Lookin' Up in the Boogie Down

Arthur Avilés founder of the Arthur Avilés Typical Theatre and co-founder of The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance on the stoop of BAAD!’s space at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Westchester Square, in The Bronx. Photo by David Gonzalez / The New York Times / Redux, (2014).



APRIL 16–MAY 22, 2016


­Bronx, NY – Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, Dancing in the Streets and City Lore in partnership with Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc, Bronx Music Heritage Center, BAAD! and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) are proud to present The South Bronx Culture Trail Fusion Fest 2016: Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down, a live, funk, fusion, afro-latin jazz, african music-dance-art celebration for all ages from April 16 – May 22, 2016.

Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down presents an eclectic mix of legendary and visionary Bronx artists who will perform on rooftops, stoops and public nooks such as parks and community organizations throughout the South Bronx including: Ray Mantilla & The New Space Station, Lou Donaldson Quartet, Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band, Bertha Hope & Jazzberry Jam!,the Arturo O'Farrill Trio andthe Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, Will Calhoun, Abdoulaye Diabate and Super Manden, Carlos Henriquez Jazz Latino, Arthur Avilés Typical Theatre, Ni’Ja Whitson with JD Parran, Baba Israel and Jadele McPherson, The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble, Digital Diaspora, Okwui Okpokwasili, The Mimi Jones Band, Oreste Abrantes Jr Y Su Orquesta, Shariq G. Tucker & the Soundshifters, King Solomon Hicks, the Marching Cobras with Sapphire Dance Line and Casita Maria’s Endless Effort & Organized K–Oz along with the Bronx Studio School for Artists & Writers' Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble.

The Bronx has extensive history of trailblazing artists who continuously looked beyond the accepted norms or status quo. Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down celebrates the legends and emerging jazz fusion inspired performers, composers, writers and poets who continue to make the borough a paradigm of innovation and creative vision. 

From the 1940s through the early 70s, concert venues were a common sight throughout Bronx neighborhoods such as Club 845, the Royal Mansion, the Hunts Point Palace and the Blue Morocco. These venues and many other like them, were a second home to the early vanguard jazz greats including Art Blakey, Thelonius Monk, Machito and Tito Puente. The Bronx was also a main residence to many jazz and fusion legends such as Ray Barretto, Maxine Sullivan and Elmo Hope.

Although these venues are long gone, now converted into retail stores or empty lots, this vibrant jazz spirit still lives on through groundbreaking pioneer artists such as Bertha Hope, Lou Donaldson, Bobby Sanabria, Will Calhoun and Carlos Henriquez who all still live and perform here along with trailblazing visionaries such as Mimi Jones and Oreste Abrantes Jr, and even younger brilliantly gifted prodigies such as jazz and blues guitarist, singer and composer and his trio King Solomon Hicks and fusion drummer Shariq G. Tucker, who at 21 years-old has 19 years of experience.

Even throughout The Bronx’s most challenging times, artists have always seen the entire neighborhood as their inspiration, rehearsal studio and stage. A place where rooftops, stoops, street corners and bodegas are a source of improvisational dialogue, entertainment, cultural solidarity, community building as well as potential venues to experiment and develop their talents. They help us to experience ways in which cultural prosperity is impenetrable by even extreme poverty, where disparity can foster innovation and when chaos and destruction builds solidarity and growth.

The element of chance, unpredictability and expansive paradoxes are what make jazz fusion such a powerful and exciting art form. For Bronxites, extreme dichotomies, uncertainty and risk are also inherent in our history, making our neighborhoods and communities an ideal place to nurture its artistic innovation. Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down celebrates Bronx artists who carry on the legacy of changing the way we see, hear and experience the world, where jazz is no longer a genre but part of the melody of the midday– complete with pedestrians, bull-horn wielding preachers, street vendors, cars, horns, trucks and the passing 4, 5 and 6 train as its underlying, electrical time signatures.

Capturing this improvisational essence throughout The South Bronx Culture Trail Fusion Fest 2016 is The Bronx dance company Arthur Avilés Typical Theatre thatwill perform impromptu at various event sites throughout Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down with interventions that respond to the sites, sounds and passerby.

