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 City Lore                                                                  April 30, 2013  


POEMobile’s First Event of the SeasonAnnie's Blue Mail Box Crawl
City Lore Documentary InstituteHarborloreBronx Rising!
From Mambo to Hip Hop ScreeningPrivate Lives in the Big City
For Better or Verse
Bringing Hip Hop to the Streets Jane’s Walk NYC

Hi, Citylorists,

Please enjoy our Tours and Tales April-May 2013 e-letter!

Photo by Abby Ronner

Celebrate Spring with the POEMobile’s first event of the season! On Saturday May 4, City Lore, Bowery Arts+Science, and the young poets from Urban Word NYC partner to present WORDS ON WALLS, a collaborative performance of poetry projections, music, and spoken word, all taking place around the POEMobile. The POEMobile is a beautifully hand-painted truck covered in the calligraphy of multilingual poetry with a high powered projector on its roof. Illuminated verses will light up Mulberry Street as Urban Word’s powerful teen poets, along with special guests Lloyd Robson and Michele Marcelin explore the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY festival theme of Untapped Capital.

When: Saturday, May 4th, 8:30pm – 10:30pm
Where: Behind St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry Street, Manhattan
Admission: FREE!
For more information: Please see our calendar event and find out more about the whole IDEAS CITY at the New Museum’s website.

Annie’s Blue Mail Box Book Crawl: Love, Leather and Garlic Our dear friend Annie Lanzillotto is the only New Yorker we know who tells stories sitting atop a blue city mailbox. We hope you’ll join her as she reads excerpts from her new book, L is for Lion, during a one-of-a-kind walk through the East Village. Annie will sit atop street corner mailboxes and perform stories from her book that happened on those corners, bringing back the street corner mailbox as urban hotspot of storytelling and song. The theme is Love, Leather, and Garlic, and you’ll have a chance to jot down your own stories, slip them in the mailbox, mail them to City Lore, and have some of them appear on our City of Memory story map of New York. The POEMobile will make a special appearance.

When: Thursday, May 9th, 6:00pm
Where: Start at Jimmy’s No. 43, 43 E 7th Street, Manhattan
Admission: Tickets are available on a sliding scale. Please click here.
For more information: Please see our calendar event.

City Lore Documentary Institute Postcard

Only Two More Weeks to Sign up for the City Lore Documentary Institute: Spread the Word! Don’t forget to SIGN UP FOR and TELL YOUR NEIGHBOR about the City Lore Documentary Institute, a three week (August 12 – 30) intensive immersion program through which current and aspiring artists, activists, and cultural documenters advance their skills in multimedia storytelling. Working hands-on with veterans in the fields of radio, photography, and video documentary, participants will go through the soup to nuts process of producing a photo essay, radio or film short to tell a story of importance to the world. In addition, the institute provides an introduction to folklore– and oral history–based approaches to culture and cultural activism; writing for the media; interviewing and field research; and fundraising from government sources, foundations, and individuals, including crowd-sourcing. The institute is designed to work intensively with participants on creative initiatives which they would like to fund, bring to fruition, and use to advance their careers. We are charging tuition, but have scholarships available based on need. Faculty and guest speakers for the institute include Dave Isay, Michael Kamber, Rob Rosenthal, Nick Spitzer, Pam Sporn, and Benh Zeitlin. Our partners include the Bronx Documentary Center and the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Application deadline is April 30th. For more information click here.

Harborlore! City Lore is thrilled to share with you the Brooklyn Arts Council’s Harborlore Festival, a series of 12 free dance, music and storytelling events throughout Brooklyn exploring the role of water in the artistic traditions of the borough’s diverse immigrant and diaspora communities. The Harborlore Festival features folk arts such as tashlich, a Rosh Hashanah (New Year) rite of renewal that in Brooklyn is performed at the East River (among other places) by observant Jews; the symbolic boats paraded life-size at Scandinavian and Italian festivals in Bay Ridge and Williamsburg; the baptismal spirituals such as "Dip Them Leeward" sung in the African-Caribbean churches of East Flatbush; songs and chants sung in praise of water deities, such as the African-Brazilian mother of the ocean, Yemaja; a fishing feast dance called hukilau from Hawaii and more.

See their website for more information and a list of festival events.

Bronx Rising May 2013 flyer

Bronx Rising!: Music, Film, & Spoken Word of the BoroughThe recently opened Bronx Music Heritage Center in Crotona East is a 1,400 square foot performance, gallery and retail space where Bronx artists can innovate and showcase their work, even before the permanent home to the BMHC opens in 2015. The Lab is a music incubator that hosts artists-in-residence, concerts, open mics, film screenings, galleries, arts retail, wellness events and roundtable discussions for musicians, artisans, and the community to enjoy. Operated by WHEDco (Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation), their Fall/Winter Performance Series is curated by City Lore Folklorist Elena Martínez and Grammy-nominated musician Bobby Sanabria.

