Posts tagged with "made in America"

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Independence Day Drink

2020 Labor Day Celebrations

By Cassandra Yany

In the face of COVID-19, Labor Day weekend looked very different his year. Absent were the large family cookouts and pool parties, or the big end-of-summer beach crowds. Many cities even had to omit public fireworks to prevent mass gatherings. Though the long weekend did not bring the celebrations we’re used to, there were still plenty of safe ways to enjoy the holiday.

Virtual events allow you to take part in more activities in different locations than you would have been able to physically. Made in America, a festival started by Jay-Z in 2012, was set to take place in Philadelphia this past weekend. On July 1, festival organizers announced that it would be rescheduled to Labor Day weekend 2021. They said in a statement “Collectively, we are fighting parallel pandemics, COVID-19, systemic racism and police brutality. Now is the time to protect the health of our artists, fans, partners and community as well as focus on our support for organizations and individuals fighting for social justice and equality in our country.”

This year’s lineup went unannounced, but last year’s festival was headlined by Travis Scott and Cardi B. Since the physical festival was canceled, a livestream showcasing the best performances took place on the music streaming service TIDAL throughout the weekend. The virtual festival included sets from Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Lizzo, Coldplay, Rihanna and many other chart-topping artists.

Nationally, a Labor Day virtual race was held by The Best Races for runners to run anywhere on their own time and submit their results. Participants who registered for the full package received a personal coach who was available Monday through Friday to provide help and answer questions during training, and provided encouragement and support on the day of the race.

Runners across the country were able to choose the distance of the race they wanted to participate in. Depending on what package they signed up for, they received a certificate of completion and digital medal, a 3-inch medal sent to their homes, a printable custom bib, a custom digital photo card that contains the race results, a digital running journal, a t-shirt, optional course maps and an optional pen pal program. 

Based in Portland, the Oregon Labor Movement held a statewide virtual Labor Day celebration and call to action on Monday. The organizers brought light to issues taking place in the state saying, “Working Oregonians are facing three crises at once: a deadly global pandemic, an economic free fall, and long-standing institutional racism.”

The event began at noon and featured talks from Oregon’s labor leaders, elected officials, and working Oregon citizens regarding their desire for change and their pursuit toward justice for workers. This event came after Portland’s rise to national prominence for their Black Lives Matter demonstrations and federal agents entering the city in recent months.

A number of virtual events were held in Los Angeles this past weekend, as well. HomeState, the LA-based Texas Kitchen, held its first Margarita Showdown in 2019, but had to move it online this year due to the pandemic and social distancing measures. The virtual event took place Saturday via livestream. Margarita makers in the area competed to see whose drink was the best.

Voters received eight bottled margaritas, along with limes and garnishing salt to try the different submissions from the safety of their homes. The winner chosen was El Compadre, a local Mexcian restaurant. The event was hosted by comedian Cristela Alonzo, and featured musical performances by Chicano Batman, Spoon, Questlove, Fred Armisen, Local Natives and Angela Muñoz. All proceeds from the event benefit the organization No Us Without You! and the Watts Empowerment Center.

The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories in Santa Monica hosted a virtual Labor Day Pies class on Sunday. In the class, participants were taught how to make a s’mores pie and key lime pie. Registration for the class included access to the Zoom video meeting, as well as the recipe and shopping list. Recipes can also be found on Gourmandise’s Instagram.

Some cities were able to hold in-person events following social distancing guidelines. Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, located in the Seaport District, upheld its tradition of free admission on Labor Day. The museum is typically closed on Mondays, but was open from 10 am to 5 pm for guests who reserved tickets. 

Monday was the last day for guests to see the exhibits Tschabalala Self: Out of Body and Carolina Caycedo: Cosmotarrayas. Also on display were the Sterling Ruby, Nina Chanel Abney and Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art after Kusama exhibits. The ICA has increased cleaning and follows Massachusetts COVID guidelines by requiring all staff and visitors to wear face coverings, and allowing a restricted number of guests each hour. Spaces that don’t allow physical distancing are temporarily closed, and exhibition labels and printed materials have been made available online to reduce touch surfaces.

In New York City, a Labor Day Paint in the Park event was held in Central Park. The two-hour socially distant class was led by a master artist who gave step-by-step painting instructions. Participants were required to wear masks and sit six feet apart. Admission included a pre-sketched canvas and painting supplies, and parties were encouraged to bring food and drinks to snack on during the class.

For those who wanted to enjoy the holiday by relaxing at home with their favorite movie or TV show, a number of stores had sales to mark the end of summer. There were countless deals that shoppers could take advantage of to celebrate their work.
Many workers have faced great adversity within the past eight months, some losing their positions and having to move quickly to find a new one, and others doing their job in a way they never thought they would have to. Whether you stayed in or got out of the house for some socially-distant fun, Monday was definitely a day worth celebrating.

