BPT Art Trail Newsletter – October 7th 2015


Welcome to our Bridgeport Art Trail newsletter, providing a listing of arts and cultural events.

SAVE THE DATE: Bridgeport Art Trail – November 12th-15th.

The Bridgeport Art Trail is just over a month away and the city has an active arts October with exhibits, shows, and calls for art!

Housatonic Community College hosts an art talk on October 7th. And the comprehensive exhibition “50 objects/Fifty Years” is on view at The Housatonic Museum of Art through October 16th. 

October is filled with live theatre and dance at The Bijou Theatre, The Downtown Cabaret Theatre, and a call for auditions for a production of The Great Gatsby.

Thursday, October 8th is a great evening for visual art in downtown Bridgeport with an opening reception of City Light Gallery’s “Latinissimo” curated by our September Feature Artist Yolanda Vasquez Petrocelli.

And Italian restaurant Trattoria ‘A Vucchella hosts a special Happy Hour Opening Reception for the exhibit “Wine: About It” featuring wine-themed ink & watercolor sketches by artist Julia-Rose. 

Join fellow writers at The Writer’s Group and step back in time at The Golden Age of Bridgeport Gala at The Boathouse, 305 Knowlton Street.

Music fans check out WPKN Music on Film Series with BB King: The Life of Rileyrock out with Motley Crue’s final tour at Webster Bank Arena, and read about how the “Bridgeport Art Trail 2015 weekend celebration crosses musical borders” with an article by Mike Horyczun.

This October, we’re happy to feature artist Rick Reyes as our Artist of the Month!

This Bridgeport musician and frontman of Cosmic Jibaros describes himself as “a troubadour, a singer-songwriter, and a storyteller performer.”

In an excerpt from the feature Reyes describes what inspires him:
Happiness, sadness, heartache, anger, hope, sex, getting older, justice, righteousness, and love are a few things that inspire me. Not giving up and not becoming disillusioned with the world. Staying aware and not letting the world make you a mean person. I’m inspired to wake up those people who are socially asleep and not caring about what is happening around them as far as the destruction of the environment, destruction of social and human rights, loss of privacy and lack of empathy for those around them.”

Be sure to check out all the details below!
Visit the full calendar of Bridgeport Art listings at the Bridgeport Art Trail Website.



SPECIAL EVENT: Shiva: God of Many Faces
A Talk by Hamish Lutris at Housatonic Museum of Art
Wednesday, October 7, 6 pm
In the Burt Chernow Galleries

About the Speaker:
Hamish Lutris is an Associate Professor of History at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He has worked in some of America’s premier natural and historical sites, leading hiking and historical programs. He has also lectured extensively in the United States, Europe, and Canada, presenting programs on wide-ranging historical topics, including Native American history, the Civil War, Scientific History, Social and cultural history, World War I, World War II, and the American West.

This event is FREE and open to the public

More Info

The Downtown Cabaret
September 25th – October 11th

Event Description:

Book & Lyrics: Joe DiPietro
Music & Lyrics: David Bryan
Based on a concept by: George W. George
Director: Christy McIntosh-Newsom
Musical Director: Eli Newsom
Choreographer: Jessica Rahrig

ABOUT THE SHOW: Winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, MEMPHIS follows the fame and forbidden love of a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break. Inspired by true events from the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, MEMPHIS will leave you feeling exhilarated by its explosive blend of electrifying music, soaring emotion and roof-raising energy.

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Opening Reception: Thursday, October 8th, 5:30-8:30pm
City Lights Gallery

Exhibit Description:
Curated by Yolanda Vasquez Yolanda Petrocelli​

Opening celebration from 5:30-8:30pm includes Mazarte Dancers performing Mexican Folk dance, under the direction of Martha Nora Zarate.
Learn more at: http://www.mazarte.com/

City Lights Gallery​thanks Yolanda Vasquez Petrocelli for sharing her vision and passion for the arts with the greater City Lights community.

From the Guest Curator:
Latinissima is term that I created. It refers to people from Latin America, Spanish speaking, and bringing contemporary artists from various Latin countries to Bridgeport.

The exhibition includes artist from Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. It includes artist I’ve known and admired their works. The show is very diverse within the Latin and Caribbean community.

