Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yahoo! LAUNCHcast gets hip

I was surfing around and stumbled on Yahoo!'s 'My Soundtrack' project.

What's that? Well, Yahoo! got trendsetters to share the tunes they're listening to...yah, yah...kinda boring, but wait, check who they have: Scratch Perverts, Fischerspooner, Paul Oakenfold and an interesting choice...'top fashion mogul ' Michael Kopelman.

"Michael Kopelman is the London-born owner and founder of Gimme5, the umbrella company that has been instrumental in launching some of the most wanted street culture brands into the UK and European markets.

"Uber cool fashion labels such as Stüssy, A Bathing Ape and Hysteric Glamour owe much of their popularity throughout Europe to his concepts, marketing schemes and design skills. Aside from this, Michael also runs some of the world's most respected urban fashion stores including the Stüssy Store, Foot Patrol, Hideout and the Bathing Ape Busy Workshop. A pioneer of street fashion and a hip-hop culture, Michael represents the very cutting edge of urban trends

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Anglo/American relations MySpace style

Oh my God, this is baaaaddd! And not bad meaning good!

I saw this interview on MySpace - and I though "has collaboration fever taken over?" This is a mash-up of new money from both sides of the Atlantic: a UK sports star and a US rap star. But to be honest, I have no idea who'd be interested in this dull crap. And what a combination...Rio Ferdinard and P.Diddy...ok, there were some sparks of something interesting, but this just wasn't compelling viewing.

What made me cringe was the vocab that poor Rio uses...he might be most expensive defender in soccer history, but it's like he's never ventured out of England...has he no idea that no one but the Brits will know have a clue what he's saying!? "I go down the pub...", "...down in the dumps". Oh, and why part 1 and 2?! Pleaase. Save us! Bollocks...but I had to share ;-)

Artist on Artist Part 2: P Diddy Meets Rio Ferdinand

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Korea's North/South divide: B-Boy politics

This is a clever little short video which is part of the Planet B-Boy film release. As Tribeca Film Festival machinery gets into gear I got an invite to the party in New York. Ah, to be in NYC in spring ;-)

Bboy soldiers

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This is England...Wow!

This nostalgic film I spotted on MySpace speaks for itself. It captures the pride and prejudices of the British white working-classes with the turbulent 1980s politics as a back-drop. I remember the Thatcher-era where her policies led to the weakening of unions in the UK, the sell-off of public housing and the Argentinian war. I don't remember much racism as shown in the film. I grew up with Indian, Jamaican, and English kids and in my school nationalist sentiments weren't tolerated.

Anyway, I think the 80s British who didn't like the way Britain was heading left...for places like Florida and Santa Monica. It's true.

This is England

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

London Police come to XLarge

Mike D's XLarge is still going strong in Silverlake. The upstairs section was a Grand Royal record store in 1997, then it later converted to Fat Beats, and now in 2007 it's been reborn as the Upstairs Gallery.

Until 10th May, the Upstairs Gallery is presenting a special London Police exhibition. I never quite understood the name of the trio...all I knew was there was an Amsterdam what's up with the 'London' name?! Well, Freddi C explained one of the founding members is from London...ahhh, I see said the blind man!

Anyway, that trivia aside, the clown-ish black and white characters pasted/painted by London Police are called 'Lads'. They feature heavily in this show, but I don't think that the canvases are strong - they seem to lack a real vision and execution finesse. The Chinese characters just look sad and haggard. There was nothing new to see here for me. Even the clean, strong 'Lads' looked shy in the Upstairs Gallery. May be London Police should've forgotten about canvases and just spent the time to completely trick out the gallery space like the collaborations in Japan. The Tokyo collaborative show pictures look really strong!

If you were at the Upstairs Gallery you might have got one of the limited-edition (sold out) cushions or t-shirts. The gallery will produce items for each show under the 'XLarge Gallery' label. Cool! I'm looking forward to the next one...

The Dutch are coming: Kirstin and Karin will be in town to see this show before it's kinda ironic for the Dutch to travel 5,000 miles and go see a Dutch art show. Umm...may be we'll skip it ;-)

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The O.C. representz...Hip Hop

I got word of a graffiti film screening at the Newport Beach Film Festival. The O.C.? No way Jose, unless I'm going to Westminster to have hot Vietnamese food and peek the smoking girls too ;-) I'll travel for Hip Hop, except on a school night, so I won't be trekking 51 miles :-( to Newport Beach from my yard. Tooo far.

