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.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Love eBay...

So, I found a dope hooded sweatshirt from Ed Banger. Big money.

In fact, the most I've ever spent on a single sportswear garm'..."but it's rare", I kept telling myself, "and chic webstore, 'We Sold Out', has sold out!" Anyway, with even the simple white t-shirts going for $70+ on eBay I thought the price I paid was fair.

Then I stumble across a place selling the t-shirts (no sweatshirts) for $30. Hmmm. Looks like a lickle arbitrage is gonna happen here. So, I get 2x t-shirts (medium and large for variety). Genuine, certified...but going straight on eBay!

One 'Buy It Now' offer came in at $95. Love it!

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Obama vs Clinton

Hollywood came to a stand still tonight as the Democrats had a fisty cuff aka the Democratic Debate.

Reuters reported it so I won't try to pretend I watched it ;)

"Just by looking at us, you can tell we aren't more of the same," Clinton, a New York senator who would be the first woman U.S. president, said at the final debate before Democratic nominating contests in 22 states on Tuesday. "We will change our country."

Obama, an Illinois senator who would be the first black U.S. president, said their battle for the Democratic Party's nomination in November's presidential election was a testimony to the progress of the party and country.

"We have the opportunity to make history because I think one of us two will end up being the next president of the United States of America," Obama said, sitting next to the former first lady."

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Masta Ace comes correct...

What you know about Masta Ace? Come on, yes, he was part of the Cold Chillin' Records' 'Juice Crew' and rocked the mic on the anthem, 'The Symphony'! Whhhaat?!

So, even though the rain was pouring outside I jumped in the motor and hit Hollywood with Jason. Masta Ace was with his new crew called E.M.C. (Punchline, Wordsworth and Stricklin) for their first Los Angeles show. Alongside E.M.C. were LA crews Blu, 5th Element, Concrete Guerillas and the very Californian-style MCs, Thirsty Fish. See their G4 TV performance below. I got myself a CD. Word. Represent!

This was real underground hip hop. The love in the crowd for these guys was visible and live. No violence, no hassle, just good vibes and music. And Jason and me representing the old men B-Boy crew. Hahahaha! We were out past midnight on a school night?! :)

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Bronx is calling!

I'm in NYC on February 9th...did no one hear?

So, why is Joe Conzo holding his book launch on the 6th? Why are the hip hop legends Afrika Bambaataa, Mare 139, Fabel, DJ Theodore, Cold Crush Bros.' Tony Tone and Grandmaster Caz and LA Sunshine gonna be there without me and my Canon camera?


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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Brits invade Culver City (aka Scion Installation gallery)

Tonight the urban artists of Britain came to Culver City courtesy of Scion, the hip marque of Toyota.

Jason, Britt and I were there to see the 'Special Relationship' show of 12 artists curated by Scrawl Collective's Rick Blackshaw (and long time associate of our mate, Nick Walker, aka Apish Angel, who's coming to LA for his own show starting February 2nd. Expect to read more here soon).

Do you like the paparazzi pic of Britt and me that I got from a party website? Hahaaa.

'Special Relationship' This is a poke at the US/UK relationship..."our government likes to think it has some influence over yours but they are the only ones who believe it. There is though another special relationship that has thrived since the post-war years and that's the cultural one. Music, TV, Film, Literature..."

Tonight's musical backdrop by The Gaslamp Killer was the perfect choice to pair with the ecletic mix of art on display: the rib cage guitar installations by Dave Walker, customized Dirty Harry screenprints by Ryca and, my favorite, paintings by Dead Hoxton Girls.

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Seventh Letter crew hit Santa Monica, CA

I got an invite to see an art show in Bergamot Station from Sue as her Italian artist friend, Mauro, was in town. On my way through to unit G2 I spotted something that was under my radar...Seventh Letter crew!? Waaat! Who forgot to tell me the hypest LA graff crew had a show?

Here are my photos of the night at the Robert Bergman Gallery, but you can find more Seventh Letter work permanently hosted at Known Gallery.

