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Rhymes for a Reason - Staten Island Poets with Dreams


Every month we get a chance to visit one of our favorite shops 'Richmond Hood Co' and check out an event that always leaves a mark on our soul. The Advanced Poetry Slam team have made a lot of progress in the last year. They have been working so hard and now have the opportunity to go to NYC Nationals in Atlanta. These poets have been consistent in bringing the community together and making Staten Island less forgotten by the day. Read more about the poets below and join them as they actively chase their dream.

 Stereotype Co is a proud sponsor of the Advanced Poetry Slam team. 

Source 'Advanced Poetry Slam Indiegogo Page'

The Richmond Hood Advanced Slam Team, Staten Island, NY, is the first-ever team from NYC's Borough No. 5 to compete in a National Poetry Slam competition.

The $3500 we hope to raise will cover transportation, lodging, food, and other expenses related to the National Poetry Slam, Decatur, Georgia, August 1st-August 6th.   Your support will allow the poets to focus more on honing their performance poetry and hopefully, making it to the semi-finals.  

About the Poets

Eric Alter is a poet who wrestles with identity and truth; tries to make them submit themselves to a laugh or a gasp from the audience. He is backed by the full credit and standing of Long Island University and holds a M.F.A. in Creative Writing.  He is also a 77.4 ton Sherman tank, editor of NYSAI press and a bass player in the band Giga Herbs.

Julie Bentsen is an ongoing student of dreams and the Unconscious, as well as the prose editor for NYSAI magazine. She regularly reads at Staten Island's Advanced Slam, and has featured at The Parkside Lounge and Hell Phone for Great Weather for Media. Her work focuses on the horrors of our psychopathic corporate nightmare, our collective disconnect from ourSelves, and the limitations of our perception of reality. She is also a visual artist enjoys creating live art to live poetry, and has done so for 3Po3try NYC: Raining Words at the Pomegranate Gallery,  Art for Poetry's Sake at Deep Tanks Studios, and the LUMEN Art Festival.

Thomas Fucaloro is an NYC poet. He has 2 books out by Three Rooms Press.  His latest one, “It Starts from the Belly and Blooms” has received rave reviews. He has graduated with an MFA at the New School for Creative Writing. He is a co-founding editor of Great Weather for Media and NYSAI press.  He is a writing coordinator at the Harlem Children’s Zone.  He just recently won a performance grant from the Staten Island Council of the Arts and the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs. His new chapbook "Mistakes Disguised as Stars" by Tired Hearts Press was released in March and his latest chapbook "Depression Cupcakes" was released in June through "Yes, Poetry."  

Jessica “Morningstar” Kratz is a literary artist who grew up among the historic treasures and natural wonders of Staten Island, NY.  Equally at home hiking through the forest or jotting down her thoughts inside the pages of a marble notebook, Jessica has compiled two chapbooks, Sky Voyages (2003) and Slices of the Big Apple:  New York as I Know It (2007), along with two children’s books Sleigh Bells in Springtime: Frogs Calling(AuthorHouse, 2010) and The Lucky Lighthouse (Boulevard Books, late 2016).  When not writing or exploring nature, she can be found donning a fitness tracker and finding out the metrics to her cardio, weights, and plyometrics. 

Nick Yuk writes about depression and the struggles of his life. When not writing his heart on paper, napkins, or empty beer boxes, he spends his time cooking and creating new euphoric sensations via taste. He is an organizer for Rock Slam in Nyack, NY.

The perks packages leverage the talent of the Advanced Slam poets as well as the generosity and the Shaolin swagger of the Richmond Hood Company and its stylish and talented owner, Tariq Zaid.  Support your local slam team in style, with an Advanced lapel pin, a must-read chapbook, discounts to the Richmond Hood Company store- and more.  

If we do not reach our entire goal, some of us may be sleeping on the floor, but we'll still be competing in Atlanta, and any funds raised will support the Advanced Slam Team and the Advanced series of poetry readings and competitions.  

The Impact

Slam is the fastest-growing literary movement in the United States, and your support promotes a movement, promotes performance poetry, and supports an emerging arts scene and civic pride for Staten Island.

Members of the Advanced Slam Team are well-educated, established musical, visual, performing, and literary artists, with a diverse array of successful endeavors, such as children's books, rock band performances, collaborative visual art and poetry performances, chapbooks, and spoken word performances in a variety of venues.  


    1 of a Kind Collaboration Helps Man with Cancer Embrace Life


    In 2008, Raymond Torres was diagnosed with a rare form of Multiple Myeloma, a cancer with no cure. With no option of surgery, Ray is forced to wear a body brace which only comes in bright white. On February 12th 2016, Elaine Mendez of Labyrinth Arts Collection asked us and John Exit to liven up the brace.

    Watch Full video to see what happens...