More Info

VISUAL ART: “Wine: About It” Exhibition
Artwork by Julia-Rose
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 8th, 5-8pm
Trattoria ‘A Vucchella

Exhibit Description:
“Wine: About It” is an illustrative showcase dedicated to the aesthetic and interpretative beauty of wine. This set of twelve canvas artworks consist of ink and watercolor sketches with accompanying expressive quotes. Just like wine, this series is meant to encourage contemplation, conversation, and good company.

About The Event:
Good drinks. Good food. Good Company.
Happy Hour Drink and Appetizer Specials!

About the Artist:
Julia-Rose is a Read’s Artspace resident. She focuses in illustration and mixed media fiber art. Her favorite materials are paint, yarn, buttons, and watercolor paper. Her inspiration includes thunderstorms, jazz, bodies of water, tea, and wine.

More Info

Friday Oct 9th, 8pm
The Bijou Theatre

Exhibit Description:

Shed! is a tap show revue that culminates tap dance infused with high energy contemporary music and is coming to The Bijou Theater for its premiere! Shed is an exploration of the solo body and the group — how tap dancers compose music alongside musicians in an expansive definition of styles. Tap Dancers hit, hoof, and jam with musicians in duos, trios, solos, and groups which keeps SHED! moving forward like a greatest-hits album: a spirited, new, and soulful piece of work who’s power remains in the hand of rhythm. The show is directed by Keith Leonhardt and features dancers Paige Lemek, Carly Bonnono, Krystal Bush, Brooke Cotter, Erin Stavens with drummers David Allan Rivera and Cassie Zito.

Keith is a choreographer, performer, tap educator and has made a mark on the Connecticut dance scene as a professional tap dancer. Keith’s work and artistry has taken him all over Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and abroad. A native of Suffield, CT, Leonhardt received much of his training through The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, The University of the Arts of Philadelphia, PA, and Jazz Tap Center’s Big Apple Tap Festival & Tradition in Tap of NYC both under scholarships. A student of Dianne Walker (Lady Di) and CT Tap great Clare O’Donnell (O’D), he remains the current dance captain of her company OD N TAP. As a tap soloist, his work has been seen recently at FOXWOODS Resort & Casino, Trashion Fashion 2015 at Hartford City Hall, The Make A Wish Foundation Fashion Show, The Ted Hershey Dance Marathon, The Invisible City Project of Hartford, and The WE CAN 2014 Fashion Show at The New County Mercedes Benz Motor Center of Hartford hosted by Project Runway’s Mondo Guerra to name a few. As an educator, Keith dedicates himself to preserving and spreading the American form of tap dance and questioning the idea rhythm as we look at it today. Keith is currently signed with DFX Entertainment and teaches, performs, and remains an active supporter in the national tap dance community.
Doors open at 7:00pm, Show at 8:00pm
Theater seats $20; Table Seats $25

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LITERARY: The Writer’s Group
October 10th, 2-4pm
City Lights Gallery

The Writer’s Group gathers again on October 10th from 2-4pm! This is a time and space for writing and sharing, It is not an open mic. Sharing and feedback are optional but encouraged. Bring your pen, pad and an open mind. Please share this invite with your friends as all are welcome to attend.

The group is guided and created by Shanna Melton of Poetic Soul Arts and sponsored by City Lights Gallery. Admission is Free!

Also join The Writer’s Group ~ Bridgeport Facebook page for updates and inspiration between groups. It is also a great way to stay connected with other members. Click the link and join the party!

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SPECIAL EVENT: The Golden Age of Bridgeport Gala
Saturday, October 10th, 7-11pm
The Boathouse
305 Knowlton Street, Bridgeport CT

Exhibit Description:
Celebrate the revival of the golden age with SPEAKEASY style libation, nosh and entertainment.
While together we honor Bridgeport’s glorious past, present and future.

Proudly Featuring
Take Home Chefs Catering
Bridgeport Lobster and Shellfish
Crafty Monk
Trattoria A’Vucchella
Source Coffeehouse
GVI’s Reservoir Community Farm
and more!

