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Pitching in to resurrect Culpepper’s

Unlike the phoenix’s self-generated rebirth, the return of Culpepper’s is a group effort. Loyal customers from Barbados and other Caribbean-Americans, churches and community institutions, such as the Council of Barbadian Organizations of New York (CBONY) are working hard to aid the establishment.
CBONY will be presenting a benefit dance to help restore Culpepper’s on Friday at Nazareth Hall, 475 East 58th Street (between Clarendon Road and Avenue D) in Brooklyn, starting at 10 p.m.
A small temporary annex is up and running on Nostrand Avenue near Lincoln Road. Restoration has started on the damaged restaurant next door at 1082 Nostrand Avenue, and heartfelt donations have been coming in to aid employees of the restaurant affected by the shutdown.
“I’m hanging in there,” said owner Winston Lewis. “All the trauma has subsided and we’re back to some sense of reality,” he said referring to the early morning fire that severely damaged the decade-old restaurant last December 15.
The restaurant’s landlord has made repairs, and when additional funds are available, rebuilding of the restaurant can begin. Lewis hopes to reopen in early May.
Serving Barbadian cuisine and baked goods, and letting customers know “we’re still here and we’ll be back,” is the purpose of the small annex. The service is takeout only, and the menu - and space in the narrow customer area - is limited.
Nevertheless, patrons can still get their favorite dishes and breads Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The annex phone number is 718-940-4122, and the menu includes flying fish and couscous, chicken (curried, baked, stewed or fried), coconut bread and turnovers, and beverages such as mauby, sorrel and coconut water.
Lewis said he has been amazed and touched by the outpouring of help from churches, community members and business owners.
He said congregation members from St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church nearby on Hawthorne Street and St. Leonard’s Church, a few miles away on 765 Putnam Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, have collected funds for workers hurt by the three-month closure. Even business wholesalers he has purchased supplies from over the years have donated money.
CBONY’s benefit dance on Friday will feature Archie Miller, Lew Drayton and Darnley Brown and other performers. Music will be provided by Technic Music Mix and Batch Productions. Tickets are $30.
For information about tickets or donations to Culpepper’s restoration fund, call Janice Cadogan at 718-771-8195, Lennox Price at 718-241-6123, Carrie Franklyn at 718-209-0564 or Marston Gibson at 516-680-8506.

Reggae Sundays
The Reggae Sundays music series at Brooklyn’s Lox Lounge in the Clinton Hill section will present a special tribute to women in reggae Sunday night in commemoration of Women’s History Month.
The special event will be held from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. at the lounge, 15 Putnam Ave. between Fulton Street and Grand Avenue. The popular Reggae Sundays dance series is held weekly. Admission is $10. For information, visit www.reggaesundays.com, www.myspace.com/reggaesundaysnewyork, call organizer Roger Thomas at 718-930-1316 or e-mail roger@reggaesundays.com.

Poets and Passion
The “Poets and Passion” literary series features writers Jacqueline Bishop of Jamaica and Merle Collins of Grenada on Wednesday at the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza at 7 p.m.
For reservations and information, call the Caribbean Cultural Theatre at 718-783-8345 or the Caribbean Literary & Cultural Center at 718-262-3750.

Voices of Women
DWA FANM, the New York-based Haitian women’s organization, will be presenting “Voices of Women: Celebrating Devotion,” a cocktail reception, auction and show of cultural dance music and theater, on Saturday in Brooklyn at the Alliance of Resident Theaters, 138 South Oxford Street (between Hanson Place and Atlantic Avenue), beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $40. Buy them online at www.dwafanm.org or call 718-230-4027 ext. 300 for tickets and information.

Dread dead at 54
Influential Jamaican disc jockey, recording star and music producer Mikey Dread died recently. He was 54. Dread, born Michael Campbell, was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year.
He was known for his popular late-night show, “The Dread at the Controls,” on the now-defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. Dread left the broadcasting company and pursued a successful career as a performer, launching his own record label and producing successful music projects for the British punk-rock group, The Clash.
During his radio career, he left his mark on the Jamaican industry by promoting and popularizing local music, creating creative and memorable radio jingles.

Guyana benefit
Some of Guyana’s top entertainers will be performing in Canada at the “One Love Guyana Benefit Day” on Saturday at the Centre, 6765 Invader Crescent, in Mississauga, Ontario.
The blend of local and international performers includes the cast of “Sweet, Sweet Karaila,” a play scheduled to be staged at the upcoming Carifesta ’08 event in Guyana. The event also will be streamed live at www.helloworld.com/uprisingtv on the Internet, starting at noon.
For information, call 416-333-2724, 416-286-0344 or e-mail leon_saul2005@yahoo.com.

This column is reprinted from the March 23 Sunday editions of The New York Daily News. If you have any items suitable for this column please e-mail them to jmccallister@nydailynews.com.

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