Tag Archives: East Village

Hear Me Read at The Red Room This Wednesday

25 Aug


I’m excited to reveal that poet RA Araya asked me to read with a bunch of super talented artists this Wednesday, August 27, 2014, from 7 to 10pm, at The Red Room. RA usually somehow manages to persuade me to read Homer in the Ancient Greek (no small feat!), but this time he said I was free to read whatever I wanted so I’m planning on reading from my memoir. If you’re interested in getting a candid look into my weird life, now’s your chance!

Author Ronnie Norpel will be hosting. She runs a great reading series uptown, and I admire the way she makes transitions between sets so natural. The other artists scheduled are each so unique that it’s kind of a dizzying array of poetry, jazz, fiction, and tap dance:

poets performance at 7pm:

  • Moira T. Smith
  • Sarah Sarai
  • Stephanie Nikolopoulos
  • Liz von Klemperer
  • Linda Kleinbub
  • The tap-dancing and choreography of Camille Schmoeker

music by The New York City Brass Brothers at 7:45pm

Chris Barrera & the ‘flash-back-puppy’ band at  8:15pm

The venue is gorgeous. I kind of want to live inside of it. The brainchild of Denis Woychuk, The Red Room is a lush speakeasy-style lounge on the third floor of KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street) in the East Village in New York City. It even has a bathtub by the bar!


The event is $10, but I have a special discount offer for you: if you rsvp on Facebook you get half off! There’s also a 2 drink minimum.

See you there!

* * *

For other upcoming events, check out my appearances page. If you’re looking to book me for a reading or hire me to teach a writing workshop, you can contact me at snikolop {@} alumna.scrippscollege.edu.


Greek American Fashion Week: Angelo Lambrou

20 Sep

Of the four designers showing their Spring/Summer 2013 collections at the Greek American Fashion Week Show, only Angelo Lambrou debuted a wedding gown.  The fashion show’s founder and emcee Maria Pardalis, who looked gorgeous in one of Lambrou’s dresses (see pic here), described Lambrou’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection as “African tribal bridal.”  The all-white wedding gown made use of folds and folds of cloth, capturing movement and conjuring drama.

Another dress in his collection kept that billowy white skirt but swapped out the top for a polka-dotted red strapless top.  It’s perfect for bride who wants a wedding dress with unique personality.  It doesn’t have to be worn as a wedding dress, though.  It could also be worn to a fancy summer soiree, say a moonlit cruise.  An alternate version was that same dress but with a black bottom.  This looked even more like evening wear.  What caught my attention was the accessorizing — check out those fantastic statement necklaces!

In addition to the rollicking-waves dresses, there were also sleek evening dresses and smart daytime dresses.  The sleek evening dress was classic, a true wardrobe staple.  The daytime dresses had a retro vibe with stripes, polka dots, and thick piping.  They were flirty in a campy sort of way.  Very adorable.

Angelo Lambrou is based in the East Village here in New York now, but he was born in Southern Africa to Greek-Cypriot parents.  He studied fashion in Johannesburg and London before returning to Botswana to start his own fashion line.  He worked with Miss Botswana in 1999 and designed all the contestants’ dresses for the 2000 Miss Universe competition; he dressed Patti LaBelle for the 2002 Grammy Awards and Maria Bello for the Secret Window premier.

Pics from My Reading at The Penny Farthing

25 Jun



I had such a blast reading at The Penny Farthing in the East Village on June 18.  The event was hosted by C3 Storytellers, and the crowd was one of the best I’ve ever had.  The audience had so much energy, and the other performers were absolutely dynamic and thoughtful.

One of the other performers just happened to be Lamont Hiebert, of the band Ten Shekel Shirt, whom I’d seen perform years ago.  He’s also the co-founder of Love146, a nonprofit working to end child sex slavery.  He shared some stories about working with survivors.