The LA Times article said that the curator, Brett Aronson, wanted to retain the raw nature of the Seventh Letter Crew's work by making the installation like a train station tunnel. In my years of gallery watching, graffiti art ceases to be street graffiti once it crosses the threshold of an art gallery, which is no bad thing. The whole point of exhibiting in a gallery is less about bringing street art fans to a gallery (unless you're MoCA or LACMA), but to introduce street art to traditional gallery goers. To begin to legitimize it.

Street culture feels guilty when it dabbles with 'the establishment'. Those that can navigate that boundary have done very well for themselves and the culture they represent (Futura? Slick? Stash?)

Think big! To be honest, I thought these pieces would've been better in a larger space. Although they were designed to be big (six 4x4 foot panels) the work seemed ill suited to this small-ish gallery environment. May be it was that train tunnel claustrophobic concept coming in? Thinking big was also on the minds of the artists when it came to pricing. I know the rep of this crew is high, but $3,000 for a panel or $16,000 for the complete work is too much for the real fans come collectors of this work. I can only compare to the 'Rust in Piece' show Stash and Slick did last year which was more reasonably priced considering the innovative execution.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Mountain Dew gets fresh...CRE8


I had my eyes open this morning. Driving down Melrose I spotted a step-ladder and a couple of people with aerosol cans. Definately a photo moment. So, I jumped out of the Audi and grabbed my camera.

The mural project I caught in action is part of Mountain Dew's competition to find new design for its cans. The painters had one of the winning entries and were immortalizing it on this sponsored graffiti wall (well, it'll last for a few weeks, I guess). The only reference I could see online was this competition for its new aluminium ("ah-loom-in-umm") bottles, which is the same kinda project, except it seems more aimed at professional artists or designers.

I chatted to the artist, CRE8, from South Central and caught some of our conversation on video for you to check out. Whatdya think of the camera work? Who needs a union? ;-) As well as the commercial mural company, ICArt, he paints for he has his own projects. Check out CRE8's MySpace page.

Here's some skoolin' on LA's graffiti scene in my video interview...Enjoy.

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An audience with Tony Blair

My fave discount ticket website told me that Tony Blair was speaking at the Gibson Amplitheater, Universal Studios. Wow...that'll be cool!

Ok, in the spirit of full disclosure :) let me say I'm a fan: I've spoken with Cherie 'Mrs. Tony Blair' Booth on the phone in the past and was invited down to 10 Downing Street to do some techie stuff with Psion in 1997. That was cool.

Back to 2008. Apart from the many friends of the American Jewish University, it seems I was the only one who thought this would be fun! My English friends didn't come; my politicking friends working for the Mayor didn't come either. Who needs 'em when Blair was self-effacing and humorous. Great evening.

Top Six Tonight, Blair outlined the six issues that he believes need addressing:
  1. World poverty
  2. Africa
  3. Climate change
  4. Immigration
  5. Global economy and trade
  6. Getting China right (and India too)

Call me sometime What made me laugh was that Blair admitted he never had a mobile phone whilst in office. Imagine 10 years without a moible phone?! During his time in office he just borrowed people's phones or was handed one when a call came, "It's George on the line...".

Blair told a story about his first day as a cilivian and his first day with a mobile phone. He texted his good friend "Hi, how are you?". His friend's mobile didn't have a an entry for Blair, so it displayed the message from an unrecognized telephone number. "Sorry. Who is this?", came the reply text. Blair thought: "it's only been 24 hours and everyone's forgetten who I am already?!" Very funny tale!

Protester...9/11 conspiracy. Is Tony Blair really being investigated by Scotland Yard?

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Limited Edition Nike Air Jordans? In your dreams!

I'm in trouble...I just remembered a dream I had. Something about a guy pointing out I was wearing limited-edition Nike Air Jordans.

"Yea", I said in my dream and pointed to the sole, "it glows in the dark", I said, "and the weave upper design is kinda cheap, so why were they so expensive?!" I asked.

