Did you get a chance to go to DLECTRICITY a couple of weekends ago (September 24 – 25)? I attended the second day of the two-day night festival and I really enjoyed the experience!
I first heard about DLECTRICITY in 2017, but the 2021 event was my first time seeing it in person. (I wasn’t able to attend in 2017 because I had a newborn at the time.)
Produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc., DLECTRICITY is an outdoor art experience that occurs about every 2 or 3 years in the city of Detroit. (Previous festivals were held in 2012, 2014, and 2017.)
The event is inspired by the French art festival called Nuit Blanche (translated as “White Night”). In France, Nuit Blanche is a free arts and culture night event that is held every October.
French travel site Paris Unlocked recently did a piece on Nuit Blanche and said it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
“Nuit Blanche sees dozens of Parisian museums, galleries, city-owned buildings, parks and even swimming pools transform into after-dark happenings.”
DLECTRICITY was also inspired by Detroit’s Electric Park, a former amusement park that is now Gabriel Richard Park located at the entrance of Belle Isle.
Back in the day (1908 – 1928), Electric Park was a major attraction in the city. Visitors went to the amusement park to ride the roller coasters and Ferris wheel and dance on the river at Palais de Danse.
You can read more about the history of Electric Park here if you’re interested.
ABOVE PHOTOS: “Illuminated Balloon Heads” by Mentalgassi
The outdoor art festival featured forty-two installations throughout Midtown and Beacon Park. I was able to catch the art exhibits featured at the College of Creative Studies, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Public Library, Michigan Science Center, Scarab Club, and The Wright.
I enjoyed viewing all of the art installations at DLECTRICITY, but as a jazz lover and big Charlie Parker fan, I have to say, my favorite was “Bird in Paradise” by New D Media / LightBender Studio.
According to New D Media, the concept of this project was to capture “a historical and dreamlike journey inside the mind of Jazz legend Charlie ‘The Bird’ Parker.”
An animated video was projected onto the museum building. It first opens with a city scene and you see popular Detroit jazz clubs Joe’s Records, El Sino, and Porter’s Market. An illuminated sign on one of the buildings reads: “TONIGHT: CHARLIE PARKER.”
Black silhouettes of people dancing and a band playing instruments appear in the club windows. Then, the crowd cheers and claps as Charlie Parker and his band start to play.
Suddenly, the picture starts moving as if you’re on a train and takes you on a ride throughout Black Bottom and Paradise Valley.
The video ends with a brief documentary sharing factoids about the two thriving Detroit communities from the 1940s, the hot jazz scene in Detroit, and when Charlie Parker performed in the city.
It was such a cool experience! I’ve been listening to my Charlie Parker playlist on Spotify almost every day since attending the event!
WATCH: VIDEO OF MY TIME AT DLECTRICITY 2021
The photographs I took of the event just don’t give it justice. You have to actually see DLECTRICITY in action to truly get the full scope of the art experience.
So here’s a video I created of my experience at DLECTRICITY. I included snippets of The Charlie Parker video so make sure to watch the video until the end! (And don’t forget to like, comment, subscribe, or whatever the YouTube vloggers say. 😉 )
(I’m still learning how to create and format videos for YouTube so bear with me! My video editing skills aren’t so hot right now. Lol)
All photographs and video are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.