Decor Provided by

Keri McKay Interiors
Black Rock Galleries

Tunes Provided by


Graphics by

The Bananaland

Event to benefit The Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport
Cocktail Attire Requested and Valet Parking will be provided

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FILM: BB King: Life of Riley
Wednesday, October 14th, 7pm
The Bijou Theatre

Event Description:

The Life of Riley, the much lauded feature documentary film on the extraordinary life of Blues legend B.B. King. King worked closely with Director Jon Brewer for 2 years to create this powerful film. The heartfelt contributions from a plethora of music’s superstars were a vast indication that this was the time for his story to be told. At 88 years old, King, his family, friends and contemporaries unveil the true-life drama that was the springboard for the future ‘King of the Blues’. Battling unrelenting racism and the humiliation of segregation whilst working in the cotton fields as an orphaned child, King lived to overcome the toughest critics in the entertainment industry and ultimately be hailed as one of the kingpins of an entire genre of music. This candid biopic of the life story of one of our living legends is highlighted by rare archive footage and beautifully shot scenes of the deep American south. Informative and visually stunning, The Life of Riley is the definitive document of a true American treasure.
Doors open at 6:00pm, Film starts at 7:00pm
All seats: $15

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LIVE MUSIC: Motley Crue the Final Tour, featuring special Guest Alice Cooper
Friday Oct 16th, 7pm
Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport

Exhibit Description:
Iconic rock band Mötley Crüe makes a FINAL CT appearance at Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena on Friday Oct 16th.

The 2014 leg of the Final Tour was one of last year’s top grossing tours, selling close to a million tickets across 72 cities and grossing more than $45 million. “Mötley Crüe’s Final Tour has been a massive global success and a true testament to the popularity of this legendary rock band,” says Rick Franks, Live Nation’s Regional President of North American Concerts. “New Year’s Eve 2015 will mark the end of an era in rock history but there’s no doubt that Mötley Crüe’s music will influence generations of artists for years to come.”

Audiences can also expect a high-energy performance from very special guest Alice Cooper, who joined the band for the Final Tour in 2014.  He will be tearing up the stage for crowds across North America once again on most 2015 dates. The pairing has been roundly praised as a must-see by fans and media alike.

Tickets on sale now at ticketmaster.com, livenation.com, the Webster Bank Arena box office – or charge by phone 800-745-3000.  Tickets are $129, $89, $69 and a very limited amount of tickets at $25

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Image: American Fabrics Building, Bridgeport Art Trail 2014
Don’t be surprised… we are letting you know now… The Bridgeport Art trail is scheduled for Nov. 12-15, 2015. 
CALL FOR ARTISTS for the BPT Art Trail Sampler and Artists’ Party at the Read’s Ground Floor Gallery, downtown Bridgeport CT.

CALL FOR ARTISTS; Bridgeport Art Trail Small Works Sampler

Show you work and party with fellow artists and the Bridgeport creative community at the BPT Art Trail Artists’ Party, Thursday November 12, 2015. This annual Kick-Off Party is a popular art trail event.  The Bridgeport Art Trail mantra is View art. Talk art. Buy art. … Eat & Drink too, while enjoying party tunes provided by WPKN 89.5 fm radio.

City Lights is extending a call to Bridgeport artists to submit small works under 20” for the annual Bridgeport Art Trail Sampler and Artists’ Party Kick-off for 7th annual city-wide open studios event. Please submit jpegs for consideration by October 15, 2015. Artists will be notified by October 23, 2015.  For more info email us: clgallerybpt@gmail.com

Submission deadline: October 15, 2015.
Artists notified: October 23, 2015.
Drop Off of Art: November 5, 6, 7. Times T.B.A.
Pick up TBA

The exhibit and reception are sponsored by City Lights Gallery, the City of Bridgeport and the Downtown Special Services District. It will take place at the Ground Floor Gallery of the Read’s Art Space at 1042 Broad St. Downtown Bridgeport CT.  The Bridgeport Art Trail is a city-wide art celebration where visitors can tour artists’ studios, gallery spaces, and enjoy music, performance, film poetry and artists’ demos.

City Lights is a nonprofit, organization located in downtown Bridgeport CT that serves the community through art. It is easily accessible by Metro-North, Port Jeff Ferry, I-95 and the Merit Parkway via the Route 25 Connector.

