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Alicia explores the Southtowns

In addition to becoming a new member of The Sun family, I am also quite new to the Southtowns area. Allow me to introduce myself and a bit of the background that has brought me here.

I was born and raised in Syracuse. I first experienced the newspaper world, when I created and developed an underground newspaper, while in grade school at Huntington K – 8. My mother taught me how to use the newsletter template on Microsoft Word and, from there, I went full force. I made lists of article ideas and gathered names of people to add to the “staff,” which even included a cartoonist.

I intended the paper to be for my peers in band club; after struggling with the teacher who denied permission for distribution and, with help and full support from my mother, I printed multiple copies, folded, stapled and brought them to school. From the beginning, I have always been a bound and determined writer.

My family and I made frequent trips to Buffalo, to visit relatives. As a youngster, I would take a train by myself and explore the life and lights of the Queen City; it became a home away from home. I graduated from Cicero North-Syracuse High School in 2009 and, after a four-year chapter as a Golden Griffin, I graduated from Canisius College in 2013, with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing.

After taking a journalism course my sophomore year, I immediately changed from an English major to creative writing. The first article I ever wrote was about an exhibit for a graffiti artist in Ithaca, followed by a promoted after-party. When I was not writing, I was obsessing about music. Inspiration struck, as I learned I could merge together my two passions.

While I was at Canisius, I was hardly involved with clubs and activities. As a freshman, I became best friends with two producers and disc jockeys, Blasdell native Kyle Tatum and Orchard Park native Brian Doyle. They introduced me to an entire world and, eventually, I became a part of the Queen City Cartel crew, a group of local DJs and artists.

I would attend QCC events and then do reviews for the Canisius newspaper, The Griffin. After I Google-searched my name, looking for an article from the paper, I discovered that I was being featured on Buffalo.com. Within a single semester of my writing for the newspaper, the life and arts section editor, alongside the editor-in-chief, offered me the open position.

I was in a whirlwind of excitement. Never had I received such wonderful recognition for something I was doing just for fun.

It was an act of fate that I met my cousin’s friend, who happened to attend QCC events religiously and also worked for a local music blog, buffaBLOG.com. It was a perfect connection and I was soon sitting with the two editors at Canisius’ Tim Hortons, being set up with account information and trained how to blog.

Every week, I was writing two or three posts. On a buffaBLOG mission, each weekend, I could be found at Town Ballroom, Soundlab, Mohawk Place, Noir Ultra Lounge or Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar, just to name a few. The list of performers I have seen and written about is extensive. They include Purity Ring, A$AP Rocky, Odd Future, Steve Aoki, Santigold, STS9, Ryan Hemsworth, iTAL tEK, Sleigh Bells (multiple times), First Aid Kit and Mayer Hawthorne. I even shook hands and spoke with Caspa, the United Kingdom producer and DJ, who was an originating creator of the dubstep genre.

For The Griffin, I also covered other aspects of the Buffalo art scene, including videographers, fashion designers, TRIMANIA, fashion shows such as Mass Appeal and the Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week.

I also had a splendid time writing my food review for Pans Garden Chinese Restaurant, on the corner of Delaware and Delavan avenues, which was published on BuffaloEats.org. It was to my surprise when I stepped in for some Singapore Mei Fun, the inspiration of my article, and found my piece hanging on the restaurant’s wall.

This past May, I attended the Artvoice Best of Buffalo 2013 Awards and walked around, overjoyed with my surroundings. In addition to being a contributor for Artvoice, I was also there representing nominees the QCC, buffaBLOG and Marco’s Italian Deli on Hertel. When the awards were announced, my buffaBLOG team and I celebrated our first-time victory, winning best local blog.

This is merely a list of what I have done in the past and I am grateful for every moment I have had. I have gotten some really positive feedback, which always surprises me. I have also greatly learned from negative feedback and occurrences.

I want to focus on bringing the truth and revealing what is unknown; perhaps I will find a band, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or an on-the-rise fashion designer, who is still only sewing pieces from his or her bedroom. I thrive in the arts; that is what this column is here for.

I still live in the city of Buffalo, so to consider me an outsider would be appropriate. I am hoping that, with this column, I can bring a new perspective on the Southtowns, as I explore all it has to offer.

I love to talk and connect. If you know of spots worthy of an adventure, feel free to email me at agreco@thesunnews.net.
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