On Friday, two blocks of Soma’s district held a block party showcasing multiple artists, dancers, and live performers. The showcase was filled with events ranging from a live Samba dance to a giant wall used to highlight members of the crowd in costume.
The event was hosted by Central Market Community Benefit District. This was its 7th annual showcase of art, culture and entertainment.
Photography was a key highlight of the event. One of the artists included at the event was SF State alumnus Ryan Campagna, class of ‘15 — a photographer at the launch of a new magazine called Alt magazine, which held a display of the photography.
The display at Luxx, a clothing and boutique store, was a fashion show involving a lead photographer and an auction of the clothes being sold during the show.
“This event is about the community,” said Campagna. “It’s about telling a story and connecting the community, the culture and the things we use in terms of fashion.”
Police were in full sweep during the event and almost every street had a few here and there. Because of the size of the event and the nature of the area, extra police were called in for the event.
“It’s been pretty normal so far,” said Officer Jason Williams. “Nothing out of the ordinary except for this harsh air.”
Despite bad air conditions due to the Wine Country fires, the block party was still in full swing. Escola Nova, a live Samba band, performed near the end of the event and invited the audience to join in. Bright lights and a sea of red dresses and dark red suits occupied a whole block between Minna and Natoma Streets interlaced with loud claps and even louder cheers. Smiles were not only on every one of the dancers but also among many in the crowd.
There were also events at nightclubs located within the district, including OMG, a nightclub located on 43rd Street that held a live DJ. During the set, an independent artist who premiered a video threw paint onto the audience. Splashes of red, green and blue lined the outfits of the attendees creating a living painting within the club.
As reactions of the audience changed from excitement to apprehension, they were assured the paint was water-washable and all of the dyes were made using organic and nontoxic materials.
Photographer Marcela Pardo Ariza held a showcase of her shots highlighting the difference between clapping and praying located within the humble lobby of a hotel.
“Yeah this event is an interesting initiative,” said Ariza. “It feels a little gentrified though, and there is a lot of police for a Friday night. But I guess it’s my first year and it is actually a pretty fun night.”
Everyone attending the event was encouraged to dress in costume and to share on social media to be showcased on the “Back Wall,” a giant wall on a side of a building with a huge projector showing everyone who shared a specific hashtag. It ended the night incorporating the greatest part of the event: the guests.