SEND SUBMISSIONS IN JPEG FORMAT,(no more than 8 images), 72 DPI, DUE BY OCTOBER 15th, TO: clgallerybpt@gmail.com

Brief artists statement, itemized list of art submitted should include:  title, size, medium, price of work, Works not for sale should include a value rather than a price. Also include artist’s contact info: name, email, phone (evening and daytime numbers), mailing address and website if available.
For more info please email us at: clgallerybpt@gmail.com our website: www.citylightsgallery.org
City Lights Gallery, 37 Markle Court, Bridgeport, CT. 06604 (203) 334-7748

CALL FOR ENTRY: 10 x 10 Exhibit
Deadline: November 7th 2015
The Nest Arts Factory
Description: Participate in the annual NEST fundraising exhibit that opens during this year’s city-wide Bridgeport Art Trail. Support the NEST Arts Factory while the NEST supports artists like you!All works must be 10” x 10” square (including frame, if framed), be finished and ready for hanging, and can be of any medium. All works will be sold for $100 with $50 going to the NEST and $50 going to the artist. Limit of three entries per artist, no entry fee.The opening reception will be Friday, November 13 from 5-8 pm and the exhibit runs through November 30. More details and an entry form can be found on the NEST website: www.nestartsfactory.com

AUDITIONS: The Great Gatsby
Downtown Cabaret Theatre Main Stage Theatre
October 11th & 12th

Downtown Cabaret Main Stage Theatre (Eli Newsom, Producing Artistic Director; Hugh Hallinan Executive Producer) is holding an open call audition for THE GREAT GATSBY on October 11 & 12;
Director: Julie Bell Petrak.

The show runs Feb 12-21, 2016 at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre 263 Golden Hill St in Bridgeport, CT. Please note the two audition locations for this production.

Seeking actors who read 18+ (actual age can be younger than 18). Unless otherwise indicated, principal characters should read in their early 20’s to early 30’s. There are character role and ensemble opportunities for actors of age ranges 18-70.

Two open-call auditions will take place,
Sunday October 11 from 12pm-3pm & Monday October 12 from 6:30pm-8pm
*Please note the two audition locations for this production

Actors will be seen in order of arrival, with the exception of the actors who have secured appointments. For those unable to attend auditions, in some cases the director may consider video submissions. Please email christy@mycabaret.org for info.

Sunday Oct 11: University of Bridgeport Arts & Humanities Building
84 Iranistan Ave. Bridgeport CT 06604 (free parking lot)

Monday Oct 12: Downtown Cabaret Theatre
263 Golden Hill St, Bridgeport CT 06604

What to prepare:
All actors should bring a current headshot (or recent photo) and 1 page acting resume or list of theater/performing experience.
For the audition, please be prepared to read from the script. The audition sides are available by clicking on the link below. The director may ask you to read for multiple roles.

Audition material:

The general rehearsal schedule for THE GREAT GATSBY is: Mon-Thurs from 6:30-9:30pm and Sunday evenings 5-9pm. Rehearsals begin on or around Sunday January 3, 2016.

The performance schedule for THE GREAT GATSBY is as follows:
Feb 12-21 (Fridays @ 7:30pm: Feb 12 & 19; two-performances on Saturdays, 5pm & 8:15pm: Feb 30 & 20; Sundays @ 5pm: Feb 14 & 21; Thursday preview Feb 11 @ 7:30pm)
Additionally, we ask the cast to hold Thurs & Fri Feb 18 & 19, 9am-noon, in case we are able to arrange school performances where local schools send field trips to the theater for a morning performance.

Appointments & Character Breakdown:
For convenience we are offering limited appointment time slots. Appointments are not necessary, however they are recommended. Visit www.SignUpGenius.com/go/20F0E49A9A822A2FF2-open2 to access the audition sign-up form as well as full character breakdown.

Questions: christy@mycabaret.org

More Info

Deadline: November 5, 2015
American Fabrics Building

Open call for short (under 10 minutes), single-channel video works to be included in a screening held in conjunction with Bridgeport Art Trail in Bridgeport CT.

This screening specifically seeks works that exist at the intersection of: landscape, repetition, decay and space/time. Works can engage with these themes in-depth or in the most general sense of the collective definitions.

Screening will be held at the American Fabrics Building on November 14 and 15th and will run for the duration of the open studios. No screening fees available at this time.

Please send a link to the online preview of your work (or an expression of interest if you will FTP the video) by November 5, 2015. Please include name, title, date, duration and country of origin.

Accepted works will be transferred via online FTP program along with a short video description and biography.

