Sunday, March 28, 2010

Poetry with a shot of adrenaline

Last Saturday, the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café opened its doors to young slam poets who showed up for the third night of the 12th Annual Teen Poetry Slam semi-finals. The dynamic, several-hour-long event featured 25 contestants who tackled themes ranging from family, pain, rape, politics and – everyone’s favorite subject -- adolescent love.

The audience was a mixture of about 100 writers, friends, family and slam poetry aficionados. When they felt a rhyme resonate, they oozed a honey-drenched "mmm," or snapped their fingers in approval.

“This is the best finals yet—the talent is incredible,” said Michael Cirelli, executive director of Urban Word NYC, the group that organized the event. Urban Word strives to help inner city youth find their voice “and the tools to use it.” Since 1999 the organization has provided free writing workshops to encourage the literary arts.

On East 1st Street, Go ‘Niche’ or Go Home

At the end of last week, Mirari, a dainty boutique with a shopkeeper to match, closed its doors forever. After a three-year run in the East Village, owner Mira Lee is headed back to Tokyo with her lace-trimmed dresses, silver baubles and feminine, antique furniture.

It’s easy to blame the economy for Lee’s financial woes— many New Yorker shoppers have less disposable income than in past years. Yet Mirari’s location at 70 E. 1st St. may be the true culprit behind her failure.

“This block is underdeveloped for general retail,” noted Marcus Antebi, who is renovating next door to Mirari for a business venture that he said he wasn’t ready to discuss yet. “Unless you have an incredible item, you’re not going to make it without a niche following.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010