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Diana Maria Riva, who grew up in Cincinnati, said she can identify with Adela Castelli, the boisterous Dominican-born wife and mother she plays in “Gordita Chronicles,” a new HBO Max comedy series.

“She rang true with women in my family,” Riva, 52, told The Post. “I’m Latina, my mother is from the Dominican Republic, I’m first-generation … there were things that resonated with me as far as this kind of woman and what she stands for … when it comes to family and supporting family.

“So she wasn’t a stretch for me to connect with.”

“Gordita Chronicles,” premiering June 23, revolves around the Castelli family: husband-and-wife Victor (Juan Javier Cardenas) and Adela and their daughters: precocious, 12-year-old Cucu (Olivia Goncalves) — endearingly nicknamed “Gordita” (“chubby”) — and her older sister, Emilia (Savannah Nicole Ruiz), who’s really into American pop culture (including Tiger Beat magazine). It’s 1985 when the Castellis move from the Dominican Republic to Miami after Victor gets a job as the vice president of marketing for an airline company.

Olivia Goncalves as Cucu.
Olivia Goncalves as Cucu.
Laura T Magruder/HBO Max
Savannah Nicole Ruiz as Emilia.
Savannah Nicole Ruiz as Emilia.
Laura T Magruder/HBO Max

They’re in for a culture shock of seismic proportions, all narrated by an adult Cucu (Dascha Polanco) as she reminisces about her life and her family.

The 10-episode series is partially based on the life of writer/creator/co-producer Claudia Forestieri (“Selena: The Series”) and is executive-produced by Zoe Saldaña and Eva Longoria (who directed the pilot). It uses a light comedic touch to underscore the realities each family member confronts (micro-aggressive racism, high school peer pressures) once they settle into their new lives to pursue the “American Dream.”

“There are shows meant to go and teach a lesson or enlighten; this one … is fun and it’s comedy but there’s a very universal element of what [Forestieri] wanted to make sure came through,” said Riva, who also co-stars in “Dead to Me” on Netflix. “Whether you are of Dominican descent or Italian descent or Jewish descent, or are first-generation or fifth-generation, have we not all had a chapter in our lives when we’re starting something new and it’s tapped into our fears and vulnerability?

“What we see [in ‘Gordita Chronicles’] is all of us in the family trying to find our place in this new world … about trying to fit in. It makes for a successful show when you’re not shutting people out but allowing them in on this journey, to relate to it, in one way or another — maybe not with the details of the story, but [with] the emotion.”

The ’80s fashions, hairstyles and mores function as the show’s uncredited co-stars, with Mr. Coffee, Grape Nuts cereal, Michael Jackson, “Teen Wolf,” beepers and Gloria Estefan all finding their way into the storyline.

Juan Javier Cardenas and Diana Maria Riva as Victor and Adela dressed up as characters from "Grease" at their daughters' school dance.
Juan Javier Cardenas and Diana Maria Riva as Victor and Adela dressed up as characters from “Grease” at their daughters’ school dance.
Lara Solanki/HBO Max

“They did a nice job with the subtlety of the ’80s instead of going for the big, obvious, loud jokes,” Riva said. “Our production designer [Genevieve Tyrrell] did such a beautiful job of bringing authentic items to the set. When Olivia, who plays Cucu, had to dial a number on the rotary phone, it took her like 10 minutes because, as a good little actress, she decided to use her real number.

“Savannah, who plays Emilia, came out one day with this metal chain belt that was wrapped twice around her hips, the way we used to do it, and she just looks down and looks at me with her hands in the air and deadpans, ‘I don’t get it? Why wrap it twice?’

“For anybody who was raised in that era, you’re going to have the time of your life with this throwback; if not, you’ll just watch and laugh at what we called style and things we did for fun that weren’t with a cellphone or a computer,” she said. “I would put an outfit on and think, ‘How did we wear this?’ It was basically a pillowcase with a belt around it. I don’t know how anybody found that flattering. There’s an episode where [Adela] gets into Jazzercise and working out — it’s crazy sometimes but also very funny.”




