October 2016 – It’s fun! It’s frightening! It’s the annual Village Halloween Parade in New York City!
It’s that time of year again when ghosts, goblins, and all kinds of creatures of the night make their way up Sixth Avenue in costumes and floats…..
Every year, the Village Halloween Parade plays an important part in the cultural life of the City. This year, 2016, marks the 43rd running of the annual Village Halloween Parade.
It started out as a small Greenwich Village gathering in 1974 – and now the Parade has emerged as the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration. Last year, an estimated 100,000 people marched in the parade alongside puppets, musicians, and dancers – with an astounding two million spectators watching from the sidelines.
According to the Village Halloween Parade organizers – this year’s theme is “Reverie” (REV-ER-EY), which represents “that liminal space in which one creates.” The organizers also proclaim: “One thinks of Halloween as a chance to fantasize, but more than anything Halloween lets us realize, allowing us to play ourselves, and leaving the remainder of the year for sleepwalking.” The Village Halloween Parade is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership of the City Council.
This year’s Parade is also dedicated to the memory of Maggie Peyton who served as a Director of Arts & Culture under four borough presidents.
The Village Halloween Parade in New York City has a rich history. The Parade has won an Obie Award and been recognized by the Municipal Arts Society and Citylore for making a major contribution to the life and culture of New York City. In 1993 the Parade was awarded a major NEA Grant for Lifetime Achievement. In 1993 and 1997 the Parade was awarded Tourism Grants from both the Office of the Mayor of the City and the Office of the Manhattan Borough President for it’s economic and cultural benefits to the City.
Seven weeks following the tragic events of 9/11 Mayor Giuliani insisted that the Parade take place stating that it would be a healing event for New York. The Village Halloween Parade has been the subject of many books, scholarly dissertations, independent films and documentaries due to its position as an authentic “cultural event.”
NYC VIBE went behind the scenes with two of the Village Halloween Parade’s most legendary participants as they prepared for the 2016 event. Serra Hirsh is an accomplished puppeteer, voice actor and theater artist. Serra teaches prop building at the LaGuardia High School of the Arts, and leads workshops in movement, voice and acting. Every year in the Village Halloween Parade, Serra constructs a “human float” in which she incorporates herself into a particular “situation” This year, Serra’s costume is entitled INSOMNIA – She portrays a person in bed who cannot sleep and resorts to counting sheep!
Welcome to the Halloween world of Barnaby Ruhe!
Doctor Ruhe received his degrees in Shamanism and Art Practice – which combines psychology, anthropology, art history, phenomenology and art studio action. Barnaby was the senior editor of ART WORLD newspaper, and runs workshops at the Burning Man festival each summer, among other activities. Every year, Barnaby paints a work of art as he marches in the parade. This year Barnaby will assume the character of MOODANG – the female shaman of Korean Painting Spirits ….
Barnaby’s float was configured of seven foot high by four foot wide blank white panels which he painted while marching in the Parade …