Spring Art Show: Melvino Garretti

IMG_0036On the first weekend in May, from May 2nd to May 4th, we will open an exhibition of ceramics by LA artist, Melvino Garretti. Join us Friday, May 2nd from 7:00 to 9:00pm for a reception for the artist and on Saturday, May 3rd, for an artist talk at 3:00pm. Gallery hours on Saturday May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th, will be from 12:00 noon to 6:00pm. Thereafter, gallery hours are by appointment only. ALSO, please note that on Sunday from 3:00-6:00pm, distinguished Nuyorican poet, Willie Perdomo, and emerging poet and writer, Rich Villar, will read from and sign their new poetry books. (An admission price of $15 applies for this segment of the afternoon. Refreshments will be served.)

We have been collecting artworks by Melvino Garretti, since we met him in Los Angeles 30-some years ago, when our dear friends, Walter Gordon and Teresa Sanchez, took us to visit his studio. We’d admired their collection of Garretti’s works and were chomping at the bit to meet him. We came away from his studio that unforgettable Saturday afternoon with an armload of ceramics: platters, vases, and various other objets d’art. Over the years our collection has grown to include his paintings, works on paper, and of course, much more of his unique vases, jars, platters, and other pieces. IMG_0053

Melvino came of age as an artist in Los Angeles in the 1970s, during an especially prolific time particularly for African American artists, Alonzo Davis, David Hammons, and John Outterbridge, although it would take decades more before their works received the recognition it deserved from collectors and curators of “the mainstream” art world.

Garretti had an equally interesting background as a performer and set designer before honing in on the visual arts. He studied ceramics with Richard Bennett at Great Barrington Pottery in Housatonic, Massachusetts and was an apprentice under the renowned LA ceramics artist, Michael Frimkess. He received his MFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1978.

According to New York’s Museum of Art and Design, “Michael Frimkess studied ceramics in California with Peter Voulkos, pursuing the abstract expressionist sculptural mode of his teacher. On a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, [Frimkess] was introduced to historic ceramics, specifically Greek and Chinese pottery. Frimkess began modeling his forms on what he had seen, decorating them with narrative imagery, often with satirical or humorous intent.” That influence is prevalent in Garretti’s work, although Melvino has forged his own distinctive style and signature.

IMG_0064The thing that struck me when I first met Melvino and his work was the sheer volume, variety and complexity of work he produces. While his paintings are amazing, his ceramics distinguish him as an innovative and exceptionally creative artist. His works have been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles Design Center, San José Museum of Art, numerous galleries and interior design showrooms in California and New York, as well as in Europe.


In those days when I first met Melvino, I’d never met an American black man with an Italian name, so I was curious. When I asked him how he came to be named Melvino Garretti, he said that in observing the art world and how it functioned, he noticed that the Italians were among the most revered artists in art history books and with the most commercial success, so he decided to add an “o” and an “i” to his own name, in order to bring some of that attention and success to his own career.

We are excited to present Melvino Garretti’s most recent works We look forward to introducing him and his art to you. Come hear him talk about his process, his background and history, and his take on contemporary art in both Los Angeles and in the world today.


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Elizabeth Nunez: Book Party & Talk

Elizabeth Nunez

Elizabeth Nunez

Come Sunday, April 6th, 3:00-6:00pm and celebrate with us the release of Not for Everyday Use (Akashic Books), the new memoir from one of our favorite authors, Elizabeth Nunez. We are equally excited and delighted to welcome novelist Tayari Jones (Silver Sparrow, The Untelling, Leaving Atlanta) who will engage Elizabeth in conversation about this new book and Nunez’s writing, in general. Of course, we will have prepared a delicious meal for you to enjoy afterwards.

Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones

Admission is $25 per person and includes one copy of the Not for Everyday Use.

Seating is limited; so Not For Every day Useclaim your spot now!



