I am proud to present ¡WEPA! alongside Antonio Ocasio It's a celebration inspired by the spirit of "el barrio" and our Afro-Latino roots, creating that "the way it was on the block” vibe we experienced growing up as New York Latinos (Neoyorquinos).
Our soundscape incorporates the wide range of our culture’s musical wealth, blending Afro-Cuban, Latino Tribal, Orisha chants and straight up percussive rhythms mixed in with old salsa classics and other lovely sounds that live inside us… house music.
¡WEPA! pays homage to the music that influenced us as youngsters, and celebrates the newer music that echoes it. We incorporate the 'escuela vieja' traditions of a cigar roller, domino table, and tasty coquito. We carefully select and display a visceral experience including video clips of children playing under a ‘johnny pump’ on those hot summer nights, famous Latino musician jam sessions, and dance rituals of our ancestors.
Our interactive clothesline strung from the ceiling, live percussionists and all that Latino flavor invite your presence. Let us dance, laugh and drink the night away, the way it used to and ought to be!
A native New Yorker of Dominican descent, Joann’s profound sensibility of various cultures has allowed her to produce groundbreaking events within the Latino, Caribbean, Brazilian, underground art and dance communities for over seven years now. These happenings have truly preserved the traditional values of these cultures while engaging her audience in an educational experience that’s simply fun and inviting to be a part of. The authenticity of these events have brought together some of the most revered political and artistic leaders together in a provocative celebration of its shared African ancestry in various unique venues throughout NYC.
Her first involvement in the music industry was with the legendary party Body & Soul NYC in 1998. Joann wore several hats; everything from merchandise, design, promotion, management and administration. Eventually, she became one of the “people persons” catering to fans worldwide; whether it is shipping merchandise overseas, correspondence, accommodating performing artists and handling ticketing for two of the biggest parties known to take place at Central Park SummerStage (over 10,000 people attended both events). After attaining great momentum in her experience, creativity and popularity she was ready to graduate to a more self-expressive position while continuing to be a part of the Body & Soul family. She's actually designed at least 4 event flyers for them; you can check them out on her facebook or myspace albums.
Joann's debut as a curator found her in collaboration with Emerging Arts to assemble a stunning piece called "Metamorphosis: A Haitian Tale" which featured fine art, poetry and live musical performances direct from Haiti. Ms. Jimenez was immediately recognized for her rare self-taught conceptual talents and was asked to curate a solo show for Elanit Kayne called “Soft White“ at the Brecht Forum. Her uptown urban roots got to play an instrumental role in the success of her next show “GhettoFab”. A photo exhibition of spray can art by Jonathan Singer honoring the artistic excellence of Franco the Great, The Graffiti Hall of Fame, Fame City International, Lee Quinones, Tat's Cru, and Chico (The Mural King). Her now trademark boldness was exhibited in her anti-fashion show with Elanit Kayne during New York Fashion Week directly across the street from the 6th Avenue tents at club Show. The event called "Wear Me Out” was hosted by Mums from the acclaimed HBO television series OZ and featured installation artists Noah Baen and Paul Rhyand, Dixie Fun Dance Theater and was presented in association with LifeBEAT.
Considered a maven of the New York City’s underground house circuit, Joann has been one of this city’s key event promoters, breathing new life into a dance scene that had been suffocated by cabaret and club laws. Joann and her convivial crew of music lovers completely rebel with some of the most creative renegade parties New York has ever witnessed. Her unique style of multimedia club performances has inspired an entire generation of parties and was instrumental in the founding of “The Melting Pot NYC” which is still ongoing by its co-founder veteran DJ Kervyn Mark. It was at TMP that she staged the first ever dance event at the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café and began hosting some of the world’s top DJs. “At one of her infamous loft parties, the lights were low and people were dancing with such rapture that you could smell their sweet sweat perfumed by wafts of African incense. The space was on 27th street just above a hip-hop bar so loud that the City’s Taliban-inspired anti-dance zealots were sure to miss us upstairs letting loose. Then there was the music, simply unlike any I’d ever heard before.” -John McCormick, Flavorpill
After her very first trip to Brazil, she started a monthly event called ALMA with Brazilian DJs True and Miller Cruz in 2004. ALMA ("soul" in Portuguese) "All for the Love of Music & Art" is a new Brazilian collective that fuses live instrumentation with Brazilian grooves, house, broken beat, drum n'bass and other forms of underground Latin electronica. It has received nothing but rave reviews since its start and keeps growing. The idea is to feature the traditional sounds of Brazil, from samba to forro and incorporate all the newly inspired sounds coming from a new crop of musicians from Brazil and beyond. The party has featured Louie Vega and The Elements of Life, Joe Claussell, Osunlade, Rich Medina, DJ Afro, and countless others. This unique sound is captured in ALMA’s first mixed CD just released on Wave Music, the first in a series of three and the party continues to be the most successful at NY’s premier Sullivan Room in the West Village.
