Local artist draws inspiration from Aztec Two-step 2.0

She has a website with over 100 greeting cards and numerous books. Over the course of her career, she’s sold thousands of greeting cards. For Rosie Rinsler, being an artist isn’t just a profession but a lifestyle that she’s cultivated over the course of her entire life.

“Art is my passion, my joy, my love and my therapy,” said Rinsler, who does whimsical, up-beat, colorful, and detailed artwork. “I have three missions in life; to be a successful artist, to make the love of my life happy and help people with mental illness – to give them inspiration and let them know that life can still be beautiful.”

It started out as just a way for her to build some income on the side about twenty years ago. Rinsler and her partner started out with a printer, cutting machine, envelopes, and a bright idea. Her thought was that large art pieces take a lot of time to produce and need to match the decorum of a room, but greetings cards have universal appeal and people always need them. “They don’t have to match anything and instead of buying just one, they might grab 10 or 20.”

Aztec two-step 2.0 is her favorite band of all time and she used to frequently send them greeting cards as a gift. One day, the lead musician came up to Rosie and commissioned her to make a psychedelic, 60s-esque drawing as cover artwork for their new album. Rinsler said, “I came home and worked for hours and hours until I made seven different album covers for them to choose from.”

The album is comprised of songs written by the classic duo Simon and Garfunkel, reimagined in a new way. The band started playing songs in 1972 and Rinsler would begin seeing them a year later after she heard about them while taking art classes at Cornell University. She was only 15 years old at the time.

Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman, the band’s two musicians, started the folk-rock duo after a chance meeting during an open stage at a Boston coffee house. They’ve produced numerous songs and spent a lifetime of making music together. He spoke highly of Rinsler, stating “I’m a huge fan of Rosie’s work. Her art is whimsical and uplifting in a way that has a 60’s sensibility, which is where our music is rooted.”

The band has been an inspiration to Rinsler throughout her entire artistic career. One of the musicians in Aztec two-step 2.0 was also part of another band called The Nutopians that produced covers of John Lennon music. She made greeting cards for them as well. Rinsler said, “They would call me every week – tell me they sold like hotcakes – and ask me to send more.”

Queensboro FC names Andres Emilio Soto of Modern Spaces official real estate broker

As preparation continues for Queensboro FC’s inaugural 2022 season, the incoming USL club is focused on building a field of local partnerships and connections. One of the most recent is a unique kind of partnership, naming Andres Emilio Soto the club’s official real estate broker.
Andres is the Senior Managing Director of Modern Spaces, a LIC-based real estate group. The partnership will highlight Modern Spaces, with discounts for QBFC fans on Andres’ services. Proceeds will be donated to the Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning (JCAL), an arts center for accessible arts education in Queens.
“I am really excited about this partnership! I’m able to merge my life-long passion for soccer, and my career, real estate, into one amazing opportunity,” said Andres Emilio Soto. “Queensboro FC is building something very special in Queens and it’s amazing to be part of it.”
Soto is a Queens native, raised in Jackson Heights. “My dad is from Colombia and my mom is from Argentina, so by default I had to play soccer,” he said. “I started to play in the leagues around Queens, and played for College Point United in the Long Island Junior Soccer League, one of the few Queens teams.”
Soto jumped around the borough, playing for multiple high schools and academy teams. His love of soccer has continued throughout his life, and he became a Queensboro FC ambassador, a group of volunteers that meet with QBFC staff and offer ideas as the club continues to grow.
“The ambassador program is a volunteer job that meets bi-weekly with the club. They fill us in with news and ask for hard feedback about what we think the club should do. It’s our job to spread the good word about Queensboro FC,” said Soto.
The ambassador program is a great place for partnerships to grow as well. When he got to meet some members of the front office, Soto got right to the point.
“I’ve been in real estate for 15 years, 90% of my work is in Queens, and I’m a massive soccer fan,” he told them. “Let’s make something happen.”
The biggest aspect of Andres’ role with the club is providing education and information about real estate in the borough and city.
“A lot of people reach out to me to buy homes, and when I start asking them certain questions, they don’t know how to answer,” he said. “I’m happy to provide as much help as I can for free, because it should be free. Everyone should have an equal playing field.”
Affordable housing and accessibility have been big issues in Queens, and the partnership between Queensboro FC and Modern Spaces will be a useful tool in getting information to people, especially in an area as diverse and expansive as Queens.
Andres will run open informational sessions about the do’s and don’ts of real estate, and will teach how to market yourself whether you are selling, buying or renting. “I look forward to helping everyone with all their real estate needs and to giving back to the borough I was born and raised in,” said Soto.

Brooklyn Public Library launches ‘Brooklyn Resists’ lecture series

This past Wednesday, the Brooklyn Public Library in collaboration with the Center for Brooklyn History held the first event in the ‘Brooklyn Resists’ series. The series is designed to be a public history initiative, drawing Brooklynites into critical conversations about American history through a number of virtual roundtable discussions with experts throughout the summer.

Wednesday’s event was titled “A Look at Reparations” and featured an in-depth conversation about national, local, and individual plans that could help repair the inequalities wrought by slavery in the United States.

The event featured three well-respected panelists: Robin Sue Simmons, the commissioner of the National African American Reparations Commission and a former Illinois City Councilwoman who instituted a reparations program; Marcia Chatelain, a Georgetown University Professor who studies slavery, memory, and reconciliation; and David Ragland, a non-profit organizer and pastor. The program was moderated by Aaron Morrison, an award-winning multimedia journalist and national race and ethnicity writer for The Associated Press.

“Today’s lecture looks to unpack an intense and emotional conversation,” explained Marcia Ely, the Vice President of the Center for Brooklyn History and one of the organizers behind the ‘Brooklyn Resists’ series. “What do reparations look like now with such a wide range of forms, putting down roots in pockets across the country. What might they look like in the future? Whose job is it to untangle the messy set of questions involved.”

Throughout the event, the panelists discussed the symbolic need for reparations and the tangible change that such programs could bring about.

“I think a reparations framework has to start with an acknowledgement of a harm,” Professor Chatelain said. “But there also has to be an understanding that harm can never be fully repaid, and that motivates the flexibility to try to achieve something in one’s lifetime.”

Chatelain continued: “The two examples that are often used in conversations about the precedent for reparations are the tragedy of the Holocaust and the responsibility that the German government took for it. It isn’t about putting a value on harm but it’s also about making sure that one can’t forget that harm happened. In the United States the example we often point to are the victims of Japanese incarceration during World War II who received reparations.”

Robin Sue Simmons built on the idea, discussing her experience passing a reparations bill in Illinois that used money from a new cannabis sales tax to supply affordable housing to those affected by redlining.

“We had to look very hyper local so that our reparations policy was specific to our town,” Simmons said. “We are now moving forward in a reparative way. I hope other communities can do something similar.”

David Ragland agreed, saying: “I think people simply have too limited an idea of what reparations mean. We talk about how reparations can repay the moral harm of slavery but also remedy the institutions that still perpetuate that harm today. There is a cost to racism and we are squandering our potential as a nation by keeping people down.”

At the talk’s conclusion, the panelists encouraged listeners to continue the conversation by visiting the National African-American Reparations Commission website (https://reparationscomm.org/ ) and reading the bill currently proposed by the House of Representatives to study reparations (H.R. 40).

An entire recording of the event is available on the Center for Brooklyn History facebook page.

Future events in the ‘Brooklyn Resists’ series will focus on the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the recent Black Lives Matter movement. Currently the events are scheduled to be held virtually, but the Brooklyn Public Library hopes to organize some in-person panels in the near future.

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