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Harlem for Baraka 2014


rasbarakaHASIt was Amiri Baraka’s dream to see his son, Ras Baraka, elected Mayor of Newark, New Jersey in 2014. In homage to Amiri’s memory and because we too believe Newark needs a progressive, visionary thinker and community activist at its helm, we are pleased to host a fundraiser for Ras Baraka for Mayor of Newark in collaboration with Lisa Jones Brown at the Harlem Arts Salon on Sunday, February 16, 2014, from 2:30 to 5:30 pm. Harlem Arts Salon, 1925 Seventh Avenue 7L @ 116 Street, New York NY 10026 Tel: 212-749-7771. By invitation only. Limited Seating.  You can guarantee a seat at this event now by making your donation today.

senator Bill Perkins pic

State Sen. Bill Perkins

Danny GloverOur friends Danny Glover and New York State Senator Bill Perkins are on board too. They will join us for an afternoon of art & politics, food & wine. The great guitarist and funkmeister, Kelvyn Bell will open up the afternoon and original Last Poets poet and television journalist, Felipe Luciano will be our guest moderator. Special thanks also to Hon. William Allen, District Leader, 70th A.D., Harlem. Food provided by Spoonbread and Seabra Restaurants. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for the campaign; we need your help to make this happen.

You may also pay at the door. Suggested donation $125.00. Checks, cash, credit cards accepted. Please make checks payable to: The Committee to Elect Ras Baraka. Contributions or gifts to The Committee to Elect Ras Baraka are not tax-deductible. Paid for and authorized by The Committee to Elect Ras Baraka PO Box 912 Newark, NJ 07101

Can we count on you?!

Our events are private, by invitation only. We reserve the right to refuse admission to anyone.
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Farah Jasmine Griffin – Book Signing & Talk

HARLEM Nocturne Sunday, October 27, 2:00-5:00pm

Farah Jasmine Graffin

Farah Jasmine Griffin

As World War II raged overseas, Harlem witnessed a battle of its own. Brimming with creative and political energy, the neighborhood’s diverse array of artists and activists took advantage of a brief period of progressivism during the war years to launch a bold cultural offensive aimed at winning democracy for all Americans, regardless of race or gender. Ardent believers in America’s promise, these men andwomen helped to lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement before Cold War politics and anti-Communist fervor temporarily froze their dreams at the dawn of the postwar era.

In Harlem Nocturne, esteemed scholar Farah Jasmine Griffin tells the stories of three black female artists whose creative and political efforts fueled this historic movement for change: choreographer and dancer Pearl Primus, composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams, and novelist Ann Petry. Like many African Americans in the city at the time, these women weren’t native New Yorkers, but the metropolis and its vibrant cultural scene gave them the space to flourish and the freedom to express their political concerns.


Pearl Primus performed nightly at the legendary Café Society, the first racially integrated club in New York, where she débuted dances of social protest that drew on long-buried African traditions and the dances of former slaves in the South. Williams, meanwhile, was a major figure in the emergence of bebop, collaborating with Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Bud Powell and premiering her groundbreaking Zodiac Suite at the legendary performance space Town Hall. And Ann Petry conveyed the struggles of working-class black women to a national audience with her acclaimed novel The Street, which sold over a million copies—a first for a female African American author.

A rich biography of three artists and the city that inspired them, Harlem Nocturne captures a period of unprecedented vitality and progress for African Americans and women, revealing a cultural movement and a historical moment whose influence endures today.


TELEPHONE (212) 749-7771. EMAIL: mptroupe@yahoo.com


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Meena Alexander and Robert Antoni with Elizabeth Nunez


Meena Alexander

Robert Antoni

Robert Antoni

We are pleased welcome poet Meena Alexander and novelist, Robert Antoni to the Harlem Arts Salon on Sunday, November 17, from 2:00 to 6:00pm for an afternoon of poetry and fiction in celebration of the publication of Alexander’s newest book of poems, Birthplace with Buried Stones  (TriQuarterly Books), and Robert Antoni’s newest novel, As Flies to Whatless Boys(Akashic Books). Esteemed novelist, noted scholar and distinguished professor, Elizabeth Nunez will interview the authors about their books, after the reading to be followed by a book signing. Food, wine, stimulating conversations follow. Admission $25. Authors’ books will be available for purchase at this event. Seating is limited. Email us to reserve your seats! (Please include the event name in the subject line of your email.)

