Culture

Is reality TV headed to South Bronx?

Band of friends makes plans to star in show

Natalie Conn

The cast of the South Bronx Reality Show from left to right are: Eric Calas (friend of the cast), Beth Garcia, Stanley Duran, Delaina Waldron, RJ Acosta and Cholie Garcia (lying down).

Delaina Waldron parks her SUV on Simpson Street to photograph a mural. Then she drives north, stopping to take pictures of graffiti-tagged walls. Her last stop is the Bronx Zoo. She photographs the sign above the gate.

“You can’t have a reality show about the Bronx without the Bronx Zoo in there,” she explains.

Waldron, 35, a city bus driver and self-published author, born and raised on Leggett Avenue, spends most of her week driving and thinking. Occasionally she gets nostalgic about the old days in her neighborhood.

“I’m a fan of the old school hip-hop, and I love the old footage of people getting together in parks or in apartments having house parties and everybody showcasing their talents,” she says.

She was thinking of ways to help bring that vibe back when she saw a few episodes of a new MTV show, “Washington Heights,” which follows a group of friends who live in that Northern Manhattan neighborhood.

Waldron thought, “We could so do a show about the South Bronx.”

And so was born the South Bronx Reality Show. Since then, she and a group of friends have been collecting video footage.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Waldron’s apartment on West Farms Road was filled with people, including her cousins Beth and Cholie Garcia and friends Stanley Duran and RJ Acosta. These four and Waldron will be the core cast.

Waldron’s son Kristin and his cousin Aiden watched television while Waldron set up studio lights in front a green backdrop. Since January, she has been organizing events and parties so she can film them for the show, but she encourages her friends to film themselves with their cell phones. She’s been compiling their footage and editing it for the pilot episode.

As Waldron worked, everyone else was laughing about a video on a cell phone. In the video Acosta was dancing enthusiastically in a doorway. “You gotta send that to me!” Waldron said.

In addition to her friends’ unscripted antics, Waldron says the South Bronx Reality Show will be unique because the Bronx has an inspiring history. “It’s been through so much. I can see the scars.”

After Waldron set up the lights, her friends took turns sitting in front of the backdrop while she filmed them. When asked what they want to feature about the Bronx, they each had something different to say.

Acosta talked about documenting car racing. Beth Garcia said, “There are places in Hunts Point where people go to better themselves, like counseling. That’s part of the struggle and that’s part of the Bronx.”

Duran said that he felt it was about time someone made a show set in the South Bronx. Another friend, Eric Calas, a local musician said he is searching for underground artists and musicians for Waldron to interview on the show.

Cholie Garcia admitted that originally she hadn’t wanted to participate. “But they said I had to do it because I’d make the show crazier,” she said with a laugh. “The whole family is pretty crazy, so I’m definitely sure we can make TV way more fun.”

Waldron hopes a network will pick up the show and provide the funds to hire crewmembers so she no longer has to do everything herself. But, if not, she says, she can start it off as a Web series. She is thinking about organizing a red carpet event at The Point in June to celebrate the first episode.

Over the sound of the TV and laughter, Acosta looked into the camera and announced, “Bronx Reality! Coming to you real soon! It’s gonna be a very interesting show! I hope you all come out to watch it! It’s gonna be real live, real entertainment, all reality, nothing’s fake, everything that comes out of my mouth has to be censored. Stay tuned. It’s gonna be crazy!”

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