Saturday, October 2
Corner of Bond Street and Sackett Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn
Free and open to the public
The importance of our streets and public spaces came into clear focus in 2020.
Van Alen’s inaugural Block Party – around the corner from our new Brooklyn home – will bring Sackett Street alive with street art, free treats from Pizza Moto and Ample Hills Creamery, family activities, and live dance and music. Join us for a performance by the Gowanus Houses drill team, The Wildcats; a participatory dance piece by KONANTÜ; and an evening DJ set by Niara Sterling to name a few.
Scroll down for a full performer list and stay tuned for further announcements.
La Cumbiamba eNeYé
Named after the traditional Colombian open-air gatherings known as cumbiambas, La Cumbiamba eNeYé creates powerfully rhythmic Afro-Colombian music. With traditional instruments from the African Diaspora in Colombia, the group has established itself as one of the finest Cumbia ensembles in the US and has played venues like Lincoln Center and SummerStage. To this day, the band has its base in Gowanus.
Dancewave celebrates diversity and inclusion through the common language of dance. Dancewave is committed to bringing awareness and appreciation into the historical significance and the cultural richness of different regions of the world. During their Moving Together sessions, they will be embodying some of the differences and similarities of individual cultural expressions present in different dance forms around the world.
Native New Yorker DJ Scribe has been deejaying and throwing parties for decades, with his legendary I Love Vinyl dance parties held at venues all over Manhattan and Brooklyn, including Gowanus. Playing a far-ranging all-vinyl set, DJ Scribe aims to represent as much of Gowanus’ diversity and history as possible, pulling from his many years of crate digging to bring a range of Soul, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Salsa, Disco, House and beyond.
Drumline Fogo Azul (Blue Fire) can be heard and felt from blocks away. Their powerful poly-rhythmic layers with Brazilian-Samba-Reggae roots are played with infectious joy and energy. The group started in 2016 with just 15 members at a studio on Gowanus’ Douglass Street, and has since swelled to a corp of 80+ members — becoming one of the city’s most powerful women and gender non-conforming community musical groups.
The Gowanus Wildcats Drill Team
This multigenerational, all-star drill team started in the Gowanus Houses in 1970 and has become a cherished New York institution. For 51 years, they’ve captivated audiences at places like the Apollo Theater and Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. The Wildcats are led by instructor Renee “Juice” Flowers, who was was inducted into the People’s Hall of Fame by urban folklore organization City Lore.
KONANTÜ | Remolino de Suerte (“Swirl of Luck”)
Founded by acclaimed artists Courtney Smith and Iván Navarro, experiential practice KONANTÜ will lead a participatory performance by twenty-four volunteers that involves the circulation of good luck objects that invoke the culture of mutual aid and protection that emerged during the pandemic. La Cumbiamba will accompany the piece with percussion and all attendees are encouraged to bring their own instruments and join in.
Niara Sterling’s musical style embodies rhythm, blues, soul, funk, gospel, hip hop, house and new genres from the diaspora, earning her collaborations with Ari Lennox, Easy Mo Bee, Masego, and Moses Sumney. She has toured internationally as DJ for Talib Kweli, played famed NYC spots like House of Yes and Le Bain, and is building her own repertoire of original sounds.