Here's the film trailer:

The feature-length documentary was recorded over two years and follows the lives of four Los Angelean graffiti writers. The trailer doesn't really so the film seems pretty cliched on first watching. But, if the film delivers what is described it could be really interesting: Romoff and Gibbs seek to show the four artists from different backgrounds and the different paths they take to legitimize their art. I, for one, would be soooo bored if this was just another film about the angst of street graffiti writers and how they struggle against the system to express themselves. YAWN!

I transcribed this quote on the trailer - it really captures the misconceptions outsiders have about graffiti artists and the reasons for following the illicit path:

"You need to address what they are fleeing, what's home look like? What are the traumas that they're exposed to?...You wanna be able to address what they're fleeing when they're out on the streets at night writing on a freeway wall and what are they escaping when they're doing it?"

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Heart Throb art show

Heart Throb was a group show at Merry Karnowsky Gallery on La Brea which ended today. I was lame and didn't come here until today, even through it's about a mile from home?! Freddi C told me about the show opening, but I was busy so didn't get to go and meet Miss Van, but I *really* wanted to see her works - it has a Fafi appeal to it all, although it's much more sinister than sexy!

Miss Van sold a lot of her work at the show, including some large pieces at $18-28,000. Wow! I stared curiously and then lustfully at some limited-edition giclee prints (serie #1, serie #2) which were very affordable. I also time out to Google what giclee (pronounced zee-klay) prints are and whether they're worth the paper they're printed on ;-)

One of the other two artists at this show was Junko Mizuno whom Miss Van quotes as an influence on her own work.

Aiko Nakagawa was the third artist and is based in New York, and is probably better known as part of the Faile collective. As you can see, Heart Throb featured a strong female-empowerment theme.

After the show had closed Merry Karnowsky Gallery put this video on YouTube which features interviews with the artists.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

What's all this Parra stuff?

Kirstin told me about this show from Parra, the Dutch illustrator happening in LA. There was an earlier show in Miami for WMC last month, but as I didn't reach tonight was my night!

Ja and I hit Gill's Cuisine of India in downtown LA first for some curry ("half rice, 'alf chips!") before we ventured up to the swanky standard hotel, downtown. All in a good night's shennigans. ;-) That night all the hottest birds in LA fashion set came out and repped! Nice! (The video doesn't do the night justice as I caught the show at the end of the night...) But there was a complete roadblock outside...I eavesdropped on one cute girl saying: "we're going to the Golden Gopher...we've been waiting in line since 7.30pm!"

So Jason headed up to the front, dropped a few words and we got our wristbands sorted. Straight in mofo! ;-) Nobody inside was really into the art, but I was impressed best pieces were sold (Fuk You You Fukin Fuk). I grabbed some signed canvases that were on the Stones Throw DJs record box....whaaat? They were for the public...well, I think they were!? Hahahaa. I think that night Stones Throw got as much love as Parra...

Parra Biography:
"30-year-old Dutch illustrator and designer Parra has decorated the Amsterdam underground with his playful, bizarre graphics that span a broad base of themes, from introspective to audacious and bawdy. The mostly self-taught artist seems to channel a Vintage form with curves, yet with a decidedly modern, post-pop approach. His vibrant images, which feature a distinctive hand-drawn feel, can be seen printed on paper in various exhibitions around the globe, on a flyer for a club near you, on the sleeve of a record, on billboards and silkscreened on tees which has resulted in collaborations with the likes of acclaimed companies Nike, Etnies Plus, Zoo York, Heineken, Nirvana (Book Cover), Stones Throw, The Hundreds & countless others. Parra is represented by the London based agency Big Active. For more information, check out Rockwell Clothing."

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

B-Boy Party of the Year?

Nike held its 25th AF-1 anniversary party in New York...and a few other cities I hear.

This jam looks like it could've/should've been frigging amazing! KRS-One in the house! You know the invites for this would've been seriously sweated. Looks like only 250 people got to party that night...! But at times the vibe looked a bit lame (on YouTube)...not quite the jump off! That's what happens when things get too corporate...come on Nike do something brilliant!

But here's when the party started to get live...looks like it turned out ok...Rakim, KRS-One (and Kanye on stage...)

