Nerdtino, the First Laxtinx East Coast Comic Book Convention, Debuts in Philly

What began as a social media group has blossomed into a full celebration of Meso-American geek culture with the launch of the Nerdtino Expo.  Taking place Saturday, November 18, at Taller Puertorriqueño’s El Corazón Cultural Center – with the added convenience of El Guaco Loco taco truck on-site –  Thomas E. Delfi, executive director and founder, has a geek-tastic day planned. Here are just a few of the highlights:

(Photo by William Alatriste, provided to El Diario)

Café Con Comics: Boricuas in the Comic Book Industry – Program Room A, 12pm Host: Edgardo Miranda Rodriguez, creator of La Borinqueña

The latest stop on his nation-wide book tour, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez will discuss the creative journey of creating La Borinqueña and the deeper history of Puerto Ricans in the Comic Book Industry. He recently curated Arte de La Borinqueña at the Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education, which is on view through January 6, 2018. Proceeds from the exhibition will go directly towards the Hurricane Irma recovery effort in Loíza, Puerto Rico.

Brujos Screening – Program Room B, 1pm Host: Writer & Director Ricardo Gamboa

‘Brujos’ still courtesy of Ricardo Gamboa

Brujos is a dynamic web-series that blends Latin American soap operas, American sitcoms, and critical theory as it follows 4 gay Latino grad students—that are also witches—as they navigate magic, nightlife, intimacy, and final papers while trying to survive a witch-hunt.


Comic Book Writing Workshop – Program Room A, 2pm
Hosts: Mighty Writers El Futuro, writer Carlos José Pérez Sámano

Join in on Part 1 of our Comic Book Workshop Series, a 101 on the writing process where you will have a chance to design your own stories and bring them to life! Bring a notebook and writing tools, some materials available!

CosFight Stage Fighting Demo –Courtyard, 3pm Host: CosFight

Join professional actor and stuntman Tico Flores and fencing coach Moses Sistrunk Jr. for CosFight! The Cosfight Star Wars themed panel teaches stage combat, stunt and fight choreography. You’ll learn how to put together a Lightsaber fight sequence by doing. You’ll also learn about some of the tricks and secrets used to stage fight scenes!

Pixar’s Coco Screening – 4pm Host: Cartoonist & Creative Consultant Lalo Alcaraz

Turn down the lights and sneak in a snack for a screening of exclusive footage from Pixar’s Coco!


Diversity & Representation in Geek Media – Program Room A, 4pm Hosts: Allegriana, Cosplay & Fantasy Model, Author Sabrina Vourvoulias, Ink & Latin@ Rising

Photo via @allegriana

We’ve come a long way, but where are we exactly? Join cosplay model Allegriana and author Sabrina Vourvoulias in a discussion about representation in geek culture, as performers, fans, and creators.

Tickets to Nerdtino are $25 at the door. Student rate is $20, and children 12 and under are free with paying adult. Sponsors and friends include Esperanza College, Amalgam ComicsTaller Puertorriqueño, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.



Day of the Dead

A Festive Remembrance of Departed Souls: Day of the Dead

Originating in Mexico, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a mix of religious and cultural elements: indigenous Aztec (the festival for Mictecacihuatl, The Lady of The Dead) and Catholic (Spanish conquistadors, All saints and All Souls Day). Preparations begin October 31st, and from November first through the second, the dearly departed are honored in festive and symbolic ways.


Altars are a focal point, whether in the home or at the cemetery. Decorations – or “ofrendas” (offerings) – include sugar skulls, flowers, and candles. The ofrendas also feature favorite objects of the honoree like musical instruments, food and beverages, clothing, and books.

Families also spend hours in cemeteries tending the graves of the deceased. Weeds are pulled, grass is cut, and ofrendas – especially marigolds, which are thought to attract the souls of the deceased – are arranged. Prayers, remembrances, and laughter, accompany picnics of calabaza en tacha (candied pumpkin), tamales, and pan de muerto (a sweet bun-shaped roll with a sugar topping).

Some of the most recognizable images from Día de los Muertos are calacas (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls). These sassy bones are often living the whimsical life – hanging out with their cat, talking on their smartphone, performing as rock musicians, or drinking beer. Whether purchased in figurine, chocolate, wrestler, oilclothcandle holdersugar skull, or balloon form, these icons have a growing place in the mainstream North American consciousness.

An Artful Fiesta

Leading up to the holiday, we checked in with Veronica Olivares-Weber, art teacher, community organizer, and Guadalajara native, on her preparations for the annual Arts Council of Princeton Día de los Muertos celebration. When prepping for the festivities, it’s all hands on deck, including Veronica’s husband Oscar, along with their daughters, Valeria and Kyara.

JC: How elaborate are your plans prior to the big fiesta?

Veronica: We start the planning of activities and events months in advance. The actual preparations, and implementation of the planning stage, start three to four weeks in advance. With the support of the Arts Council of Princeton, the help of Princeton High School student volunteers, and community members, we work on the arts and crafts, make the sugar skulls, and create the decorations needed. We also work on the altar, which is the most important part of the celebrations. We make it all from scratch. I also start contacting and securing food vendors, the mariachi band, other participants, and the dancers (whenever they are available). While it is long, it is actually a fun process. I would like to thank the Princeton Shopping Center for sponsoring this event for many years now and for providing a unique venue for the celebrations.

JC: What has it meant to you, as young Mexican-American women, to be such a big part of the preparations?

Valeria and Kyara: Being a part of the preparations has allowed us to connect and learn about one of the most important parts of our heritage. It has been very important to us, especially due to the fact that we do live in a predominantly white town. It has also meant we can share our culture and traditions with our community, which is something that has always been important not only to us, but to our family.  The interesting thing about Day of the Dead, is it is not a religious celebration, but instead, a celebration of life and death. A celebration consisting of colorful music, flowers, altars, food, and families. Our ancestors believed in welcoming death, and celebrating the life of those who have passed onto a better life. Something that we also really love about Day of the Dead is the fact there is the central figure of “La Catrina,” otherwise known as the “Lady of the Dead.” Being a part of the organization of the celebration has been an amazing experience for both of us, as well as our family.

Let’s Celebrate

Día de los Muertos in Princeton, NJ takes place Saturday, November 4, 3-5pm, Princeton Shopping Center, 301 N Harrison St. The event is free of charge and family-friendly. Enjoy strolling mariachis, decorate sugar skulls, get your face painted, and snack on food from Surf Taco.

This year, the Arts Council will introduce a Catrina/Catrin Contest. Work your best version of José Guadalupe Posada’s iconic “La Calavera Catrina” and you might win a prize.

From Alabama to Wisconsin, there’s bound to be a celebration in your state – click here for listings of other Día de los Muertos celebrations throughout the U.S.








New York Television Festival is for TV Lovers, Media Geeks, and You

The NYTVF launched in 2005 with the goal of “connecting its community of artists with leading networks, studios, agencies, production companies, and brands.” Every fall, artists and industry leaders gather in Manhattan for a range of exciting celeb-studded premieres, screenings, panel discussions, and events.

Lacking industry credentials but love TV? Worry not – the festival organizers have also included ticketing options that offer everyday fans access to these insider-y gatherings. 

Here are just a few of the events happening during the festival:

October 23, 7pm


Creator and star, Amy Sedariscordially invites fans to celebrate the launch of her new truTV comedy series — in which she shows off diverse, but necessary, homemaking skills — with a screening and talk-back alongside guest star, Cole Escola, and writer/producer, Jodi Lennon, ahead of the show’s network premiere.

October 24, 7:30pm 

NYTVF PRIMETIME WORLD PREMIERE: Sony Pictures Television Presents S.W.A.T.

One of the fall’s most buzzed about dramas, S.W.A.T., will debut at the NYTVF before its November 2 premiere on CBS. Fans will enjoy an exclusive premiere screening of the pilot episode followed by a talk-back featuring stars; Shemar Moore, Stephanie Sigman, and Lina Esco, along with executive producers; Shawn Ryan and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.

October 26, 7pm 

NYTVF Creative Keynote: A Conversation with THE DEUCE 

Presented in partnership with HBO, the 2017 Creative Keynote will cast the female gaze upon THE DEUCE and its candid depiction of the rise of the porn industry in 1970s New York. Series producer and star, Maggie Gyllenhaal; executive producer and director, Michelle MacLaren; executive producer, Nina Kostoff-Noble; and Vice President of HBO Programming, Kathleen McCaffrey, sit for a talkback.

October 26, 8:30pm 


Before the November 1 return of IFC’s hit comedy-horror series, fans are invited to an exclusive, behind-the-scenes panel featuring creator, executive producer, writer, and star Dana Gould; producer/star, John C. McGinley; and star, Janet Varney — who will offer an inside look at the second season with more monsters, deadlier demons, and the same Stan.

NYTVF runs October 23 through the 28th, and non-industry attendees have two ticketing options. Splurge for a Festival Pass ($350) and you get these perks: priority access to all Independent Pilot Competition Screenings, NYTVF Primetime Events, Community/Creator Panels, Artist + Industry Happy Hours, NYTVF Writers Room, and select NYTVF Connect keynote conversations and special events. Can’t commit to a pass? Pick and choose from NYTVF Primetime events and Independent Pilot Competition (IPC) screenings when you opt for the Single Ticket (free, but they come with a $4.50 handling charge per online order).

Purchase tickets online by calling 718-350-8519 or emailing

New York City Wine & Food Festival Turns 10

New York will play host to more than 80 culinary star-studded events benefiting the Food Bank For New York City and No Kid Hungry® when the Food Network and Cooking Channel celebrate 10 years of the New York City Wine and Food Festival.

Presented by Coca Cola, this year’s lineup includes established fan favorites as well as some exciting new additions. Whet your appetite and review some of the delicious possibilities. NYCWFF runs October 12 – 15, 2017.


Blue Moon Burger Bash:

One of the events most closely associated with NYCWFF is the Blue Moon Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats and hosted by Rachael Ray.

This event will bring past winners from previous Bashes to battle new contenders in order to see whose burger reigns supreme. Celebrity judges include Lance Bass, Elvis Duran, Jaymee Sire, and BD Wong. Naughty By Nature, best known for their hits “O.P.P.” and “Hip Hop Horray” will also be performing.

Broadway Tastes:

Don’t miss Broadway Tastes, presented by Variety and hosted by Kristin Chenoweth.

A perfect option for gourmet broadway babies, the second annual Broadway Tastes features chefs – and their brunch dishes – inspired by over a dozen popular Broadway musicals. Cast members of Broadway shows will also make the scene, along with Sirius XM host, Seth Rudetsky.


Inaugural Clean & Sustainable Cooking:

The Inaugural Clean & Sustainable Cooking panel is a thought-provoking panel with Chef José Andrés, chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup and named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People;” Sam Kass, former White House Chef; and Radha Muthiah, CEO of Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The panel is moderated by Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation.

Sustainability has never been a hotter topic in the food world. Have a seat and learn from some of the best in the business.

Israeli Brunch:

You won’t want to miss treating yourself to a traditional Israeli Brunch hosted by famed Philadelphia-based chef/restaurateur, Michael Solomonov. Go sweet – with Federal Donuts – or savory, at this family-style brunch at the Café Medi on the Lower East Side.

Chefs are Rock Stars and Rock Stars are Chefs:

This panel gives you the opportunity to Explore the Creative Link Between Music and Food. Panelists include Mario Batali, Award-winning Chef and TV Personality; Jarobi White, Grammy-award winning musician;  and Brooke Mazurek, acclaimed chef and music writer. Moderator Isabel Gonzalez-Whitaker, Deputy Editor of Billboard, will settle in to discuss the creative parallels between food and music.

For the Family

Italian Harvest Party:

Be sure to attend the Alfa Romeo presents Italian Harvest Party hosted by Giada De Laurentiis. Giada and her daughter Jade will bring “la bella vita” to life at their festive gathering. Expect an abbondanza of snacks, pasta, pizza, beer, wine and mocktails – even a live band!

Family Ice Cream Fun-dae:

At Family Ice Cream Fun-dae, I scream, you scream, we all scream celebrity chef ice cream with hosts Mario Batali and Ayesha Curry. Choose from an array of top icy treats curated by Nick Morgenstern of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, and Rebecca DeAngelis, the pastry chef Babbo. Will you opt for Butter & Scotch or go Big Gay Ice Cream?

NYCWFF Has Something For Everyone

Breathless and hungry? Wondering how you can possibly make the most this action-packed celebration of food? Luckily NYCWFF founder and director, Lee Brian Schrager, gave us some advice: “With more than 75 events, there truly is something for everyone’s taste buds and budget.  If it’s your very first Festival, I would suggest taking in one of our signature events at Pier 92 or Pier 94 and then one of the intimate dinners, late-night parties, wine seminars or interactive classes (depending on what your personal preference is). And wear comfortable shoes!”

Purchase tickets online or call (800) 764-8773.



couple watching movie

New York City’s Must-See Film Festivals for Fall

This fall, New York City – and the Hamptons – will celebrate international cinematic excellence with four different festivals. Cut the lights, take a peek at these schedules, and start planning your film-going experiences for the next few months.

Urbanworld Film Festival (9/20-24)

Launched in 1997, Urbanworld, a five-day festival, presents a slate of films – and events – diverse in stories, cultures, and more. In the festival’s own words, “We fight tirelessly to expand the definition of ‘urban’ beyond ethnicity to include sensibility, culture, and proximity. We strive to be ‘the filmmakers festival’ and ‘the people’s festival,’ providing a point of intersection where creators and audiences meet to experience bold and diverse artistic works.” The festival also includes Urbanworld Digital, where industry experts share knowledge of the film industry, and Urbanworld Music, featuring DJs and live performances.  Prices range from $500 for a Global Access pass to $150 for the Student Access pass (valid student ID required).

New York Film Festival (9/30-10/16)

Established in 1963 by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival (NYFF) features both established and up-and-coming talent. Over 17 days, Lincoln Center will play host to everything from Main Slate official selections to newly restored classics, special events, filmmaker talks and more. Highlights include an evening with Ava DuVernay, the director of 13TH, which opened last year’s NYFF, and a talk between festival director, Kent Jones, and Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused), whose film, Last Flag Flying, opens this year’s festival. Ticket prices range from Retrospective All Access Pass at $125 to FREE, for certain events.

Hamptons International Film Festival (10/5-9)

Going strong for 25 years, the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) features long, short, fiction, and documentary Independent films, and draws over 25,000 visitors to theaters across East Hampton, Southampton, Montauk, and Sag Harbor. More than $165,000 in cash prizes are awarded at the festival, drawing a roster of top films that often go on to be Oscar nominees – or winners (Moonlight, La La Land). Box office ticket options range from Special 25th Anniversary Packages at $3500 to tickets for General Films at $15 adults/$10 seniors/$8 children.

DOC NYC (11/9-16)

DOC NYC has grown since its 2010 inception to become the largest documentary festival in America. Spread out over eight days in Chelsea and the West Village, the festival features new documentary films, panels, conversations, and connections that happen “only in New York.” Past guests and presenters include Hillary Clinton, Martin Scorcese, Michael Moore and, wait for it, Big Bird. Festival passes range from All Access for $650 ($750 after 9/21), DOC NYC Pro for $300 ($350 after 9/21), and Doc NYC Half Passes for $160 ($200 after 9/21).