Mine verses yours: Poets perform show about growing up in borough

Word of the streets: Poets Darryl Alladice and Cathy Gigante-Brown will perform their spoken word piece “My Brooklyn, Your Brooklyn” in Park Slope on July 10.
Katy Clements

Brooklyn is theirs for the talking!

A pair of Windsor Terrace poets will sound off about their experiences growing up in different parts of Kings County in the spoken word piece “My Brooklyn, Your Brooklyn” at 440 Gallery in Park Slope on July 10. The duo will rap about their separate neighborhoods and backgrounds, but the performance will also show how much they have in common, according to one of the poets.

“I hope that they’re seeing the ways that they think we’re different, we’re not,” said Darryl Alladice, who grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights. “If you bring all of the differences to the table and mix them in, it’s the same stuff.”

Alladice, who is black, put the show together with fellow wordsmith Cathy Gigante-Brown, a white Italian-American who grew up in Bay Ridge. The Ridgite initially feared their differences might keep their work from blending together.

“At first I thought he was crazy because we have such different backgrounds,” she said.

But the pair found much in common. Both went to Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge — though five years apart — and come from working class families. Together, they compiled 14 of their poems about universal subjects such as love, family, bullies, and racism, and important coming-of-age moments, which they recite during the 40-minute performance.

But this is no dry poetry reading, said Gigante-Brown — the pair take on different roles as they bounce off each other, and they burst into song at one point for some a capella verse.

“People have said it reminds them of a jazz piece where everybody has their part and it kind of intertwines,” she said.

The poets have recited their show 10 times so far, at various locations around the city, but the performance is different every time, said Gigante-Brown. She hopes that Park Slopers will embrace the reading and really get involved in the borough-spanning performance.

“The third member of the group is the audience,” she said. “It’s really cool seeing the audience react to it.”

“My Brooklyn, Your Brooklyn” at 440 Gallery (400 Sixth Ave. at Ninth Street in Park Slope, www.440gallery.com) July 10 at 4:40 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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