Based on the real-life experiences of the filmmaker and the growing issue of African American and Caribbean children who are estranged from their fathers, writer/director Mariette Monpierre’s feature film debut ELZA is a tale of hope, family and acceptance. A new film from the Caribbean, ELZA presents a touching story about a young college graduate who returns to her hometown in Guadeloupe in search of a fleeting childhood memory and a father she barely remembers. The film will make its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York’s new MIST Harlem Cinemas on Friday, October 12th presented by Autonomous Entertainment.
ELZA makes its U.S. premiere following acclaimed screenings at film festivals around the world, including the Pan African Film & Arts Festival, where it received Special Jury Recognition for Best First Feature, British Academy of Film & Television Arts/LA Festival Choice Award and the Programmer’s Award for Narrative Feature. ELZA also was nominated for Best Picture of the Diaspora at the African Movie Academy Awards in Lagos, and won Best Narrative Feature at the Roxbury International Film Festival.
HARLEM — Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade says fatherhood helped him to win his second NBA championship last season.
Being a father matured him enough to be able to tame his ego so that he could play with fellow stars Lebron James and Chris Bosh, Wade told 250 people at My Image Studios in Harlem Wednesday.
“The success of winning is more important than the amount of dollars,” said Wade, who was visiting Harlem to promote his new book “A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball.”
In the memoir, Wade, 30, recounts being a single father to his two sons, Zaire, 10 and Zion, 5. He was awarded primary custody of his children in 2011 after a bitter battle with his ex-wife. Wade said he also raises his 10-year-old nephew.
“I love that they see me get up every morning and go to work,” Wade said. “It shows that it takes hard work to be successful.”
The event, part of Wade’s multi-city book tour, was produced by Hue-Man Bookstore, which recently shuttered its physical location for an online presence, and the soon-to-be-opened My Image Studios (MIST), a $21 million film screening, performance space and restaurant dedicated to African and Latino culture.
Roland Laird, MIST’s CEO, said Wade’s book signing was the perfect pre-opening event for the space.
“(Wade) defines himself as a father first, not a basketball player, and that’s what MIST is about, how we define ourselves,” Laird said.
Two Harlem businesses — one new, one resurgent — turned to an NBA champion to help them begin making good on their plans to bring more programming to the community.
Miami Heat hoops star Dwyane Wade signed copies of his new book, “A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball” on Wednesday night at the brand new — and not quite finished — My Image Studios (MIST) Harlem.
The kick-off event at MIST Harlem, located at the Kalahari Condominiums on W. 116th St., was co-sponsored by Hue-Man Bookstore, a popular Harlem business that closed in July, ending a 10-year run.
When it’s completed, MIST Harlem will be a nearly 300-seat arts and entertainment space replete with a 130-seat restaurant and bar.
Plans for the venue, which will cater its programming to what its founders called the African and Latino diaspora, were in the works for nearly four years and MIST Harlem CEO Roland Laird said he’s thrilled to have it in Harlem.
“This is a place where culture emanates from,” said Laird, whose partners include developers Carlton Brown and Walter Edwards (both are founders of Full Spectrum; Edwards is also the chairman of the Harlem Business Alliance). “It’s very important to have a place that’s centered in African and Latino culture.”
He said there are plans to host independent film screenings, poetry nights and comedy shows. The $21 million, 20,000-square-foot space appears far from completion, but the partners say it will be finished in time for a Def Poetry Jam showcase on Sept. 27.
The New York Times highlights Harvist, the seasonal American cuisine restaurant at MIST (My Image Studios) Harlem in its Fall Restaurant Preview in today’s paper.
Here are excerpts:
Good food will find some intriguing new pedestals in public destinations like museums and theaters. Marcus Samuelsson is putting his name on the marquee of the cafe at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. Mr. Carmellini will feed the patrons of the Public Theater and Joe’s Pub. My Image Studios, a cultural center and theater in a new Harlem high-rise, will have a restaurant, Harvist. And Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis, who burst onto the scene in 2010 with their ephemeral M. Wells, will unveil a sequel, M. Wells Dinette, in MoMA P.S. 1 in Queens.
