Harlem Derby: Music Festival 2021.

After over a year since the pandemic, Harlem Derby returns to Harlem with it’s May 1st 2021 inaugural Music Fest hosted by Cecil Steak House/Minton’s Playhouse, with Sonya Hensley as M.C.

Rob Owen

Rob Owens annual Harlem Derby Events seem to evolve each year (minus 2020) into a full blown Harlem happening occasion where everyone is dressed their Harlem Best!

The annual Harlem Derby Event this year kicks off with the Harlem Derby Music Festival honoring black jockeys and horsemen.

Leah Pearson-Finnie
Diane Sweet

Of course all of the beautiful & handsome harlemites came out to the music fest. The ladies hats and dresses are a big deal at the annual derby events, as one pretty young lady or dashing gent can win the Best dressed Award!

Vivian Akinyi
Harlem Derby Fest Guest
Harlem Derby Fest Guest
Harlem Derby Fest Guests
Jamie Ambler and Fest Guest
Madame L’ianna
Harlem Derby Fest Guests
Harlem Derby Fest Guest
Rob Owens & Sonya Hensley
Harlem Derby Fest Guests
Master of Ceremonies: Sonya Hensley
Harlem Derby Fest Guests

The Harlem Derby Music Fest featured: Crag Harris and Tail Gate Tales, along with many others. And did I mention a mini (fashion) parade and marching band!

Harlem Derby Fashion Parade
Harlem Derby Fest Guest
Harlem Derby Fashion Parade
Harlem Derby Fashion Parade
Harlem Derby Fest Guest
Lianna won Best Dressed Female
Mike Strange

I on the other hand had a wonderful time, and can’t wait till next year Harlem Derby Events.

Until next year I will…..see you at the races!


Jean Germain does Art Basil: Miami Florida.

20191208_105559On December 6th 2019, Style X Florida invited The Elegant Classy Gentleman Magazine to their exclusive Art Basel events. Logistical Executive Jean Germain flew out to the Mondrian South Beach Hotel in Miami Florida to cover the Art Basel shows.

20200123_023222 Courtesy of Style X we were send tickets to the Leidy Mazo Art Basel Pool Soiree.


20200123_024803Next Jean attended the Raul Penaranda Art Basel Cocktail Party Designer Presentation. 

Screenshot_20200123-111911_MessengerJean also got to attend the Draya Michele Mint Swimwear Art Basel Pool Soiree, and the Style X Sayco Williams Art Basel Pool Soiree both courtesy of Style X Miami .

And of course the amazing art work of some of the most talented artists.



20200123_112807Some of the art installations were most breathtaking and seasoned with sensational creativity.






We will return to Art Basel in 2020 to bring you more comprehensive coverage of this annual iconic artistic event.


(Jean Germain)


Mike Strange: Editor in chief

Jean Germain: Logistical Executive

Jessica Phillip: Business/Marketing Executive

Style X Miami 

Mondrian South Beach Hotel

Art Basel Miami 

The Arts: Savior Elmundo 3D Letter Show in Tribeca.

On October 16th I received a text from Jean Germain (My logistical executive) asking if I’m going to the “show” that night. “What show”? I responded, and a few seconds later I saw an invite to Savior Elmundo’s show for 6pm. Why didn’t I know about this beforehand? I asked myself, (more on this later) and immediately checked my schedule for the rest of the evening, to make sure that I could arrive on time, or at all for that matter as it was raining cats and dogs that day.

20191018_090628(Artist: Savior Elmundo)

Seeing that I didn’t have any pressing matters for that night, I made my way downtown to Tribeca in Manhattan to the loft art gallery where he was having his solo 3D Letter Show. Now I first met Savior last year at a brunch art show on Canal Street that he curated, which I liked so much I covered it (while having brunch) and wrote an article.


At the brunch art show there were a host of other artist creating and showcasing their work, but my conversation with Savior Elmundo was the most interesting. While speaking with him I found myself captivated by his stories and was also very impressed by his “Street Art” creations.

20191102_164442So I arrived downtown to the gallery (soaking wet) despite my umbrella and got on the elevator to the fourth floor I think and entered into Savior’s street art presentation.

