Carmen Pabon
Excerpt from the Lower East Side Biography Project

Steve Zehentner:  Producer, Camera

“Carmen Pabon came from spanish/taino heritage and was born in the town of Ciales, Puerto Rico. Carmen Pabon is known as the mother of the Loisaida, is an activist, poet, actress and a great humanitarian in the community for the past 50 years. She has help thousands in creating a better life for themselves. She paved the way for the likes of poets: Tato Lavera, Miquel Algaerin and others at the Nuyorican Cafe on 3rd Street on the Lower East Side founded 1973.

As a gardener at El Bello Amanecer Boriqueno on Ave C between 7th & 8th she fed multitudes of homeless people and created a safe haven at the garden for the elderly and children to spend their time.”
- excerpt from

The Carmen Pabon Biography is a part of The Lower East Side Biography Project and was written, directed and edited by Dean Lance in collaboration with Penny Arcade and Steve Zehentner. Writer/Director/Editor: Dean Lance Producer, Director of Photography: Steve Zehentner Producer, Interviewer: Penny Arcade Associate Producers: Dean Lance, Rick Jungers Camera, Lights & Sound: Aldo Cano, Rick Jungers, Jeffrey Galusha

The Lower East Side Biography Project was created in 1999 by performance artist Penny Arcade and video producer Steve Zehentner as an ongoing biography series and oral history archive. The LES Bio Project’s biographies and archive work to ensure that future generations have access to the mad souls of invention and rebellion that built the Lower East Side’s international reputation as an incubator for authenticity and iconoclasm in art, culture and politics.

The project seeks to stem the tide of cultural amnesia by bridging the cultural gap between long time residents and newcomers to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. To this end, the LES Bio Project has a community-media training component where young filmmakers are trained in production and post-production technologies and then become shepherds of an individual oral history that they edit into a 28-minute biography. Since its inception, the LES Bio Project has trained over forty individuals, completed over sixty 28-minute programs, and videotaped dozens more interviews and live events.

The completed biographies cablecast and stream live every Monday at 11 p.m EST, in Manhattan on Time Warner 34, RCN 82, FIOS 33, and live stream on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Community Channel One.

View the current cablecast and livestream schedule on the project's Facebook page.