‘Straight Outta Compton’ cast gets real with ‘rolling out’ TV

In advance of their highly anticipated theatrical release, the cast of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ visited rolling out TV for a serious round of straight talk.

Archibald Motley portrays Black life that conveys pride and integrity

Archibald Motley 3
Archibald Motley was the catalyst for Chicago's art renaissance. Motley's impressionistic jazz and lifestyle paintings have an aura of happiness. They convey an image of Blacks during one of the most prolific and artistic moments in the history of art culture and the African American expression.

A native of New Orleans, Motley has some of the moss culturally diverse art, depicting a lifestyle others wouldn't have known existed. His use of expression, body poses, gestures, hues, and colors (royal purple and red) make the figures appear larger than life.

Motley's generous use of expression is poignant, brilliant, and beautiful unlike Jacob Lawrence's stoic figures that tell a different story. Motley brings life to ideas, imaginary and even intimate places that are inviting. It's a voyeur's dream. Enjoy Motley at the Chicago Museum now through August 31, 2015.


Richer and wiser, Dr. Dre's 'Compton' music review


Hip-hop’s short attention span has been well-documented. A popular rapper typically can’t afford to take a couple of years away from the spotlight at the risk of returning to a completely shifted cultural and musical landscape. So the idea that a hip-hop artist — even an immensely popular and influential one — could not release an album for more than 15 years and still generate a tremendous amount of interest and buzz is quite confounding. But that’s exactly the case with West Coast kingpin Dr. Dre, who’s just released his long-awaited (understatement of the year) third solo album. It’s not the mythic Detox project that had been teased for more than a decade, though. Dre’s new project is Compton: A Soundtrack, a new album that serves as his third proper solo release, an unofficial soundtrack to the upcoming biopic about his legendary former group N.W.A. and a celebration of both Dre’s legacy and the hip-hop lineage that runs throughout Southern California in general and Los Angeles’ most notorious suburb, in particular.

Compton finds Dr. Dre relishing his elder statesman status, his notorious reputation, his business acumen and the streets of the CPT. Opening with archival news audio describing the urban blight that saw Compton shift from a bustling hub of middle-class Black upward mobility to a ‘burb overrun with crime and poverty, the album immediately showcases two of Dre’s newer proteges, King Mez and Justus on the opening “Intro,” before Dre swoops in with “guess who’s back” bravado, bragging that he still has “Eminem checks I ain’t cashed yet.”

Read more of this review by clicking here.

Beautiful skin: New York’s Black burlesque experience

Black burlesque is thriving in New York City and several women decided to tell their stories and share their perspective on this titillating scene.

Raise your glass of Blueberry Lemonade to celebrate National Rum Day

Cruzan_Blueberry Lemonade Colada
There is nothing more refreshing than a tropical rum cocktail featuring Cruzan Rum’s newest libation, Blueberry Lemonade, to cool off and kick back. 
The Cruzan Blueberry Lemonade Colada is not only creamy and fresh, but this blended libation is a special break from average cocktails so pull out your blender for this sweet combination of coconut, fresh lemon juice, and Cruzan Blueberry Lemonade Rum.
Cruzan® Blueberry Lemonade Colada
2 parts Cruzan® Blueberry Lemonade Rum
1 part Coco® Lopez Cream of Coconut
1 part Fresh Lemon Juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a stemmed Hurricane glass and garnish with lemon zest.

PJ Morton performs from new album,

On July 29 at the Highline Ballroom, PJ Morton performed cuts from Live Show Killer which was recorded at the historic Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles in early May 2015. Morton also performed fan favorites, surprise covers, and some hand-picked selections, including songs from his 2013 album New Orleans, which earned him a Grammy nomination for collaboration with Stevie Wonder on “Only One.” The 18-track live-in-studio album includes special guests Tweet and Mali Music.

5 ways to be fabulous on your island vacation

Photo by Christina Steed for Steed Media Service
Photo by Christina Steed for Steed Media Service

When we are lucky enough to be able to escape on a vacation, we must make the most of said vacation. That’s easy to do when you land someplace fabulous like St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its cousin islands, St. John and St. Croix, are also places of heavenly beauty. Put exploring the island of St. Thomas on your next vacation vision board. Below are five ways to keep it super fabulous when you get there.

1. Pack the right outfits. The weather is perfection with slight breezes and sunny, blue skies. Shorts, cute dresses, flat sandals and plenty of bikinis and cover-ups are in order. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen and wear a hairstyle you don’t mind sweating in because it does get hot and steamy on the island.
2. Bring your appetite. If you’ve been waiting to flex your bikini body on the beach, you are now free to eat some of the delicious island food. Check out Gladys Café for a breakfast of omelet, pancakes, or even oatmeal if you want to stick with your pre-beach diet. For lunch, her menu also features delicious local fish selections, big salads, and sandwiches. For a more romantic and expensive dinner occasion, the Banana Tree Grille should be on your list – the most delicious grilled lobster ever.
3. Plan to attend at least one local event. Whether it’s a comedy show or music concert, there are a ton of exciting activities to explore in St. Thomas. Or, for the more adventurous, reserve a catamaran excursion or do some scuba diving.
4. Squeeze in some time at the spa. No vacation is complete without some time at the spa. Choose one that fits your style. If you want the full on spa day (massage, facial, etc.) check out Prana Spa. If you want to indulge in a manicure and pedicure, the Lazule Spa and Salon can’t be beat. Be sure to build in time to lounge at the private spa pool at the Lazule.
5. Shop for unique finds. The island has several shopping areas ranging from the high end Yacht Haven and its luxury stores to the Royal Dane Shopping Mall. Be sure to grab stuff at street stands in different spots around the island that you wouldn’t find back home. Local artisans' jewelry designs will stand out as items you couldn’t leave the island without.

