Beautiful Zow Marketplace Popup Shop

As of today, there are now two artisan marketplaces running in town. This afternoon marks the launch of the Beautiful Zow Marketplace Popup Shop at The Coffee Cave. The shop is a collaboration between HelloBeautiful and ZingaZow, and will feature vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories, music, handmade arts and crafts, and massages. The shop’s producers will be hosting a Black Friday day party from 2pm to 8pm today to kick off the shop.

The shop will be open daily from noon to 7pm, and will run through January 1, 2014. It will also feature events on specific days:

  • 11/29 PopShop Newark Black friday shopping day party 2-8pm
  • 11/30 Small business Saturday Support your local small business’s
  • 12/2 Game Night 6-9pm
  • 12/4 Craft Night 6-9pm
  • 12/9 Game Night 6-9pm
  • 12/11 Craft Night 9-9pm
  • 12/15 Black Magic Music Concert Hosted by Sheikia S. Norris
  • 12/18 Craft Night 6-9pm
  • 12/23 Game Night 6-9pm
  • 12/25 Craft Night 6-9pm
  • 12/29 Beautiful Zow Kwanzaa Celebration and closing of Popshop Newark. 5-9pm

For more information on the shop, see the Beautiful Zow Marketplace’s event page on Facebook.

Look familiar? Bamberger’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Newark [Photo]

Updated 10:59 AM –

Bamberger’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Newark, NJ.

From the editor: Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers. We’re thankful for your support! To show just a little more support, be sure to vote for Brick City Live – and one other company – in the NewU startup competition for seed funding that will enable us to do even more for you! http://brickc.it/unitypitches

Watch our pitch below:

Beyond Brick City: The directors of Isis Dynasty, starring Newark native Faizon Love, on their new film and indie filmmaking

If you gave yourself only thirty days to make your dream come true before throwing in the towel, just how would you order your steps?

That’s the premise of a new independent film from directors Fatima Washington and Corey “Sunspot Jonz” Johnson, and starring Paula Jai Parker, Golden Brooks, and Newark native Faizon Love.

Isis Dynasty draws heavily from the career of Washington, who also stars as the film’s title character, to distill years of experiences universal to people trying to make it in Hollywood down to a monthlong gauntlet of struggles and tests. The film’s protagonist must overcome them to prove to herself that her career goal is still worth pursuing. Her alternative: give up on Hollywood and decamp to a more conventional lifestyle.

They’re challenges well known to the film’s directors, who bypassed the studio system altogether to make the film because, as Johnson put it in a recent telephone conversation, “We actually wanted to see this film happen.”

“A lot of times studios control the final product. Not the story, but what they think can sell,” Johnson continued. “We wanted to have control, and we wanted this story to actually get made.”

Johnson, who is also a rapper, and Washington, a graduate of USC film school, have worked together previously, including when Washington directed music videos for Johnson. Washington, who is also a veteran producer and current film professor, said Johnson asked her recently why she hadn’t yet stretched her skills to create a feature film, given all of her experience and credentials.

The pair started talking about “what we were experiencing – both of us – as artists and as filmmakers,” said Washington, which is how she came up with the concept of an aspiring, down-on-her-luck actress giving herself a limited time to make or break it in Hollywood.

The story boils years of Washington’s career experiences down to that thirty days. Johnson wrote the script. Washington, a veteran of “In Living Color” and reality television production, and a professed admirer of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, called the film’s style “a hybrid form of improvisation, reality, and narrative”.

In order to get the film done, the pair used their rolodex of contacts, their resourcefulness, and a carefully honed pitch to secure what Washington called their “dream cast”. They made Paula Jai Parker, who Washington called “the most underrated actress in Hollywood” with “incredible chops”, an associate producer. Ja’net Dubois, who portrayed Winona on the sitcom “Good Times”, plays Isis’ mother and is a “groundbreaking” actress, Washington said.

While they’ve finished shooting the film, they’re seeking to crowd fund the post production, marketing, and film festival entry requirements through an Indiegogo campaign. One of the top perks of contributing to the campaign is one-on-one time with Love.

Asked what else, in addition to contributing funds, audiences can do to get more independent films made, Johnson recommended they simply be curious about them. “A lot of people don’t show enough interest in independent film,” Johnson said. “A lot of them don’t even know what independent film is,” he continued, citing YouTube as a medium that confuses people into thinking independent filmmaking means, as he put it, “I just made it by myself”.

“That’s not it,” Johnson said. “It’s filmmaking that’s further way from the mainstream formulas, and without anyone’s interest in wanting to do or see something different, we’re going to be stuck in the same phase of monotony.”

To contribute to Isis Dynasty, see the film’s page on Indiegogo.

