Highlights of Saturday’s Westchester Arts and Music Block Party

By Christina Campodonico

Trapdoor Social returns to WAM fresh from a European tour

The Westchester Arts and Music Block Party — aka WAM — returns to Emerson Avenue and its community gardens with a bang this Saturday. Jam out to music of many genres, experience tastes from around the world, or get artsy with plenty of crafty artisan goods and activities. The choice is yours!

TUNE INTO THIS…

Fusing ’70s-style funk, soul and Afro beat, Los Angeles-based band Mestizo Beat kicks things off on the mainstage at 1 p.m., followed by the hard-driving country of the Rob Leines Band at 2:10 p.m. Electronic-pop duo Rainne, who got their start at USC’s Thornton School of Music, stops by at 3:20 p.m.

Next, Americana five-piece Rose’s Pawn Shop (named after the ex-girlfriend who stole the band’s gear and tried to sell it off) brings souped-up, foot-stomping fiddle tunes sourced from the musical tradition of deep Appalachia to the mainstage at 4:30 p.m.

Fresh off a European tour with the B-52’s, Trapdoor Social is next with their “earnest” and “hot-blooded” brand of alt rock at 5:40 p.m. Peeps who grew up on the pop-rock sounds of OK Go in the early aughts may enjoy the group’s upbeat rhythms and lyrics with a social justice edge.

The crowd-pleasing Top Shelf Brass Band caps off the main-
stage roster with horns-driven takes on popular songs, like Amy Winehouse’s cover of “Valerie” and Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” from 6:50 to 7:45 p.m.

Local favorites like the Santa Monica Pier busking pop violinist Kiev Morales, dance troupe The Westchester Lariats, traditional Irish acoustic five-piece The Praities, improvisational Westside jam band Sanford Street and classic rock tribute band The Wayback Daddies round out performances on the community stage at various times throughout the day.

TASTE THIS…

With a plethora of food trucks on site, you can eat your way around the world during WAM:

Make a stop in ole New England at the Cousins Maine Lobster truck, serving up everything from classic lobster rolls to lobster tacos.

Venture down to the Caribbean with The Tropic Truck, offering Cuban roast pork and Jamaican-style jerk chicken, all made with organic meats.

Have a slice of Italy with Westchester’s own The Good Pizza.

Or indulge in a smorgasbord of Middle Eastern delights (with Asian and Mexican twists) at Middle East Feast.

Top if off with a sundae from Blast Ice Cream, which flash-freezes its treats with liquid nitrogen, or enjoy a sweet shaved ice confection from Dulce Europa, which features fresh seasonal juices culled from produce grown in California’s Central Valley.

The 21+ crowd can mix and mingle in the wine and beer garden, featuring brews from Firestone Walker and vino from Sweetzer Cellars.

SHOP THIS…

Pick up a one-of-a-kind work of art in WAM’s vendors’ mart:

Los Angeles-based Ispaci’s stylish handmade pillows are made from recovered designer fabrics — samples, remnants and the like — rescued from a fate in the landfill.

The Global Trunk, a fair trade brand from Culver City, brings artisan wares handcrafted by indigenous communities in Latin America that’ve been repurposed into artful home goods. A number of Global Trunk’s pillows, in particular, are made with repurposed Guatemalan textiles. Global Trunk gives a percentage of sales to the communities where the products originate and currently works with nonprofits Amigos de Jaibalito Foundation and Fundamaya in order to help communities in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala.

Latinx-inspired streetwear brand Los Mayores will also be on hand, as well as water marbling maker Mayu Silk Art from Huntington Beach. Westchester hub for knitting, Needlepoints West, will also be there.

DO THIS…

Play a game or let your inner artist out during the street fest (noon to 5 p.m.), which offers activities for kids of all ages. Try your hand at painting pots or planting cacti, blowing bubbles or making chalk art, playing cornhole or running in a three-legged race! There’ll also be a balloon artist and a face-painter around, and be sure to keep your eye out for magician Fantastic Fig.

The 4th annual WAM Block Party happens from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 21) between West 80th Place and W. 80th Street in Westchester. Admission is free; the organizers’ share of sales proceeds benefit the Emerson Avenue Community Garden. Visit wamblockparty.org for more information.

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