Dig Baton Rouge

Pop!Smart art: Pop!Smart goes retro

The next edition of Pop!Smart is happening this weekend, incorporating a festival-like experience with aerialists, gamers, interactive arts, music, and more all under one roof for one night only.

According to Pop!Smart founder Neda Parandian, the event creates a platform for creative individuals to reach the general public by displaying their art and tech creations. Parandian encourages people to come out on April 30 to the Varsity “wearing your best headbands, side pony tail and to bring your thigh masters” because this is the retro edition of Pop!Smart Show. This will be the fourth edition of the series.

“I feel more confident now than ever,” Parandian said. “We have always focused on helping grow the culture of Baton Rouge by focusing on our artists.”

Throughout the evening, people can check out the gamer’s lounge where Level 482 Gaming will display a Mortal Combat Gaming Tournament. Indie Game Developers Patchwork Villain and Jetstreame will be displaying their up and coming game, “Cyberpunk Casanova.”

“Jay Chen who created the characters that were turned into animations in the game will show off his drawing skills by offering complimentary caricature drawings to party-goers,” Parandian said.

Air Seekers aerialists and comedy by Nam Vu will also be part of the evening’s entertainment. The lineup for music features DJ Matsy and house DJ Dat Bass Production. The opening band is the Plastic Aholes and taking center stage is ASKTHETHOMASBROS.

“We caught their performance at the Louisiana International Film Festival, and we are so excited to have them performing a RetroPop,” Parandian said. “The music at this show is going to be on point.”

Parandian has said her event has grown to the point where she started considering it as a mini-festival.

“Creativity does not happen in a vacuum, whether it’s art, tech or science,” Parandian said. “They all coexist, influence each other and interact. We aim to bring you an art, tech and science mini-festival with a dozen interactive and creative elements.”

Some of the featured visual and technical artists for the night include Mike and John Carambat and James Fails, who have won awards for their artwork at Comic Con. TedX speaker and Jim Henson content participant Barton Gilley will display his R2D2 alongside Clay Achee with his animatronics and puppetry.

“We also have an artists’ arena with an old school, live art battle between Marc Fresh, Patrick Tiek, Tex Anne and DLo,” Parandian said. “Party goers will have a chance to bid on their favorite painting created live at the event right in front of their eyes.”

This edition of Pop!Smart will also see the results of a partnership with the Unity Project.

“Over the past several months we crossed path with the Unity Project. This meeting of minds led to a partnership between Pop!Smart Show and Unity,” Parandian said. “The Unity Project’s mission statement is to unite communities globally to ensure that we instill the proper morals and values in our children by providing them the skills and resources necessary to succeed in life. Pop!Smart Show has partnered with the Unity project freeing up room for me to run the development of our mini-festival towards a progressive Baton Rouge.”

Parandian hopes this festival continues to grow with audiences gaining a raw connection to the performers as “the arts, culture and tourism help create economic growth for Baton Rouge.”

“I am just showing that you can fuse science, art and technology with music, dance and culinary and it’s a great ingredient for a festival,” Parandian said. “The end result is to draw tourism into Baton Rouge and step up to the plate to be known for how progressive we can be.”

Advanced General Admission Tickets are $8 and $10 at door. Advanced VIP Tickets are $15 and $20 at door.

Photo courtesy of Neda Parandian

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