Five things we’re thinking about: Week of November 25

This week, we’re 1) celebrating Thanksgiving, 2) thinking about the leadership capabilities of Newark high school students, 3) checking out local artisans at Seed Gallery, 4) inviting you to nominate yourselves and your friends for a street style shoot by Citi Medina, and 5) asking you one more time you to vote for Brick City Live to earn more funds so we can do more work! The voting portion of the pitch competition ends Friday, November 29.

What else should we be thinking about? Tweet #fivethings @brickcitylive, or leave a comment below. Wondering why the stories on Brick City Live look the way they do? Read this essay.

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Happy Thanksgiving all!

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Celebrate this week by giving back time, money, and/or resources to community members who need them.

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Newark high school students prove adept at running mayoral forum

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Brick City Live was present at the mayoral forum on education this past Thursday at the Newark Public Library. Read our report about how the students who ran the debate kept the crowd and the candidates in line. Money quote.

The questions and the candidates’ responses were in line with those of the previous mayoral education forum, held at Science Park High School last month. But the students, commanding and irreverent in the face of the candidates and the crowd, proved adept at quashing the types of crowd outbursts that characterized the previous forum, and at keeping the candidates themselves in line.

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Vinyl Swap featuring the Brick City Design Market

The event, which features live music and handcrafted designs for sale, is every Saturday from noon to 6pm at Seed Gallery, 210 Market Street, between Broad and Mulberry Streets.

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Be featured in a Brick City Live “Street Style & Profile Post”

Including a chance to be photographed by our featured Style contributor, Citi Medina! Check out this weekend’s post for details.

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Vote for Brick City Live!

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Brick City Live is the finalist in a competition to win seed funding, and a simple vote from our readers can go a long way towards helping us produce more content, hire freelancers and interns, and even host events! To check out our pitch video, go here. To vote for Brick City Live, go here. Remember: there are two prizes, so you most vote for Brick City Live and one other company in order for your vote to count. Pass it along! (And while you’re at it, be sure to share our stories if you like those, too.)

Pitch videos: http://brickc.it/unitypitches

Voting: http://brickc.it/votebcl

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Newark students prove adept at running mayoral forum

On the second floor of the Newark Public Library last night, three of the four mayoral candidates – Ras Baraka, Shavar Jeffries, and Darrin Sharif – shared their visions for public education in Newark during a candidate forum hosted by the Newark Student Union and NJ Communities United.

The questions and the candidates’ responses were in line with those of the previous mayoral education forum, held at Science Park High School last month. But the students, commanding and irreverent in the face of the candidates and the crowd, proved adept at quashing the types of crowd outbursts that characterized the previous forum, and at keeping the candidates themselves in line.

After opening the forum with a call-and-response chant and a series of sketches about aspects of their experiences as Newark Public School students, they exercised strong governance of the debate early and often.

Shavar Jeffries’ supporters, who showed up en force wearing orange “Team Jeffries” t-shirts over their jackets and sweatshirts, applauded resoundingly when Jeffries wrapped up his response to the first question, where he touted his work suing the state to bring millions of dollars back into the Newark school district. The student moderator immediately reminded the crowd to hold their applause.

Later in the forum, a few crowd members near the back of the room loudly protested as Jeffries aggressively interrogated Baraka’s record as Central High School principal. The student moderator dinged Jeffries for veering off-topic, then directly chastised the crowd for getting out of hand. In contrast to the previous mayoral education forum, they quieted almost immediately.

At one point not long afterwards, the decorum in the crowd threatened to break down again as some of the same voices loudly groaned in response to Jeffries’ comments about violence in the South Ward. A representative from NJ Communities United stopped the debate and firmly chastised the crowd. “The energy that the students brought to this space will not be disrupted,” she said. “The next person to make an outburst will be asked to leave.”

When the forum resumed afterwards, the only sounds that could be heard in the room were Baraka’s voice and a potato chip bag rustling somewhere in the crowd.

For his part, Sharif occasionally played a moderator-like role himself. He twice lightly censured Jeffries for overstuffing his responses with campaign talking points, and took pains to restate the moderator’s questions and attempt to answer them with precision.

On the substance, the candidates again distinguished themselves mostly on the margins.

When asked to respond to school superintendent Cami Anderson “describing Newark Public School students as criminals”, as the questioner put it, in a letter to the parents of Newark Public School students, Jeffries criticized the comment, but also said he hoped Anderson had been taken out of context. Baraka, by contrast, was unequivocal that Anderson meant the comment as it had been received, and questioned why she felt at liberty to make it in the first place.

(In a letter explaining why she decided not to close schools so teachers could attend an education conference this year, Anderson said, “Families lost valuable classroom time and with too many young people idle, crime went up.”)

On a question about local control for Newark Public Schools, Sharif once again argued that creating a cogent agenda for the school system is as important as winning control back. In response, Baraka pushed back on the assumption that Newarkers wouldn’t effectively self-govern the school system.

