CityPlex12 to screen documentary detailing Ras Baraka’s first 100 days in office

Newark’s CityPlex12 movie theater will host a documentary screening detailing Ras Baraka’s first 100 days in office. Per the city’s official calendar:

Join Mayor Ras J. Baraka at this video screening to see firsthand what your new administration has planned and accomplished in its first 100 Days in office. Everything that this administration has done in these first three months has been to provide better service to you—the residents of Newark. Meet and greet the Mayor Baraka following the viewing.

The screening will take place at the theater on Wednesday, October 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available on EventBrite. The documentary will air on the same day and time on both NWK-TV, Cablevision channel 78 and FiOS channel 28.

NJIT ranked third among U.S. public research universities for mid-career earnings in new PayScale report

New Jersey Institute of Technology ranked third among all public research universities in the U.S. for mid-career earnings/salary of graduates with a bachelor’s degree, according to PayScale’s latest college salary report.

NJIT’s ranking places it behind only University of California-Berkeley and Georgia Institute of Technology for mid-career earnings in the public research university category.

The 2014-2015 PayScale College Salary Report ranks undergraduate and two-year colleges by the highest-earning graduates. PayScale found that the mid-career median salary of an NJIT graduate with a bachelor’s degree is $103,200.

PayScale is an online compensation database. All data used to produce PayScale’s rankings were collected from employees who completed PayScale’s employee survey. Early-career starting salary data for each school was derived from surveys of full-time employees with five years of experience or fewer in their career or field who hold a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees. Mid-career salary data was derived from surveys of full-time employees with at least 10 years of experience in their career or field who hold a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees. For more information, view PayScale’s full college salary report.

Duke’s Southern Table’s menu is live. Preview the southern cuisine with a twist at Newark’s new jazz supper club

The menu of Duke’s Southern Table, the upscale restaurant and jazz supper club at 11 Clinton Street downtown Newark, is up on reservation website From the restaurant overview on the site:

Duke’s Southern Table, an upscale restaurant experience with live entertainment located in Downtown Newark, New Jersey, represents the sophisticated swag of urban elegance, with a flair for southern style dining & hospitality. Duke’s will offer a musical experience that embodies the soulful sounds of jazz, aimed to inspire & keep you coming back for more…Southern fare six days a week with a foot stompin’ soul stirrin’ brunch on Sunday afternoons.

The dinner menu features traditional southern and American cuisine with a twist, including fried green tomato sliders, pork spare ribs with strawberry glaze, and crab cakes with ginger grits. Their lunch menu also features a fair share of soups and salads – ideal for the corporate clientele in the downtown office buildings located within blocks of the Clinton Street restaurant, which takes over the location formerly inhabited by Scully’s Publick House.

Duke’s Southern Table is a collaboration between Vonda McPherson, chef and owner of the eponymous Vonda’s Kitchen on West Kinney Street in Newark, and real estate investor Paul Profeta.  See Duke’s full menu below:


The Women’s Association of NJPAC stages a ritzy, glitzy salute to Broadway divas as a benefit for NJPAC

