Hidden Identities – A Panel at the Educational Alliance

Valerie Frankel and Laurie Gwen Shapiro will participate in a "Hidden Identities" Panel at the Educational Alliance.

The Educational Alliance will host what looks to be quite an entertaining panel, “Hidden Identities: Tales From Under the Hood,” next Monday evening at 7:00pm.  The event is inspired by the idea of hidden and unmasked identities, and will feature a diverse group of writers, editors and performers from various creative backgrounds.  Local writer and filmmaker, Laurie Gwen Shapiro curated the panel and will moderate the evening.  I asked her how she decided who to include on the panel. Here’s what she had to say:

I was approached by Dana Weissman, who used to run spectacular events for 92nd Street Y, to do something, “Out of the Box,” as she put it, for our community, and given that it was the Educational Alliance she gingerly wondered if we could make it tie into Purim. I thought well, Purim has a wild backstory – a sexy Jewess hiding out undercover…Voila, a theme, “Hidden Identity” or to broaden it, “Unmasked Identity.”

Follow-up: Friday Night Throwdown Inspires a Movie

Rockstar Charlie - photo by Edel Kelly, courtesy of modelboxers.com

Yesterday we linked to the New York Times’ feature on “Friday Night Throwdown,” the uber-hip underground boxing event frequently held in LES warehouse spaces. Later in the day, I spoke with filmmaker Michelle Groskopf, who’s making a documentary about Throwdown’s biggest star.

Several years ago, Michelle recognized the up-and-comer, sometimes referred to as “Rockstar Charlie,” was someone to watch. He’s now an undefeated boxer, aiming for the super middleweight title of the Golden Gloves (and an aspiring model about to land a contract with a major agency). Charlie has been training seriously for a few years now and is being coached by Brooklyn trainer Leon Taylor, (“the greatest fighter never known”).

My LES: Laurie Gwen Shapiro

This weekly feature spotlights a wide variety of people who live and work on the Lower East Side. If you know someone you would like to suggest be featured in “My LES,” please email us here.

This week’s L.E.S.-er is Laurie Gwen Shapiro. She’s a writer and a documentary filmmaker with neighborhood roots that go way back.  As you’ll see, she’s got some amazing stories from the Lower East Side!

What do you do?

I tell stories for a living, as a documentary filmmaker, and other times as a fiction writer, essayist  or screenwriter.  I co-directed Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale for IFC Films with my brother, and most recently I co-produced Finishing Heaven with him for HBO. I also have written “funny” novels for adults and young adults including The Unexpected Salami and The Matzo Ball Heiress. I have some new film and book projects I’m super excited about in various stages of development.