Loisaida, Inc. Celebrates 31st Loisaida Annual Festival in Solidarity with Puerto Rico: “Bridging Resurgence…From Sandy to Maria”
For over three decades, the annual Loisaida Festival has represented the Latino heartbeat of the Lower East Side with an outdoor, multi-faceted showcase of Latin music genres, artistic and cultural presentations, a street fair, Latino and other ethnic cuisine, Salsa dancing, workshops, artisanal crafts, and more.
This year’s theme, “Bridging Resurgence,” conveys a local history of community activism, urban ecology, and creative innovation in the face of adversity—most recently as the Loisaida neighborhood reaffirmed its special connection and commitment to the island of Puerto Rico, which is still facing the ravages of Hurricane Maria, and only a few years removed from the fierce impact of Hurricane Sandy when it hit the Lower East Side in 2012.
The Memorial Day weekend tradition continues on Sunday, May 27, 2018, when the 31st Loisaida Festival kicks off at 11:00am with its Community Parade from Dry Dock Park (12th St. and Avenue D) before making its way to the main stage. The artwork of volunteers, primarily made from recyclable materials, will be on display, the result of a two-week intensive workshop led by expert street theater artists and puppeteers Daniel Polnau and Adam Ende. Loisaida Artist Residency Program participants, Ecological Cities, a cultural and climate action project, will join the procession with an array of puppets and costumes created for an “Ecological City Pageant” scheduled to take place earlier in the month, on May 12, 2018.
On the Festival’s Main Stage, award-winning singer, actress, and comedienne Jeannie Sol will host an exciting line-up alongside Nuyorican actor, singer, and poet Flaco Navaja, who will also be performing with his own band, the Razorblades. Other performers include the Palladium Mambo All-Stars, a 14- piece big band that plays Mambo classics; Eduardo Alegría, a fixture of the Puerto Rican indie music scene, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, an eight-piece local band with strong ties to their native Colombia and the immigrant community; and Kinto Sonó, who will bring the traditional sounds of Puerto Rican plena to the festivities. Isel Rodríguez and Lourdes Quiñones from the acclaimed Puerto Rican sketch comedy troupe Teatro Breve will make a cameo on the mainstage, with works from their recent ‘Diaspora Redemption’ tour.
Nearby, at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden (E 9th St. & Ave. C), the Loisaida Festival Theater Lab, a co-production with Mezcolanza, a cultural platform founded in Buenos Aires in 2013, will present a family-friendly program (free and open to the public) that features performances by 14 multidisciplinary artists representing Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the United States.
Loisaida’s Theater Lab is also proud to feature—directly from Puerto Rico—a production of “Ay Maria!,” a comedic play written weeks after Hurricane Maria and staged in all 78 of Puerto Rico’s municipalities. Central to its premise is the theme of solidarity. In Puerto Rico, grassroots initiatives continue to be a vital component of the recovery effort for communities throughout the island, much like they have been, and still are, for the Lower East Side community.
As always, we invite you to join Loisaida and its presenting sponsors, Popular Community Bank and Acacia Network, Inc. to partake in the Festival activities as well as its many events that will take place during the month of May. The Loisaida Festival is also made possible with support from ConEd, Wellcare, UnitedHealth, Integra, Two Boots Pizza, and The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.
About the Loisaida Festival:
Founded in 1987, the Loisaida Festival is the largest ethnic community pride festival in the Lower East Side, attracting thousands of visitors each year year. The event, which takes on the Sunday before Memorial Day, has been featured in the New York Times, TimeOut New York, El Diario La Prensa, DNAInfo, New York Magazine, and Manhattan Times, among many others.
Founded in 1978, the mission of Loisaida Inc. is to address the serious economic and social disenfranchisement of Latinx residents while offering multi-generational programming that appeals to the social and cultural sensibilities of the Lower East Side. At the Loisaida Center’s new home, 710 East 9th Street, we build connections between members of the community, learners, artists and scholars through original productions and exhibits, idea activation space for creative cross-training, community collaboration, artistic residency program, and the historic Loisaida Festival. Our approach celebrates the urban surroundings, grassroots invention and immigrant spirit of the Loisaida neighborhood and its dedication to Latinx cultural vitality and their contributions to NYC.
About Acacia Network: The Acacia Network, the parent company of Loisaida Inc., is an integrated care organization with offices in New York City, Buffalo and Albany, Orlando and Puerto Rico. It is the 2nd largest Hispanic nonprofit organization in the country. Their mission is realized through three main service delivery systems; Primary Health Care, Behavioral Health Care, and Housing.