Reposted with permission from NJPAC
As Mama Rose would say, “Sing out!” And they sure did. Four Broadway divas added to a quartet of talented teenage girls made for a performance that guests could not stop gabbing about at Spotlight Gala 2014, the Women’s Association of NJPAC’s 19th annual fundraiser on Sept. 27.
As one audience member observed, “When the girls came out, I thought they were the headliners.”
Students in NJPAC’s Arts Education program – Janayla Montes (17), Marisa Budnick (16) and Elizabeth Kallay and Tyler Korin Matos (both 14) – blazed into the opening of the Nothin’ Like A Dame concert with a medley of Manhattan-esque show tunes and returned to the stage several more times to pounding applause. Through the years, the WA has generated some $43 million for NJPAC, with the greater share reserved for Arts Education initiatives.
The evening’s leading ladies were Laura Benanti, Patina Miller and Faith Prince (all Tony Award winners) and Andrea McArdle (the youngest performer to be nominated for a best musical actress Tony, for Annie).
When the onstage patter referred to “The Arts Ed Girls” as future Tony awardees, NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber made a surprise appearance with his own Tony Award, given for his producing role in Elaine Stritch At Liberty. In a kind of Sisterhood of the Traveling Tony Award, the teens were invited to take turns keeping Schreiber’s Tony for a month each as career incentive or just for “practicing acceptance speeches in front of a mirror.”
The performance’s two “honorary dames” were the world’s longest-running “Phantom” – Howard McGillin – and Musical Director Seth Rudetsky (SiriusXM’s On Broadway), who hosted, swapped show-biz anecdotes with his actor friends, and conducted his musicians from the piano.
Gala guest Joseph P. Benincasa, President and CEO of The Actors Fund, recalled conferring with Schreiber about gathering artists for the benefit. “All you have to do is call Seth Rudetsky and you have a show,” he said. “John asked the right question and I had the right answer.”
Some of the program’s ah-mahzing highlights (to quote Rudetsky) included McGillin’s swoon-worthy “The Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera; a Pippin medley from Miller, who won the Tony for that musical’s current revival; a personal pastiche of the favorite songs of Jersey’s own Benanti; and showstoppers “Tomorrow” and “I Dreamed a Dream” from McArdle. As the finale, Prince was joined by Rudetsky and “The Arts Ed Girls” as backup in “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors.
People also seemed genuinely amazed that 20 years had passed since the founding of the WA, prior to NJPAC’s opening in 1997. “Since the time when we wore hard hats,” mused Gala Committee Member Audrey Bartner, referring to the start of her involvement with the WA.
This year’s award winners were NJPAC Board Co-Chairman William J. Marino and his wife, Paula (Chambers Award for Service to the Community and to the Arts); NJPAC Founding President and CEO Lawrence P. Goldman (Ryan Award for Commitment to NJPAC and Leadership in the City of Newark); and Harold L. Morrison, Jr. and Chubb Group of Insurance Companies (Vagelos Award for Corporate Commitment to the Arts). Gala Co-Chairs were Erica Ferry and Karen C. Young and Dinner Co-Chairs were J. Fletcher Creamer, Jr. and Linda A. Willett, Esq.
Christine C. Gilfillan, President of the WA – or rather, her avatar – made an appearance on video in an animated short about the WA’s past and present.
The festivities, which evoked an opening night on Broadway, glittered with decorative touches of black and gold and centerpieces of deep red roses. An Art Deco motif of a gowned figure was repeated in the décor, including nine “hidden” projections of the diva inside and outside the Arts Center.  Gala-goers dined on fennel-dusted seared tuna and clementine glazed duck with creamed spinach over black beluga lentils and golden roasted sweet potato.
Bringing everything to a sweet conclusion was the transformation of the lobby into a networking lounge and Dessert Extravaganza. Revelers crowded the dance floor in the tent, and the band kept rocking. By the end of the night, more than $2 million was raised for NJPAC.
 “Tonight showed all of us that lively, engaged audiences come to see the arts in Newark,” said Mary Sue Sweeney Price, Director Emerita of the Newark Museum. “This was total fun and the icing on the cake was that it raised money for the Arts Center.”
Her husband, NJPAC Trustee Clement Price, Professor of History and Director of Rutgers University’s Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, called the Gala “an extravaganza of fellowship, discovery and artistry at the highest level.”

Newark In Verse: City Love by Myk Dyaleks

The most amazing first date.

A kiss. A long stare.

Lights from the street glistening off Market.

Somewhere between Mulberry and Broad.

It's amazing how concrete, smog, and some of the worlds
greatest architecture could only be a backdrop.

Imagery for dialogue.

Who are you? What are your interests?

What type of music do you like? 

What's your favorite?

