Sunday, August 30, 2009

"In My Life" : Van Duzer Summer Streets Fair

After attending the Van Duzer Summer Streets Fair, I have a whole new view on Staten Island. I attended the fair last Saturday, and after it was done, I was wishing I attended the last three Saturdays of the fair. Just think of it as the Staten Island version of Greenwich Village in Manhattan; a place where artists and bohemians of all kinds meet together. Music, dancing, art, fashion and it was all free!

First on the line-up, the Baptist choir! Since I was missing church the next day, this was a very uplifting substitute! Performing songs like "Oh, Happy Day," "Jesus is A Friend of Mine," and "We're Blessed In the City," people swayed together in unified enjoyment and those who were not moved, still showed their appreciation and respect. From the children's choir to the praise team to blues-based Gospel band to the full choir, I felt the spirit!

Next, the belly-dancers! This was fun to watch, not because of the dancers, but the people trying to belly-dance with them. Just look at the photograph above. Even funnier were the two young boys trying to learn to and one was pulling the other to join him. Boys, leave it to the professionals or at least go take a class!

When I saw this guy creating this painting, I immediately wanted it! I could not stop staring so I had to take a picture. It was the only piece of artwork that caught my eye that day. So, wherever you are, painter guy, here is your advertisement!

Now, time for the headlining act of the night, Aquavibe! If you want to know how good this Hip-hop band was, ask my mom; she did not know one word Dyverse the 1st was saying, but she was grooving to all of their songs. Aquavibe calls themselves mix-hop, which is a mix of Hip-hop, Soul and Alternative music (check out their myspace: and that is probably why I loved their performance.

Covering songs like Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" and Madcon's "Beggin'," the band sounded just as good as the actual songs and also playing some of their own songs, such as "Big Plans," they were playing some "feel good" music and seem more positive and original than a lot of mainstream Hip-hop artists right now.

Side note: The saxophone player, Cyclonis (haha, what kind of name is that) was the only negative side to the group. Sorry, but he cannot play; I could barely hear him and when I did, he was off-key and off-time. Luckily, he was only a guest that day (I hope).

Finally, for the not so hot artist of the night, Scott James! Unlike Aquavibe, when he performed with his hype-man, I stopped caring. The two of them reminded me of a somewhat better version of Rin and Tin, The Hip-Hop Dalmations, from Brown Sugar. The only song I remembered was "ULikeIt" and I thought that was so corny and it was not a love song as they claimed! Wouldn't you laugh if you hear rhymes like "I am so real like a happy meal" or "I am so real like a banana peel!" I could not help but shake my head and sit there watching people enjoy this! To me, he was just another typical Hip-hop artist who belonged only to the club, where people are dancing and not really paying attention to the songs. But I guess I am just not the audience for him. Oh well...

Here is a list of what happened all four Saturdays at the Van Duzer Summer Streets Fair:

12:30-2 p.m.: Live painting in the street with John Exit & Mike Die
2-3:30 p.m.: Children’s Songswap with Rob Yuzuk (Wahoo Skiffle Crazies) & Kristen Rodak
3:30-3:50 p.m.: Opening ceremony on the main stage
4:30-5:20 p.m.: Kilgore Trout is Dead
5:30-6:20 p.m.: Captain Ahab & the Sea Crackens
6:30-7:20 p.m.: Paragraph
8 p.m.-3 a.m.: After-parties at The Cup & Martini Red

12:30-2 p.m.: Kids’ street games (badmitton, water baloons, toss across, bubble wand, jump rope & more)
2-3:30 p.m.: Women’s basketball clinic
3:30-7 p.m.: Open skateboarding session sponsored by DC Shoes
4:30-5:20 p.m.: The Seconds
5:30-6:20 p.m.: The Pragmatics
6:30-7:20 p.m. The Great Unwashed
8 p.m.-3 a.m.: After-parties at The Cup & Martini Red

12:30-1 p.m.: Group-led meditation and excercise in the street
1-2 p.m.: Yoga in the street
2-3 p.m.: Pilates in the Street
3-4 p.m.: Martial arts in the Street
4:30-5:20 p.m.: Wahoo Skiffle Crazies
5:30-6:20 p.m.: The Headlocks
6:30-7:20 p.m.: The Bandulos
8 p.m.-3 a.m.: After-parties at The Cup & Martini Red

12:30-1 p.m.: Children’s Modern Dance Workshop
1-2 p.m.: Bellydancing demonstration
2-3 p.m.: Breakbeats (break dancers & DJ)
2-6 p.m.: Sandy Lo book signing/selling of “Lost in You” at Bent Pages
4:30-5:20 p.m.: Baptist Choir
5:30-6:20 p.m.: Aqua Vibe
6:30-7:20 p.m.: Scott James

So, next year, I will definitely get my butt over there again if I can! I hope you will join me!

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