    Read More

    Collaborating w/ Kids on a Clothing Line for the First Time by Dave Noodlez


    Stereotype Co's own Dave Noodlez was recently invited to take his experience of fashion into the JCC's Carter Center to teach kids how to 'Turn Ideas Into T-Shirts'. Dave has been with Stereotype since Day 1. Not only co-founding the company he has printed 95% of the T-Shirts that are ordered around the world on our site. Many of which have been made in his parents basement.  Stereotype Co still operates out of his parents house to this day. We linked up with Dave and gave him a chance to reflect about this experience working with kids to create an Anti Bullying line.


    Dave: "When Miss Claire invited me to make this program I got really excited. This was something I always dreamed of doing. I always wanted to work with kids. 

    It's interesting though because when you get the opportunity you realize all the pressure that falls on you and you're like "Oh damn I gotta do all this work now." I never had a curriculum or programs ready. This was just something I wanted to do. Now I had to mold the idea into something organized that made sense and publicly act on the dream.

    How was preparing for the classes?

    I spent hours preparing for each class. I really got a chance to see what teachers go through. I have so much respect for them. They are in class for 1-2 hours but probably spend double that time preparing. 

    Did anything happen that you didn't expect?

    I had a good group that would be there from the beginning but some would pop in unexpected. It tests your patience but you learn how to operate in random situations. You can't plan how every minute of a class is going to go. 

    How did you come up with the theme of Anti-Bullying?

    It was an idea that Miss Claire and the kids came up with while I was at SXSW. Bullying was one of the first important topics we spoke about at Stereotype Co so when I heard that was the direction they wanted to go in I knew we would make some good stuff.

    What was the process on the collaboration?

    After the theme was picked I gave the kids free reign to create off that theme. I just informed them on what we could do with our equipment and the size restrictions. They each drew up their designs. They were all very sure of their designs. 

    Once they each had their designs I sat with each one for about 20 minutes. We then picked out icons, fonts and symbols. I opened up Pages and Photoshop and would ask them like 20 questions. I normally ask "This or This? I would let them visually see how the designs would look giving them different sizes, fonts and colors options. They would then vote for what they liked best. 

    How many designs did you make?

    We made 5 designs.

    Here are the designs they came up with for the 'Anti Bullying' Clothing Line

    X-OUT BULLYING by Rahman

    By Rahman

    If You Stop Bullying by Larry

    By Larry

    Bullies Are Mean by Rakim

    By Rakim

    Do You Know That Words Hurt? by Desmond

    By Desmond

    By Desmond

    It Is Good To Be Nice, Bullying is The Worst by Davaugh

    By Davaugh

    What have you learned from this experience?

    I learned that I love what I do. I learned that if you are out there doing good work people will imagine ways you can take your skills to a new place. I learned about what young people like and dislike. I learned that if you give a young person an opportunity they can make something of it. I learned that if you provide resources and information to young people it can be really beneficial to them. I learned that teachers put in a lot of work that we don't see. I have a great admiration for teachers and what they do. I only did this program once a week for almost 2 months. My job was easy. Teachers deserve a lot of respect waking up early every day to help teach the youth.

    I learned how great a place JCC Carter Center was. They provide after school programs for the youth. I was inspired to see all the great things they had going on there. It was an honor to share my passion for fashion there. Thank you Miss Claire and Deb for the opportunity. 

    Stereotype Co has plans to do a lot more in the community in 2016. We have been raising funds for Staten Island Arts Lark Fund every month donating 5% of every sale to help them replace and repair instruments in schools. Join Stereotype Co on Instagram to learn about upcoming events and projects.







    Dating and Waiting... Is NY too busy for love?


    Sign by Tiffany Porcu  @porcupourvous

    Sign by Tiffany Porcu @porcupourvous

    Written by Unicorn Empress

    Isla Of Staten Island recently asked if love could go viral. Well we believe that it can. As a matter of fact we intend to make it go viral. We're all about the positive energy.  So when the creator of "Date While You Wait" asked us to set up a dating station in Brooklyn we jumped at the chance. With DJ Crossfade as our dater, a small table, sign, and Connect Four game we took to the subway. People were timid and curious when they caught sight of the painted "Date While You Wait" canvas. However, their timidity would succumb to their curiosity as our own Stereotype Co Cupid encouraged them to play. Men, women, mature, youthful, DJ Crossfade played with them all. Even some of New York's finest boys in blue took a second to enjoy a game.

    As you could have guessed none of them really had a moment to spare. New Yorkers don't even have time to date. They struggle to catch a moment for themselves and we appreciated them stopping to give us one. With Valentines Day so quickly approaching we wondered if maybe New York is to busy for love? 

    We discovered that with a little help even NYC could slow down for a chance at you know what L-O-V-E.

    Check out Date While You Wait's RECAP below featuring photos from 14 different locations

    We would like to again thank everyone across the globe for taking the chance to share #DateWhileYouWait with their...

    Posted by Date While You Wait on Saturday, February 6, 2016