Pick anything food, color, band, name, solid, liquid…



But what about the present?

What about the here and now?

Why this sidewalk in this neighborhood?

Why that color eyeshadow and that color lipstick?

Why that jacket and that shirt?

Why those particular glasses?

I think on the exact same corner in any other city none of this would make a difference.

What's different is here each question is it's own stroke on the canvas.

A bomb on the greatest backdrop the world has ever seen.

I see you.

I feel you.

I taste you.

Hand in hand silent because,

Who needs words surrounded by awnings and neon signs?

We tread the destination because here and now is the longest and shortest journey we'll ever take.

Miles in 12 inch footsteps.

Years in 2 minute kisses.

Engulfed in honking horns, 

Highway traffic,

Sidewalks with quarter mile per hour speed limits.

Dirty water dogs, gyros, and ices. 

The feeling of the miraculous and trepidation of the unknown.

Something about this place not only feels like the dream,

But also feels like where the dream was created.

I only just met you. 

I've known you for years.

We part ways at Newark Penn.
The kiss lingers all the way home.

The most amazing first date ever.

Guest post: Business tips from designer and entrepreneur Meca McKinney’s “Hustle Guide”

Over the last four years as a lifestyle blogger for my blog, "Lifestyles of the Authentic & Creative", I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview all kinds of creative entrepreneurs, including filmmakers, musicians, interior designers, fashion designers, and many more.

I've asked the same question of all of them: "How have you been able to escape the nine-to-five to make a living doing what you love?" And they've all mapped it out for me. As a labor of love, I compiled these inspirational posts into an ebook titled "The Lifestyles of the Authentic & Creative: HUSTLE GUIDE" to provide people with the tools and motivation to give their dreams a major push.

Hustle Guide cover

I’d like to share three vital tips of creative entrepreneurship from the book. No matter your hustle, these will get you through the tough times that plague so many at some point in their journey.

1.     Remain flexible.

When husband-and-wife duo Rasheedah and Kevin Blackwood of Frocks & Flats, a company they founded together to give their clients both a fashion makeover and an interior design makeover at once, discovered that the concept was often too much for their target customers to consume at once, they didn’t abandon ship. Instead, they separated their concept into two separate businesses. She's running the fashion brand, and he has the interior design company. Listen to your clients and tweak your business to maximize its potential.

Erica Jones, the CEO of The Crop Shop, opened her business originally as a scrapbooking boutique. Five years later, the Hoboken mainstay is an arts & crafts & pottery boutique with an after-school program, summer camp, and fun-themed birthday parties.  Don’t die hard trying to push something that isn’t quite working out as you originally envisioned. Stay flexible and grow!


2.     Multi-hustle.  

There are 24 grind-worthy hours in a day, and sleeping is overrated. To get your dream company off the ground, you can’t chill and enjoy life at quite the same leisurely rate that you could with the comfort of a corporate paycheck. You will definitely need to sleep less and work more in the beginning.

Take me for example. Yes, I am the designer of Jypsea Leathergoods, LLC, a line of handcrafted luxury homegoods, small furnishings, jewelry, and handbags. But I am also a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, graduate student studying Design & Craft, and teacher of design do-it-yourself workshops. Not to mention that I'm a mom!

Think that’s impressive? Read about emcee/attorney/restaurateur Arinze “Talonted” Onungha in the HUSTLE GUIDE. I’d say he’s got me beat for sure. I believe in focusing on your business plan hardcore, but there is something to be said about doing so with the lights on and food in the refrigerator!

It will take some time for people to agree to fork over their hard-earned cash to you for whatever it is you're hawking. They need to trust you and believe in your product, and that may take time. In the meantime, why not use your other skills, education, and talent to pay the bills? You never know how doing so will bring more business to your main grind. Become a beast at managing your time, and you’ll make multi-hustling a comfortable way of life.  

