12 Dade St
First, let me express my deepest apologies for cancelling February’s AiLi LIVE. Unfortunately, I had an emergency procedure and had to stay home and take care of myself. I am better. Many thank yous to all who expressed concern, well wishes and included me in their thoughts and prayers.
My apologies to my guests Pat Spence of the Urban Farming Institute, Rose Arruda of Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the 5th Annual Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference ~which is STILL on March 4th and you can register here: https://urbanfarminginstitute.org/2nd-annual-massachusetts-farming-conference/
Special apologies to Andre “Mr. Noteworthy” Sparrow and his willingness to make time in his schedule and perform at THIS AiLi Live March 20th Thursday. We’ll have him on AiLi Radio, so you can have a taste of what’s to come!
And Welcome to…
Art Is Life Itself! or
AiLi LIVE is EVERY 3rd Thursday of the Month
From 7-10pm at the Haley House Bakery Cafe
12 Dade St Roxbury, NR Dudley Square
come early for a seat, have dinner and
stay for AiLi LIVE is over a decade young at the same location
produced and hosted by Nina LaNegra, a veteran journalist, tv, radio producer and former teacher. Grounded in community work, AiLi LIVE is an organic outgrowth of her Buddhist practice that is based on one to one, hearfelt dialog. Want more? Ask Nina later.
This month Our Featured Performer, Andre “Mr. Noteworthy” Sparrow, will be another Boston-local, the prodigal son returned from Florida and California, settled in his ancestral homeland of Boston and bringing it with poetry, spoken word and if we are lucky, he’ll do some stand up during his set.
Who is Andre Sparrow?
Andre Sparrow, is a melodic poet, spoken word artist, journalist, author, and teaching artist. In 2005, Sparrow began writing poetry and short stories to cope with his lack of mobility while he rehabbed from a near fatal car accident. Only after conversing with performance poet Jay Ivy did Sparrow decide to pursue writing professionally. Sparrow received national recognition on MTV, as the grand prize winner for the Hear Me Project Aids Awareness Short Story Contest, for his short story “Fallen Stars,” selected by a panel of judges including Spike Lee and Levar Burton. Sparrow’s content and performance ability has led to invitations to open for Al Sharpton, Black Ice of Def Poetry Jam fame and perform at prestigious institutions Wellesley College and Harvard University. Sparrow has taught poetry for the Citi Performing Arts Center and has had articles published in the Daytona Times. Sparrow believes that there are places where crime and violence are allowed to fester and knows that his calling is “to use poetry and short stories to creatively bring awareness to those issues and motivate people to address them.”
More about him below…
and of course, we will have Dialog & OPEN MIC! This means YOU!
Bring your Poems, Spoken Words, Jokes, Stories, on a first come, first served basis, sign up and we will attempt to squeeze everyone into the 3 hour bag that is Art Is Life Itself!
In 2005, Andre Sparrow was living in Daytona Beach, FL with a goal of completing his physics degree and becoming a stand out in the space industry. This was side tracked when he was in a head on collision car accident that almost killed him. While rehabbing, Sparrow began to write poetry to cope with his lack of mobility. After sharing a poem with a friend who planned events at University of Central FL Orlando, Sparrow was invited to share his poem at an open mic featuring Jay Ivey of Def Poetry Jam fame. After a conversation with Ivey, Sparrow was inspired to pursue his writing with a serious goal of changing the mindset of communities that are traditionally allowed to have crime and violence fester.
For months, Sparrow tried to write and memorize a different poem every week, performing them at poetry clubs, school events and community events across Central Florida. Sparrow didn’t limit his writing to poetry as Sparrow also began to write short stories. One in particular “Fallen Stars,” received national recognition, as it was selected from over 700 other stories as the grand prize winner for the Hear Me Project Aids Awareness Short Story Contest. Sparrow was subsequently interviewed on MTV for his story that was selected by well-known names in the entertainment industry like Spike Lee and Levar Burton.
A regional Florida newspaper the Daytona Times, saw potential in Sparrows ability and offered him the opportunity to write content for the newspaper. In his time as a journalist, Sparrow covered nationally controversial events like the “Jena 6” attempted murder case in Louisiana and Don Imus’s racially charged comments about the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team.
Even though Sparrow found opportunities and recognition outside of poetry, Sparrow still focused on performing poetry with a true passion. In the following years, Sparrow wouldn’t just perform in different cities across Florida, but also in cities along the East Coast to as far north as Boston, MA where he was from. Sparrow was often a featured poet, but also loved the opportunities where he was invited to open for people like Al Sharpton or Black Ice of Def Poetry Jam fame. In between performances, Sparrow worked with at risk youth of the Stuart Marchman Program in Daytona Beach, FL, to teach them poetry writing and public speaking skills. Sparrow also produced teen poetry events featuring some of those same youth.
By 2008, Sparrow began to feel like he should return to his hometown of Boston, MA, to give back to his own community. Once in Boston, Sparrow began gaining notoriety across the city, becoming a house poet at different venues, being featured at different colleges like Wellesley College and Harvard University, and working on artistic projects with community organizations like Hyde Square Task Force. His prior successes gained the attention of the (Wang Center) Boch Performing Arts Center and Sparrow was offered an opportunity work through a partnership with the Dudley Branch Boston Public Library to teach poetry writing and presentation skills to Boston youth.
In 2012, Sparrow had lost a bit of his interest in writing poetry, and moved to the West Coast to pursue standup comedy. Even though Sparrow’s jokes and presentation were received well at comedy club open mics, Sparrow didn’t feel like he was making any relevant impacts society wise. Sparrow missed the impact he was able to create and see through his work with youth and conversations he had with people who saw him perform.
In 2016, Sparrow moved back to Boston, to rejuvenate his writing career. Even though Sparrow still writes comedy material, he has returned to what he believes is his true calling “using poetry and short stories to creatively bring awareness to issues and motivate people to address them.” Sparrow has begun adapting his short stories to screen plays. Sparrow will be releasing a 9 track EP that features his audiences favorite poems adapted to music and will also be publishing a collection of his poetry mid 2017.