Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FAIM Internet Magazine Goes Underground for Expansion

FAIM Internet Magazine Goes Underground for Expansion
story, photo and video by Jocelyn M. Goode

On December 31st, 2008 a pregnant thought delivered in the mind of Jocelyn M. Goode, the multi-talented and eclectic creator of FAIM Internet Magazine. The thought was more like a vision where people could read about the experiences of others finding ways to utilize creativity and culture to create commerce and social progress. The vision gave birth on January 1st, 2009 to a publication focused on fashion, art, interactivity and movement catering to creative, open-minded, forward-thinking, analytical and entrepreneurial people.

The acronym defines the scope of the magazine. Fashion is undeniable; it is expressed in the daily choices people make as they dress themselves. Art is personal expression manifested through form and material. Interactivity is participation and exchange. Movement is organized events progressing toward an objective. Over the past 7 months, FAIM Internet Magazine has featured over 15 profiles and events taking place primarily in the Bay Area and New York City. At its peak, articles published every Tuesday by the end of the the West Coast business day. Still, the nascent publication has leaps and bounds to grow.

Therefore, as of Tuesday, July 28th, FAIM Internet Magazine is going underground for expansion. The response to the articles has been encouraging and appreciative. Also, opportunities have arisen to elaborate the operation, which will require development time underground. Stay tuned for short bites and clips like the one below, that will be released intermittently during the metamorphosis. FAIM Internet Magazine is on twitter; follow us for tweets announcing fresh content.

Harlem, NYC-June 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Artful Design of Afrikanation: Introducing Ebony Iman Dallas

Artist and Designer, Ebony Iman Dallas

The Artful Design of Afrikanation: Introducing Ebony Iman Dallas
by Jocelyn M. Goode, photos by Ebony I. Dallas

Throughout history, many artists have faced the challenge of applying their creative skills towards a tangible and relevant purpose. While art has the ability to evoke emotion and inspire action, it also can be devoid of direct meaning making it no more than a pleasurable yet superfluous commodity. Managing the freedom of expression against the purpose of resolution has been a balancing act that Ebony Iman Dallas embraces with her bourgeoning project, Afrikanation Art Exchange.

In the Spring of 2009, Ebony completed a Master of Fine Arts degreein Design from the California College of the Arts. The Afrikanation Art Exchange began as her thesis project designed to unite all people of African decent and supporters through art for community activism. In a recent interview with FAIM Internet Magazine Ebony states, "many of the challenges among African descendants worldwide are very similar and by joining hands, solutions can be created to dissolve them." The project is an organized collaboration between artists in Oakland, CA and artists in Burkina Faso and Mali.

Ebony (right) conducting an interview with an artist
On Friday, July 17, 2009 in Oakland, CA, emerging and established artists ranging from spoken word to musicians will share their art at the second Afrikanation event. Local community activists will speak and culinary masters will provide spicy jerk chicken and BBQ while raising funds for Art Esteem and Project Open Hand. Art Esteem is an organization that provides art therapy to over 3,500 Bay Area youth and Project Open Hand provides meals for over 2,500 people per year living with HIV/AIDS in the Bay Area. There is no cost to attend but donations will be taken to support these causes. Participating artists and vendors have agreed to donate 10% of sales to these organizations to continue their missions.
One of the speakers at the first Afrikanation event
Ebony's endeavors have already been received with success. The first Afrikanation event was entitled Pan-African Potluck and was simply an invitation for people to share artwork, food and music. This also took place at Coffee with a Beat in Oakland, CA with about seventy people in attendance. Local newspapers covered the event praising it for its originality and inclusiveness.