By: Ny Post

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Super PACs target AOC-backed ‘defund the police’ NY candidates

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Two political action committees bankrolled by New York business interests are waging a hard-hitting $1 million counteroffensive to defeat “defund the police” state Assembly candidates running in Tuesday’s Democratic primary races.

The related Super PACs — Common Sense New Yorkers and Voters of New York — have sent out mailers attacking the lefty candidates as soft on crime and are engaging in an 11th-hour “get out the vote” effort through robocalls, text messaging and other canvassing, said Jeff Leb, the treasurer of both groups.

“We are specifically running independent campaigns against socialist candidates who have declared publicly and privately that they want to defund the police,” said Leb.

“We have done multiple polls that confirm that across NYC and NYS regardless of the neighborhood or the district, public safety is the number one issue of concern to Democratic voters,” he added.

The candidates targeted by the groups are backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens), the left-wing Working Families Party and the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Super Pac Defund the Police
The Super PACs are targeting candidates who support defunding the police.
Capitol Consulting

Leb said his groups will conduct a similar campaign to bolster pro-safety candidates in state Senate primaries in August.

At least three mailers have targeted insurgent Jonathan Soto — a former AOC staffer endorsed by the socialist congresswoman and the WFP — who is running against veteran Assembly incumbent Michael Benedetto in The Bronx.

“Don’t vote for Jonathan Soto. He’s Too Extreme for the Bronx,” said one mailer, which described the “defund” challenger as a “dangerous, reckless, socialist.”

One mailer targets former AOC staffer Jonathan Soto who the PAC describes as “too extreme.”
Capitol Consulting

The PACs have also run attack ads against insurgent Jessica Altagracia Woolford, who is running against veteran Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz in the northwest Bronx Assembly District 81 covering Riverdale, Kingsbridge Heights, Norwood and Woodlawn; and Samy Nemir Olivares, who is seeking to topple incumbent Erik Dilan in Brooklyn’s District 54, covering Bushwick and Cypress Hills.

Benedetto, who is not connected to the independent groups, on Sunday welcomed their campaign.

“They accurately point out that my opponent wants to defund the police. I’m not for that all. I happen to be in the same political camp as Joe Biden,” said Benedetto, who received a donation from the New York State Troopers PAC.

super pac defund the police
The groups claim that public safety is the number one issue for New York voters.
Capitol Consulting

“They realize [Soto] is a radical who is out of step with the mainstream. We don’t want that.”

Soto on Sunday sought to turn the tables, saying Benedetto is backed by “Trump Republicans” who are sending attack mailers “distracting voters from what’s actually being defunded, our schools!”

Mayor Eric Adams has endorsed the more moderate Benedetto, and donated to his campaign in the ongoing proxy war with Ocasio-Cortez over the direction of New York’s Democratic Party.

super pacs defund the police
The groups are also targeting Jessica Altagracia Woolford who is running for state Assembly in the Bronx.
Capitol Consulting

The Adams-affiliated Striving for a Better New York gave Benedetto $4,700 work in mid-June, state BOE records show.

The AOC-backed Courage to Change PAC, meanwhile, donated $4,700 to Soto and cut four-figure checks to seven other lefty candidates in recent weeks, including challengers running against incumbents Dilan, Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster) and Nikki Lucas (D-Brooklyn) in the state Assembly, records show.

Dilan’s father is former longtime state Brooklyn state Sen. Martin Dilan, who lost a 2018 primary to the DSA-backed Julia Salazar.

The younger Dilan received a $4,700 check of his own from A.J.W. Properties Management and $2,000 from a PAC associated with state realtors, in addition to at least $13,000 more in donations from other labor and trade groups in recent weeks.

