By Derek Obregon
Music, food, art and good vibes from all around; that is the feeling that embraces you at the Pomona Art Walk as people from all walks of life gather to share a common bond and love for the arts. It seemed like everywhere you looked there were different kinds of art on display for your listening and viewing pleasure. Some had video game-inspired paintings with three dimensional visuals in the form of classic Nintendo controllers while others had paintings that were both big and small. Sculptures and photography (both digital and film) were present and an impromptu band or two appeared in the street. A special space was dedicated to the artistic works of local kids who attend a high school dedicated to exploring and expanding the arts.
There were photos, sculptures, paintings and more that I must say were surprisingly good for being done by teenagers. Minus the high school gallery, it seemed like boozing it up was a common theme for the night. Some people murmured about house parties while others wanted to party at The Fox Theatre (which blared electro and dubstep when I passed by), and I even heard rumor of a rooftop party! Although all of those sounded tempting, my plans were already set; I was attending the ReFresh 4 Year Anniversary party at the DBA 256 Gallery Wine Bar.
It is a local event that tries to create cultural awareness by playing music that people might not hear on their everyday night on the town. It was made possible by Beats of All Nations, which, as the name suggests, uses beats from all nations to get your body moving. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this event or if I’d even like it since I feel most at home in a dive bar, but I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
As I walked in the door my eardrums were greeted with the familiar sounds of Bob Marley, so I immediately felt welcome. One of the first things I noticed was that there were comfortable leather couches lining the walls with a few tables here and there, but the seating is very limited. The ceiling is high and vaulted while the walls are divided between brick from the view of the bar and white walls with artwork on display by the stage and dance floor.
The art was small, but it was also affordable with some selling for only 10 bucks! The sounds of Bob Marley continued to play as I found out about the great selection of beer and wine (which was a reasonable price) from the fast and knowledgeable staff on hand. As I further took in the sights of the venue, more and more people filed in and the music went from mellow to hip shaking in an instant. I’m not exactly sure what you’d call it, but a mixture of funk and soul with traditional African drums dominating the beat got people to the dance floor. The sound was very unique and people seemed to really enjoy it.
Some free desserts were passed around and then the hips really started moving when the Cumbia/salsa/meringue beats came on. One of the coolest things about the music played by the DJ’s was that it combined traditional sounds and instruments from around the world effortlessly with modern beats and the latest sound systems to create fun music that meshed together nicely. I think it was around this time that an artist started making her own masterpiece with brushes and a glass of wine amidst the sights and sounds of this intoxicating atmosphere. Both old and new hip hop accompanied her painting and dominated the rest of the night until I left around 1 a.m.
I have to give props to the DJ that threw on some Gang Star . . . it is rare to hear him on something that’s not my iPod and it made my night that much better! And one last thing, I suggest using the restroom before you enter 256 or going to a different bar to relieve yourself because this particular venue had one stall per gender and I swear I’ve seen shorter lines at Disneyland.