July 15, 22, & 29 + August 5, 2017: bell hooks: Desire, Education, Freedom

Word Up welcomes the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research for a course on bell hooks. Past BISR courses at Word Up have focused on James Baldwin and Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote. The course “bell hooks: Desire, Education, Freedom” is taught by Asma Abbas.
bell hooks is one of the foremost contemporary thinkers addressing questions of gendered, racial, and economic liberation, pioneering the social application of ideas about marginality that are now commonplace in both academic and popular discourse. Feminist liberation, for hooks, must push past victimization narratives and exclusivity to become a deeply inclusive critique, aimed at general emancipation from the interlocked systems of patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism. hooks does not limit or style her critique to academic questions but rather pushes public intellectual engagement and incisive cultural criticism, encouraging readers to question the comfortable center — from popular culture to political life. hooks wants us to ask, in particular, about the role of education and cultural life in understanding our own desires. Can we educate ourselves, our very desires, toward freedom? Even towards a freedom from what often attaches us to our own domination?

This course will move through bell hooks’ multi-genre oeuvre that addresses racism, patriarchy, and capitalism, as she argues for an inversion of systems of power and priority, placing the marginalized, the wounded, and the excluded at the centre of our actions, arts, theories, sensibilities, and insurgencies. We will read, listen, and watch from Ain’t I a Woman, Teaching to Transgress, Feminism is For Everybody, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Centre, Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies, and more.

For more details, visit:

bell hooks: Desire, Education, Freedom
Course by Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
4 Saturdays: July 15, July 22, July 29, August 5, 2017
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave. (at 165 St.)
New York NY 10032

July 28- Warrior Queen’s Women Open Mic

Warrior Queen Initiative will be hosting a women’s open mic that will feature all female and gender nonconforming performers. All audience members welcome to enjoy the poetry, music and perhaps some comedy.  

Warrior Queen’s Women Open Mic
Friday, July 28, 2017
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Avenue. (at 165 St.)
New York NY 10032

July 14- Reading: Spanish Coffee Black, No Sugar

In 2015, A.B. Lugo, award winning actor and playwright, suffered through the deaths of his parents only months apart. To cope with his grief, he dedicated himself to writing a poem for each week of 2016. Little did he know he would be chronicling an historic year, one of social strife and tragedy that would culminate in the election of a man whose movement brings new awareness and fear to A.B. as an Afro-Puerto Rican. Spanish Coffee: Black, No Sugar, much like its title, is a bitter experience, as life can be, but also one that gives us the energy and power to make it through each day. More worn, for sure, but also stronger, and hopefully, wiser. A collection of poems influenced by history and inspired by the depths of the soul, Spanish Coffee: Black, No Sugar is as unforgettable as the year it chronicles.”

A.B. Lugo is a writer and performer. Some of his poetry can be found in the anthology Me No Habla With Acento (Rebel Satori Press). This is his first published collection of poetry.

Reading: Spanish Coffee Black, No Sugar
Friday, July 14, 2017
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Avenue. (at 165 St.)
New York NY 10032

June 16: Words and Music: Session 1: Bonafide Rojas & Lexiglass

What is the Words and Music series?

Words and Music is a new series that facilitates intentional collaborations between writers and musicians. Six such pairings—curated by Word Up Community Bookshop, and funded by the Creative Engagement grant administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council—will result in six separate public performances throughout the year.

Word Up Community Bookshop was founded on, and exists through, collaborations; that we have existed as a 100%-volunteer-run bookstore for more than 5 years in one of the most heavily populated neighborhoods in New York City is a testament to our reliance on partnerships, and on every participants’ willingness to keep the space alive by sharing and exchanging (time, money, space, dialogue, ideas) with each other. As an open space that has hosted hundreds of events and thousands of performers over our past 5 years of existence, we have been happy to see many collaborations take place. Some are accidental and take place in the moment—during, for instance, an open mic performance where a musician might spontaneously add a musical element to a poet’s words. Some are the result of people meeting frequently in the space to experience our nearly daily events, then meeting beyond to continue working with the people they meet.

While many performers having graced our stage, sometimes there are people who we wish could finally meet, because we think they would work well together—but they just haven’t crossed paths yet. . . .

Words and Music: Session 1:

Bronx-based writer and performer Bonafide Rojas has published four books of poetry, and has appeared on Def Poetry Jam and Spitting Ink, and in numerous publications. He leads the experimental rock and roll band the Mona Passage and is founder of Grand Concourse Press. Tonight he will read, in part, from his just-released book Notes on the Return to the Island.

Uptown-based live hip hop band Lexiglass features keyboardist Alexis Marcelo (Malcolm Mooney, Yusef Lateef) and drummer Will Glass (Lonnie Holley, Dirty Projectors). In previous shows at Word Up, they have backed up Bronx legend T La Rock, free jazz icon Daniel Carter, and many of uptown’s greatest hip hop artists like The Machine, Tellie Floydd, and Circa 95. Their Cubetazo Tape series on Alighting Records features analog renditions of classics by A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb Deep, Nas and more.

Words and Music is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

June 17: Celebrate 6 years of Word Up!

Celebrate 6 Years of Word Up!

Word Up Community Bookshop/Libreria Comunitaria, celebrates 6 years of serving the Washington Heights/Inwood community with a full day of music, readings and spoken word performances, live painting, and more, outside and inside the bookshop.

Music by MC Maniphes, DJ Delaceiba, Ruben Gonzalez, NYC Brass Brothers, Living Room Sessions, & more!

Readings & spoken word co-programmed by Word at 4F, Uptown Stories, Power to the Parents/Baby Coffee, Literary Freedom Project, La Pluma y la Tinta, and Above the Bridge

& featuring Amanda Alcántara, Stacey Linden, Tiffany Kapri Johnson, Francis Mateo, Joey Brenneman, Armando Batista, Ron Kavanaugh, Raquel Penzo, Agatha Whitthorne, and Jane LeCroy!

Live painting by Feegz & Leslie Jimenez

Art workshops by Pennymadeit & Cindy Vasquez

Living History of 165th Street Story Circle & Mural Painting with Colectivo Amaranta

Loot bags with goodies courtesy of  Reach Out and Read & Morris-Jumel Mansion

After-party DJed by Dj Boy

Food & drink generously donated by El Galicia Restaurant, El Bacan, Coogan’s, 809 Sangria Bar and Grill, Jade House, Jade Garden, Chipotle, Luigi’s Pizza, & more!

It’s all going down on Saturday, June 17, 2017, at 2113 Amsterdam Avenue! See you there!