There was also a reprisal of the debate over Shavar Jeffries’ “genocide” comment, which has been frequently miscast during the election to date. As Jeffries again clarified, he used “genocide” as a metaphor for the effect of low graduation rates for minority students.

But most of these points of differentiation were rehashed from the previous forum. Last night, the helmsmanship of the student moderators made it a little easier to hear those distinctions with a more statesmanlike tone and in a more civil atmosphere.

Working artist’s rag: The good, the not so good, and the sort of outrageous

Ah.  A subject about which even I  am  somewhat  tentative: the New York/New Jersey art comparison.  Who does it better? Can New Jersey – Newark specifically – overcome the self imposed inferiority complex?  Can we ever get out of the penumbra of the Myth of the New York Art Scene?

OK: They have the money. If art were only about money (Southeby’s thinks so) that would trump all arguments. “They got the guns but we got the numbers.” As a maker and not just a consumer of art, I’ll tell you, art is not all about money. It’s not all about “slick” and “shiny” and a receptionist at the front desk with a fake British accent.

Aljira on Washington and Aferro on Market are as slick as any Chelsea or midtown New York gallery. I like those galleries, and I’m proud to have them in Newark. I’m impressed with the local artists and student outreach that Aljira and Aferro do, but they aren’t my favorites.  As stated here earlier, I think art should be accessible, affordable, and scary.  I stand by the “scary” wholeheartedly.  If you go far enough south in Manhattan, you will eventually encounter the kind of raucous, imaginative material that you will see permeates the Newark arts community.  Walk down Halsey street and drop in the Coffee Cave, Artisan Collective or most of the barber shops and you will get art that has passion over salesmanship.

Both communities have the commonality of the activist LGBT community.  In both Chelsea and Newark, a Venn diagram of the arts and LGBT communities would be pretty much a circle with a few fringy outliers who are generously accepted by the majority tribes.

I transition from Newark to Chelsea with relative ease and frequency.  I have dear friends, collaborators and fond memories of and in both communities. There is a fundamental difference in “attitude” the makes the difference for me in deciding where to call home, and this is an example:

Last Wednesday, I had the great good fortune to be invited to show at a one night “pop-up”  at the LGTB center on west 13th St. I brought 40 prints and made a minor sale. A large turnout, few buyers, and lots of family and friends.  Towards the end of the two-hour show, all of the participating artists were called to the stage to make a brief statement about the show, their work and…about anything else.  The remarks may be summarized thusly:

“I’m (insert name here) I do (insert medium here)  I am proud to be a member of the LGBT community.  We are strong; we are ascendant; we have changed society.  Yea, us.”  It was theatrical, it was self congratulatory and it was justly and correctly so.

Do not misunderstand me. I love this Chelsea set of artists.  I support them. I love their art and their fearless, fierce approach to art and life.

On Saturday, I went to the monthly “open mic” event at Artisan Collective (25 Halsey Street. Look for their monthly wine tastings. Brutally good, and  Burley is a wine font of information). It was organized, this month, around a visit by Newark mayoral candidate Darrin Sharif. Before Shye Sales and her friend Danielle read poetry, Sharif spoke one on one with people from the audience. Every comment, every question from the artists ended in, “What will you do, and what can we do for rest the community?” Shocking and good poetry. Good art. And that is why I live here. And that is why I love this grimy, smoggy, dirty, tough city and its artists.

The images this post are Geary Marcello (fashion designer and madman) and Rob Ordonetz II (photographer and actor).  They are activists members of the arts and LGBT community in NYC and graciously left the security of Manhattan to pose for portraits last Saturday.  I’m looking for a wall to show the prints.

Editor’s note: Some of the images in the slideshow contain nudity.

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Q&A with Brick City Design Market co-founder Meca McKinney

Meca McKinney is the co-founder of the Brick City Design Market along with Gizem Bacaz, owner of Seed Gallery downtown Newark. Our Q&A with Meca about what the project is, how it came to be, and her hopes for the venture:

What is the Brick City Design Market?

The Brick City Design Market is a weekly pop-up shop every Saturday at Seed Gallery showcasing the finest fashion, accessory, product and furniture designers in the tri-state area. There is an itinerary of fashion and beauty workshops, cooking demos, pampering services, and more all while the DJ spins and an art exhibit is shown.

What inspired the idea?

I actually had a recurring dream of bringing a market like the ones I experienced in Soho and the Meatpacking district to Newark, but couldn’t figure out in my dream how or where. I don’t like the cold weather, so replicating the outdoor markets I’d experienced in NYC wasn’t completely ideal. Gizem, the owner of Seed, was thinking of the same thing, but inside of her gallery. After a few messages back and forth on Facebook, The Brick City Design Market was born.

Why did you decide to bring this project to Newark?

