January 18, 2010

Turn off the Lights...

Last week the music world lost a legend. Teddy Pendergrass died at the age of 59 on Wednesday, January 13th. Teddy was a great musician and singer who started his career with a Philly based group called the Cadillacs. Later he joined Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, and as the lead singer helped propel the group to stardom in the early '70s. They enjoyed a string of hits with Philadelphia International Records, including: "Wake Up Everybody" & "If You Don't Know Me By Now". Teddy left the Blue Notes in the mid-70's for a solo career that turned him into a sex symbol, and made him one of the most recognizable voices in soul music.

I remember being introduced to Teddy's music at family BBQs, and long rides home as a kid. As a music lover and resident Philadelphian, I am sadden by his loss but ever grateful for his music. We'll miss you Teddy.

A perfect example of how Teddy's music will forever be timeless...

January 17, 2010

Philly Weekends

What a dreary, rainy weekend in Philly!.....But cheer up folks because Restaurant Week is here! Today officially kicks off the first day of what is sure to be a wonderful week for all in the foodies living in Philadelphia. Restaurant Week runs from Jan 17th-29th, and brings major business to Center City. Basically you can dine at any of the 100+ participating restaurants for lunch and/or at reduced prices. 3 course meals for dinner will run you about $35, and 2 course lunches for about $20...you can't beat it! As much as I would LOVE to try nearly EVERY restaurant, I am limiting myself to two. Morton's Steakhouse on Wednesday night, and Postiano Coast. I love food, the company of people and new places! It's going to be a great week :)

January 14, 2010

L'Union Fait La Force!

On Tuesday January 12, a devastating earthquake ravaged the small country of Haiti. It hit 7.0 on the Richter scale and immediately toppled homes, government buildings and hospitals. Haiti has long been a country rooted in peril and poverty. For hundreds of years it's maintained its status of  "poorest country in the Western Hemisphere", but rich in culture and life.

The land that is Haiti is deeply rooted in the history of a resilient people, dating as far back as Columbus when he began to settle the island (which he dubbed Hispanola) in the 1400's. This is evident even as I watch continuous news coverage. All I see are people helping people, finding dead bodies under rubble, and dressing their physical wounds; their emotional wounds too dramatic for the brain to process.

Since the quake countries from all over the world have poured into Haiti to get aid to the capital and surrounding areas. Like many Americans I sit and watch helplessly day after day and wonder what I can do to help. Part of me wants to get up and go to Haiti, help them dig out, but I know that is not the wise thing to do now. So what can I do? What can you do? Below are links to different organizations where you can donate money, clothing, food, medical supplies and more to get to the people who need it the most. Every little bit counts. The average Haitian lives off of $2 a day, for many of us that's a cup of morning Joe, a cup that I am more than willing to sacrifice.

Latism-- Latinos for Haiti who are teaming up with AARP to raise money for relief. AARP is going to match their total goal of $1,000+ so donate today!

DJ PHNX & DJ VIPER "Use Your Talent" Chatroom Party-- Sunday, Jan. 17th 2 DJs team up for 1 cause. Visit www.haiti-relief.ning.com from 7pm-2am.....and bring your debit cards!!

Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority, Inc.--  
The sisters of Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority, Inc. have joined millions of other Americans doing all they can to help with the Earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.  It is without a doubt that we must all stand in solidarity until Haiti is restored.  Nationwide, the sisters of Chi Upsilon Sigma will be collecting canned food, bottled water, medical supplies and monetary donations until 2/6/10.  It is our hope that the infrastructure of Haiti is restored by this point and able to receive non-monetary donations.--Chi Upsilon Sigma 1.14.10 Press Release
Check our website and Twitter to see what we're doing Nationally to help the victims of the quake.

Fellow Greek Organizations that are working to help Haiti:
Lambda Theta Phi
Lambda Sigma Upsilon
Omega Phi Chi
Gamma Phi Sigma

....and many more

January 12, 2010

The Awesomeness that is Johnny Cupcakes

Boston based Johnny Cupcakes has been a favorite label of mine for a few years now. Created by Johnny Earle in '01 as a joke, the label has taken off. By no means is Earle a typical role model. A college dropout, who toured with a metalcore band, and sold wacky t-shirts out of his '89 Camry is not the prescribed route to fashion success, but it worked for Earle. After premiering in a trade show in '04 the Cupcakes brand began to skyrocket. Johnny Cupcakes opened his first (and flasghip) store in Hull, MA in '05, released his first catalog in '06, and he was crowned #1 Young Entrepreneur by Business Week Magazine in '08. Since then he has opened up a store on the West Coast and the Cupcakes brand can be purchased online directly from the website, or other big name Urban streetwear sites like Karmaloop.com

As a former bakery worker, I like being reminded of that time...and one of my favorite pastries. Johnny Cupcakes is a fun brand that likes to add its own twist. Whether its using the infamous Micheal Jordan "Jumpman" symbol, or funky designs, Johnny Cupcakes is all about fun and color. The brand has expanded from just t-shirts, to jackets, watches, hats and more. Johnny Cupcakes is a brand that's all about nostalgia and personality. Check out their new Looney Tunes edition too.

DING! Your order is ready :)

Music Mondays...on a Tues?! Yep!

