LITFest: A Festival of Lower East Side Culture February 1-4
RAISING FUNDS FOR CULTURAL PROGRAMS FOR LES YOUTH
Cuala Foundation, a nonprofit that works with youth and communities on the Lower East Side, Ireland and Los Angeles, is proud to present LITFest: A Festival of Lower East Side Culture, February 1-4, 2023. The festival celebrates Lower East Side culture from the time when this part of Manhattan was a gathering place for Native tribes, through successive waves of immigrants who helped shape the unique culture we have today.
The festival kicks off on 1 February at 7PM at Mary O’s bar, 32 Avenue A with a SHEBEEN: SONGS OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE celebrating the ancient Irish fire festival of Imbolc (also St. Brigid’s Day) and the birthday of Cuban poet and national hero José Martí featuring local singers, poets and musicians Melanie Best, José Joaquin Garcia, Susan McKeown, Róisín McKeown, Sandra Loisaida Santana and special guests in a celebration of Native, Irish and Puerto Rican cultures.
Next on Friday 3 February at 4:30PM NYPL Tompkins Square on Tenth Street, a conversation with Rashidah Ismaili, author of Autobiography of the Lower East Side. Rashidah lived at 404 East Tenth Street in the late 1950s and 1960s and her book illustrates life on the Lower East Side at that time through her portrayal of the lives of individual characters and their struggles against the backdrop of the cultural movements of the time. This is the first event of the LOWER EAST SIDE BOOK FESTIVAL that will feature conversations with Lower East Side authors throughout the year.
“Ismaili charts the lower East side just prior to the turbulent, revolutionary Sixties, when the influence of Leroi Jones and the Black Arts Movement signaled a cultural sea-change. Her characters persevere through desertion, loss, abandonment and betrayal, to achieve fulfillment in a fractured society.” – Vinnie Burrows
Finally on Saturday 4 February at 3PM at LES Trinity Church (602 E. Ninth St. at Avenue B) is a staged reading of BRIGID, a new play by Maura Mulligan starring Katherine O’ Sullivan, Meg Hennessy, Tom Paolino, Thom Molyneaux, Ryan Winter Cahill with songs and a presentation about Brigid and Lower East Side Irish women’s stories from Susan McKeown.
Join us on the Lower East Side!
FUNDS RAISED WILL BE USED TO DEVELOP AND PRODUCE CULTURAL PROGRAMS
FOR LOWER EAST SIDE YOUTH (16-26)
• Artists will receive honorariums •
CLICK TO DONATE – we do this with the support of people like you
Interested in volunteering? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-260-2302
• WEDNESDAY 1 FEBRUARY at Mary O’s (32 Avenue A) 7PM
SHEBEEN: SONGS OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE
Celebrating IMBOLC, BRIGID’S DAY & José Martí’s birthday
• FRIDAY 3 FEBRUARY at NYPL Tompkins 4:30PM
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE
the first event of the LOWER EAST SIDE BOOK FESTIVAL 2023
• SATURDAY 4 FEBRUARY at LES Trinity Church (602 E. Ninth @ Tompkins) 3PM
BRIGID. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/494227195847
MELANIE BEST, a poet and economic historian, has lived on the Lower East Side since the 1980s and is a direct descendant of Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill, arguably the greatest poet Ireland has ever produced.
JOSÉ JOAQUÍN GARCÍA is an actor and singer who was born on the Lower East Side. Most recently appeared in Harlem Hellfighters with a Latin Beat with the Puerto Rican Travelling Theatre and Three Kings at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery.
RASHIDAH ISMAILI is a poet, fiction writer, and playwright who was born in Cotonou, Benin and came to live on the Lower East Side in the late 1950s.
RÓISÍN McKEOWN is a singer songwriter who grew up on the Lower East Side (when she wasn’t on the road with her musician mother). She is featured on the album Songs from the East Village (2010 EVCS) and her first single is Soul Full of Fire (2022).
SUSAN McKEOWN, CUALA FOUNDATION’s founder and director is a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, actor and director and Irish immigrant who has lived on the Lower East Side since 1990.
MAURA MULLIGAN, a native of Co. Mayo, is a retired New York City Public School teacher, playwright, prize-winning sean-nós (old style) Irish dancer, and author of the memoir ‘Call of the Lark’.
SANDRA LOISAIDA SANTANA is a poet and singer who grew up on the Lower East Side. She was recently featured in a Lower East Side artist’s talk at Howl Happening! with Al Diaz, Lee Quinones and Pepe Flores moderated by Luis Guzman.
Further information at: www.cualafoundation.com