HARVIST This restaurant in My Image Studios, a new cultural center in Harlem, will serve Cassandra Quinlan-Ashford’s rustic fare with Southern and Latin-American influences, including skirt steak with salsa verde, chicken and dumplings, and red velvet cake. There will be 130 seats indoors, 75 on a terrace and 36 at the bar. (Late September):My Image Studios, 40 West 116th Street, (646) 688-5886.
Harvist, the seasonal American cuisine restaurant at MIST (My Image Studios) Harlem, is featured in Time Out magazine’s piece “Regional American restaurants: New spots for fall”. Here’s what they say about Harvist:
Discover twists on classics from the American South—including prawns ’n’ grits with chicken-fried bacon—at this 130-seat restaurant inside Harlem’s cultural arts center MIST. Cork floors and woven-wood walls enhance the dining room, where a seasonal menu will feature specials that reflect the center’s programming.
Harvist, the seasonal American cuisine restaurant at MIST (My Image Studios) Harlem, is featured in New York Magazine’s Grub Street piece “Where We Can’t Wait to Eat This Season”. Here’s what they say about Harvist:
Because after dining on head-on shrimp and Anson Mills grits with chicken-fried bacon, you can catch a show or watch a film at Harlem’s newest arts and cultural center, which houses the restaurant.
Press Release: NBA Star Dwyane Wade headed to Harlem as Hue-Man Bookstore partners with MIST Harlem for book event
“We are excited to kick off the celebration for our brand new MIST Harlem entertainment center on September 5 with NBA all-star Dwyane Wade,” said MIST Harlem Chief Executive Officer Roland Laird. “It is an honor to have him with us for this very special signing event and I’m excited about establishing a relationship with Hue-Man.”
Wade wrote his book after being awarded custody of his two boys in March 2011. He ultimately wanted it to showcase the regular life of the eight-time NBA all-star. Part of the amazing reaction he received for the book was from other fathers who congratulated him for putting his children first during his high-profile divorce.
By Roland Laird, Posro Media CEO
Write Black At You
A few months ago a friend directed me to YouTube to watch a lecture given by Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry at University of California at Santa Barbara. Her central thesis was the continued representation of the “mammy” image in popular culture (see below).
Like many scholars, Harris-Perry saw the critical acclaim and box office popularity of The Help as an example of just how deeply embedded in the American psyche the “mammy” image is, and that the movie’s representation was an extension of the national mammy monument proposal of the 1920s as well as the emodiment of the point made by author Miki McElya’s in her book, Clinging to Mammy.
One need only walk around New York City’s upper east-side and see the scores of black women serving as nanny’s to white infants and toddlers to see that there is “some” merit to Harris-Perry’s perspective. Nonetheless, she took it over the top. It’s one thing to compare a movie about black maids to Hattie McDaniels’ Gone With the Wind performance as a slave/mammy, but Harris-Perry also labeledJennifer Hudson’s performance as Sarah Jessica Parker’s assistant in the movie Sex and The City mammy-esque. Such an assertion essentially conflates all presentations of black women as sidekick characters of mammy status and ignores the significant dramatic variety in black female visual presentations since Hattie McDaniels 73 years ago.
A cluster of new businesses and ventures, many of them anchored by large condominium buildings, is drawing more shoppers and residents to a slowly gentrifying stretch of West 116th Street in Harlem.
My Image Studios, a 20,000-square-foot entertainment venue and African and Latino-themed cultural center, plans to open on the ground floor of the Kalahari condominium building at 40 W. 116th St. this summer. Inside 1400 Fifth Ave., at the corner of 116th Street, more new businesses are expected or have opened, including a lounge known as Bleu Violin, and BBRAXTON, an upscale men’s salon that reopened in the space last year.