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.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

MC Battle, LA-style

After a fairly routine week at work, Friday night needs a boost. Hmmm. How's about a hot-damn MC Battle in downtown LA? Yea, that'll work!

I headed down to Little Tokyo to check out how LA does it. And yes, some heads busted lyrics in Spanish...crazy! And no reggaeton! Hate it!

Check the video clips. Love it! Yea, it's a bit long, but it's worth it!

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Love Galo...Happy birfday, meenng

Mr Galo is an all round LA B-Boy who gets love. And, you gotta big up a man that has his girl fan club turn up to his birthday wearing 'I heart Galo' vests. Now, that's love :-)

Thanks for the invite Make One...and yes, I did get a goodie bag! Lovin' it!

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Splasher, a modern day 'Spit'?

Do you remember 'Spit', the hater who ruined graffiti pieces in the film Beat Street by spraying the word 'Spit' over the mural? He was inspired by a real-life 'vandal' called 'Cap' who was featured in the 1983 documentary, Style Wars.

Classic 'Cap' quote from Style Wars: "There's two styles of graffiti that are trying to, you know, co-exist with each other. But it ain't gonna work like that. Blood Wars, buddy. Blood Wars."

Ironically 'Spit' inspired a hundred imitators and even a cool line of clothes from New York-based, Acapulco Gold. Love it!

Splish Splash So, in today's NYC there is a 'Spit' type character, known ominously as 'The Splasher'! The Gothamist wrote: "Over the last few months, someone has been splashing paint over major streetart works all over the city. The "Splasher", as he's come to be known, has a taste for targeting major pieces by Swoon, Obey, Momo, and others. His trail of paint-dripped terror extends from Williamsburg, to Soho, and back again-- and he's already obliterated dozens of pieces."

This comment from one of the boards sounds like an episode of Carrie in 'Sex and The City', but it made me smile: "I was in LA over the weekend, and saw some street art splashed in the same exact way depicted in these NYC pics. Is "the splasher" bi-coastal?"

So what's it all about?
Splasher has a written manifesto which he prints and pastes at the scene of the 'crime'. There are a series of statements with titles like "Avant-Garde: Advance Scouts For Capital", or "Art: The Excrement Of Action". But, each one comes with standard wording at the end: "Warning. The removal of this document could result in injury as we have mixed the wheatpaste with shards of glass." Pure evil!

So what do I think? Yes, wheatpasting and stenciling is getting out of hand and as is the transition from street to art galleries (again); yes, online art forums are too easy to get published on and gain instant fame...but to 'Splash' someone's work? Too much!

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Keith Haring...still #1

I noticed that the Keith Haring store on Lafayette had closed when I was in New York in June 2007. It was a real landmark for me as it's always there, from my first visit to NYC in 1988 till my previous visit, may be in 2004.

Here are a couple of videos I hadn't seen before as a tribute to Haring.

I drove down to Long Beach to buy these adicolor Keith Haring/Jeremy Scott sneakers. There was a jacket too covered in Haring characters. Too loud to wear, but when did that ever stop me buying stuff?! ;-)

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Art Is Capitali$m

eBay has a lot to answer for! Look at this, an opening eBay bid of $0.99 for a program that was given away free at the Antony Micallef show was hyped up into a crazy frenzy to $2,650!?

fatmudflapgirl( 10) US $2,650.00

o***n( 87) US $2,600.00
o***n( 87) US $2,400.00
o***n( 87) US $2,050.00
k***p( 13) US $928.00
k***p( 13) US $819.00
1***1( 40) US $499.00
r***2( 51) US $100.00
d***t( 1338) US $25.00
c***_( 675) US $2.00
Starting Price US $0.99

I think that the buyer/s were confused as to what they were actually buying. The item wasn't misrepresented so I'm not sure whether there is any claim for the winning bidders to fall back on. Once they pay, that's it! Legally binding deal. Eek!

"I received a couple of questions about the details of the catalog. It's a glossy thick stock catalog that has every piece shown in Los Angeles. This includes a thumbnail and $ amount for each piece. The cover is a Peacekeeper image only and can easily be framed. Thanks"

My eBay nightmare...fakes and mis-selling! (or in this case mis-buying). Ok, the seller's use of the word 'catalog' is a bit was really just a 4-page program...and actually, his message on his posting was misleading...there isn't a every piece in the show including a's just a thumbnail. Man, $2,650! Yikes!

