Author Archives: Baruch Obama

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A R&B Don Is On His Way

While he calls his style of music ‘fun music,’ it is unmistakable to fathom the serious efforts implemented by Adoniz to compose such a manifold of music that lets listeners know that he is not recording just for the fun of it.

“I am taking initiative as far as really understanding what it is to prepare and execute my craft,” stated the Brooklyn native who was raised in Newark, New Jersey.

Thanks to his father’s encouragement and guidance, the 25-year-old’s appetite for music would begin to be truly nourished at the ripe age of nine. On that account, he has harvested his art to become: an arranger, producer, songwriter and vocalist.

Even so, the artist acknowledges the business side of the music industry and is not relying on just his skills. Because of this, he has secured the services of Swan Marketing to do a full campaign in order augment his audience.  As of now, the artist has less than 400 fans on his Facebook and Reverbnation fan pages, which is not worrisome thanks to strong, formative years of performing and respected support.

At church, as an adolescent, the smile-happy artist’s fingertips graced his congregation with harmonic tunes by virtue of the combination of drums and piano. He would not wait long to take his blessing from church to real stages. Soon after, he and acclaimed vocalist Kenneth “CeCe” Rogers realized that apart from being a musician, he was also an exceptional vocalist and crowd-pleasing performer.

As a result, Adoniz has performed on the stages of: the New York Jets Training Facility, NJPAC, Karta, the Mary B. Burch Theater, The Multi Media Arts Center and Rutgers University Football Stadium.

Aside from the performances, Adoniz also has several noteworthy collaborations to his credit. He has worked with: fellow New Jerseyan Chad Piff, drummer Kevin Lamar, Mr. West and renowned Jerry Wonda who has worked with a long list of greats, ranging from Lupe Fiasco to Wyclef Jean.

Yet, he has not solely collaborated with Wonda, for the relationship is more of a mentorship. After growing up watching Wonda play the bass at the church both attended in New Jersey, the two have been communicating weekly for a year. Apart from guidance on the business aspect of the muic industry, Wonda’s ocean of musical artistry moistens most, if not all, of Adoniz’s new music to assure it is not cut-and-dried.

“When I have new music, he is one of the first ears I bring it to,” Adoniz shared.

Now, Adoniz is looking to solidify his greatness with his upcoming solo project. The imminent album is set to encompass the same trait the majority of great artists have put into practice when producing their own work, being different.

“My style of music has direction but can be somewhat random because I try not to allow myself to be placed in a box,” Adoniz expressed.

That attribute separates him from indifferent artists. Still, the Alliance for Lupus Research supporter does not want it to be too extreme, for he stated that he wants to avoid being “so much different where I am on Pluto and no one understands my music.”

The fact that Adoniz uses “everyday experiences” as his material to write has allowed him to succeed in avoiding that so far, as his music has been understood and well-received throughout all of his projects in the tri-state. Be that as it may, as he continues to better his craft even further, he plans to expand his scope of projects, and he has the distinct style of music to do so.

When asked how he would categorize his music, he voiced, “I enjoy pop. I enjoy r&b. I enjoy hip-hop. But, I don’t want to be classified as just an r&b singer or pop singer. It’s fun music. We’ll call it fun music.”

Adoniz – Sex With You

Posted in Music | 3 Comments

Turn That Noise Down!

Within the haziness that hovered over a crowd that filled the capacity of Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom, electronic musician Boys Noize was performing, which should not be noised about.

Boys Noize In His Usual Attire of a Tee and Cap

Using Twitter as a reference, Boys Noize has no less than 75,000 fans and has accumulated his following since merging on the scene in 2005 with his launch of BNR, BoysNoize Records, which allowed him to release his music the way he wanted it.

In front of Webster Hall, there was a sizable group of loyal electro fans standing outside in the misty rain by 10 p.m., when the doors were scheduled to open. It was the night of Good Friday, but the German native Boys Noize, real name Alex Ridha, would not hit the stage till early Saturday. Still, the long wait was not to build anticipation since he tweeted that his performance would begin at 2 a.m. ahead of time.

