Straight From the Sewer
Straight from the Sewer was an art and music event centered around the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This event was held at Mergeculture Gallery on October 22 in conjunction with their Bloom on Franklin monthly block party and market. The concept came about after I spoke with another creative forever TMNT fan, who just happened to be sitting on a special Ninja Turtle project of his own. DJ, beat producer and member of the Mergeculture family, Wally Rios had been working on a TMNT beat tape for some time. I had been eagerly awaiting it’s release, but each time I’d snoop his accounts, nothing. So, we joined forces to release the project in a special way, by steeping the gallery in all things Ninja Turtle and creating an audio-visual experience.
This was a bit of a pet project for me and on my event wish list for some time. In the years I worked with the gallery I had never seen any of my event visions come to fruition, so Straight from the Sewer was very meaningful. Wally Rios’ beat tape was the catalyst needed to get the ball rolling. To really immerse patrons in the TMNT experience, I painted a portion of the gallery to look like the 1980’s cartoon interior of the Turtle Lair, while the remaining wall space showcased work from local and national artists inspired by heroes, villains, cartoons, comics, movies and toys. Mergeculture’s website has full documentation of the artists and work. As a special gift to our ninja DJ, I built Wally a custom DJ booth inspired by the Party Wagon toy. I figured that he was bringing the party, so he might as well have a “Party Booth”.
Straight from the Sewers was the title of Wally’s beat tape and served as inspiration for the event name. For the beat tape, he sampled various sections from movies, video games, cartoons and even commercials to create incredibly nostalgic 18 tracks of hip hop instrumentals and included a carefully crafted video component just for the event performance. Wally himself describes the beat tape as “Dirty drums over the soundtrack to my childhood”. He really did make something amazing out of the soundtrack to a lot of people’s childhoods. The full beat tape is available via his Bandcamp account. Please be sure to listen and donate what you can. He’s an amazingly talented artist!
What had initially been planned as strictly an art and music experience eventually included a taste component as well. Bloom on Franklin participants and gallery neighbors graciously added limited-time menu items for an extra special evening. The team at Cafe Hey created two edible Ninja Turtle-inspired delights with their vegan and gluten free Pre-fight Donuts and vegan shortbread pizza cookies. Magnanimous Brewing released two new TMNT inspired beer flavors.
Not that it was a major part of the event, but I am going to toot my own horn on my costume for the night. Costuming is my other favorite art form and my Krang getup was a blast to make and wear. Since the brain and belt portion was easily removable, I got to share the fun with so many attendees. This was an absolutely enjoyable event to put on and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity, the space, everyone involved and each person who attended.