Thursday, June 18, 2015

Celebrating Binghamton's Artistic Community

Top L-R: Aaron Truesdell, Paper Artist & Author "Where to Weave a Web"; Tice Lerner, Photographer; Binghamton High School Steel Drum Band "The Juiceblenders"; Angela Cook, Artist
Bottom L-R: Sarah Walker, Belly Dancer; Drag Performers Dusty Boxx, Ms. Katrina, Monroe Sedgwick, DeDe Kupps; Brandon "Blazz" Rodriquez, Hoopers/Flow Artist; Dept. of Public Art Mural

Binghamton plays host to a community of artists who express their talents in their own unique ways.

We are home to authors who take us on journeys to far off lands or our own backyards. We have visual artists that use paint, paper or their cameras to create images that remain embedded in our subconscious long after we step outside the art galleries or pass their larger than life murals on the street.

We have performance artists. Musicians that get us up dancing to the music they create with their instruments. Singers who send chills down our spine with the notes so effortlessly coming from deep within their souls. Actors who have us giving standing ovations at the final curtain call. There are the flow artists, the hoopers, the belly dancers and the drag performers who remind us that experiencing artistic expression does not have to be boring; it can be and should be a fun experience for both the audience and the performer.

Each and every one of these Binghamton artists put themselves out there for our enjoyment and, at times, education. Many are honing their crafts while working by day as teachers, salespeople or stock brokers. They are our mothers, fathers, neighbors and friends. 

We should be celebrating and embracing Binghamton's Artists just as we would celebrate each and every other segment of our community.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Binghamton's Summer Long Block Party

Every year at this time, something magical happens. Binghamton transforms itself into a giant three month long block party. While they may not be totally free; especially if you have that sudden craving for a funnel cake or freshly squeezed lemonade, it is an affordable way for you and your family to explore the diversity that is Binghamton. The diversity of cultures, lifestyles, art and music that make our city so unique.

This weekend kicks off the start of Binghamton's Summer street festivals. Family friendly events that transform the main streets of Binghamton into giant block parties. 

Photo Credit: Binghamton Pride Coalition

Saturday marks the 11th Annual Binghamton Pride Palooza sponsored by the Binghamton Pride Coalition. Over 30 different vendors will be there; including a a food vendor and an ice cream truck. There will be kids games; as well as the Zoomobile from the Ross Park Zoo. For the adults, there are three drag shows scheduled, The Vestal Violators will be performing, Positive LifeForce Fitness and Wellness Studios will be showcasing a groove demo and McRay's Professional DJ's will be providing music throughout the day to get you dancing in the street.

Photo Credit: WJOB 93.3 FM

The Broome County Urban League and the City of Binghamton will present their annual JUNETEENTH community celebration, a commemoration of African-American freedom, emphasizing education and achievement, on Saturday June 20th at Columbus Park. There will be food, games, a basketball tournament, raffle prizes and giveaways. The music will be provided by WJOB 93.3 FM. Of course, the splash pad at will be open for cooling off throughout the day.

Photo Credit: JulyFest Binghamton

The party continues with the 53rd Annual Binghamton July Fest ; a downtown Binghamton Arts, Crafts, and Music festival. A three day event is scheduled for July 10th - July 12th. In between the main stage performances featuring musical genres ranging from jazz, pop, and Caribbean steel drum, explore the many tents of local artists and craftsmen. You never know; you might just discover the next Picasso or Rembrandt.

Of course, these are only just a sampling of Binghamton festivals held throughout the Summer. Others take over the parks, the river walk areas and neighborhoods. 

One thing that can be said about Binghamton is that it sure knows how to throw a block party;  a block party where everyone is welcome and encouraged to dance in the street.