We started Kith&Kin as way of getting to know the diverse literary landscape of Queens, but also as a convenient way to bring the wider world of poetry into our own backyards.
We found a perfect location underneath a little bar called Marlene's in Sunnyside, Queens. Marlene's was run by two charismatic and beautiful Slovenian sisters and was named and modeled after the aesthetic of Marlene Dietrich. When you were at Marlene's it felt as if your were in Prague, or maybe Casablanca, and Dietrich herself might walk in any moment, with Frank O'Hara on her arm. The bar was in the hood, but it also felt timeless, placeless, perfect.
After a year of readings Marlene's went out of business and Kith&Kin had to find a new home. One day a friend, Chris Sharp, was in town and we met up with him at the SculptureCenter. Chris is a curator and knew the curator of the SculptureCenter, Ruba Katrib. She introduced us and voila: Kith&Kin was in! The SculptureCenter is a re-design of an old trolley factory and what the curators do with the space is fantastic. The acoustics and atmosphere of the place beautifully amplifies the poetry.