Submit videos to heidenart@gmail.com with subject header “VIDEO SUBMISSION”


From Baroque to Bluegrass to Latin folk to ‘K75’ hosted by Paul Shaffer Bridgeport Art Trail 2015 weekend celebration crosses musical borders

By Mike Horyczun

There’s a strong musical component to go along with all the visual art on display at the 8th annual Bridgeport Art Trail weekend celebration. Beginning and closing parties have added live music to their festivities, dedicated events take place at the Downtown Cabaret and at The Klein, which is celebrating K75, its 75th anniversary party with an evening hosted by Paul Shaffer, there’s a spoken word event, plus many galleries and studio spaces will be enhanced by the sounds of music ranging from bluegrass to baroque to Latin folk and plenty in between, plus lots of original tunes and WPKN deejays spinning discs all weekend long. Here’s a snapshot of some of the live music headliners:

Paul Shaffer, the famous bandleader from television’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and Saturday Night Live, will host and emcee The Klein Memorial Auditorium’s 75th Anniversary Concert on Saturday, November 14. The evening is chock full of activities and will feature appearances by all of the Klein’s resident companies including the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, the New England Ballet, the Fairfield County Children’s Choir, the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras, student singers and dancers from the Klein’s tuition-free ASK after-school program, students from the All Stars Project of Bridgeport, and jazz musician Joel Martin from the Klein’s “Footsteps of Peace.” Also participating are Mayor Bill Finch, George Mintz, president of the Bridgeport chapter of the NAACP, Kathleen Maher, the Barnum Museum’s Executive Director, representatives from the Fairfield Theatre Company, and relatives of Jacob Klein, after whom the theater is named.

Singer-songwriter Rick Reyes does double duty this weekend. He performs with a quartet at the opening night Artists Party between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., at Read’s Artspace in downtown Bridgeport, on Thursday, November 12; and he goes solo at the NEST Arts Factory, the re-imagined factory building on the west side of Bridgeport, giving an intimate one-on-one performance at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 14. The celebrated singer-songwriter is known for the Latin and Caribbean rhythms, rock guitars and world music influences his original sounds have embraced as a solo performer and with his bands, the enormously popular Cosmic Jibaros, and another ensemble project, the Pasofino Social Club. Reyes’ music takes listeners across all the borders of the Latin music genres on a cross-cultural and highly danceable journey throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.

On the classical side of things, harpsichordist Owen Burdick, an internationally active composer and conductor, joins flutist Richard Wyton for a performance at the NEST Arts Factory at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 13. Burdick is the former Organist and Director of Music at New York City’s historic Trinity Church in lower Manhattan. He has regularly led several American orchestras and choruses, and his recording of the complete Hayden Masses with The Rebel Baroque Orchestra was released on the Naxos label in 2012 and is distributed internationally. Flutist Richard Wyton has appeared coast-to-coast as a soloist and chamber music player at festivals and at major college and university series including Caramoor, Music Mountain, Wolf Trap, Connecticut Early Music Festival and Greenwich Music Festival. He also has performed with period-instrument ensembles including The Grande Bande, Helicon and Hanoverian Ensemble.

Singer-songwriter Lys Guillorn adds her musical talents to the Bridgeport Innovation Center at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 14. Guillorn is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose dreamy, lyric-driven, and melodically interesting sound is as original as it is indefinable. Her eponymous debut CD was released in 2003, receiving international radio airplay and notice in indie press. In the spring of 2006, Guillorn released the “Three Songs” EP. Her oddities collection “Wayward Children” pulled together her releases on compilations from various small indie labels over the last several years. And the recent “Winged Victory” is Lys Guillorn’s first studio record in ten years. His solo live sound focuses on lyrics and intricate guitar work on acoustic and electric guitars. With her full band, there’s a little more crunch. She has opened for artists that include Laura Cantrell, Amy Rigby, Scout Niblett, The Handsome Family, and Nora O’Connor. For her BAT show, she will be accompanied by drummer Peter Riccio. Guillorn’s performance is preceded by music in the same space from Chica Non Grata at 2 p.m., the wife and husband duo of Julie Beman and Eric Bloomquist. The pair’s original songs, devoid of cynicism and frequently funny, feature smart wordplay and driving rhythms. And at 4 p.m., also at the Bridgeport Innovation Center, Abner, Lawson & Company featuring local artists Vincent Abner and John Lawson perform jazz, rhythm and blues, and classic rock.

