WASHINGTON, DC [April 25, 2016] – The Funk Parade is a one-of-a-kind day fair, parade, and music festival in Washington DC's U Street neighborhood. This year, it will take place on Saturday, May 7, 2016, and will present new art installations and activations that engage participants with the social, historic, and cultural fabric of the city.
“The city is at a turning point in so many ways, and Funk Parade brought together artists, musicians, and technologists to explore that,” said Justin Rood, the event’s co-founder. “These artists have created amazing projects which bring together the city’s past and future, bring together its sounds, and bring the residents themselves together in new ways.”
“Birth of a City” is curated and choreographed rollerskating activation and performance by DC artist Holly Bass, honoring the art form and pastime which saw its heyday in the 1970s and early 80s, as the city of DC gained home rule.
"Roller skating is just as much a part of DC culture as Hand Dancing and going to the Go-Go," says Bass. "In the 70s and 80s, people would grab their skates and meet at the many roller rinks around the city. The rinks are gone, but the skaters are still doing their thing in Anacostia and out in Maryland. Hosting the skate jam and and aftershow is our way of shining a light on the amazing talent of style skaters in the city."
For the Funk Parade, Bass has organized is a public skate jam from 12pm-3:30pm at Harrison Recreation Center in the basketball court area. Then from 5pm-7pm, there will be professional dance skate performances and alternating DJ sets at the African American Civil War Memorial. The project was supported by the DC Office of Planning.
“Oral Histories/Oral Futures” consists of an array of telephone booth-like enclosures in public areas throughout the U Street neighborhood. Each booth contains a phone which will “dial up” an oral history from the neighborhood, or a story about a possible future. The project is a collaboration by several DC-based artists: Oral histories are curated by local artist Seshat Walker from the DC Public Library’s extensive archive of oral histories about the U Street neighborhood. “Oral futures” are gathered by Erik Moe and the Future Cartographic Society project. The booths and technology will be built by DC sound artist, composer, and technologist Alex Braden, repurposing decommissioned pay phones.
After traveling the route and hearing the different stories, participants are asked to consider: what would you tell the past? What would you tell the future? One special booth records short messages from Funk Parade participants themselves. Following the event, a collection of the recordings will be posted on the Funk Parade website, and copies will be given to the DC Public Library’s Funk Parade Archives. This project was also supported by the DC Office of Planning.
“Sounds of the City” is a collaborative, city-wide composition project, curated by artist and producer Kokayi. By submitting soundbites of streetscapes, residents helped Kokayi create an audio portrait of a changing city. The project, a sonic experiment in creative placemaking, was supported by the DC Office of Planning.
“What sounds make you think of DC? Your Metro driver’s announcements, your orchestra warming up, the brass band outside your office, a motorcade passing by? What is the song this city makes?” asked Justin Rood, Funk Parade co-founder.
The project resulted in a “four-part audio soundscape that tells a story about urban change and the sharp contrasts that define many Washington neighborhoods,” as WAMU’s Ally Schweitzer described it. The project has been released online here: https://soundcloud.com/user-44816446/sets/sounds-of-the-city-kokayi-hecho-en-dc
The Funk Parade “Boombox” is an app-based participatory parade band, a collaboration of Funk Parade, a volunteer team of designers at Deloitte Digital, and DC sound artist and composer Alex Braden. The Boombox Brigade is driven by an iPhone app that syncs nearby users into a brigade of funk music.
Anyone with an iPhone can participate: download the app, select a boombox playing a single sound, and you will be synced with other app users nearby who are each playing their own sound. To join the Boombox Brigade, download the app and meet at the parade starting point at the Howard Theater at 4 PM on May 7. The result will be a massive musical collaboration down the streets of Washington, DC for Funk Parade!
The Funk Parade celebrates DC's vibrant music and arts, the U Street neighborhood, and the spirit of funk that brings people together. In 2014, over 25,000 Washingtonians participated in the first-ever DC Funk Parade. In 2015, more than 50,000 from all corners of the District came together for the second Funk Parade. This year over 75,000 people are expected.
“Engaging attendees in the day’s experiences has always been central to the event,” said Justin Rood, Funk Parade co-founder. “This isn’t a spectacle to watch, it’s a celebration to join.” The parade is participatory, and all are encouraged to join in, says Rood. “Bring your funk and put it all out on the street. It’s what Funk Parade is all about.”
Download the App for FREE - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/funk-parade-boombox/id1101769275?ls=1&mt=8
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