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KeroWacked Festival

“I’m fascinated by the Beat Generation,” says Roly Chang Barerro, organizer of the 5th Annual KeroWACKED Festival happening April 24 in the Boynton Beach Art District. “The way they brought all the different types of artists together – poets, writers, performers. It was really a think tank movement, and that spirit is what I’m trying to recreate here. This year’s festival focuses on Neal Cassady, who was undeniably the real genius behind the Beat movement.”

The Beats, for those too young or not familiar with them were a group of authors whose literature explored and influenced American culture in the post-World War II era. They often performed spoken word readings in music clubs and cafes, adding in bongos and finger snapping to the rhythm of the words. The bulk of their work was published and popularized throughout the 1950s. The Beats rejected standard narrative values, and reached for the spiritual quest, explored American and Eastern religions, rejected materialism, experimented with psychedelic drugs, and were all about sexual liberation in a time when those mores were illegal and underground. The members of the Beat Generation developed a reputation as new bohemian hedonists. The core group of Beat Generation authors included Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and later Neal Cassady, who drove the crazy painted bus called Further across the country and was featured in Kerouac’s seminal book On the Road. Cassady was also gay, though he was married twice.

“In homage to Cassady we have a painted vehicle that is (almost) a bus, it’s a camper,” says Chang. Since 2012 artists, musicians, and poets have gathered at the Boynton Beach Art District to celebrate the Beat Generations influence on the arts. This 12-hour cultural marathon of live music, live painting, exhibitions, vendors, food trucks and antics has been making noise since the festival began.

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Chang Barrero, who will also be hosting the KeroWacked Festival 2016 Exhibition at his ActivistArtistA Gallery, has put together a slamming group of artists from all three counties. “I want to integrate people from different scenes and different parts of South Florida to see what happens and for them to play off each other. Integrating all these different disciplines helps create the next art movement which may hopefully continue the rest of the year. Each year I shift the focus – the first year was mostly about visual art and music. The second year I had a lot of poets and writers, the third year we had a fantastic puppet theater show. This year we have performance artist JC Carroll of ART-ACT.”

“I’m doing a short “Beat Style ” poem called Snotty Nosed Art Lover,” JC says. “It was the first performance I did when opened Art-Act on Lincoln Road in 1989. I read the poem in a beat style with bongos, then later, depending on the crowd, I hand them a print out of the piece and ask them to read it in their own style.”

JC Carroll lives and works with her partner/ husband Carlos Alves in Miami.  She is considered one of the original pioneers of South Beach’s gentrification in the late 1980’s where she opened ART-ACT Performance Gallery.  Having studied theater/ set design and fine art at the Wolfson Campus, FIU and interned at Coconut Grove Playhouse and Bellas Artes  she opened ART-ACT to provide a space to further explore the burgeoning art scene of the time.

ART-ACT brought to Miami Beach new and exciting artists like Tomata Du Plenty, and group shows from NYC’s Rivington School, COLAB, Ringling School & more.  The theater concentrated on plays of great significance at the time, many based on Political/Civil/Gay rights and AIDS epidemic awareness holding countless fund raisers for the hopes of a cure.  JC designed and created a majority of the set designs for these plays, and performed as well. The same values that went into the shows she produced goes into her visual art. With the motto that everything and everyone was an art form JC produced / edited ART-ACT TV on WLRN Cable Tap.  A 30 min. weekly show highlighting the art scene, local and international, as well as many countless colorful personalities. Upon returning to Miami she produced & edited “Live Wire” the off spring of Andrew Delaplaines’ Wire Magazine. After moving to NYC, JC Continued acting in way off Broadway and experimental theater and exhibited art in group shows: Thompson Square, Soho, and CBGB Gallery, primarily painting and sculpting.

KeroWacked Festival through photos…

She also co-produced Chatterbox Lounge, an Internet radio show at PSEUDO, based on the Neo~Swing music movement in the 90’s. She kept busy working art department gigs for videos/ catalogue/ showroom and special events. Throughout this time she continued to work with Carlos Alves when called in to assist on large scale Public Art Works of hand made and painted ceramic murals.  After years of this the two fell in love and JC moved back to Miami again in early 2000 and the two have continued to work together collaborating and creating massive public and private art-works and installations throughout the country and abroad. Their home is a mosaic jewel box festooned top to bottom with their intricate collaborations. JC Carroll is a true renaissance woman who is currently working on a cookbook of artist’s recipes.

At KeroWacked Festival, there will be live mural painting by Serafima Sokolov and Nicole Galluccio on the art districts walls. Murals have been a big part of the event since being introduced in 2011. “The murals are more curated now,” says Chang. “The quality level has been raised. We have murals on the bay doors of our warehouse artist studio district, which means having an outdoor art show year round. Most of the artists in the area have passed through the Boynton Beach Art District at some point as we are always pulling in new and emerging artists all the time for an event or to provide studio space.” Live musical performers included at the event are Dub Alejando Musician with Girl Friday, Marvin Ray Hawkins, Michele Woofter, Shaun Bailey of Koffin Varnish – an electro psychedelic rock trio, Daniell Galletta, Baby and The Troll and others.

Eduardo-Medieta
Eduardo Medieta

Food trucks from the Caribbean Cowboy will be feeding the hungry Beat masses with Floribbean specialties. In something called “Aero Art” there will be live painting with drones by Rolando Chang Barrero, Michael Kupillas, and Tom McAvoy. Will the drones be dripping art or splashing it onto walls and canvases a la Jackson Pollock? This sounds like to something to see. The high profile art of Eduardo Medieta,  aka Emo will be present, along with an art car by E.B. Fromkes.

KeroWacked Festival happens Sunday April 24 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 404-422 West Industrial Avenue in Boynton Beach. If you visit and have questions, call 786-521-1199 or visit their Facebook page here

Sandra-Schulman Sandra Schulman is an arts writer, music and film producer. Born in Miami, her work has appeared in Billboard, Variety, Rolling Stone, Ocean Drive, Country Music Magazine, The New York Daily News, News From Indian Country, and Entertainment Weekly. She was an entertainment columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for 8 years. She has authored three books on pop culture. She currently lives in West Palm Beach with her blue eyed whippet. Sandra Schulman’s column appears weekly. Contact her at sandraslink@gmail.com.