In collaboration with Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and Bronx Music Heritage Center, Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down will launch on Saturday, April 16 at
5 PM with a rooftop performance by Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band. Afterwards, as part of BMHC’s Bronx Rising!, Maxine Sullivan Women in Jazz Series: Swingin’ Jazz, there will be a screening of The Girls in the Band by Director Judy Chaikin at
7 PM followed by a live performance with Stomp Society Swing Band. Another Bronx Rising! will take place on Saturday, May 21 starting at 7 PM with Bronx Bangla: Ifti & The Royal Bengal Tea House followed by The Feringhees.

On Friday, April 22, starting at 6 PM, multi-Grammy award winning, Bronx drummer, composer and artist-photographer Will Calhoun’ssolo exhibition AZA will openat Casita Maria Gallery. Through the interplay of drums, color, light and motion, Calhoun visually transforms his signature sounds and rhythms into dynamically vivid, abstract canvas prints. As part of his artist opening reception, he will perform AZA live at 7:30 PM.

Earlier in the day, on April 22 at 4 PM, Casita Maria Middle School Youth will have an opening in Casita’s Youth & Community Gallery for All That Jazz, an exhibition that features portraits of jazz icons as well as improvisational drawings and paintings.

NEA Jazz Master Lou Donaldson with his self-titled quartet as well as legendary, pioneer conguero Ray Mantilla with his sextet, The New Space Station will perform followed by prodigy guitarist Solomon Hicks and his trio on a rooftop in The Hub on Saturday, April 23 starting at 1 PM.

In addition to being on rooftops, artists will be performing on fire escapes and stoops throughout The Bronx. These familiar spaces are important social mediators beyond passageways within our daily schedules. The broad steps and doorways are both a threshold of community building and socialization as well as the “venue” itself. A place where new connections are made and our existing bonds are strengthened. Together we chat, gossip, stop by, catch-up and hang out, listening to and watching the neighborhood and our old and new neighbors. Joining us on Sunday, April 24 at 2 PM along the steps of the brownstones on Doctor’s Row in Mott Haven is The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble.

Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down will also feature two Saturday collaborations with Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc and Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education starting on Saturday, April 30 with Bronx marching jazz band the Marching Cobras and their Sapphire Dance Line at 1 PM. They will lead us through Southern Boulevard to a performance by Carlos Henriquez Jazz Latino and Oreste Abrantes Jr Y Su Orquesta in Monsignor Raul del Valle Square. Then on May 7, pioneer jazz legend Bertha Hope & Jazzberry Jam! will perform at 2 PM followed by The Mimi Jones Band at the Graham Triangle in Mott Haven.

Also on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30 at 8 PM, The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance will present Bessie award winning Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic, an intersection of theater, dance and visual art that brings to life adolescence in 1980s in New York City. The show will take place at BAAD! in Westchester Square.

A special Municipal Art Society tour co-presented with Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, the Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC) and City Lore, “South Bronx: Morrisania's Musical Legacy” will start at 1 PM at the BMHC on Saturday, May 7. Led by City Lore’s Folklorist and Co-Artistic Director of the BMHC, Elena Martínez, the tour will explore the streets where legends in jazz fusion, doo-wop and Latin music lived and played from the 1940s through today.

On Saturday, May 14 Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education’s pre-professional dance groups Endless Effort and Organized K-Oz with the Bronx Studio School for Artists & Writers’ (BSSWA) afro-latin jazz musicians will perform along their own stoops throughout Hunts Point starting at 3:30 from Casita Maria. At Graham Triangle on Sunday, May 15 at 2 PM in Mott Haven, dancer and choreographer Ni’Ja Whitson will perform a new, site-specific work commissioned by Casita Maria with vocalist Jadele McPherson, woodwind player JD Parran and beatboxer Baba Israel followed by Shariq G. Tucker & the Soundshifters.

Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down’s finale will be starting at 1 PM on Sunday, May 22 at 52 Park in collaboration with 52 People for Progress who revitalized and continue to maintain the park since the 1980s. Performances start at 1 PM featuring multi-Grammy award winning Arturo O’Farrill and the pre-professional youth orchestra of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, the internationally renown Abdoulaye Diabate and Super Manden and Digital Diaspora.

