HTBAF: Coffee Klatch

HTBAF: Coffee Klatch

Welcome to Season 10 of How to Build a Fire! Season 10! Hundreds of stories have been shared around the Open Source campfire, and this new season will continue the tradition of sharing and love created by poet Terence Degnan and fostered by Monika Wuhrer and her Open Source team.

This season’s hosts – farmer Sheryll Durrant and writer Stacie Evans – are excited to celebrate HTBAF’s history and usher in a new decade of shared life stories.

The season starts in the gallery surrounded by Monika Drożyńska’s installation, “Latte Capitalizm,” which inspired April’s theme: Coffee Klatch. So come hang out for coffee (or, more likely, beer and wine), conversation, and four excellent stories. Friday, April 26th, 7pm. RSVP Now!

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Wendy Angulo is a New York City- born Latina, raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She is a mother, writer, lawyer, founder of Wendy Angulo Productions, an essayist currently working on her Memoir “REBIRTH, Where it all begins”. She has read her work at several venues throughout New York City and has been published in Mom Egg Review, The Kenyon Review, and Roots Wounds Words Anthology. She is a 2016-2020 VONA alum and its 2019 Interim Program Director; a contributor for Latina Executive Magazine by Proud to be Latina, Co-Curator and Producer of LETRAS, The Latino Self-Published Book Fair; Co-Host of Trailblazers The Podcast and sole creator/curator and producer of Canvas of Words, an art and poetry showcase that birthed of Wendy’s desire to bring the arts back to her beloved borough of Queens. She is the creator of a myriad of multidisciplinary art events that promote a love for the arts and literature. She has worked as a Public Relations Coordinator of the Queens Hip Hop Festival, Producer for Teatrica, and Mentor of the ALSO US Campaign of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America. She has served as a Board Member to various Arts and Educational organizations.

Today, Wendy continues to scout for new talent, build new connections, and create platforms to perpetuate the arts and strengthen and amplify the voices of BIPOC artists. She is a lover of the ocean, moon, sun, and smiles.


Malín Evertsz Mendez is a first-generation Dominican American visual artist, born/raised in NYC. She was raised in NYC public housing and moved to Hartford, CT, for her undergraduate and London for her master’s. She studied Migration, Mobility, and Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She attributes her lens to the practice of decolonial and diachronic narrative framing. When she returned to NYC in 2020, Malín ached to re-soil her roots in NYC until she found her next destination. 

Her work combines dream accounts and interdisciplinary reflections to explore the drama of the soul. She uses oil, watercolour, acrylic, and gouache. Growing pains is a vehicle in her storytelling, as she centers the faculties of her soul in a freeing liminal plurality. Her artistic process involves mind-mapping and dream journaling to create figurative dreamscapes.

“My art is influenced by magical realism, surrealism, and expressionism and sits within a gestural triangulation. I am also influenced by the mystical embodiment of my Dominican ancestry, as expressed in Carnival and my family’s joyful passion for proverbs. I seek to confront the pains of labor, displacement, and loss through mystic self-overcoming and dream-sourced motifs. My work is also semi-autobiographic, attempting to reconcile grief, heartache, and fear to provoke alternative entries toward peace, pleasure, and freedom.”

At the October 2023 SOHO Creative Futres Collective Showcase, Malín gave a narrative spoken prose to the Una sola Golondrina, to complement her presentation of 7 oil paintings. She told her mother’s message: “One single swallow bird does not reveal a new season.” in a reimagined arch about a woman who is afraid of crocodiles and journeys to find courage with the help of swallow birds. In both her art and oral stories, Malín opens up a folkloric path to connect with her audience through spirited emotions that introduce tender releases and weightlessness against the backdrop of distressing growing pains. Malín aims to refine her craft to share a bit of herself beyond the paintbrush.


Sia Pickett, affectionately known in her community as Chef Sia, started with Just Food as a Community Chef in 2011, eventually moving into the current role of board treasurer through her commitment and dedication to the organization’s mission. Chef Sia also owns Malata Cuisine, a personal Natural Foods chef service in Brooklyn, NY. Sia is a certified health coach, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and a student at Escoffier Culinary School. Her resume also includes Harvard’s ‘Cooking is Science’ course. With over twenty years of experience as a holistic chef and instructor, Ms. Pickett is passionate about educating her community about lifestyle options that combine cooking healthy food and overall health. 

Additionally, Sia has honed her culinary skills through various workshops with Just Food, Natural Gourmet Institute (currently ICE), Sur La Table, and various herbal education workshops. Sia grew up with her two traditional southern grandmothers, both of whom cooked healthy food with ingredients fresh from the garden (the original “Farm to Table”). One taught her the Gullah Islands Geechee low country cooking tradition; the other was from NOLA (New Orleans) and specialized in Afro Creole cooking. The two, combined, inspired Sia’s unique culinary fusion. Chef Sia says, “My grandmother were my first mentors. I became an apprentice under their tutelage at the age of 6, and the knowledge and training they provided was priceless. In addition to my early training, which continued throughout my college years and beyond, my next mentor was Dr. Alvenia Fulton, who taught me that food is medicine.” Dr. Fulton was from Chicago, Illinois, and that wise woman lived into her 90’s. Co-author of the book “Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: with Mother Nature” with the renowned Dick Gregory, she was one of the first African American women with an N.D. degree from Lincoln College of Naturopathy and a PhD from the Natural Medicines University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Ms. Pickett’s passion just keeps growing, stoking her enthusiasm for educating the community about lifestyle options for cooking healthy foods and overall nutritional health, and for helping an eager audience to understand that food is medicine. As the old saying goes “We Are What We Eat” so our health and nutritious food are synonymous.


Tiffany Mathias is an author, coach, podcaster, and public servant. She is a seasoned business professional who works in the nonprofit sector. A woman who was once told to stop talking has lent her voice to four Diamond Writers projects; Pretty Broken, Beneath the Crown, Valid Transparency and She Is. Tiffany is also the founder of a youth empowerment program, The Phoenix Center for Youth Development. As founder and lead facilitator, she designs workshops that provide life and social skills enrichment to marginalized youth in New York City. Participants of these workshops engage in activities that support a pathway to independence. She is also the creative mind behind Sisterhood and Shenanigans Events where she plans and coordinates networking and group engagements for women that promote partnership, mentorship, and comradery. 

Once upon a time there was a young girl who was told, “Tiffany, you have great potential, you just need to stop talking and focus.” As a result, that girl boxed up all her words and placed them neatly in the back of a closet for many years. Those words stayed buried until a perfect storm of a global pandemic, a broken ankle and a text message all but kicked the hinges off that closet door. 

Tiffany is an avid lifelong learner. Utilizing her platforms as a writer and facilitator, she powerfully shares her own experiences of facing obstacles, overcoming adversity and the work involved in self reformation to help others. She is passionate about breaking generational curses and blazing trails towards happiness and success. 

Tiffany holds an honors BA in Human Relations. She resides in the beautiful and culturally rich borough of Brooklyn, NY where she and her husband raise their blended family. When Tiffany is not leading, writing, or mentoring, she enjoys dancing, being one with nature and listening to music.