Art

Art Pussy: Dale Arte Dale! (Puerto Rico) – Night 2

A very abstract scene with all members displaying fearful faces. Real horror show.

Story by Teo J. Babini - teo@citizenbrooklyn.com Video and Photos by (collabo!)

Roy Neil Hunter photo©(collabo!)

We all woke up a bit late after the prior night had taken its toll on us (not to mention the late night tripletas, which are basically heart attacks on heroes). Our spirit guide said he would cook lunch, but suggested that we go out for breakfast. We went, en mass, to a little local café with friendly wait staff. We drowned ourselves in café con leche and got sandwiches. Most people had Cubans ‘cause the pernil was fresh. I opted for jamon con queso y huevo to save some dough.

We got back to the compound and people started to cook, shower, and get ready for the night to come. We had a schedule-meeting to avoid some of the previous night’s conflicts. The biggest issue being that MIMA would have to do her sound check mid-show because of some unfortunate miscommunication the day before. This was troubling, but we came up with a bunch of creative solutions with which to fill the gap. Lunch consisted of rice and beans with sweet plantains and then the exodus began.

Joe Sonnenblick photo©(collabo!)

Ian would be picking up Mr. Chang from the airport with his girl, plus Little Hoy and DJ T*O*N*Y, so they could set up (Tone had returned the turn tables our Spirit Guide found for us the night before like a samurai returning a burrowed sword to its master, so it would be an iPod-laptop volume mixing evening with MPC accompaniment). Jack came back from the venue and picked up Jon Mizrachi, Black Salad, and Viento (Wounded Knee was already there). Jack’s last load would consist of Ol’ Smoke, She Keeps Bees, and myself with the cooler and some bongo drums. Our hosts and the Indians would be arriving in there own car.

There was a little chaos when we landed. Gabo was watching the door, but Wounded Knee needed him to translate the riders, so I took over there. Our schedule print outs got lost and were in the process of being hand copied. When everyone and everything was finally in place we were a half hour behind schedule, which was our cut-off, and the show began:

Los 3 Cuernos in Viejo San Juan photo©(collabo!)

Act 1: Blanca came on stage burning sage in a little cup. She recited poems while a couple fellas banged the bongos. It felt like some kind of out of body sweat lodge ritual, Taino style.

Act 2: Black Salad kept it otherworldly with, I thought, an even better set than the night before.

Act 3: These two guys did a scene that had very interesting use of vocal sound effects to mimic the static of a television.

DJ T*O*N*Y photo©(collabo!)

Act 4: Next up was a pretty intense dance troop that included three lovely ladies and one guy in costumes decorated with mud. People seemed mesmerized by their octopus like movements. As the dance number stopped, people applauded which led everyone to believe it was time for the next act. So for a time Viento started and sorta of mixed in with the chanting of the dancers. It actually sounded like it was planned. Wounded Knee explained the confusion to the dancers and…

Act 5: Viento, our Spiritual Guide, and his band really began a strong wave of energy that would infuse the next couple of acts. One of the amps blew out, but they sweated it out anyway. My gypsy blood was flowing knowing that this guy just travels the world with no phone and no home carrying not much more than the guitar he was playing in that moment.

She Keeps Beach photo©(collabo!)

Act 4 continued: The male of the dance troop returned to the stage and did a half English, half Spanish spoken word piece about Motherlafuckers which brought us all back to our last show, Art Pussy: Motherly Love. He then scooped up a bongo and invited people to dance. One of our hosts got up and broke it down nicely, even joined on stage by a dancing dog at one point. People were really digging the motion, dancing, and clapping.

Act 6: A lovely singer came on at this point with some accompaniment. She was as beautiful as her voice.

Act 7: Manolo, a local mad man who had hung out with us a few times before the show, got on and did some really personal poetry. It was complex and powerful enough to keep people locked in.

El Yunque photo©(collabo!)

Act 8: Jon Mizrachi finally got to do his set! He started to do his usual guitar looping (which is fantastic), but then half way through his computer ran outta batteries. He freaked out for a split second and then put one knee on his chair and basically said “fuck it”. Gabo ran him a mic and he started tearing the walls apart with some wild style acoustic action, which had the whole audience jumping, clapping, and howling with pleasure.

Act 9: With the crowd in a state of artistic ecstasy She Keeps Bees took to the stage and absolutely brought the house down. People were going nuts, dancing like mad and screaming. Their hearts were exploding.

At this point, DJ T*O*N*Y took over and kept everyone dancing while we tried to get MIMA ready to rock. We had a bongo jam session in the art gallery and little Paquito was playin’ sax compositions outside. The thing was it was taking much longer than we anticipated and, as they say, the show must go on.

Act 10: An Indian music duo with two drums and a sitar like instrument. I love Indian classical music, but I was surprised at how much it held the attention of the audience that had just been dancing their asses off.

La Respuesta photo©(collabo!)

Act 11: Trying to stall, we brought Paquito in from outside to do a couple compositions. Man, can that boy blow!

Act 12: MIMA finally hit the stage with an obvious charisma appreciated by her adoring fans. What struck me most was the variety of her set, she went from quiet acoustic songs, to stand-up sing your heart out, to even… a Wu-Tang cover? Not bad for such a little one.

Act 13: Suddenly, around sixteen capoeira artists invaded the floor for a full demonstration of singing, dancing, and play fighting.

Act 14: Adam and Ian brought the same fierce playing that Adam brought the night before, working very well as a team. Ian might be one of the greatest technical drummers I have witnessed.

Act 15: A very abstract scene with all members displaying fearful faces. Real horror show.

Sex Animal in Old San Juan photo©(collabo!)

Act 16: La Liga Rumbera is a full Rumba band. This is what I had, personally, come to PR to see, some authentic Latin music. Reminiscent of Buena Vista, only rumba Rican style. At no other point in my stay did I see people dancing like they did to these guys.

Act 17: Puppets with Miz and Ian. The puppets were a bit slow for this point in what was now technically the next morning. Plus the stage was set up so Miz could not see the show he was supposed to improvise with.

Act 18: Medina Carrion y La Descarga Urbana are a real mix of genre between hip-hop and what I believe to be Creole style Latin jazz. Considering the fact that it was four in the morning and the whole audience consisted mostly of performers, these guys brought some real heat, jumping into crowd, sweating it out.

With all said and done I can confidently say that, even with all the hiccups, this one was one of the best shows we ever put on.

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