THE SOUTH BRONX CULTURE TRAIL (SBCT) is a community arts and education development initiative started in 2011 by Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and Dancing in the Streets that celebrates and captures key moments in the cultural history of the South Bronx. www.facebook.com/southbronxculturetrail

CASITA MARIA CENTER FOR ARTS & EDUCATION is an 80-year old South Bronx-based community arts and educational organization that presents diverse, contemporary visual and performing arts and education programming for all ages. www.casitamaria.org

DANCING IN THE STREETS is a South Bronx based organization that develops movement-based projects through long-term social practice initiatives, integrating rigorous inquiry, artistic exploration, deep community engagement, and the nurturing of emerging urban artists. www.dancinginthestreets.org

CITY LORE documents, presents, and advocates for grassroots cultures to ensure their living legacy in stories, histories, places, and traditions. www.citylore.org

LINCOLN CENTER’S BORO-LINC partners with cultural organizations in each borough to offer free, family-friendly performances, workshops, and exhibitions by Lincoln Center resident organizations and community-based artists to bring world-class family programming to all five boroughs. www.lincolncenter.org/borolinc

BRONX MUSIC HERITAGE CENTER (BMHC) was founded by the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco). The BMHC is committed to preserving and promoting Bronx music, cultivating Bronx artists, spurring neighborhood revival, and providing free cultural programs for the community. www.whedco.org/arts/bmhc-lab.org

BAAD! / THE BRONX ACADEMY OF ARTS and DANCE creates, produces, presents, and supports the development of cutting edge and challenging works in contemporary dance and all creative disciplines that are empowering to women, Latinos and other people of color, and the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community. www.baadbronx.org

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY (NYCHA)’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. www.nyc.gov

SOUTH BRONX CULTURE TRAIL ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Bill Aguado, Alex Aponte*, Arthur Avilés, BG183* (Tats Cru), Benny Bonilla*, Richie Bonilla, Américo Casiano*, Henry Collins, Alvan Colón Lespier, Robert Crespo*, Simon Dove, Jason Dunchin, Elizabeth Figueroa, Ricky Flores*, Adam Green, Elizabeth Hamby, Ariana Hellerman, Rolando Infante, Yianna Justo, Michael Kamber, Melissa Libran, John MacElwee, Elena Martínez, Kerry McLean, Kathi Pavlik, Danny Peralta, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, Anita Reyes, Marta Rivera, José Rodriguez, Rosalba Rolón, Rafael Salamanca, Jr., Bobby Sanabria, Lisa A. Sorin, GrandWizzard Theodore* and Jeffrey Velasquez. HONORARY LIFETIME MEMBERS: Antonio Sergio Bessa, Nancy Biberman, Marcos A. Crespo, Rubén Díaz, Sr., Jorge Popmaster Fabel, Al Quiñones, Tina Ramirez*, Angel Rodriguez*, Robert Sancho*, Eric Soto and Dave Valentin*.   *Casita Maria Alumni

The South Bronx Culture Trail Fusion Fest 2016: Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down is presented by Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, Dancing in the Streets, City Lore, Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc, Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC), BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The South Bronx Culture Trail is supported by Con Edison, Ford Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, The New York Community Trust, New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) and public funding from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Initial start-up support provided by The Rockefeller Foundation. Special thanks to KCC Productions and SceneFour for their collaboration in presenting Will Calhoun’s “AZA” exhibition at Casita Maria Gallery, to SoBRO, WHEDco and Southern Boulevard Merchant Association for the support in accessing rooftops, Ghetto Film School / Digital Bodega for filming and post production work and the Bronx Documentary Center and BronxArtSpace for rain locations.






South Bronx Culture Trail Fusion Fest 2016: Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down - Informational Video.
Video and Editing Provided By Ghetto Film School

South Bronx Culture Trail Fusion Fest 2016: Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down - Promotional Video.
Video and Editing Provided By Ghetto Film School

Want to see more SBCT videos?
Visit Casita's Vimeo page

The South Bronx Culture Trail
Fusion Fest 2016:

Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down
will run from
April 16 – May 22, 2016

For latest updates please visit: facebook.com/


April 16 – May 22
True to jazz fusion form, Bronx dance company ARTHUR AVILÉS TYPICAL THEATRE will improvisationally visit the select event sites throughout Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down with interventions that will respond to the surrounding sites, sounds and passerby pedestrians.

