ORANGE, N.J. – “Poetry is about community.”

That’s the philosophy of Maplewood resident Philippe Garcesto, who organized the Star Factory Poetry and Spoken Word event recently at Hat City Kitchen in Orange.

“I do this so everyone can have a voice,” Garcesto told the audience as he kicked off the night with some of his own spoken word about his current life, which he describes as chaotic.

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Garcesto has a soft spot for the Maplewood and South Orange area because it was here that his artistry began to develop. He attended South Orange Middle School and Columbia High School.  After graduating from Columbia in 2003, he went Rutgers, where he majored in visual art and also dabbled in theater.

 “I work two jobs, six days a week, but what is important to me is being an artist,” Garcesto said. “I am an artist, period, and what I care about is expressing truth and letting people know that this is my way of being – but you have every opportunity to be yourself.”

 Garcesto works as a bartender at the restaurant. “They (Hat City Kitchen management) gave me the opportunity to do this,” he said.

“I saw so many open mic locations closing down,” he said. “I understand why, because of their financial situation, but I wanted to create a place for poets and artists to do their own thing.”

He added: “Poetry is about community; I appreciate everyone for who they are.  We are all here to share experience.”

For more information about Star Factory, email