As you may have guessed from our site, we believe Manhattan is a truly fascinating island which offers a huge number of diverse experiences. All of the different areas and districts have their own atmosphere and, whether you’re interested in culture, fashion or food, you are sure to find something you will love. [Read more…] about Chinatown: Get Immersed in the World of Chinese-American Culture
Guest Author: Poppy Gallagher
This year’s Grand National is only a mere few days away and the final list of 40 horses and jockeys has been announced. Although they have been announced they are not certain to run as any contestants can pull out, even on the very day at the latest. The four reserves waiting for one to pull out include Bishop’s Road, Knock House, Perfect Candidate and Maggio. [Read more…] about The History of The Grand National Horse Race
As some of you may already know, there is an absolutely amazing premium leather handbag designer named Patricia Nash. Her products are not your run of the mill leather bags. They have beautiful detail, old world touches, and are built to last.
Patricia Nash had spent years designing for other companies like Disney, Warner Bros., Banana Republic, Express, and American Eagle- just to name a few. A challenge from a friend led to the launch of Patricia Nash Designs in 2010, which has received an overwhelming response with her products extending to stores like Macy’s, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, and various boutiques nationwide.
I am a proud owner of the Salerno Saddle Bag, and I can tell you that Patricia Nash’s products’ quality are like no other. The leather strap is so sturdy, and the bag itself is small and structured- great for a day out or daily use. The inside is perfect for orderly keeping of your wallet, phone, and planner. The structured sides are perfect- you’ll never go diving into the bottom of your bag again. Plus, there are two pockets inside that are perfect for keys, change, or other small objects you like to keep easily accessible. And, my favorite feature is the snap that secures the the flap to the purse itself. I accidentally sent the purse crashing down my steps, filled with my wallet, phone, pens, spare change, and various lip balms and absolutely nothing came out! It is absolutely the best snap closure I have ever experienced, which makes it perfect for clumsy folks like myself.
I was given the opportunity to ask Patricia a few questions, so here is what she has to say about her brand.
Your designs are not like anything else that we see today. They have such intricate detail that I have yet to see from any other designer. What are some inspirations behind your brand?
Patricia Nash: “My travels across Europe have provided many inspirations, including vintage shopping in Bologna, London, and Paris. I’ve developed friendships with people who share the same passion for vintage Italian leather bags as I do, and have been inspired by their collections as well as my own.”
You’ve accomplished so much with your brand in a short period of time. So, how does it feel for your career to be where it is now, and for you to do what you love everyday?
Patricia Nash: “Surreal! I am just humbled by the outpouring of women who reach out to me and share their passion for and loyalty with the brand with me.”
With such stunning and high quality products, I’d imagine that a lot of women appreciate your designs and your brand as a whole. What about Patricia Nash Designs really sets your products apart from other leather handbag designers?
Patricia Nash: “The old world craftsmanship and vintage vegetable tanned Italian leathers along with printed and tooled leather are unique to the entire market of handbags sold in the U.S.”
First of all, thank you to Patricia Nash for taking the time to tell us more about her one of a kind brand, Patricia Nash Designs.
The handbag shown in this article is the Salerno Saddle Bag in Florence.
Get your own Patricia Nash authentic Italian leather handbag and other great products like wallets, stationary, scarves, footwear, and more at patricianashdesigns.com
I am old enough to remember when Jay Leno took over the Tonight Show from Johnny Carson. It was recognized at the time as the end of an era. But Leno did his thing, and because of that, it was the beginning of an era as well.
We’re looking at the same phenomenon on the Daily Show as South African Trevor Noah follows Jon Stewart, who (let’s face it) can’t be replaced. I miss the Stewart era, but I am looking forward to Noah’s time in the host’s chair. I have been a fan of Noah’s for a couple of years now, and if you haven’t seen his work, you owe it to yourself to track down his HBO special and some of the YouTube clips out there.