However, not everyone has been able to grasp the true purpose of Ebony's project. It is not often that artists of the African diaspora are the center of artistic dialogues. Because the project has such a specific focus, some dissuaders feel left out. When asked about her challenges with Afrikanation Art Exchange, Dallas shares, "this project may seem “exclusive” to some. The point of this project cannot be defined in such simple terms. It is a challenge to unify all people of African descent as well as supporters in order tackle issues in these communities. One huge issue that I would like to address in a big way is the HIV/AIDS crisis. These problems will not simply disappear by not talking about them. Anyone desiring to help is gladly welcome. "
Art by Ebony Iman Dallas
So what motivates a young artist to take boldly commit to an ambition of this size? Ebony Iman Dallas, originally from Oklahoma City, OK, is of African-American heritage with her mother and stepfather from the US and her father from Somalia. She moved to Oakland in 2004 to work at an advertising firm and soon found herself grappling with deeper issues as a designer and artist. The following is an except from our interview where she reveals her personal journey as a creator and innovator.
Art by Ebony Iman Dallas
FAIM: How would you describe yourself as an artist and your personal art?
EID: As an artist I am always looking for ways to challenge myself. I recently did my first live painting session at an open mic and I must say I was nervous at the thought! I did it because I knew that if I didn’t try it once that I would not know if I would a second time. Now I can say that I gladly would!
Art by Ebony Iman Dallas
FAIM: What are your major influences and sources of inspiration?
EID: Progressive people and spirituality. I know that I am not in this alone and that is the only thing that keeps me going.

Art by Ebony Iman Dallas
FAIM: What is the difference between art and design?
EID: Design is about problem resolution and art is about expressing ideas in a personal way.

FAIM: How do they work together?
EID: I’ve been trying to figure that one out myself! In my personal experience, my most successful design pieces (print and web design) began with art. I usually use charcoal to create iconic images then scan them into the computer and alter them. I am more comfortable using this method rather that going directly into the computer to create. Some people are the opposite, but this is what works for me.

FAIM: What are your greatest lessons learned as an artist and designer?
EID: The art vs. design discussion can stir up fiery conversations but for me it’s about accepting both the artist and designer in me, and not being afraid to admit it.

FAIM: Any advice that you would like to offer?
EID: Take chances. You never know what lies around the corner if you don’t. If you are unhappy with your place in life as it involves a job, relationship or other, take a chance and don’t be afraid to change! What do you have to lose? The only scary part is knowing you will be in the same place if you don’t!

Please go to HYPERLINK "http://www.eidart.com/afrikanation" www.eidart.com/afrikanation for more info or email Ebony at eid@eidart.com.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hollis Hip-Hopreneur-an Innerview with Orville Hall

Hollis Famous Burgers team with Chef Unique in the center and Orville Hall on the right
Hollis Hip-Hopreneur-an Innerview with Orville Hall
Story and photos by Jocelyn M. Goode

Hollis, Queens is famous for its rich legacy in producing Hip-Hop greats like Run-DMC, Jam Master Jay, Russell Simmons, Davy D., LL Cool J, Ed Lover, Irv Gotti and Ja Rule. Marketing mastermind Orville Hall has found a way to tell the story of his historic neighborhood lovingly dubbed "the Motown of Hip-Hop". On July 4, 2008, he opened the doors to Hollis Famous Burgers and the Hollis Hip-Hop Museum. The two-in-one combo offers a menu of soul food favorites with dinner plates at $7 and a $1 mini-burger which is made from fresh ground beef and seasoned to order. On Saturdays patrons can watch popular Hip-Hop and sports shows on flat screen televisions while enjoying the day's special of steamed crab legs.

Owner Orville Hall personally serves patrons every weekendThe restaurant and museum have two flat screen televisions and a computer with internet connection
Hip-Hop memorabilia adorn the walls of Hollis Famous Burgers, including an oversized, airbrushed mural of the late musical genius Jam Master Jay. Gold and platinum encased records, autographed photographs, swinging pairs of Adidas and other artifacts of Hip-Hop history certify that restaurant truly houses its own museum.

