist.
“Music is who I am, not whatI do. I don’t do this for fame, but I do want to be successful…as long as I can genuinely inspire someone through my music, then I will feel accomplished not only as an artist but as a musical hero..and to have passion for something like that, well thats a dream.” – Grizelle
courtesy of ice photography

courtesy of ice photography

Orlando Oz Ortiz¬†grew up on 161st and Park Ave. in the Bronx, birthplace not only to him but the genre known as Hip Hop/Rap. He fondly refers to his neighborhood as ‚Äúthe poor side of Park‚ÄĚ as a reference to the Park Ave. in Manhattan, where a lot of wealth is concentrated, contrasted to his upbringing that diluted with propaganda that drove people to try to live lives that could never be obtained. Oz was first exposed in music and developed an interest while still in junior high school. He stumbled upon a composition notebook that was filled with rhymes, thoughts, and ideas. As Oz read the book, he began to envision how his own career would take off. Thoughts of well-known artists such as Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, and the humble beginnings in which they come from to where they are now, flooded his mind and inspired him to strive for the same goal. Looking back on this time in his young life Oz is quoted as saying, ‚ÄúI realized everything begins on a very small and personal level.‚ÄĚ Oz‚Äôs first piece of art, which was written on a 15 minute train ride from the uptown part of the Bronx where his girlfriend resides to the rough area of South Bronx, was a spoken word piece primarily about the troubles and influences common people were unaware of and the interactions between one another.

Oz‚Äôs views on music seasoned as he grew older and the style of music he wanted to use to express his perspective on women as well. Oz didn‚Äôt enjoy listening to music that bashed and degraded the opposite sex as now he was maturing and coming into his own not only as an artist but as a man. Oz wanted to make it a point to his listeners that he understands and fully grasp the idea of sex, but also understands the importance of it, respects the intimacy of it, as well as the mere fact that without it he wouldn’t exist. He also wants young listeners to know through his music that sex isn’t all that life has to offer.

Oz has begun work on his first mixtape entitled: ‚ÄúMind Your Own‚ÄĚ. The mixtape is 16 songs in length and due to be released by February 2012. The concept behind the mixtape is for listeners to exercise their minds and understand the messages in the music they‚Äôre listening too. Oz wants to get his listeners thinking about life and what makes it tick. ‚ÄúEveryone wants cars, clothes, and hoes. Nobody wants a peaceful world. I don’t blame them. I mean, if you‚Äôre taught shit, I guess in the end, a human is just a reflection of what they been exposed to, nothing more, nothing less,‚ÄĚ Oz says when asked about the struggle people have of grasping the concept of life and separating what‚Äôs real and what‚Äôs not. ‚ÄĚThe struggle I have is I live in a world that is diverse in ideas, and people; all focused on just one thing, making money. Money, Power, Respect. One thing leads to another. But when you value money, and cars, and clothes, and all of the non-essentials of life, you don’t need any of those things to be happy or live life like you are happy. In reality what tends to happen is you turn into a selfish human being, and you forget the position of power you hold‚ÄĚ.

¬†With the 2015 year already in its second week, So Phenomenal entertainment was on fire, they recruited local area photography company Katie Kay Photography to join their team and become their resident photographer, and are in negotiations for other artists, makeup artists, fitness instructors, personal trainers, and other professionals that are the best in their industries to become involved with this upstanding movement to become one of the biggest entertainment powerhouses. ¬†Oz and Grizelle So Phenomenal’s top artists have been working on their latest EP’s as for Pagan he started working on his newest single entitled Beautiful Symphony¬†which features Chicago Native Houston.¬†¬†He has also been in works for many philanthropic events for So Phenomenal Entertainment to become involved in and make a difference in the world.
In the past SPE has been involved with the Aids walk for the last three years, and with one of Pagans singles¬†“my better half”¬†sales from this track goes to the Love, Hope, Strength non profit which helps build cancer centers nationwide. At one point they worked with Unicef for Project Tap and there will be a large scale philontrahpic project taking place in the summer, with more details to come.
With all of these great people, events, and influences surrounding the young CEO and his company there is no doubt in my mind that this company will not succeed. If you know any young talent feel free to drop a note to the NYC Untold editors at beholdtheunderground@gmail.com and we will pass the message along to Mr. Pagan and take a look at whats going on in the So Phenomenal world.  go to https://www.facebook.com/SoPhenomenalEntertainment

Why Betty White is my hero.

