Growing up in New York, Michael DeFlorimonte was accustomed to a city with a pulse that never slowed. There, it was easy to stay connected to the African-American arts and culture scene.
But when he moved to the Bay Area, he knew that pulse was beating, but often, it was hard to find.
DeFlorimonte scoured local news outlets, jotting down events that catered to the black community.
He began to put them into a spreadsheet and emailing it to friends.
Quickly, it became clear, he was filling a void.
"I did a newsletter first and then it turned into a business," which included listings and later public relations and marketing with his own firm, michaelD. Communications.
Over the past 10 years, what was once an informal listing sent to friends has grown to 65,000 weekly subscribers across the region.
DeFlorimonte is now poised to officially unveil a website, TheRegistrybayarea.com, which takes the concept of his popular email newsletter and expands on it to create a hub that features what he calls "the richness of the African-American experience across the Bay Area."
"A lot of people go online to see what's happening (in the black community)," he said. "There was no central hub. If people can't see what's happening, they must assume nothing is happening."
Not true, he says. The site is live, with its soft launch timed to help promote Black History Month events.
"For our community, there is nothing more powerful and more effective for attracting this audience" than theRegistry, said Charles Ward, senior director of external affairs for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, which used the site to promote a recent speakers series.
The site helps "knit African-American communities" together with listings, photos and videos of galas and other cultural soirees, DeFlorimonte said. "It's like Oakland or SF Magazine but featuring African-American content."
For details, go to TheRegistrybayarea.com.