9/23/19 O&A NYC MILESTONES: Billy Porter has made history at the 2019 Emmys!

Billy Porter has made history at the 2019 Emmys! The “Pose” star became the first openly gay person of color to win an Emmy award for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Pray Tell in the acclaimed FX show. “The category is love, y’all!” he gushed. “I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day!” Billy broke down in tears while delivering his acceptance speech just one day after celebrating his 50th birthday! Continue reading

8/15/19 O&A NYC DANCE: The Bessies Honor Dance Pioneer Joan Myers Brown

By Walter Rutledge

The New York Dance and Performance Awards also known as The Bessies will honor Philadelphia dance matriarch Joan Myers Brown with the 2019 Bessie Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance. “[Brown’s] work has inspired dancers and educated audiences in ways that have enriched and strengthened dance in our country and we look forward to celebrating [her] accomplishments,” said Lucy Sexton, executive director of the New York Dance and Performance Awards. The award will be presented at the 35th annual Bessie Awards ceremony on Monday, October 14, at 7:30pm, at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place, New York. Continue reading

8/14/19 O&A NYC WHATS HAPPENING THIS WEEK: August 13 through August 20, 2019

August is here. In New York that means lazy afternoon and warm humid nights- the perfect NYC formula for a good time.  We have great events indoors and out and many are free!  Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

8/14/19 O&A NYC BALLROOM SCENE ACTIVITY: The Heritage Ball V 2019: Celebrating 150 Years Of Ballroom

The Heritage Ball V is celebrating 150 years of Ballroom. This is going be fun and competitive at the Gramercy Theatre. Founder Lee Soulja, Icon Michael Ebony and Icon Michael Maison Margiela are the individuals presenting this ball. Continue reading

7/24/19 O&A NYC DANCE: Dance Of The Village Elders At R.A.I.N. Nereid Senior Center

By Adewale Adekanbi

The Dance Of The Village Elders, a dance and fitness project for seniors, concluded a five-month residency with a finale performance on Thursday June 27, 2019. The project, part of the SuCasa arts for seniors program, sponsored by the Bronx Council On The Arts in conjunction with the NYC Cultural Affairs and  the NYC Department of the Aging. Choreographer/teacher Walter Rutledge conducted the project, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at the R.A.I.N. Nereid Senior Center, 720 Nereid Avenue in the Northeast Bronx.

This was the second consecutive SuCasa residency for Rutledge at the Nereid Avenue center. “I really was elated to be working with at the Nereid Senior Center again. I had built a rapport with the seniors and they had become part of my extended dance family. So, I was overjoyed to return to Nereid”, explained Rutledge.

Each 60- minute session included an opening stretch, warm up, movement/dance and warm down. The 10 minutes stretch combined relaxing simple movements to stretch to spine, neck, shoulders and upper torso. The warm-up contained exercises designed to prepare the body for movement, and to address additional physical concerns of the seniors. This section was very flexible, and exercises were added and deleted based on the weather/season and personal issues of the participants. An emphasis was placed on hands/fingers, rotator cuff, abdominals and obliques, hip flexors, and ankles.

Movement/choreography was interspersed throughout the warm-up to give the seniors rest breaks between dances. In addition to the benefits of movement for increasing muscle density and providing joint friendly cardio, fun remained paramount throughout the entire session. The movement component introduced movement that ranged from two-step, modified salsa and merengue, Caribbean and West African inspired movement, and social dances including the twist, cool jerk, and the Electric Slide.

Dance Of The Village Elders at R.A.I.N. Nereid Senior Center- Photo Essay

The sessions culminated with a brief warm- down. Soon pre and post “fellowship” time (about 10 minutes each)  became part of a continuing evaluation process. This gave us more opportunity to access what worked for the seniors and what needed to change.

Due to the diverse ethnic make-up of the participates the biggest unifying factor became the music. The Northeast Bronx is a combination of old neighborhoods with great ethnic diversity. The center included Latin, Afro- Caribbean, West African, East Indian, African- American, Italian, Asian- American and Jews of Eastern European decent. And through the music we were able to create a “cultural gumbo”.

The “audio” ranged from fifties Do-Wop, 60’s Rock and Roll, 70’s and 80’s R&B; with artists including Pavarotti, Celia Cruz, Bob Marley, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Dion and The Belmonts and Feli Kuti. The participants in many instances knew the words to the songs and were encouraged to sing along.

Dance Of The Village Elders At R.A.I.N. Nereid Senior Center (Video)

The final event/public program entitled The Many Flavors Of Dance took place on Thursday, June 27, at 11am. The room was completely transformed by the staff into a festive “confectionary” representing The Many Flavors of Dance; the name was a metaphor honoring the center’s diversity. Over fifty seniors participated in the one-hour presentation; which included group participation from invited guests. The post-fellowship included lunch open to the seniors and their guests.

Usually the final performance is bittersweet, because it signals the end of the project. Fortunately, the Nereid Senior Center has decided to continue the classes as part of their in-house arts programming. “I was delighted when the classes were offered, this place has become very special to me. And I really didn’t want it to end”, said Rutledge. Rutledge will teach two weekly classes on Tuesday and Thursday from 11am to 12noon. For more information about Rutledge’s dance/fitness class and all of the activities offered at R.A.I.N. Nereid Senior Center call (718) 994-0132.

Photographs and video by Adewale Adekanbi Jr. 

7/18/19 O&A NYC THROWBACK THURSDAY: Issac Hayes- Theme from Shaft (Live at the Oscars, 1972)

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Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. was an singer-songwriter, actor, and producer. Hayes was one of the creative forces behind the southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960s. Hayes, Porter, Bill Withers, the Sherman Brothers, Steve Cropper, and John Fogerty were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of writing scores of notable songs for themselves, the duo Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and others. Hayes is also a 2002 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Continue reading

The 7/17/19 O&A NYC WHATS HAPPENING THIS WEEK: July 17 through July 23, 2019

Heatwave! New York City is getting ready to become steamy, hot, and sticky- yeah summer in NYC is the best! We have great events indoors and out. There is interactive art on Randall’s Island, Dance in Central Park and on Fire Island, and a jazz brunch in Harlem. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

5/6/19 O&A NYC WITH WaleStylez Hip Hop Celebration: Wu-Tang Clan District Naming Ceremony In Staten Island

By Adewale Adekanbi Jr

The city of NewYork has just declared the Park Hill neighborhood of Staten Island The Wu-Tang District. The decision for the naming was made back in December when the New York City Council voted unanimously for the new street sign.  Continue reading

4/22/19 O&A NYC HOLLYWOOD MONDAY: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1997 Film)

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella premiered on ABC on November 2, 1997.  Cinderella proved a major ratings success, originally airing to 60 million viewers and establishing itself as the most-watched television musical in decades, earning ABC its highest Sunday-night ratings in 10 years. Theatre, Out and About Continue reading