On any typical week in New York City there's an amazing about of entertainment happenings to choose from but in the summer months that number expands to an almost overwhelmingly number of choices due to all the additional summer only NYC concerts/festivals/events that are typically outdoors during the hot New York summer months. [Note: this week the temps are hitting 90 degrees or more everyday]. In this 39th New York State of Mind (NYSOM) Amoeblog I will give a rough guide to some of the many events happening for the week ahead, including the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival and the Latin Alternative Music Conference, in the Big Apple. The above photo is of the Downtown Boathouse at Manhattan's Pier 40 where you can go kayaking for free. More info here on this wonderful summer resource that I will fully feature with interview in next week's NYSOM.
This evening (Weds July 10th) at 6pm in Central Park Panama by way of Oakland duo Los Rakas (who I interviewed for the Amoeblog in a previous visit they made East) will perform for free at the Central Park SummerStage on a bill along with NYC rapper Fat Joe, and Cuarto Poder from Venezuela. The concert is one of the many during the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) that began yesterday and runs through the weekend. Other LAMC concerts include Mima at Joe's Pub tomorrow, and Astro, Helado Negro, and American Royalty all at SOB's on Sunday (July 14). For more information on the concerts and the actual conference and panels visit the LAMC website.
Classical music fans will be pleased to know about the weeklong series, starting today Wednesday July 10th and running through the 16th, of free on-the-green concerts at various parks around New York City courtesy of the New York Philharmonic's Concerts in the Parks series. These concerts will include the big concert on the Great Lawn in Central Park on Monday (July 15th at 8pm) when Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic will perform from a program that will feature Dvořák's Cello Concerto, with Principal Cello Carter Brey as soloist, and Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. Bring a blanket and pack a picnic for this wonderful NYC tradition. More info on this and the other free park concerts here. Over across the water in Queens at Queensbridge Park legendary NYC hip-hop DJ/producer Marley Marl will posted up for two nights of free outdoor shows. On Tuesday July 16 Marl will be part of a bill along with Meli'sa Morgan, Alicia Myers, and Fonda Rae. The following night (July 17) he will join another great throwback lineup: Force MDs, Horace Brown, and Jeff Redd. Both nights shows are at 7pm, are free, and hosted by Bob Lee. On Sunday, July 14th, you can celebrate Bastille Day from noon to 5pm on 60th Street (between Lexington and Fifth Aves.) Free. More info.
Today the annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, now in its ninth year, throws a kick-off celebration at the DUMBO Loft which is next to the Archway under the Manhattan Bridge, with a party for not just concert goers - but for its hard working festival staff, performers, sponsors, vendors, supporters. Now in its ninth year the ever expanding festival, that is produced by the folks at Brooklyn Bodega and presents concerts and events at various locations including Brooklyn Bridge Park, SRB, and Littlefield, fully kicks into gear tomorrow (Thursday). That's when the anticipated Show & Prove Finals take place at Littlefield. There unknown up-and-coming hip-hop talent - culled from a series of preliminary battles over past few months - gets some serious shine when they go head to head in a heated battle with the goal of winning the ultimate prize for a new unknown, aspiring hip-hop star: the opening slot for the Festival on Saturday which is the final (and biggest) day of BHF’13 when the performers will include EPMD, Dizzy Wright, Soul Understate, an MCA of The Beastie Boys tribute by DJ Enuff, Salute The DJ, along with upcoming local talent including F.Stokes, Justo, and Dillon Cooper. That final day concert lineup, which follows Family Day (with kid-friendly music, demos, workshops, and more), happens from 3pm to 8pm at Pier 5 Uplands at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Another highlight of the festival is Friday's (July 12th) Video Music Box 30th Anniversary which will celebrate the festival's host - NYC hip-hop music video pioneer Ralph “Uncle Ralph” McDaniels whose long running, highly respected hip-hop music video TV show Video Music Box not only pre-dated Yo! MTV Raps but was the first ever NYC hip-hop video show and outlet for countless early day rappers and DJs.
Back in 2008, when it was in its fourth year, I interviewed festival organizer/executive producer Wes Jackson for a story in the alternative weekly New York Press in which he told me that the goal of the festival was to present an alternative to the pop rap that dominates the airwaves, and also to show a healthy cross-section of a genre that goes back decades. “We want to try and create a 360 of hip-hop, for the old school and new school to gather together. If you are 35, a guy like me,” says Jackson, “and you grew up on KRS-One you shouldn’t feel alienated by the new.” Fast forward fives years to this week, when I again caught up with Jackson via email messages (thanks to Brooklyn Bodega marketing director Marilyn Alonzo) to ask him about the festival and primarily how it has grown over the years and what sets it apart from other hip-hop festivals out there, and he told me that "The Festival is unique this year because we have 8 years of experience and loyalty to build off of. This is our 9th year and that is a great accomplishment. Outside of that we have the most balanced line up in years. Pusha T, EPMD and Redman, plus Danse, Dyme-A-Duzin, and more is the best balance between new and old school that we have had in years. Location (Pier 5) is maybe the best view in all of New York. If you have been to the Festival before trust that this will be the best one yet." For all the details go to the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival website and to get you in the mood for final day/Saturday act EPMD here is the video for one of the hip-hop crew's classics: their 1988 Zapp sampling hit single "You Gots To Chill."
EPMD "You Gots To Chill"