As for the two pro-law and order Super PACs, campaign finance records show Voters of New York received four donations from real estate and financial interest in recent weeks totaling $250,000.

Silverstein Properties gave $50,000 while Thomas Tuft, a former chairman of the Global Capital Markets Group at Goldman Sachs chipped in $25,000. Anel Holding Group and Broadwest Group 3 LLC contributed $100,000 and $75,000 respectively, according to campaign finance filings.

More than $100,000 in these donations went to just two entities – Live Media Productions LLC of lower Manhattan and Albany Marketing Solutions just blocks from the state Capitol, according to campaign records.

Both companies also received dozens of payments totaling a similar amount from Common Sense New York in recent days, records show.

Donors to this group include a litany of limited liability companies representing real estate and financial interests. The family-owned United American Land gave $100,000. Venture capitalist Lisa Blau gave $50,000, according to records.

The insurance industry and other trade groups have dumped $6,000 on Cahill, who chairs the Assembly Insurance Committee, as he battles back a challenge from the DSA and WFP-backed Sarahan Shrestha.

Shrestha also got $4,700 from the AOC-backed PAC on June 24, records state. 


By: Ny Post

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Duke assistant sees NBA starter in Knicks’ pick Trevor Keels

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The Knicks traded out of the first round on draft night, but they may have landed a player with the upside of a first-round pick. At least, that’s what Chris Carrawell believes the Knicks have in Trevor Keels.

The one-and-done guard had an up-and-down season with the Blue Devils, averaging 11.5 points and 3.4 rebounds, but the former five-star recruit was still projected by some to find his way into the first round. That didn’t happen, and the Knicks ended up selecting him with the No. 42 overall pick in the draft.

“I think he’s a starter [in the NBA],” Carrawell, the Duke assistant coach, told The Post in a phone interview on Sunday. “It’s harder when you’re a second-round pick, but he’s only 18. If he stays with it, and gets an opportunity and improves, I compare him to Marcus Smart.

“In a year [if he stayed in school] he would’ve been a potential lottery pick and guaranteed first-round pick for sure. Potential is there. … I think the Knicks got a steal.”

Duke
The Knicks selected Duke product Trevor Keels in the 2022 NBA Draft.
USA TODAY Sports

Carrawell singled out two needed areas of improvement for the 6-foot-5 Keels to develop into a solid NBA player. One of the youngest players in the draft, the Clinton, Md. native has to improve his perimeter jump shot — Keels shot just 31.2 percent from beyond the arc for Duke this past season — and he has to get into better shape. Keels registered 13.5 percent body fat at the draft combine, the fourth highest of the 76 players there.

“These guys come in, they’re 17, 18 years old, in college for the first time. No matter how much we talk to them about nutrition, things you gotta eat, they’re still college kids,” Carrawell said. “They’re going to still stay up late, they’re going to play video games, they’re going to hang out with their classmates, their teammates. He has the body type that you have to watch what you eat, make sure you’re putting in the work, which he does. But he’s still young. I didn’t pay attention to those things when I was 22. In time, once he learns, he can do it.”

Off the bat, Keels’ best asset is his competitive fire and on-court desire. He was one of Duke’s most intense players and, according to Carrawell, has an extremely high basketball IQ. That manifests itself at both ends of the floor.

Perhaps most important for Keels and the Knicks, Carrawell thinks he’s a Tom Thibodeau type of player, due to his aggressive nature and his desire on the defensive end. Thibodeau, of course, is notorious for relying on veterans, so Keels will have to prove himself to carve out a role for himself. The fastest way for that to happen is on the defensive end.

NBA
Trevor Keels working out at the NBA Draft combine.
USA TODAY Sports

Carrawell’s take was similar to what an NBA scout told The Post on draft night, that Keels has to improve his body and his jumper, but the toughness and edge he plays with will appeal to Thibodeau.

