Brooklyn, Events, Interviews
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Meet NYC Native Alexandra Bloch of GoodKarma

One of the awesome things about living in New York City is that you meet a lot of fantastic people who happen to be doing fantastic things. One of those said people is my friend Alexandra Bloch, whom we all refer to affectionately as Alex. I have the good fortune of knowing Ms. Bloch because we got set up on a blind friend date – a.k.a. we had both complained to our mutual friend that we didn’t have any girlfriends in Brooklyn, awkwardly met at the ever-hip Roebling Tea Room, and a few glasses of mid-day wine later, we were pals for life.

But what makes Alex qualify as fantastic? Well, she has great style, a hilariously sarcastic persona, works on tv and film sets, and just happens to be at the forefront of an incredibly awesome non-profit appropriately named GoodKarma. Which, we all need some good karma.

Alex and I chat about the charities GoodKarma benefits, the lovely Jada Pinkett Smith, and some of the best eats in NYC. Plus, you don’t want to miss this event happening on Saturday – two words: Photo. Booth.

KRISTINE

 Hi Alex, gives us a little background to get us going.

ALEX

Well, I’m a born and raised New Yorker and grew up in a mixture of Queens and England. I took a short break from New York to study at Oberlin and briefly in Barcelona and currently live in Chelsea. I work in film and television and am currently working on a show called GOTHAM which airs on FOX. It tells the prequel stories of the villains from the world of Batman.

KRISTINE

From NYC to Oberlin, how very Lena Dunham of you, minus everything that actually makes Lena Dunham, Lena Dunham [laughs]. Tell us about GoodKarma.

ALEX

GoodKarma is a recently founded organization brought to life by Dean Ginsberg and Eli Clark-Davis who both also attended Oberlin with me… and Lena Dunham [laughs]. There are 8 of us on the team right now and we aim to throw a series of events that bring people together to create an awareness of the gender gap in the tech industry. Each of these events will raise money that will be donated to organizations such as Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code. Technology is such a large part of our world today and it is so important to bring opportunities in this field to women of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We also think it’s important to bring people together with these issues. These days so much is discussed via social media but it’s important to interact- to actually be with one another for a cause instead of just retweeting something.

KRISTINE

Both very valid points. I have a friend who codes for Google and she often laments that there is only one other girl on her team. I can only imagine the gap when you factor in gender and race. How did you get involved with this awesome cause?

ALEX

I have always been involved in event planning – from throwing warehouse parties for myself and my similarly underage friends in High School and being an event organizer and promoter at our school owned bar at Oberlin, to helping with publicity events currently for GOTHAM. Dean and I used to joke about how we should start throwing events in the city again now that we would know how to do it properly. This joke evolved into an idea and others began to be interested in the cause and thus GoodKarma was born. Being a group of young professionals in New York, we thought about what was important to us and our group of friends – something we could relate to and understand and that’s what brought us to center our cause around technology.

KRISTINE

The white male dominance of technology is certainly something our generation and generations to come will be very aware of. Had you ever thought about running a non-profit before? GoodKarma isn’t a small scale thing since you’ve got General Assembly pledging to match 25% of the money you raise!

ALEX

It’s always been something in the back of my mind, though I honestly never thought it would be something I would be involved in at such a young age. GoodKarma just came together so fast, one day we were casually talking about the idea and BOOM the next week we were talking logistics and cocktail creations. We’ve been so lucky in getting the support from the General Assembly Opportunity Fund – we are very grateful to them in addition to The Bosco, Runa Tea, the DJs, and all the other people and groups that are supporting us in this and making it possible.

KRISTINE

 I’m going to be honest, I am so impressed at how professional and large scale your first event is – when I first saw it, I thought it was a long established non-profit that you were volunteering for! It’s really incredible that 3 twenty-somethings made it happen and to benefit such a worthy cause. What can we expect at the event on Saturday?

ALEX

This Saturday (12/13) is our first event and essentially our launch. The event is being held at Black Bear Bar in Williamsburg and we were able to get an amazing line up of DJs to perform for us: HOHME, Me2Me2, & Flamingosis. In addition we got Runa Tea Energy Drink to provide us with free beverages. I’ve created some exciting cocktails that include these drinks that we will be providing at very reasonable price. We have our friends at the Bosco providing a free photo booth that creates gifs from a series of taken photos and many other great surprises that you’ll have to wait and see for yourself!

