Recap: FAB! Festival on 4th Street
The FAB! Festival is a favorite of ours, bringing together community groups, cultural institutions, artists and local businesses each year. With their refreshing alternative to generic street fairs, FABnyc (Fourth Arts Block) really knows how to throw a unique and creative party.
This year’s event was bigger than ever, with art installations, dance, music and theater performances, along with local businesses lining the streets. We sampled some pretty incredible food, including chocolate chai ice cream from Alchemy Creamery (gluten, dairy and soy free), and plenty of dark chocolates from another local favorite Bond Street Chocolate. (Hey, it’s always good to start one’s meal with sweets). Eventually, we got to try some non-dessert food, including spectacular potato tacos from Oaxaca Tacqueria.
We snagged a free t shirt with the FAB logo, silkscreened while we waited by Works in Progress. Before the festival, people had also been invited to “BYOT” (bring your own tee shirt), in case they wanted a specific size or color.
There is always a green component to the FAB! Festival. Along with GrowNYC and other sustainable groups in attendance, there were bicycle-powered setups, which are always fun to check out. The 4th Street Co-op made bike-powered smoothies, and artist Miggy Buck created a bike-powered art installation. Buck’s piece was a cityscape created out of recycled wood scraps with an old-style slot car track surrounding it. Pedaling the bike enabled the toy cars to zoom around a mini-Manhattan, replete with NYC-themed vehicles. The taxi was our favorite. We were in awe of Miggy’s biking abilities. (We’re not going to do any long distance racing with her, any time soon.)
Other standout art installations included “Good Morning,” a centerpiece of the festival by Amanda Browder. A gigantic fabric sculpture made from repurposed scraps of fabric was draped all the way down a building in the middle of the block. The installation was part of FABnyc’s SUSTAIN project, with the partnership of Downtown Art and Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company.
miLES (Made in the Lower East Side), who also has a storefront on 4th Street, was promoting their new Kickstarter project. miLES’ “Storefront Transformer” seeks to take vacant local storefronts and transform them into incubators for small businesses. miLES hopes to prototype and demonstrate a Storefront Transformer in action this November and December. It’s a great cause to keep local businesses going in this town. So go to the Kickstarter link, and cough up some dough, people!
Another standout performance was the mobile black box theater with performers from the IATI Theater inside. Audiences were able to peek through portholes cut in each side of this box to view the goings-on. Performers would often stick their heads or hands outside of the holes to engage with passers-by.
The live music was all over the map, in the best way possible. Notable bands included “Bombay Rickey,” a five-piece band from Brooklyn “straddling the boundaries of surf, cumbia, spaghetti-Western, and Bollywood, balanced out with a little coloratura soprano.” Frontwoman (and killer accordion player) Kamala Sankaram blew us away with her operatic vocals. We were instant fans the second we heard Sankaram’s cover of an Yma Sumac song.
Other favorites included the Rod Rogers Dance Company, the hula hoop dancers, and the Winged Reptile Performance by Pradomar Productions. The latter made us feel transported to the set of a 1950s B-movie. Plus it included a didgeridoo, and that’s never a bad thing.
Find out more about FABnyc here.