The Free Edition

The cliché phrase “the best things in life are free”, is starting to sound just about right. After not even a month, Manhattan has dwindled my bank account down to nearly nothing. Now I finally understand when the Girl’s character, Hannah, says, “I calculated, and I can last in New York for three and a half more days — maybe seven if I don’t eat lunch.” I’m contemplating cutting down on meals or sticking to a strictly canned diet in order to keep up with my New York City lifestyle.

I suppose the fact that New York will suck every single penny from you, is a less than desirable part of living here. However, the only reason that it’s capable of this incredible feat is because there are so many desirable things to do. With endless drinking and eating establishments, arguably the best shopping in the world, and almost every band you want to see coming through, it is hard to hold onto those dollars. But lucky for me, New York City doesn’t mind giving back to its broke citizens.

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Indie Ipod

To say it in simplest terms, I am completely obsessed with music and having plenty of diversity in my iPod.  My heart holds a special place for indie music.  The beginning stage of an artist’s career is so raw and you get to hear the bare roots in what they have to offer.

Now being the music junky that I am, I figure I should share a few artists I’m really into right now:

Dean Swift is a local Boston rapper getting his hands into just about anything.  He just recently completed an album titled Unheard Of with Atlanta rapper Geniu$, which features a handful of production from southern up and comer Izze The Producer (Production credits of Young Jeezy, Ace Hood and Birdman to name a few).  It will be released on August 14th, 2012 through djbooth.net.

He is also a part of the VVS1 Crew which is a group that clashes Dubstep and Hip Hop in a very tasteful way.  The group consists of producer Mike Irish, singer Renzo and fellow rapper Soupa.  VVS1 creates a refreshing sound that is relatively new but done correctly.  They have a major internet single out now called “Pearl Harbor” with an EP coming soon.

Check out the Dean Swift x Geniu$ video for their video “Prayer”

And VVS1’s internet single “Pearl Harbor”

This Californian songstress has a very interesting take on R&B.  Her critically-acclaimed mixtape Sailing Soul(s) is definitely a listening experience with plenty of honesty and emotion.  What is so great about the tape is how great it flows incorporating different tones.  What also intrigued me about Jhene Aiko is her creativity outside of the studio.  I am a big fan of her tumblr page.  It consists of plenty of beautiful poetry, inspirational quotes and photos of her personal life.  Definitely take a listen to her tape Sailing Soul(s) which is all over the net and watch her video for the single “Stranger”.

A local band from Massachusetts, the Golden Spurs is a Blues Garage Band.  They do not have a huge internet presence but they do have a bandcamp music page.  I went to one of their shows at a hole-in-the-wall club and they completely rocked out with an amazing show.  Recently, the band moved to Nashville, TN to pursue their career.  Check out their Facebook page for updates.

This is a taste of my iPod, give these guys a chance and follow them on Twitter for more news and music.  If you like what they have to offer, let them know and spread the word.

Until next time,

-Steph, FBA Intern

A Bostonian in Israel

This week I returned home from a 10-day trip to Israel. It was free, and it was awesome.

My trip was sponsored by Israel Outdoors, a Birthright provider that focuses on—surprise—the outdoors. I hiked the Masada at sunrise, swam in the Dead Sea, and kayaked in the Jordan River. I saw breathtakingly beautiful views; from the foreign landscape of the Israeli desert, to the orange sunset over the Mediterranean. But still, as much as I enjoyed the hikes and the views and the (DANK) falafel—I’m a born and bred city kid who is also a Future Boston intern. I wanted to see the city.

I visited both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv during my stay in the land of milk and honey. These two Israeli cities are quite different. Jerusalem is a land rich with history that is also the religious epicenter of the world. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, is a comparatively new city (as most cities are when compared to Jerusalem) which caters to the modernity-seekers of the Middle East.

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Unheard Rarities: DJ BLXG

Since the last post was postponed as a result of technical difficulties, I decided to begin searching early for this week’s featured DJ.   I found him amidst a gathering at a very loud show-house known to Berklee’s inner electronic circles as The Dungeon.  The main act was a mysterious figure whose real name I still do not know.  Thus, I give you DJ BLXG.

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Resurging Culture

Originally I intended on writing a post on the upcoming Puerto Rican Day Festival and Parade and how glorious celebrating the ethnicity would be.  But as I was browsing for information, I kept coming across the event’s information from last year.  First thing I thought was “WOW, maybe there will not be a parade this summer”, which has been rumored through the grapevine for many years.

As I continued to dig deeper, I stumbled across a calendar in PDF form with a list of cultural events within the city.  To my relief, I saw that Boston will be having a parade this year.  Then I decided to research the Dominican Festival and in the same PDF form, showed its date and location.

My curiosity continued to run its course and my attention was brought to the August Moon Festival celebrated in Chinatown.  It held a presence on the internet; I was able to read on its history, see an agenda of the celebration and there were photos of past events.

