Review: Urban Ventures Street Party 7 – Express Yourself
What a weekend blast! Urban Ventures returned to the street scene with an electrifying 7th edition of their street party! Themed Express Yourself, the party ran from 4pm – 1030pm along Keng Saik Road, and there was plenty of fun to be had for hours on end amidst the dozens of flea market stalls, creative writers and live music.
Although initially slow, an increasing number of visitors began to pour in as time went by, and from a relatively relaxing afternoon, the 7th Urban Ventures Street Party roared to life as the sun set, and people from all walks of life came down to drink and party the night away. Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the party:
We’re not big on the fashion scene, but down a quaint alleyway (complete with creative street art lining the walls), Instagram and blogshop stars hawked their wares, some at outrageously affordable prices, and by the time night fell, some of them had already sold out their best goods for the day. Meanwhile, there were also plenty of craftsmen (and women) who had set up store, from pin and badge makers Pins and Pongs to illustrator C is For Colette
Urban Ventures also offered a little piece of history, and a chance to learn more about the street the party was being held. Every hour, 17A Keong Saik Road author Charmaine Leung led brief, 15 minute tours around Keong Saik Road, sharing stories of how she grew up as the daughter of a brothel manager and how the area has changed since her youth. Incredibly informative in the brief time she was allotted, Charmaine gave a great concise history of the road, charting its humble beginnings in 1926 to its transformation into a red light district, before finally named a conservation site in 1989. Charmaine’s anecdotes were entertaining and fascinating, recalling the strong kampung spirit that characterized the road as she reminisced about seeing Indian coolies and Chinese majies interact, as well as how buildings (such as the one Potato Head Folk now occupies) used to be (and still offers one of the best views of the surrounding area). You can purchase her book from most major bookstores, or order it online from Ethos Books
Food is, of course, the object of our affection, and we got ourselves a tasty burger treat from Omakase Burger‘s pop up stall. They’re not wrong with their claim that they’re the best cheeseburger in Singapore; we loved the rich taste of the patty and couldn’t help but hungrily wolf down our burger while we caught exciting indie music acts such as midst, Subsonic Eye, Cosmic Child and Terrible People
Some people really got into the music too, as you can see in our video below:
Creative writing wasn’t left out of the mix either, with poets and writers stationed along ‘Wordsmith Avenue’, churning out creative writing for a reasonable sum, from haikus to personality inspired poems. It’s certainly something much easier to take home and hold close to your heart.
Considering the incredibly sweltering weather, it was little wonder that people were feeling hot hot hot everywhere. But if you paid a little attention, you might have noticed that upstairs at The Commons (part of sponsor venue The Working Capitol), a sneak preview of the next edition of the upcoming Affordable Art Fair (17th – 19th November) was in play. Sweet aircon awaited anyone who ventured upstairs, along with an airy, calm space to take yourself out of the crowds for a brief respite, and even getting to admire some unique art along the way ($100 and below, for anyone wondering). Although they weren’t for sale, it certainly hyped us up for checking out just what new buyable art pieces we would be getting our hands on come November!
The theme of Express Yourself showed itself in full come evening. Right beside the sick beats played by DJ Sivanesh Pillai, the night took a turn for the glam when the much anticipated drag queens Arya Dunn, Dahlia Rose, Lily Elle, Tiara and Yeast Monster finally made their appearance at 7pm, working big hair, slick dance moves and sexy, sultry style. Watch some of the action below, featuring Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda:
With people of all age groups, sexualities, genders, backgrounds and disciplines coming together, there really was something for everyone on Saturday. Moving past its former red light notoriety into a new era of gentrification and as a hipster hideout, Keong Saik Road brims with life still each night, and the torch of individuality and freedom burns bright here, and nowhere was it better expressed than at the seventh edition of Urban Ventures’ Street Party, and we can’t wait to see how else they’ll continue to stun us at the eighth edition, coming up next year.