Today's New Activity: Attending the 4th SubZERO Festival
A while back I got wind of the SubZERO festival (which I somehow missed during both years when I was living--quite literally--around the corner from where it happened. I don't know how the funky good vibe alone didn't have me wandering out my front door to find its source), and I've been looking forward to it for weeks. How thankful I am to report that it didn't go the way of so many of San Jose's outdoor festivals and leave a little to be desired. How could it with all this action?!
I couldn't get enough of watching this very talented foursome of belly dancers. I generally love watching belly dancing, and tonight was no exception. I managed to make it over their way during 4 separate mini-sets. The drums they danced to were a calling I couldn't refuse.
Next I wandered over to one of the stages, where, for most definitely the first time in my life, I got to hear what happens when hip hop meets the trombone. This band was just formed last week some time (there was also a female vocalist who isn't pictured here) but you wouldn't have known it with how good they sounded together.
Next, a visit to a traveling curios museum, a mini-version of which was housed in one of the many tents set up on South 1st street, which was blocked off for the festival:
Also among those tents:
a giant cardboard dollhouse with real scenes visible through every window!,
a station where stoppers-by could sit and draw models who switched out in what seemed like five-minute intervals, though some could have been longer (peek and you can see my friend Laura in the second row, doin' her art thang!...she's so cool...).
One stage featured an interpretive dance troupe that was covered in artful, very detailed body paint, and the body paint artist demoed her work live during one band's performance later in the night. It's too bad all the details can't be made out from the pictures, but this is something of a before and after:
There were food trucks galore. And though I longed to try the raved-about munchies from Gomo, they (and two other food trucks) were out of their only vegetarian options. I found my friends Alejandra and Kliff during the food hunt portion of the night, and they both made off with yummy treats. Hey guys! It was great to do some catching up with them. And congrats to Alex on her recent graduation!!
I SO meant to stop by the t-shirt tent of the guys who made Kliff's "Hella" t-shirt so I could finally count myself a bona fida Nor*Cal girl, but I forgot :( I'll find 'em online.
Music and art were the main focuses of this event, and though I didn't photograph any art for fear the artists would say, "Hey punk, if you like it so much, why don't you BUY it?" (not that they ever would, and not that I'd be opposed to it were it in my budget, but it seemed rude to just go around taking pictures), there was a whole lot of beautiful work to take in.
Around 10pm my best gals Nicole and Kelsi made it, to my shock and glee. It's SO great to be out with those Mamas, especially in the streets of downtown San Jose, and especially at night. It reminded me of our earliest adventures in this town, before Mamahood got its wonderful, forever grips on us. We stopped for coffee and then meandered a bit, seeing:
Bam! Roller derby demo! And
Bam! A yarn bombing!
This is just a very small sampling of all there was to enjoy. There were art cars and taiko drums, another super fun and energy-filled drum circle, a bicycle joust (!), spoken word, and I even found the tent of one of my bank's customers, who turns out to be quite a talented painter. And there was so much more.
In the end, Kelsi and I danced to the spinning of a local radio station dj, whose name eludes me right now. The music was so incredibly happy it was impossible to resist. I read an article in Details a few months ago about how so much of today's new bands are super happy and bubble gum. The author was practically lamenting the absence of the angst of rock music past (though not the extreme Emo of more recent past). I could see the truth in that, if the music this dj played was to serve as any kind of example. But you know what. It's freakin' FUN to be happy!!!
Some years ago I was dancing by myself at the salsa stage at San Jose's Jazz Festival. A Mercury News photographer happened to take a crowd shot that I was visible in, looking as free and happy as a young woman who'd just graduated from college should look. The picture appeared in the paper twice in articles about the festival. Dancing tonight I felt the same kind of joy that I see in my face and body language whenever I come across that picture (which is actually only when I visit my brother, who has it pinned to his bulletin board...sweet bro). My life is not without cares or problems. And in the past year it is certainly not free from conflict, confusion, or the agonizing act of trying to decipher which is right, of the multiple directions from which to choose. But in certain moments, and more and more frequently, I am full of that same sense of joy and wonder and absolute knowledge that my life--in the present--is the best possible life I could be living.
Thank you to all the wonderful, talented artists of San Jose and the friends I shared the evening with for bringing me into that place tonight.