The infamous Bedford Ave was closed off to cars this past weekend, and turned into its own little walking community. And everyone it seemed took to the streets despite the sweltering heat (which I’m told is not even as hot as it gets). There were restaurant tables al fresco style, stalls selling everything from body painting, books, clothes and jewellery as well as many kids activities. This was a perfect example of the neighbourhoods zest for life. Kids, dogs and hipsters galore. One place that was all a ‘buzzing was the Spike Hill pub, the USA football game was on and it attracted a rather hefty crowd of fans, which took a break from the music that was being played there due to the Northside Festival. The car-free zone reminded me a little of Portobello Market in London, however I was able to walk down the street without bumping into people every few seconds. It had the same vibe as the market back home, but had thrown in a few trampolines, just for fun.
The Northside Festival went down a treat. Williamsburg and Greenpoint played the happy hosts; with bands, films and art all on display. One of the exhibitions connected to the festival was Erika Ranee’s “Sweet Talk” at the Slate Gallery on Wythe Ave. A colourful array of mixed-media paintings, influenced by “bling culture.” The collection is Ranee’s experimentation and representation of the hyper-sexualized role of black women in rap videos. The use of mixed-media painting is able to show the feelings of the pieces in a way that single media would not have grasped. The colours used are beautiful with all different types of surfacing, trapped between the mediums, just as some of the women themselves may be. One interesting fact about the paintings is that embedded in the layers of the paintings are false eyelashes, plasters (band-aids) and sex ads that were left behind by dancers. Look close enough and maybe behind one of the little sketches in the paintings, you might just see some.