And a special Bridgeport Art Trail close out party happens on Sunday, November 15 in Black Rock at The Acoustic with Kenny Owen livening things up bluegrass style his string band Hitch and the Giddy Up strumming us away on a good note.


VISUAL ART: 50 Objects/Fifty Years: Highlights from the Collection
Housatonic Museum of Arts, Burt Chernow Galleries
On View, September 10th-October 16th 2015

Event Description:

The 50 Objects/Fifty Years: Highlights from the Collection exhibit represents the start of a year- long program of special events, lectures, and exhibits celebrating 50 years since Housatonic Community College was founded. It will involve alumni, students, community, faculty and staff, and supporters of the college.

The Housatonic Museum of Art is the fitting host of the opening as the art collection is a cornerstone of the history, growth and development as well as the cultural outreach of the college.

The exhibit will be on view from September 10 through October 16, 2015 in the Burt Chernow Galleries. The Burt Chernow Galleries are free and open seven days a week. Visit the website, www.HousatonicMuseum.org for gallery hours.

50 Objects/50 Years features works from the collection that span across time from ancient to contemporary and include examples of Greek, Roman and Pre-Columbian earthenware to Native American artifacts. Also on view are photographers such as Ansel Adams, Cartier-Bresson and Cindy Sherman alongside such recognized masters as Warhol, Picasso, Rodin, Cassatt, Durer, De Kooning and Alex Katz, to name a few.

Founded in 1966, the Housatonic Community College soon became home to a world-class art collection when Burt Chernow joined the faculty of the art department. Dedicating his life to teaching art and building an important collection, Burt worked tirelessly to acquire work from contemporary artists, many of them at the start of their careers. After retiring from the college in 1983, Burt began a second career as an art appraiser often encouraging his clients to contribute to the still growing collection that now began to include works from Bali, China, Indonesia, Russia and Peru.

Burt Chernow envisioned the Housatonic Museum of Art as a kind of visual library, or endless labyrinth, with each work of art providing each individual a unique opportunity to travel through the world of art and ideas.

The Housatonic Museum of Art’s collection contains over 5000 works of art spanning ancient through modern times and is one of the largest permanent collections of any two-year college in the Northeast. Exhibitions and programs are funded in part by the Werth Family Foundation, Lumpkin Family Foundation, Fairfield County Community Foundation, Downtown Special Services District and individual donors.

More Info

Rick Reyes Novela Sin Tiempo Front cover
Q. How would you describe your musical style?
A. I am a troubadour, a singer-songwriter, and a storyteller performer. Although my style keeps evolving, it has roots in Latin music, particularly Puerto Rican music. With my band Cosmic Jibaros, the style is Latin-fusion-progressive. Another of my projects, The Pasofino Social Club, is a nod to the Latin bands of yesterday. And then there is Novela sin Tiempo, the name of my last record which also became the name of the band. This project is all acoustic, all original music with a Latin and world-music flavor. So I guess to answer your question, my style is Latin with a little bit of everything. I used to call it “Northeast Latin music” and I guess that’s what it is – music from this part of the world: Bridgeport.Q. What instruments do you play?
A. I play guitar and sing. The guitar is my main vehicle for songwriting. I also play hand percussion like the guiro, shekere, and maracas when I play with Pasofino Social Club and in more tropical Caribbean ensembles.
Rick Reyes Novela Sin Tiempo Back Album Cover

Q. What is your process like?
A. Every day I am bombarded with ideas and the energy of the world. For me, music and writing songs have always been a way to communicate and to express myself. It’s a way to let things go and to shout to the world.

The actual process of writing a song can start in various ways. A melody can pop into my head at any time. Sometimes while I’m driving I’ll grab a recorder and hum a melody into it. A song can also begin with a guitar riff or a chord progression. I’ve learned that inspiration can come at you at any time and you have to be ready to capture it.

Once I feel that I have something, I start hashing it out by playing it as much as I can at home or at my studio. It’s a fascinating process because you feel like you’re embarking on something new, you’re discovering something that wasn’t there, and the more you push it, the more it forms. It’s really a great feeling to see something develop from nothing and it’s what I love the most about music. The performance part of is always fun. It’s amazing to present a song to an audience and see how they relate to it.