20191102_164210I spotted Savior and walked over to say hello, and he expressed that he was glad that I could make it to his show (unaware that I just found out today), and to peruse his work, and so I did.

20191102_163857Whenever I see Savior, I’m taken back to the 1980’s as he reminds me of Keith Herring and even dresses like the street “Tag” artist of that era, like he time traveled through the decades to bring the 80’s scene and art back with him. 20191102_164527

Savior Elmundo’s work is quite authentic, and rich with the feeling and vibe of that wonderful decade which he brings to life in his art work.





20191102_163217I left his show with Jean and our other two companions and we ventured back into the rain to find a suitable place to eat in Tribeca. But I’m still thinking of why I did not know of the this show earlier, I mean we are friends on Instagram……Yes INSTAGRAM! I check my instagram account and discover that somehow I stopped following him on my account (how could this happen), and during the course of my investigation, I discover that it happened to other friends of mine. I checked and they too were “unfollowed” by me but not by my design. I corrected this mishap and will be more vigilant in the future.

20191103_153910Follow this talented “Street Artist” on Instagram: @saviorelmundo

And to quote this artistic gentleman: “STOP BITCHING AND MAKE ART!”



Harlem Twin Art: Duel Inspirations Art Show.

20190729_140315On a Saturday July 20th (a pivotal day for me) while on my way to a restaurant review in Harlem with Jean Germain (my logistical executive) as we had just finished covering a summer fashion show on the Hudson, and happened upon an event happening at the


20190729_144316Venue: (located at 2284 Adam Clayton Powell BLVD). Jean actually prompted us to go in and check out this Art Opening by these twin sister artists: Dual Inspirations.


Harlem Twin Art: are Kristan and Kendal Harden.  Pretty, Intelligent, Black, and Beautiful, these twin sister artists have a statement to make, and they express them in their artistic works that goes from black-centric themes to Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Abstract pieces.


Kendal is an educator and artist by trade, and studied at Spelman College, and Kristan studied fashion merchandising at F.I.T. and is concentrating on her love of creating an art business with her twin sister/partner. However both attended Frederick Douglass Academy which was just a few blocks away.


After being served Hor D’oeuvres, Wine and Beer, myself and Jean inspected the various works of these twin beauties and was a bit more than impressed with the artistic talents they presented in their art.


“I Love Unicorns” says Kristen.

20190729_140342Fantasy and surrealism is a recurring theme in the works of these twins.


Two days later I got together with Kristen and Kendal at Ruby’s Vintage Harlem for a sit down and get to know these energetic and deep twins. We made ourselves comfortable at a table and began to chat over appetizers and drinks. Before I knew it we were talking like we knew each other longer than anyone would have guessed, like old friends.

20190723_204202We talked about so many things (even though I had a list of questions to ask them), and were so comfortable covering the most personal and private topics. I finally got around to asking the pre-set questions, and for some reason felt like they answered all the questions way before I got to the list. These sister artists are so philosophically, spiritually, and humanly deep. And they also posses a charm and modesty that most women lack on their best days.

20190724_112343To view or purchase more of their works.

Visit their website: www.harlemtwinartllc.com or check them out on Instagram:  harlem.twin.art








SFA PROJECTS ART EXHIBITION: Attasit Pokpong’s The Blooming of New Sense (Self).

SFA Projects has opened an exhibition in their gallery for Thailand-based artist Attasit Pokpong’s for a one person show, which is a first for this artist in New York.


The artist who is very well-regarded in Southeast Asia, became famous for his signature portraiture style of a Sino-Asian woman utilizing a repetition of this single form in which he created a recognizable icon.


 While following another lead to track down the “Mastermind” agent: Raya13 recieved an “Intelligence” tip that we might find an encoded message (hiding in plain sight) at this particular art exhibition.

20190323_162819The artist Attasit Pokpong attempts to demonstrate “the process of becoming” to explain transformative action through shape and form.

20190323_162450“In Eastern thought, all life runs in cycles”

20190323_162614“A container for increasinly complex paintings-within-paintings”

“It is a time of a blooming-self”

20190323_162651“Opening a road to the possibility of an artistic exlporation”

20190323_162717Considered as a rising star of Thaland’s contemporary art scene, Attasit Pokpong has done exhibitions in Hong Kong, Paris, Dublin, Brussels, London, Shanghai and New York.

