John Yianni Stamas writes a kind of non article for Bronx News NY. You see, Stamas was supposed to meet with Big Foot Zombie at Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in New York City at 2,765 acres in size. John and BFZ has a special place they usually meet at in the park where the big hairy one resides. John, against his judgement, left his quarantine location in Manhattan in the face of COVID-19 to meet with Mr. Zombie because BFZ was upset that Stamas had not updated his blog in six months.
John had been asked by Bronx News NYC to write a post for their blog and John Yianni Stamas thought that a chat with one of the Bronx’s most popular mythical creatures, would uplift BFZ’s sad mood. Unfortunately, Big Foot Zombie did not show up at their regular meeting spot. Therefore this post is a kind of non article and is more a piece about writing an entry about nothing except getting stood up by the big guy.
Mr. Stamas returned to his social distancing location and continued work with his collaborators on a new website called USA How To. Big Foot Zombie later claimed that he had shown up, but to a different location which he mistakenly thought was the correct one. He had been under the impression that John wanted to get together in front of the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage.
We’ve been talking about Bronx folks lately who have gone on to be quite successful. This time we are going to discuss Chazz Palminteri. He is an actor, screenwriter, film producer and playwright. The years he has been active in the entertainment field is 1984–present. He has a website which is www.chazzpalminteri.net We also thank Wikipedia for their help in telling the Chazz Palminteri story at
Chazz is an Academy Award Nominee
He is perhaps best known for his Academy Award-nominated role for Best Supporting Actor in Bullets over Broadway as well as the 1993 film A Bronx Tale, based on his play of the same name, Special Agent Dave Kujan in The Usual Suspects, Primo Sidone in Analyze This and his recurring role as Shorty in Modern Family.
He is a Part of a Tradition
Bronx-born and raised Chazz Palminteri was a natural choice to continue the long line of prominent Italian actors in the film industry. In the tradition set forth in the 1970s by such icons as director Martin Scorsese and actors Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, Palminteri has brought grit, muscle and an evocative realism to the sidewalks of his New York neighborhood, violent as they are and were.
His Early Days in the Bronx
Born in 1952, Palminteri grew up in a tough area of the Bronx and it gave young Calogero (Palminteri’s given first name) the life lessons that would later prove very useful to his career. He started out pursuing his craft in studying at the Actor’s Studio with Lee Straussberg. He appeared off-Broadway in the early 1980s while paying his dues as a singer in his own band.
He Stuck to His Guns
Well known for A BRONX TALE, Palminteri originally wrote the script for the stage and performed it as a one-man show in Los Angeles. It became the hottest property in Hollywood since ROCKY. Mr. Palminteri was offered over a million dollars to walk away from the project and with $200.00 left in the bank he refused. He wanted to play Sonny and write the screenplay.
Enter Robert DeNiro
One night Robert DeNiro walked in to see the show and as they say ”the rest is history.” He then moved the production to New York, where it played for four sold-out months and earned him nominations for the New York Outer Critics Circle for both acting and writing.
Starring with DeNiro
While in New York he completed the screenplay of A BRONX TALE and soon found himself starring opposite Robert DeNiro, who chose the script for his directorial debut. Most recently A Bronx Tale was on Broadway at the Longacre Theater where is finished a successful run and Mr. Palminteri finished closing out the show in the role of Sonny.
A Man of Many Credits
Chazz has more than 50 movies to his credit including The Usual Suspects, Bullets Over Broadway (Academy Award nomination), Analyze This, Hurlyburly, Mulholland Falls, Faithful (screenplay also written by Chazz Palminteri), Poolhall Junkies, The Perez Family, Jade, Diabolique, Down to Earth and A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.
And Even More Credits
Recent films include Final Recourse, Mighty Fine starring Andie MacDowell, Yonkers Joe, Jolene and The Dukes. He has also directed the HBO series “Oz” (episode, “Unnatural Disasters”), Showtime’s “Women vs.Men” and the feature film Noel, starring Susan Sarandon, Penelope Cruz, Robin Williams and Paul Walker. He appeared on the New York stage in the play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui starring with Al Pacino, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Billy Crudup. Chazz is a member of the Actors Studio in NYC.
