DAZE G.S.D.: Waking Up Hip-Hop from Her Coma

The Makings of DAZE GSD

On stage or sitting in a coffee shop, DAZE brings with him the same sincerity that he puts into his music. Born Michael Braxton, this Bronx native is doing plenty to take his music and his company Get Shit Done Worldwide (G.S.D.) global. On the grind for 11 years now, DAZE found his “first love, my first drug” in High school. At the age of 17, he began manipulating his poetry school assignments into messages for the masses. He recalls his music lair being equipped with nothing more than a PlayStation, the FunkMaster MTV Music Generator video game, and headphones he used as a microphone. He shares, “My cousin connected the PlayStation to the stereo to the computer. That was our first studio. If we messed up, we would have to record the whole song all over again. That was crazy”

His music alias DAZE started out as a neighborhood nickname. Soon the Bronx rapper discovered his mic delivered bars left his audience in the daze he was named after.

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Beatles Busker Swoons NYC

A sound wafts down the corridor under 14th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, greeting passengers getting on and off the L, F, and red line trains. Caught in swatches at first, it slowly becomes familiar, a melody heard a thousand times before. Recognition clicks as the source comes into view: it’s an old Beatles tune, sung in a slightly nasal tenor reminiscent of the young John Lennon. When speaking, however, Zack Heru’s voice is a scratchy baritone.

“I’m here to be seen, to be spotted. It’s an advertisement,” the Beatles busker says. “Too many talented people die unnoticed, like apples on a tree.”

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A Conversation with Musical Superheroes Rachel Zamstein and Dave Ruckel

When guitarist Dave Ruckel pulled up a quaint dark green chair for singer and songwriter Rachel Zamstein on one somewhat gloomy afternoon, the gloom element of the afternoon faded away in the background, never to return again, or decided to at least hold off until Saturday – literally.

Though feeling under the weather that day, Rachel came out of her New York nook while Dave sacrificed his lunch time to give us a slice of their talent at Caffé Reggio. A classically-trained musician since age four, Rachel has been creating music ever since she can remember and will continue to do so, until maybe a little less than forever.

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Art Model by Day, DJ Shred by Night

Last December, YNY introduced D.J. / actress Lisa Sredniawski in Stimulation for the Actors Soul. In that article, we explored art modeling as a creative and fun option for actresses like Lisa to earn a living. Along with the opportunity to work with like-minded artistic individuals, Lisa told YNY “It’s freeing not having to work in a stuffy, corporate office with a mandatory dress-code and a monotonous daily routine.”

In addition to art modeling, Lisa works as a DJ. DJing gives Lisa the same freedom she found in art modeling, but in a non-confining environment. Her passion for music soon became a second career after taking a friend’s suggestion to play music that she likes at parties by becoming a disc jockey.  Now, Lisa spins at local underground clubs, lounges, and bars. Choosing the DJ name DJ Shred, Lisa has been turning tunes since January of 2005,

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Astoria Boulevard: A Folk Trio out of Queens

Three grey suits with skinny red ties adorn the men who have just silenced the audience seconds after starting their set. On stage in Soho’s The Living Room, the boys of Astoria Boulevard hold the audience still as they open up acapella. Each voice blending into the other, the chord of three then breaks out their instruments. Dan Scott switches back and forth between a guitar and ukulele, Philip Drennen leads with vocals shaking a tambourine or maracas, and Max Demers hits the harmonica and plays acoustic guitar.

Classified as an indie-folk/pop band, the trio has been performing together since 2009. The charm that engages their audience has much to do with their chemistry. “You can make a lot of things happen but you can’t force chemistry. People can feel it and have fun watching. It’s just the indefinable quality,” explains Philip.

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The Vinny Brusco Show: The Seinfeld of Internet Radio

Host Vinny Brusco, 27

The small radio studio can barely fit the personalities behind the mics.  With no real premise of the show besides shooting the shit with your high school buddies, the hosts of The Vinny Brusco Show shift topics from blow up dolls to Carmen’s 14 month old son to proper ass to toilet etiquette effortlessly. They try to start to show with a hard worked honest agenda, only to be thrown in several tangents, with glorious results. Vinny Brusco, Steve Sajdak, and Carmen DiFabio make up the unique personalities that give voice to the 80’s babies covering all topics that interest them and their audience. Carmen, known as the creep able to handle any and all callers, handles the soundboard. Steve, the pretentious raging liberal, offers his smarter than you opinion. Vinny, the voice of reason in a tie, leads the show. 

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The Art of Tattooing

Ever wonder about the world of tattooing? Not just the technique behind an ink soaked needle, but the passion that goes into creating art on skin? To get an in-depth look at the artistic side of tattooing, I recently met up with tattoo artist Jeremy Garrett – a.k.a. NYARTMAN. Garrett discovered his calling at the School of Visual Arts. Always passionate about illustration, Garrett’s career in tattoo artistry was something that happened accidently. Garrett explains “it started when a friend of mine asked me to give him a tattoo. Back then, I was actually very snobbish about tattoos. [Tattooing] gave me a chance to do art and earn extra cash…Word got around about my work, and soon I was doing tattoos for kids all over campus and beyond” From that point on, Garrett’s love for tattooing flourished as he began to develop a serious business from a hobby.

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Achille Raspantini: Never Afraid to Take a Chance

President and owner of Technical Operations, Achille Raspantini, started Technical Operations with $25 and someone else’s beeper. What began as a two-people business has now expanded into a full-service engineering company specializing in audio-video maintenance, broadcast engineering, information technology and multimedia services.

Having hand picked each of his two hundred employees, Achille also personally manages each relationship with his five hundred clients. “Our first priority at Technical Operations is customer service.

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YNY Careers: Solid and Heavy Business Advice from an Ultralight Guru

Very few people may remember what they were doing when they were three years old, but Graham Lawlor, has a memory forever etched in his mind – making his first sale. He sold a kindle of wood for 10 cents to his neighbor, an item manufactured in-house by his father for the family fireplace. The sale was made at a massively discounted price; the original price he offered was $10.00. Though Graham is unsure of where the profit went, the childhood event offered an amazing glimpse at his budding passion for the world of entrepreneurship.

Fast-track a few decades later, Graham found himself climbing the corporate ladder at Deutsche Bank. While working there, he developed what he calls as the “ideas file”, where he lists down business ventures he hopes to one day implement. From random ideas to inspiring thoughts, Graham’s eagle eyes for spotting possibilities led him to generate more than 70 business ideas over the years.

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The Scribe Who Blogs the Beat of Gotham

Very few people would criticize the New York Times as a credible editorial source, and even fewer would do so if invited by the newspaper giant itself for an executive event. But Jake Dobkin’s deep-seated need to be authentic trumps any fear of intimidation, even by an iconic behemoth.

Around the same time last year, Times media critic, David Carr, invited Dobkin to be part of a panel of executives for the paper’s event. Carr sent him guide questions via e-mail in preparation to the imminent competition between blogs and newspapers, where it asked about Times position as a credible editorial resource for New York’s political and cultural affairs. “But the mention of the Times as a ‘credible editorial resource’ sent Dobkin off on a rampage of a response, berating the paper in an email that he also posted on his public Facebook,” reported Joe Coscarelli of the Daily News, who wrote about what Dobkin describes as “one of my more amusing escapades.”

“After I wrote that e-mail, they still graciously allowed me to appear on the panel, where I said much the same stuff to the senior staff at The Times. They listened politely and then David escorted me out of the building, never to be invited back,” said Dobkin. His authority on the field of local blogging is centered on the fact that he had built one of the biggest and most read local blog in New York, the Gothamist.

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