Monthly Archives: March 2012

Local Teen Performance and Book Launch TONIGHT!

The day is finally here!!! The bold young people who have been gathering weekly at Word Up will hold their world premiere and book launch tonight at 7:30pm.

People’s Theatre Project and Seven Stories Institute
present the world premiere of

Book cover design by CDS

 Reserve Pay-What-You-Can Tickets Now

A theatrical protest piece inspired by the real life experiences of
the local teenage writers/performers
developed and performed by
the “Voices: Our Young People Speak” program actors
facilitated by Paula Gilovich

Only 2 Performances!!
Thursday, March 29 at 7:30pm | Word Up | 4157 Broadway at 176th Street
Saturday, March 31 at 2pm | Morris-Jumel Mansion | 65 Jumel Terrace (Map It)

Both performances will be followed by a book signing of a brand new published anthology of writings from these talented young people.

Reserve Pay-What-You-Can Tickets Now

I can’t come to the performance, but I want to support this project with a donation.

Please join us in celebrating the hard work and talents of Aderly Diaz Rodriguez, Lizbeth Dominguez, Ja’von Doumbia, Edward Estrella, Fridda Fernandez, Romy Garcia, Elisaura Gomez, Natalio Gonzalez, Regino Ortiz, Zahira Perez, Victor Piña, Matthew Rivera, Gary Sanchez, and D’Armani Wilcher. Word Up is all the richer for having been able to host them these past few months. Not that things will end here! It’s just the beginning . . .

Voices: Our Young People Speak is a 15-session theatre, writing, and social justice after-school program serving 15 local youth ages 12 through 16. The program is pay-what-you-can for the participants. In Voices, students work together to develop, write and perform a theatrical protest piece inspired by the role of changemakers in history as well as their own stories. The program facilitator encourages the participants to find their voice and introduces the young artists to theatre skills, script development, directing, and production. In addition, guest artists serve as mentors for the youth. This exciting program culminates with original performances of their work as well as a book signing of a brand new anthology of their writing published by a local press. Each participant is provided with a writing journal, a copy of Howard Zinn’s book A Young People’s History of the United States, which serves as a source of inspiration to deepen the participants’ understanding of their role as young artists, leaders, and change makers in their community, as well as a copy of the published anthology at the end of the program. During this process, field trips were taken to the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center and to the Union Square rally for Trayvon Martin.

 Voices is supported, in part, by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez; NoMAA Regrant Program, made possible by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation; Word Up community bookshop; The Morris-Jumel Mansion and our generous members and individual donors.


This Wednesday: Voices; & the monthly inQbator series returns

Some Wednesdays, Word Up is packed wall to wall toward the end of the afternoon. That’s when the Voices: Our Young People Speak theater/writing after-school program is in full swing, with sometimes up to 17 teenagers doing theater exercises smack dab in the middle of the place, in that free patch of ground to be had if you move all the chairs and the couch to the side, if you tuck away any errant crafts and books from the kids’ corner, if you neatly stash all the newly arrived used books toward the back of the stage.

“Man in boat!” facilitator Paula Gilovich yells, as everyone scrambles to grab hands with a partner and encase a third peer inside a boat made of rocking arms. “Jellyfish!!!”—and everyone drops to the ground like, well, jellyfish out of water. Alternating between these exercises, blood pumping, everyone then settles in the circle of chairs and lets a little bit of magic unfold in their notebooks. Questions, discussions, and occasional readings from Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States ensue, notes are jotted—the groundwork for epics—and then the troupe gets up and shares on the modest Word Up stage.

And this is when the real crowd starts to emerge, when customers stop in their tracks and become an accidental audience: once you hear and see a brave voice projecting, telling it like it is across a room of friends and strangers, you can’t help but stop and watch.

Well, the fruit of this program—a published book of writing and the world premiere of Manifesto Supernatural—will take place at Word Up on Thursday, March 29 @ 7:30pm, with another performance at the Morris-Jumel Mansion on Saturday, March 31 @ 2pm. And we are very excited about that. Check out this page for more information on the program developed by People’s Theatre Project and Seven Stories Institute.


