On most days, when you pass the outdoor garden at Vox Pop, Michelle Capolongo can be found sitting, in Zen-like quietude, knitting away at one of the corner tables. I ventured over one day and struck up conversation to discover Michelle to be one of the friendliest people I have ever met (appropriately named by her father, after the Beatle song.) When asked the literal meaning of her last name, she laughed. “Capolongo means: long head.” This discussion seemed to attract other visitors to our discussion. It is not so easy to talk to only one person at the open garden at Vox. My interviews attract other participants.
As she knitted she let me know the details of her life. Michelle is the founder of “Stitch and Bitch,” a loose collective of neighbors who come together at Vox Pop Cafe to exchange ideas on knitting, sewing and sometimes life. “It is fun,” says Arielle Pezold. “Everyone has cool stuff they are working on. Neat fabrics. It is creative to see what others are doing and to be inspired.” Michelle added, “it’s a great group of people. I have met so many cool people who I never knew knit before.” Though she is the founder of Stitch and Bitch, she has only been knitting for one year. The group grew out of a need to get support for her new interest.
She currently works for Professor Richard Brown who runs the film series Movies 101 @ NYU helping to recruit talent and managing much of the promotional efforts. It is billed as “New York’s premiere film class’ and has had many of the industry’s top names as guest speakers. Martin Scorcese, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi and our very own Ric Minello (to name only a few) have been guests among a stellar list of celebrity names.
She got the job right out of college having taken the class and then approaching the moderator who liked her and hired her as his assistant which has now grown to the point where she is doing almost all of the background work from designing the materials, to booking the talent and managing all the online marketing.
Her views on the movie industry, as well as everything seem to be down-to-earth. Having worked with film stars and directors, she knows that the glamor is all in the marketing. It would seem to me that this grounded quality is exactly what is needed to work in the film industry. She has found for instance that George Clooney was the most down-to-earth of many of the stars she has met. She originally wanted to be a film maker, but through her real world experience, she has discovered that maybe it is not for her.
Michelle also works on menu boards for several area restaurants including the big board at Vox Pop which if you have visited, you have seen repeatedly not knowing or even considering who created it.
But her main passion these days seem to focus on her knitting. She recently hosted “World Wide Knit in Public Day.” They received donations from Knitty City, Lion Brand Yarn, Sarah’s Yarns and Vox Pop. They had door prizes and contests and then 40 people sat around and knitted. There were similar events like it happening simultaneously around the world. It was a Knit-in-Public Week so all around the world people were knitting in out in the open.
She claims that the attendees come to stitch but hardly bitch. “mostly people come and say ‘oh, you’ve finished another wonderful pattern, you go girl.'”
Stitch and Bitch meets every Saturday from 3-5 pm. To join Michelle you can check the cafe calendar at the Vox Pop website.