The first thing to note is that the show is going to be different in its approach. We’re all different people, and Noah is coming from a different time and place than Stewart. As Noah told Entertainment Weekly, he is a “31-year-old half-black, half-white South African man who immigrated to the United States in 2011 and Stewart (as a 52-year-old Jewish man who grew up in New Jersey). “The way we look at the same story will be completely different,” he said. “We have different access to different jokes, different sides, different sensitivities … the most important thing is the place that you come from.”
“We’re still dealing with the same issues, it’s just a different angle we’re looking at things from—and it’s my angle, really. I’m taking things in a slightly different direction, but to the same endpoint.”
Noah speaks seven languages and does some of the best accents and impersonations I have ever seen. So, you’ll see more of that. As an immigrant, he’s got a different take on America than a native, and as a man of mixed-race heritage from a country that abolished legal segregation in his lifetime, he has the standing to talk to us about race.
My friend, Gys de Villiers is a South African actor (he played de Klerk opposite Idris Elba’s Nelson Mandela in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) who explained, “Because of his mixed race, he can say things in South Africa that an Afrikaaner like me or a Zulu might not be able to and have the same credibility. Like Obama, he’s neither one nor the other and so he can speak to both.”
Noah himself told Rolling Stone that his show will wind up coming from a more diverse group than the previous incarnation of the Daily Show did. “Already we have people coming in and the racial diversity of the correspondents has gone up dramatically …. Gender-wise, we’ve got a ton of great female writers, too. In the new submissions, 40 percent of the final writers we decided to go with are female. And finding those voices is difficult but we’re lucky in that I’ve worked with great people of every color and I’ve worked with fantastic female writers as well. So we’re bringing that into the room.”
One thing that will feature in his Daily Show that Stewart’s didn’t is New York City itself. Like just about every newcomer, he’s got observations about the city, how people behave, and of course, the subway (he reckons it would be a great opportunity for us all to discuss climate change). Stewart, a Jersey boy, took much of the comedy potential of the city for granted.
One tiny hint – -don’t just watch the first episode and make a decision. The first week will be a four-part miniseries, so you’ll have to at least watch for the whole week.
The 19th Annual New York Fringe Festival just wrapped up another successful orgy of theatre for those who didn’t leave the City for the last half of August. There were 185 shows, and while I didn’t get to more than a handful, my favorite was a one-man show called FAFI, which is a coming-of-age production about a white South African boy growing up under apartheid. The actor, Gys de Villiers, and the director, his wife Jaci de Villiers, wrote the work together, and it premiered at the festival. In their native South Africa, they are very well-known for their work on stage, TV and in film. Internationally, Gys portrayed F.W de Klerk in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” opposite Idris Elba.
They have recently immigrated to New York. For New Yorkers, going to Africa would be an adventure, but they see the adventure in going the other direction. They came here about four years ago on holiday and stayed in Williamsburg in Brooklyn. They loved it and eventually, decided to try their luck here.
For those of us who have been here a while and have become a bit jaded, their enthusiasm for New York is a breath of fresh air.
Jaci explained, “Artists are respected here, and while there is a lot of very keen competition, it’s a very healthy environment for creative people.” She’s right – sometimes, we take that for granted.
They have been married 9 years, together for 13 years. They met in the theatre, and there was a professional and personal attraction. For a great many couples, working together puts you in the fast lane to divorce court, but the de Villiers are different. Gys says, “Working together increases intimacy. We come home after rehearsals or a performance and we just keep going over things.” Jaci echoes this saying, “Making the work better makes the marriage work.”
Their process is pretty straightforward. Gys says, “For FAFI, and almost all of our work, I threw loads of ideas onto paper and Jaci took that and provided a structure and added her own perspective.”
They created the backbone of FAFI while in New York four years ago, and developed the piece for the stage when they decided to move here.
They translated the piece into Afrikaans and performed a version of it two months ago in SA because the audience there knows all about the apartheid system the country had, it instructs a bit less. And it is considered controversial in some quarters.