The last person to present was poet Steven Bono Jr., who did a mashup of everyone’s work.  Since his poem so perfectly captured the spirit of the evening, I asked if I could reprint it, and he said yes:

A piece applicable for the despicable last minute poet that I have become. I think halfway through my dungenouse ahi tuna bar-room salad I thought, “I should write about…tonight.”

The curtain draws on an old grey toothed Greek woman fondling your brothers…well you know.(___) So the journey started off hilariously and moved to a Janis Joplin show stoppin’ mysterious girl whom I don’t know so sorry,(___) but next it was a large profound thought from a more miniature man who’s plan is to live in some house next to a highway, sounds a tad more homeless to me.(Josh Colon) Like Soni and Cher, or the ying to joshs Yang Miriam came to flutter love filled words of 2 birds with one stone cold poem.
Show em your souls Mims, it’s dark side is as fascinating as the moons is. Did I forget a comic in there? oh yeah, Rodney and his fun drum jokes, if this is too offensive please don’t choke me. (said in an African dialect)
Willem tickled some ivory’s so fast and furious I thought even Tony would be proud. Mr. Big black specs was next, Sir Adam Mcdowell whom I must say has never felt more like family, I hope you feel home homes. Being a man who actually was born in Nashville you did us proud and I’m thankful to be called your friend.

Holy Moses Batman! Your wise beyond your beard and what I feared when you stood was true that my poetry is pretty lame when compared with you. But I’m thankful for your soul sewed into that page where love and age blend like a favorite red wine of mine. I couldn’t come off it as you rhymed new favorite lines of this dream-aholic. I pray for the day I get choked up at my 40 year dear buttercup. You allow me to see Henry V say “from this victory stock” that you have surely come from Josh. Fresh to death Guitar don Roni told us how to love monsters and men and taught us how to continually use a pick for an entire song and to over come fear.

She carried the key to my pad-locked and shocked aspirations for becoming an actor and now teaches me poetry- she Vel-coughed visual motion pictures containing elixers of your past and people’s healed futures. Keep writing, for it is in your fighting we onlookers drop 2 cups of hope in our hearts cookers and begin to bake destiny. Courtney I too am tiny but you are indeed mighty my fine feathered friend. High falsettos- like heavenly in tune balloons floating away in meadows that no one can reach but you. You worship God with your smile Court.
Lamont- his name in Spanish means “the mont.” A rock star founded and pounded as a foundation for the lost- tossed and torn these children born right into sin and as they are you hit your cue in for the rescue. I am a believer that you reap what you soe. Lamont May your children stand as tall for righteousness as you do, may your foundation be fueled beyond every expectation you have ever had for it and may your survivors be your descendants as numerous as the stars that they wish upon to meet you. Sam went Bam into the beyond of her career- a sultry singing buttery bouquet of HeY! Darryl barryrled through the inner soul of purpose and colleen spanned and conquered yet another medium which expands the list of reasons to be envious of her. I pray I seeze every opportunity to do the things I love, to face the fears I hate, to have grudge matches with with rough patches and to bless beloved duos with song and send them off into the sunset, humming your words.

Christine- your children including blue. Holy and whole
Josh- Round 2 blew us away. What construction workers really do in their vans.

Lamont-the bigger the battle, the more daunting the cause, the greater the party!

Looking forward to the next one!

Can you guess which part is about my story?? Haha.

Truly a fun night getting to hear and meet so many creative people.  The Penny Farthing had a real intimate, chill vibe that made for a great setting.