FAIM Internet Magazine, which is presently stationed in Hollis, Queens, had the chance to learn about what it really takes for Orville Hall to be a Hip-Hopreneur. The following is a paraphrased interview held on Sunday, June 28.

FAIM: When did you first open the doors to Hollis Famous Burgers and the Hollis Hip-Hop Museum?
OH: July 4, 2008.

FAIM: What is the significance in establishing Hollis Famous Burgers?
OH: This neighborhood has the most music culture in NYC.There was a time when we knew that, because we lived it. But we have forgotten it. The spot is here to remind young people of this neighborhood of who they are, and to inspire them. Hollis is one of the last American neighborhoods. Everybody knows each other. My kids have kids whose kids come here. We take pride in feeding people here.

Line Chef Vernita and a loyal neighborhood patron
FAIM: As an entrepreneur, what we were the factors you considered when making the decision to open?
OH: My entrepreneurial spirit made me try it! This was previously a restaurant that had been here for over 30 years and was closing down. Everyone on the walls of Hollis Famous Burgers had eaten there. It was a community place and a popular hangout for many people. It would have been terrible to lose the place. Where would everyone go?
I took out 401K money and just did it. I didn't think that much about it.
Chef Unique had been doing business with me for a while. Having her made it feel easier because I knew I had a cook. Not knowing about the business beforehand, I came up with a good selling structure where I don't have to waste much.
It was the entrepreneurial spirit that made me jump and do it.
It's a very hard business--the food business. But I didn't think much about it.

Head Chef UniqueGrill Chef Harold
FAIM: What is your professional background and training? How did they impact your capabilities for this venture?
OH: For 15 years, I was the Director of Urban Marketing for Adidas. In 2008, I became the Global Marketing Consultant for FILA. Also, I am Director of Marketing for Polo Grounds Music/J Records which is home to artists like Hurricane Chris, Pitbull, Nina Sky and Yo Gotti.
The part of my experience that I utilized most was the marketing side--recognizing a great story, telling the history of Hip-Hop in Hollis, Queens and packaging the story of this neighborhood. We didn't ask anyone for help, not from none of the celebrities on the wall. We built it.

FAIM: What were your first 6 months like?
OH: We had to learn how to buy food and how to manage amounts to make a profit because at the end of the week you need physical cash to pay everyone.
I also knew that I had to make the place bigger than the people who stand outside of it. We keep our doors open for people to hang out and talk, even after we shut down the kitchen. We have held free Thanksgiving Dinners, Free Kids days in the park and toy drives for the Britney House which is a shelter for young mothers. This is a community business--anyone who comes in here and is hungry, we feed 'em, we don't turn anyone away.

Destiney, Hollis Famous Burgers cashier
FAIM: What role do you want the community to play? How do you want them to interact with your businesses?
OH: I want them to support it. I want them to eat here. I built in their face so people could see the process from scratch. Some businesses cover up their front windows when building so it can be a surprise when it opens. We didn't. We let everyone see that we built this ourselves. We don't hide the struggle of running this business from the community. It's hard! Everyone saw when they came and repossessed my car right from in front of the restaurant. And everyone saw when I got it back.

FAIM: What has been the greatest surprise, something unexpected but a blessing that happened?
OH: We got a write-up in the New York Times for our grand opening. It was a great surprise because the NY Times goes out to the world. They really praised us.
Just as important is the exposure we received from The Village Voice, History Channel and BET Behind the Scenes.
Tourists have come from Japan, London, Norway and Australia. It's validating because they expect it not to be as good as what they have heard and they leave here happy.

FAIM: What advice do you have for those considering becoming entrepreneurs?
OH: When you are an entrepreneur, look at everything as money. Look at how you can connect your dots, find a way to make it all work together
I want people to take from this that it doesn't matter what you want to do, just try! It's not gonna be easy, it's not gonna be peaches and cream but you hang in there.

To learn more about Hollis Famous Burgers and the Hollis Hip Hop Museum, visit www. hollisfamousburgers.com