Harlem Teens Anti-Violence Protest April 15th @ 129th & Lenox (II)

(Part II) In Harlem last Friday, teens representing high Schools across Harlem came to speak, rap and lay down on the street for 5 minutes; thus, putting themselves in the place of someone who has been shot. Here is an additional edit of the teen’s speeches, rap and words from Iesha on “why we are here” prior to their demonstration https://mysmallstory.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/harlem-teen-ant-violent-protest-april-15th-129th-lenox/

Iesha of Street Corner Resources& Harlem renaissance High School brought Harlem community leaders from the NYPD, City Council, Teachers, Pastors and Jacob Restaurant provided the backdrop and much needed electricity for the sound system.

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.

BAKER’S Gansevoort Hotel Performance

Chris Baker graduated from college last year and with his parents support he launched his Electronica music career. And with the support of the Gansevoort Hotel, he performed at the opening of their Park Avenue location. After witnessing the crowds reaction, I had to ask him his story. “To get this as my first gig is HUGE..its a huge struck of luck and I know that..its hard to find gigs in NYC.”

Brad & Simone: The Organizers Behind HarlemStage/Aaron Davis Hall, Inc.

Since 1979, Harlem Stage has been one of the nation’s leading arts organizations devoted to the creation and development of new works by performing artists of color. Brad Learmonth & Simone Eccleston are the passionate organizers behind the programming and arts education departments.  We take a tour of HarlemStage, discuss its history, E-moves, DJ Rich Medina and partnerships with NYC schools.  Harlem Stage has joined forces with the Apollo Theater and Jazzmobile to present the first Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival May 9, 2011.  Celebrating the unique legacy of jazz in the uptown community, the Festival will bring both established and emerging artists to some of the famed venues where jazz flourished in Harlem: Lenox Lounge, Showman’s Café, the Apollo Theater, Alhambra Ballroom, and Minton’s Playhouse. Other festival events will take place at Harlem Stage Gatehouse, Columbia University and a variety of locations throughout the Harlem area.

The Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile have partnered specifically to create a resurgence of jazz opportunities in Harlem with this week-long festival. Jazz will be presented in all its various forms and diverse formats including jazz dance, concert, club, cabaret and dance events. Conceived as an annual offering, Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival will enable the partners to create a dynamic range of programming, highlighting the role that local Harlem venues have played in the development of jazz.The three partners are also collaborating with Columbia University and its Center for Jazz Studies and Institute for Research in African American Studies to bring humanities programming that will further highlight the cultural significance of the Festival. 

Toure on Upcoming Projects , Storytelling, His Story, Multicultural America & Book Recommendations

While checking my email at the Soho Apple Store, I ran into long time friend and very talented writer, Toure. Referred to as “a one-man media conglomerate” by The Daily Beast’s editor Tina Brown, the pop culture commentator has his hands in various media works, from penning articles for Rolling Stone, where the scribe has been a long-time contributing editor, to contributing to MSNBC and hosting the Fuse’s Hip Hop Shop. His TL is not short of tell-it-like-it is commentary. Touré is expecting the release of his fourth book, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? on September 13. These days Toure is Fuse’s pop culture and music insider Touré, takes on double hosting duties with two of the networks hottest shows, “Hip Hop Shop” and “On The Record with Fuse.”
In addition, Touré is the author of Never Drank the Kool-Aid, a collection of published articles, Soul City, a novel, and The Portable Promised Land, a collection of short stories. He is also a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone, formerly a host and correspondent at BET and was CNN’s first Pop Culture Correspondent. He has appeared on the “Today Show,” “the Paula Zahn show,” “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” “Topic A with Tina Brown,” “Anderson Cooper 360°,” “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” “Dateline NBC,” “Nightline,” and many others.

SMILEY’S YARNS: NYC’s #1 Knitter’s Haven Since 1935

 My first time in a yarn store so I turned on the camera. I stumbled upon the knitting factory for  New York’s melting pot. Based in Woodhaven, NY, Smiley’s Yarns is a company, established in 1935, that sells discounted yarn online and in store.  Some of the name brand yarns that it supplies include Lion Brand, Red Heart, Patons, CrystalPalace, Premier, and Tahki. This yarn store is worth the subway fare to Queens (it is very near the Woodhaven stop on the J train).

Harlem Renaissance High School w Street Corner Resources (WBLS.Com)

 The Kid’s are alright! I shadowed Iesha of Street Corner Resources at Harlem Renaissance High School for their 1st annual Video Expo. The students created videos to enhance their college applications and presented their work to family, friends and colleges. The classrooms became exhibition spaces. Meet 4 students and the Principal that empowers them. Harlem Renaissance High School is part of a network of schools designed for teenagers who have been unsuccessful in other settings. These “transfer alternative” programs strive to get students interested enough in education to do what it takes to earn a high school diploma.
Street Corner Resources is a movement combatting youth violence through programs like “I Am Peace”. Together they instill love, support and education in Harlem youth. Street Corner Resources is a movement combatting youth violence through programs like “I Am Peace”.

ARTCRAWL HARLEM: A Trolley-Bus Art Guide Across East Harlem (WBLS.Com)

A Sunday morning trolley-bus art tour through East harlem. ArtCrawl Harlem™ is a guided trolley tour of local galleries. Participants visit 5-7 Harlem art galleries and receive a 20-30 minute “tour within a tour” at each site. Here are 3 spaces I visited: Media Noche addresses the oil spill, HipHop hall of Fame @Studio 176 & James De La Vega’s mural of renowned Nuyorican poet and playwright Pedro Pietri is a community mainstay on the side of the East Harlem Café at Lexington Avenue & 104th Street.

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