Gys told me “Twenty years after the segregation of the races ended, there are still some people in my white Afrikaans-speaking community who believe apartheid wasn’t a bad system and that it will even make a comeback. I think its delusional to think that way, but they do, and my views challenge their identity.”
Gys was an artist back in the 1980s working at The Market Theatre known for its “Anti-Apartheid Struggle” plays, while Mandela was still in jail. Yet their work doesn’t feel like a political piece.
“FAFI is a very personal one. It’s my life story, scenes from it anyway. But in a place like South Africa was, the political is very personal in many ways,” Gys says.
Jaci points out that the brainwashing young Afrikaaners got was pretty rigorous, and it was really being drafted into the Army that had the most impact on Gys, whose attitudes about race evolved from a very conservative background.
“Yes, I was being trained to kill my fellow South Africans because they were black and that training, being property of the state like that, it sealed the deal.”
Now that they have their Green Cards (a multi-year process that required the assistance of an immigration lawyer), securing union membership and an agent are the next challenges. Gys met with one agent who said, “What am I going to do with that accent?” Well, he has a definite South African accent, and he is realistic that it will influence the roles he can get. His attitude is a pretty positive one, though, “I don’t mind being the seventh Russian on the left. I am here to work.”
And you may well see them Off-Broadway before too long. Jaci told me, “America is the land of opportunity, so we are developing a few productions of our own, FAFI is the first of several.”
In five years, they can become citizens. They look forward to being African-Americans.
Late summer in New York is always a slightly bittersweet time. Autumn is always beautiful here but the days are shorter, the weather will soon cool, and the leaves will change color and fall to the ground. New Yorkers know how dreary winter can be weather wise and they are always looking to make the most out of every summer day. Here are some scenes from around Central Park of people doing just that.
12 and a half years after the tragic day of September 11th, 2001 the new World Trade Center has risen in the Financial District in New York City. These photos were taken this spring from 4 World Trade before the building was entirely open to the public. Does it replace what was lost? No. Can it’s mere presence erase that horrible day from history? It can and will not. But that is not its function. Nor should it be. With views that sweep across New Jersey, New York Harbor, the Freedom Tower, and uptown with the Empire State Building dead center on the horizon, it simply reminds us that We Will Rise.
Photographers note: All of the below photos were taken with an iPhone as I was unable to bring my camera into the building.
The Russian Federation outlawed openly advocating any speech “propaganda” in relation to LGBTI topics as propaganda that could damage society. In the wake of this neighboring countries now seem to be following suit. Kyrgyzstan has introduced a similar bill in parliament that would criminalize the promotion of homosexuality. Like in Russia, if passed citizens in Kyrgyzstan could face up to a year of imprisonment for advocating LGBTI issues.
Is this a new wave of anti-LGBTI sentiment, evolving into anti gay propaganda, as long as gay people keep it to themselves they are law abiding citizens?
“The sponsors of this bill define ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ as ‘sodomy, lesbianism and other forms of non-traditional sexual behavior,’” according to the organization. “They justify the amendments as necessary ‘to safeguard and protect the traditional family, human, moral, and historical values of Kyrgyz society.’”
Kyrgyzstan already has a hostile climate towards the LGBTI community and with the potential of this ‘draconian’ bill being put into effect, things look darker for the Kyrgyz LGBTI community. According to the bill those convicted of violating the law would face up to six months in prison and a fine of 2,000 to 5,000 som ($36 to $91). For repeat offenders the maximum sentence would be a year in prison and a fine of up to 6,000 som ($110).
In other ex-soviet satellites, the Ukraine considered such a bill but it was not passed, Moldova repealed a ‘gay propaganda’ law last July, a month after it was enacted and a similar bill is pending in Lithuania.
It appears the ex-soviet sphere is in a decline of human rights and equality for LGBTI communities with ever tightening restrictions on their livelihoods and social-inclusion. So far the Russian Federation has met little to no political opposition regards its law which removes certain human rights and freedoms from a minority of its population.
