Saturday, April 3, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge Second Line Parade brings 504 love to the Big Apple

Written by Greg Rhoades

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 3, director/photographer James Demaria brings a bit of New Orleans to New York City as he coordinates and films a non-permitted second line across the Brooklyn Bridge. To anyone’s knowledge, this has never been done.

DeMaria actually slightly fears imprisonment, confiding, “We’re doing this in true New Orleans fashion. No permits.”

Note, this isn’t DeMaria's first rodeo on the Brooklyn Bridge. You may remember that he photographed the wife of action star Vin Diesel, partially nude, draped across the walkway in several sensual poses. You may also recognize this New York City fashion photographer’s name, because he’s deeply involved in and very passionate about the New Orleans music scene, having resided in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina.

DeMaria’s upcoming film "Treme Life," initially intended as a documentary following trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, further analyzes and exposes the unique cultural aspects of our city. Additionally, he was recently hired by Dr. John’s record label to document the recording of Mac’s latest album, and got some solid footage of the Night Tripper as Krewe du Vieux king.

Darryl Young, a/k/a DancingMan504, is his latest subject, and will be grand marshal of the NYC second line. Last month, Young spent time in Paris, France, with the Soul Rebels Brass Band, teaching teenagers the art of the second line and the history of our brass culture. If you’ve been to any frequency of live music in New Orleans, you know Young. Ever see the ridiculously muscular, shirtless, African-American guy just going absolutely insane towards the front of the stage? Sliding, buck jumping, stepping to the music, muscles flexing and sweat pouring, eyes closed as he truly becomes one with the performers. Yup, you know Darryl Young. He actually teaches dance locally, specializing in cultivating and propagating the art of the second line moves.

The Jambalaya Brass Band of NYC will provide the notes to spur Young’s steps. "They couldn't believe when I asked if they were down," said DeMaria. "I think they've been waiting their whole careers to see a second line in New York City."

DeMaria and Young have been networking through various forms of social media and the response has been overwhelming. Hundreds have responded to Saturday's event on Facebook alone to say they were coming. When asked about an announcement made over the air on WWOZ in New Orleans where people claimed to be flying up from the Big Easy to take part, DeMaria's only response was "Holy S**t! I love the OZ."

I’m advising all New Orleans ex-patriots, lovers of music, lovers of spontaneity, lovers of parades, to actually be a part of this exciting historical event. For those not familiar, the second line is a glorious “people parade” to be enjoyed by young and old alike, from all walks of life. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s carefree. Individuals become colorful attractions, supplementing spectacular floats with happy-go-lucky dancing.

Bring your canned beer, your parasol umbrella, your jazz cigarettes, and come ready to strut your way into Manhattan, New Orleans style.

The second line will start on the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge, on the Brooklyn side, on Saturday, April 3 at 10 a.m. sharp. There’s an after-party at Paddy Reilly’s (29th and 2nd) at noon, with an open jam and drink specials.

James Demaria’s work can be viewed at or

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