Photo by Leticia Gomez, courtesy of Ronnie De Leon. Furcast performing with Sydney Wolford’s dance team at Night Dive in August.
The 21st Night Dive at the Aquarium of the Pacific will mark the first-ever New Year’s Eve celebration at the ocean conservation-focused nonprofit.
It was in 2010 that the aquarium began hosting Night Dive events, intending to reach out to a cohort of people that wouldn’t normally visit the educational oceanic attraction, said Night Dive Coordinator Omar Campuzano.
There have been five Night Dives this year that have arguably been a handful of the aquarium's best so far, as the institution continues to reach out and solidify connections to Long Beach’s community of artists, musicians and promoters.
“One of the things that we focus on when organizing Night Dive, is that every event should be different and memorable,” Campuzano told the Post.
Now, with The Prognosis on board, the brainchild of Long Beach creatives and housemates Ronnie De Leon and Mike Becerra, De Leon said he’s focusing on pushing Night Dive past its initial draw—drinking and being able to wander the aquarium at night, post-normal visiting hours—into more of an ongoing music festival in its own right.
“[...]I bumped into a guy who was describing his time at the Night Dive in August while watching local band Furcast,” said De Leon. “[He] was thrilled by the ballet team, and the rapper and singer collaborations of the band. He said that it wasn’t just a show, it was an experience.”
“In a sense, we like to think of [The Prognosis] as an escape channel for people,” he said. “Our objective is to be an organic, ever-changing web of art and culture that represents Long Beach.”
The Prognosis was brought on to help curate the live music at Night Dive through a chance encounter at 4th St. Vine when De Leon ran into Daysmel Muniz, an education staff member at the aquarium. Muniz recognized De Leon as “the guy who threw a music festival at The Airliner,” and asked if he was interested in helping him out with the booking.
“[...] Before I knew it, I was booking my favorite bands at one of Long Beach’s greatest attractions,” said De Leon.
For the past few Night Dive events, and the upcoming December New Year’s Eve event, De Leon and team have been given full music booking responsibilities, after volunteering in June and July when Muniz was showing him the ropes.
The New Year’s Eve lineup includes The Buttertones, who were recently signed to Los Angeles-based Innovative Leisure, an independent record label in which Long Beach’s own Tijuana Panthers also holds a place. The five-person high-energy rock outfit recently played to a sold out Midnight Mass at The Packard in early December and are set to play at Noise Pop in San Francisco in February.
Angela Ramos, Paloma Banuelos and Jerico Campbell started BomBon in 2009, an all-woman surf rock band based out of San Pedro. The trio opened for the 5,6,7,8s back in August and will be taking the stage at Night Dive. The dance-inducing Yanga, the melancholic Nico Yaryan, Wild Wing and Chola Orange are all set to play in the aquarium’s Great Hall starting at 8:00PM and continuing into 2017.
There’s also Miraj 8, whose members are set to perform, as well as nine other artists, including Mu$ty BoYz, throughout the aquarium’s varying galleries. The group includes the singer/songwriter from local experimental R&B-jazz outfit Furcast, Johann Carbajal, a 13-year-old Pow! Wow! School of Music alumni and drummer Semaj Warmsley, lyricists MHCL and Rahspect, lyricist and producer Abbey Barnett, singer Alex Jean and De Leon himself as producer/director.
Carbajal said he wouldn’t describe Miraj 8 as a band, but more of a channel for the group to express themselves, and is looking forward to the unpredictable elements of the performance.
“[...]One of my favorite things about playing is that you can’t tell what one beat from the next will feel like, be like or sound like,” he said. “But we all go with it[...] it sounds like what we feel.”
Don’t forget to check out the digital art by Becerra in the Ocean Theater, and of course, be there for the confetti countdown to the New Year by Long Beach’s own Jewels as Master of Ceremonies. Over 2,000 are expected to attend on Saturday, so grab a ticket before they’re sold out!
“I hope [attendees] walk away with insight, knowledge of this great music scene and culture that is flourishing,” said De Leon. “The aquarium gives us the opportunity to see creatures and worlds we would not regularly be able to see; I would like to do the same for people who do not go to shows.”
For set times, tickets and more information, visit the Facebook event page here.