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Walking ’round the bend onto 5th Ave. in El Barrio, I could already hear the ‘traka-traka’ beats welcoming me to El Museo De Barrio’s 7th Annual La Bienal: This Is Where We Jump. Slightly nervous, more-so excited but a total Museo virgin, what I stepped into was a courtyard illuminated under warm pink disco lights, music by resident DJ’s 5ifty5ive and Les Carbonell and free drinks provided by ‘Rums of Puerto Rico’. A perfect setting for my first time.

Pink drink in hand, I joined the hoards of people waiting on a line that encircled the festivities. I didn’t mind waiting the expected twenty-five minutes to catch a glimpse of La Bienal because I got to do a lot of people watching. White linen suits, cat-eye glasses, thick accents, dark haired beauties, wild patterns, big personalities, quiet confidence. A rainbow of people supporting the community. There was a warm feeling in my tummy, and it wasn’t just the rum.

Hector Arces-Espasas and Alejandro Guzmans’ ‘Bago Intelectual’

Once inside ‘This is Where We Jump’, I was overwhelmed by the talent. An interactive performance happening in one gallery, installations, videos and paintings, all telling stories of heritage, immigration, stereotypes, social action and unique journeys. The 37 artists involved, both fresh and slightly aged, all work and live in the New York metropolitan area. El Museo liquored me up, showed off its best assets and the summer night cuddled me all the way home back to Queens. I think I’m in love. La Bienal runs till January 2014!