This was not a regular concert, for, every Friday at Webster Hall, the popular Girls & Boys Electro Party is thrown; Boys Noize was just headlining. There were festivities going on in The Studio, which was more enjoyable than Ridha’s show in the Grand Ballroom. Though the music played by The Studio’s disc jockey was outdated hip-hop songs for the most part, it was actual music with lyrics.

The Studio

After partying at The Studio, Boy Noize’s performance became less painful to one’s eardrums and more bearable to one’s upbeat mood. If not for The Studio, one would be burdened to listen to the Boys Noize’s annoying noises that echo the sound of one’s doorbell being rung at a supersonic frequency at one end and a neighbor pounding one’s thin wall at the other. Even so, some managed to enjoy it, including MTV’s reputable Sway who was there and tweeted to Ridha, “Man I had a great time! Lmk know when ur back in NY!”

Aside from Sway, the timing appeared inopportune for Ridha’s performance in New York. The show was the 22nd of April, and Brooklyn rapper Fabolous released The Soul Tape April 21st. The record is brimful of peerless lyrics rapped over nothing but soulful instrumentals. The following day, Boys Noize performed his overbearing electronic sounds that are meant to compliment his toneless bass, and, after listening to The Soul Tape the day before and on the way to the show, Ridha was prejudged as disappointing.

One agreeable thing about Boys Noize is that the alias gives the indication that he produces noise rather than music, which is rational and beneficial. The benefit was for that particular Friday audience. Since it is noise and not music, they did not have to dance, which they could not. Their best moves included: moving their heads, in haste, in one direction with their lower body moving in the opposite direction, jumping jacks, and fist pumping. All the same, they had fun.

Within the electro fan base, Boys Noize is someone to noise about, yet people have voiced outlandish opinions before.


Posted in Music, music reviews | 6 Comments

O Canada Can Sing Too

Unless one is listening to music with half an ear, it has become quite apparent that the tunes migrating from Canada are bordering on greatness.

The country that developed ice hockey in the 19th century has now developed a nonpareil artist in three major genres of music.

Son of Dennis Graham, one of Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Lee Lewis’s drummers, is Toronto’s Drake who has carved his name into rap’s glitterati via a blackberry Smart-phone. His august record So Far Gone preluded his unforgettable, debut album Thank Me Later, which went platinum a little over a month after releasing. The adeptness he possesses to be able to both rap and sing well makes him an intercontinental, sui generis musician, and his success has helped lay the foundations for other ambitious, undiscovered artists from the second largest country in the world.

House of Balloons Featured in Drake's Blog

The Weeknd, also from the capital of Ontario, roared to the flower of imminent, rhythm and blues lions, a short time ago. The singer, who is still months away from being legally allowed to drink, supplied a resounding recording, House of Balloons, this past March. It is the majority of people’s first peek into his uncanny vision for music, and it has left all staring at its splendor. In spite of the fact that the record has a mere nine tracks, as one listens to it, nothing but brilliance echoes.

Both artists have achieved the few and far between feat of producing an album that has a track or two that one skips each time one listens to the record; Drake has a remarkable two to his credit, So Far Gone and Thank Me Later, and The Weeknd has one, House of Balloons.

As Drake continues to exercise control over rap and The Weeknd adjusts to having mastery over rhythm and blues, fellow Canadian Justin Bieber, for all one knows, commands the genre of pop. The Twitter sensation has two platinum albums and is going to have another, in all probability. I have yet to listen to more than a single minute of his music, yet it would have been foolhardy for me not to acknowledge the boy’s ascendancy.

As the trio continues to home in on impressive music, the borderline that once separated great musicians from Canada to outshine those from the United States has all but dematerialized.

