Saturday: An Eco/Arts Festival on Amsterdam Avenue

Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance. Photo by Jun Hua Eu.

An “open street” on Amsterdam Avenue between 109th and 110th Street will feature ecological and arts-oriented programs on Saturday from 12 to 6:30 p.m. The full release and schedule is below:

Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance and The Columbus-Amsterdam BID join forces to present the Amsterdam Eco/Arts Festival on the Open Boulevards at Amsterdam Avenue between 109-110th Streets on Saturday, September 18th, from noon-6:30pm.

The program is offered as a celebration of Park(ING) Day, an annual global event where people transform spaces normally inhabited by cars into public places for people. This FREE public program features dance and music performances, a community planting, poetry, participatory art, Karate and Zumba workshops for all ages, family games, and more.

The afternoon kicks off at noon with Melissa Elstein of “Love Your Street Tree Day” and Peter Arndtsen and Michael Gonzelez of The Columbus-Amsterdam BID leading a tree bed educational walking tour from 106-110 Streets, followed by a planting demonstration. Volunteers can sign up to help beautify and plant along the neglected stretch the Minerva Bernadino Greenstreet with native flowers.

At 3pm Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance (TLD) presents new ecologically-centered work. “Plastic Harvest,” a collaboration between choreographer Jody Sperling and composer Matthew Burtner, investigates plastic pollution. Radically transformed by costuming fashioned from hundreds of plastic bags, the dancers (Anika Hunter, Maki Kitahara, and Andrea Trager) appear as plastic creatures foraging and frolicking in their street habitat. The dance creates a surreal spectacle while provoking contemplation about the beauty of that—and who—our society throws away. Following, TLD presents excerpts of other works including “Arboreal Entanglement,” exploring the relationship between people and trees, performed by Sperling with music by Burtner and “Bunhead’s Back,” about what it’s like to feel different.

TLD’s performance is bookended by excerpts from “Treaty Between Earth and Self,” an interdisciplinary poetry-music-theater-dance project composed by N. Scott Johnson in development by Rattlestick Theater. This piece is an introspective journey into an Amazonian-inspired world and explores the sounds of Brazilian Forró. (Directed by Danilo Gambini with poetry by Colin Greer, percussion by Victor Caccese, vocals by Alice Reys, and choreography by Sperling.)

At 2pm, Oleana Whispering Dove, a Tsalagi-Algonquian Native American and Indigenous historian, will offer a Native New York Orientation providing information about the Native history of the festival site. Following, Oleana will read her Dream Catcher poetry about the legend of the Tsalogi Water Spider, an iconic female animal spirit.

jill sigman/thinkdance shares “To Mend” is an iterative durational process of organizing and dancing with ceramics—a meditation on brokenness and how we will put the pieces together anew. In this part-performance part-installation, Jill will carefully and caringly arrange a set of handmade ceramic shards into a structure that can be played like an instrument. There will be building and unbuilding, sounding and silence, movement and stillness, in this reflection on slowness, loss, and repair, both personal and structural.

In parallel throughout the afternoon, artist Capucine Bourcart performs her installation “Plastic Blanket,” in which she continually knits plastic “thank you” bags together, a project begun in 2003..

The program concludes with the local rhythms of Sonny Daze, a Latin jazz trio with performers Salvador Merced, JojoSoul, and Armando Duchesne.

Throughout the day, All Street Journal provides participatory socially-conscious muralling for children. Harmony by Karate offers a family workshop (1:30pm) and Marianel Marquez of BeFitNYC offers a free Zumba class (4pm). The festival will also have civic and community engagements, including a presence by Stop-the-Chop a NYC-based grassroots organization advocating for the cessation of non-essential helicopter flights to reduce noise and pollution and promote public health.

12-12:30 – Walking tour of tree beds. Meet at NW corner 110/Amsterdam.
12:30-2pm – Community Planting, Love Your Street Tree Day & Col-Amst BID
12:30-1:30 – jill Sigman/thinkdance, installation build for To Mend
12:30-5pm – Capucine Bourcart, “Plastic Blanket” installation
1-1:30pm – Harmony by Karate family lesson
2-2:15pm – Native New York Orientation/Poetry, Oleana Whispering Dove
2:15-2:45pm – jill sigman/thinkdance, performance “To Mend”
3pm – Treaty Between Self and Earth (open)
3:05pm – Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance (TLD)
3:45pm – Treaty Between Self and Earth (close)
4-4:30pm – Zumba by BeFITNYC
4:30-6:30pm – Sonny Daze jazz trio

Audiences are advised to protect themselves and the community by observing social- distancing and mask-wearing when appropriate.

ART, OUTDOORS | 1 comment | permalink
    1. Paul says:

      I guess this is for the folk who missed this on Columbus a couple of weeks ago.

      Pre Covid Summers, you’d see an avenue on the UWS closed at least twice a month on weekends so that people could set up booths and sell irregular underwear and cheap, unlabled belts.

      Now we get plastic bag dancing?
      I’d rather see the underwear.

      Seriously? There’s nothing wrong with closing streets for events. Happens all the time (as buyers of irregular underwear well know). That part of Amsterdam’s been closed, ostensibly for outdoor eating, Summer weekends, for a while now.
      And the bottom line is it’s not being used any more than the outdoor eating that was established last year all over the City.