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Get a Free Ride by “Taking The E-Train” In Harlem This Weekend


When writer/creator Lapacazo Sandoval envisioned “Taking The E-Train,” her fun guide to riding this major subway line, she did anticipate that her little tome would enjoy life as a multimedia concept. But not until master teacher Amanda McDowall came up with her adaptation of the book as a music theater experience, did this book realize in real-time its possibilities. With that in mind, she married African drumming, song and hip-hop choreography to the lively narrative.

McDowall’s day job is teaching musical theater at the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA), so it’s natural for her to be directing of this free theatrical reading of this new children story this weekend, Saturday, November 4th at 10 am. It is the inaugural event to launch a kids music theater series at the school. “Taking The E Train” makes for important selection to serves as the kick off for the reading series. 

As McDowall explains, “It is perfect to kick off the reading series because the story itself is such a New York City story, and at a place like the Harlem School of the Arts where we have an incredibly diverse group of students, we get to really highlight kids who may not have been featured before.”

The Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) has partnered with publisher KaZoom Kids iStoryBooks, to launch this reading series designed to stimulate a love of reading, especially for kids of color. Too often African American and Latino children are disconnected from the stories they see in the books available to them because they do not see themselves represented there.

This theatrical reading is about adventurous Abuela who takes her three grandchildren on an adventure on the E train on one of the hottest days of summer -- no wonder, because the E train has the best air conditioning. Another story, also a part of the series, is “Everybody Loves Cake,”which  illuminates the joy of baking with Sharon and Grandmother Abuela as they create new and delicious treats while keeping tradition and making “sweet” memories. In “Kason’s Kite,” a father and son bond over a kite making project. 

The multicultural KaZoom ebooks use sight, sound, motion, and animation to stimulate kids to interact and become more engaged with the stories they read.  

With that in mind, McDowell enthusiastically adds, “The book also really lends itself to allow a huge group of performers to participate which is always great. All our students are so hungry and so ready to perform and we get to give the opportunity to so many of them because of that.”

 Besides her role as a teacher, McDowall has been dressing the kids who participate in the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade for the past six years. She provides the kids and audience alike with a rich creative experience. 

Given that Harlem School of the Arts is New York City’s premier community arts institution, McDowall has had an opportunity to do something that can really inspire kids and adults alike. HSA’s alumni and faculty are counted among the most talented leaders in the arts.

HSA is unique in that it’s the sole provider of arts education in four disciplines: music, dance, theatre, and visual arts, all within an award-winning 37,000 square foot facility. With a reputation for artistic rigor and excellence it attracts constituents of diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds from all five New York City boroughs as well as Westchester County, Connecticut and New Jersey

For more than 50-years, HSA has enriched the lives of tens of thousands of young people ages 2-18 through its world-class training in the arts. Given the institution’s prominence, it is an ideal platform for multicultural author Sandoval to see her work presented. A longtime contributor to and the New York Amsterdam News, the veteran writer has created a whole series of classic New York stories for kids;  HSA will be the perfect place to experience them live.

To learn more about the Harlem School of the Arts and other events there go to: Or look at @HSAnyc on Twitter as well as

Visit this link for the Kazoom Books storytelling event:

“Taking The E-Train” Free Reading
written Lapacazo Sandoval
directed by Amanda McDowall

Saturday, November 4th at 10am

Harlem School of the Arts
645 Saint Nicholas Avenue
New York, NY 10030

PEN World Voices Festival 2013

Assembling academics, writers, philosophers, and great thinkers the world over, the 9th Annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature (April 29 – May 5, 2013, various venues) is like an intellectual version of the Avengers, just substitute fighting aliens with contemplating the human condition. An open letter written by the festival organizers states that PEN World Voices brings “remarkable writers, journalists, philosophers from all over the world to our City, where we discuss and debate some of the most sensitive issues of our lives today.”

Speakers at the festival include:

  • Judith Butler
  • Eduardo Galeano
  • Joy Harjo
  • Aleksandar Hemon
  • Jamaica Kincaid
  • Ursula Krechel
  • Fran Lebowitz
  • Claudio Magris
  • Pierre Michon
  • Téa Obreht
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Sapphire
  • Charles Simic
  • Naomi Wolf

The opening night (April 29) lecture on bravery in arts, politics, and society and is hosted by comedian Baratunde Thurston, formerly ofThe Onion and author of the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black.