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At the age of 22 we normally have those that are in public offices, those who are currently in music or television as an inspiration. Me who do I feel is an inspiration not only to me as a woman but as a business woman, well none other than Betty White. At the age of 93 she has had a successful television career, movie career, rap career, cooking line, and more recently she got to walk with Captain America himself Chris Evans and accept the award for the Peoples Choice Award for TV Icon. Not many people can say at the age of 93 they have this much going on, especially with the final season of Hot In Cleveland under wraps. First of all I don’t care what anyone says if your 93 still working and walking around, the fact that you have the sexy Captain America Chris Evans jumping out of his seat to help you and he’s pretty much 4x your age oh Betty you get them girl.

Betty White the native of Oak Park Illinois was born in 1922, she joined the entertainment business at the age of seventeen working with greats such as Johnny Carson, Bea Arthur, Mary Tyler Moore and the recently departed Joan Rivers. For the longest of her career she was the radio and TV host alongside Al Jarvis on the Al Jarvis Make Believe Ball Room¬†, and in that same time she was doing Life with Elizabeth¬† a comedy sketch show where she played the role of Elizabeth. To later receiving her own show¬†The Betty White Show .¬† More recently within the last 50 years Betty White has played the lovable Rose Nyland on the 80’s hit the Golden Girls with Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue Mchlanahan. Found success on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and more recently she hosted comedy prank shows and joined another wonderful cast on¬†Hot In Clevland.¬†

While most people in their 80’s and 90’s are just sitting and just enjoying their golden days and their retirement. Betty White is taking her knowledge as a comedian, actor, author, singer, television producer, rapper, voice actor, writer, presenter, and TV¬†personality and builds an empire with it. Betty White is succeeding with a net worth of 45 million. ¬†As a business woman and someone that looks to plan for their future I consider this woman as such a inspiration to women everywhere. She is a pioneer in women’s comedy showing people they can do it in a society where women are belittled but she shows that no matter how old you get you can do anything you put your mind to.

 

Betty your so awesome man!! 

El Museo Del Barrio Hosts the parade of Los Tres Reyes

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When everyone in European cultures were getting together for the day of the Theofania, St. John the baptist day on January 6th 2015. The Hispanic community got together in a beautiful celebration for the Three Kings. Every year at¬†El Museo Del Barrio there is an annual parade that honors the tradition of the three wise men. The three wise men are known as the bible as the three kings that traveled to Bethlehem on the day our lord and savior Jesus Christ was born and brought him the three gifts of god, frankincense, myrrh for the new bork King the son of god. The parade was also a celebration for the life of the founder of the Three Kings Parade and former director of El Museo Del Barrio¬†Jack Ag√ľeros¬†who passed away this past May.

El Museo del Barrio was bursting with people from adults, to children and volunteers of many different ages getting everything prepared for the snowy celebrations that were going to take place. The snow did not stop throughout that day but the curators of the parade were even more determined to have the parade taking place for the children, so they may keep their roots and learn more about their cultural heritage. What was special about this years parade, the featured highlight of the festivities was the premiere of the animated version of the loved story Book of Life that teaches everyone the value of life and death. With La Muerte as the main character on the parade convertable greeting everyone as they watch the parade. With the opening of the parade and the release of book of life there was press coverage from Univision 96×3 as well as Total Accesivo.