“I’m going into a foxhole, I want him on my side,” Carrawell said. “’Thibs is going to fall in love with Trevor, because he’s a competitor, he’s a winner.

“He competes, man. Trevor really has the potential to be a really good defender once he learns the NBA game. He can really guard the ball. When he’s locked in, he does a good job of putting pressure on the ball, and he’s not bad off the ball as well.”


By: Ny Post

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Environmentalists hate the working class

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As the United States faces skyrocketing oil, gas and electricity prices, the obvious solution is to drill for more oil and gas and build more generating plants. Naturally, that’s off the table because the people who are being hurt most aren’t the ones who set the agenda.

High prices hurt everyone to a degree, but they’re hardest on the working classes. Most Americans drive to work, and even in most places with mass transit there are far more jobs within a 30-minute drive than there are within a 30-minute bus or train ride. Cars also make it easier to take kids to school, shop for groceries in a wider variety of places and stay in touch with family and friends.

With gas prices having more than doubled since January 2021, the cost of doing all these things has also more than doubled. For a family that’s stretched tight already, twice as much money for gas means less money for other things, like food, clothing or education. (And it doesn’t help that prices for those things are also skyrocketing.)

Nonetheless, environmentalists seem happy with these changes. And before he started backpedaling after seeing the polls, President Joe Biden praised high gas prices as part of an “incredible transition” to electric cars and other “green” technologies. (Now, of course, seeing how the political winds blow, he’s calling for a gas-tax “holiday” to take the pressure off voters, at least until after the coming midterms. In the meantime, if you’re too poor to afford gasoline, the administration’s advice is to buy an expensive electric car.)

Gas prices have more than doubled since January 2021.
Gas prices have more than doubled since January 2021.
AP

The reason the environmental faction favors high energy prices is that it wants to force people to switch to renewables. That such a switch leaves most people worse off leaves the environmentalists unmoved. That’s because they’ve always been an elitist movement with no concern for the working class or minorities.

California environmental lawyer Jennifer Hernandez calls the results of that state’s policies “Green Jim Crow.” High energy costs and strict building regulations keep poor people concentrated in poor neighborhoods, while protecting wealthy white enclaves like Marin County. And strict environmental rules crush or keep out industrial jobs that have traditionally provided a leg up for the working class. She observes: “What the soaring environmental rhetoric of the state’s affluent, largely White technocratic leadership disguises is a kludge of climate policies that will only, under the best of circumstances, partially decarbonize the state’s economy while deepening the state’s shameful legacy of racial injustice.”

But that’s been the history of environmental activism from the beginning: rich white people doing well at the expense of the lower classes. In a 1977 Harper’s article, William Tucker explored the history of what’s regarded as the first big environmental movement in America: the opposition to Con Edison’s Storm King pumped-storage project. The project was designed to save energy costs and make it easier for Con Ed to handle summertime peak demand. It would also have provided a lot of jobs in a depressed area.

The catch is, it would have spoiled the views from rich people’s estates in the nearby mountains. As Tucker reports at length, those affluent landowners constructed an entire edifice of opposition to Storm King, for the most selfish of reasons. He quotes a local mayor, who was told by one of the landowners, “We’ve got it nice and peaceful up here, why do you want to spoil it?” The mayor reported, “I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything, but what I wanted to say was ‘What about all the little people down there in the village who need this plant? Did you ever think about them?’” No.

Hiring big law firms and elite PR firms, along with enlisting celebrities like Pete Seeger, who wrote a song about the mountain, the landowners managed to turn a selfish desire not to have to look at electric power lines that would benefit millions into a quasi-religious crusade on behalf of Nature. The plant was stopped, property values were protected and only the little people suffered.

Today, as gas and energy prices soar while the well-off warn us about climate change via private jet, nothing’s different. No one is thinking about the little people. Why should they? Who’s going to make them? 

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee and founder of the InstaPundit.com blog.


By: Ny Post

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