07/24/2012 10:11 am ET | Updated Sep 23, 2012

Weeksville's Garden Party Brings Stew and the Negro Problem and Kenya's Just A Band to Perform in Brooklyn

Summer Garden parties are always exciting. The friends you spend the days talking with, the food and the cool ice drinks. And then, there is the music and entertainment. For me, a biased Brooklynite, Brooklyn is the best place to be for a hip summer party and the Weeksville Heritage Center is one of the places I go.


Garden Party, source Weeksville Heritaage Center

I first heard about Weeksville from the late Joan Maynard, who ran it. It was at a conference I assisted organizing as the vice president of Blacklines Magazine at Pratt Institute in 2000. She was one of our panelists and spoke about Preservation and Community Activism. Weeksville came back into my life when a former Parsons colleague and friend left to work there. It returned again when I joined my community board. So, as a Brooklynite - I know it is one of places of significant black settlements and heritage in Brooklyn. Simply, it is a vital part of history.

This summer, the Center continued its Garden Party Series. It is "a unique and intimate music and food series in the bucolic Gardens of the Weeksville Historic Houses. The free performances include multimedia elements, performances, free arts workshops for children and a "curated" selection of food vendors." On July 28, it will hold the last one which you should not miss. It features Stew and The Negro Problem with Just A Band and music by DJ Manchild.


Stew and Heidi Rodewald, source: Stew and The Negro Problem

Stew is the playwright of the Tony Award winning musical Passing Strange, another musical that made me dance. Passing Strange is a rock musical "about a young African American's artistic journey of self-discovery in Europe, with strong elements of existentialism, metafictional humor, and the Künstlerroman." Stew and the Negro Problem was originally formed in the early '90s by the creative forces of Stew and Heidi Rodewald. Their latest album Making It is to be released in 2012. It shares the name of Stew and Heidi's new musical recently debuted at the Public Theater in NYC. So, if you missed Passing Strange back in 2008, this is an excellent opportunity to see Stew in performance again and come ready to rock.


Just a Band, photo source: Just A Band Facebook page

Performing on that day will be Just A Band, Kenya's house, disco and fund band who is known for their DIY aesthetic. I first heard about them when their debut album came out in 2008. Super funky is what I said, then I saw some of their performances online especially their Ha-He video. Made up of members Blinky Bill, Dan Muli, Jim Chuchu and Mbithi Masya who call themselves Africa's Super-Nerdy Electronic Music/Art Collective. I agree, they are super nerdy and enjoy what they do. SO, go out and support them at the Garden Party and while you are there - dance to DJ Manchild's spinning tracks with a Brooklyn flow.


DJ Manchild, source: DJ Manchild

The Weeksville Garden Party brings cutting-edge musical performances and a selection of renowned food vendors to the historic site. All events take place outdoors in one of New York's most unique and family-friendly venues - The Weeksville Garden, located at 1698 Bergen Street between Buffalo Avenue and Rochester Avenue, Brooklyn (MTA: 3,4,A,C trains to Utica Avenue, Brooklyn).

Full Disclosure: I am a member of Community Board 8 which includes the area call Weeksville, where the Weeksville Heritage Center is located.