May - Bronx Week upcoming events include:
Music: Bronx Beat Masters featuring Bobby Sanabria and Rebel Diaz
Thursday, May 16th, 8:00pm – 10:00pm

Film: 30th anniversary screening of the documentary Wild Style and a Q&A with director Charlie Ahearn and film participant DJ Grand Wizzard Theodore, Original Waterbed Kev of the Fantasic Romantic 5
Friday, May 17th, 8:00pm – 10:00pm

Palabras/Words: Reading from the play, The Drama of King Shotaway, in honor of the 12th anniversary of the Proclamation of the Garifuna Language, Music and Dance as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO featuring Sidney Mejía and drummers Oracio (chuguladi) Alvarez, Julio Avila, Rosendo Blanco, and Julio Rubio with the one and only POEMobile.
Saturday, May 18th, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Please click each program title for more information on our calendar event.

From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale DVD

Screening: From Mambo to Hip Hop In conjunction with the new exhibit, American Sabor: Latinos in US Popular Music, City Lore will be screening the documentary From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale (2006). The screening will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with the film's director, Henry Chalfant, and co-producers Steve Zeitlin and Elena Martínez.

When: Tuesday, May 7th, 2:30pm
Where: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium
Admission: FREE and open to the public
For more information: Please see our calendar event.

Habitats: Private Lives in the Big City We are excited to announce the release of our friend Connie Rosenblum’s new book, Habitats: Private Lives in the Big City. A collection of essays, expanded versions of a selection of the Habitats column published in the Real Estate section of The New York Times, this book takes readers to both familiar and remote sections of the city—to history-rich townhouses, to low-income housing projects, to out-of-the-way places far from the beaten track, to every corner of the five boroughs—and introduces them to a wide variety of families and individuals who call New York home. What could be more City Loresque than that? In fact, City Lore pointed Connie to a number of the people and places featured in her column and the book.

You can find more information on Connie’s book here.

For Better or Verse by Henry Foner

For Better or Verse by Henry Foner Our friend and colleague Henry Foner, a lifelong labor activist, recently published a collection of verses and ditties he’s composed over the years. Here is one example,

Shoot the shtrudel to me Yudel,
Watch my tongue hang out with glee.
’Cause I know that kind of food’ll
Brighten up the day for me

Buy the book:
$10 for one copy, $15 for 2 copies, $20 for 3 copies, $25 for 4 copies and $5 each for 10 or more.
Mail a check made out to LaborArts, together with your mailing address and phone number to:

LaborArts / Rachel Bernstein
10th Floor Bobst Library, NYU
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

For more information: (212) 998-2637 or

Bringing hip hop to the streets…literally "A few weeks ago," writes hip hop blogger Jay Shells, "I was working in my home studio listening to Big L’s first album Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous when I caught myself rapping along to one of the songs, with the lyric ’ …on 139 and Lenox Ave. there’s a big park, and if you soft don’t go through it when it gets dark…’ That’s when I paused and thought that it would be cool if that corner was marked in some way with that lyric so everyone who walked by was aware of its part in New York City’s hip hop history." City Lore’s Place Matters program is all about highlighting spots of grassroots significance, and Jay and his brother are doing just that. Read the article to see how a pair of brothers connects hip hop lyrics with their New York City roots.


And last but not least, put on your walking shoes… Jane’s Walk NYC Join the growing Jane’s Walk movement. Jane’s Walk NYC, sponsored by the Municipal Art Society, is a weekend long, city-wide series of free neighborhood walks that honor the enduring legacy of urban activist, Jane Jacobs, who championed the uniqueness of urban neighborhoods and celebrated the "locals" who keep them strong, livable and resilient.

City Lore and WHEDco are taking part this year with a walking tour in the Bronx led by City Lore folklorist Elena Martínez.

What: Morrisania’s Musical Legacy
When: Saturday, May 4th, Noon – 2:00pm
Where: Meet at Bronx Music Heritage Center, 1303 Louis Niñe Blvd., Bronx
Admission: FREE
For more information: Please see our calendar event and visit

AND!!! In the new issues of the magazine Voices, Steve and Amanda discuss City Lore’s Nations in Neighborhoods initiative in the New York City schools, and discuss how the arts can help English Language Learners and special needs students close the achievement gap. Read more about it here.

Please forward this email to your friends and encourage them to join City Lore’s email list!

Enjoy the City! And if you engage in social media, please like us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and follow us on Twitter!

Steve and Abby


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