3.     Show off!

No matter how amazing your work is, if no one sees it, it doesn’t exist. Jewelry designer Zivile Pupinyte, owner of jewelry line Screwed Forever, states that you must get your work seen by as many eyes as possible. She stages elaborate debuts of her new collections in art galleries with ballet dancers, sells online and wholesale to boutiques, and gets a good amount of press by developing relationships with fashion journalists. Building your business is only half of the work. Telling the world about it is the other half, and I can’t understate how imperative it is.

Set up a mailing list and blast your accomplishments, new work, and upcoming events regularly. Utilize social networking. Blog. Create brochures. Do what you have to do to get your products and services in front of the eyes of your ideal clients in a gracious manner that remains in line with your brand’s philosophy.

HUSTLE GUIDE is now available! This 50-page ebook contains inspiration, sage advice, and resources to make readers' dreams of creative entrepreneurship a reality from successful, creative dreamcatchers who are paving the way.

Terina Nicole is an FIT graduate and the owner of luxury eco-friendly line Jypsea Leathergoods. She is New Jersey-based and currently earning her masters degree in Art with a focus on Design & Craft. Learn more about her work at And visit her blog to stay inspired by the work of the creative innovators she highlights at The Lifestyles of The Authentic & Creative.



Note to reporters: your Newark clichés are officially played out

There is plenty to report about Newark that is positive and exciting and hopeful. I know because I’ve been personally doing it for four years and counting.

But Newark is also confronted with some of the toughest and most intractable problems a city can face. This has long been a fact of life in our town. Journalists who seek to tell stories about a downtrodden Newark can bring lots of true facts and scores of real and relevant examples to bear on this type of project.

And this is what makes it that much more irritating when reporters pile on by writing off-kilter stories based on their narrow assumptions, or that leverage haphazard reporting. In piece after piece I’ve read about Newark over the years, the same old worn out clichés abound.

As a native and current resident, this habit is at turns amusing, annoying, and maddening. In fact, my frustration with many reporters’ uninformed and dismissive treatment of Newark is one of the primary reasons I founded this site.

The latest illustration of this tendency comes courtesy of a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article about Newark entitled “Baraka Faces Newark’s Challenges in Post-Booker Era.” Embedded in the story is a photograph that depicts the north side of Market Street between Mulberry Street and Broad Street downtown.

market street_bloomberg

The caption: “Downtown, dollar stores and small businesses dominate commercial corridors. Along Market Street vacant storefronts and ‘for lease’ signs are commonplace.” (Emphasis added.)  The photograph and caption are embedded adjacent to a section of the story entitled “Impoverished Community.”

Well it turns out that if the reporter had simply made a quarter turn to the left to get the shot, we would have seen a very different view of that drag of Market Street:

market street development

What’s pictured above are the fruits of a surge in Market Street development that is unfolding directly across the street from the published photograph. In the photo above are the popular restaurant Dinosaur Barbecue; The Columbian, a 22-unit luxury loft apartment building that once sported a lengthy waiting list; The Madison, a second, 48-unit luxury loft apartment building that recently enjoyed its ribbon-cutting; a brand new Chipotle; and the soon-to-open Krauszer’s convenience store, Novelty Burger, Redd’s beer garden (which will be a bilevel, 7,000 square foot space), and brick oven pizza restaurant Mercato Tomato Pie.

It is the construction and “coming soon” signs dotting the block – not “for lease” signs and dollar stores – that have the momentum and are the story on that drag of Market Street. I’ll venture that even a mildly discerning eye could see that.

Reporters: I know it’s not your job to promote Newark. But this city is complicated, fascinating, and textured, and we deserve reporting that doesn’t sand that down.



Open Doors 2014: Panel of women artists and curators to offer insights about making a successful art career

A panel of women artists and curators will offer their experience, insights and tips about how to make a successful career in the art world during this year's Open Doors art festival here in Newark. The panel, which will take place on Friday, October 10, at Seed Gallery, will feature Kristin Sancken of House of Nobleman, Lorna Williams of Dodge Gallery, Suzi Analogue of Never Normal Records, and Jahnia Holterhoff of Staple Design. 

