Since 2006, SPARKcon has expanded on the traditional idea of a festival. Rather than a single focus, the SPARKcon umbrella embraces a variety of creative disciplines. With names like fashionSPARK, poetrySPARK and musicSPARK, the 14 various “SPARKs” that make up this free, four-day festival are flexible, fluid events following an open-source model: When new people get involved, they can either contribute to an existing SPARK or start their own.
SPARKcon runs through Sunday and is centered in downtown Raleigh, though a handful of events occur elsewhere.
filmSPARK’s short film showcase will be held away from downtown – outside Raleigh, in fact – at the Cary Theater. It’s free, like everything else, and will feature shorts such as “ Harbinger,” a live-action sci-fi tale shot entirely in North Carolina. Also this weekend, the 48-hour filmSPARK challenge is exactly what it sounds like: Participants get from Friday to Sunday to make an entire movie. While registration is closed, some of these impromptu filmmakers may be on the streets, cameras in their hands and bags under their eyes.
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theatreSPARK will feature street performers The Nickel Shakespeare Girls roving downtown Saturday. Their over-the-top slapstick performances hark back to Shakespeare’s original purpose – popular entertainment. Plus, they boast they can rattle off a 30-second performance of any Shakespeare play on request. Find them and test that claim.
comedySPARK features performers at King’s and the City of Raleigh Museum, but there will also be comedians riding the R-Line buses between 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday – all the world’s a stage, right? The R-Line comedy will be clean and family-friendly, but the evening stand-up routines won’t necessarily be.
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geekSPARK is about the intersection of work and play. This SPARK features oversized sock-em robots Friday afternoon on Fayetteville Street, multiple opportunities to check out locally designed games, and 3-D printer rodeos at the Red Hat Annex.
artSPARK requests – even requires – participation in many of their events. Some, such as the children’s photography event and Instagram scavenger hunt, will roam the streets, while others, such as CAM’s PARTicipate, will be immersive transformations of existing spaces. There will also be a selfie project – complete with changeable backdrop – on East Hargett Street.
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danceSPARK presents a giant Zumba party in City Plaza Friday night at 9:30. That’s a whole lot of Zumba.
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designSPARK will have architects and sustainability experts on hand at Fayetteville and Davie Streets, while Raleigh Greenway volunteers will also be there to talk about the extensive (and ever-growing) greenway system.