When I’m talking about media — the business, the mechanisms that make it work, the very pointed details that give it life — I always come back to the same sentence. It is supposed to make you feel. Media is anything that makes you feel. That’s it! That’s all. It is very simple. It’s not literal words on a page, or GIFs on a screen. It’s heart. It’s easy. But so is getting caught up in what your neighbors are doing. Sometimes what they’re doing looks shiny and “right” even if it feels wrong, so you try to emulate. And when you do that, making decisions based on the ones someone else has made, you’re no longer operating on gut instinct. And when that happens, when there’s no gut, there’s also no soul. And when there’s no soul, you’re not feeling and thus, media is dead.
My gut has been saying physical space for like a year. I have consistently tried to knock it out of me by inquiring about the logistical nightmare that is inventory overhead and rent and frankly, what would we do in this space? Who is it for? Would we sell? What would we sell?
But you know, sometimes when I’m reading Man Repeller, on the rare but delightful occasion that I can be a content consumer and not a creator, I feel so connected to the stories that go up, the ideas that are presented and the passion that radiates from the bylines of the writers that I just want to hug my computer. It’s weird but also real. Then I dip into the comments section and shit gets even more real. The conversations are respectful and intelligent and dense and sometimes they’re uncomfortable but they’re never unwelcoming and it makes me feel like we need a place to hang out together. A physical place for us to meet and drink coffee (or tequila, whatever) and wear matching shirts, or hats and flick on and off neon boob lights like they are new ideas passing through us so that we can just talk and talk and talk until our tongues fall out of our mouths. So that’s what we’re doing this month — making a place for the community to come hang out and be together in a real, physical, Man Repeller-branded space inside Canal Street Market.
Canal Street Market is a retail market and food hall at the intersection of SoHo and Chinatown (265 Canal Street between Lafayette and Broadway) that supports local artisans who make stuff with their hands. At the back of the market, for the whole month of March, we’re going to have a solid 600 square feet to do whatever the F we want.
We’re calling it MR Bazaar because we wanted an excuse to hang plastic fruit everywhere.
During the week, you’ll be invited to come and use our wifi, or charge your phone, or just sit and hang out and read books (our library was curated by Housing Works) from a variety of authors dealing in female protagonists only. Female leads and no one else because we can!
On weekends (Fridays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.), you can come and buy stuff — stuff like an LED lamp with boobs on it designed in partnership with Name Glo (all proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood), MR notecards and notepads, coffee mugs with boobs on them and stickers and hats and T-shirts. You can also try on shoes from the MR by Man Repeller collection and then order them in-shop from Net-a-Porter for same-day delivery if you want.
Once a week (sometimes more), we’ll be hosting small evening events (space is limited! Pls sign up!) in line with the monthly community events that we’ve been running since last June, so that we can talk about life and our guts and our shoes, etc.
But most importantly, all the time, I hope we’ll provide safety. My mom tries to tell me that pregnancy is not all its cracked out to be. She recalls the memory of being 23 and seven-months-pregnant as a new immigrant in New York, married to my dad, an insensitive boy at the time, with her parents thousands of miles away. “I was scared and self-conscious and alone,” she often tells me. “I needed something like Man Repeller, but didn’t have it.” It reminds me of how I felt when I was 14 and heartbroken and didn’t understand if friendship was supposed to be painful and full of deceit because it was. That’s when I needed Man Repeller.
So this place, really, beyond the wifi and the books and the boob lamp, is a physical reminder that even inside the depths of darkness that is so black we lose our balance, we are soooooooooo not alone.
So pls! Come hang out.