Today's Late Edition of Music Mondays, features Maino's "(Get 'em) Tiger Woods". My exposure to this song is thanks to our friend DJ Viper during a chatroom afterparty. The song is pure fun and satirical, but also allows Maino to display his relaxed flow. Now, I'm not a HUGE Maino fan, but this song bumps! He has a way of taking everyday issues and sayings, and turning them into catchy tunes. For him...it works! Its kind of an ode to the old school days of hip hop. Taking things from everyday life and injecting them into your music in a fun way. Not to mention Maino's ability to promote and create a bigger basket of wealth (have we not forgotten the  "Hi Hater" shirts from last year). So kudos to Maino for creating another hit that will inevitably be aged by its content, but timeless in its carefree-ness.

January 7, 2010

Yay DC!! Booooo Jersey!


In about a month's time, the nation's capital passed a bill to legalize same sex marriage; while New Jersey took a step backwards from their 2006 ruling, and shot down a bill to make it law.

Obviously gay marriage is something that will continually be debated for some time, but to deny a right to any group of people is unconstitutional. Where is the separation of God & State here? From a business perspective, gay marriage is a great idea. A whole other market would present itself most likely increasing profits twofold in the arts, culinary and entertainment industries. What it really comes down to is Love and a binding contract entitling you to the rights to your spouse's land and/or money. So why do so many people have an issue with this? How does one person's love for another affect you? Why is a large part of society threatened by equality? I guess we'll see how this all plays out in 2010.

January 5, 2010

The Awesomeness that is Crooks & Castles

Fashion Tuesdays opens with an ode to one of my favorite streetwear labels  Crooks & Castles.

A little background on the company:
The freshest gear around is here from Crooks and Castles clothing line. Crooks and Castles started in 2002 out of Los Angeles, CA and was created to make a brand that was a direct reflection of the LA street lifestyle. Commercially designed, Crooks and Castles hold tight with the “guns and wealth” aesthetic, which we all love. Founded by Dennis Calvero and Robert Panlilio, Crooks was crafted to express their culture, their experience and their passion.-- "Crooks & Castles" Fansite
Basically the gear is fresh, fly, colorful, and reflects an urbane street culture. The "guns & wealth" persona that the label takes on is a direct reflection of the influence of commercialism in today's society, as well as the global reach of youth culture. The idea that in some sense we are all Crooks who lie, cheat, and steal to gain the materialistic wealth to obtain our Castle is an interesting one. It makes a lot of sense, especially in the entertainment, fashion and music industries....ANY industry for that matter. In the game of Life we all are out for ourselves, hoping that one day our castle will come.

Personally, I enjoy the overall designs and colors. C & C isn't afraid to be bold, and play with typography and imagery. Clothing should make a statement. What do your clothes say about YOU?

January 4, 2010

Music Mondays Vol I.

Happy New Year & Welcome Back to Black Hippy!!! So the direction we're going in for 2010 is multiple posts a week spotlighting everything from music, fashion, art, movies, politics, service projects, the pangs of the Quarter-Life Crisis, and of course my random Philly happenings! Enjoy!

In the spirit of the Twitteverse, Mondays are dedicated to new Music. The term "new" being relative so let's just say its "new" to me, or something I've stumbled upon again reawakening my ears. Vol. 1 is dedicated to DJs.

Lately I've been bumping A LOT of DJs, listening to mixtapes, going to chatroom parties and afterparties, and....I LOVE IT!! Being that today's Hip Hop is mainly ALL about the MC and their random antics, its nice to revisit the "guy behind the table" because that's who gets the crowd moving. Hip Hop used to be more about the DJ, and the MC enhanced the flavor. Now things seem to be the other way around. So how do DJs stand out? Simple. They promote themselves heavily (thanks Twitter and Facebook), and produce and blend original mixes that MCs crave to drop their 16 on. If 2009 has shown us nothing its that if you're on a banging mixtape, record execs will follow (Just ask Drake and Asher Roth).

Vol. 1 DJs:
DJ Afrojack- This Dutch kid is crazy amazing with his remixes and blends. I was put on to him by a mutual friend who shares my love of DJs and good music. Since he's European he's got more of an electronica/dance appeal. Sharing production credits and the turntables with the likes of Diplo and Dave Guetta. He was actually invited by Kanye's imprint Fool's Gold to remix Kid Cudi's "Poke Her Face". Its one of my favorite remixes! Follow him on Twitter @djafrojack

Kid Cudi - Make Her Say Afrojack Remix - Fresh45 Video MIX! from fresh45! on Vimeo.

DJ PHNX-Personal friend and GREAT DJ!! NJ/NY representing all day. Plays EVERYTHING, but I love the salsa/merengue/reggae/dancehall/reggaeton/club mixes the best, lol. He's back to doing Sunday night chatroom parties which is EXACTLY what it sounds like. A bunch of people vibing to the music, watching him do his thing! There's even a virtual bar and dancing. His new project: University of PHNX Vol 1: Freshman Year is a fantastic mix and features up and coming Latin Urban artist Supanova. No lie, I expect to hear clips of Freshman Year at stroll/step shows nationwide this Spring. Check out his site to download the mix for FREE.

DJ Viper- He's "NEW" to me, but not to Greeks in upstate NY. He hosts the chatroom afterparty on Sunday Nights, right after PHNX, and he goes IIINNNN! Has more of a house/club feel, but throws in the old school to calm your heart rate. After all we are talking Sunday nights...not Thirsty Thursdays! What makes him stand out to me is his pure passion and love for the art of turntablism. Hope to hear more of his mixes soon, but I'll stay tuned into the afterparties for now. Follow him on Twitter.