What happened to mi orgullo within the Puerto Rican community?  The advertisement is as low as it has ever been which in turn will reflect on the number of attendees and its overall outcome.  When I was a child, the Puerto Rican Festival was from Friday to Sunday with the parade being on Sunday morning as well.  Thousands would flock from all over to experience such a beautiful event of pride and to enjoy famous Latin artists perform.

I am not trying to complain but I am curious of what can be done to increase its population.  I am also curious if we, as Puerto Ricans (though I’m only half), have lost our culture and become “Americanized”?  What can be done to get back to what once was?

Just a few thoughts,

Steph L, Future Boston Alliance Intern

Reaction to “Sh#t Boston Cops Say”

With Pax Centurion being the official union newsletter of the Boston Police, it is shocking that such disgusting views have been expressed publicly for so long without massive outrage.  Now that these scripts have been brought to light, the issue should be dealt with and explained to the residents of Boston.

There are plenty of questions I personally would like to be answered such as:

  • How is it that these views went under the radar within the police department for so long before reaching the public?
  • With James Carnell being the editor, was there also an editorial board that can give the green light on what can and cannot be written?
  • Knowing no one flagged these particular views down before it being published, why weren’t there any higher-ups to blow the whistle on what was expressed?  And if no one in power read it, then please tell me why was this newsletter even being published?

There was not a major outcry of this particular situation.  Is it because it did not get a big enough push in the press?  Can it be that the general public is simply ignorant to this newsletter?  There are plenty of meetings to help build police/community relations, but this newsletter did not help.  Being a black and Hispanic man of the city having this be the OFFICIAL REPRESENTATION of the BPPA is embarrassing to me.

I am not naïve enough to believe these scripts represent the views of every member of the police force.  I like to believe our officers of the city are doing their best to ensure we live in a safe environment.  But the views displayed in the Pax Centurion completely go against that.

I personally am against the Pax Centurion’s backing of the editor, James Carnell.  But my views may not necessarily be right, and that’s fine with me because I’m mostly concerned with what’s best.  Being biased only builds tension, insightful information alleviates that and helps build relations between the force and the people.

Future Boston Alliance Creative Class Program for 2012

Our Context

General Information

Purpose: Future Boston believes Boston’s future lies in a thriving creative economy. The Future Boston Accelerator Program will help twenty-five (25) people learn the fundamentals of business and funding. The program will teach people how to put a business plan together, seize market opportunity, and highlight their  strengths when selling their business.

Future Boston is a new organization formed by Greg Selkoe, the CEO of Karmaloop.com. The mission of Future Boston Alliance is a non-profit organization seeking to revolutionize our city’s creative economy. By advocating for new talent and businesses and holding educational events, we aim to make Boston a hub for collaboration, innovation, and culture.

The accelerator program is designed for creative people to learn how to create and launch a successful business. Twenty-five innovators/entrepreneurs will be chosen through an application process to attend this once a month program. The accelerator program will end with a business plan competition.

Each class will be taught by experts and practitioners in the fields listed below. The classes will be interactive and allow for one-on-one time with successful business leaders. Childcare can be provided upon request.

The “creative economy” is an evolving concept based on creative assets potentially generating eco­nomic growth and development. The United Nations adopts the UNCTAD definition of the creative economy, where…

• It can foster income-generation, job creation, and export earnings while promoting social inclu­sion, cultural diversity, and human development.

• It embraces economic, cultural, and social aspects interacting with technology, intellectual prop­erty, and tourism objectives.

• It is a set of knowledge-based economic activities with a development dimension and cross-cut­ting linkages at macro and micro levels to the overall economy.

• It is a feasible development option calling for innovative, multidisciplinary policy responses and interministerial action.

• At the heart of the creative economy are the creative industries.

Our Goals

The goals of our creative class program are threefold:

1) To define and amplify the creative class in Boston beyond technical innovation.

2) To provide entrepreneurs and innovators with the tools to start their business.

3) Connect innovators/entrepreneurs with potential investors.

To achieve our goals for the first year we offer the following programs. These programs will allow for scalability and expansion:

1) Creative economies series: host a five part series facilitated by some of the most cutting edge parishioners, financiers and business development experts.

2) Networking opportunities

3) Space on our site to help innovators/ entrepreneurs connect, exchange knowledge and promote their work.

Program Overview

Future Boston will start with twenty-five diverse entrepreneurs. We will include underrepresented communities, especially veterans and the formerly incarcerated. Through an application process, Future Boston stakeholders will choose the first class.

Each four-hour class will start at 10:00 am, on the second Saturday of every month at the offices of Burns Levinson, 125 Summer St., 8th Floor, Boston, MA.

• The workshops will be conducted by our partners and will be a combination of lecture, storytelling and class-like environments.

• We will have a resource room for the city, state, chamber of commerce, and others, including our partners, to offer their resources. It should only be free resources, not business developers.

Follow Up

• Our website will continue to support the start up community by providing tool kits, message boards and weekly blogs to help. The site can be populated by our partners and self-run.