Ms. Jimenez’s stellar artistic designs can be found on t-shirts for Body & Soul, Wave Music and Deep Space NYC, worn by trendsetters and celebrity DJs worldwide. She played a critical role in marketing and promotions for Francois K.’s Wave Music record label also for over 6 years, and has done the same for Deep Space NYC (Francois’ residency at Cielo every Monday night) since it started almost 8 years ago. Her photography has captured the spirit of Francois’ critically acclaimed weekly and has been used for many international music publications such as BPM, Big Shot, International DJ and so on.
She also co-founded RAZA, which means race, with veteran promoter Benny Soto (Cielo/718 Sessions) and Carmen Valentin (Lo Mio NYC), in celebration of their Latin roots. Rodrigo Salazar of Impacto Latin News says, “It may be the only current party that will spawn an artistic movement or musical revolution, or both. It’s a mix of musical genres, art (often done live at the spot), dance classes, and whatever can bring forth something vital and new. A night club that spawns creativity seems crazy but that’s what they probably said about Cabaret Voltaire”. RAZA's past guests have included such seasoned performers as Luisito Quintero, Yerba Buena, Bryan Vargas & !Ya Esta!, The Welfare Poets, DJ Afro (Los Amigos Invisibles), Bobbito Garcia, among many others. This soiree, the only of it's kind in NYC's fashionable meat-packing district, has also hosted the 'still-talked-about' Fania record release party for the late-great Hector Lavoe with his nephew, Grammy Award-winning DJ/Producer "Little" Louie Vega at the helm. It’s one of the main reasons why Joann was nominated two years in a row as "Promoter of the Year" by the Undaground Archives Awards and was chosen as one of the “Unsung Heroes of NYC’s Nightlife” by Time Out NY magazine.
One of her latest projects involved one of her longest time friends, REDness - who is best known for NYC's dance staple party called "Soulgasm". When these two get together, it's like two kids running through a candy store with endless possibilities with a surge of creativity that no one can match. They started off with an all girls shindig called "Kitty Kitty Bang Bang". Their latest endeavor is the "Seaport Soul Series" taking place in the summer, every Thursday right on the South Street Seaport's boardwalk. They started it in 2008 and were called back again in 2009 to continue bringing their stellar line-up of some of the most well known and talented Djs playing Deep House, Funk, Soul, Classics and more. Due to the success of their collaboration there, they were recently called to host a few Saturday night parties on The Beach at Governor's Island.
Just recently Joann and Red along with John Davis (promoter of long-time, world-renowned New York City party "Body & Soul") got together to produce an institution that is already making a lot of noise called "Sunday Shoutin". As of October 2009 they've already accomplished their "3 Kings of House Part 2" featuring non other than Louie Vega, David Morales and Tony Humphries at Webster Hall. Sunday Shoutin' has brought out some of the biggest names in house music such as Barbara Tucker and Ultra Nate, who has unexpectedly has performed on-stage setting the tone of how it's all meant to be.
One of her dearest ventures was a cultural, spiritual and socio-political movement called "The Tribes of Humanity". This organization was implemented by her 'brother from another mother' and spiritual advisor, Maximvs Prophet. The Grand Gatherings are designed to promote awareness, unity, building community, empowering, informing, mobilizing and creating a culture defined by 'the people'. Their vision is to build a family of "Evolutionaries" and Revolutionaries who will aid in cultivating a culture of love and unity, bringing together families, communities, Nations and beyond. Their goal is to mobilize a coalition for change and hopes to uplift people on all levels. In October of 2009, they celebrated their 1 year anniversary with an event called "The People's Redemption" at the Centerpoint Yoga Studio in Soho with musical soundscape provided by DJ Yoko. They were one of the only groups that were able to pull off a real deal sweat lodge in a traditionally, man-made teepee in Brook Avenue park in the Bronx.
January 2010, one of the biggest catastrophes hit very close to her native home. She came together with Antonio Ocasio and Jephte Guillaume to produce “Song, Dance & Love for Haiti”. They successfully raised over $10, 000 for the victims and contributed the funds to “Doctors Without Borders”. They wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of their friends: Joaquin Joe Claussell, Sabine Blazin, François K., Hex Hector, Danny Krivit, DJ True, Jellybean Benitez, Louie Vega, Nicolas Matar, Willie Graff, Benny Soto and Cielo Club.