Posted in Music, Music Rant/ love song | 1 Comment

How to Make a Diamond

Consisting of treble so blustering that could make one’s ear tremble, Tamar Kali’s “Pearl” converts into a diamond thanks to the jewel of the music video’s vision. The precious stone is cut with fine definition as Kali overlooks the city on a rooftop, as several actors and actresses strut through city doing as they please, just like the Kali and the song do with its carving of creativity.

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Such An Odd Flower

The visual Lotus Flower blooms modern awkwardness as Radiohead’s lead vocalist Thomas Yorke attempts to echo Christopher Walken’s epic solo performance in Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice music video by way of comical moments. To boot, the song’s alternativeness of sounds fits, in an ironic manner, into place with the video’s out-of-place direction.

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A Cafeteria to Think About

More often than not, cafeteria food at most colleges do not warrant serious thinking over from students, faculty or staff. Bronx Community College’s new food service contractor Healthy Choices has made B.C.C.’s cafeteria food for thought.

Healthy Choices has chosen Au Bon Pain to cater to all those who visit the college and are looking to grab something to eat. With over 50 locations in the state of New York, it is well known and liked by most state residents. In actuality, its inclusion as the vendor left some surprised in delight.

Miguel A. Gil, a tutor at the B.C.C. writing center, recalled stating, in shock, “Oh really? I have to stop by there,” right after he was informed about Au Bon Pain’s arrival by a coworker who finished wolfing down one of its iced cinnamon roll.

Into the bargain, it has the experience of servicing educational institutions, including Auburn University, Hofstra University and Rutgers University. Those who have visited the new cafeteria have noticed, as they compare it to the old one.

“Their customer service is good so far. Their employees look friendlier to me, and they appear to have higher levels of hygiene in the area where they sell the food,” shared Jose L. Reyes, another staff member at the college who experienced both Au Bon Pain and the cafeteria’s previous vendor.

Previous Cafeteria, Now Closed

CulinArt was the college’s food service contractor for the previous 18 years until the end of this past February. Because Healthy Choices was the new food service contractor, employees who worked the old cafeteria did not have to be reappointed since they were not B.C.C. employees but rather CulinArt employees. On that account, they were not, and, on March 1st, they protested a few feet away from the cafeteria for reappointment.

The protest was not successful, for they had no grounds. Muhammad Jalloh, a writer for B.C.C.’s newspaper, The Communicator, reported that, “… calls for bids for operating the cafeteria went out at the beginning of the Fall 2010 semester, but that CulinArt … made it known that it was not interested in placing a bid, which, if won, would have made it possible for it to renew its contract to continue offering food catering services to the college community.”

Still, the former employees will not be missed a lot. Over their years at the cafeteria, many accumulated the reputation as hostile towards customers. Carmen Ovalle, who was one CulinArt’s employees and worked as a cashier at the cafeteria for 15 years, was one of the few exceptions.

Echoing Reyes’s sentiment, Au Bon Pain’s employees display a far greater pleasant manner.  To boot, the menu is more favorable as well.

Au Bon Pain has offered the college community most of what could be found at any of its larger franchise locations, including the popular variety of soups and baked goods.

The cafeteria’s area is compact as of right now, as construction to expand the cafeteria to an even larger size than CulinArt’s.

Overall, the Au Bon Pain has given all those on campus with growling stomachs something to think over.


Posted in Food | 4 Comments

One Restaurant Not Blowing Smoke

The bulk of barbecue restaurants in New York City go through the fire of assessment by both seasoned and self-proclaimed food critics and turn to ashes in one’s mouth. For all that, Blue Smoke extinguishes that concept for the most part.

From the colossal blackboards that sky behind the counter being used for its display menu to the cornucopia of wood that all but blankets the rest of the interior, a neighborly aura is inferred the instant one steps inside the restaurant thanks to their choice of a cracker-barrel layout rather than imitating a commercial restaurant’s cheesy design.

Apart from the amicable ambience, timely service by the staff is provided along with joviality that just continues to reinforce one’s comfort as they await their food.

