A couple in their sixties waltz down the 2000 block of Hollywood Boulevard. The man spins his wife spontaneously through the crosswalk. A passerby joins in and tries his tenor on the audience. A few blocks away, artists set up paintings on the sidewalk and thirtysomethings groove to the innovative sounds of instrumentalist Michael Bianco. Not a surprising sight for a Friday night in downtown Hollywood, which has become known for its eclectic offering of music and dining, but it's not Friday or even Saturday. It's Wednesday, otherwise known as "hump day."
"I've been promoting downtown Hollywood for over ten years because I have always seen it as this quaint, funky, artsy town with so much to offer," says event coordinator Chrystal Hartigan. No stranger to the South Florida entertainment industry, Hartigan has spent the past 12 years promoting thousands of music acts, concerts, and festivals throughout South Florida. Hollywood Hump Day, which started June 6, runs every Wednesday until August 29. The free event fills the normally tranquil streets with music, art, and poetry. The festivities take place from 8 to 10 p.m. throughout the downtown Hollywood area with sidewalk musicians and artists along Harrison Street, Hollywood Boulevard, and at Anniversary Park.
"The idea was to give people something to do on a Wednesday night," says Rita Gambardella, president of the Downtown Business Association, the sponsor of the event.
One of the featured acts Wednesday, July 4, is rock-and-blues band R.B.S., aptly named after its members: Rudy Heuberger, Bruce Memoli, and Scott Engerer. The band plays a combination of improvisational blues instrumentals and blues and rock covers. Hump Day participants can expect to hear tunes from the blues-rock canons of Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. After six years percussionist Engerer and bassist Heuberger have become fixtures of the local music scene, performing as a duo and with the likes of Dave Hlubek, founder of Molly Hatchet.
But Hump Day is not limited to rock and blues. "By the end of the summer, we will have brought in over 80 acts from West Palm Beach to Miami, and our attendees have ranged from teenagers to senior citizens," Hartigan explains. Usually at least six groups play simultaneously. Participating musicians of note have included keyboardist and pop singer Katherine Farnham, a former backup singer for Celine Dion, and Billy Livesay, who plays with E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemmons -- music to the ears of people looking to get over the hump this summer.
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