Oh, watch out for my eBay items....yep, that's my photo from my listing. Great value!

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Brits have invaded...again

It's Brit Art Day today...well, that's what I call it. Rankin and Antony Micallef. Both Brits and both in my neighborhood, although Rankin is a photographer and Micallef is a painter.

I dragged Sue and Raychel from Venice to come to see these shows. Rankin's photos at the Fahey/Klein Gallery were a bit risque for an afternoon with two girls in tow, but I had a good time. These photos are amazing close-up at that size. Attention to detail and creative execution is perfect.

His models included Kate Moss (one-time girlfriend), Helena Christensen and Heidi Klum, who actually looked out of place in the show as she was too cheeful. This wasn't a smiley kinda show. But the celebrity wasn't what made the show. Take a look at the photos and you decide.

Micallef is a completely different animal. With paintings that are reminiscant of Banksy's work (look at Peacekeeper) it's not surprising to learn he's represented by Steve Lazarides. Buffmonster first mentioned him to me. Then Nick mentioned his's an artists thing to know who reps which artist, I guess. Things fell into place then.

You can see the marketing and some guerilla tactics that made the LA opening of 'Impure Idols' in a temporary venue on Hollywood Blvd. the talk of the town: "Expect hipsters at the exhibition this weekend, which will probably draw a similar crowd to the one at Banksy's much-talked-about downtown happening last year. (Jude Law and Michael Stipe are just a couple of Micallef's fans.) If any works are left to purchase after this week's VIP opening, they can be had for $30,000 to $240,000."

With a collection of work that includes charcoal sketches (which point to his training as a portrait artist) paintings and contemporary silver statues, that are more pop art, it was interesting to see a 'range', if not a cohesive theme. Did all this deserve all the hype?! The paintings were priced at $30,000 - $240,000. The silver angels brawling statue was sold for $500,000 to the Osbourne family...yes Ozzy the Brummie has an art collection?! If you wanted a replica they were available for $45,000.

Comedy Store
Micallef's pop art is laughing at capitalism, and surely the price tags are part of the statement/joke. Yet I find myself getting swept up in the hype.

But I'm having the last laugh as I exhibit in my gallery...eBay. ;-)

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

These kids stole my skillz!

"Can you teach your Uncle Stevio?"

Can you believe DJ Sara is 8-years old and Ryusei is 5?! Love it!

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Stronger, Faster hand puppetry!

The ingenuity and perseverance of this vlogger comes through on his video. It starts slowly, but when the lyrics come into play...IT'S ON!

1 min 45 secs
You will gasp at the dexterity and flow of this guy (and it's definately a guy thing). I was, and *am* awestruck by this video. Thanks to Kesh for hipping me to this. It's a little bit of sanity in this mad world...or sometimes a bit of madness in my sane world! I know you get me!

I hope this fella gets famous and a little richer from doing this crazy, arty, delicious video! ( might want to turn off my jukebox below before watching the vids.)

Rankin' Set Speed gets better (Harder...Faster, Stronger)! Daft Hands does it 'drum and bass''s ill!

For you trainspotters who need to know the tune is by Paris' Daft Punk and sampled by Kanye West. There I go again...another Kanye and LV link. Daft Punk and LV are from Paris!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Murakami x MoCA x Barney$ New York

Museum of Modern Art, LA
But I'm looking forward to the Murakami show at MoCA Downtown LA. The last show I saw was at the Serpentine, Hyde Park, London in 2003. Hopefully the LA show will be a larger and a more comprehensive collection. May be with some video installations as featured in the Venice Biennale 2001. That was a great, great holiday organized by TYP for the family. And the contemporary art wasn't bad either, except this journalist kinda hated it in his long, but very entertaining article:

"...In San Marco, too, a waiter will not answer merely because you call. First he must walk around the other tables, then he must open his little calf-skin wallet and rearrange some slips of paper in it, then he must notice objects in the sky he has never seen before. But in the end, once the decision is clearly his and not yours, he will come. He will. And in the meantime, at least, you can listen to the orchestra playing Strauss."

He also noted how commercial the Biennale was. Yes, may be that's why I liked it...Absolut exhibitions and Louis Vuitton rooms featuring Murakami acid trip animations. See it here. It's cute, it's menacing, it's Murakami! Or as the Brits like to say: "naughty, but nice..."

