Navani Knows Dia De Los Muertos, BK

While many people are gearing up for Halloween – an excuse to play a role, dress up, party and eat insane amounts of candy (oh wait maybe that is just me, Reeses’s anyone?) some of us are focusing on what happens after Halloween – on el Dia De Los Muertos. This traditional Latino holiday gives us a chance to pay respects and homage to the friends and family who have passed. One great way to celebrate this year in the tri-state area would be to check the the amazing installation project and event being headed by two dope artists: Adrian “Viajero” Roman and Ben Rojas aka “Borish.” The second annual Dia De Los Muertos Brooklyn event not only boasts amazing art work including an 8-feet by 8-feet altar AND a performance by Ase, but also the chance for you to participate in the ceremony that celebrates the presence of our ancestors in our lives.

Check out the deets below and some sneak peek photos after the jump.

Date: November 2, 2012
Time: 7pm – 11pm
Where: 411 46th street (btwn 4th and 5th ave)
Sunset Park Brooklyn, NY 11220

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Navani Knows: “I” Performs With Orign and DJ SPS

The best thing about having my own blog is that I am the boss. No one edits me or tells me what to write about. Hence, nepitism is alive and well here at Navani Knows. So, today I’m giving some shine to my cousin out in Florida doing his music thing. He is more like my brother, actually. He is the guy that oks anyone I date and threatens to beat up anyone who dares disrespect me (even his friends). Growing up we became close not only because we are the same age and went to school together, but because of our love of hip-hop.

This love of music continues to be our bond today. We both have passions and dreams that are related to hip-hop. Me, I document it, while he creates it. And through out life’s ups and downs we continue to take great joy in supporting each other’s accomplishments toward fullfilling our dreams. He calls me and recites verses, I call him and go over questions for the next artist I am interviewing. If I hear a dope track I always get a second opinion from him and ask him what he’s listening to. And when he has a show and gets the chance to share his ryhmes with the public, I am filled with equal parts pride and inspiration.

So shout out to Iran, AKA “Classic” AKA” I” for rocking out alongside Orign and DJ SPS this past Friday at Cameo in Orlando. I heard the response was tremendous. He did a cameo (haha) on a track featured on the new Futprnts Workshop album called Colorscope.  I am looking forward to hearing the album myself. DJ SPS was also there promoting his new release called Sunrize. You can check out more Futprnts music here.  Peep my cuz rocking the stage here.

Navani Knows: Tuesdays With Olivia

[For those of you new to me and my blog, Olivia is my cousin’s five-year-old daughter/ love of my life. She continually enlightens me with her philosophies.]

It’s seems Obama’s election has had an effect on everyone, old and young. If you had a chance ot speak to President Obama, what would you say? Did you ever think about it? Last week, when he gave his first address to the nation as  president Olivia did. She decided to strike up a conversation on politics in an effort to avoid getting put to bed. However, it wasn’t his economic reform or healthcare policies that caught her attention. It was instead, his fashion sense. To stall Olivia sat upright in the bed and blurted out

“Is that Obama?”

Yes it is.

“He is the president???”

Yup.

“I really like his tie.  I sure wish I could tell him that.” she exclaimed

Hey, in Olivia’s defense, it did slightly resemble a candy cane with it’s red and white stripes (we all know how Olivia feels about anything related to Christmas). Not sure how long this lil strategy will work but it was a valiant attempt and putting off bedtime.

Besides being politically savvy, Olivia is also quite the geography maven. When she saw the Dora commercial announcing her live show she noticed there was no listing for Florida anywhere. Apalled, she immediately starting plotting another way to see her fave cartoon personality. There was a listing however, for NY she noticed. That’s all she needed.

” Mami, there is no show for Dora in Florida. So I am going to go to New York to see Avani and then go see Dora Live. Cause Avani lives in NY. ok?”

Well duh, why didn’t anyone else think of that, suchs a simple solution. I give ger kudos for being willing to travel across the country for a show. But before that happens I was given strict orders to ask Nickolodeon why they wouldn’t have a Dora show in Florida and report back lol.

Navani Knows: The Cleanse Day 8

Today was sleepy Sunday for me. A day finally, when I had nowhere I HAD to go. So I took full advantage and lay around and watched romantic comedies all day alongside my roomie. This meant hardly drinking any lemonade or feeling very hungry. This also meant not getting rid of any “waste” since Friday. Not sure what that means. By this point I don’t care, I am soooo ready for this to be over.

