Thursday, June 23, 2011

Make Music NYC -- Second Line on the High Line

What you are viewing above is the event I took part in on Tuesday June 21st called Make Music NYC. Now in its fifth year, Make Music New York, “the largest music event ever to grace Gotham” (Metro New York), is a unique festival of free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City, all on June 21st, the first day of summer. MMNY takes place simultaneously with similar festivities in more than 460 cities around the world — a global celebration of music making.

From 11 in the morning to 10 at night, musicians of all ages, creeds, and musical persuasions — from hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock — perform on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, cemeteries, parks and gardens. From high school bands to marquee names, MMNY is open to anyone who wants to take part, enjoyed by everyone who wants to attend.

Sounds pretty cool right? Well I decide to take in Second Line on the High Line and here is the description: Join the Hungry March Band at 6:00 PM on the High Line's 10th Avenue Overlook (near 17th Street), and parade through the park's newly opened second section up to W. 30th Street while dancing the traditional Second Line steps.

Roaring out of Brooklyn comes the Hungry March Band, NYC's legendary street brass band with the anarchic style that has become their trademark. The Hungry March Band has earned a reputation for mythical revelry, having performed at guerilla art events, mermaid parades, rural raves, subway parties, eccentric weddings, community affairs, protests, high art events, the Staten Island Ferry, Brighton Beach Boardwalks, MoMA, Lincoln Center, steps of the NYC Post Office, and playing themselves in the final scene of John Cameron Mitchell's recent film Shortbus.

Now as many of you are aware, I have no problem taking part in a crawl or a parade dressed up as a zombie and get crazy looks and screams. Well this time, I wore some fishnet stockings, a black dress with a skully flower pin courtesy of Hell Razor, teased my hair, and off I walked with the Hungry March Band. It was so loud and booming and AMAZING. Also I felt this was sort of a celebration -- that winter is over and now Summer is here! The history of the Second Line goes like this: Second line is a tradition in brass band parades in New Orleans, Louisiana. The "main line" is the main section of the parade, or the members of the actual club with the parading permit; those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the "second line." The second line's style of traditional dance, in which participants walk and sometimes twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air, is called "second lining." It has been called "the quintessential New Orleans art form — a jazz funeral without a body." The magazine of the New Orleans jazz club The Second Line took its name from the tradition in 1949. The style has spread beyond the confines of the city of New Orleans, although it remains most common in that area.

I met some amazing people who shared their knowledge of the Second Line history, danced with couples from Connecticut who were shocked by the crazy looks we got, and just felt so much energy. If you were not there, just take a look at the video above to see the excitement and I better see you first day of summer next year!

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