Chazz Has Been Recognized for his Achievements
Chazz received the 1996 Leadership in Entertainment Award from the Coalition of Italo-American Association, Inc. and was honored by President Clinton with a Special Achievement Award for the Performing Arts from the National Italian American Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Chazz Now Lives in Weschester County
Chazz currently resides in Weschester County, NY with his lovely wife, Gianna and their two children, Dante Gabriella.
Although Billy Joel was born in the Bronx he didn’t grow up there so it’s possible he never learned the nicknames for his birthplace including “the boogie down Bronx,” “El Bronx,” “the borough of salsa” and certainly not “the borough that Ruth built.” Now Mr. Joel is world and online famous with many fans including BigFoot Zombie who’s favorite song by Billy is “Captain Jack”.
Where Was Billy Raised?
He grew up in Hicksville, on Long Island in the Town of Oyster Bay. Interestingly enough, he is the offspring of Howard Joel, a European-born Jewish immigrant.
Did the Bronx Influence Joel’s Songwriting?
Yes it did. Just as where he was raised in Long Island also had an impact.
His Mom Insisting that He Learn to Play the Piano Paid Off
Growing up, Billy Joel was pressured into playing the piano by his mother which turned out to be a good thing. In fact, he even dropped out of high school to pursue a musical career. Before hitting the bigtime he was in two short-lived bands, The Hassles and Attila.
We did some research on The Hassles and discovered that the original line-up of the group consisted of vocalist John Dizek, guitarist Richard McKenna, drummer Jon Small, and organist Harry Weber. Weber got kicked out of the group with Howie Arthur Blauvelt taking on the base, while Billy Joel came in on the keyboards.
What is Billy Joel’s Position on the Loch Ness Monster?
As far as we were able to tell, Mr. Joel has never commented on whether or not he believes in the Loch Ness Monster, let alone BigFoot Zombie. Also, none of his songs reflect an interest in so-called mythic creatures. Though, the Loch Ness Monster is pretty famous so maybe Joel has at least heard of her.
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For those of you in the know, you’ve probably heard already that BigFootZombie was spotted in the Bronx. I was one of the people (in addition to Amanda) to actually see the hairy creature and be invited to dinner that strange morning. BigFoot Zombie, I thought this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up even though I wasn’t dressed properly for a dinner invitation.
I know what you’re saying, why did BigFoot Zombie invite you to dinner just after the sun had risen, and my response to that is that I’m not quite sure. It’s not because I wanted to get written up in Celebify.com.
A Different Timetable
But he did have an extraordinary wine list for being Sasquatch Undead. Who would think that BigFoot’s and Zombies’ relative would be so versed in the fruits of the vines? He offered Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay. I was impressed. Of course it was a bit early for that sort of thing but I guess he has his one timetable for wine o’clock.
Didn’t Have My Brand
But here’s the really interesting thing. Afterwards he offered all cigars, I didn’t smoke one because he didn’t have my brand which is Gurkha Black Dragons. Now that’s a cigar. At any rate, that wasn’t the thing I am talking about. I’m talking about when he began telling us after dinner stories.
The Quandary of Fame UnFame
He didn’t hold back and sobbed on occasion. I guess being a mythological creature in the age of so called “fake news” makes it even harder on those who are considered fake. He discussed how his pal the Loch Ness Monster who has a smart phone just like him (he doesn’t have an iPhone because even for a famous creature like him, they’re a bit too pricey) would talk endlessly about the difficulty involved with being known yet unknown. I mentioned to him that I read about him in BigFoot Zombie which seemed to calm him down a bit.
Only a Special Effect?
He said that the reason that no one is able to get a good picture of himself or Lochy (his pet name for the “dragon”) is because they feel obligated to stay out of the public’s eye because it makes their legendary status more tantalizing. He explained that if he came forward on a television network or Celebify for example, people would think he was the product of special effects like they use in movies.
At this point BFZ leaned in toward me and said:
“I don’t want to be thought of as someone who is a mere FX.”
Some call it grounding celebifying, but from the very beginning Jennifer Lopez appreciated the hard work that her parents went through to keep food on the table. This positive work ethic was to serve her in her ascent.
