Drag opera singer, French horn quartet to perform in Gowanus Canal to ‘get out the vote’

Drag opera singer Shequida Hall will perform at the Fourth Street Basin of the Gowanus Canal on Oct. 23.
Shequida Hall

An opera-singing drag queen will sing from boats on the Gowanus Canal Friday evening encouraging Brooklynites to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Julliard-trained chanteuse Shequida Hall and the French horn quartet Metropolitan Horn Authority will serenade from the Fourth Street Basin of the noxious canal as part of “Boat for the Vote,” a maritime extravaganza on Oct. 23 aimed at encouraging folks to cast their ballot as early voting starts the following day on Oct. 24, according to a local canoe club captain.

“We’re looking to have a great evening of arts and encouragement to get people excited about voting,” said Brad Vogel of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, which is hosting the event alongside the artist-activist collective Wide Awakes Navy.

The latter group previously hosted nautical excursions for democracy with dozens of vessels in the Newtown Creek, the East River, and the New York Harbor.

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Look what a huge impact boats in the New York harbor can make!  Especially when they don’t sink 🤪! ⚓️ THE WIDE AWAKES NAVY – Vote By Boat Nationwide Action Sunday Oct 4th, 2-4pm          (rain date: Oct 11th) ⚓️ Fellow Amphibious Americans ⚓️ The time has come to save democracy with democracy.  Welcome to the Wide Awakes Navy:  A nationwide action and seaborne spectacle that NEEDS YOU NOW.   And your art, your music, you skills and talents.  Also your boat. ⚓️ The Wide Awakes is a decentralized, people-driven, arts-based activist network, originally birthed in 1860 as an abolitionist organization whose actions and events helped get Lincoln elected.  And we are all now members of its modern reincarnation, simply by sharing these words. ⚓️ Our goal is to flood the waterways with boats, banners and flags, letting people know they gotta get out there and VOTE this November.  For real.  So make it loud, make it fun, make it good.  Good messages for bannering include:  VOTE. EYES OPEN.  FASCISM SUCKS.  VOTE=VOICE.  Things like this.  And whatever else you think gets our point across out there on the water.  Also, the EYE is the Wide Awakes unifying symbol and makes for great flags.   ⚓️ Here in the New York Harbor, we will be meeting up near the Statue of Liberty.  Please consider that your journey from wherever you begin to the Statue might lend you the most public live visibility of the day in regard to making a spectacle from the shore, so be sure to have your boat decorated, your banners up and your energy high. If you are in a vessel that is too small to make it to the Statue…wherever you are is where you make a difference.  And pass this message on to friends, groups and boaters that will share our enthusiasm for kicking ass and taking names this November.  Also, send word out to your boat friends in other cities and states.    Comment here if you want to get involved! ⚓️ GET OUT YOUR BOATS.  AND GET OUT THE VOTE. ⚓️ #wideawakesday #votebyboat // IG: @WideAwakesNavy // wideawakes.com ⚓️ See Facebook Event link in bio for Route & Safety Information

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The singer accepted the invitation to perform from the heavily-polluted channel, if that’s what gets people to exercise their democratic rights.

“The things I’ll do to get y’all to vote,” Hall said.

The French horn quartet Metropolitan Horn Authority will join the canal-based blowout.Metropolitan Horn Authority

A flotilla of boats and canoes will gather at the basin from 6-7 pm with banners and live art painting in the water and on land.

Organizers recommend attendees watch the free waterborne blowout and bring along their own signs from the shore at the Gowanus Whole Foods esplanade, the Third Avenue Bridge (not to be confused with the nearby Third Street Bridge), or the parking lot at the foot of Second Avenue near Sixth Street.

The organizers ask all audience members to wear masks and maintain social distance due to the pandemic, but they also encourage them to share videos and photos of the event with friends and family across these United States to build enthusiasm for the vote.

“Boat for the Vote” at the Fourth Street Basin [Third Avenue and Third Street in Gowanus, reserve tickets at www.gowanuscanal.org/boat-vote] Oct. 23, 6-7 pm. Free.