New York City — When OSM!, the online magazine for awesome global citizens celebrated its second year in March, it reached a remarkable total of 488,551 pages read and 1,087,836 hits. Not bad for a New York based two-year old online magazine professing positive journalism for its readers worldwide. The US, China, Philippines, Hongkong, and Belarus were the top countries reading on the record the day it had a gratitude party in mid-Manhattan.
It was a party anyone wouldn’t have wanted to miss. It showcased the talents and creativity of some of the featured individuals in the emagazine at the auspices of the National Writers Union – New York on 38th Street, where publisher/executive editor Marivir R. Montebon is a steering committee member.
Self-made artist Monica Lunot Kuker did a one woman art exhibit titled ‘Awesome Women’. Eye catching pieces included the immigrant woman in New York, the Philippine heroine Gabriela Silang, Geisha, Her with a wide-brimmed hat, and Boat people.
“I am happy to have been given the chance to show my work. This is an adventure and a chance to show our creativity and help bring about social and political changes in our society,” Lunot-Kuker quipped. Part of the proceeds of her works of art goes to the rehabilitation efforts of the survivors of the supertyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Twins Carolyn and Lauren Levin were adorable in their cello and violin music that afternoon. The young girls are constant donors of used books for OSM’s! Education Support Program, Donate-a-Book-and-Make-a-Child’s-Future-Bright. For two years now, OSM! has sent these old books to school children in Mandaue and Malapascua in Cebu province.
Carolyn and Lauren played Ode to Joy and Amazing Grace before an admiring audience. They study music at the Greenwich House of Music in West Village. Overjoyed, they happily shared their experience to their parents when they returned home.
International model and singer Gail Banawis captivated the audience with her beautiful voice and stunning features. At 17, Ms. Banawis has pursued a career in modeling and singing while attending high school at the La Guardia School of Music in Manhattan.
The poetry of Joan Ariete was deep and sad. Why I Left was a painful punch. The line “When my country failed me, I failed it in return. And loved it even more,” was one cause for reflection.
Ukraine-born Marina Rubin read three poems about her young life in Ukraine and the life she has in New York from her book Stealing Cherries which is on amazon.com.
Fresh from the success of the community theater Journey of the Brown Girl which she choreographed, Leslie Hubilla delved
into the Filipina woman’s self image and self-respect. The poetic lines of her monologue induces the audience to be introspective on how the psyche of the Filipina has been robbed of her and how she can regain it. One has to watch the Journey of the Brown Girl for self-realization.
Towards the end of the afternoon, Ms. Montebon signed her book Biting the Big Apple for her guests. Proceeds of the book will likewise go to the rehabilitation project of the survivors of Haiyan.
Everyone loved each performer as they did the bibingka, a Philippine rice cake, which went well with hot coffee that rainy afternoon. Originally from Cebu, the bibingka has been New Yorkified by entrepreneur Eileen Formosa who runs the business bibingka-esk.com.
Tiziana Simona Rinaldi, producer of the Life in a New World TV show, did the video coverage of the gratitude party and photographer Carla Mayol was the party’s official photographer. Stella Palomo Monteno did the art work for the official invite.