A night of poetry with a pair of world traveling hip hop scholars at the home of the Big Pun Waffle
What happens when you put together a native New Yorker with an affinity for baked goods (bordering on obsession) with a hip hop theater expert and a poet laureate? You have to go to Momo & Company at 5:30pm on Friday, May 24th to find out!
New York native Leslie Thompson is one-half of the genius behind Santa Fe’s only gluten-free bakery and Boba Tea bar. With a menu that is as entertaining as delicious, Leslie is known for flavoring the names of some of her lunch and menu breakfast items with her love for hip hop culture. Thompson’s relationship with hip hop is not limited to her naming of her newest breakfast item after the late, platinum selling, Latino, hip hop pioneer Big Punisher; she also is a good friend of renowned hip hop theater director, choreographer and scholar Daniel Banks, PhD.
A Santa Fe resident, Banks has served on the faculties of the Dept. of Undergraduate Drama, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and is currently on the faculty of the M.A. In Applied Theatre at City University of NY. The co-founder of DNAWORKS and co-director of Theatre Without Borders, Banks has worked extensively in the U.S. and abroad, having directed at such notable venues as the National Theatre of Uganda (Kampala), the Belarussian National Drama Theatre (Minsk), The Market Theatre (Johannesburg, South Africa), the Hip Hop Theatre Festival (New York and Washington, D.C.), and the Oval House (London). Banks and Thompson had been conspiring to put literature in the air for some time at Momo & Co., however it would be the intersection of another Northeasterner that set their plan into action.
Banks met Hakim Bellamy in January of 2013, after years of hearing about each other’s shared interests in hip hop and theater in New Mexico. Shortly after Bellamy returned from South Africa, the two met at a Littleglobe Creative Transformation Workshop that Banks was co-facilitating. A Littleglobe affiliate and New Jersey native, Bellamy is also the inaugural poet laureate of Albuquerque. Weeks later, Banks and Bellamy met at Momo & Co. to become better acquainted. Out of that meeting, Bellamy, Banks and Thompson decided to bring every “New” state except for New Hampshire together.
Momo & Co. will host a reading of the two authors in Santa Fe. The reading is free to all those who attend and the bakery will remain open with Thompson’s addictive, yet gluten-free confections for sale. Banks and Bellamy will also be signing books underneath the New York City subway signs that adorn the bakery walls. Though Banks will be reading poetry from his soon to be published collection Shades, he will have copies on hand of his recently released Hip Hop Theatre anthology titled Say Word!: Voices from Hip Hop Theater for the University of Michigan Press (available in Santa Fe at Garcia Street Books). Bellamy will read from his new book, SWEAR, by West End Press and distributed by University of New Mexico Press (available in Santa Fe at Collected Works). Both men will host a Q&A and book signing after the free reading.
A week ago, CakeSpy Undercover (ireallylikefood.com) “secret-shopped” Momo & Co. and reported: “While eating gluten-free may be a necessity to some, it need not equal suffering – for anyone. So it makes me so glad places like Momo and Company exist.”
Bellamy, Banks and Thompson feel the same way about poetry. No suffering needed.