Art

Art Pussy: Dale Arte Dale! (Puerto Rico) – Night 1

Driving in Puerto Rico is like driving in Brooklyn, only more so. Treacherous, to say the least, but also kind of exciting.

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

Art Pussy: Dale! Arte! Dale! (Trailer) from kodezero on Vimeo.

I peeled my sweat drenched body off the couch at around noon and wrapped a sarong around my waste so as not to offend the other guests with my under garments. I had knocked out on couch contact the night before, and realized that some of my pillows had gone missing since then. I found them in the next room under Jack’s sleeping body. He had built himself a makeshift bed from pillows that the couch dwellers could spare (Those being Wounded Knee and meself).

I was banished to the upper apartment after the first night when my large frame stopped our host from getting any sleep. The private rooms got snatched up quick, so I was either forced to share with Ol’ Smoke or surf for the night. I ended up doing the latter in the main living room because the fan was stronger there. I lay melting in the palm tree humidity of the Caribbean, but I didn’t mind, preferring this environment to the ice box bedroom of the previous night, not to mention that this apartment was much better fortified against my flying, flesh-eating foes that seemed to inhabit, in large hordes, all other sections that were without A/C.

Shredding photo©(collabo!)

I indulged in my “morning” smoke in the midday sun and did my push-ups. It wasn’t long before our spiritual guide and Mr. Miz (the official chefs of the group) were in the kitchen cookin’ up some eggs with ham on toast. One by one everyone filed in for breakfast: She Keeps Bees, Little Hoy, The Indians, Ol’ Smoke, Tone, Wounded Knee, Jack, and our hosts. By the time everyone was done, the kitchen was started on lunch. I hopped in the rental with Tone (the navigator) and WK (One of three Spanish speakers) to go scoop up Black Salad from the airport. Everyone else went to the beach for a bit.

Driving in Puerto Rico is like driving in Brooklyn, only more so. Treacherous, to say the least, but also kind of exciting. There are no real rules, no one signals, everyone cuts you off, no one lets you in ahead of them, speeding, insane traffic, sparse road signs, near death experiences, and no visible reactions, what so ever, to any of it, all to a spicy salsa soundtrack. We found the fellas at Buffalo Wild Wings (the official airport meeting point) and got a little lost on the way home. Once arrived back at the compound we had a lunch of rice and beans with plantains con garlic. I jumped in the shower and skipped right back in the car for a run to the venue to check out the projector. We packed the car, dropped everyone off, and made our second trip to Best Buy for a cable, which we had been looking for all over the island. After that, Jack dropped me at the venue to hang some banners and move some art around. Once I felt everything was in place, I grabbed a café con leche and a Medalla Light and meditated in the calm before the storm.

Manolo photo©(collabo!)

There were few more little things to get in order when everybody had arrived, but mostly we just waited for an audience. The doors officially opened at seven, so DJ T*O*N*Y was spinning, but when nine came around nobody had showed up yet. Everyone was saying that Puerto Ricans usually come out late, so we postponed the start of the show. By ten-thirty, we figured we had to start regardless and the night went a little something like this…

Act 1: Our host, who did a poetry reading. I always thought she had a strong stage presence since I saw her do an incredibly sexy rendition of a monologue as Madea. I felt it set the tone nicely.

Act 2: Gunsmoke came heavy with some rhumba meets 90’s Wu-Tang hip-hop shit. The beats were bangin’ and they repped their hood (Carolina) like Biggie does Brooklyn. I couldn’t understand the words, but the flow seemed pretty tight.

Brass photo©(collabo!)

Act 3: It was a scene with two fellas pointing guns at each other that morphed into a blind man’s monologue. It’s hard to get into theater in another language, but they made pretty good use of the stage.

Act 4: Black Salad came on drippin’ thick atmospheric noise like syrup. Some people didn’t know what to do with it, but the people who did looked like they were havin’ seizures they loved it so much.

Act 5: This girl did a monologue like she was accepting an award. Her dress was… very flattering, and since I didn’t understand what she was saying my attentions were mostly spent there.

Andy LaPlant (She Keeps Bees) photo©(collabo!)

Act 6: Harry Rag was a very technical lone guitarist. The stage presence minimal and energy mellow, still the man tore up those strings.

Act 7: Our host did a scene with this guy that started with him sharpening two knives. He acted nuts and she went between acting and some kind of chanting or singing. It was at this point that I noticed some trends amongst Puerto Rican actors in the use of sound effects, explosive changes of vocal volume, and a sort of musical or rhyming cadence.

Act 8: Similar was a large instrumental band that was the highlight of my night as far as the Boriquen bands went with an energetic, upbeat rhythm that drove through their whole set.

Adam Schatz photo©(collabo!)

Act 9: Beams was a solo doom metal guy with a guitar and a keyboard… He took far too long switching instruments between songs.

Act 10: Ol’ Smoke got on stage and did a crazy man’s monologue. Plenty of energy and rage, at one point he through his shoe right at me. Luckily, I only caught it in the shin.

Act 11: Venera 3 are bunch of rock ‘n’ rollaz who destroy their guitars at the end of the set (really nice guys off the stage).

Act 12: A poet who looked some kind of wasted, his style felt like a kind of beat-less hip-hop. Powerful energy.

Act 13: El Simpo is a hip-hop duo with a DJ. Things got sticky here as we were well behind schedule. Almost every act had gone over their time slot, some as much as three times over. In the rush to move along these guys felt dissed, which resulted in a little flame war on our Facebook page. Tempers flared, tears were shed, and hugs were given. In the end, love prevailed.

San Juan, Puerto Rico photo©(collabo!)

Act 14: Now that our schedule was messed up, we had to throw on Macha Colon y Los Okapi, our main local draw for the night, before some of the other scheduled acts. This big mama brings a sexual vibe uncommon of a woman her size, with her sheer dress that made its way half way off near the end of set (think Queen Latifah in “Chicago”). Apparently her lyrics are quite explicit as well. What really caught my eye was these two crazy gals dressed like Bo Peep dancing like maniacs in front of the stage.

Act 15: Adam Schatz came on with his headband, and his shorts, and his sax and absolutely killed it in his spastic performing style. Carrying the energy brought back to life by Macha he, for the first time ever, did call and response with the audience. Well played.

Act 16: Our good friends YOUVULTURES came on with their little iPod movie quotes and blew the whole place apart with their heavy-handed sound.

Act 17: She Keeps Bees finally got on to an almost empty house. Not to disappoint they played their goddamn hearts out and blew one of the mics out in a dramatic exit that was just a big middle finger to all that had gone wrong that night. FUCK YEAH!

In the end, we were all a bit stressed. Jon Mizrachi never got a chance to play, the venue staff (who were not shy about showing their discontent) started shutting down two hours before the show finished (mops and all), our door people had abandoned their post losing us much needed cash, and we had been fulfilling our own roles for roughly 6 hours… Hell of a way to end the day.

One Response to “Art Pussy: Dale Arte Dale! (Puerto Rico) – Night 1”

  1. […] 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 […]