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 City Lore                                                                  June 25, 2013  


Live from the POEMobileBronx Rising!L is for Lion
Commie Camp KickflipFendika
Graffiti and Media It Inspires Brasslands

Hi, Citylorists,

Please enjoy our Tours and Tales June-July 2013 e-letter!


Photo by Abby Ronner

Live from the POEMobile: Bridgeport Arts Fest! The POEMobile, a beautifully hand-painted truck covered in multilingual poetry that houses an innovative, open-air text projection system, will visit Bridgeport’s Arts Fest. Led by poetry ambassador Shanna T. Melton, Bridgeport’s best and brightest poets will perform along with their verses writ large on the façade on the McLevy Building at State and Broad Streets. The event also features music by the hip-hop and jazz fusion trio, The Mighty Third Rail. The POEMobile is presented by City Lore and Bowery Arts + Science and sponsored by Housatonic Museum of Art at Housatonic Community College, Elizabeth Fray, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Offices of Culture and Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

When: Saturday, July 13th, 8:30pm – 10:30pm
Where: McLevy Building, State and Broad Streets, Bridgeport,CT 06604
Admission: FREE!
For more information: Please see our calendar event.

And we have one more event on July 13th…

Come out and watch City Lore’s From Mambo to Hip Hop screening at Crotona Park. For more information see our calendar event.

Bronx Rising July 2013 flyer

Bronx Rising!: Music, Film, & Spoken Word of the Borough in JulyThe Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC) Laboratory’s Fall/Winter Performance Series curated by City Lore Folklorist Elena Martínez and Grammy-nominated musician Bobby Sanabria.

The recently opened BMHC Laboratory 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. It is run by WHEDco (Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation).

July - Bronx Rising! upcoming events include:
Music: Ilu Aye performing music of the Caribbean Carnival traditions
Thursday, July 18th, 8:00pm – 10:00pm

Film: Caraballo, Masks and Carnival (The Ponce Carnival Masks, According to Miguel A. Caraballo García)
Q&A with producer Nestor Murray-Irizarry from Casa Paoli in Ponce, Puerto Rico and mask maker Felipe Rangel
Friday, July 19th, 8:00pm – 10:00pm

Palabras/Words: BRONX MEMOIRS, BRONX MEMORIES: Book reading and signings by Michele Carlo, A Fish Out of Agua : My Life on Neither Side of the (Subway) Tracks and Annie Lanzillotto, L is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir
Saturday, July 20th, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Please click each program title for more information.

Steve’s Review of Annie Lanzillotto’s Classic Memoir, L Is for Lion You should not read Annie Lanzillotto’s L Is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir just to learn how to catch a fly ball in oncoming traffic; or simply because it’s the best tough minded and deeply poetic prose I can remember reading since Hemingway. You should also not read it because it’s the best depiction of a Bronx life since Kate Simon’s Bronx Primitive. You should not read it just because you’re a New Yorker who wants to understand the impulse to freedom that defines the city, or to revel in a sexual coming-out story. You shouldn’t read it just to learn "how to cook a heart" from a butcher at the Arthur Avenue market. You should not read it because it’s the most heart-rending depiction of an abusive father suffering from post traumatic stress after surviving Okinawa. Or for the stories of a two time cancer patient, the only one to survive her support group called Teenagers with Terminal Illness at Brown. Or even to learn how to test the charge of a battery with the tip of your tongue. Set all that aside.

You need to read this book because it’s the most powerful depiction I have ever read of how a human being can draw on her folk culture, her humor, and her poetic insight to pull life-affirming meaning out of the gutter like a lost spaldeen. Annie Lanzillotto draws on her Italian and her Bronx background to imbue every episode with meaning. The spaldeen of her childhood becomes a symbol for bouncing back. The traditional lasagna left in the stove untouched after a bitter family argument is, like even the best glue, a breakable bond.

Above all the tragedy and the nightmare of a family at war, I’ll remember Annie seeking to recreate GranmaRose’s signature biscotti recipe after she died at 101. "I am doing this for my own communion with my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. To repeat with my hands, the circular motions on the rolling board that I saw GranmaRose make for years. My hands were engaged in a sacred act of remembering."