DSC_0344Before the festivities began there was a breakfast and a small honoree ceremony for those that were involved in the parade such as King Emeretus who was played by one of the founders of the Nuyorican movement himself Jesus Papoleto Melendez. Melendez is known as one of the founders of the Nuyorican movement through his poetry, and his playwright. Melendez is also an activist of the Nuyorican movement; his intellectual topics and debates and his activism remains today as one of the most noted in history. Others that were honored were were Tom Finkelpearl (Commissioner, NYC Dept of Cultural Affairs ) , Deborah Quinones (El barrio community leader and founder) , and Juan Gonzalez (NY Daily News Columnist) for whom played the three kings. The breakfast was also a solemn time because there was honors for those that we have recently lost this year such as designer Oscar De La Renta, and more recently former Governor Mario Cuomo.

photo from @thinkjam and @urbanjibaro

photo from @thinkjam and @urbanjibaro

The parade festivities were led by La Muerte, the Queen of souls in the beloved tale Book of Life which was turned into a children’s tale, so that children can have a better understanding of the true meaning of life and death. La Muerte was played by Angelica Alicia Adams, daughter of Capicu King George ‘Urban Jibaro’ Torres. (makeup done by Mia Roman, artsbymia.com). “To say the least, playing La Muerte in the Three Kings Day parade was one of the most fun things I’ve gotten to do. She is such a strong and beautiful character, it would be hard not to naturally embody her fierceness- especially in such a fun parade painted with Boricua spirit.” said Adams. The Parade festivities ranged from 106 Street and Lexington Avenue to 115 and Park Avenue.

It was an honor to be there as a photographer but to be there to witness the lives of different people of different cultures watch them celebrate and rejoice in the happiest of moments and to celebrate those who have passed in a way as if their spirit was still alive is very touching to the soul. I recommend those who have not been in touch with their cultural heritage or just wants to learn more about other cultures to please go search for it and you never know what you can find. But also if you want to learn more about the Nuyorican movement and puertorican culture go visit El Museo Del Barrio.  http://www.elmuseo.org

 

The New #HeavyHitter on the Block Dj Inferious

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As a woman in nightlife I have encountered many people actors/actresses, artists, designers, business owners, promoters and Djs. But out of all these people I never met someone that can have a lasting impact on me like this young artist. His name you may ask is Fernando G. Jacome; but his stage name is Dj. Inferious.

The 21 year old from an old town in Ecuador moved to New York at an early age, with the blood and love for music flowing through his veins at an early age. He grew up with musical influences in his life the main one being his father; who was in the musical lifestyle throughout Fernando’s entire life. “Just seeing what my father did and the music he made, and the reactions people had to the music is my inspiration to my road to becoming a¬†disk jockey.” – Jacome¬†

The young DJ since then always focused on his music, in 2007 he started listening to some of the greats such as Alex Sensation, DJ Jinx Paul, and even Queens greatest DJ Louie Minaya which became his main influences when creating his style as a DJ. Jacome’s goal as a DJ is to make people happy through his music, if he can have the entire club or party dancing and happy just by one song then he did his job.

You ask me now why am I writing about this young DJ; in a short time this young talent went from being nothing to being something completely spectacular. From meeting one of his icons and learning from him he developed his talent as a Dj to something the nightlife has ever seen. His passion for this business shows once his hand get on the turn tables and when he gets off the tables he feels like apart of him is missing. From working with his idol, he got to work with other great DJs such as DJ Rush One Dj Louie Minaya, as well as the Tristates own DJ Juano. He is now employed to work for Cesar Cabrera the head of all of the best nightlife promotions in NYC. The passion this young man brings is an inspiration to everyone.

He is a great talent and I feel like any club would be honored to book him, by this time next year he will become one of the #heavyhitters, You go Inferious show the nightlife who is the real heavy hitter!!

