Jacoti Sommes rolled up to our interview on the miniature bicycle he's been riding since he was six, a pink boombox strapped to the front handlebars.
The spray-painted ghetto blaster was one of dozens of portable stereos he has been plucking from the city's thrift stores in anticipation of an event Saturday night that will blur the line between party and performance art.
The Boombox Parade Party started as Sommes' daydream last year. A founding member of brilliantly bizarre musical theater troupe Hugs & Kisses and drum-and-bass outfit Ill Atmospherics, he wanted to rally a wide range of people who shared his desire to keep Columbus creative.
"Everybody who ever starts to make it, it seems, they do their thing, they blow up and they take off," Sommes said. "I'm here for life, man. I want our scene to be here."
His solution: A mob of sonic marauders armed with stereos blasting the same song, injecting a jolt into the heart of Arena District nightlife.
The hosts of WCRS radio show The Beat Oracle compiled a mix for the unison tape decks, while the technical wizards in the CLOUDHAUS art collective will ensure the boomboxes can rock in unison. And anybody who wants to participate is welcome.
It's going down at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, when Sommes and company will assemble by the I-670 overpass near Goodale Park and march their way to an afterparty at Mynt Ultra Lounge. The ordeal will be filmed for posterity by filmmaker Brian Zahm.
Sommes called this a trial run for what he hopes will become an annual event. Future tweaks will depend in part on turnout - and how people in the Arena District react.
"I know they'll be staring," Sommes said. "Hopefully they'll be bold enough to walk up and join the parade."
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