Thanks to all of you who came out! You’re awesome!! xoxo

The Buzz on Flash-mob Bees, Bowery Bees, and Greek Bee Myths

1 Jun

Oh my goodness, did you guys hear about the bees that took over Little Italy yesterday??  Apparently, thousands of bees decided to meet up at lunchtime in front of the Italian American Museum on the corner of Mulberry and Grand.  They swarmed a mailbox, completely covering its side.  This leads me to ponder two questions:

1.  Are these flash-mob bees the insect contingent of Improv Everywhere?

2.  What sort of sweet notes would a bee mail to his honey?

It also reminds me that I still haven’t told you about Bowery Bees.  On Sunday, May 8, my photojournalist friend Annie Ling and I went to the Festival of New Ideas for the New City, an incredibly thought-provoking art initiative that brought artists and thinkers together to explore ideas that could shape a new New York.  One of the collaborations was between Anarchy Apiaries, a Hudson Valley apiary run by beekeeper-artist Sam Comfort, and the Bowery Poetry Club, a performing-arts venue founded and run by poet Bob Holman.

After a brief talk on bees, we climbed up to the rooftop of the Bowery Poetry Club for the unveiling of the apiary.  Sam had brought the bees down from Germantown that morning and set up hives so that Bob could start the rooftop apiary Bowery Bees.  Standing amidst the skyscrapers of Manhattan’s East Village, we witnessed the queen bee do her dance.

Even though I was afraid of getting stung, I have to admit it was rather spectacular.  My parents have a large garden in Greece, where they gather olives to make their own olive oil, and I tried to convince my dad he should set up some beehives.  Bee myths play heavily into Greek mythology and Greek literature.  Bee emblems appear in ancient ruins on the Greek islands of Crete and Rhodes.

Bowery Bees honey can be bought at the Bowery Poetry Club, located at 308 Bowery, between Houston and Bleecker.

How do you like the antenna?

Mapping Out Houses of Worship in NYC

24 Mar

Remember the other day when I mentioned that cute little restaurant Penelope?  Well, last Friday Penelope happened to be the opening setting of a New York Times article by Mark Oppenheimer, entitled “Mapping Religious Life in the Five Boroughs, With Shoe Leather and a Web Site.”  The article is about a Texas native named Tony Carnes, who moved to New York to go to The New School, where incidentally I’m enrolled in the MFA program, and who is, according to his website, “exploring the postsecular city.”

He’s mapping out every house of worship in the five boroughs of New York.  My immediate thought was: there are so many churches that make use of school auditoriums, bars, and ballrooms — how will he find those churches, if he’s driving around looking for church signs?  Well, apparently Carnes hears about those by word of mouth.

But he isn’t just mapping the city out.  He and his colleagues are telling stories.  Stories such as:

“The youth of Bethany Baptist Church put together a modestware fashion show in Jamaica, Queens called ‘A World of Difference.’ They follow a long tradition of fashion shows in African American churches.” —Fashion in Church, Jamaica, Queens

“Under the searing sun and stench of roadside garbage, a teenage Hispanic girl carrying a baby boy comes out of a door next to a church. Her tousled hair looked like she’d been up all night. The baby’s unwashed face was smeared with dirt; a diaper was the only thing covering his bare skin.” — Girl Power in Flatbush

“What church would get rid of its pews to make more room for feeding the poor? Surely, wouldn’t the pastor resign, the elders stomp out in exasperation, and the members hastily decamp for a properly pewed church? All that didn’t happen at a Lower East Side church ten years ago when it did just that…” —East Village church threw out its pews to make room for the poor

If you want to know about Greek Orthodox churches and Greek Pentecostal, there’s also an article posted on the census the nonprofit took in Astoria.

I love the way Carnes and his nonprofit organization are uniting houses of worship.  In a way, it’s kind of a blend of the way Burnside Writers Collective gives community and voice to people of varied Christian background (head’s up: check out my church hopping column tomorrow!) and Asphalt Eden illustrates various New York church’s unique personalities by listing events.

In another way, it reminds me of the exciting and noble work the Endangered Language Alliance, headed up by Dan Kaufman, Bob Holman, and Juliette Blevins, is doing, mapping out endangered languages in New York and working to preserve them.

For more on Carnes’ “Journey thru NYC religions” visit http://www.nycreligion.info.