ABOUT Birthplace with Buried Stones

“The poems in Birthplace with Buried Stones range widely over time and place, from her native India to New York City. We see traces of mythology, ritual, other languages. With their intense lyricism, Alexander’s poems convey the fragmented experience of the traveler, for whom home is both nowhere and everywhere. The landscapes she evokes, whether walking a city street or reading Basho in the Himalayas, hold echoes of otherness. Place  becomes a palimpsest, composed of layer upon layer of  memory, dream, and desire. There are poems of love and poems of war — we see the rippling effects of violence and dislocation, of love and its aftermath.  Uniquely attuned to life in a globalized world, Alexander’s poetry is an apt guide, bringing us face to face with the power of a single moment, its capacity to evoke the unseen and unheard.”

ABOUT As Flies to Whatless Boys

“William’s account of young love attests to Antoni’s fluency in the poetry of nostalgia. In words as vibrant as the personalities he creates, Antoni deftly captures unconquered territories and the risks we’re willing to take exploring them.”
Publishers Weekly

As Flies to Whatless Boys is an inventive, witty, comic romance that is as much about history and adventure as it is about language. With virtuosic attention to language, Robert Antoni delightfully explores the written word in all its forms—as letters, as e-mails, as reportage, as narration, as archives—to tell stories, to paint characters, to demonstrate the range and integrity of English and its dialects, and to edge us closer to ourselves as equally human beings.”
—Earl Lovelace, author of Is Just a Movie

ABOUT Elizabeth Nunez
Elizabeth Nunez

Elizabeth Nunez

Elizabeth Nunez is the author of eight novels. Her most recent novel, Boundaries (Akashic Books) was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice and was nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award. An immigrant from Trinidad, Dr. Nunez received a PhD in English from New York University and is a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College, the City University of New York.Nunez was co-founder of the National Black Writers Conference, which she directed for eighteen years with grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was executive producer for the 2004 New York Emmy nominated series, Black Writers in America.

Her recent awards include the 2011 Writers for Writers Award from Poets and Writers; a 2012 Lifetime Literary award from Trinidad and Tobago: and a 2013 Outstanding Trailblazer Award from the National Council for Research on Women. Nunez was among twelve writers, selected by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the PEN Faulkner Foundation.

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Will Calhoun and Marc Cary

Sunday, December 15, 2013, 2:30-5:30pm

Will Calhoun

Will Calhoun

Lucky for us, the phenomenal Will Calhoun‘s appearance has been re-scheduled for Sunday, December 15th and Will has invited the magnificent keyboardist Marc Cary to join him! We will talk to Will about his newest CD, Life in this World, and find out what he’s up in the coming year. We invite you to join us. Good conversation, superb music, and holiday cheer in abundance! Seating limited. Admission $25.
Will Calhoun, a Bronx native, is a two-time Grammy Award winner, a widely acclaimed, innovative drummer, an exceptional photographer, and a relentlessly curious musician and human being. Not many artists have the vision and artistic energy to contribute to so many genres: jazz, rock, hip-hop, ambient, et al, while concurrently producing, touring, creating new projects, working on films, traveling, researching and continually pushing the envelope.

Famous for his work with Living Colour, and voted by critics and fans alike as Best Drummer many times, Will has recorded and/or toured and performed with diverse artists including Living Colour, Mick Jagger, Mos Def, Oumou Sangare, Marcus Miller, and Wayne Shorter (on the Grammy-winning CD, High Life).

Marc Cary

Marc Cary

Composer and pianist, Marc Cary has his musical roots in Washington, D.C.’s go-go music scene, although that’s just one  element of the many other musical forms he explores. Cary’s interests run from Indian classical to Malian music to hip-hop. Beginning his career working with Betty Carter, Cary has also played with Roy Hargrove, Dizzy Gillespie, Erykah Badu, Shirley Horn, Stefon Harris, Q-Tip and – most influential of all – Abbey Lincoln, the inspiration for his newest album, For the Love of Abbey. The bottom line? We guarantee you a rollicking good time! Count on it.

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The Dark Room Collective End of Tour Celebration May 11th

At the Harlem Arts Salon with Natasha Trethewey

The Dark Room Collective, a group of black writers founded twenty-five years ago in Boston by poets Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange, and musician Janice Lowe was conceived as a reading series and became a small community of poets. Strange writes that “it was the sustaining practice of writing in community just as much as the activism of building a community-based reading series for writers of color that kept us engaged in collectivity” (Painted Bride Quarterly 60). Read more.