Newark is the land of my birth. Although I left the area for over a decade, I always have found my way back even if it’s just professionally. It’s a shame that it’s a stone’s throw from one of the best cities in the world, and yet lacks so much opportunity for independent thinkers and creators. I hope to help change that.

Why did you choose Seed Gallery as the venue?

Seed Gallery chose me. Plus I just love Gizem!

What are your hopes for the marketplace?

I hope it becomes a mainstay for people to come and network with the creative class, collaborate, grow brands, and inspire one another for a long time to come.

How does the Vinyl Exchange factor in?

The Vinyl Exchange happens simultaneously as guest DJs spin and vinyl lovers exchange records. It’s a listening party that provides the backdrop for the Design Market.

How have you attracted so many artisans from outside of the immediate area?

As an designer myself, many of my friends and associates are designers. Plus, I lived in North Jersey – in Bergen and Essex Counties – and South Jersey, plus taught design in Philly and worked in NYC’s corporate fashion industry. I currently live in Hudson County where I’m earning my Masters in design and craft, so I have built many relationships within the 100 mile radius.

Meca is also the owner of Jypsea Leathergoods. Her handcrafted collection features handbags, accessories, home decor, and furnishings. Check out details for this Saturday’s Design Market here, and like Brick City Design Market on Facebook.

Brick City Design Market: Local designers, artisans, & vintage vinyl Saturdays downtown Newark

This and every Saturday from noon to 6pm (except for December 14th), native Newark designer and artisan Meca McKinney will be personally curating independent fashion, accessory, and product designers from the wider region at Seed Gallery, the Market Street gallery owned by visual artist Gizem Bacaz, who will also be producing the event.

The Brick City Design Marketplace, which is free to attend, will offer attendees the opportunity to connect with each other and shop local, one-of-a-kind items while listening to vintage records and taking in art exhibits, style and beauty workshops, cooking demos, and other interactive activities with independent designers and vendors.

See details for this week’s marketplace below.

Highlighted food vendor: “Many, Mini Things”
Chef Zakiyyah discovered her love for culinary in 2006. She has provided personal/private chef services for private affairs, as well as for busy families who had no time for healthy meal preparation. She will be performing a cooking demo covering both cooking essentials and how to make the most of leftovers. (4-5pm)

Undefined Fashions: Brooklyn-based designer of one-of-a-kind ear art

Jypsea Leathergoods: Handcrafted leather furniture, home goods and accessories

Gizem Bacaz: Gizem Bacaz is a multi-dimensional and multi-medium designer. Seed Gallery is Gizem’s brainchild, founded in 2007 in downtown Newark, NJ.

RetroChic Beauty: Since launching her career as a commercial freelance make-up artist and hairstylist, Pietra has acquired a wide variety of experience including working freelance for M.A.C, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Cover Girl, Physician’s Formula, and Smashbox. Her work has been featured in several magazines including Essence, Ebony, Modern Salon, Sophisticate’s Black Hair, and New Beauty magazine.

Stay by Stacey Angela: Stacey Angela’s exclusive Stay by Stacey Angela collection has been heralded from Japan to Los Angeles. Her crochet pieces have been featured in the Miami Herald, Grand Life Daily, Lifestyles of the Authentic and Creative, ougarvintage.comthestylist.com, Lincoln Road magazine, Nylon, Americas Next Top Model,VH-1, Complex mag, VH1.com, Honey, Smooth, Jewel, Suede, LA Talk-Radio, and Wall of Style Radio, among other outlets.

UFC returns to Newark with two title fights Super Bowl weekend

Another major sports event is coming to the region the same weekend as the Super Bowl.

Two world title fights will headline the UFC’s return to the Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday, February 1, 2014. In the night’s main event, the UFC will crown its bantamweight champion when reigning champion Dominick Cruz returns after two years away from competition due to injury to meet interim champion Renan Barao.

Then, in the night’s co-main event, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will face Ricardo Lamas.

“We put together a fight worthy of Super Bowl weekend,” UFC president Dana White said. “It’s the fight that everyone has been waiting for – champion vs. champion,” he continued, referring to the bout between Cruz and Barao for the 135-pound title.

Tickets for the event go on sale Friday, November 22 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmater and at the Prudential Center box office. Tickets will be priced between $50 and $400.

Newark mayoral candidate Darrin Sharif drops into Artisan Collective

Saturday night, 2014 Newark mayoral candidate Darrin Sharif came early to the monthly open mic night at Artistan Collective. He spoke informally, one on one, to community members about new construction and new businesses coming to Newark. His emphasis was on inclusion of local workers in construction and full-time employment in these businesses.

Specifically, Sharif talked about the new Whole Foods coming to Halsey Street, the Shop Rite to be constructed a dozen blocks west of there on Springfield Avenue, and new ownership of the New Jersey Devils. In each case, he described efforts to ensure inclusion of local workers and even local artists into the mix.

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