A tribute to women artists of Queens, this LAB event creates a space for performance, collaboration, and networking. Writer/educator Joan Willette of the Enchanted Goddess has curated a dynamic list of 12 featured female poets, singers, writers and musicians across diverse backgrounds, ages, and genres. Performers will share their work and collaborate on the spot, and the audience is also invited to share thoughts/affirmations and make community connections throughout the evening.
Curator, Host & Writer: Joan Becht Willette
Writers/Performers: Shafina Ahmed, Anne Born, Audrey Dimola, Valerie Hager, Jennifer Harmon, Allison Jackson, Valerie G. Keane, Lucy Torres, Aida Zilelian
Musicians: Jeanne Marie Boes, MOTHER TONGUE- Marissa Dooley & May Madarang
Maria Cora Fernandez from Empyre Productions will also be featured and is filming the event for broadcast on Queens Public TV.
Joan Becht Willette aka The Enchanted Goddess is a Queens writer, educator, curator/host and the creator of “The Enchanted Goddess: Literary Creative Arts Community,” which hosts “The Enchanted Goddess Writing Workshops”, The Enchanted Goddess Reading Series and the debut of The Enchanted Goddess Revue Performance Series .” Some of her work has been published by the Newtown Literary Journal (2014), Siren magazine (2015) and Silver Birch Press (2015). Joan has been featured in The NYC Poetry Festival, the International Women’s Salon, Inspired Word’s Queens Lit Fest and on QPTV’s telecast “The World of Art” and Empyre Media Production’s webcast show “The ArtistSpace.” Joan is currently writing her first book, “The Enchanted Goddess of Queens” a series of prose and poetry. Visit her website at: JoanBechtWillette.com.
Shafina Ahmed is a native New Yorker, a storyteller/writer/poet. She is a former member of The Sunday Writing Circle/Full Circle Ensemble, and Astoria Stand Up – Harmony & Dissonance Sessions. She has performed/featured at various poetry venues in N.Y.C. such as the Nuyorican Café, Union Square Slam and Great Weather Media. She also performed in several poetry/spoken word theatrical stage productions throughout 2015 at the National Black Theater in Harlem. She currently co-curates Poets Settlement monthly Reading/Poetry Series with Open Mic, at Brooklyn Colony, Park Slope, Brooklyn, with fellow co-curators Ricardo Hernandez and Terence Degan.
Jeanne Marie Boes ”…There’s definitely a place for a female singer to grab the limelight and with songs like this, Jeanne Marie could be one to watch…” – MRU Magazine. Visit her website at: www.jeanneboes.com
Anne Born blogs on “The Backpack Press”, “Tumbleweed Pilgrim” and she is the author of “ A Marshmallow on the Bus” (2014), “Prayer Beads on the Train” (2015) and “Waiting on a Platform” (February 2016). Anne is also a contributing author to “Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox,” edited by Joanne Bamberger. You can follow Anne on Wattpad, Instagram and Twitter at @nilesite and listen to “Born in the Bronx” on Our Salon Radio.
Audrey Dimola is the self-proclaimed Rebel Poet of Queens, a born & raised Astoria/LIC writer, performer, curator, host, wilderness guide/educator and community organizer. Her recent media credits include: the “Art of Poetry” show on QPTV/Queens Public Television, Gillette Venus’ empowering global #UseYourAnd campaign, and a NY1TV interview about her 2nd poetry & prose book, ‘TRAVERSALS’ (tinyurl.com/travbk). She is currently working towards a site-specific installation of multimedia work (‘go slowly, see miracles’) before her 30th birthday this summer. She will debut a new performance at UNDER THE INFLUENCE: The Inspirational Legacy of a King from Queens, with Astoria graffiti artist Louie “KR.ONE” Gasparro on 4/16/16 at QNS Collective. Find her online at audreydimola.com and on Instagram@audreyleopard.
Maria Cora Fernandez is an Independent TV Director/Producer and Owner and Founder of Empyre Media Productions. Maria is a Filmmaker, a Visual Artist and a member of the Society of Pilipino American Artist SPAA’s TERRITORY:UNLIMITED, Art Exhibit held at Topaz Arts, Woodside, New York. The shows she directed and produced herself, are being cablecast on Queens Public Television (QPTV), in Flushing, Queens. Her recent project is called Empyre Media Productions’ “ArtistSpace.” It is a web-based short doc series, highlighting artists – especially emerging artists. It provides them space or a platform on the web, that allows artists to share their story about them as an artist and about their creative artworks. To know more about Maria Cora Fernandez, visit www.empyreproductions.com.
Valerie Hager is a movement artist, actress and solo show writer/performer. Her most celebrated solo show “Naked in Alaska” won Best Solo Show Award in FringeNYC, Audience Favorite in Chicago Fringe, Pick of the Fringe in the 2014 International Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as last May touring to Rome, Italy. Aside from performing, Valerie teaches with her husband Scott W. Slavin (director of Naked in Alaska) together, they’ve created SOLOfire: A soulful approach to Personal History Narrative Writing & Performance. This year, “Naked in Alaska” will be making its debut at the prestigious Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska. More information at: www.valeriehager.com
Jennifer Harmon is a poet born and raised in New Mexico, currently residing in Astoria, Queens. Inspired by her late mother Patty, Jennifer’s goal is to share their story with the world. Her work is influenced by personal relationships and the atmosphere of the Southwest desert and the East Coast. She is thrilled to be releasing her first book, “Celebrating Sound” a compilation of her mother’s poetry and essays and her own work.
Allison Jackson is a native Queens based Writer of prose, a master Astrologer, designer and world traveler. She is a believer of embracing suffering, and travels back and forth between the meadow of flowers and Hades. http://www.jenniferharmonpoetry.com/#home
Valerie G. Keane is the founder of Poetry & Coffee, a discussion group for writers and readers of all levels of experience. Valerie has been published in Newtown Literary Journal and has been featured at numerous reading series in NYC. She speaks at high schools and colleges, about how to love poetry from the bottom of your soul without an MFA. She currently serves on the editorial review board for poetry for Newtown Literary. Find out more at www.valeriegkeane.com
MOTHER TONGUE: (Two members of the six member band)
Marissa Dooley is a Filipina-American singer & songwriter with a background in social work, who uses her music as a catalyst for connecting to one another!
May Madarang is a violinist, and Pinay “treble-maker” who enjoys making a loud and resounding influence in the community. Together they organize the mass-based Filipina organization GABRIELA NY.
Lucy Torres is a writer, poet, artist and activist based out of Queens, N.Y. Lucy is a 2013 LaGuardia Performing Arts Center Grantee. She has been featured at the Inspired Word Series and recently showcased her art piece at Local Project’s YOURSELF exhibit.
Aida Zilelian is a New York writer and English teacher. Her debut novel, “The Legacy of Lost Things,” was released March 2015 (Bleeding Heart Publications) and was the recipient of the 2014 Toloyan Literary Award. Her work has been published in several anthologies and over twenty-five literary journals. She has read her work at various reading series in Queens and Manhattan. She is the curator of Boundless Tales, a reading series in Queens, N.Y. In 2011, her first novel, “THE HOLLOWING MOON” was one of the four semi-finalists of the Anderbo Novel Contest. She is currently working on her third novel. Her website is: www.aidazilelian.com