Q. What inspires you?
A. Happiness, sadness, heartache, anger, hope, sex, getting older, justice, righteousness, and love are a few things that inspire me. Not giving up and not becoming disillusioned with the world. Staying aware and not letting the world make you a mean person. I’m inspired to wake up those people who are socially asleep and not caring about what is happening around them as far as the destruction of the environment, destruction of social and human rights, loss of privacy and lack of empathy for those around them.

When performing I want to make the listener think and feel something. I first started writing a lot about social issues and the different social struggles I saw around me. I always thought that my songs were messages to those who were not aware or to those who needed to feel that they were not alone in their plight.

Rick Reyes
QCan you tell me a bit about your background in music and the history of Cosmic Jibaros?
I started singing and playing hand percussion in church at my town’s chapel in Puerto Rico. When my family moved back to the States, I began writing a lot, mostly out of loneliness. My father bought me a guitar and I started turning my writings into songs. My pad, pen, and guitar were my only friends. I joined my first band in college, and while the band didn’t last for a long time, it definitely helped me and fed my desire to create. I continued to write and realized that the songs I was creating and writing had all these different flavors. They reflected my roots but had a lot of different influences and styles as well. It was soon after when I thought of the concept of a “cosmic jibaro”.
I wanted to create music that had a traditional Puerto Rican flavor but was also open and receptive to other sounds from around the cosmos. A jibaro is the Puerto Rican equivalent of a peasant or hillbilly, people who live in the mountains and work the land. My father and my grandfather were both jibaros.
I began to play around Bridgeport with different musicians, and in 2003 the band everyone knows as Cosmic Jibaros solidified. The band recorded the album “Yo Soy Del Mundo”, a mixture of rock, Puerto Rican roots, and socially conscious songs. No band sounds like the Cosmic Jibaros. It has a unique sound; a Bridgeport sound.
Cosmic Jibaros
Q. How do you think you’ve changed or developed as a musician?
A. During the past 10 years I’ve worked on expanding my repertoire, vocabulary, and knowledge of music so I’ve become a better singer, a better guitarist, and a better performer. I realized that you have to be malleable, you have to be able to provide different colors and flavors in order to make a living playing music. I sing and perform in Spanish as well as English; I perform with my bands, in duos, and solo. I’ve learned that some gigs are about performing, some gigs are about entertaining, and some gigs are about both.I’ve grown from being just a confessional singer-songwriter who only played his own music, to being able to perform other people’s material. I’ve also had the pleasure of playing with some great local, regional, and international musicians and those experiences always teach me a lot and that’s seeped into my own work. I feel like my bag of tricks is deeper now. I don’t just write about myself or my feelings now. I can write a song and get out of my own way.Q. What goes through your head when performing live?
“Please don’t f*ck up!” But really it’s just to be in tune with myself as much as possible. You want to please the crowd and connect with your band members. I try not to look into too many people’s eyes because I can start to wonder what they are thinking. The most important thing is to totally be in tune with yourself. If you are feeling what you’re doing, the audience will as well.

Q. How would you describe the artistic climate here in Bridgeport? Do you think it’s a good location for musicians and other creatives?

A. Bridgeport is the largest city in the state and has a rich history. This city provides so much stimulus for creativity. Its greatness mixed with its sadness makes it a great muse.

It’s a perfect place for artists with tons of great studio spaces and affordable rents, even for Fairfield County. It’s close to New York City and to Boston. The community of artists and people who support the arts is probably the best in the state. No one believes in the city more than the artists who live and work here. They see the beauty and the potential in Bridgeport.

Novela Sin Tiempo Band
Q. Any other upcoming news, events, or anything else you’d like to share?
A. Locally, I’ll be kicking off the Bridgeport Art Trail on Thursday, November 12 at Read’s ArtSpace for the Artists’ Party. I also will be performing brand-new material and glimpses of new songs on Saturday, November 14 at the NEST Arts Factory. I’m very excited about this because it’s really a departure from what I’ve done in the past and very different sounding, both musically and lyrically.On December 4th I’ll be performing with band together at the Fairfield Theater Company. This fall I’m heading into the studio to record the new material with hopes of releasing a few singles before the end of the year. I’m also putting together a solo acoustic tour for this coming winter that will take me from Boston to Philadelphia and beyond.

For bookings please email: Cosmic_jibaro@yahoo.com
To learn more about what I do and where I’ll be performing:

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