Her most recent collaboration is having joined forces with Antonio Ocasio (Tribal Winds) to create a monthly party called ¡WEPA!. This celebration concentrates on the preservation of their Latin and dance music heritage by combining the sounds of Afro-House and Latin Soul. Every month they come together and throw a bash with the motto "Welcome to El Barrio"... they incorporate live drumming, dominoes, a traditional Latin drink named Coquito, cigar rolling and amazing array of visuals honoring their culture. The decor and ambiance is best known for the interactive clothing line that they hang wherever they go.
¡WEPA! was invited to do two outdoor events at "El Museo del Barrio" in May 2011. The museum like it so much, they invited them to take over their summer music series - every Wednesday in July and August. Also in July 2011, they were asked to be part of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center outdoor summer music series event called "Sounds of the City". In September, 2011 this 'new found love' will be celebrating it's 2nd Year Anniversary and to top it all off ¡WEPA! she will be taking her Afro-Latin celebration up to Washington Heights (APT 78) where she was born and raised! It's all coming full-circle now. This collaboration with Antonio has just begun and it's already being marked as "the mecca of the Afro-Latin experience married to the underground dance music tradition in New York City."
Joann continues on a fulfilling path organizing events that bridge the gaps between ideals, cultures, generations and genres. Her events showcase artists of every ethnicity in fun, non-judgmental environments that audiences can't get enough of. She's also known for assembling the most eclectic groups of music lovers to dance under one roof since the better days of NYC. Joann's events often embrace various cultures and integrate them into musical celebrations where people of “all walks of life” feel at home.
This is only the beginning of another new chapter in the book of her life's experiences.
1998 – 2001 (Body & Soul NYC) Office Administration + PR + Merchandise Management
1998 – 2011 (Body & Soul NYC) Merchandising + Flyer Design + Party Décor + Promotion
2002 – 2004 (The Melting Pot NYC) Co-Founder + Curator + Promoter + Graphic Design
2003 – Present (Deep Space NYC) Promotions + Party Management
2004 – 2008 (ALMA NYC) Co-Founder + Producer + Promoter + Graphic Design + Programming
2007 – 2008 (RAZA NYC) Co-Founder + Producer + Promoter + Photographer + Programming
2009 – Present (WEPA NYC) Co-Founder + Producer + Promoter + Photographer + Graphic Design
Francois K., Danny Krivit, Joaquin “Joe” Claussell, Louie Vega, Bobbito Garcia, King Britt, Osunlade, DJ Afro (Los Amigos Invisibles), Rich Medina, David Morales, Tony Humphries, DJ True, MKL, Kervyn Mark, Jephte Guillaume, Hex Hector, Jellybean Benitez, Fania Records, Agape Ft. Nadia Harris, Erick Paredes, Manchildblack, Daniel Moreno, Elements of Life Band, House of Rhumba, Kalunga, Derek Santiago, Jordan Eagles, Brian Coxx, Ray Vasquez, DJ Sabine, Jihad Muhammad, Ian Friday, Angel Rodriguez (Slam Mode), Juan Valentin, DJ Eric Rodriguez, Ilu Aye, Welfare Poets, Kalunga, Boricuation, Camaradas, DJ David Medina, Bryan Vargas & Ya Esta, DJ Bless, Yerba Buena, Luisito Quintero, Wanda "Wepa Woman" Ortiz, DJ Ronzilla, Flaco Navaja, Oveus Maximus, DJ Curly, Charo, Anane, DJ Cuba, Havana New York, Chris Annibel, Joey Vega, Cyro Batista, Richard Vasquez, Tommy Bones, Josh Milan, Nicolas Matar, Willie Graff, Benny Soto, John Davis, Redness, Brian Burnside, Turntables on the Hudson, 718 Sessions, Barbara Tucker, Ultra Nate, Monique Bingham, Ruben Toro, Annette Aguilar & The Stringbeans, Tyrone Francis, Ian Friday, Ron Trent and many more...
Sullivan Room, Cielo, SOBs, Element, Pyramid, Bar 13, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Brecht Forum, Water Taxi Beach, Webster Hall, Governor’s Island, South Street Seaport, Knitting Factory
Current Work: Photography, Event Consultant, Event Producer, Branding, Graphic Design.
Who I'd like to meet: