Scout Guide: Artbeat 2013

Screen shot 2013-07-19 at 11.21.49 AMMicro museum, microprocessor instruments, flea circus … do you sense a theme? This year’s Somerville ArtBeat is centered around the “micro” motif and will bring craft and food vendors, dance troupes and bands to Davis Square on July 19 and 20. The event is open to all ages and a $3 donation is recommended for admission.

The two-day festival, presented by the Somerville Arts Council and Mayor Joe Curtatone, will take place on Friday from 6 – 10 p.m. and resume on Saturday at 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. With so much to do in so little time, we’ve compiled a list of the activities and artists we’ll be scouting out this weekend:




Six One Seven Dance Collective

Statue Park near J.P. Licks, 5:45 p.m.

Bike path behind Somerville Theatre, 6:45 p.m.

In front of Seven Hills Stage, 7:45 p.m.

The Six One Seven Dance Collective will challenge audiences to “view the dancing body as a catalyst for political, social and spiritual transformation” through three “micro” performances. The ten-minute performances will take place in specific locations throughout Davis Square.



Main Traffic Island, 6 – 10 p.m.

Let’s be honest. How many of us have passed a stranger on the street and thought, “I wish I could be friends with that person.” This event, which takes place during all of Artbeat on Friday and Saturday, lets you do just that. In groups of three people, you’ll give your responses to three questions in three minutes, and if all goes well, you’ll leave the traffic island with a few new friends. Consider it speed dating, in the most platonic sense.


Animal Hospital Orchestra

Seven Hills Stage, Behind Somerville Theatre, 7 p.m.

The story of Boston’s Kevin Micka plays out like that of Justin Vernon of the band Bon Iver. Micka began writing and recording his own music under the pseudonym Animal Hospital nine years ago, and in 2011, expanded his music to fit an ensemble. The 30-piece group holds a few secrets – for instance, how the heck do they all fit on stage? And how do they all sound so good? Stop by the Seven Hills Stage to find out for yourself.




Dream Harvester

Brick area outside Store 24, all day.

At 2011’s ArtBeat, Ariel Freiberg asked Somerville residents what their dreams were. Two years later, Freiberg has created paintings of these dreams – and buried them in the dirt. It is up to festivalgoers to act as archaeologists, using gardening tools to unearth them. This event will be fun for everyone, from children whose dream job is to dig up historical artifacts to adults who just like to play in the dirt.


Acme Flea Circus

Davis Square Theatre, 255 Elm St., 1 p.m.

You’ll want a front row seat for this one. Professor A.G. Gertsacov presents what might be the world’s smallest circus, with Midge and Madge (you guessed it – they’re fleas) performing the show’s daring acts. The art of the flea circus might date back several centuries, but the former carnival staples are harder to come by these days. A flea circus in our own city is an opportunity too novel to pass up.


Micro Mini-me Parade

Buena Vista Parking Lot, Davis Square, 1 p.m.

Seeing double? Celebrate the second day of ArtBeat with your mini-me, whether it’s a child, pet, doll, et al., dressed in matching attire. The parade’s route will travel through the festival, giving you a glimpse at everything “micro” the festival has to offer this year.


Dance Showcase

Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square. 1 p.m.

If Six One Seven Dance Collective’s micro performances couldn’t curb your appetite, be sure to stop by the Somerville Theatre for its dance showcase beginning at 1 p.m. The day will kickoff with longtime collaborators Audra Carabetta and Brian Crabtree, who will collectively perform seven pieces. Next at 2:30 p.m. is a series of four shorts performed by Kate Nies Brigham, Cambridge Dance Company, Intimations Dance and SPUNKandCOmpany Dance, respectively. At 3:30 p.m., Jimena Bermejo-Black and Alli Ross will cap off the showcase with four-high concept pieces, such as “We exist” and “We love, we exit.”



Elm St. Stage, Corner of Elm & Chester, 2 p.m.

The Porchfest favorite returns, combining two of our favorite things: karaoke and outdoor folk music. Banjo, violin, accordion and other instruments will play the best (and worst) pop songs of the past half-decade, with the audience invited to add their own vocals or hand percussion. We hope the band knows some Beyoncé.


Cat Sounds

Elm St. Stage, Corner of Elm & Chester, 3 p.m.

This Boston-based quartet fuses the sound of Motown with the pop hooks of today’s catchiest indie music. Think the Lumineers with a Big Band orchestra section. The band is comprised of members of local bands Mount Peru and Seaplanes, and will follow up its first EP with a second this fall. Stop by the Elm St. stage to hear their unique sound – and perhaps get a sneak peek of their new material.