The look of the one’s order once it arrives and is placed on the table will as good as gouge out one’s inner gorger or create one. Listed under real-pit barbecue main courses is applewood-smoked organic chicken, and its price of $18.95 is too high to a moderate extent. Even so, its winsome shades of brown, induced by the apple wood, make it seem as if it is removed from the smoker right on time. Its smell is faint, yet its mild taste is awakening.

The mashed potatoes, topped with thin, crispy, bland onions, that come with the main course has a look and bite of softness that match the eater’s firm certainty that the flavor is not too saline at all.

Now, the meals will not degrade the experience, if your order does not hinge on assumption. Going into a barbecue restaurant, most would predict the ribs to be the jewel in the crown of the menu, but that surmise is flawed. The overpriced ribs have more bone than meat, and the bit of meat’s taste is as delectable as expired Wheaties without milk. Such circumstances can make one contemplate tossing the plate into to the gargantuan, metal bucket one is supposed to use to dispose the bones.

Be that as it may, while glancing at the crowd of fellow eaters that flock in during happy hour, it is apparent how toothsome the side of macaroni and cheese is. Short after the side is served onto a multitude of tables, multiple spoons dig into the dish at the same time.

Aside from the food, the Blue Smoke Original Ale (NY) embodies the intuition of authenticity that the restaurant gives off. Its price of $7.50 for a pint of that particular  beer on tap is fitting. An ounce of their original ale swamps 40 ounces of the watery Brooklyn Pilsner (NY), which was one of the other beers on tap.

Charming service and homelike atmosphere assist the menu, minus the ribs, succeed in its attempt to have Blue Smoke rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the negative presumption of barbecue restaurants in New York City.

Posted in Food, restaurant reviews | 2 Comments

A Reading of Writing

The majority of writers want their writing to be concurrent with their enthusiasm for the subject. Baruch’s spring 2011 Harman Writer-In-Residence Adrian Nicole LeBlanc holds a different opinion. “I want to get to the point where what once excited me ceases to interest me,” LeBlanc expressed during A Reading and Conversation yesterday evening in front of an ample audience. The excerpts she read from her applauded book, “Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx,” were overshadowed by her unique views on what one writes about, the approach to writing and how it is written.

Posted in LeBlanc Talk | 7 Comments

I’ll Eat to That

Do you want to eat at an affordable price, in New York? Is it after midnight? Have you been drinking? If so, now, get the best of the late world with Kennedy Fried Chicken, the overlooked-place-to-eat-after-partying sensation that fits every budget perfectly. No need for a special TV offer, you can now get a ton of Kennedy for under $9.95. Order a piece of chicken breast right now and as a bonus, they will give you a dinner roll, absolutely free!

Who can turn such a place down, when inebriated? In all likelihood, most will not. With over 35 locations in New York, 30 of them in the Bronx, convenience is provided, which is essential for weekend partygoers that do not own a car; by and large, they do not want to walk after a night of carousing because either they are tired, cannot walk or forgot how to. Into the bargain, hot dog and falafel stands are nice, but, after the second weekend of being out and about, they get old. Their biggest flaw is that it is more or less impossible to remember where they are located at 3 a.m. One does not even have to think about where a Kennedy will be; chances are they will just run into one. In addition, Kennedy has tables and seats. As a tip to those who do not go out much and as a reminder to those who have not in a long time, after a night out, sitting while eating is a blessing; eating as you walk can make you vomit, which is, ten to one, why your friends made sure their cell was charged so they could record and broadcast the footage of you spewing up.

Apart from convenience, the affordability is important as well. One can spend around $200 on an average night out. It is not out of this world to spend $20-60 on cabs because of distance or one’s hatred of trains. Be that as it may, for dudes, in the bar/club/lounge is where the real damage is going to be done; from buying drinks for girls that say “yes” to your offer of a drink but “no” to your request of their phone number to drinks for yourself and/or your friend who ran out of money, the munchies that hits one while exiting has to be satisfied at a low price. Kennedy fulfills that.

During my rigorous investigation this past Saturday, I ordered three pieces of chicken breast, onion rings and a small sweet potato pie, and it cost me less than nine bucks. What can beat that? Nothing. In fact, my friends and me were in Popeyes; it had the three-piece chicken combo for $7.09 before tax, and two of the pieces were flimsy drumstick and a flimsier wing. I left and went to the Kennedy on the same street, got my order, made sure they put my free dinner rolls in the bag and ate with pleasure till I dropped one of my rolls on the floor; that vexed me.

Posted in Food, Food Rant / love song | 3 Comments

Relocating the Bronx to Hollywood

Photo Provided by Uptown Films Locations

Eclipsing the rest of the Bronx’s Grand Concourse, which is filled with middle-of-the-road stores lined up next to each other, is the 45,000-square-foot Loew’s Paradise Theatre, one of the many venues Uptown Film Locations provides for independent films and other production.

This upcoming April the company will celebrate its first year anniversary. So soon, it has accumulated 100 plus locations citywide, including the Paradise Theatre,  from a small diner on 103rd and West to 265 and Broadway. They provide locations for filmmakers who’re looking for certain places that evoke particular moods or styles. The Bronx is among the crème de la crème of art deco cities in the world, and once Chief executive officer and founder of Uptown Film Locations Marc Cuevas returned to his hometown, he realized its potential.

Photo Provided By Uptown Film Locations

Cuevas is aware of indie films’ significance and value despite features’ financial superiority over them.

“To make money in this sort of business, you have to deal with the higher end clientele. But, it is important to also be very open towards working with students and independent films,” said Cuevas.

Still, his intimate connection to the borough is not to be mistaken with his intentions for the company. He made it clear that, “Uptown Film Locations is definitively a service; this is not a personal crusade.”

Such conscientiousness has led the company to a successful year, to an acceptable extent; evidence of that was the company’s first client, the indie drama “Gun Hill Road,” directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green.

The film starred experienced actors Esai Morales and Judy Reyes. Morales plays an ex-convict, not long ago released from prison, who returns to his home in the Bronx and finds his family on edge because of how he might take the news of his son’s unforeseen lifestyle. Over and above that, the film did ever so well at the Sundance Film Festival this past January and was acquired by Motion Film Group, Inc. The indie drama is expected to be in theaters this upcoming summer. On that account, Uptown Film Locations is pleased by its involvement in the film’s production.

Cuevas stated, “Gun Hill Road did well at Sundance. And, we’re very proud that that film would not have gotten made without our assistance.”

With the first-rate start the company got off to with Gun Hill Road, one would imagine that widespread occurrence of similar success would follow; sad to say, that was not the case. At times, either someone or something can take the wind out of someone’s sails. In Uptown Film Locations’ case, it was the wind, in the literal manner; the abundant number of snowstorms that hit New York this winter scared away interested prospects and presented the company with a drought.

In spite of that, the company’s spirits were not dampened thanks to support from New York City Council member Maria de Carmen Arroyo of District 17 in the Bronx and the non-profit organization Rooftop Films. When Arroyo was not able to help firsthand, she pointed in the direction of one who could. To boot, Rooftop Films is a famed organization that just continues to provide aid in various ways. The same cannot be said for the majority of the Bronx.

“The arts are not supported. There is not enough eternal spending to cultivate grass roots,” Cuevas said, in regards to the lack of synergy in the Bronx.

Resilience has allowed the work of the company to increase the Bronx’s annual production percentage from two percent to five percent, during the company’s first 11 months of existence. Besides the annual rise, foreign interests throughout the inaugural months add to the company’s conviction that independent filmmakers and other production will no longer underutilize the Bronx.

Cuevas had this to say, “We have had scouts from: music videos in Japan, commercial web series in Spain, photo shoots in Paris, and we’ve even did some advanced scouting for Warner Brothers. Has any of this turned over into any real money? No because most of the shoots went in another direction, but the fact they utilized the service and came to an area they normally wouldn’t consider is a beginning.”

Posted in Independent Film | 5 Comments