Drive has an Arc
From day 1 it seems that Jennifer Lopez had drive and determination and knew what she wanted in her DigiComArts process: stardom. At least this appeared to be true in her early years but as she has gotten older she seems to have matured and is clearer about her wants and needs. Or so it seems
Birth and the Early Years
Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born July 24, 1969. Her nickname is “J-Lo.” When you break it down now she has 4 personas which are actress, singer, dancer and producer. Some of you who are older may recall that she got her start as a Fly Girl Dancer on the program “In Living Color.” Dance took her to her first step but while still working on “In Living Color” she made the conscious choice that she wanted more.
So in order to achieve her dream of being an actress and not just a dancer she worked hard to celebify herself going to casting calls and learning the business. This pursuit continued from 1993 to 1997 when she landed the opportunity of a lifetime playing Selena in the biography movie. This was Jennifer Lopez’ first leading role. And during this period she earned an astounding 1 million dollars and was also in the motion pictures Anocanda (199z) and Out of Sight (1998).
A Cool Head on her Shoulders
Somehow during this dizzying time of mega success she was able to keep a cool head on her shoulders using the DigiComArts process. Many people who achieve success like this never get past initially finding achieving that success. But J-Lo’s drive served her again as she continued to climb and establish herself.
Home Town Connection
Sometimes having drive without a clear plan can be daunting, but even though she initially was confused of what steps to take she eventually got it together and continued to grow into the person she is today. Jennifer Lopez’s drive and work ethic have served her well. Even though Jennifer was out of the Bronx she never forgot where she came from and visits the Bronx occasionally.
Someone is claiming they saw Bigfoot Zombie in the Bronx. Exactly where we’re not sure. But we do know that this person alleges that the sighting was of Bigfoot Zombie and not just Bigfoot.
The thing that makes this so remarkable (if it’s true) is that BFZ would have had to travel from downtown Manhattan to the Bronx which is a bit of a distance and if you’re big and furry you don’t exactly fit in.
De Niro’s Haunt
You see, another so-called observance of Bigfoot Zombie occurred in Tribeca. This other witness tell the story of getting a coffee on her way to work and then when she took her first sip, she says she literally bumped into Bigfoot.
What Was the Experience Like?
The woman in the Tribeca instance assured us that Bigfoot Zombie was very polite and when she spilled coffee on herself bumping into Sasquatch Undead, he said “Excuse me” and even offered to get her dress cleaned.
Bronx Arts Ensemble is doing a lot for the Bronx. They reach kids through arts education and live performance. The mission of the Bronx Arts Ensemble is
“to bring music and related arts to Bronx schools and neighborhoods. We contribute to the cultures of our Bronx communities through live performances and innovative arts education that stimulate creativity, imagination, and aspirations.”
Their education programs include Art, Music, Dance/Movement and Theater.
Saraciea Fennel is the founder of the Bronx Book Festival and was featured recently in the New York Times. She is yet another example here at BronxNewsNYC of a person who is making a difference in her community. Thanks Saraciea!
“I attended my first book festival as an adult in Brooklyn,” said Saraciea Fennell. “I thought to myself, ‘This is amazing. Why doesn’t the Bronx have something like this?’”
Here’s a Description of the Bronx Book Festival as Seen on their Website
“The Bronx Book Festival aims to promote literacy and foster a love of reading among children, teens, and adults. The festival will cover a wide range of topics relevant to the Bronx community through panels, workshops, and more with award-winning and bestselling authors, illustrators, and creators. The festival will help build the reading culture in the Bronx and become the premier literary experience open to Bronx residents and the general public.”
Here’s another Interesting Caption from the Bronx Book Festival Website
“Many children attending Title I schools in the Bronx have never owned their own books or experienced an author visit. The Bronx Book Festival aims to change that with The Bronx is Reading. This literacy program seeks to create an interest for reading among young people while also promoting reading and writing skills through engaging author visits, reading group guides from publishers, and new books for children. The Bronx Book Festival will also donate books to each participating school’s library for all students to enjoy.”
Bronx resident and artist Jerome LaMaar, who is known as “The Wiz of Bruckner Boulevard,” has a Bronx rebranding mission as seen in the “NY Times:”
“I want to be the Jeffrey Kalinsky of Bruckner Boulevard,” Jerome LaMaar said, referring to the merchant whose luxury fashion emporium was vital in transforming the once gritty meatpacking district into a high-style fashion destination.”