Addendum: I read in Vapors magazine that there were 400 guests in NYC on 10th December 2006 in Gotham Hall. The sneaker exhibition was designed by Sartoria Lab and a select few received Stash's award-winning AF-1. Nike has got a very cool website for the 25th Anniversary. It features the "Classic" video: Rakim, KRS-One, Nas and Premier...word! Ok...with the documentaries below it looks like Nike did something special here. I hate to say it...

...and the documentary. I found this one on YouTube...this is #1, there are 3 - collect them all! ;-)

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

yaris...fresh kicks

Ahhh, brands reaching out to the hip kids again. This time it's Toyota and its kinda lame-looking 2007 Yaris. I spotted this print advert on the inside back page of Vibe magazine, complete with the strapline 'yaris fresh kicks'. The reference for those of you who don't see it is Yaris is like a fresh pair of sneakers...but are they cool adidas or wack Pony?

I stopped buying Vibe magazine in the late 90s as it was way too commercial. Too many adverts. Too corporate. Now I'm getting it for free (don't ask) and I am looking at it in the same way. It's just a bunch of paid-for adverts and marketing collaborations. Yuck! Is this really what Quincey Jones invisaged when he helped found the magazine?

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A market of none?

DeBeers, Swarovski, Thunderdog...who? Thunderdog Studios is the latest marketing company to take its products from limited to exclusive, by not only restricting supply (DeBeers) or creating a membership structure (Swarovski), but also charging $300 every 6-months and restricting the membership numbers to match the limited number of toys made each season/collection.

I'm not a big fan of toys, but as I'm collector of trivia it's taken a lot of restraint! I only have some Hip Hop related toys (Cheech, Fafi...) One collector I spoke to had maxed out his three credit cards and taken out two home equity loans to fund his habit. "I've spent $200,000 on clothes, music and toys!" May be he'll be able to retire by selling his collection at some point in the future. Or it'll get destroyed in an earthquake or Hollywood fire. Shit happens, right?!

"P.S. MUTT CLUB RULES for all the new jacks out there..."

1. Joining the MUTT CLUB entitles you guaranteed access to all THUNDERMUTT releases within a 6-month period.

2. At the end of each 6-month period, you can renew your membership or step aside and let others join.
3. The membership fee will be $300.
4. Membership fee doesn't cover the actual retail costs of THUNDERMUTTS. The $300 is a membership fee only.
5. CLUB will be limited to 50 people per 6-month period. (My initial reason for this is that sometimes we only release 100pcs of a toy and we have to allow at least half to go to it seems like I have to cap it at 50).
6. Members are not obligated to purchase all MUTT releases.
7. MUTT CLUB members will get cool, extra stuff too for being so awesome. (Prints, stickers, maybe even exclusive color ways).
8. Membership is not transferable (i.e.: you cannot give your membership to someone else).
9. MUTTCLUB members get VIP access to all MUTT releases.
10. Membership fee in NON-REFUNDABLE.

11. MUTT CLUB would begin on April 2007 - and would end September 2007. There are also a few undisclosed releases between these dates.

12. MUTT CLUB is first come - first serve. When MUTT CLUB is open, the first 50 people to pay the membership fee will be awarded membership.
13. The opening of the MUTT CLUB will be announced through the THUNDERDOG mailing list and posted on the Kidrobot discussion board.
14. Members must purchase each MUTT within 30 days of it's launch. (We'd like to avoid people waiting until the end of the 6 month period to pay for everything at once...or people having a mutt on reserve, then months later deciding not to buy it.)
15. Purchasing a MUTT CLUB membership confirms that you have read, understood and agree."

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Game On, and on, and on

Back in 2002, The Barbican in London was hosting the Game On video game exhibition. Why do I mention is? I was thinking about it as I saw Inkie on the Secret Wars the Game On show all the Bristolians were there (with free tickets, of course ;-) I think it was me, Nick, Inkie (he was working for Nintendo) and I remember meeting Steve Earl and Banksy too...ah, were those the days?!

Well, I see that the Game On show is touring again (Alex and Shirls gotta go catch it!) In the 5 years since its debut it's toured the UK, US and Europe. Right now, it's in Australia. It was fantastic back in 2002 and as video gaming has become more ingrained in our pop culture it deserves another airing.

Kiki, remember the Atari nut we met in Berlin? He was cool...but a B-Boy nutter!

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