L’asso-ing The East Village

 A new outpost of acclaimed pizzeria L’asso is set to open on First Avenue. I filmed owner Robert’s story @ L’asso East Village while he was overseeing construction. L’asso prides itself on serving D.O.C.-certified pies — a designation reserved for pizza made to the standards of the Italian government. Definitely, one of the top 5 NYC pizza spots. http://lassonyc.com/

Q-Tip on “Hotel Amazon” & A Tribe Called Quest

After spending a great scenic day driving around my borough of Queens, I jumped on the J train and took an evening stroll through the East Village. I bumped into a true ambassador of Queens, Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. He was enjoying a stroll as well but was cool enough to share a historic small story about A Tribe Called Quest and the building behind us, CSV CULTURAL CENTER 107 Suffolk Street. Funny, the story was in front of both our faces..Unscripted NYC.

MTV Bio:

The longtime MC with pioneering alternative hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest, rapper Q-Tip was born Jonathan Davis in New York City on November 20, 1970. While a student at the Murray Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, he co-founded A Tribe Called Quest with fellow students Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Phife (Malik Taylor) in 1988. The following year, Q-Tip guested on De La Soul‘s groundbreaking 3 Feet High and Rising LP, with the two groups forever linked through their association with the Native Tongues collective. Tribe‘s debut single, “Description of a Fool,” appeared in the summer of 1989, and after signing to Jive Records, the trio issued its debut LP, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, a year later. With its fiercely intelligent, socially progressive lyrics and brilliant fusion of rap and jazz, the group emerged as one of the most popular and influential in all of hip-hop, producing such classic LPs as 1991’s The Low End Theory and 1993’s Midnight Marauders before disbanding in 1998. Q-Tip then mounted a solo career with the 1999 release of Amplified. Although it was successful, he was in label limbo for many years afterward, continuing to record but rarely able to release any of his output. (One album, Kamaal the Abstract, was ready to roll into stores in 2002 when it was halted; it was finally released by Jive in 2009.) His sophomore set finally appeared in late 2008 and earned its title, The Renaissance. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi


			

My Small Story Mix II

14 NYC stories in 14 minutes. A thread of conversations beginning with a new New Yorker  who is proof that people move to NYC from all over the world; a man roller skating w the bottom of a mannequin on his head  in soho; Freedom Bradley Dir-City Parks Foundations on what else “NYC Parks”; Founder of cleanplates.com the online healthy version of zagats; Guy wearing airtrekkers on Park Avenue; Iesha of Street Corner Resources, anti-violence teen protest @129 & Lenox; DJ Moma on going from engineer to DJ and “escaping the rat race”; Abby & Tori on the call that sent them to Haiti; Footwear designer Yusef Sirius El on 5 and 10 year business plans; Opera singer Joanna Bergin on the day she knew opera was her calling; Stylist Jason Rembert@Rocawear pop-up store on how he got his first internship at Elle; my first Yankee game, in the parking lot  I get schooled on Yankee culture by my host and former Yankee exec onYankee branding..but he has a World Series ring, I LOVE NYC; Cinematographer/producer Shawn Peters on what is Weeksville.

Larry Wright: Talent, Drumsticks, Concrete & Buckets@West 4th Street Subway Station

IF you ride the NYC subways, with delays comes entertainment.The  West 4th station has the best bucket-drummer in NYC – Larry Wright. And yesterday, I along with 75 other people waiting on the uptown and downtown orange line were well entertained..as will you. People cheered from platform to platform. The 5 minute delay was definitely worth it. Gotta Love NYC!

Miguel Algarin’s 1st Reading @ Nuyorican Poets Cafe (March 3, 2011)

On March 3rd, I was in the right place on the right day. The Nuyorican Poets Cafe opened 38yrs ago, but this is poet Algarin‘s 1st reading at the cafe he co-founded. He read a poem inspired by a visit with Miguel Pinero to William Burroughs’ bunker on NYC’s Lower Eastside. “Willy B..Willy B..Willy B!!” It was a rare night organized by Ra Araya, the Poet Poducer Punk, for a person who founded the most influential poets cafe in America.

Founded circa 1973, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe began as a living room salon in the East Village apartment of writer and poet, Miguel Algarin. Algarin, a college professor at the center of this blossoming arts community, was dedicated to bringing new work into the public eye. By 1975 it became clear that there were many poets and too much energy for Algarin’s living room. William Morrow Inc. had just published an anthology titled “Nuyorican Poetry”. Miguel Piñero’s “Short Eyes” had just won two awards as best play of the 1974 season. Poetry, the vital sign of a new culture, needed to be heard live. So Algarin rented an Irish bar, the Sunshine Cafe on East 6th Street, which was christened The Nuyorican Poets Cafe. By 1980, the overflow of audiences led the Cafe to purchase an “in rem” building at 236 East 3rd Street to expand its activities and programs.

“The storied café currently is in the process of expanding its three upper floors with the help of a $500,000 grant received from the city. The money is going toward developing additional performance space, a classroom and a multimedia lab.” Wall Street Journal article

Tunisian Poet Samia Ouederni @ Nuyorican Poets Cafe

After sharing a poem on Facebook in response to the revolution that was happening in her home of Tunisia, Samia was asked to read for Miguel Algarin, the Founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Samia is the 1st Tunisian poet to be published in English; and, read at the Nuyorican, one of the most important venues for the development of poetry, music and theater in New York. In 1973, Algarin’s mission was to create a multicultural venue that both nurtures artists and exhibits a variety of artistic works to both enlighten and empower the underclass, it is a mission that has remained true to this day.

“If you have the baby here tonight, the baby will be named Nuyorican” Miguel said with a laugh to Samia before her reading. I filmed my taxi conversation with Samia enroute to the venue about Tunisia, NYC, language and poetry. Ra ,a seasoned Nuyorican organizer, explains how he discovered Samia and why he “wanted her to read for Miguel”. She read 5 poems that night. I shared the poem Samia read in Arabic titled ارادة الحياة ( English translation “Will To Live”) written in 1933 by Chebbi. Part of the poem is the Tunisian anthem and now chanted during the ongoing revolution in Tunisia and Egypt.  She is also featured @ The Poetry Foundation.

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