"As seen in Venice, Italy": Murakami anime

But commercial art has taken a step further. The MoCA show curator, Schimmel, has added a LV boutique?! Jeez. All those LA beeatches are gonna be in full effect. Hmmm..."Uh, Can I get your digits?" Hahaha!

MoCA vs Barneys New York
Officials say the store is necessary to convey Murakami's work, melding commerce and art. "People have touched base with the play between the commercial arena and high art, but this is a little more confrontational," MOCA Chief Curator and show organizer Paul Schimmel told the Times. Schimmel said a museum mock-up of Murakami's commercial items would not have worked. "I felt that the experience could only be achieved by having an operational one, rather than a fixed, embalmed replication".

"One of the key elements of his work is the way in which he melds commercial practice and fine art and really makes no distinction between the two," MOCA Director Jeremy Strick said.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kanye vs Fiddy...

I don't care who outsells whose album, or who's gonna retire because they lost the battle for sales. Nah! All I care about is the artwork Murakami did for Kanye. But, that wasn't such a 'genius' idea really when you think about it.

The breakdown: Murakami & Kanye
Let's work backwards: Kanye loves LV ("Louis Vuitton don"); LV loves Murakami (one year brought in an extra $300m); Murakami is Japanese (where 75% of LV's customers live); Murakami was brought into LV by Marc Jacobs who's American. Kanye is American! Okay, the last bit is bollocks, but you get my drift ;-)

Snob? Moi?
I think this might be the start of the end for Murakami...Louis Vuitton bags was a biggie with some real trashy designs, but a Billboard album cover is big-time crossover. I'm not cool with it...sorry! But, I'm not missing the point of Murakami's work...I know about his at Kaikai Kiki factory. It's just that I'm a snob. There, I said it! ;-)

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dexter hits the Internet

Dexter cleaned himself up and came out of rehab for this video on UK rap!

If you know anything about UK rap, you know about Dex and his crew The Brotherhood. For the trivia heads out there The Brotherhood was produced by Trevor Jackson of Underdog and Playgroup fame and signed to Virgin and had 2 albums released.

I met Dex through Nick 'Apish Angel' Walker back in 1987 at the Moon Club in Bristol and we all went to a Wild Bunch vs. Soul II Soul soundclash jam later that night. You can hear some of that jam on DJ Milo's Wild Bunch CD.

Man, dem were da dayz! Dex was the only dude wearing a red Kangol Bermuda Casual hat. Word!

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Seen hits Paris

I am excited and sad at the same time. Seen is launching a book covering his legendary portfolio of work as part of the United Artists, a leading graffiti crew in New York City. Seencity will be at the uber-chic Colette store in Paris Sept 14-30th, 2007.

That's gonna be the bomb, but I'm far, far away. And the Parisians are...pah! However, I am dreaming of traveling ~ it's once in a lifetime. Here's a pic of Seen in Long Island in 2004 when I met him. Ol' skool, babay!

Seen, NYC x Colette, Paris

But why the Gwen McCrae tune in the background mix?

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

alife LA opening party

The alife party was in my calendar this long Labor Day weekend which Kirstin in Amsterdam hipped me to. Thank goodness for the Internet! So, I cut my BBQ session in Brentwood short and headed back to my 'hood to check out these NYC lads come good. What was I in store for I wondered?

Here's some trivia: did you know this holiday signals the end of summer? Man, tell the heat that. I was 105F in the Valley with a cooler, but scorching 99F in my neighborhood. Yes, may be this time I should've checked out Santa Monica for the legendary cool breezes!

Cheap luxury
alife was featured in Boost Mobile's film on the so-called Retail Mafia ~ a group of movers and shakers revolutionizing retail and pop culture in LA and NYC. The ARC (alife Rivington Club) sneaker store in the LES of New York is cozy and decorated in an old boys club kinda way. So, what a surprise to see the bare, white-washed walls and the merchandise boxed in behind plastic walls: T-shirts $40, baseball hats $50, shoes $200, sweats $100, hoodies $150...

It looked cheap, like Ikea meets a garage sale. No luxury in the shopping experience, and worse than a trip to Ross, Dress for Less! Ironic style may be? But methinks the jokes over, although for some it's only just begin. You won't see me wearing this stuff, but forgive me if you see me selling it on eBay.

West Coast Hip Hop
The highlight was seeing DJ Muggs from the Soul Assassins and Cypress Hill playing old skool tunes. Paul Revere, anyone?

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