Pokpong’s exhibition is showcased at SFA PROJECTS, located 131 Chrystie Street, New York, NY. Gallery Hours: Thurs/Fri 2pm-8pm, Sat/Sun 1pm-8pm. The gallery showing runs from March 14th through April 7th 2019.

Stop by before April 7th and see if you can find the “Hidden Message” in the gallery that will provide a lead to the “Masterminds” next target!

“The Games Afoot”!

Drips Live Art & Brunch Experience: Featuring Street Artist Zimer.

On March 23rd I attended the Drips live art & Brunch event at Rice & Gold located next (actually attached) to Hotel 50 Bowery on 50 Bowery (of course) in Chinatown for a live (Street art) and brunch event. While the concept is not new, it was a hell of an experience (and good time).


The show featuring street artist Zimer, with a host of other very talented street artist, painting portraits right before my eyes while I noshed on a delicious brunch of Asian cuisine which consisted of Pork & Shrimp Dumplings , Steak Tartare Tartlets, Rice Cake Skewers w/ Miso Glaze, Lemongrass Pork Skewers, Congee w/ all the fixings for an hour.


The next hour I was offered Bacon, Egg and Cheese Fried Rice, Veggie Noodle Supreme, Thai Chicken Wings & Waffles at a buffet station, and an hour after that a one hour carving station of: Char Siu, Pickled Daikon, Roasted Kimchi. Now if that was not enough it ended with a Dessert station of: French Toast Bar, Ice cream, with toppings of rainbow sprinkles, vanilla whipped cream, and caramel.

There was also a sangria special for $6.00 as well as complimentary red wine by: by Intrinsic Wine Co, with Zimer’s Art work on the bottle!


While I ate a host of incredible street artist’s turned blank canvases into full blown works of art!

20190323_155501(Artist: Rayneese Primrose and her portrait of Rihanna)

20190323_151815(Artist: Savior Elmundo who curated the street artists for the event)



20190325_130925(Street Artist: Tommy Re)

20190325_130727(DJ Tahliem kept the beats going the whole time)

(Artist: Evan Campanella)


20190323_151205(Art by: Ronnie)

In addition to all the excitement was meeting up with good friend Jean Germain  and his boy Rob, and the meeting of new friends.



Special thanks to Rice & Gold manager Justin Gonzalez (who is also Director of Food & Beverage) for his gracious hospitality, and for showing me around the spacious venues of Hotel 50 Bowery!

20190325_131224(Savior Elmundo & Rice & Gold manager Justin Gonzalez)


Now that I had my fill of good food, great drinks, fabulous street art, and wonderful company in Chinatown, I must now head back to Harlem (there seems to be trouble brewing) after receiving a covert message that a “Mastermind” is planning to launch an act of CHAOS!


Hotel 50 Bowery

Rice & Gold

Intrinsic Wine Co

Justin Gonzalez

Jean Germain

Savior Elmundo

Rayneese Primrose


Evan Campanella

Tommy Re

DJ Tahliem


Hashimoto Contemporary: Showcases French Artist/Illustrator Petites Luxures.

On Sat Jan 5th I attended the opening of French illustrator Petites Luxures at Hashimoto Contemporary art gallery on the Lower East Side. In this inaugural solo exhibition the artist explores intimacy and sexuality in his signature minimalist style.

For the first time in New York, artist Petites Luxures mixed media installations and ink on paper at Hashimoto Contemporary art gallery.

The venue was packed as I arrived, with a very chic artsy crowd which even extended unto the sidewalk on Rivington Street. I found the artists work interesting, sexy (of course) as well as very thought provoking with many hidden (in plain sight) and witty innuendoes.

What was almost more interesting than the artists unique creations, was the fashionable artsy patrons filling almost every square inch of the gallery itself.

The exhibition will run through Saturday Jan 26. 210 Rivington Street New York, NY. I highly suggest you bring a date. Who knows, maybe you will be inspired into something………..”out of the box” for Valentines day!

Just a provoking thought……………

Poetry: The Sensual Peeling of an Orange. By Mike Strange

The whole idea of peeling an orange is to eat it of course. The bright color of the sun , the shining orb like unto the one hanging in the sky, gives promise of the roundness and blinding color of the morning star.