Peter Hadar, whose multimedia marketing and branding agency the Honors Program is producing the event, will be performing at its after party along with Suzi Analogue, Cachabacha, and Asha. The event is one of a plethora the Honors Program has brought to Newark recently, including a summer music festival at Military Park and an upcoming music series at Taste Venue.

BrickCityLive publisher Andaiye Taylor will be moderating the panel.

Brush: Women in Arts panel | Seed Gallery | 210 Market Street, Newark, NJ | Panel: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. | After Party: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. | $10 General Admission

brush art panel

Live from the Prudential Center: Highlights from Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend in Newark

The eight-city “Oprah’s The Life You Want” arena tour made its two-day stop at Newark's Prudential Center yesterday, and thousands of people streamed in from the tri-state area and points further to spend two hours with Oprah Winfrey on Friday night, and eight hours with her team of "Trailblazers" – Iyanla Vanzant, life coach and star of OWN’s hit series “Iyanla Fix My Life"; Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat Pray Love; Paster Rob Bell, who was named one of Time 100’s Most Influential people; Mark Nepo, spiritual writer and philosopher – on Saturday.

Here are highlights and takeaways from some of the events' thousands of participants.

Dear Ras Baraka: An open letter from a Baraka voter

by Halashon Sianipar

Dear Ras Baraka,

Congratulations on getting elected. I voted for you and I don't regret it — yet. I have high hopes for Newark with you as mayor.

Your administration has made a point of encouraging residents’ input and participation, and that has motivated me to respond with this open letter. I’ve had the opportunity to meet you several times, but have never introduced myself. (I’ve heard you're an introvert. I am too.) After those encounters where I've said nothing, I thought writing this letter would be a more fruitful approach.

I was pretty engrossed with this election; this was the most I’ve ever followed a political race. For years, I was apathetic when it came to politics, but as I've gotten older I've grown to understand how it affects so many aspects of my life: job, health, bills, housing, education – everything. I’ve been trying to pay attention, especially on the local level. For this race, I read all the policy papers and attended a few of the mayoral debates. I also followed it closely in the press. But the more I paid attention, the less I felt like I knew the candidates.

Voting is hard. Honestly, I wasn’t 100% sure who I was voting for until I stepped into the booth and pressed that button. Ultimately, my choice came down to presentation, and I was particularly drawn to your message of collectivism. On one occasion I heard you say, “Leadership is born of time, not ambition.” That really stuck with me.

Based on your post-election moves, I believe you're trying to back up your words of inclusion and collaboration with action. I was impressed with your comprehensive all-volunteer transition team. I even got to interact with a few of them at the community forum in my ward. At mine, we were grouped at tables, answered a set of questions individually, and then discussed our answers as a group. Each table then nominated a speaker to share our conclusions with the room. I can tell you're an educator.

During the campaign, I saw education as your strong suit. I’m convinced the community consensus on Cami Anderson is that she is an ineffective leader. No matter how good her intentions are (and I realize that is debatable as well), she’s failed to be open, transparent, or understanding. Your sustained opposition to One Newark drew me into your camp.

But in spite of my feelings about Anderson, I thought it was fair of Shavar Jeffries to meet with her. There is a sizeable population of Newarkers – several of my friends are among them – that support charter schools, and I didn’t think you sufficiently addressed them. What is your stance? Are you against charter schools? Are you for closing them? What are your thoughts on co-location?

You said we could strengthen our opposition to One Newark by presenting an alternative that included community input. On the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, you endorsed the Newark Promise education plan. Once I read it, I found myself agreeing with everything in it. I love the idea of neighborhood schools being “community hubs” where one can walk in with an issue, at any stage of life, at anytime of day, and explore solutions. That’s beautiful. The plan includes nutritional services, job training, childcare, health care, recreation, social services — the list goes on. Instead of a goal of “100 excellent schools”, Newark Promise aims for “excellent neighborhood schools for all.”