Now, sometimes things quiet down a bit after the teen sessions are over. But definitely not the case this week, with the return of the monthly inQbator series created by Hector Canonge, professor and dean of The Inwood Laundromat Language Institute, among many other things. Here is what’s in store for this second installment of inQbator:

a new book from Queering Yerevan
Readings: Shushan Avagyan & Nancy Agabian
Video: Arpi Adamyan
Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 7pm

I n Q b a t o r presents the reading presentation of Queered: What’s to Be Done with Xcentric Art, a recently published book by Queering Yerevan, a collective of queer women artists and writers from Armenia and the Armenian diaspora.


Shushan Avagyan is a literary translator working on her PhD in comparative literature at Illinois State University. She is the translator from Russian of Energy of Delusion and Bowstring by Viktor Shklovsky (Dalkey Archive), and from Armenian—I Want to Live: Poems of Shushanik Kurghinian (AIWA). She shares her time between the US and Armenia.

Nancy Agabian is the author of Princess Freak, a collection of poems and performance texts on sexuality and rage, and Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter, a memoir on the influence of her family’s history with genocide on her coming-of-age. The latter was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Nonfiction and shortlisted for a Saroyan International prize. In 2010 she led a QY workshop, “Physical Translating”, on writing about the intricacies of mind and body; she will perform the piece that the workshop inspired, included in Queered.

Arpi Adamyan is a multimedia graphic, photomontage, and video artist living in Yerevan, Armenia. Her work has been shown at numerous exhibitions, among them, at the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (2010), the 9th Gyumri International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2008), and the 6th Biennial E V + A: Exhibition of Visual Art in Limerick, Ireland (2006). She is one of the editors and designers of Queered.

For more info on Queering Yerevan:

About inQbator:
inQbator is a monthly reading, spoken word, and performance art program series focusing on LGBT literature and culture. Created by artist, director of CINEMAROSA, Hector Canonge, inQbator supports Queer writers and artists by featuring their work and publications. The program is hosted at Word Up: Community Bookshop in Washington Heights, northern Manhattan.

More information:
Submissions: inqbator2012 [at]

Saturday Night: People’s Theatre Project presents Shadow Liberation

Tonight—stop in right now!—People’s Theatre Project and the Word Up community bookshop are hosting the New York City site for this international event! Audiences in New York and San Francisco will interact with live performers in Bangalore, India, through a new web-platform, Open Stage. Similar to YouTube Live, Open Stage features streaming video of a performance along with chat and social media connected functions that allow global audiences to interact while viewing the show. It takes interactivity a step further by inviting viewers to web-chat onto the stage and interact with performers in real time. Open Stage will debut its platform with a performance dialogue by Shadow Liberation.

Shadow Liberation offers a creative and innovative form of dealing with gender oppression and gender violence. Using theatre as a medium of communication, their main motive is to involve the audience to participate and produce interventions into the scenarios of gender violence portrayed in their show.

Shadow Liberation is currently touring India, bringing their dynamic performance to audiences ranging from lawyers to collegians, from theatre companies to the general public.

The group consists of 17 students from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology under the direction of Evan Hastings, a participatory theatre artist, who directs and produces original performance pieces that grapple with pressing issues.

To learn more about Shadow Liberation Click Here.

Saturday, March 10: Breakfast Benefit BUFFET for Word Up!!!

Wear your best PJs and fuzziest bunny slippers and feast on your favorite cereals! Mom’s not looking, so pour a bowl of Lucky Charms, sprinkle in some Fruity Pebbles, and watch the milk turn pink!* We’ll have cereal trivia, old-school cartoons, and cool prizes. Meet your neighbors and come down to Le Chéile to support Word Up, your neighborhood bookshop.

In honor of National Cereal Day (which is March 7, but which is not the day of this event), Washington Heights Irish pub Le Chéile is sponsoring an all-you-can-eat cereal buffet on Saturday, March 10. Proceeds will benefit Word Up.The $25 entry fee covers an unlimited cereal bar and a chance to win copies of The Great American Cereal Book by Marty Gitlin and Topher Ellis, donated by Abrams Books. Children under 12 will be admitted for free.

*We’ll have healthy options, too, of course.

Statement arts Information Event at Word Up Books

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Photos by Art By Dj Boy