Rooftop / Morrisania
Saturday, April 16
SBCT Festival Launch!

Casita Maria in partnership with
Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC) presents

Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band

Time: 5 PM
Location: 1301 Southern Blvd.
Rain Location: First floor

BMHC presents
Bronx Rising!  Maxine Sullivan Women in
Jazz Series: Swingin’ Jazz
The Girls in the Band (2011)

(film screening)
Stomp Society Swing Band
Time: 7 PM
Location: BMHC Lab,
1303 Louis Niné Blvd.
For more info: whedco.org/arts/bmhc-lab

Nook / Hunts Point
Friday, April 22

Casita Maria Exhibition

Will Calhoun:
Artist Opening Reception

Time: 6 PM
Live Performance
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Casita Maria Gallery
928 Simpson St., 6thfloor

Casita Maria Youth Exhibition
Artists Opening Reception

Time: 4 PM
Location: Casita Maria Youth
& Community Gallery / 6thfloor

Rooftop / Mott Haven
Saturday, April 23

Casita Maria presents


Time: Starting at 1 PM
Location: 555 Bergen Ave.
Rain Location: 614 Courtlandt Ave.

Stoop / Mott Haven
Sunday, April 24 

Casita Maria presents


Time: 2 PM
Location: 263 Alexander Ave.
Rain Location: 305 East 140 St.

Nook / Westchester Square
Friday, April 29 &
Saturday, April 30

BAAD! presents


Time: 8 PM
Location: BAAD!
2474 Westchester Ave.

Cost: Tickets start at $15
Visit BAADbronx.org for more info.

Nook / Hunts Point
Saturday, April 30

Casita Maria in partnership with
Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc presents



Parade: 1 PM
Performance Time: 2 PM
Location: Msgr. Raul del Valle Sq.
Bruckner Blvd. & Hunts Point Ave.

Rain Location: Casita Maria

Rooftop / Mott Haven
Saturday, May 7

Casita Maria in partnership with
Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc presents


THE Mimi Jones BAND
Time: 2 PM
Location: Graham Triangle
138 St. & Third Ave.

Rain Location: Mott Haven Bar & Grill
1 Bruckner Blvd.

Casita Maria in partnership with
City Lore, BMHC & The Municipal
Art Society of New York presents

Tour / Morrisania
Morrisania’s Musical Legacy
Tour led by Elena MartÍnez
Time: 1 PM
Location: Meet at BMHC
1303 Louis Niné Blvd.
For more info: mas.org/tours

Stoop / Hunts Point
Saturday, May 14

Casita Maria presents


Time: 3:30 PM
Location start: Casita Maria
928 Simpson Street

Rooftop / Mott Haven
Sunday, May 15

Casita Maria presents


Time: 2 PM
Location: Graham Triangle
138 St., Third Ave.

Rain Location: 305 E 140th St.

Nook / Morrisania
Saturday, May 21

BMHC presents

Bronx Rising!
Bronx Bangla:

Time: 7 PM
Location: BMHC
1303 Louis Niné Blvd.
For more info: whedco.org/arts/bmhc-lab

Nook / Hunts Point
Sunday, May 22

Casita Maria presents


Time: Starting at 1 PM
Location: 52 Park
across from 681 Kelly St.

Rain Location: TBD, Check Facebook

This activity is not sponsored or endorsed
by the New York City Department of
Education or the City of New York.



“Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down captures The Bronx the way I remember it as an emerging musician. Every Saturday and every Sunday, everybody would go to the roof with their conga drums and we would be playing all kinds of music mixed together, it was like a big party with the drums. Meanwhile, down on the streets and stoops below we had doo-wop singers and dancers creating their own rhythms.
Ray Mantilla,
pioneer latin jazz musician and bandleader.

Whether tocando tumbao from the rooftops or cantando y jangueando con los vecinos on
the stoops,
Lookin’ Up in the Boogie Down lets everyone know that The Bronx will always be home to visionary artists, cutting edge culture and a strong, uplifting and vibrant community spirit.
Christine Licata,
Casita Maria’s Director of Performing and Visual Arts