But in spite of my satisfaction with what was in the plan, I thought a proper discussion of charter schools was missing once again – the plan only said that they would be “assessed”. And there weren’t any specifics about how the plan would be funded. Perhaps that level of detail is for another paper, but it would have made the plan feel more tangible.

I also wasn’t as impressed with your crime prevention strategies. I applaud you for working to address violence as a public health issue, and for embracing the federal monitor of the police department, citing the need for reform. I read in the paper that you’re working to put more cops on the street, and have them engage with residents through community policing. Hopefully these kinds of changes can help improve community relations. I’m not very convinced, though.

In your crime plan, I was disappointed to see that you cited anti-loitering laws as among your successes. I think this is particularly baffling since you also want Newark to be an international destination. What would Times Square be without all the people milling around and taking pictures? What would Newark’s reinvented Military Park be without all the people playing and relaxing?

That is what makes a space feel vibrant. Walking down a dark, empty street makes a city feel less safe. The key is to create more active spaces, not less. Society’s perception of loitering is largely, if not entirely, based on the race and/or class of the accused. I was confused that you celebrated policies that, to my mind, encourage profiling.

I also remember when you introduced an ordinance to require small businesses (that catered to fewer than 20 people) to either hire armed guards or close early. Again, this policy can result in one less active space on a street, one less reason to walk or bike home, one less reason to even leave the house. I understand that some of the businesses in our community may look run down or sell unhealthy goods, and that may not be the kind of active space we want to encourage. How about some alternatives? Instead of restrictions, create incentives for them to change their menus or upgrade their appearance. Offer training. Encourage the creation of cooperatives that add value to the community. That sounds more like the vision you have for Newark.

I read in the press about Newark partnering with neighboring cities, and I think it’s a great idea. One article said crime would be the initial focus of those partnerships, but also mentioned plans for other shared services and inter-city engagement between organizations, agencies, and residents. It made me think of the international alliance BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), and the way they’re working collaboratively to counter Western dominance.

I think this initiative has the potential to similarly strengthen urban New Jersey’s political and economic position, and I look forward to seeing it develop. Much like the developing world, urban communities are often forced to look for quick fixes or take whatever aid or development they can get. They often end up fighting over the same investments, which weakens their ability to secure favorable deals. By pooling resources together in a model like BRICS, cities could support each other’s projects and work on more sustainable solutions.

Perhaps a regional master plan could be created to highlight and build upon the strengths of each city. I’ve heard you talk about land banks before. Maybe a multi-city land bank could be beneficial. You also mentioned inter-city basketball games. Maybe that engagement can be developed into multi-city campaigns and standards for affordable housing, living wages, public education, Ban the Box, and more.

I’m no political scientist. I’m no economist. I wasn’t born or raised in Newark. I’m just a resident that loves this city and felt like I should put this out in the atmosphere. I’m Jersey to the core, so I've always considered Newark “The City” — and my city. And I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, including writing this open letter to you in this forum, to deepen my engagement and investment here.

Maybe next time I'll introduce myself.


P.S. Are you really changing the name of Brick City Development Corporation? I think it's kind of corny that you don't like the name "Brick City." I'm all for cities having multiple nicknames, though.

P.P.S. I first read about you years ago on and he called you “Hip Hop’s First Mayor.” I was just starting to pay attention to politics and that convinced me to attend the National Hip Hop Political Convention here in 2004. Now you’re the “mayor” mayor, but I don't hear you talk about hip-hop anymore. In the article “5 Things You Might Not Know About Ras Baraka”, you spoke about jazz and soul music. What hip-hop do you still bump?

Do you want to pen a letter to the mayor, or sound off on other issues about Newark? Send your perspectives – short or long – to