The Bosco Gif Generator: Alex at NC/17 Party

The Bosco Gif Generator: Alex at NC/17 Party

KRISTINE

Everyone knows I’m a sucker for photo booths. That sounds absolutely incredible. What does Good Karma have up it’s sleeve next?

ALEX

As we are just starting we currently only have three events planned. Saturday is our first. We will have another larger event at the start of 2015 and then our largest to date in the Spring. We hope to continue bringing people together for the cause and hope to involve more artists in the future and showcase new talents.

KRISTINE

You guys are an inspiration! When you’re not working on GoodKarma, you’re working in film and television. What is your favorite set that you’ve ever worked on?

ALEX

I’ve only been working for a couple of years in the New York film world so I have to say GOTHAM is my favorite so far. It’s such a visually interesting show with a great combination of crew and actors. Everyday so far has been an adventure and brings new surprises. Plus, so much free food – I’ll never go hungry so I can’t complain.

Alex with Robin Lord Taylor as The Penguin and Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma

Alex with Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith on the set of GOTHAM

KRISTINE

Yes! Free food is the elixir of life! I guess that doesn’t make sense since food is the actual elixir of life…but whatever. Free food is so awesome. Any hilarious stories involving the stars?

ALEX

Hmm, the most recent one was Jada Pinkett Smith, who is one of the greatest characters on the show and lovely to work with. She was coming to set for the first time to meet with us and our Executive Producers. What I did not realize was that she planned to come to the meeting in full character. When I went down to meet her, she stepped out of her car in a floor-length ballgown with a half naked man attached to a leash in tow. The man on the leash (on hands and knees) accompanied her throughout her entire visit. Unfortunately, he did not make it on to the show. Yet. [laughs]

KRISTINE

The visuals of that story are actually incredible [laughs]. Also, I’m fairly convinced that GOTHAM only casts actors with three names: Jada Pinkett Smith, Robin Lord Taylor, Cory Michael Smith … I think I’m onto something! Ok, what’s your favorite movie and why?

ALEX

Such a tough question – I love so many movies that are all so different. For the purposes of this interview I’d have to say Goodfellas. It’s something I’ve seen so many times and I never get tired of it. I notice something new every time. I’m always a fan of the older New York based Gangster movies, it brings me back to a different world, there’s something gritty and unexpectedly romantic about it.

[Image: Broadsheet] Scorcese’s Goodfellas, 1990

KRISTINE

I think I remember being at your apartment and seeing the script for Mulholland Drive laying on your bed. You’re such a little film buff! Let’s move on to your other great love – dining. Favorite restaurant in NYC?

ALEX

So many…I have to give two. One is a little more exotic, it’s a Malaysian Restaurant in Elmhurst I’ve been going to with my family since I was about 5 called, Taste Good. It’s a tiny hole-in-the-wall with the best food and an amazing staff. If you ever find yourself there order the Singapore Curry Laksa and the Dry Egg Noodles with Wonton & Roast Pork. Another favorite is Blue Ribbon – the original on Spring and Sullivan- must get the bone marrow and oysters – and sit at the bar. Blue Ribbon Sushi next door is a must as well.

KRISTINE

Right with you on both of those suggestions, minus that I’ve never been to Taste Good, but there’s just no way it couldn’t be the best thing ever based on your description alone!

[Image: sensesofcinema] Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, 2001

Time for some rapid fire questions:

Reading or Writing? Reading

Popcorn or Corn on the Cob? Corn on the Cob

High Fashion or Street Style? Mix

Steven Spielberg or David Lynch? David Lynch

Cocktails or Vino? Vino

Paris or Rome? Paris

KRISTINE

I can’t believe you would betray Italy like that due to your love of Italian Mobster movies! But I guess we’ll forgive you because you are running 1/3rd of a pretty amazing charity.

ALEX

[laughs] Who is “we?”

KRISTINE

Me…and the entire existing Italian Mafia…duh.

The GoodKarma Logo

Join Alexandra, Dean, and Eli on Saturday at Black Bear Bar in Williamsburg to get your drank on and gifs taken while helping girls bridge the gender gap in tech! Get your tickets here. Or if you don’t live here but want to donate money to an incredible and relevant cause, buy a ticket anyways! Good karma guaranteed!

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