Jeeez! I think it's a warning sign ;) I need sneaker rehab!

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ooh La La!

Stevio in Paris not Paris Stevio in Paris not Paris

Folks, I was saving this French smoking ban story
so I could link it with my trip to Paris...except my trip to Paris didn't happen 'cause the boss vetoed it as he considered it excessive travel for a 2-hour meeting. Now, I tried my best to overcome his objections...I even got the France office manager to pay for my airfare and the hotel, but in the end I gave up even though I could've made it happen as the boss would've scowled. Little did he know my plans for a visit to Colette dept. store and a club or two! Hence my persistence... ;)

So I "took one for the team" and will now get up at 2am tomorrow (11am Paris time) to take part in the meeting on the phone. Bah humbug! But, the show must go on so here's the "A Smoke-Free France" story.

"On a gray January morning in Paris, Sebastien Jauny huddles against the door of a café in the rain, shivering in his long black overcoat, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. The ban on smoking in restaurants and bars has been in effect only one day, but Jauny, himself a manager of a bar a few doors down on chic Boulevard Saint-Germain, is already fed up—and freezing.

"It violates human liberty," Jauny exclaims, not to mention the timing could have been better. England, for instance, chose to put its new antismoking law into effect in sunny July. "But it's a good thing. Normally, I smoke three packs a day. Yesterday, I smoked only 10 [cigarettes]".

Mobile phone ban In California, there'll be a ban of another sort in the summer, but just as traumatizing! Hands-free mobile phones in cars?! Gasp - yes, how will LA drivers manage with time away from the phone during the long commute?

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

CES 08 is here...

These girls of CES look like they're built in China, but they're as American as, uh...MP3 and 1080p (I have no idea if that's right, but it sounds cool ;) ) even if the brands that they work for are Taiwanese (Creative) and Japanese (Sony Electronics).

At this year's show, I was registered as "qualified press" (is there such a thing as "unqualified press"?) courtesy of Yankee Group. And with that I got a few extras for my troubles (CES backpack anyone?) But, it was a tiring trip 'cause I drove the 270 miles from LA to accommodate a colleague from work. Urgh! Folks, that drive takes 4 1/2 hours *each way* and I was driving solo 'cause the dude didn't have a US license yet! Crap! Man, cruise control helped me stay out of trouble with the law....set it for 77 mph and c-r-u-i-s-e!

New gadgets What were the highlights for me, apart from the young ladies? Hmmm. Sony's OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TVs that are 3mm thin?! Testing all those mobile phones? Or seeing the Ion U Record analog to digital converter gadgets (made by Numark, UK)?

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Las Vegas...Let off some steam!


Saturday, January 05, 2008

25 mins @ AT&T Wireless + Asia roaming = $57

I don't like surprises, especially when it comes to cash money...So imagine my expletives , I mean expression, when I saw an additional $57 on my mobile phone bill! You *know* I was on the phone complaining!

Yes, I know I didn't tell AT&T Wireless to send all my calls to voicemail when I was in Asia. Yes, I know overseas roaming is extortionately priced. No, I didn't remember that a phone call that goes to voicemail in Asia is the same as receiving a roaming call! (Did you really work for Vodafone?) Lesson learnt! Now, pleeease can you reduce my bill?

AT&T Wireless rep: "As a courtesy, one-off gesture we'll remove $57 from your bill..."
Me: "uh, ok, thank you"
AT&T Wireless rep: "...before you go, if you were to rate AT&T Wireless' customer service between one and five, with five being 'excellent', how would we score today?"
Me: "Is that a trick question?" Hahahaa.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008..

Here's my formidible "To-do List". Not all of it will happen, but God willing! ;-)
  • Get a job with a Greencard
  • Move to New York/San Francisco/Hong Kong
  • Start the condo project
  • Visit Sandra in Shanghai
  • Visit Chris and the family in Portugal
  • Vacation in Hawaii
  • Get my Porsche Cayman
  • Honeymoon in Thailand ~uh, aren't there a couple of missing pieces ;)

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