The poets at a glance…


tisa-bryantTisa Bryant is on the Critical Studies faculty at CalArts. Her book of essays, Unexplained Presence, was published in 2007. Bryant’s writing has appeared in Evening Will Come, Mandorla, Mixed Blood, in the ‘zine, Universal Remote: Meditations on the Absence of Michael Jackson and in the catalogues and solo shows of visual artists Laylah Ali, Jaime Cortez, Wura-Natasha Ogunji and Cauleen Smith.  She is co-editor, with Ernest Hardy, of War Diaries, which was nominated Best LGBTQ anthology by the LAMBDA Literary Awards. She is co-edits and publishes The Encyclopedia Project. Click here to read more about Tisa Bryant.


tsellis2_0Thomas Sayers Ellis was born and raised in Washington, DC. His book The Maverick Room won the Mrs. Giles Whiting Writers’ Award and the John C. Zacharis First Book Award. His most recent book is Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems. His work has appeared in Poetry, Grand Street, Tin House, Ploughshares and The Best American Poetry, 1997 and 2001. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, at Lesley University low-residency MFA program, and at Cave Canem. A photographer, poet,  contributing editor to Callaloo and Poets & Writers, Ellis is co-founder of the Dark Room Collective.  Find more on Thomas Sayers Ellis here.


MajorJackson_about1Major Jackson has three books of poetry: Holding Company, and Hoops, both finalists for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry, and Leaving Saturn, winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle. He has received a Whiting Writers’ Award and was honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. Jackson is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont and core faculty at Bennington Writing Seminars. He was a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced  Study at Harvard University. He is the poetry editor of the Harvard Review. Read more…


Keene_John600_300_287John Keene is associate professor at Rutgers University-Newark in African American and African Studies, the English Department and MFA Creative Writing Program. A novelist, poet, essayist, and translator, Keene is the author of the award-winning novel, Annotations, and the poetry collection, Seismosis, in collaboration with artist Christopher Stackhouse. Keene received a 2005 Whiting Writers Award for fiction and poetry. His work has been published in African-American Review, AGNI, Encyclopedia, Gay and Lesbian Review, Hambone, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review, Mandorla, Ploughshares, and Public Space. Read more… 


photo_by_Diana_YanezJanice Lowe, poet and composer, has been published in Callaloo, The Hat, In the Tradition, and American Poetry Review. She has taught creative writing and music workshops in numerous schools, libraries and community programs and was composer and songwriting consultant on the pilot episode of My Time on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Her work has been performed at Ars Nova, La Mama ETC., The Chelsea Playhouse, The Ohio Theatre, Dixon Place, The Eugene O’Neill Musical Theater Conference, NAMT Festival of New Works, NYU, among others. Read more…


Tracy-K-Smith-448Tracy K. Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Life on Mars, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, Duende, winner of the James Laughlin Award, and The Body’s Question, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a Whiting Writers’ Award and has been a protégée in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. She teaches at Princeton University. Click here to learn more about Tracy K. Smith and read her poems.


SharanSharan Strange grew up in Orangeburg, South Carolina, was educated at Harvard College, and received an M.F.A. in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a contributing and advisory editor of Callaloo and co-founder of the Dark Room Collective. Her poetry has appeared in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, Callaloo, The Best American Poetry 1994, The Garden Thrives, In Search of Color Everywhere, and in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum in New York and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Read more


natasha-tretheweyNatasha Trethewey, appointed US Poet Laureate in June 2012, is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.  Native Guard, her third collection of poetry, received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.  Ms. Trethewey is the author of four volumes of poetry and one non-fiction work:  Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, published in 2010. Read more…


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Natasha Trethewey & the Dark Room Collective May 11th 2013

Meet & Greet US Poet Laureate and

The Dark Room Collective

We are pleased to present a reception Saturday night, May 11th, from 8:00-10:00pm for US poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, and distinguished award- winning poets, Tracy K. Smith, Major Jackson, Tisa Bryant, John Keene, Janice Lowe, Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange (co-founders), the original members of the Dark Room Collective where it all began.

Dark Room Collective Today

Dark Room Collective Today

Conversation and refreshments served. A not-to-be missed, historic evening.  Seating limited. Click here to reserve your place.

Books by each writer on sale at this event.

Events at the Harlem Arts Salon are private.  We reserve the right to refuse admission to anyone.

