Galen DeKemper is on a mission. "I want skateboards to be perceived as the best thing ever." Better than sex, heroin and Jesus. Step one in his plan? Putting on Placementality, a festival combining skateboarding with food (vegan burgers), beer (Sun King) and music (Oreo Jones, among others) to be held Aug. 4 at Big Car Service Center. And it's all free, with any donations being kicked right back to Big Car.
DeKemper and his partner-in-skateboarding, Mike Block, came up with the plan about a year back. "Mike has been collecting wood for ramps for years," DeKemper said, adding that "Jim Walker, the executive director of Big Car, helped us by giving us free reign and seeing our vision very early on." The plan is to set up ramps both inside the Service Center building as well as in its community garden. Skaters will be able to weave in and out of indoor and outdoor spaces, with some of the outdoor asphalt having been repaired by Block to ensure a smoother ride.
Skateboarding may be at Placementality's core, but Block and DeKemper have expanded the event in an effort to, as Block puts it, "unite the subcultures" that inhabit the Lafayette Square area. Along with all the skateboarding events - including a free ride and opportunity to take lessons - the event will feature art and video by skateboarders, produce from Green B.E.A.N. Delivery (the event's official sponsor) and music by a diverse sampling of bands, from Best of Indy emcee Jones to Fountain Square bands Learner Dancer and Crys.
During the day, Placementality is geared more toward families and beginning skaters, with Rise Skateboard Shop providing rentals and reduced prices on purchases. "People who don't skate perceive it as something done in the skatepark," Dekemper said. "We want Placementality to show skateboards as an object more integrated into the Indianapolis transit environment."
A movie screening and discussion panel about skateboarding inside the gallery space will follow through the afternoon, followed by free ride time geared at more advanced skateboarders, then choreographed skating until the light fades.
"I'll gauge the success of the event by how many people I don't know," Block said. "If it's all people who're my friends or who I've seen around, that's cool, but if it's a bunch of people I've never seen before, that would be the best."