STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — “Beautiful” isn’t often the first word that comes to mind when the rest of the city hears “Staten Island.”
But to the artists and musicians who live and create their work here, it can be.
That’s why on July 12, many of those individuals are coming together for “La ISLA Bonita (The Beautiful Island).” The Global Local: Staten Island event includes live music from some internationally acclaimed acts, plus live visual art and other activities (read on for the full run down).
“People don’t think Staten Island is beautiful, but we want to celebrate the beauty that is here, in ourselves, our friendships and our community relationships,” said Natalia Linares, the co-founder of ISLA with Gia Dupree and Dizzle the DJ. “The ultimate goal for all of us is to create something that reflects us.”
The group organized several previous parties on Staten Island meant to bring world cultures here and establish the borough’s North Shore as more of a party scene.
Picnicking is encouraged on the Port Richmond waterfront bordering Faber Park, which provides easy access to the public pool and skate park. Linares said she wants events like these to be documented before development.
“This is our little moment on Staten Island before this happens,” she said. “They’re going to come in with an outlet mall and the New York Wheel and spend millions of dollars around the stadium, but it’s important that people know there was stuff going on before that, too.”
MAKING “BONITA” MUSIC
First on the list is Mariachi Flor de Toloache, an all-female mariachi band. Founded in NYC in 2008, the traditional mariachi band not only appeals to music lovers but the strong Mexican community in Port Richmond, Linares said.
The group recently collaborated with Black Keys’ frontman Dan Auerbach on his most recent musical group The Arcs, and is set to release an album Sept. 4.
Also performing is Puerto Rico’s International Dub Ambassadors. The group’s synth-heavy “intergalactic dub” reggae explores the roots of the genre with heavy basslines and psychedelic vibes. The Ambassadors can call themselves such — having just performed with the “Godfather of dub,” Augustus Pablo, Linares said.
And Dolltits, Staten Island’s latest musical output, will perform original works, which range from good ol’ acoustic country to rock of the Riot Grrrl variety.
ISLA is bringing in some topnotch talent.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE ART
Montoya, co-creator of the event, has made it her mission to beautify Port Richmond, through a series of murals and the party itself. She was the artist behind the neighborhood’s butterfly fence art, as well as the installment at the New World Preparatory Academy (Watch the video to the right to see how it came together).
Montoya will be wrapping up her latest community art project, “Yellow Butterflies, Sirens and Guitars” at Faber Park during La Isla Bonita, with the help of kids in the area.
“Everything is coming together and many people are collaborating because of the arts — it’s a romantic idea, but it’s really happening,” Montoya said.
Here are some of the other art happenings that will be going on throughout the day:
- Art Cypher’s Jodi Da Real will host. The cypher’s dancers will also give a demonstration
- Projectivity will broadcast their radio show series, FREE SAFETY RADIO, live from the party with Richmond Hood Company.
- Photographer Mike Shane will be patrolling the premises to capture the festivities. Plus, participants can also swing by the Deep Tanks Studio photo booth to get their picture taken.
- The clothing company Stereotype Co. will be in the park with a ‘Release Your Dreams’ project. It involves writing your dreams on paper attached to a balloon and setting the balloon free.
- NYSAI Press will host a community open mic stage for anyone to participate.
The “ISLA Bonita” shindig is supported by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Staten Island Arts and Sol Collective.