#GrrrPrrr

Protected: KLPR Spotlight: Meet Sandie Luna

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Protected: KLPR Spotlight: Meet Debora Balardini

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Spare Chair Talks Co-Working at Harlem Zen Den

It was a rather long winter in NYC but we jumped at our chance to collaborate on a Pop-up Co-working event at Kissing Lions Public Relations HQ with SpareChair and their pals, who happen to be top trending brands (that made us swoon).  A mid-February collaborative Pop-up Co-Working event a-la-SpareChair in Harlem was just what the doctor ordered.  Niche and emerging virtual brands don’t only have the opportunity to seek quality co-working spaces through SpareChair, they also have the opportunity to create a co-working space and community of their own to share with like minded colleagues.

In an evening supported by Silicon Harlem with bites provided by domesti-chef Kathy Ha of Tutorial to Table, chatter came to a quieted hum when powerhouse Katherine Zaleski of Power to Fly took to the seated area to chat about the best reasons to be a virtual super shero. We were all ears. It wasn’t hard to stay inspired after hearing Khania Curtis of Hotworks Design talk about being swept away to Greece for clients who continued wanting more.

We caught up with SpareChair co-founder Sharona Coutts about the Q&A she masterfully lead. “For me, the top takeaways from the discussion were about how supportive people who work from home or remotely are to each other. I was delighted to see so much audience interaction. People asked and answered genuine questions. What are you favorite tools for team communication? How many meetings do you do per day/week/month in order to maintain team coherence? What is the right balance between remote work and in-person contact? I was also very happy to hear Katharine Zaleski’s observation about mothers who work: specifically, that they are the best time managers. I think that remote work will have a profound impact on women’s ability to invest the work-life balance and make it a life-work balance.”

SpareChair is still in private beta. The start-up seeks to learn more about their growing community and are pretty excited to see so much activity between members. They plan to continue releasing new features that support social engagement among members. The fall and winter pop-up coworking has given way to spring and summer co-working jams at some of the favorite SpareChair venues throughout NYC.

Here’s the real take-away from the Future of Work February SpareChair meetup, “In order to make the most of the freedom and autonomy of the remote work movement, we do need communities like SpareChair to keep us motivated, productive, and also, to make sure we keep expanding our professional connections.”  It also doesn’t hurt to remember no two co-working spaces are alike.

 

To find out more about the what the co-founders of SpareChair, Fernando Santana or Sharona Coutts, are up to, they’ve got a great blog!

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Manhandled at Steve Madden Men’s Fall Collection Launch

Because who doesn’t want to get man handled at the launch of Steve Madden Men’s Fall Collection Launch by professed Dandy and style marksman Ignacio Quiles while mocking a tricep muscle flex and sipping bourbon?  After enjoying two New York style original haiku from a stunning man and a foxy female (who actually think for a living) I wandered back to the source of the 80’s throwback [insert Radio Clash here and my post whiskey is-he-playing-The-Clash-face] – tats and all, he had me at hello.

The newest LES man cave is a real New York experience fellas.

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Young Authors in the Bronx Conquer Storytelling Fears with Citizen Teacher

Young people with a story to tell.

Young people with a story to tell. (c) All rights reserved. *Photo courtesy of Kissing Lions Public Relations

Bronx, New York, (May 20, 2013) – Seventh grade authors from the Bronx Writing Academy conquer storytelling fears during a one-night-only staged reading event at landmark theater Pregones, in the Bronx. Under the guidance of volunteer Citizen Teacher Kahshanna Evans the group explored creating their own anthology and professionally presenting their work. The students named their collection of works Us: A Bronx Writing Academy Anthology. The Citizen Schools program mentors volunteer experts during semester long apprenticeships in all fields to extend the learning day for middle school students in low income neighborhoods.

Evans is the founder of Kissing Lions Public Relations and author of a screenplay about violence against children. After becoming aware of the need for Citizen Teachers at a networking event designed to showcase local non-profits that were in need of immediate volunteers signed onto the program and was accepted. Evans invited students to remember they are community and that communication and confidence are invaluable resources for low-income artists.

“Entering the world of young artists was a total culture shock for me. Every student had their own personality so I tried to help them channel that to paper. I could see some students with talent who had no idea of it’s worth. That’s where most of my efforts were focused. There was a story about bulimia that my student Ibrahim wrote that really touched me. He really has talent. Also, I realized people like Mrs. Cassado, Ms. Capisano and Heather Day from Citizen Schools who worked with me are incredibly dedicated to the program, the kids…they are diligent and have award winning patience.”