Tijuana Picnic is the new hot spot in New York fall 2015

Tijuana Picnic

The highly acclaimed Tijuana Picnic is one of the most popular restaurant additions to the Lower East Side. Offering a wide variety of authentic Mexican cuisine, Tijuana Picnic is a spicy getaway for brunch, dinner, original cocktails focused on agave spirits such as tequila and mezcal, and dancing in the downstairs lounge. The restaurant is frequented by chic, in the know New Yorkers and has been featured in an impressive lineup of publications including W Magazine, The Last Magazine, Vogue, The Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, Harpers Bazaar, The Daily Front Row, Thrillist, Gothamist, The Infatuation, and more.

In December 2014, Jon Neidich and Jean-Marc Houmard, managing partners of Acme, together with Huy Chi Le of Indochine and designer Robert McKinley, opened Tijuana Picnic on the Lower East Side. A menu of high quality ingredients with non-traditional flavor accents transforms casual Mexican fare into bold, balanced and surprising dishes of fine dining-caliber. The cocktail program, headed by New York bartending veteran Jim Kearns, currently of The Happiest Hour and formerly of the NoMad Hotel and Mayahuel, focuses on tequila and mezcal, and other lesser-known agave spirits.

Chef Alex Lopez, formerly of Kittichai, leads the kitchen and riffs on the flavors of his native Mexico City with Asian accents. Highlights from the menu include Grilled Corn with cricket aioli and coffee-chipotle powder; Red Snapper Ceviche with citrus, avocado, cilantro and red Thai chili; Mezcal-marinated Shrimp Tacos with red cabbage & purple potatoes; and Juki Skirt Steak Tacos with shiso, spicy aioli & pickled veg. Chinese sausage Gorditas, pork dumplings in the Sopa de Tortilla, and yuzu in the Churros’ butter exemplify Lopez’s original, Asian-influenced approach to Mexican fare.

Tijuana Picnic 13

The downstairs dining room and lounge at Tijuana Picnic, features a late-night menu as well as an extensive selection of 40 tequilas and 40 mezcals. Retro tunes played by DJs most nights of the week, the peripheral deep blue banquettes and fewer tables make for a Mexican dance party and playful “south of the border” ambiance. The poured concrete floors, brass lamps and a plywood bar that glows from yellow resin, contribute to the bodega sensibility, elevated to the understated chic of Tulum at night. Open late Thursday through Saturday.
Tijuana Picnic is located at 151 Essex Street between Stanton and Rivington.

3 Tequila recipes that make you say 'yum!'

Happy National Tequila Day!

Agave isn't just for margaritas. It's mixable and versatile. Check out the recipes below from top mixologists.​​

Mad Mango
Mad Mango

Created by Tomas Delos Reyes
2 oz Partida Reposado Tequila
½  oz agave nectar
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz mango puree
2 jalapeño disc/slices

​​In shaker, muddle 1 jalapeño disc with agave nectar.  Add ingredients into shaker and shake over ice.  Strain over ice, garnish with jalapeño disc floating on top.

Partida Paloma

​​Partida Paloma
2 oz Partida Blanco Tequila
1 Pinch Salt
Half a Lime
Grapefruit Soda (such as Jarritos or Squirt)
Fill a highball glass with ice and add the tequila and salt. Squeeze the lime half into the glass and drop into the drink and top with grapefruit soda.

La Perla tequila

La Perla

1 ½ oz Partida Reposado Tequila
1 ½ oz Domecq Manzanilla Sherry
¾ oz Mathilde Pear Liqueur

Lemon twist

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Fresa Breeze
Fresa Breeze 

Created by Tomas Delos Reyes
2oz Partida Blanco Tequila
1/2oz agave nectar
3/4oz fresh lime juice
2 strawberries
2 tsp diced cucumber
Mint sprig (optional)

Muddle strawberries and agave nectar in a shaker. Add ingredients and shake over ice. Strain over ice and top with diced cucumber. Garnish with mint sprig (optional).

Viola Davis is badass in 'Suicide Squad'


Viola Davis has played in some major heavy-hitters within the past few years, and her star continues to rise. She’s just wrapped up her first season staring in the wildly popular ABC drama, “How to Get Away With Murder,” now everyone is talking about her role in what may be one of the most highly anticipated films of 2016, Suicide Squad.

The David Ayers-directed film follows comic supervillians Task Force X, also known as the Suicide Squad. The team of prisoners make a deal with the US government in order to reduce their sentences, and agree execute a black ops mission.

Davis plays Amanda Walker, who runs the squad. The character is well-known in the comic book world and was played by Angela Bassett in Green Lantern.

Davis told The Hollywood Reporter that she was most excited to portray Walker because she’s been a fan of comic books since she was a little girl, CinemaBlend reported.

“As a comic book and Wonder Woman fan, I love the whole DC Comics universe,” she remembered. “I traded comic books as a kid so all of that appeals to me. When you dream about being an actor as a kid, that’s what you dream about. That’s like play acting: being the superhero, getting the gun; it plays into that fantasy.”

The movie, which has a budget of $100 million, also stars Will Smith as Batman’s adversary, Deadshot, and Jared Leto as the infamous Joker.

Suicide Squad is set for an Aug. 2016 release date.