i am

My photo
harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Free Summer Concerts in NYC

Who says you need bank to have a good time in the big apple? Before I moved to NYC from Chicago in the winter of '86, I was led to believe NYC was the most expensive place to live in the world. On some levels, that is true, however each summer we host exciting music from the top local & international artists: and, the concerts are free.

Already this summer I've seen Regina Belle, Peabo Bryson, Lalah Hathaway, Patti LaBelle, Blue Magic, The Manhattans, The O'Jays - and I'm not done yet. The legendary Chaka Khan & the soulful Brothers Johnson will perform at Wingate Field in Brooklyn on August 15. Bluesman Olu Dara (Nas' father) will be at Marcus Garvey Park on August 18. The Mighty Sparrow & Shaggy headline Caribbean night at Wingate Field on August 22. Motown's own Marvelletes will grace Marcus Garvey Park on August 25.

Usually folks arrive up to 90 minutes early to get good seats, unless you bring your own chair, which I do. Having your own chair handy allows you free access to roam around until someobody tells you to sit down, as only a New Yorker can. Some of the concerts are family-oriented, though adults tend to leave their kids at home, which I appreciate, because some kids don't know how to be still & often forget they are not at home to do as they please.

One of the annoying side effects are the number of local politicains & other elected officials who send their reperesentatives to bombard you with brochures, flyers, palm cards & other literatue begging you to vote for their prospective candidate. I politelty decline to read anout anyone's platform - I come to party & will not be bothered by charts, fundraisers, graphs and/or statistics: its business, not personal.

The New York City Parks & Recreation Department has information detailing free concerts at various parks in each borough. Visit www.cityparksfoundation.org for dates, places and times. Unlike other rowdy events, the atmosphere is generally quite festive - in fact, I've never observed a violent incident. I don't envy the clean up crew, though; people these days are apparently oblivious to the need to preseve the environment. How much energy does it really take to throw garbage in a basket?

We've had a serious heatwave this summer. Even when its 90 or 95 degrees outside, it often feels like its 100 or 105 degrees outside. As such, the weather can be a factor in deciding to catch your favorite artist. Still, I don't let anyone or anything stop me from a free concert - my attitude: if its free, you'll see me. I've had a great time clapping, dancing & singing along to music that touches my heart. I genuinely enjoy watching people, particularly other adults, relax & have a good time w/ each other. The energy is live. The memories are priceless. The songs are timeless. And, the concerts are free.

1 comment:

Bernie said...

Free is a good price, but I gotta think long and hard before sitting out in the hot sun. Stay cool and enjoy the shows.