It takes three (days) to do DUMBO

BY SCOTT STIFFLER  | Between Friday and Sunday, over 225,000 people are expected to descend upon the DUMBO neighborhood’s parks, bridges, galleries, loading docks, studios and repurposed spaces. The work of more than 500 artists will be on display throughout 100 studios and 50 galleries — and on numerous stages and streets. Map your own strategy for conquering the sprawl by checking out the festival’s presence on Facebook, Twitter, the web or via their mobile app…or, just clear your schedule and take in the dozens of sensory experiences to be found amidst the industrial grit of DUMBO’s brick buildings, steel bridges, grassy parks and wooden docks.

Photo by Joseph Duva
Flexing: The Brooklyn-born dance movement comes to powerHouse Books.

FLEX IS KINGS, LIVE  Directed by Deidre Schoo and Michael Beach Nichols, the documentary “Flex is Kings” follows the young men of East Brooklyn who, in a series of organized dance battles, created Flexing: a narrative style of dance that pairs choreographed violence (think mock gun battles) with surreal dream logic (monsters roam subway cars, souls fly from bodies). In this live performance, pioneers of the movement will be joined by Juilliard faculty member Jerome Begin and electro-cellist Chrissy Lancaster — who will back them with a blend of beats, bleeps and strings. On Sat, 8pm, at powerHouse Books (37 Main St.).

Photo courtesy of the artists & DUMBO Arts Festival
Art you can plop down on: Lizzie Scott and N_DREW’s “Styrene Lounge.”

STYRENE LOUNGE  Lizzie Scott and N_DREW’s interactive contribution to DUMBO Arts is the latest installment of “The Styrene Fantastic” — an ongoing multi-disciplinary project that repurposes the mountains of Styrofoam we throw away. In this particular case, graceful dancers are paired with sculptures that recall those unstable chairs from the 1970s that wreaked havoc with the posture of an entire generation.  Spectators are encouraged to join the dancers as they move, lounge and pose. The lumpish and clumsy beanbag creations will be located in Brooklyn Bridge Park, near Jane’s Carousel — so expect your slapstick antics to be accompanied by the sound of children’s mocking laughter.

Photo courtesy of the Leo Kuelbs Collection
Bridge as canvas: Codex Dynamic’s projection mapping is on view, nightly, from 8pm-12am.

CODEX DYNAMIC  Codex Dynamic uses 33,000 square feet of the Manhattan Bridge Anchorage and Archway as a canvas onto which two large-scale, mapped projections will rotate with a selection of single-channel videos by internationally renowned artists. Curators Leo Kuelbs and John Ensor Parker describe the Codex experience as “epic-size eye candy that transforms space, time and our perceived reality.” In layman’s terms, it looks really cool.

BONUS PROJECTION ACTIVITY: On the lawn of Brooklyn Bridge Park, you’ll find a nighttime installation that gets its ironic illuminative mojo from a symbol of urban light pollution (the towering street lamp). “SkyLights: DUMBO” is a perforated canopy that projects the star map of Manhattan onto the ground.

Photo courtesy of DUMBO Arts Festival
At the Children’s Art Village, create your own carousel (and decorate your bike, and build a bridge, and bring a giant sea monster to life).

CHILDREN’S ART VILLAGE  This year marks the debut of a partnership with the Manhattan-based Children’s Museum of the Arts (cmany.org). Taking its cue from the CMA’s focus on self-guided projects and interactive programming, the Children’s Art Village (at Tobacco Warehouse, corner of Water & Old Dock Sts.) offers free activities, media workshops and exhibits inspired by the area’s waterfront culture.

Kids can sculpt fantastical creatures out of clay, decorate their bikes (with tissue paper, beads and bells), create finger puppets and collaborate on a variety of large scale projects — including a sea monster sewn from a patchwork quilt of materials, a city skyline made of string, a cardboard replica of the Brooklyn Bridge and a waterfront-themed stop-motion animated film. One of DUMBO’s most popular destinations, Jane’s Carousel, serves as the inspiration for a project that lets you take home a version of the horse, carriage or figure that resides on a computer-generated merry-go-round of your own design.

BONUS KIDS ACTIVITY: On Sunday, from 4-5pm (at powerHouse Books, 37 Main St.), kids ages 3-6 will be kept grinning (and maybe even still) when author Frank Viva reads from “A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse.” It’s the story of a young explorer who, along with his best friend, embarks on a sea journey to Antarctica.

Photo by Bonnie Rosenstock
Painter Gene Reynolds will display his work at Gleason’s.
Photo courtesy of the artists
Twin sisters Teisher and Keisher will be selling items from their line of jewelry.

On the back of the T-shirts they sell at Gleason’s, a quote from the poet Virgil (70 BC – 19 BC) emboldens anyone with a “strong and collected spirit” to “come forward, lace on the gloves and put up his hands.” Fast forward a few thousand years, and contemplative souls are still paying tribute to the bluster, bravery, damage and drama on display when two opponents step into the ring and engage in a violent test of willpower and skill. On Sat. (9:30am-9pm) and Sun. (10am-6pm), Brooklyn’s iconic boxing gym will host over 40 painters, photographers, sculptors, illustrators, authors and performers. Among them: Gleason’s trainer and white collar boxing pioneer David Lawrence — whose vivid, defiant 2012 memoir “The King of White Collar Boxing” recalls several decades of pro fights, published poetry, rap recordings, Wall Street fortunes, prison time and brain damage. Playing on a loop, “Prizefighter” is a documentary following the successful amateur career of Heather Hardy (who recently won her first pro fight). On Sat. at 9:30am, see a boxing demonstration featuring Hardy and Keisher “Fire” McLeod-Wells. A four-time Golden Gloves champion and two-time World Champion amateur boxer, Fire (along with her twin sister, filmmaker/actress Teisher “Starface” McLeod) will be selling creations from a line of jewelry inspired by accomplished boxers and trainers (including “A Perfect Couple” — earrings named by legendary Gleason’s trainer Hector Roca). For info, visit FireTheBoxingDiva.com. Gleason’s (gleasonsgym.net) is located on the second floor of 77 Front Street.


At DUMBO, Brooklyn: Between the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges

Fri., Sept. 28, 6-9pm
Sat., Sept. 29, 12-8pm
Sun., Sept. 30, 12-6pm
Subway: F to York, A/C to High St.,
2/3 to Clark St.
For a schedule, visit dumboartsfestival.com or download the DUMBO Arts Festival app on iPhones, iPad
or Android
For info, call 718-488-8588 or email info@dumboartsfestival.com