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To see what DJ Inferious is about follow him on IG: @Djinferious
http://www.facebook.com/djinferiousnyc
to hear his music go to: https://soundcloud.com/djinferious

for bookings contact Josef Ochoa at upscale nightlife@gmail.com

Power Couple works hard and dances their stresses away with Team Best Body

DSC_0596While most couples in their 20’s are going out to clubs, bars, even the occasional fraternity or sorority house for their weekly night out. This couple Dana Nguyen and Steven Perez, 26 spend their free time building an empire. The couple as I call them are the Mr. and Mrs. Smith of my generation they work their jobs during the day while at night they run a company called Team Best Body Fitness. Team Best Body Fitness is a modern day Zumba class that focuses on the wellness of the people that come to their Zumba classes from Monday – Saturday. Their Mission¬†To engage the community in a positive, energetic, and fun fitness experience, starting with Zumba, Dance Cardio, & Total Body Fitness Work outs. (www.teambestbodyfitness.com)

Dana Nguyen who is the main founder and CEO of the company, started Team Best Body Fitness through her love of dance and working out. It started with her going to Zumba classes and falling in love with it; to later working her way up to getting her license as a Zumba instructor to later coming into the empowering realization to run her own business and to not work with a gym. According to Nguyen Team Best Body classes were once a week on Wednesdays for an entire year; when she noticed the increase in popularity of the classes she decided after a year to extend the classes Monday through Saturday.

Steven Perez who is the co-founder of Team Best Body Fitness runs a separate company which encompasses and assists Team Best Body Fitness called Wun Life #WunFitArmy where he works with his products from his marketing company Wake Up now and help create eight week programs for the Team Best Body customers to help them loose weight and help reach their fitness goals. Steven is now working to complete his licensing to become a personal trainer.

I became acquainted with the couple through Steven during my nightlife promotions working under Cesar Cabrera entertainment. After getting to know Steven I got to meet the beautiful Dana Nguyen and later on we collaborated on another project for the Artists for Creative Theatre. From that moment on it led to more collaborations for the Team Best Body Fitness Brand and my company Katie Kay Photography. After constantly hearing about Team Best Body Fitness I decided for myself to check these classes out after all the popularity it gained.

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The class I went to on Monday was primarily Zumba taught by Nguyen with an extra bonus of a core training done by Perez.  First thing I noticed was the positive energy that the two people brought to the table. As you can tell Mondays are extremely dreading its the first day everyone is back at their jobs and they dread to go work out right after but because of the energy and the kindness that these two people brought to them everyone was so excited and full of life. Second thing I noticed was there was people of different types of people from short to tall, young, old, child, man, lady you name it. Everyone was treated equal and they were all friends and they treated those that were new like they were one of them.

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As for the classes I can say they were intense but at the same time fun, as a former dancer I tried my best to keep up with Nguyen she went from salsa styles to a little hip hop to the usual and oh so lovable Danza Kaduro from Don Omar. Then the last twenty minutes of the class was taught by both Dana and Steven on core body training where there were wall sits, relay races, cardio i.e jumping jacks and other types of exercises that work your core. ¬†I have been to many exercise classes in the process of loosing weight but I never been to any classes where the instructors gave you so much energy just by being in their presence. They not only did that but they made you feel like you were someone even if you had not been to their class before. They made you feel like you were one of their family and they never let you give up unlike some gym classes. They don’t worry about the dollar that they make from the classes they worry more to see if you are okay and if they can help make you to the best person you can be.

Dana and Steven are also on an 8 week media campaign to show people the benefits of eating healthy, by going on an eight week diet and posting their results and document everything they are eating that way they can help encourage the people coming to Team Best Body by showing them that they can do it and showing them the right things to eat. You can follow them on instagram @dana_steven or their Facebook http://www.facebook.com/teambestbody88

This is definitely something I recommend to my readers, and whoever else that is interested in weight loss and looking to make positive changes for their life. ¬†The best part is if you don’t believe me you can sign up for a free class on http://www.teambestbodyfitness.com and you can see for yourself. I will be going on Monday’s Wednesday’s and Saturdays and you can see for yourself everything I just said today.

