Published On: Thu, Feb 21st, 2008

History Has Been Made… Punto!

In honor of Black History Month and St. Valentines Day, Capicu Poetry has fused the themes of February to create the “Love Your History” weekend event. Our curator and co-founder Papo Swiggity created this fusion with the idea in mind of celebrating people of color in New York City. The response was incredible! I quickly realized that this event was too big for one day…so it became a 2 day event. The Love Your Culture Part 1 Event was the Friday open mic. Our opening poet was decided in a game of “Rock Paper Scissors” between Reina Miranda (of Taino Spirit) and Bella Trastorno (of Despierta Boricua). Reina won and set the pace for the evening. Other open mic performances included the likes of Canella, Yubelky Rodriguez (trying out a piece from her upcoming play), Blaze a Page, North (of Division X), Definition, Hybrid, Ponce and a surprise recital by Aguilar Marrero, reading publicly for the first time in 40 years! Also, Aguilar shared some exciting news with Capicu’s audience. Because of his work with Capicu Poetry at the PaL Pueblo Charity event, he is being commissioned to design a restaurant in Missouri with an indigenous art theme. The reaction of his wife, Reina Miranda who was in the audience hearing the news for the first time, was priceless. Taino Spirit will be painting, sculpting various elements to shape the identity of what may be the newest Latino hotspot in Missouri. Congratulations to Taino Spirit! We also featured the poetry of Bushwick’s own Conan, who repped with an eclectic mixture of poetry to a full house of Brooklyn supporters. The after party brought Webster Hall’s DJ Denco to Williamsburg Brooklyn for one of the hottest lounge parties that bumped way into the twilight.

Saturday night’s Love Your Culture Part 2 had a completely different vibe as Capicu Poetry brought Nuyorican legend Piri Thomas for a rare appearance, complimented by some of the most powerful voices in our community. Unlike our traditional open mic, this event was an invite only ‘who is who’ of the New York cultural diaspora. The special invited guests, one by one opened their poetry with remarks about how Piri Thomas inspired their work. The show began with the powerful words of educator & mentor Luis Bernard (of In Progress Group) and immediately following the groundbreaking performances of Joe P.Y. (author), OL SoUL, Boricuation artist Adele Ramos, Blaze – A – Page (aka The Capicu Marine), True (Grito De Poetas), Chance (Grito De Poetas), Jaime “The Maestro”, Bonafide Rojas and a surprise performance by Poeta Guerrera, who has come back from a 4 month hiatus with a more diverse menu of wordplay. The visual artist display was nicknamed “El Bohio Boricua” and consisted of a large array of art created by Aguilar Marrero and Reina Miranda of Taino Spirit. Other notable guest included were fitness trainer Phoenix Carnavale, Poet Porto Rock from NJ, Ms. New York Plus America 2008, some key members of current political campaigns and Gary Santana from the NY International Latino Film Festival.

The main event drew the crowd to the stage like the paparazzi, with camcorders, cameras and cell phones recording history as the prominent author of “Down These Mean Streets”, after vibing off the energy of the poets who he has inspired (some for as long as 41 years), took the stage to perform some of his powerful and life changing poetry with Capicu. He sat in a chair and with his unique Nuyorican prose, read such classics as Born Anew at Each AM and closed with a tribute to Pedro Pietri as he recited Puerto Rican Obituary. “The applause has never been so loud here” said Sandra, a regular at Capicu Poetry.”It is always beautiful when an Icon gets appreciated while they are still with us…Thank You Capicu!”

After his performance, a table was set up so that the audience could buy books, get autographs and even take pictures with Piri as they each shared how his books touched their lives. The Love Your Culture show may have ended, but a night like this is sure to re-ignite the passion for cultural expression in many of those fortunate enough to have attended this event…as Piri himself would say if he wrote this…vayaaaaa…PUNTO!

As I am,
George Torres
The Urban Jibaro
and a by product of Piri’s Legacy.

Capicu Poetry would like to extend our gratitude to Piri Thomas and his wife Suzie as well as many of those who helped spread the word and making this event a success. First of all…Notice Lounge for allowing us to host here in the heart of Brooklyn, our team at Capicu, The Guy, Boricua Goddess and Blaze A Page, American Latino TV, Latin Nation, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity Inc (especially Theta, Sigma and Pace University chapters),, Curvesity Entertainment, The Swiggity Cartel, Boricua College, Residential Life at Pace University, Cemi Underground, Taino Spirit, Despierta Boricua, Grito de Poetas, Radio Capicu, Sofrito For Your Soul, all of our MySpace, Facebook, supporters and last but not least for documenting it all. A special thank you is in order for Kimberly aka Kim Possible for mamking the connection and Esteban Jimenez for opening his resources to Capicu and making the experience one that can never be forgotten

History Has Been Made… Punto!