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As you are peeling off it’s bright skin, you can hear the soft hiss of citrus upon the tearing of the round fruit, like the soft purr of a small creature being petted. The sound of peeling an orange is akin to the din of the heavens on a soft cool summer afternoon.

The aroma of the small orb is like no other, as you slowly undress this fruit. The sending hint of citrus hanging in the air is like a scent of pleasure from a garden of hidden delight. Rich and sharp is the odor in the air as you are peeling it indeed.

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An orange being peeled offers much to the palette for the one who is in fact engaged in the act. The flavor is tangy and charged with a hint of electricity as you indulge in it’s charged like essence.



and eating this fine fruit after the peeling is an experience on the tongue that is sure to leave traces of a garden at the edge of the meadow on your taste buds for quite some time!

Mike Strange.


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Artist Michal Nachmany: Capturing Cultural Journeys Through People and Objects.

Michal Nachmany is a New City Artist who was raised in Jerusalem, who now creates wonderful textile works of art in her Harlem studio is inspired by the various colors or city streets and markets, which she feels correlates the past and the present as a foundation.


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Nachmany’s  using “mixed media” techniques, utilizes collages, printmaking and sculptures.

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Her works have been exhibited in many shows internationally and in New York.

Digital CameraDigital Camera

Some of Michal Nachmany’s work has been commissioned by Columbia University for the newly built Manhattanville Urban Campus most recently.

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Ten of her art works are now on display in Columbia’s Faculty House.

You can view the artist’s website at: MichalNachmanyArt.com

Contact the artist at: info@MichalNachmanyArt.com

(646) 642-4450

The Amazing Amanda Holley: A Rising Star whose Light and Music Will Heal the World.

On a spring like day in the middle of the week in February I find myself walking into a cozy and chic coffee-house in Gramercy Park to meet with the amazing Amanda Holley and her manager the legendary Ralph Cooper the 2nd, while they were enjoying a late brunch and sipping coffee. (yeah it was that kind of day). Upon seeing me enter the restaurant, they both invited me to join them. Sitting next to an iconic legend on one side and the beautiful Amanda on the other I felt like royalty (while ordering a large coffee)  for I definitely was in the presence of royalty. After catching up with my two old friends in some meaningful and intelligent conversation, I began my interview with Amanda Holley, who is a recording artist, musician, song writer, and a published poet.


Amanda who is an east coast native (Born in Newark NJ) and spent most of her time “bouncing between Jersey and the Upper West Side of Manhattan when I finally met my aunt who actually was a songwriter who wrote for Stephanie Mills.” Amanda went on to tell me: “First and foremost I’m an artist. I make music because it’s who I Am, my mom told me that I sang even before I could speak, my Mother was a trained concert cellist and joked that she trained my ear in the womb. She went to the Manhattan School of Music, and my dad who I met later on in my childhood wrote for Sara Vaughan and he sang and played the piano, so maybe it came from my parents but I’ve always been a singer and will always be a singer, and the songwriting thing I was doing since I was about three, I started playing violin when I was two and a half and piano when I was around four, I started teaching myself (more self-taught with the piano, mainly forcing myself to play the piano to get all my song ideas out).”

I asked Amanda how does she work when she’s writing songs: “Mostly for me with the songwriting I always say the songs are in the air. I just pull them out of the sky, out of the ether. It feels like the music is always there at any given moment in time. Let’s say I’m going to fix breakfast now, than a song comes out. If I’m just sitting down like Ralph is sitting there, than like five, ten, twenty songs will just keep coming. I’m not saying that every single song is a pop song, or that every song is something I would play for like radio, maybe it would be more of a piece for theater or maybe classical.”


(Photo Credit: Tian Qiu) 

Now anyone who really knows me knows that I love classical music. So I asked Amanda how she feels about Bach and Beethoven: “Classic music is awesome! Bach is my boo, Beethoven is my hubby, Sondheim is my second hubby. Sondheim is technically musical theatre, but I started playing violin when I was two and a half because I saw my mother playing in the orchestra pits, I was sitting with her in the pits and everyone had a violin, and I was like, I need one too.”

