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The Cosmopolitan Review May 1 - 7, 2014

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 5/1/2014, 1:10 p.m.

You know it’s spring in Harlem when you see all of the trees that line both Seventh and Lenox avenues from 110th to 141st streets in full bloom. I’ve learned that the white flowers that first appear on the trees before the green leaves appear are called pear blossoms. Beautifully aligned, the pear blossoms brighten up the cloudiest days, and even though there has still been a chill in the air, the pear blossoms are definitely the sign that old man winter has been put to bed.

Now that spring is in the air, it’s not too soon to plan for summer. For anyone who has or knows of an aspiring young filmmaker, the Summer Lab is offering 12 aspiring filmmakers, aged 13-20, a chance for them to start honing their skills. The Lab is a free, four-week writing and filmmaking intensive workshop designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore the worlds of poetry/spoken word, video production and editing.

While attending the Summer Lab, students work with a writing mentor to create original spoken-word poetry and then turn their poems into original short films. Classes are held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for four weeks starting July 8. Those interested should go to http://reelworks.org/participate/workshops/the-summer-lab/ to apply. The application deadline is June 10. No filmmaking experience is required. Who knows, we might have another Spike Lee in our midst.

While I wasn’t there because of a scheduling conflict, I did hear that the 12h annual Let Us Break Bread Together Awards Gala, hosted by Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI), was a most coveted event (that means invitations were most sought after). Held at the Prince George Ballroom, located at 15 E. 27th St., the evening marked HCCI’s 28th year of service to the Harlem community. The theme this year was “Building Homes and Transforming Lives.”

True to form, the evening began with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the program. Honorees include Assemblyman and Housing Committee Chair Keith L.T. Wright, recipient of the CFBW Community Service Award; former New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, recipient of the Distinguished Service Award; Maria A. Luna, district leader of the 71st Assembly District; Thomas N. DeCaro, president of Benchmark Title Agency LLC, recipient of the Community Partner Award; and the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., senior pastor emeritus of the Riverside Church and president and founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, recipient of the Humanitarian Award. NY1 News anchor Dean Meminger served as master of ceremonies.

Coming to town for a weekend visit were Milton and Rebecca Johnson, who is the daughter of retired Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Frank Morton Jr. The couple, who stayed with Keith and Maria Brown and their daughter Azuri, made all of the rounds. Early to rise, they were out for a run around Central Park before having brunch at Boulevard Bistro (one of my faves), where they caught up with their daughter Asia.

That evening, the Johnsons were off to New Jersey for a black-and-white birthday party. There was barely enough time for them to get any shut-eye before they had to catch the train back to Virginia, where they live.