L is for Lion is a luscious lasagna pulled from the hot stove that binds us together as human beings.

Commie Camp: Documentary Film Screening and Discussion Mark your calendars for August 22nd, when City Lore will be partnering with the Museum of the City of New York to bring you Commie Camp which explores the world of Camp Kinderland, the legendary summer camp founded in the Catskills in 1923 by secular, socialist, Yiddish-speaking Jews from New York City. Ninety years later, the camp, now in the Massachusetts Berkshires, continues to foster progressive values and activism in campers from ages 8 to 14. Following the screening, writer/director/producer Katie Halper will discuss the transmission of political and social values at Camp Kinderland with Rachel Meeropol, her former counselor and now an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Presented in conjunction with Activist New York.

For more information and tickets, see this event on our calendar!


Know a young skateboarder who needs a City Lore experience this summer? Check out City Lore’s Kickflip Project where teens will work with professional designers to build games and apps that tell stories of the skater city. This free program takes place 3 times a week in July and August and is open to skaters ages 14-19. Participants who complete the program also receive a stipend for their work. The program is completely free for participants, thanks to a generous grant from the Hive Digital Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust.

Find out more here!

And in case you didn't get a chance to check out this month’s Sense & the City…

"Come in, she says, I’ll give you (temporary) Shelter from the Storm." In her Sense & the City blog post, Caitlin gets out and takes on the classic New York umbrella.


Fendika featuring Melaku Belay On July 4th, come to Lincoln Center to see Fendika featuring Melaku Belay—a super-group of top traditional musicians and dancers from Ethiopia— with their signature mix of authenticity and innovation. Fendika’s musicians and vocalists are rooted in the ancient azmari tradition of bardic minstrels, while the dancers draw deeply from the well of tradition, but also tap joyously into their natural creativity. The group features six performers—two dancers, a singer, and instruments including kebero drums, masenko (a one-stringed bowed fiddle), and krar (a five- or six-stringed lyre). Fendika leader Melaku Belay is the world’s foremost interpreter of eskista, a traditional Ethiopian trance dance of athletic shoulder movements that presage hip hop dance styles like breaking and popping. The concert is organized by our good friend, folklorist Lynne Williamson.

When: Thursday, July 4th, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Where: Lincoln Center
Admission: FREE
For more information: Please see our calendar event.

La Gente Del Bronx

From Mambo to Hip-Hop, Part 3: Graffiti and the Media it Inspires Join Summer Stage, The Point CDC and City Lore, as they celebrate the "Graffiti and the Media it Inspires" on this third installment of From Mambo to Hip-Hop.

This 3rd part to the series takes a closer look at the connection between the modern graffiti movement and the media that has proliferated from the art. From the photography and documentary films depicting the artists and styles of the early days of the hip-hop movement, to the current use of new digital media and big budget films to document the scene, graffiti and media are inextricably tied together in creating the global phenomenon that exists today.

This event includes featuring Panel Discussion with Bonz Malone, CRASH, Eric Deal & TATS CRU, special Presentation by FLINT… & NIC ONE, and movie screening of The Mural Kings.

When: Saturday, July 6th, 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Where: The Point CDC, 940 Garrison Ave. Bronx, NY 10474
Admission: FREE
For more information: Please see our calendar event.

Rooftop Films: Brasslands Check out, Brasslands, a movie from our friends at Meerkat Media that will be screening at Rooftop Films Summer Series. Here’s a preview of what you’ll see:

"They say that when the festival begins, time stands still, as once a year half a million brass fanatics descend upon the sleepy valley town of Guca, Serbia for the world’s largest trumpet festival. Brasslands follows a group of musicians from New York who"ve been playing together for over thirty years, as they make the pilgrimage to Guca to compete in the spiritual home of Balkan music."

To accompany the screening, Rooftop will be hosting their very own brass festival. Even if you’ve never even heard of Balkan music before, get ready to book your trip to Guca, because once the joyous timbre of the trumpets gets inside you, it’s pretty hard to resist!

When: Saturday, July 13th, 6:30am – 5:00pm
Where: Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Center), 220 Vesey St. New York,NY 10080
Admission: FREE
For more information: Please see our calendar event.

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Steve and Abby


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