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Earl “the Pearl” Monroe in the house! May 5th

Earl the Pearl Dusk JacketLearn the whys, wherefores, how comes, and other inside information about the life of Earl “the Pearl” Monroe (aka Black Jesus), when legendary basketball star & ex-NY Knickbocker, Earl Monroe talks with his biographer, Quincy Troupe, at the Harlem Arts Salon, Sunday, May 5, from 2:00pm – 6:00pm. You won’t want to miss this! Limited Seating.
Buy your ticket(s) today!

$50 per person + one hard cover copy of Earl the Pearl: My Story + refreshments!


Earl Monroe talks to Quincy Troupe

Earl Monroe talks to Quincy Troupe

The Harlem Arts Salon is a private event at the home of Margaret & Quincy Troupe and we reserve the right to refuse admission to anyone. Call (212) 749-7771 for more details or email Margaret Porter Troupe at mptroupe@yahoo.com.


Harlem Arts Salon 1925 Seventh Avenue 7L New York NY 10026 (betw 116&117 Streets)

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Poetry & Jazz Brunch with Golda Solomon: Medicine Woman of Jazz

golda_solomonCome cozy up with us on Sunday, April 7, at 2:30pm, and  listen to the sassy, sensual performance of Golda Solomon reading from her latest book of poetry, The Medicine Woman of Jazz.

Golda loves the sounds of words as much as the meanings they convey. A gifted wordsmith with a syncopated soul, she paints vivid imagery and plants seeds of wisdom while honoring the groove and capturing the rhythm of blues in her poetry with a passionate flair and dynamic delivery spiced with a sly humor that can be traced back to her Flatbush roots. With an eye for detail and an ear for rhythm, Golda demonstrate a strong affinity for the inherent nuances and happy accidents of improvised music while also reveling in a clever turn of phrase, a well chosen word, just the right touch of alliteration.A trio of fine musicians,  including “woodwind improvisor,” saxman Will Connell, Jr, bassist, Larry Roland, and drummer and musical director, Michael T.A. Thompson, to put a jazzy back beat on a beautiful afternoon!

Michael TA Thompson

Michael TA Thompson

   Will Connell Jr
Larry Roland

Larry Rolan

Taste a tantalizing sample of Golda’s style OLDER WOMAN’S BLUES

Golda Solomon is a communications, speech, and theater arts; a poet, performer, producer, and docent; a supporter of women  writers and musicians as well as young musicians, poets, and performers. She was project director of Po’Jazz at The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, Sleepy Hollow, New York for four years before bringing the series to The Cornelia Street Café, Greenwich Village NYC in 2003.

The series is 6PM Third Thursdays, September-December and February-June  (www.corneliastreetcafe.com). Golda has pioneered several unique businesses including JazzJaunts, a personalized jazz service, and, with Barbara Sfraga, ICAAN (Interactive Communication and Arts Network), which provides innovative, on-site, organization-specific arts programming to workplaces, schools, and other organizations. She has a collection of poetry, Flatbush Cowgirl, published in 1999, for which she co-produced a companion CD, First Set.  She also co-produced the CD Po’Jazz: Takin’ It To The Hollow, which includes over 20 poets and musicians. Her most recent CD is Word Riffs. “She uses speech-song to explore words as percussive and melodic entities and Jazz as a cultural force is the topic of her discourse”-Suzanne Lorge, All About Jazz.

In 2002, Golda’s poetry won first prize at the Writer’s Workshop in Asheville, North Carolina. She is a two time named International Women in Jazz awardee, and invited to perform her jazz-flavored poetry at a celebration of the organization’s 10th anniversary and at the First International Women In Jazz Festival, both held at the “Jazz Church”, St. Peter’s in midtown Manhattan. Several of her poems are currently featured on the poetry page of www.jerryjazzmusician.com.  Her work appears regularly in The Mom Egg and Solomon may also be found in the anthology, Heal (Clique Calm Books). She is currently working on a new collection titled, Never More Than A Borough Away: Brooklyn Bops. Her book and CDs are available on www.amazon.com, www.cdbaby.com and directly from www.jazzjaunts.com.

EJ Antonio

EJ Antonio

RSVP at (212) 749 7771 or email: harlemartssalon@yahoo.com. 

Seating limited! $25 for one/$40 for two. Buy your ticket(s) today!

Special Guest:  Poet EJ Antonio will make the introductions!



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