Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hopscotch Urban Arts Festival: September 11, 2010

According to what I've read, Halifax once had a great hip-hop scene. Unfortunately, when many of its past up and coming artists "made it big", the rest of the hip-hop scene was left to pick up the pieces. This year "the scene" tried to do just that with the Hopscotch Urban Arts Festival.

(An unknown - to me - dancer gives a free "popping" lesson to some eager young students.)

All day long, for 9 hours from 1 to 10 PM on September 11th, there were free hip-hop workshops, free dance lessons, a 100 foot "art wall" graffiti competition, the first ever national break dancing competition in Atlantic Canada, and a free concert featuring Halifax hip-hop legends like the Juno Award winning Classified.

As expected, the Grand Parade where it was located featured what must have been the largest concentration of teenagers who look like they would steal your car in all of Halifax. (Seriously guys, your art is neat, but all joking aside Grandpa Ea-pea is here to say that you really need to pull up your pants, wear a belt, and put your caps on the right way round because you look ridiculous tripping over the crotch of your own trousers.)

Even more impressive was the announcement that the fantastic French urban art artists of Cellograff would be making their North American debut at this festival. Unlike most "graffiti" artists (I'm sure they don't like it being called graffiti, but there's only so many times I can type "urban art" in one post without hating myself), Cellograff do not paint on the side of some business owner's establishment or on one of CN's grain cars, but rather they use large sheets of cellophane plastic stretched out between two trees or street posts to create their unique masterpieces.

Quite frankly the whole thing was not really my bag, but it was impressive, and this rather well intentioned event would have been completely unknown to me had someone not thought to drop a flier in the basket of my EP Cruiser (my new bike), while I was busy volunteering for the Fringe Festival the night before. That's right, this great coming together of me and the Hopscotch festival was only possible because of this unknown canvasser. Score one for canvassing, score one for bike baskets, and more importantly score one for cycling.

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