During the month of October my art + culture stroll touched down in Harlem and Brooklyn where I found free expression, black owned businesses, Afro-Latin culture and connection with the great spirit, alive and well. First off, my man Ernesto Vigo, host of Elevations Radio, broadcast live from Harlem, dropped his first CD, Elevations presents: Future Soul Sessions, Volume One, Compiled and Mixed by Ernesto Vigo. Ernesto told Cultureserve, “Future Soul Sessions represents an evolution in black soulful music: black by virtue of its jazz–funk–hip hop influences, and future from the infusion of forward-thinking electronically produced beats and polyrhythmic sounds, that are often accompanied by soulful vocals that elevate the spirit and stimulate the body…” Look for more volumes in this series produced by Elevations for Bagpak Records that highlights producers from New York City and beyond. (Album artwork: Ebon Heath)
My other musical excursion occured live, in Spanish Harlem, at Camarada’s Thursday night jam session with Yerba Buena, featuring Afro-Rican, Bomba y Plena musica! The younger Nuyorican generation was definitely representin’ for their Puerto Rican roots music and the spirit was alive. Watch!
Inspired by local vibrations I went in search of local artistic flavor in the bourough of Brooklyn, my homestead…First stop was Solomon’s Porch Cafe in Bed Stuy, where I stopped by to see Spoken Word poet, Toni Blackman. The backdrop for her performance was the art on display, the work of Patrick Wah, who I found out is part of a family art empire Studio Wah. Below is the artwork (This is Life) of Marcel Wah, Patrick’s brother. The family also runs the Art for Humanity program which donates a portion of proceeds from art sales to the non-profit of your choice. In addition, Marcel is the force behind the first of its kind, International Caribbean Art Fair going on NOW in NYC, 11/1 – 11/4!
Next stop was Saje Lounge and Cafe in Crown Heights where artists from Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haitian born, Brooklyn based artist, Shakespeare, are on display. In my hood, Clinton Hill/Fort Greene, a new coffee shop recently opened called Bidonville Coffee & Tea. The term Bidonville means shantytown in French and in turn suggests a need for change. To that end Bidonville sells only fair trade coffee and teas, by the cup and beans by the pound. On view, in their quaint down to earth space, is work from the series “Lace Mitosis” by the artist Zoe Pettijohn. In this series she explores the connections between repetition and reproduction from a geometrical standpoint. (Below: Lace Mitosis 7, gouache on paper, 11×14)
A few blocks away Deborah Goldstein has abstract works, from her series on conception and bi-racial motherhood, on view at the clothing boutique addy & ferro. And, just a few more blocks away on Atlantic Avenue between Fort Greene and Prospect Heights a new cafe/gallery called Frank White hosted the opening of the show THE DEAD UP SERIES, featuring work by One9 (Skulla, on left) and Rob Hinds (Immersion, on right), on view through November 17th. The spot named after one of the revered hip hop artist Biggie Small’s alter egos, is a few blocks from the streets where B.I.G. grew up. A small coffee is a “Lil’ Kim”, while a large is, you guessed it, a “Biggie”.