• Startup BLVD will facilitate an on line-networking platform for your business.

• Business Plan Pro Live will be provided for all participants.

• Future Boston will host a pitch contest for all attendees; winners get a cash prize, incubation space at Karmaloop for a year, and branding support.

Who is eligible?

We are looking to help Bostonians start business in the following industries:

Advertising/Marketing

Fashion Design

Film, video, photography

Radio/television

Software, computer games and electronic publishing

Food/restaurant/hospitality

Selection Process

A committee of Future Boston’s creative class leadership circle is responsible for the selection process. The selection process includes:

1) Committee will evaluate all application submissions. The most qualified/interesting ideas will be asked to participate in an interview.

2) Emphasis will be placed on identifying Bostonians who demonstrate a working knowledge of their business idea and a commitment to serving the Greater Boston region.

3) You must commit to attending all classes, if you miss a class you will be asked to leave the program.

4) Based on an evaluation of the application and interview the top 25 most-qualified applicants will be asked to attend classes. (August 11, September 8, October 13, November 10 and December 8 all classes are from 10-2pm)

Apply Now!

Forty Winks

*Warning: If you’re a giggly 12-year-old boy, this post may not be for you*

For my first blog post, I featured the well-known streetwear-chic store Bodega. For my second post, I’m going all the way to the other end of the spectrum in regards to both notoriety and target demographic.

Nestled away on JFK St. in Harvard Square, Forty Winks is a hidden gem, specializing in women’s intimates (i.e. lingerie and sleepwear). Normally I wouldn’t immediately think to profile a somewhat risque store, but having been in Boston for two years now, one of the few things I’ve been sorely disappointed with shopping-wise has been the lack of affordable but stylish intimates stores. Prior to finding Forty Winks, my choices were pretty much limited to the exorbitantly expensive Agent Provocateur on Newbury (yeah, not happening) or this…eek

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Late Night Snack

Black Seed Cafe and Grill loacated at 132 Tremont St. goes before the Boston Licensing Board next Wednesday for permission to extend its closing time from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.  In an attempt to do so, the business owners will go before the Boston Licensing Board to state their argument.  We, Future Boston Allaice, believe in the backing of Black Seed’s argument and are encouraging our readers to email the licensing board in support of this view.

Truth of the matter is young adults enjoy having fun.  Part of that fun is going out at night; whether it being celebrating achievements, embracing relationships or just taking the time to appreciate and enjoy life.  After a joyous night out, many folks like to share a meal together.

Love and Food is a beautiful combo

Looking at American culture, food has always been used to gather people in celebration ranging from Thanksgiving Day turkey and stuffing to Superbowl Sunday buffalo wings.  So in regards to Boston’s nightlife, people deserve the right to have a choice of food after an evening out.

By legislation and representatives having a pessimistic attitude, it shows a lack of faith in its residents.  Playing it safe by constantly saying no to extended business hours stunts our city’s growth.  Sometimes it’s good to take risks; let’s see how we can improve instead of being content with where we are.  By taking a risk, there’s a fifty percent chance of success, by saying no there’s ZERO chance.

A few positives of extending business hours are it helps Boston’s economy.  Bars, lounges and clubs close at 2 am, so by keeping restaurants open a little later helps pump a few extra bucks into our city.  Also believe it or not, Boston loses a lot of its young & talented college graduates to more modernized cities such as the City that Never Sleeps, good ol’ New York City.  Extended business hours just give them another incentive to stay.  And by staying, their contributions in whichever fields of profession they choose also help pump our economy.

The issue is way bigger than a sandwich from Black Seed Café, but they are an example of the attempt to help move our city forward.  So let us push this issue further and attempt to be the change we wish to see.

-Steph the Intern

Discovering Me

My name is Stephen Lewis and I am a new intern at Future Boston Alliance.  I currently am a senior at Mount Ida College studying Business Management.

As many other soon-to-graduate college students, I am haunted by the thought of what’s next?.  It is a big world out there with so many options, how can I find a path that suits me best?  Boston bred my entire life, I had an inclination to move elsewhere such as New York City and start fresh; almost freeing myself from whatever I may be tied down to here.  But I do understand the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Being a city kid, I have witnessed the decline in cultural events such as the Puerto Rican Festival.  The passion and leadership isn’t there anymore hence the lack of performance and outcome as well.  I lived in the South End during the 90’s, and believe me when I say GENTRIFICATION IS REAL.  I am not bashing my city but I am not afraid to point out a few flaws.

Recently I realized something, why not try to build where I am already established and help improve the city in areas necessary.  It is the reason I aligned myself with Future Boston Alliance.  I’ve seen and heard people complain about social struggles in the city.  And with all of the complaining done, most have yet to do something about it.  So I do not know what the future holds for me exactly, but with this blog entry I am vowing to be and live the change I would like to see in this beautiful city.  All I ask now is who is willing to join me?