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Queens arts group spins verses on new Web site

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Movement One, a group that brings poets, musicians, visual artists and others together has officially launched www.movementone.org as a venue for the products of members' musings, said Paul Catafago, executive director of the Elmhurst-based group."We envision the Web site as a way for writers and artists throughout the world to come and share their creativity," Catafago said.The collaboration started nearly three years ago as a way to bring poets across Queens together, he said. At the time, there was no single group geared toward verse, and as Movement One evolved, Catafago caught a glimpse of one of the reasons, he said."Organizing poetry is like organizing cats," Catafago said. But his followers were just as committed as he was, he soon learned. "We had several poetry readings and when the time comes to do what needs to be done, they do it"The organization's first major undertaking was moving from regular readings in the auditorium of the Flushing Library branch to the first International Poetry Festival, which was held September 2003."We started with the poetry festival because poetry is contrarian in a way," Catafago said. "People sometimes have this complex about it. People don't accept poetry and if they do it they do it secretly."The festival was such a hit - raising more than $200,000 for the group - Movement One put a second event together last year. And the New York City Council on the Arts just awarded the organization a grant for the third festival later this year.In the meantime, Movement One has stepped away from its poetic roots to embrace other forms of art. In September Catafago and the organization curated the East West Festival for the Queens Festival of the Arts in Astoria. The event drew on the culture that fills the Little Cairo section of the neighborhood, where Egyptian and other Middle Eastern immigrants settled. Artists of all kinds and ethnicities came together to celebrate their traditions, Catafago said."We want to do projects bringing together different cultures," he said. "We're intercultural, not multicultural."And Movement One is using its new Internet portal not only to give its members a place to gain exposure. The site is also a forum to nominate Huang Xiang, a Chinese poet and immigrant who came to Flushing as a refugee, for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Xiang was imprisoned in China for 12 years for leading the Democracy Wall Movement during the Cultural Revolution. The effort, pushed during the late 1970s, was named for the large posters advocating democracy and other political views that the proponents tacked to a wall in Bejing.Next up, Movement One is organizing the Queens Sacred Music Festival, a tribute to religious music, Catafago said. That event was slated for the Spring, he said."In a five-mile radius of my house there's maybe every faith in the world," Catafago said. "When you work in Queens you work in the world."Reach Assistant Managing Editor Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 139.

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