Iris Chacon + Other Highlights You’ll Want to Check Out at This Year’s Loisaida Festival

Lead Photo: Photo by Javier Romero, Courtesy of Loisaida, Inc.
Photo by Javier Romero, Courtesy of Loisaida, Inc.
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Gentrification may have erased the Loisaida of the past – when it was truly multi-ethnic and brought together Puerto Ricans, Argentines, Cubans, Eastern Europeans Jews, amongst many others – but organizations like Loisaida Inc. are making sure it doesn’t go forgotten. This weekend, the 29th Annual Loisada Fest will take place in the Lower East Side and pay homage to Puerto Ricans, who first started laying down roots in the neighborhood in the 1940s.

Related: Humans Of The Lower East Side’s Loisaida

The two-day event will feature stars like Iris Chacón, Johnny Colón, Maxine Ashley, Macha Colón y Los Okapi, and Gotham‘s J.W. Cortes. “This year’s festival is really like old school Puerto Rico meets Puerto Rico 2.0,” said Libertad Guerra, chief curator at Loisaida, Inc. Though the parade – which takes place on May 29 at 11 a.m. on Avenue C and 11th Street – is one of the main events, there are plenty of other things to check out.

Here are a few things to be on the lookout for:


Guardians of Loisaida Exhibit

When: May 28 at 1 p.m. – July 28 at 5 p.m.
Where: The Loisaida Inc. Center,  710 East 9th Street, New York, NY

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez will be on hand to talk about his Loisaida-inspired Guardians of Infinity comic book. Back in February, Miranda-Rodriguez made his Marvel comic book debut alongside Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (of Run DMC). Using his Puerto Rican heritage as inspiration, Edgardo studied the alien, tree-like Groot and found similarities between the character and the ceiba trees from his Puerto Rican childhood. And that’s how we ended up with a Groot, who by the end of the book, says, “Yo soy Groot.”

On top of signing books and talking about art, the event will also feature a collection of original artwork for the comic book, which will be displayed for two months. Learn more here.

Related: Scholar Marta Moreno Vega Was The Inspiration Behind The Marvel Comics Issue Featuring Puerto Rico’s Taíno Culture


El Loop Fair

When: May 28, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: The Loisaida Inc. Center,  710 East 9th Street, New York, NY

El Loop Fair aims to link New York-based and Puerto Rican-based innovators. According to the festival’s site, you can “check out the breakthrough ideas, design and product innovations from Latinos across the city and Puerto Rico.” There will be displays and talks at the event.


“Hungry Diasporican”

When: May 29 at 1:15 p.m.
Where: La Plaza Cultural, 9th St & Avenue C

As part of the 3rd Annual Loisaida Festival Theater Lab, Puerto Rican poet Omar Iloy will perform “Hungry Diasporican.” Learn more about Iloy and the other events that are part of the theater lab here.


Bio Bus – Community Lab

When: May 29, noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Avenue C and 9th Street

Bio Bus is a mobile community laboratory that aims to provide an encouraging space for scientific exploration. “Within this space, scientists share their expertise and knowledge through direct, hands-on experiences, allowing participants to reshape their view of science through participation in the discovery process,” according to the Loisaida Fest site. “Through this work, we believe a future is possible in which every human being has experienced science in an exciting, authentic, hands-on setting.”


Stay up to date with #LoisaidaFest2016

If you can’t make it out, then follow along on social media with the #LoisaidaFest2016 hashtag.