I was smooth sailing on day 8 until I decided to get dressed at 6 pm and visit my aunt to wish her a pre-happy birthday. WHY did I think this was a good idea?? Going to my aunt’s house and refusing to eat is just asking for an inquisition. It just doesn’t fly, not in my Puerto Rican family. When you go visit family, you eat. Doing anything to alter your diet is unheard of. So, of course when I said no thanks to dinner I became the talk of the town. Here came the questions of what I was doing and why, and the shaking of the head and that this is not good for me blah blah blah. I assured her I was not on any sort of crash diet and then quickly changed the subject to the Sarah Palin debate. That did the trick thankfully. She got all fired up about that and left me alone.

I came back home to my roomie cooking rice and beans and quickly got sullen. There is food everywhere I go in the fricken Bronx! It’s inescapable. And it all smells so good! By now I am tired of drinking the damn lemonade and I am tired of sitting in the corner like a hermit when people eat. I was feeling all self  righteous this morning for like 5 minutes, patting myself on the back for being able to make my mind up and stick to it, until my roomie put croissants in the oven, the really buttery ones you know. I got a whiff of that and my self-pep talk went out the window. Now this just feels like torture. Yes, I am so close to being done, but the next two days will probably be the longest of my whole life. HELP!

Navani Knows Wedding Bliss, Sorta

I was finally beginning to regret my decision. Don’t get me wrong, I was super honored and flattered to be asked to be a bridesmaid for my cousin Christian. It showed me that our relationship (although not by blood) was special enough for him to include me in his big day, and I vowed not to let anything during the process take that away from me. Plus, I had my dearest cousin (the grooms’s sister) along with me for the ride. But I must admit, I almost met my match.

Besides being treated like an outcast since the engagement party (the sorority sisters of the bride had no interest in making conversation with me and the groom’s sister), there was the bachelorette party. A weekend getaway in Atlantic City seemed harmless enough. Until my cousin and I got there and discovered we were left out of the dinner reservations. Instead, were left walking around aimlessly without anyone’s phone number because the maid-of-honor never thought of exchanging that info. Oh, and then there was the heart-to-hearts between the bride-to-be and us.

“Oh you know Adria, I never though you liked me cause you know, you are so Ghetto, and I am like, not” She told us as nonchalantly, as if she just told us her favorite color was blue.

Us being the only people not in her sorority. Us being the family of the groom. You might as well have called us Andre and Big Boi at that point cause we were def outcasts.

“No, I don’t mean ghetto in a bad way, just like you are so into hip hop and stuff, you know.” She continued.

Still totally confused and shocked me and my cousin stood speechless. Were we on a candid camera show? perhaps some new reality show that would air on Bravo or WE. That seemed like the only feasible explanation for this.

Then there was the “I am not sure if I am ready to get married” comments that ensued all weekend. They were followed up with the “you are sooo old comments.” Still, I kept pressing on in my bridesmaid duties, smiling and nodding pleasantly. Even when it was me and my cousin who got stuck setting up tables for the rehearsal dinner at 10 o’clock at night, getting splinters and walking in poo. I desperately held on to the honor I once had in saying “I do” to this whole arrangement.

The wedding day finally came, and with it more chaos. Besides spending an obscene amount on getting hair and nails done and rushing back to the hotel to get dressed with the girls, there was the joy of getting left in the salon while everyone else got done before us. Nothing beats getting dressed for a wedding in the wax room of a Dominican hair salon. It was quite the scene, walking down 94th street in Queens all dressed up in wedding attire. Even though the bridesmaids left us stranded (“umm there is too much traffic for the limo to come there, you should just meet us at the church”) we still tried to hold onto our dignity and our make-up as me, my cousin, make-up artist and the groom’s mother rode in her non-ac car to the ceremony.

I believe it was on the steps of the church, after the ceremony, when the Nazi Photographer yelled at us, that I asked myself why I agreed to this:

“No bubbles!!”

“Ok now bubbles”

“SEMI CIRCLE”

“LOWER FLOWERS!!!” He screamed at us as if we were in bridal boot camp.

I had had enough! I was ready to shove my bouquet down someone’s throat! Then we finally left the the VIP room with the leaking ceiling and lined up in the reception hall and heard Jay’s Encore come on. As we walked out in pairs to Jay Z and flower pumped along the way (and after a few shots of patron) it all started to make sense again. I watched my cousin and his bride run out to the dance floor to Enur’s Calabria and realized how happy they were. It was all about that moment – that one moment of being oblivious to anything else around them, just being so happy to have each other that mattered. And for me, believing that kind of love still existed only because I witnessed it first-hand, made the whole ordeal worthwhile again.

Navani Knows Twenty-Somethings

Recently I was in Atlantic City celebrating a bachelorette weekend for my future cousin-in-law. It was a very exciting time, especially since I haven’t had a weekend get-a-way with a large group of girls in a while. But what I failed to realize was that I’d blatantly be in the land of the twenty-somethings the entire time. Of course I didn’t really think there was a huge difference between someone who is 25 and someone that just turned 30, but I was constantly reminded that I might be wrong.