Will the old Soviet Union reunite under an anti-LGBTI “propaganda” law?
While Marriage Equality continues to spread over the United States of America and Europe like an unstoppable tidal wave, our African brothers and sisters are suffering a wave of anti-gay sentiment and anti-gay laws.
So why are African leaders getting away with laws that in some cases offer nothing but death as an option for being gay?
African politicians are referring to being gay as “learned” behaviors, and being gay as “disgusting” and a “genetic distortion”. The unfortunate effect of leaders using these sorts of negative descriptions for homosexuality is the uneducated populations willingly absorb these connotations and live by them as fact and absolute truth. So what is a peasant farmer in Uganda, who has no access to education, to believe. Would he question his political leaders as being right or wrong? Well the outcome here is the farmer more than likely will adopt the anti-gay rhetoric being publicized as normal by political leaders and more alarmingly spread this anti-gay sentiment and embed it in the minds of the next generation via his children and grandchildren.
The African education system is lacking also as a tool for equality, with teachers being the primary guilty party for truancy, and even if they were present full time would they teach equality in the state run classrooms? The short answer is no. Education for the most part is run by the same anti-gay politicians. So our new African generations will most likely not gain valuable equality information from school either.
So where do our new generations of Africans learn about the world, the struggle for equality and the future of societal change?
Cell phones – Africa’s cell phone use has risen to well over 650 million in recent years and is being used for many outreach activities, more noticeably and successfully as a mobile banking system (M-PESA) for the many Africans who have no where to store money or the ability to enact transactions to buy food, materials for survival. These cell phones can access Twitter, Facebook, the internet at large and as we have seen in global development, the information age has spread the societal movement and development faster than ever before. Campaigns spread around the world at incredible speeds and gain support like a typhoon, most memorable was the campaign “Kony 2012”, however ill-fated as it was we are unable to deny the incredible level of support this campaign generated in such a small space of time.
Perhaps Africa will also generate its own whirlwind of online campaigning and support in time via gay equality movements from the local civil society of Africa, and we outsiders to Africa must support, hit our like buttons, comment and create a deafening call of support that African leaders are unable to ignore, so our brothers and sisters in Africa are encouraged to continue fighting for their equal and human rights to love, be free and be who they are open and proud.
The picture below illustrates the current state of anti-gay laws on the African continent.
Japan is channeling the Pika-power.
What’s cuter than Pokemon? Dressing the lovable monsters up in soccer uniforms and having them represent your country as its mascots. Never one to shy away from shameless cuteness, Japan has named Pikachu as its national soccer team’s mascot for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. Pikachu won’t be going alone, though; it seems that he’ll also be bringing along some of his friends to join in on the fun (from Pikachu, clockwise: Squirtle, Litleo, Helioptile, Charmander, Fennekin, Meowth, Froakie, Pancham, Bulbasaur, and Chespin). Clearly the Japanese are capitalizing on their hottest commodity right now, even more so than the famous Mario.
However, I can’t help feeling like they’ve dropped the ball in a couple of instances here. First, it’s obvious that the choices shown in the above picture are meant to plug the most recent releases, X and Y. Of the eleven selections, six of them are those who made their debut in the newest generation of games. Oddly enough, the other five were part of the original 151. While it’s great for Nintendo that this is a sales-driven approach, I would’ve liked to see Jigglypuff (because it’s one of the most iconic Pokemon) and Voltorb (because it’s a ball) used instead of, say, Meowth and Helioptile… and yes, I realize how ridiculous I sound nitpicking this.
This is going to sound like wishful thinking here, but I could potentially see this springboarding the franchise into some sports titles down the road. Who wouldn’t want to play a Pokemon-based soccer video game? Or basketball? Or perhaps even football? I’d buy any of those games in a heartbeat with no regrets whatsoever. Whatever happens in the future of the series, this latest endeavor is sure to be memorable and I salute Japan for doing it.