PARADE, a Queens-based public art program, is collaborating with teen artists from Sunnyside and Woodside and community arts and cultural groups to present a live variety show in Windmuller Park on Saturday, Aug. 31.
The event, directed by the artist collective Whoop Dee Doo, will be free and open to the public starting at 6:30 p.m.
Using Windmuller Park as venue and inspiration, the project celebrates the heavily used public space and the diverse cultures of its visitors. Partnering with Whoop Dee Doo in the production are the Tibetan Community Center of NY & NJ, Woodside Dance Troupe, Bula Arts & Culture, Queens Music Academy, D.A. Sokol Gymnastics, Los Herederos and The Colombian Dance Company of New York.
PARADE Co-founders Nancy Kleaver and Paddy Johnson, who live on opposite sides of the sprawling park and playground located at 39th Road between 52nd and 54th streets in Woodside, were inspired to launch a public arts project there after years of enjoying the park and witnessing all the creative ways their neighbors make use of the space.
“Because folks use Woodside Park as their local arts center we thought inviting all kinds of local groups to perform in a Whoop Dee Doo production would be a wildly creative and unifying project for the community,” Kleaver said. “We’re looking forward to celebrating the beautiful diversity that exists here in Woodside.”
This will be the first time Whoop Dee Doo, which has been commissioned to create similar variety shows at such renowned institutions as The High Line in Manhattan, Maspeth’s Knockdown Center and SFMoMA, will bring their project to a public park in Queens. The prospect was attractive to them, bringing exciting opportunities to reach more diverse audiences and create new creative challenges.
“Whoop Dee Doo is ecstatic to work with the cultural groups that use the park and cannot wait to see the magic unfold as we collaborate with eight insanely talented local teens,” Whoop Dee Doo co-founder Jamie Warren said.
Known for their big colorful sets, and a near endless supply of fun kid spin on historical and folkloric performance, past performances included a Mount Rushmore staring contest, a spider orchestra and a teenage break dancing grim reaper.
High school students from the Sunnyside and Woodside neighborhoods have worked to develop the shows theme and structure, build sets, make costumes and props and rehearse with the participating performing groups at the Sunnyside Reformed Church on Skillman Avenue and 48th Avenue.
“I fully anticipate a show that puts forth the craziest version of Woodside we’ve ever seen,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what that means, exactly, but I imagine it will involve a lot of cardboard, papier mâché, and laughter.”
Audience members are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to sit on in front of the Windmuller Park bandshell, along with water and other aides for keeping cool.