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Queens Chronicle

Try cubist face painting and an olive oil treat

Bird sculpture, browse art and bust your Bollywood moves at LIC Block Party Saturday

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Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012 10:30 am

Dance, shop and find your inner spirit animal at the LIC Block Party.

Artist Ben Weber’s spirit animal is a moose and he will be taking block party revelers on a “Superfun/d Speed Date.”

“Participants and I will all be embarking on a sort of art date where we’ll get to know each other, find our spirit animals and use them to protect ourselves for the impending end of the world as we know it, as per the Mayans,” Weber said.

During the walking speed date, eight participants will hold hands and use applied theater techniques to try to form a meaningful connection before the world stops spinning. But until then, they will have lots of fun on Sept. 8 at the free event hosted by the SculptureCenter and Purves Street Block Association, a partnership between residents and businesses to improve life in Long Island City.

And the speed date stroll through the artsy center of LIC is just one on a long list of attractions that abound on this one-block swatch of the neighborhood.

Balloons will be twisted into fantastical creatures and carnival games will be played. Free Style Art will help guests create a temporary sculpture, Jesse van Buren will read futures as divined by Tarot cards and Stephanie Dodes will paint faces — but this isn’t your average neighborhood association party, so these won’t be typical glittery tulips and airplanes.

“I’m rolling with the theme of cubism,” Dodes said. “It’s going to be hilarious, because kids will want a butterfly, but I’ll be doing shapes and colors.”

Dodes, as a video and collage artist, likes to play with the idea of new age medicine — on one hand she thinks the notions are ridiculous, but conversely if one believes in it enough it works, she said. In the past she has experimented with crystals in her paintings and on Saturday, before imparting a cubist masterpiece on someone’s cheek, Dodes will read the guest’s energy. From the reading she’ll pick three colors to use.

With a face that only Picasso could love, participants can shake and shimmy during the LIC YMCA’s exercise intermission — a dance routine that blends traditional Bhangra dance steps with Bollywood moves like those seen in the film “Slumdog Millionaire.”

On stage will be a borough-based jazz band, mariachis and more interactive performances and DJs to groove to. The SculptureCenter has curated a selection of affordable and functional art and quirky objects to browse as well.

And once individuals have worked up an appetite they can head to the Block Party food court for tasty treats including olive oil ice cream created especially for the SculptureCenter by Malu.

“They wanted a white ice cream like raw materials,” said Jennifer Ducek who co-owns the LIC ice cream shop with her husband, Sergio Garcia.

Malu partners with many businesses in the neighborhood — creating a shiraz rocky road for the Taste of LIC, a tomato basil ice cream for Alobar’s tomato festival on Sept. 3 to 9 and a lavender mascarpone for Floresta, a neighborhood flower shop.

With so much to do it should be a good time for everyone.

LIC Block Party

When: Sept. 8, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: SculptureCenter on Purves St. between Jackson and 43rd aves.

Tickets: Free, sculpture-center.org

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