“Classical music is something that is in me, and I think that it’s really incredible that I landed an incredible musician for a mom, to go to her school and study. Classical music has a huge influence on R&B music, so it’s really cool to hear it that way, it’s also something that I may have taken for granted, when I was around ten years old my aunt went to Julliard and she wrote for Stephanie Mills and managed her for the first portion of her career, she discovered her at a talent pageant when she was 13, her friend was the director of the prep program, and I started working with teachers at Julliard and that was really an experiment for me to open my voice up to doing different things that I didn’t even know that was there, and I started singing a lot of classical music as well as playing it.”


The most important thing to Amanda artistically is the purity of the music and really being who she is: “The music is the only place where I can be myself, and the stage is where I actually feel at home and free of everything, like that where I feel like I’m flying. I always say singing is like breathing to me, so like everywhere else in life I just feel real awkward, but when I’m making the music it feel like the real me. And when it comes to artistry the thing that always inspires me to be honest in my work is remembering all the great artists that inspired me and gave me hope and gave me the insight into life that I needed as a little girl, so inspiring others is a big deal for me.”

(Photo Credit: Phyllis Meredith and  Sekou Diarra)

One of the many amazing things about Amanda is that one can tell that she is an old soul that is very spiritually connected to all living beings, just by listening to her talk, and when she sings it reverberates through the very core of your being. prior to the interview when we were talking, I discovered that we read the same books on spirituality by some of the same authors, ancient and current. She is truly aware of her own consciousness and how it’s connected to everything and everyone else which reflects in her songwriting and more so when she’s singing.

(Photo Credit: Nino Ignacio)

I asked Amanda what role she thinks an artist plays in society: “I think that every artist serves a different purpose. Artist’s are not just people walking around that decided to wear something cool and put a statement on their head, artists are extensions of the universe working through us (humanity) and for us, so each artist serves a certain purpose. Some are instigators, some are offering insight about fate, some might be allowing us to release our pain, whether it’s Metallica or Prince or Madonna, each artist serves its purpose.”

(Photo Credit: Steve Berebbi)

“I’ve always known my purpose, people would ask me to sing and they would cry or be happy. When I’m just living the music it allows people to get in touch with what their feeling or what they are holding back from themselves, and it frees something in them too, whatever it is, it could be passion or hurt, pain or love or whatever the feeling is. So emotionally I’m here to be a catalyst (a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change) for other people to live out what their feeling. Also to provide inspiration, ultimately when I get to where I want to be, I want to be here for people because my second love is for people, actually my love for both is equal, and children especially, I want to work with kids.” Her response to this question moved me greatly.

     (Photo Credit: Steve Berebbi  and Dan Culleton)

Amanda believes in the power of music to bring people together and to heal: “Getting people to sing together, and be together in that moment and get every age, color and ethnic background and their all going to come together in that one moment, in one song for those few minutes and all be transported to another zone, and to be able to be a conduit for that is a major blessing for me which just makes me happy. To me that shows the power of music. Music, frequency, and sound waves is what everything is created on. This makes my whole life worth it, to able to get up and tell my story, realizing that no matter where an individual comes from, each human being has lived the same story, just a bit differently, and the more that I’ve embraced that, the more that I’ve been able to let go of my own pain, and transform it.” Spiritual Alchemy indeed!

Holley, Amanda

January 2017 Hartford


(Photo Credit: Phyllis Meredith)

When song writing I asked Amanda what sort of themes does she pursue: “I’m a romantic so I write a lot about love in all it’s forms, love for people as a whole, love for that person I’m in love with, and love for myself which I’m learning to do everyday, and I’m getting close to that goal.”

Asking Amanda about what’s scary about the music industry, she had this to say: “The music industry is a pretty cutthroat industry, and you can have people who you think are your friends and those same people can turn around and do things to you that are painful and horrible. It can be scary at the time, like you can put your whole career in this persons hand and they went completely AWOL, and now I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, when someone does something catastrophic to your art, it’s hard to continue, but that was the moment when Ralph stepped in, and I knew from the minute I heard his voice, but I didn’t know just how instrumental he would be, and I was very blessed, because you have a lot of people in this business that talk and do things for you, but very few who actually care.”