DSC_0259¬†“Dance like no ones watching, meaning when we party and dance we put our all into it and just have fun with our workout. For us its to live strong and happy thats our favorite quote and we live by that.” – Nguyen

For more information on the Zumba classes and how you can get involved with the team best body movement go to http://www.teambestbodyfitness.com

 

Ending 2014 with the an Untold Hero

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A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. РChristopher Reeve 

She’s the girl that never asked for much, who always has the world on her shoulders and faces adversity with a smile. ¬†She was the girl that didn’t believe she was beautiful ¬†but her smile lit up an entire room. She’s the girl that she uses her throwback Thursday photos to help girls make better decisions about themselves and their image rather than help them feel discouraged. ¬†She’s the girl that when she finds someones wallet she goes through all and every social network and person she knows to help the person find their wallet. Every day she lives her life through a mission and she honors someone with every breath she takes.

Her name is Ariana Visentini, she will probably get all teared up for me writing this but its okay I had to end 2014 by telling the truth about this girl. I met her in 2012 as a Junior at Iona College, she first reminded me of the freshman girl I used to be.  She just had that innocence and the purity in her that she wanted to be friends with everyone no matter how mean or nice they were. But  all you needed was to have one conversation with her for you to fall in love with her. I was working the desk at the residential halls when I first met Ariana Visentini, unfortunately I met her at one of her worst days she had found out her friend Jillian for whom was battling Leukemia for a while had passed away. And although Ariana was so distraught waiting for her mom to pick her up she was more concerned if she could get me any coffee, or something to just make my day better. I then just sat down and actually talked to her and the story she told me about her best friend was so inspiring it reminded me about my friend Elaine, who passed away in a car accident in 2010.

When I saw there was a way to donate to her friends fundly, I did it, I donated the last of my money to help out her friend’s family. I never met someone that was so moved by my action, she messaged me personally on Facebook and she was so moved. Since then we started talking more and became friends; I learned a lot about her life for the two years that I knew her and how she advocates for major causes such as Autism, Leukemia, ¬†Suicide Prevention to be the least of the causes. Whenever I had a program happen she always came to support. When I or anyone needed to talk and she was sitting at the residential hall desk she never said no to talk to us. She always had a healing touch and made everyone feel better after talking to her.

10178009_10152803347519498_20605357568078276_n2013 was the start of ¬†my senior year of college. I became the founder and President of the Hellenic Society at Iona , and during our meeting on what we should do our big fundraiser for, we decided to raise money for the fund that is made in Jillian Gorman (Ariana’s Friend) Honor. From there it was like going on a adventure with this girl we did relay for life together where she made me cry in more ways than one, and we raised over 1500$ for Greek Night for Jillian. ¬†During these two events Ariana not only helped me help Mr. Gorman, his family, and the foundation but she brought back a spark in me that I lost after my best friend Elaine passed away. ¬†Ive never been so proud to call this woman my partner in this project, my college colleague, and one of my best friends (also ironic we have the same birthday). This girl brought out the best in me within these last few years, she gave me hope when things were hopeless, made me see who were the good people in the world and who were bad.

Ariana has the gift to make people feel beautiful when they feel like they are ugly, she helps those who can not take care of themselves and she always put the good of others before herself. To me thats the definition of a hero, someone who does things and never asks for them in return. I am pretty sure I have an entire Iona College Campus vouching me on this right now! Where my Gaels Attt!!

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“Community service is something very close to my heart. Whether it’s going on a mission trip or simply helping out around campus, helping others is something I am very passionate about. ¬†One of the quotes I live by daily is:

‚ÄúThe best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.‚ÄĚ – Mahatma Gandhi. – Ariana Visentini

 

Now you are probably wondering why am I writing this blog on the last day of 2014, well the beautiful Ariana is trying to raise money for her mission trip to Zambia Africa where she will be helping the less fortunate  by acting as servant-learners while working alongside the Christian Brothers and community partners on educational initiatives in Mazabuka. She is willing to sacrifice the summer of her 21st birthday and help those in need, so how about everyone make a sacrifice and take 20 dollars of the  hundreds of dollars you will be spending tonight on bottles, drugs, and whatever you guys spend your money on this new years eve take a minute and go to the GoFundMe page and help her fulfill her dream. 