Chevy Traverse

By Jake Porter × Vaughn Lowery

From the American brand that is most widely known for its industrial and rugged trucks, we are given the all new 2019 Chevrolet Traverse High Country. Based on size alone, the Traverse has always excelled at hauling both people and cargo, and with it’s non minivan-esque appearance, it provides the look of sophistication and poise.

The new Traverse is square-jawed and truck-like and loses none of its usefulness in the 2019 makeover. In addition, its readily available high-end goodies push the envelope in the big three-row crossover upmarket. Its V-6 engine has been proven time and time again to be both extraordinarily powerful and fuel efficient. The Traverse’s suspension provides a compliant ride while maintaining its composure in corners. The turning radius for this large of a SUV is unbeatable. When parking or maneuvering at low speed, the Traverse feels every bit its size. Pick up the pace, however, and this bigger Chevy feels smaller than it is—poised, if not remarkably agile. Steering effort is low, but the system is precise and makes aiming the big SUV easy. The Traverse’s suspension is tuned for a good balance between handling and ride comfort.


Firstly, one of the most important overall features of the vehicle is the potent V-6 engine which gives the Traverse its robust power and the slick-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission changes gears smoothly and unobtrusively. The traverse also includes perhaps the most seamless automatic stop/start feature on the market today.

As far as the engine goes, the time-tested V-6 generates 310 horsepower, with an incredible 266 pound-feet of torque. The acceleration (0-60 in 6.7 seconds) is not only a full second faster than the previous version, but also makes the vehicle one of the fasted accelerating vehicles in the full-sized, heavy-duty SUV class. That’s accompanied by an efficient nine-speed transmission that is as impressively tuned as the suspension. The average of 27 mpg is not surprising given Chevy’s history making fuel efficient vehicles.

In addition, the blind-spot monitoring is an excellent feature given the SUV’s larger size and the forward-collision warning is great added feature as well. Perhaps one of the most anticipated, highly-advanced features, however, is the lane-keep assist technology implanted into the brains of the vehicle.


Earning a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this cruiser has more than adequate perks to protect your passengers. Braking is firm and reactive. The rearview mirror camera improves the field of vision by 300% and after getting some used to, makes the driver feel more confident during heavier traffic hours. And of course, AWD allows the vehicle more traction during precipitation and elegantly claws corners.


Not only does the Traverse feature a new and contemporary infotainment system, but also a more refined cabin with an abundance of cup holders and USB ports throughout the cabin. The cabin is so insulated that the drivers have noted that the tachometer is needed just to ensure the engine is running while at a stoplight. Our vehicle came with dual panel sunroof (retractable) and moonroof towards back (non-retractable), adding additional light inside once shades are drawn and making the overall cabin feel voluptuous. Our model tested possessed a white coat perfect for our after-Christmas drive and the deep camel-colored leather (with ‘High Country’ insignia headrests) made it feel rich and sultry.

At the center of the infotainment system is the 8-inch, high-mounted touchscreen which is simple and equipped with colorful graphics, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. To top it all, the vehicle includes a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. It quickly responds to user inputs and seals the deal for the tech-savvy.

Comfort and Storage

The 2019 Traverse is a full-size three-row crossover SUV that is positioned below the larger, heavier-duty Tahoe and above the smaller framed Equinox. Drop all of the Traverse’s folding seats and it becomes a cargo-hauling champ with more space than any of its rivals. Six carry-on suitcases fit behind the third row, which means it wins at carrying both people and their luggage. It offers the most first-row cubby storage in its class as well. The second and third rows can accommodate adults comfortably, Unlike its predecessor, this latest-generation Traverse is more than just a minivan alternative.


At approximately $53,200, the Chevy Traverse is one of the most remarkable larger crossovers in the history of the modern SUV. It truly has the appearance of a family-oriented vehicle and yet the sleekness of a luxury SUV. The comfort and the technology implanted in the interior of the vehicle create a versatile vehicle perfect for a low-key urban excursion or a family cross country road trip. In short, Chevrolet has mastered a vehicle that is truly a force to be reckoned with and will treat its owner well for its life-span.


Belly Announces New Album “Immigrant”

During his packed set on the main stage at the Made In America festival, multiplatinum-certified rapper, songwriter and producer BELLY announced that his new album Immigrant [XO/Roc Nation/Republic Records] will be released on October 12th and also revealed the artwork for the album that features a photo of BELLY as a boy in Jordan.

“I came here as an immigrant, I came from nothing & made myself into something. I want to show every young immigrant in the world that anything is possible.” Says BELLY.

The announcement was live-streamed on TIDAL you can watch it HERE (embed codes here:

During his set, BELLY wore his popular “IMMIGRANT” t-shirt. Inspired by the hundreds of Families Belong Together protests which occurred on Saturday, June 30 across the nation, the artist took to action, creating this statement t-shirt. 100% of the artists profits benefit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Born and raised in the Middle East, BELLY stands out as an immigrant to both Canada & the US.

