I’m pretty sure when you think “Boston” the first three words that come to mind aren’t “tropical dance party.”
Not always known for it’s fun free wheeling atmosphere Boston often gets a bad rap as being kind of unfriendly and well… un-fun. But, with events like Picó Picante happening at The Good Life it’s hard not to think that maybe the tide is starting to turn.
Picó Picante is a monthly club night at The Good Life in Downtown Boston that’s been happening for the past two years. Hosted by Sara Skolnick and Ernesto Morales of Pajaritos, Ricardo de Lima and Vela Phelan it features a number of visiting and regular DJ’s such as Ethan Kiermaier who is also one of the organizers of Nomadic Picó Picante 2.0 Traveling Tropical Dance Party, which is happening tomorrow Saturday, August 24th from 3-9pm.
So how does one take a theme club night and make a nomadic tropical dance party happen?
Well, I had the opportunity to talk to Ethan Kiermaier and find out.
The idea was simple. Bridge local communities by creating a party that can move through neighborhoods and bring different people together. “Boston is a fairly geographically segregated community,” Kiermaier said, “this is all about making new connections.”
So, last year Kiermaier, Skolnick, Morales, Phelan and De Lima had this great idea to take Picó Picante on the road and make it not just an in club trans-national musical experience but a trans-geographic one as well, at least as far as Boston is concerned. So with a small army of bikers, and some funding from The Awesome Foundation, they made the first Nomadic Picó Picante happen and rode across metro Boston.
This year they wanted to expand. Kiermaier explained that by working with local partners such as the Eggleston Square Youth Center (YMCA), Via Victoria Center for the Arts, (a program of IBA Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción),The Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, The Boston Cyclists Union and with an Expressions Boston Grant from the Boston Foundation, they’ve been able to grow their idea for a nomadic tropical dance party.
Organized as a big bike ride that starts at the Stony Brook T-Stop. The route is designed to run all the way down Washington Street and end up at the China Gates Park Plaza around 7. The route was mostly decided by the organizations we are working with,” Kiermaier explained, “programming had to stay in Boston proper but it all worked out because Washington Street is a historically important corridor.” From Stony Brook they will head to the Eggleston Square YMCA and then the plan is to make their way down Washington Street to Via Victoria and eventually end up at the China Gates Park Plaza at the end of Beech Street.
It’s a short ride and meant to easy for people who are not used to biking in the city (like me) to follow along. With the two planned one hour “dance breaks,” the route basically follows the Silver line. So, “walkers” and people who just want to meet up, don’t fret. If you’re like me and at all concerned about biking in the city Kiermaier was very resassuring that there is probably no safer way to ride than with a convoy of 100+ like minded revelers.
The mobilized sound system that people will be biking around the city is one of the key features of their event and it includes a broadcasting unit as well as a series of FM radios (or “Boom Boxes”) that the crowd will carry with them on their bikes and which will be tuned to a specific channel, to broadcast the music that is being played.
Of course, the music its self is crucial and it will be a mix of different sounds and DJ’s who will will join the group along the way. This includes Riverport DJs at the first stop, El Canito Maravillosa at the Second and DJ Kid Afrik at the at the China Gates Plaza. “There will be a mix of a lot of the same stuff at our regular monthly parties Latin and African genres and a lot of Jamaican music,” Kiermaier said.
The event is expected to last about six hours with an extended final stop, which I imagine could segway nicely into an after party, somewhere.
With the countdown on, the final hours before Nomadic Picó Picante 2.0 Traveling Tropical Dance Party have arrived and whether or not you plan on going you can’t deny that biking and dancing in the street sounds like a pretty awesome way to spend a Saturday afternoon. If you can’t make it Picó Picante still happens at the Good Life on monthly basis. So, if I don’t see you tomorrow, maybe i’ll see you there!
2:30 PM – Gather at Stony Brook T station (Lamartine & Boylston Street, Jamaica Plain)
3:15 PM – Head to Egleston Square Youth Center (YMCA)
3:30 PM – First stop at Egleston YMCA (3134 Washington Street, Roxbury) with Riverport DJs
4:30 PM – Head to Villa Victoria Center for the Arts
5:00 PM – Second stop at Plaza Betances, Villa Victoria (100 W. Dedham Street, Boston) with El Canito Maravilloso
6:30 PM – Head to China Gate Plaza Park
7 – 9 PM – Third stop at China Gate Plaza Park (Beach Street & Hudson Street, Boston) with DJ Kid Afrik