Jef Castro likes photography, film and comics. He also likes mofongo. Find out what he’s working on and where to check out 27 different kinds of mofongo.
Name: Jef Castro
Occupation: Associate Photo Editor (Entertainment Weekly)/Artist
Tell us a little about what you’re up to, your current projects, the themes you’re dealing with in your projects, your collaborations: Growing up, I totally noticed the lack of Asian faces in American pop culture. At first, complaining was the only thing I could do about it. This is how I became involved with Asian CineVision‘s Asian American International Film Festival (currently as a feature film screening committee member) and as Senior Artist for the recently released Secret Identities: The Asian American Super Hero Anthology. I am also helping pull together the very first Asian American ComiCon this summer at the new Museum of Chinese in America at 215 Centre Street!
Tell us more about your participation in the upcoming Asian American ComiCon: I’ll be there to represent my contribution to the Secret Identities book as well as curate the motion media that will screen on the video monitors during the day’s events. So if you attend you can watch some rare Asian American music videos and shorts while hanging out between panels! The Con takes place Saturday July 11 from 10am to 5pm. You can get additional info at www.aacomicon.com!
What is the first comic book you bought? The earliest that I can remember is a copy of Walt Disney’s Scrooge McDuck. I loved it. The storytelling was so clear and really fun. I re-read that one issue over and over again and studied every single panel. I drew all over the page gutters too-totally killing any future value. It was a story about a hidden map found in a Viking ship that lead to a golden egg hidden away on an a breeding island of seagulls. I wish I knew where that issue was now.
What are you currently listening to? Does this vary from what you listen to when you’re working? When I am working during the day, I usually leave BBC Radio 1 on for a good mix of music and news. When I am working at home while drawing I like to listen to anything from Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Smashing Pumpkins to Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson.
Favorite place to eat in the neighborhood: I’m relatively new to Inwood so I am still coming across new places. My current favorite is Albert’s Mofongo House at 4762 Broadway. I never had Mofongo before this place, and they serve 27 different kinds! I totally recommend the Steak Mofongo. It’s amazing.
Little known fact about your neighborhood: Inwood has the reputation of being a very loud neighborhood, and that’s true… but I have to say it is not as bad as it is made out to be. The music usually plays from family parties and I actually find it really comforting. Sundays are very very quiet here (everyone is at church!).
Favorite watering hole: That’s something I have not investigated yet. I’ll let you know when I find one…
Best pizza in your hood: Can’t say Inwood is really known for it’s slice. Pizza places aren’t so popular here.
Best coffee in your hood: Now THAT I know! Every morning I get my coffee from Rincon Cibaeno at 125 Nagle Avenue. But to be fair, EVERY place has some pretty damn good coffee out here.
If there was a movie of your life, what neighborhood would grace the opening scene? I would have a montage of slow-mo tracking shots of different areas of Massapequa, Amityville, and Farmingdale in Long Island: Adventureland, Sunrise Mall, the retirement homes, my elementary school, and finally my house.
What is your all time favorite monster and/or horror movie? My favorite monster would have to be the King of Monsters, Godzilla. I miss my old vinyl toy collection… My parents gave them all away to the Philippines! I was always too scared of horror movies… Poltergeist, The Prince of Darkness, House, and even Student Bodies all scared the shit out of me.