PEN World has several lecture series on various topics, including obsession and the role it plays in the creative process (Naomi Wolf on Truth) and workshops for aspiring artists and writers (What the Wu-Tang Clan Tells Us About Political Publishing with Bhaskar Sunkara).

One of the more unusual events is The Quiet Volume, a performance conducted by Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells, which is described as “A self-generated and ‘automatic’ performance, Autoteatro, for two at a time experienced in the reading room of a library, audience members sit side-by-side taking cues from words both written and whispered – via an iPod and headphones – and find themselves burrowing an unlikely path through a pile of books.”

As one of the most major literary events in New York, PEN World Voices offers a wide array of speakers and views, making it an engaging literary event on a global scale.

To learn more, go to:

PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature
April 29 – May 5, 2013

Various Venues

New Yorker Festival: Art, Literature & Humorous Captions

new yorkerAssembling a unique amalgamation of minds from the worlds of entertainment, literature, the arts, and culture, The New Yorker Festival (October 5 – 7, 2012) addresses the forefront of art and culture.

Spread throughout Manhattan (locations include The Frick Collection (1 East 70th St.), the South Street Seaport Museum (12 Fulton St.), and the Gramercy Theater (127 East 23rd St.), among others), the NYF is split into several categories with various speakers.

Read more: New Yorker Festival: Art,...

Author Events at Moving Image: Dan Callahan on Barbara Stanwyck and Geoff Dyer on Andrei Tartakovsky

Con artists, femme fatales, Russians and Western gunslingers – mixing together better than peanut butter and jelly. Right? Well, find out for yourself!  In the coming weeks, two of the season’s most significant film books will be celebrated by Museum of the Moving Image with two author events featuring film screenings, discussions, and book signings.

On Sunday, February 19, film scholar Dan Callahan, author of Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman, will explore the life and art of the great Hollywood star with a double-feature screening of two of Stanwyck’s most acclaimed movies. In The Lady Eve, Stanwyck is a con-artist who seduces a naïve snake collector on a ship. According to Callahan, this is “Stanwyck’s funniest, most confident, and most unabashedly romantic performance.”  Forty Guns, director Samuel Fuller’s cracked Arizona gunslinger epic, pits a new pacifist marshal (Barry Sullivan) and his brothers against the oppressive rancher Jessica Drummond (Stanwyck) and her posse of 40 hired guns for control of the county. Naturally, the marshall and Jessica fall head over heels in love, much to the chagrin and confusion of the good and bad guys. Easily one of the wildest and most grandly weird westerns in cinema history. Screenings will be followed by discussions and book signings by Callahan.

On Sunday, March 11, celebrated novelist and New York Times columnist Geoff Dyerwill participate in a conversation about his obsession with the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, a subject at the core of his discursive and fascinating new book Zona. This dialogue with Dyer, moderated by the Museum’s Chief Curator David Schwartz, will be followed by a book signing and a screening of The Mirror, Tarkovsky’s stream-of-consciousness autobiographical film set in World War II-ravaged Russia, cited as the inspiration for Terrence Malick’s Academy Award-nominated film, The Tree of Life. A book signing will follow the screening.

All screenings and discussions are free with Museum admission. Book signings will take place in the Museum store.

For more information, visit or call 718 777 6888.
Barbara Stanwyck Double Feature with introductions by Dan Callahan 
February 19, 2012

Geoff Dyer on Tarkovsky, Cinema, and Life, with screening of The Mirror
March 11, 2012

Museum of the Moving Image
36 35th Ave
Astoria, NY

For Media inquiries, contact: 
Tomoko Kawamoto
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. k
718 777 6830

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, 10:30 to 8:00 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 
Holiday hours: Museum open on Monday, February 20, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
Film Screenings: Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays, and as scheduled.
Museum Admission: $12.00 for adults; $9.00 for persons over 65 and for students with ID; $6.00 for children ages 3-18. Children under 3 and Museum members are admitted free. Admission to the galleries is free on Fridays, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets for special screenings and events may be purchased in advance by phone at 718 777 6800 or online.


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