Happy Friday from Todayville!
Here’s a short pick me up that you’ll want to be watching and sharing all weekend. This incredibly talented group is WAFFLE. Their bio is below. You may want to hit up their Facebook page if you just can’t get enough. Get ready for the best subway ride of your life!
WAFFLE (We Are Family For Life Entertainment) is an innovative New York City-Based artist collective from almost all 5 boroughs. The group was founded by Andrew Saunders (Goofy), Yushon Stroughn (Sonic), and Joel Leitch (Aero Ace) in 2011. The inspiration behind the name came from hearing “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge.
Many of the members knew each other in their mid teens through weekly LiteFeet battle events but were in different crews at the time. On their way downtown to these events, they would perform on the subway to be able to pay the entrance fee. You wouldn’t win anything but it was a way to gain exposure in the neighborhood/NYC boroughs. After a while it became very repetitive and the exposure wasn’t enough. Select members from other crews came together with the common goal to branch out and reach a bigger, more diverse audience. What better way to achieve this? Continuing to perform on the NYC subway was just the thing to do and this was the beginning of WAFFLE.
Learning how to work together and taking commuter’s advice built their character as young entrepreneurs and helped save their parents’ money. After a while, other LiteFeet dancers caught on to what WAFFLE was doing routinely. Many were afraid of judgment so they didn’t perform. Other dancers started catching on and non-dancers started copying their daily routines. Many didn’t know how to make the transition from just dancing to actually entertaining. At first people enjoyed the performances but due to the rapid growth, there were more complaints.
Luckily the crew’s mindset was on reaching above ground before this all occurred. The money earned was invested into growing the crew. Buying uniforms & business cards helped separate them from others around this time. The crew would randomly hand out business cards without knowing whom exactly they were given to until people started to reach out. Social media also played a big role in their success.
WAFFLE has also had the opportunity to do work outside of New York City. They’ve traveled to Los Angeles, Atlanta, Paris, Argentina, London, and Turkey. People weren’t exactly familiar with LiteFeet so they would label them as break-dancers and call them “Showtime Dancers,” which is the popular catch phrase for subway performances. Most people had some knowledge of what LiteFeet was but for those who didn’t, a brief explanation was given to them.
LiteFeet is an underground dance style that originated in Harlem in 2005 and ventured into all five boroughs of NYC. Its creativity began once it hit the Bronx. It has even expanded to countries such as Japan, Paris, Argentina, Russia, etc. The term means being light on your feet while dancing. Some of the basic moves of LiteFeet consists of dance trends blended together such as the “Chicken Noodle Soup,” the “Harlem Shake,” “Tone Wop,” and the “Bad One.” There are many more. You can also blend any type of dance style with LiteFeet as long as you use some of the basic moves and lock in. “Lockin’ in” is the term used to describe the finishing move just as a period would end a sentence. What differentiates LiteFeet from any other dance style is the use of props such as sneakers and baseball caps. Using any type of sneakers doesn’t work so Adidas Superstars are favored when doing shoe tricks. Many believe LiteFeet is the rebirth of hip-hop culture not only from dance, but also from the music aspect of it. It has a boom bap feel with an extra kick to it. The thumping beat box tunes is called LiteFeet Music, which mixes hip-hop, funk, electro beat & any other genres with a hip-hop structured sound.
WAFFLE Members Kid The Wiz, Chris Designs, & Lil Live serve as producers to help create the unique sound for the LiteFeet community. People don’t realize that the culture is still growing. WAFFLE’s ultimate goal is to expand the knowledge of LiteFeet and to be a positive influence to everyone around the world
City of Calgary Helping Local Businesses Recover from COVID-19 with Digital Main Street ShopHERE Pilot
The City of Calgary is piloting a new initiative aimed at helping artists and small businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Working with Digital Main Street to join the ShopHERE program, powered by Google, the City will aid up to 90 local businesses and artists in their transition to online stores.
The growing digital economy of recent years has been massively accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic, as people have increasingly turned to online alternatives and contact-less deliveries for everything from groceries to clothes to entertainment purchases. Now more than ever, for small businesses to be successful, participation in the digital economy is key.
