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Art Prevails Project: Saturday Sessions, Fort Lauderdale (In Pictures)

OK, so let me just get this out of the way first. Yes, this is a post about my visit to Saturday Sessions in Fort Lauderdale this past weekend (more on that later). No, I really wasn't all that interested in attending Saturday Sessions, a community event that I came across on Facebook. What I was really looking for was somewhere I can try out a few vintage lenses I had just purchased; and at just under a 30 minute drive away and long enough (3 hours) to give all my lenses a good turn (not to mention free), Saturday Sessions seemed to be good enough for me.

Glad I got that off my chest. Now, let me tell you what Saturday Sessions is, yes?

Saturday Sessions is a community event held at The Megaphone, an outdoor area in North West Gardens in Fort Lauderdale. The event goes down every first Saturday of the month. The event, which celebrated its one year anniversary this past weekend, brings together up and coming artists for an afternoon of varying performances, local vendors and businesses. The event is presented by Art Prevails Project, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 arts organization committed to impacting South Florida and beyond by providing engaging and authentic artistic and cultural experiences through performance and education.

Got all that? Now back to me and my rather low expectations of Saturday Sessions.

The event takes place from 5-8pm and I arrived around 5:30pm (unwillingly accompanied by Mrs. Perez). Like I said, I wasn't expecting anything grand (I mean, it was a free event, right?), just looking to try out a few new lenses I had purchased. We clear on all that? Good. Because upon the event kicking off, the plot suddenly took a twist I damn sure wasn't expecting - the talent was...how can I put it best? Off the proverbial hook.

The event kicked off with an open mic spoken word session. Now we've all been to an open mic session and it's generally remiss of any real surprises. Not here. One after the other, they took the stage to speak or sing and I suddenly started thinking to myself, "THIS is amateur hour? Damn." I mean, that first hour was powerful.

By the time main performer Jernell Lee kicked off the second hour and set the stage on fire, I was feeling like the smartest person in South Florida. I gave Mrs. Perez (who I literally dragged there) the "I told you it was going to be good!" look a few times but she wasn't buying it at all. She was, however, digging Saturday Sessions as much as I was (and Mrs. Perez is rather hard to please). That she had a nice lawn chair to watch the show from didn't hurt.

And here's the crazy part. The event is FREE(!). I mean, if I had paid $20 to see this show, I would have not been disappointed. Before heading home, I went over and confessed my sin to Darius Daughtry, poet, playwright, director, educator and the Founder and Artistic Director at Art Prevails Project. He forgave me and told me to "go, and sin no more". I'm taking that to heart because this event here is one worth attending. I'll be back. Nuff said.

Here are a few photographs I shot at the event - and yes, my vintage Russian made Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 lens, Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5 and brand new Canon 85mm 1.8 (with Metabones Speedbooster adapter) all performed exceptionally as the following photographs will clearly illustrate...

Saturday Sessions

First thing first, Darius Daughtry, the Founder and Artistic Director at Art Prevails Project...

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions kicked off with a rap number by Gabriel De Los Reyes...

Saturday Sessions

Singer & spoken word artist Douglas Goodridge

Saturday Sessions

Spoken word artist Jadon Polydore

Saturday Sessions

Sara Pierce of Hollywood Hills H.S. reads a poem to her kids...

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Artist Ziya Muhammad at work during Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Singer Laudz Fenelus

Saturday Sessions

Hip-Hop artist Boi Dex

Saturday Sessions

Singer RejiƱa Wesby

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Comfy lawn chairs were a nice touch (Lord knows Mrs. Perez doesn't like to be on her feet for very long) and all ages were welcome...

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Bruno's Food Truck was on hand as was Sweetie's Italian Ice

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Singer Jernell Lee kicked off the "Featured Performers" set and proceeded to set the stage on fire...

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Gotta have a band and Saturday Sessions featured a very capable one...

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Next up was Hip-Hop artist Nylle Thebes accompanied by Boi Dex

Saturday Sessions

Crowd was into it...

Saturday Sessions

You can't have an outdoor community event without a DJ, right? That's where Echo Slim comes in...

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Some powerful spoken word by Maha Adachi

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Saturday Sessions

Closing out the show in grand style was gospel singer Byron Holton

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Visit www.artprevailsproject.org for more info or to learn more about this dynamic arts organization. And if you happen to find yourself in South Florida next month or any first Saturday of the month, stop by Northwest Gardens around 5pm and check out Saturday Sessions. If future events are anywhere as good as this past one was, you will not be sorry you came. Take it from me, I'm a believer. See you next month...

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Saturday Sessions is sponsored in part by the Broward County Cultural Division - you can learn more about them in this short video I produced.

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