Get the shirt HERE

In 2018, he continues to spread the message with one proud, poetic, and powerful proclamation that sums up everything: Immigrant.








Photo by: Nikko Lamere

Having recently been revealed as the first signing to shoe designer Steve Madden’s newly launched 5Towns Records—the label founded by Madden and music/marketing veteran Steve Feinberg – EZI dropped the official video for her debut single “REDEMPTION” today, via Refinery 29. Watch HERE.

Co-directed by Antony Langdon (member/vocalist of the band Spacehog) and EZI, as well as conceptualized by both, the video takes the viewer down the rabbit hole into a modern-day, but vacant ‘wonderland.’ “I wanted to create a world that felt like my mind at the time of writing ’Redemption,’ says EZI. “A place that is dark and that often I get lost in. In the video, I’m going on an adventure where I’m both running away and towards something. I’m running from a part of myself or from a state of mind. Ultimately the message of the song is to embrace your vulnerability, because it’s our vulnerability and darkness that allows us see the light and beauty that does exist.” Fans can also get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video HERE.

EZI will also make her festival debut at Philadelphia’s Made in America festival, this Saturday, 9/2, performing with frequent collaborator, DJ/Producer, Kap Slap, as well as at Kaaboo Festival in San Diego 9/15. EZI will also headline FREEHOLD Brooklyn on 9/13 (8pm Doors/9:30pm Performance. Fans can enter to win a pair of tickets to Made in America (Saturday only) or attend the 9/13 performance in Brooklyn, NY for FREE, by heading over to and signing up for the EZI mailing list.

Upon the audio release and debut of “REDEMPTION,” Nylon Magazine urged listeners to “press play and twirl to your own broken-hearted fantasy” and described it as “playful, sad, and made for warm summer nights.” Listen HERE. Billboard Magazine hailed “the minimalist pop jam stands as a perfect introduction to EZI, who used a low moment last year to empower herself and accept ‘all I’ve got’ as the chorus touts.” 

The Long Island, New York native wrote the song in August 2016, during one of the lowest points in her life. On hiatus from Nickelodeon’s The Other Kingdom, which she starred in for its one on-air season, EZI bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles to focus on her music career for a few months (EZI grew up acting, dancing, and singing). But when she arrived in the City of Angels earlier that summer, she found herself at an unexpected crossroads.

“I’ve always struggled with depression,” EZI says. “I’m a very emotional person. [When I wrote “REDEMPTION”], I was living alone in Hollywood, my schedule was all over the place, I was going through some stuff personally … but more than that, I don’t even know what triggered it—I was honestly so lost, so detached, so removed from myself. Most people actually think [the song] is about a relationship [with another person], but it’s actually about the relationship I have with myself. You wake up loving yourself, you wake up hating yourself, [or] being upset or disappointed. 

Fans can expect the debut EP from EZI this coming fall!


5Towns Records is an American record label based in New York City, founded by shoe designer Steve Madden and his business partner, music industry & branding veteran Steve Feinberg.

Feinberg whose company 8spoke, consults for Madden’s brands on music/culture, has been working with Steve Madden on all brand music endeavors for the last 5 years. With the continuing success and the consistent growth of the Steve Madden Music platform, the two Steve’s decided they wanted to get even closer to the music and the artists… and 5Towns Records was born.

Feinberg’s achievements as a former artist manager, that discovered and managed multi-platinum artist Good Charlotte and worked with a dozen more including, Flight of The Conchords and My Morning Jacket, his work with the major labels, publishers and distribution groups to curate music programs while establishing artist/brand relationships, lead them to create this exciting new venture.

Seeing the industry change incredibly in the past few years, 5Towns considers itself a new label for the new age. Now that brands have become a bigger, more important and more accepted part of the music world, 5TR is in a unique position to help artist be heard AND seen.

Unlike most companies, Steve Madden is not only a brand but a real person, a fan who LOVES music and wants to be an integral part of discovering, working with and developing artists. 5Towns is part of the creation of a whole new version of the industry. While there has been a lot of “artist vs label” sentiment lately, 5TR is uniquely positioned to be artist driven and artist centered. 5TR can alleviate great deal of that skepticism as an independent label with its own funding, but unlike most indie labels out there…they have the ability to utilize the incredible brand association potential (when necessary) to completely separating themselves (when appropriate). 5Towns is in a positively uncommon position. The label will be positioned unique to every artist signed to 5Towns. 5TR seeks to build a stable of artists who are proud of their label. In a cynical time, bookended by tales of corporate overreach, 5TR is a label artists can turn to, knowing their message will be heard and their vision will be supported. 5Towns Records is where passion, hard work, vision, talent, music and ambition meet.