“The Bronx 200 site is a dynamic, online platform that showcases a curated selection of artwork by two hundred artists identified with The Bronx. Artists were invited to participate by curators and art professionals working in the borough. The curators were asked to recommend artists whose work represents the rich and diverse range of creative production here.”
Artists Seeking Space
And the “NY Post” adds that for artists seeking larger spaces and a creative haven, the Bronx may be the last bastion for artistic individuals:
“Currently, renting a Bronx art studio — where tenants often also live — will set you back anywhere from $400 to $2,000 per month, while the median Manhattan residential rent is $3,300 and Brooklyn’s totals $2,775, according to The Elliman Report for March. Square footage is more generous in the Bronx compared with other heavyweight art districts. Also, due to the Bronx’s existing ties to the arts — after all, hip hop and graffiti were basically born here — there is a kindred sensibility already present.”
“Despite the recent upsurge in interest in Riverdale, area residents have painstakingly preserved and maintained their neighborhood’s personality, charm, green spaces, and historical and cultural attractions. And that says Jurist is why she wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
The Bronx in some instances is a challenging place to live. And the media tends to gravitate toward negative stories about the Bronx because they seem to believe that negative news will catch the attention of readers with topics including murder, bullying and so forth.
We of Bronx News NYC wanted to look for positive stories in the Bronx and we found some! We will be covering those stories today. They include “How ElevateNewYork.org Changed the Life of of a Young Man Named Elvis,” “BizJournals.com’s Story on How the Bronx went from urban wasteland to success story in 40 years” and “Woman from the Bronx Becomes a Doctor Because of Her Love of Learning at the New York Public Library.”
How ElevateNewYork.org Changed the Life of of a Young Man and Bronx Resident Named Elvis
Elevate New York reports on Elvis, a young man attending Banana Kelly High School. Someone named Kevin Singleton would visit Elvis’ school in the South Bronx to speak with the students. One day he came with a special guest by the name of Kevin McGovern, a very successful entrepreneur. Elvis remembers that day like it was yesterday. It turned out that Elvis wasn’t in the classes where Kevin McGovern was going to speak. Elvis skipped on of his classes just to take part in one of those talks. Kevin McGovern shared the story of his life and all the obstacles he had overcome. One thing he stated that has stuck with Elvis was “You can achieve the impossible; you have to break it into possible steps.”
Elvis says that during his time at the Elevate classroom, He had the opportunity to learn many life changing skills for success. One of those skills was “Responsibility.” In the classroom this was very important; because the seven character qualities he and is fellow students learned from Kevin Singleton were the skills Elvis then would teach the fourth and fifth graders once a week. So Elvis’ responsibly was building a relationship with these younger students and letting them know that anything in life is possible if you work hard for it. Good job Elvis! See whole story here.
BizJournals.com’s Story on How the Bronx went from Urban Wasteland to a Success Story in 40 years
Biz Journals did an interview with Ruben Diaz Jr., a Bronx Native. Here’s part of that interview:
44-year-old Diaz, describes the borough’s strengths and what has enabled it to bounce back.
New York Business Journal: The Bronx was once called an urban wasteland, but now is considered an urban success story. What turned it around?
Diaz: We’re been working hard at changing the negative images and stereotypes. It’s taken decades of work, meeting with local community leaders, residents, police departments, and chambers of commerce.
President Ruben Diaz Jr. reports that between 2009 and 2016, $12.7 billion has been invested in development, leading to 29,000 units of housing, including 17,000 subsidized and 12,000 unsubsidized apartments.
More than 110,000 Bronx residents have secured jobs, dropping the unemployment level to 6.6 percent. The population has spiked, from 1.2 million in 1990 to 1.46 million in 2015 (slightly shy of Philadelphia’s). Good job Mr. Diaz! See whole story here.
Woman from the Bronx Becomes a Doctor Because of Her Love of Learning at the New York Public Library
On the New York Public Library’s website is a story about Dr. Ini Udoh. She immigrated to the United States as a young child, grew up in the Bronx amid poverty but near a welcoming branch library with a wealth of resources. She used the library as her study space through college before going away to medical school. Now a full-fledged doctor in the Bronx, Ini has come back to the “community that raised me.” Good job Dr. Ini Udoh! See whole story here.