In a time when people are arguably more divided politically, spiritually and creatively than ever before, one Brooklyn resident aims to bridge those gaps on the local level.
Jamie Hook will debut “The Hook,” which he describes as a “political speakeasy” on Tuesday at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn. It was partly inspired by “Open City Dialogues,” his lecture series that ran at Pete’s from 2008 to 2012.
"It gave me a chance to do some ‘community engineering’ — taking your community, finding parts of it that are insurgent or dysfunctional, inspiring or disinspiring and working with them to better tune their community,” Hook told Metro.
“The Hook,” which is a live talk show and podcast, will kick off with City Councilmember Stephen Levin, who represents New York’s 33rd District and recently helped secure the final parcel of land for Bushwick Inlet Park.
“I think Councilman Levin is one of the great unsung heroes of this city,” Hook said. “I’ve found him incredibly personable and a refreshing combination of idealistic and pragmatic. [At a recent event] he said a lot of people feel really disconnected from politics right now, and [to me], politics is the grandest form of community engineering of all.”
Metro reached out to Levin for comment on his appearance on “The Hook,” which promises to ask him burning questions about hope in politics, his college band and more, but had not heard back by press time.
With the divisive events of the past year, Hook wants people to think locally and step away from their computers or phones.
“Maybe our way to fight back isn’t to pen endless comments on the internet about how much we disagree with things, but to collect in a room and to notice what’s happening in our community, be inspired by it and go out and build it brick-by-brick,” he said.
“The Hook” will start off as a monthly event, with the goal of eventually going weekly “if we find a way to enable it financially,” Hook said.