Cemi Guzman is still in high school but he's decided there's no time like the present to give back to his community. The son of well-known character actor Luis Guzman (Carlito's Way, Boogie Nights, Traffic, Beverly Hills Chuahua), Cemi is the mastermind and host of a benefit and celebration on Saturday for the Lower East Side Girls Club. When Cemi (pictured at left with his father) started to think about his senior project to improve a community, there was no doubt in his mind he wanted to help an after school program in the neighborhood in which he has deep roots. Not only is he the driving force behind the event, to be held at the Bowery Poetry Club (Noon-3:30pm), but he's been involved in the planning every step of the way.
There will be performances by Cuculand from Yerba Buena, La Bruja, Kess (from the LES), Krazy Race, Mike Imperiale (from the LES), Leon Heartman and comedian Ruperto Vanderpool. Influential graffiti artist and local designer Victoria Keen will also be stopping by. And, of course, Cemi's dad will be speaking. Moms from the neighborhood will be cooking up rice and beans and tamales. To top it all off, there will be cupcakes from the Girls Club's "Sweet Things" bake shop.
Cemi told me he thinks organizations like the Girls Club provide an invaluable service, helping keep kids off the streets. The money raised at the benefit (and accompanying auction) will support the organization's after-school programs.
Cemi is following in the footsteps of his dad, as both an activist and actor. Luis Guzman was once a social worker at the Henry Street Settlement. He broke into film in the early 80's, and over the years has acted in dozens of Hollywood movies. Cemi has a strong interest in being an actor, as well. Saturday night, he'll have a chance to shine, as the benefit's master of ceremonies.
Tickets can be bought at the door or at Brown Paper Tickets here. (Youth tickets – bring canned goods for Middle Church. Adults $20 and up)