In May, Google Canada announced a $1 million investment for Digital Main Street to expand the Toronto-based ShopHERE program across the country. In Calgary, Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE program is now available to artists or registered small independent businesses and nonprofits that are commercial or home based, have fewer than 10 employees (25 for restaurants or bars), and are not a corporate chain or franchise.
As a participant in the ShopHERE program, businesses will have access to hands-on assistance in setting up and launching their online stores with customized information and branding. Members will also receive digital marketing, shipping and inventory support to aid in the successful maintenance of online shops.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi speaks on the ShopHERE program
Operating on a first come, first serve basis, the program will help up to 90 independent local businesses and artists enter the online sales sphere. “We remain optimistic and more determined than ever that technology is the toolkit for a world of opportunities,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP and Country Manager, Google Canada, “Our $1 million investment will go towards expanding the ShopHERE program nationally, so we can help small businesses across Canada navigate the challenges ahead.”
To learn more about the ShopHERE program or to apply, visit https://digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere/.
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
Paint the Town! – Brightening the Beltline with BUMP 2020
If you’ve been out and about in downtown Calgary during the month of August, you may have noticed some changes being made to the buildings around the city. An unreal series of commissioned murals have been popping up all around Calgary for the past four weeks as a part of the fourth annual BUMP festival!
Established in 2017 by the Beltline Neighborhoods Association, The Beltline Urban Murals Project (BUMP) focuses on giving artists the space to redesign and transform the city of Calgary into a living, life-sized art gallery. “We believe that art belongs in public and buildings make the best canvases.”
BUMP has grown and evolved significantly since its inception, according to Executive Director Dexter Bruneau, beginning with just 4 murals in 2017, this year’s project saw the creation of 20 new murals throughout the Beltline. “BUMP has now painted over 50 murals,” says Bruneau, “That’s over 50 walls in the Beltline that would have otherwise remained plain.”
Due to the ongoing uncertainties of COVID-19, originally scheduled appearances from international artists have been postponed until 2021, and this year’s BUMP focused on featuring local artists from across Calgary and within Canada.
Toner, a local graffiti and large-scale mural artist contributed to this year’s BUMP with a 1400 square foot mural, located at 1137 17 avenue SW. As his largest solo endeavor, the project took approximately 9 days to complete over the span of 2.5 weeks. The inspiration behind his piece draws from a combination of cultural and symbolic references, the current state of global affairs, and elements of his own subjective approach to art.
“In the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui, the parrot is a powerful symbol of opportunity and a bearer of good news, it draws positive energy and keeps away the negative,” he says, “Birds represent freedom and long life, and specifically, the Macaw Parrot is a popular companion bird. It seems we could all use a companion right now.”
The mural located at 1240 12 Ave SW was created by Elena Bushan, another local artist with more than 25 years as a painter. The inspiration for Elena’s mural, Mother Nature, came to her during the months of winter quarantine, where stress, anxiety and uncertainty were at an all time high. Finding peace in tending to her collection of houseplants, Elena created a portrait representative of her own emotional experience and relationship with nature itself, “Mother Nature gives me wings, no matter how stressed I am,” she says, “I hope others will look at it and feel uplifted as well.”
The mural, which is more than 1000 square feet, took 16 days to complete, painting 10-12 hours a day. During her time on the wall, Elena was touched by the support and sense of community Calgarians displayed, “People were trying to take care of me the entire time,” she says, “making sure I was fed and had water during the long days.”
Along with adding beautiful color and culture to the city of Calgary, BUMP focuses on building community by making art more accessible and available to the public. “There are often a lot of barriers in place for people to see and consume art,” says Bruneau, “We strongly believe in muralism as an art form because it provides a free, accessible, all-ages open air gallery for the entire city.”
BUMP will return in August 2021 with a new lineup to continue with the diversification and decoration of the Calgary Beltline.
For more information on BUMP and the 2020 artist lineup, visit https://yycbump.ca.
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
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