People like her are one in a million, so let her fulfill her dream and let her Move The World. 

God Bless Everyone and Have a Happy and Healthy New Year. Welcome 2015 

To help Ariana go on her mission trip to Zambia go to http://www.gofundme.com/g7u4es

GOOD LUCK BABY GIRL I BELIEVE IN YOU!

Screw a New Years Resolution Ill Just say it how it is!

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I think I became more aware in the bullshit of a new years resolution after facing an impending death, and more medical problems that someone my age should not be facing. ¬†After being stood up by my ex boyfriend last year for his seventeen year old lover, yes I said and yes he is eight years older than me I ended up in the hospital for hypothermia, and for my New Years resolution I vowed to take better care of myself and to move on from a broken heart. I sit here a year later and I look back and I said wow, I didn’t change that much.¬†

According to statistics brain.com 62% of Americans made a resolution for New Years 2014, and within that year 39% of New Years Resolutions were fulfilled and more than 70% pretty much said screw it. I sit here and I wonder10858478_10153475333474498_4013576379837307110_n why do we honestly make these resolutions, if we never follow through with them.

In 2014 I vowed to move on from my broken heart and to make sure I would go to the gym and take better care of myself health wise. In 2014 I have been to the hospital for hypothermia, stress, my heart, post traumatic stress and sleeping problems, a cancer scare, but more recently pneumonia and possible acute hearing loss.  I say Mount Sinai Hospital and other hospitals in New York State has had their shared of my pain in the ass. I also had left 2014 with a broken heart from someone that did not care about anything other than himself, and an asshole that wanted to get revenge on my best friend by trying to get with me.

 

I realized after that it takes more than a New Years resolution for us to get what we really want. In order for us to get what we want out of life we need to really work for it. Reflecting on this last year through all the negatives I see all the positives, I graduated college which made me the first in my family to do that, I started to launch my photography to new heights, I met great people through the ACT foundation and helped put together a great event uniting people of different talents and backgrounds. I went back into nightlife and met such great people that helped me in more ways than one. I started working with Anllelic Lozada and it finally helped me realize what I wanted to do with my life,and on this journey with Anllelic I became friends and made connections with such great people. No matter what bad had happened something good always followed.

I realized I could not let myself become discouraged because of the fails of my New Years resolutions, I have the positive people in my life. The main one being my niece Gianna, my sisters daughter she is my pride and joy. She is the one thing that I fight to be such a positive influence for. I always want to do better because when she gets older I never want her to see me fail her.  I want to make her as well as my mom and my sister Briana proud of me.

 

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So this year instead of making my New Years Resolution I am just going to thank everyone despite everything bad I was given a second chance at life. I was given a chance to be with my friends and to have the dignity and grace to let those who were toxic in my life go. I have seen all the negatives and I have been given the chance to turn them into positives. I have been given the strength to move on when I feel like I couldn’t keep going anymore, and to have those friends by my side when life decides to smack me in the face.

I feel like 2014 can be a stepping stone to what 2015 is supposed to be, and with this I am taking 2014 to say goodbye to the New Years Resolutions and to just realize when we close the three hundredth and sixty fifth page of 2014 we can just sit here and ask what is going in the first page of 2015. Despite everything 2014 was one of the best years ever, and I just know 2015 will be twice as good. So everyone instead of making these resolutions just thank those you love for the awesome 2014 and make moves and travel plans to kick ass in 2015.

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And so its been said and told Thats all Folks

NYC UNTOLD will be back at full force starting January 6th 2015
more updates scoops, interviews to come