Deff Jam Poet Vanessa Launches Book With Laughs

She has aired three times on "Russell Simmon’s Presents ‘Def Poetry Jam’ on HBO, and is featured in the short film "The Tribe" which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival,

[Theater: Comedy]

“Vanessa Hidary is a master. I don’t know how she does it. Every word, every phrase, seems to be chosen with care and total passion. Relentlessly funny and always smart.”–Fred Armisen, Cast member of Saturday Night Live and IFC sketch series Portlandia.

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 92YTribeca and Penmanship Books are proud to present the release party for Def Jam poet Vanessa Hidary’s first book, The Last Kaiser Roll  in the Bodega.

The Penmanship Books publication of Hidary’s book will be celebrated with a performance and party at 92YTribeca on Wednesday, May 25 at 8:30PM. Tickets to the event are $12, and can be purchased at or by calling 212.601.1000. 92YTribeca is located at 200 Hudson Street in Manhattan just south of Canal.

The Last Kaiser Roll in The Bodega is a collection of Vanessa’s signature poems,  prose, and excerpts of her nationally acclaimed one-woman show; Culture Bandit. Vanessa draws inspiration for her work from issues of cultural identity, unrequited love, hip-hop and more.

The May 25th event will feature a performance by Vanessa, excerpts from Culture Bandit as well as readings and performances from a lineup of special guests. This event is sponsored by the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe and by Penmanship Books.

Vanessa has a remarkable way of using humor and unparalled honest writing to truly speak truth to our ever changing, ever evolving American identity. Hands down one of my favorite, and electrifying solo performers. Kamilah Forbes, Artistic Director Hip Hop Theater Festival, Producer Def Poetry Jam.

Vanessa Hidary is an actress, poet, playwright and native New Yorker. Vanessa grew up on Manhattan’s culturally diverse Upper West Side, graduating from LaGuardia High Schoo l of the Arts and Hunter College. Her experiences as a Sephardic Jew with close friends from different ethnic and religious backgrounds inspired her to write “Culture Bandit,” the nationally-toured solo show that chronicles Vanessa’s
coming of age during the golden age of Hip-Hop and her dedication to fostering understanding and friendship between all people.”

Culture Bandit”, was originally produced by LAByrinth Theatre Company (Artistic directors; Phillip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz). It
has since played as part of The Roar Theatre Festival at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, as part of The Downtown Urban Theater Festival, The Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival, The Hip Hop Theatre Festival and The Comedy Central Stage. She has aired three times on “Russell Simmon’s Presents ‘Def Poetry Jam’ on HBO, and is featured in the short film “The Tribe” which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival,
The Tribeca Film Festival, and The Jewish Motifs International Film Festival in Warsaw, Poland, where Vanessa attended as the film’s representative.

Vanessa was recently chosen as one of 50 speakers to appear at the “2010 IdeaCity- Canada’s Premiere Meeting of the Minds'”. She appeared at the 2009 Limmudfest in the UK, and in November 2010 performed at the opening reception for the Lion Of Judah conference
at the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly convention in New Orleans. Other performances include: Central Park’s Summerstage, B.A.M. Café, Princeton University, Cornell, Syracuse, NYU, U Of Florida, SUNY Purchase, USC and countless other schools around the nation.

She was a Grand Slam Poetry Finalist at The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, her “poetry home”, where you can almost always find her producing, hosting and performing. She has conducted poetry and racism workshops with Bnai’ Brith Youth Organization. Vanessa received an M.F.A. in Acting from Trinity Rep Theatre Conservatory.

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe is a home for groundbreaking works of poetry, music, theater, and visual arts. A multicultural and multi-arts institution, the Cafe gives voice to a diverse group of rising poets, actors, filmmakers and musicians who have not yet found consistent havens for their work.

The Cafe’s extended community of spectators, artists and students is a reflection of New York City’s diverse population; Allen Ginsberg called the Cafe “the most integrated place on the planet”. Since 2008,  the Cafe’s operating budget has increased dramatically, as has event attendance and press coverage. Visit

Penmanship Books was created by writer and performance poet Mahogany L. Browne.  As a freelance music and entertainment journalist, Mahogany found the hierarchy of the literary world painfully silent and unyielding. She created Penmanship as the answer to the performance poet’s publishing problem. Penmanship’s purpose is to become a vehicle for publishing performance poets and live artists with a huge fan base.

92YTribeca is the 92nd Street Y’s downtown center. Located at 200 Hudson Street, 92YTribeca helps 92Y carry on its mission to serve the community and the world in a remarkable way by providing exceptional programs across the spectrum-in the arts and culture, Jewish life and education, health and fitness and personal growth and travel.

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