A man of many colors

Weehawken performer sings, dances, and flags in the name of community

Weehawken performance artist Mykel (pronounced Miguel with a ‘k’), also known as Michael Dicus, describes himself as a hard working personality who finds solace in being unique.
A database administrator during the day, Mykel sheds his business persona after hours to become a lively entertainer who does everything from belting out dance music and “flagging” (a form of dancing with colorful flags) to crooning rock and blues while playing the piano.
Originally from San Francisco, in 1989 Mykel moved to New York City to attend American Musical and Dramatic Academy on a whim and a prayer.
“It was absolutely frightening,” said Mykel. “It was a culture shock; I didn’t know how I was going to make it here.”
Working two jobs (at The Gap and telemarketing for the Metropolitan Opera) while training for his craft, Mykel eventually found his way.
Within a few years he was performing in national tours, cruise ships, and Off-Off Broadway experimental theater.
“Looking back, if I hadn’t just thrown myself in with the sharks I don’t think I would have the resilience that I have now,” he said. “I’m really tenacious, I think I’ve just developed that muscle.”


“I really feel like entertainment needs to give back to community and entertainment also needs to tie into education.” – Mykel

And “developed” he has – 2010 has been a banner year for the artist. Mykel was featured in “A Flow Affair” (a documentary on the art and history of flagging), is in the process of beginning his own organization for young artists, and was 1 of 400 acts in the most recent season of the popular reality competition “America’s Got Talent” to make it to the taping session of the show, beating out 70,000 others.
Though he didn’t make it all the way through the competition, Mykel said he developed even more resilience and learned some life lessons that he’ll take with him on the next part of his journey.

From blues to business, and everything in between

Mykel found a passion for performance during his high school years after he quieted an auditorium of tough teenagers with his rendition of the ballad “All Cried Out” by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam.
He’s admittedly a man who “does it all” – from his professional life to his performance life. He credits his diverse interests to his upbringing, learning rock and blues from his dad and getting a dose of soul from his time in gospel choirs.
As a flagger, three years ago he took to making his own colorful props when he got frustrated trying to find someone who could create the flags he envisioned for various gigs.
“I took it upon myself to learn how to make them,” Mykel said. “There’s a lot of freedom there.”
In addition to making them for himself, Mykel also began accumulating a small customer base of other flaggers who find him online.
And every order, he said, comes with a bonus – a free flagging lesson.
“You should know how to fly them if you buy them,” he said with a laugh.
But selling colorful flags is not the end of his business acumen. Mykel has a bachelor’s degree in business and economics which he is using to help the next generation.
In an effort to give back to community, Mykel is creating “Eec!” (which stands for entertain, educate, community). The organization will utilize entertainment and community projects to bring arts to youth in underserved communities and provide an outlet for expression.
“Arts education is an ongoing, chronic problem in this country,” he said. “I really feel like entertainment needs to give back to community and entertainment also needs to tie into education.”
Recently, Mykel worked with youth from the area for the Jersey City Pride Festival during which they joined him for a flagging performance.
“Flags give the kids a way to start [expressing themselves],” he said.

What’s next

After performing at a variety of Pride festivals and parades throughout the New York City Metropolitan Area over the past few months, Mykel’s next planned performance will be as an opening act for a show at Webster Hall in mid-October.
He’s also preparing for his own show, “Mykel’s Kashmir Nirvana,” on Nov. 13 (location to be announced) which will be a showcase of his various works.
As for recording, now that he’s made his mark on the dance music world, he’s planning on getting back into rock and blues with his next project.
For updates on performance dates, locations and more information, visit www.mykel.info.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at ldiaz@hudsonreporter.com.

Weehawken – ‘The best kept secret for artists’

Weehawken has recently become a burgeoning home for artists of many genres who have made their way over the Hudson River from New York City.
After visiting a friend in Weehawken, Mykel (who has lived in Weehawken just over a year) said he was immediately sold on a new hometown. “I just fell in love with the area,” he said. “It was really that simple.”
With “more space to breathe,” a sound engineer for a roommate and a landlord that practices competitive ballroom dancing, Mykel (who had lived in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ for over a decade) said he found Weehawken to be the perfect place outside of the “chaos” that he works in everyday.
“I think Weehawken is one of the best kept secrets for artists,” said Mykel. “I have been so much more productive up here.”


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group