“OMG I don’t ever want to turn 30, then I’ll be sooo old. My life will be over” the bride-to-be exclaimed on numerous occasions.

“Yeah I don’t want to wait until I am thirty to have kids, that’s sooo old” someone else stated matter-of-factly.

I suddenly felt like I was in the episode of Sex and the City, the battle of the twenty-somethings and the dirty thirties. Somehow the three of us that were “over the hill” became the ones everyone felt sorry for. How did I land in this episode of the twilight zone?

“Here, give them more liquor, they need it cause they are old and sober” the Maid of honor screamed throwing a bottle filled with a harsh, gasoline-like rum concoction.

Yes, I am single and thirty. I am crashing on my friend’s couch at the moment. But there is something freeing and lovely about being all these things at the ripe age of 30. The beauty of it is, at this age I don’t care! I don’t have anything to prove. I quickly learned that age is in the eye of the beholder.

You couldn’t pay me to go back to my twenties now. All the worrying about what to do with my future. All the stress because you are afraid of making a wrong decision in love or in your “career.” The pressure of feeling like you have to accumulate a certain number of things by the time you hit 30. Then there is the constant internal bickering with yourself about characteristics you cannot change, like your nose or the size of your chest. Nope, I have no desire to trade places with my younger counterparts. For all their energy they have insecurities to match.

At 30, I may not know much more about the answers to life, but I don’t feel the need to pretend to either. I know the only thing constant is change. I know how to adapt to life’s curveballs. I no longer feel the need to look like anybody else. I know I am not perfect, but wouldn’t change anything about myself for the world. I know what I like and don’t like, and more importantly how to express that. I don’t know where I might be in 5 years, but I know myself, and that makes all the difference.

I quietly passed the bottle of gasoline back to the maid-of -honor and sipped happily on my water bottle full of Malibu. At the end of the day, I still know how to party with the best of them. However, 30-year-olds party smarter not harder. By now I know what not to drink to avoid a painful morning after.

“Aww Navani, you just don’t care. You are so comfortable. I wish I was like that” An inebriated bride-to-be exclaimed. I wasn’t quite sure what this meant but I took it as a compliment.

“Thanks. It comes with age” I reassured her.

Navani Knows: Tuesdays With Olivia

[For those of you new to me and my blog, Olivia is my cousin’s four-year-old daughter/ love of my life. She continually enlightens me with her philosophies.]

The countdown is on, only two weeks until Olivia’s 5th birthday, although the countdown started for her a long time ago. I believe it was February to be exact, right after Valentine’s Day, that she began designing her invitations. “They are green,” she told me excitedly. When her mother suggested focusing on making valentine’s, Olivia politely declined. In the mind of child besides Christmas, the only other important holiday is indeed their birthday. December 26th the countdown begins.

I don’t use the term “holiday” loosely either. At the 4th of July family BBQ Olivia asked everyone if they knew what the next holiday was. “Ummm Labor day?” They asked.

“No, My birthday!” she gleefully exclaimed. What a true Leo! She already thinks the world revolves around her so much that her birthday is a national holiday!

Then there came the personal invites in the form of a phone call.

“Avani, do you know that my birthday is coming?” She asked.

“Really?? When is your birthday Olivia?” I responded, pretending this was news to me.

“August 4th.”

“Wow, how old are you going to be?” I asked, quizzing her.

“Five!” (Like duh, guess I have to come harder to stump her)

“Avani are you coming for my birthday???” She asked in that small cute childish voice that makes you want to cut your ear off rather than say no. Sigh. How do you explain to your a four-year-old that due to a new job and major bridesmaid expenses and bachelorette parties that you have to throw, you simply cannot afford to go see her??? You don’t. Instead, I thought I could take the grown up route and just blame it on work. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

“I’m sorry Oli, I can’t come I have to work” I said matter-of-factly

“Work? Well what do you do at work??????” She answered in a tone that denoted neck rolling. This of course really meant “what do you do at work all day that could possibly be more important than me and my birthday?”

“Well I write. I write all day at work” I was never embarrassed to say this out loud until this moment. I knew it didn’t hold much weight. I instantly felt defeated, I was ready to go online at this point and start looking up flights. But luckily she let me off the hook easily:

“Well that’s ok if you can’t come, I can take pictures for you on the camera and then next time I see you I can show them to you, except you have to come look at the computer cause we can’t find the camera.”

The camera has been lost for the last month since they moved, but I appreciated her art of compromise nonetheless. We can all take a lesson from that!