With the support of Alvan Colon Lespier of Pregones Theater students were able to experience what it’s like to be on the stage and present stories about love, life and grieving. While the volunteers from the program may know talent when they see it students with ongoing exposure to educational programs is a superhighway to helping them realize their gifts.

 

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The Old School House

The Old School House/GrrrPrrrI am pretty sure I was awkward (vs. cool), waiting in anticipation of the stranger who invited me to the repurposed school house on Prince and Mott. I found myself in a sea of hipsters, Euro-creatives, artists and Rastas. Each room offered a varied style of mild visual debauchery, (compared to the original values dominated by the grounds, I imagine). Decidedly, it was a much more appropriate creative stomping ground than a disciplined one. Just like in school I wrote on the chalkboards only this time the colors were rainbow. Tatted fashionistas strolled through as if it were their world. Indeed it was but their shade of neurosis fell into installations, suspended mannequins, first dates and groups of friends huddled in smoky social clouds. I knew my ability to believe could leave me in stasis for abnormal amounts of time so I just dumbly waited for my stranger, chatting with the people who seemed more cool in their skin than I was. Art and boldness lived around each curve, scribbles became charming and the most simple tools began to draw a new global religion of purpose. I opted to view the rhetoric inspired by the take-over as an invitation to consider the possibilities…if I could only remember this was my world – what would I do with a brick building that used to be a Catholic School? I walked away remembering why I love New York, somehow soothed and happy to return home.

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The History of Swagger

Black Cool, by Rebecca Walker, was a teaser-trailer to me of why education and sacred dialogue about topics concerning the evolution of African American people is invaluable. Each voice left me wanting to seek their work, the work of artists, authors, healers and educators I felt something deeply in common with. This collection of essays touched on topics such as bravado, defiance and healing that, at one time, have provoked distance in intimacy rather than bridged trust and tolerance. They were examined, confronted and left agape to be admired, mourned and sympathized with.

This easy read invokes memories of black values and the varying impressions collectively understood which influenced expression, fashion, education and self forgiveness over several decades. The power in this book is it’s authors have in common current interests in the development of the self AND the community as well as being active contributors to what is perpetuating positive social change by sharing their stories; this is a movement. Storytelling is my all time favorite way to destroy cliche’s that cripple the African American community. Dialogue about personal experiences, shared for the sake of the message, blow the whistle on urban myths that target style, choices and flavor of men, women and children in the midst of growth and claims our journey and history as our own. I hope for the continued honesty about people that have been an enemy to their own, this was refreshing and gave me a chance to just hear the story, be with the authors while relieving my own social angst about people over-protecting those who contribute to our destruction, no matter their creed or culture.

I like that Black Cool was not afraid of honoring ‘angry’, but it didn’t stop at Michaela Angela Davis’ ‘Resistance’ to meander and gloat that this style of truth-telling is a natural African American gift or claim it as the only way to share our voice or our hurts. This was just as much about learning as it was identifying finding the acceptance of natural gifts in the face of a judging and changing society each voice spoke of surviving, escaping or enjoying. Cool to me is intolerance to that which limits the resilience of the human spirit. What made me buy this book was seeing author Rebecca Walker live at the Schomburg theater in Harlem, speaking about what inspired Black Cool. With her buttery, cool, mamma-bear voice Walker shared her thoughts with a seeming understanding that there was no rush, no defiance, no separation between her and her eager audience of culture seekers and wisdom keepers. She operates from her true center and has a natural compassion, undefined by struggle but motivated by a sense of sharing and purpose. I bought this book because she was sweet and whole and I needed that.

I have always dreamed learning and education were sweet and intimate – done from a true sense of sharing, it sells itself and doesn’t need repackaging or forced over-focus on what increases school test scores. Now, I gloat, years after dry-heaving a flat, dusty, misinformed attempt at filling me with ‘American history’ THESE are the stories that will free our children and our children’s children, and stories like them. Without a need to over identify the name of everything or over-analyze pathology as an excuse to skip years of cruelty and injustice there will always be interest in our collective psychology, history – as we and the element of time write it, science and physics as it relates to the world around us, teaching, mentor-ship, loving, birthing, forgiving, cultural milestones, death, injustice and our relationship to hope, art and healing. Named or not, I will have to agree with Esther Armah, this type of understanding exposes us to a completely new chapter of whole, which, is the new cool.

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