(Photo Credit: Phyllis Meredith)

Concerning a real life experience that inspired Amanda, she told me: “Reuniting  with my father was a big deal for me, I only met him a few times, and I heard he was on his last leg and I went to talk to him anyway despite my aunt and people around me concerned that I would experience sadness or pain. I went to see my dad and this was the most conversation we ever had, but my father as a writer for Sara Vaughan whose work actually he was never compensated for, but his name is on the record as Greg Holley, which is something I’m working on now. My dad didn’t recognize me as I walked in the door, I told him who I was and he was like “Oh My God”, and I played him what I was working on, and the Grammys was actually on that night, people were on the red carpet. He listened to my music and said “There is so much passion in your voice” overjoyed.  The next day my father went into a coma, and he was out for two days, my uncle didn’t want to tell me fearing that it would upset me. I finally came to the hospital and I took his hand, with my aunt and the nurse there, and I played him my music that I played for him on the first visit, especially the one that I could tell was his favorite called “Work in Progress” which is a song that I will probably release on my third album. Upon me playing my song for him, my dad actually came out of the coma, sat up looked at me, smiled and said “I love you and I’m sorry”. That was the healing power of music which can reach across all circumstance and situations in this universe. Music healed my father, and he stuck around for about eight more months with only 20% of  brain wave function, he stuck around that long for me.” A true testament to the light working of this phenomenal woman’s music.

(Photo Credit: Tian Qiu) 

So was she sent to earth to help and heal humanity? A demi-goddess, angel-incarnate? I believe maybe a little bit of both. Whatever the case may be, Aretha Franklin thought she was special. While Amanda was at Coney Island Summer Series, she watched Aretha perform and backstage stopped to give Amanda compliments: “Aretha was super cool to me backstage, she would always come over to me and give me like three seconds to say things like “you’re gonna be alright”, “I love those shoes”.

At this point right in the middle of the interview, all three of our phones rang in tandem, It was Carl Van Neveus III, executive producer of CODE NYC Media Group/Code NYC Magazine, who was hosting the DJ Dougie Fresh radio show that day, calling us to give shout outs on the radio show. After Ralph, Amanda and myself took our turns taking on the show, we got back to the interview.

Not surprisingly, Amanda continued by talking about spiritual matters: “I meditate a lot, I love candles, angels, crystals. I love all traditions, I love to draw from almost all spiritual teachings. I’m very eclectic spiritually, like a hippie, except I don’t smoke weed, lol.”

I asked Amanda what super power she would have and why?: “I would have the power to fly, so I could fly around and save people, and be able to see  what’s going on in different parts of the world to be able to help.”

And just what would make this woman angry?: “Injustice, lying, and hypocrisy makes me angry.”

I then asked Amanda what would be her dream project: “To provide, feed, clothe and house every kid in this world actually, and all just love with no strings attached, and education that’s not indoctrinated, that’s my dream project.”


Amanda’s most inspirational place is: “The first place is the Cloisters, I love the energy there. I love being in nature, waterfalls, on top of a mountain, and the third place is anywhere where there is beautiful shoes.”

     (Photo Credit: Kevin Michael Reede and Joseph Calinda )


Amanda released her first hit single “Feenin” in mid 2016, and music video, under contract with tommy boy records, and is planning a show at the W hotel in Manhattan on March, 29th. Also later this year will be the release of two more singles and music videos, that I got a little look at (everything is so hush-hush) but all I can say is that it will be amazing. Expect to see Amanda at shows and festivals all this year, including the Code NYC music events.

     (Photo Credit: Tian Qiu )

I hope one day in the near future I will get to hear Amanda play some classical music, or even do an album or classical show, which I’m sure I would die from the sheer brilliance of the composition of her music and siren-like voice, but I’m sure that if I do perish, that Amanda would simply resuscitate me with the octave of her voice from one of her beautiful and heavenly songs. Amanda is here to stay, for the next 300 years, and we are so lucky to have her.



(Photo Credit: Steve Berebbi)


Record Label: Tommy Boy Records

Manager: Ralph Cooper 2nd

Photo Credits:

Phyllis Meredith

Kevin Michael Reede

Joseph Calinda

Tain Qu

Dan Culleton

Sekou  Diarra

Nino Ignacio

Amanda Holley’s Mom