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, February 28, 2008

RZA does a workshop

Thursday night and I was doing laundry ;) I knew RZA was at Guitar Center, but I had no idea he was doing a workshop on production skills and technique! Word! Back in the day I had my Akai S900, S1000, Atari Cubase...things have moved on, but remain the same!

RZA's lesson for the night "Ahhhight...How many minutes was that? 10-12 minutes, nah mean that was just us f#@king around but you got your audio, ya got yo midi...the shit you wanna get into your muthaf#@king Moog shit..."

Love RZA!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tell the Truth, ni**a

Love this video...tooo dope!

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Old skool hip hop never dies, just multiplies

I went on a treaure hunt tonight as I was editing a story for my crew's music blog, SEEN. It was a post about Malcolm McLaren's "Buffalo Gals" video which featured so much old skool hip hop culture it hurt!

Still ghetto During my (additional) research I found some amazing factoids and mixtapes. One website had a bitter sweet message..."Sorry to say that the webmaster is in jail so there won't be any new posts for at least two years. Yours sincerely his mother." Old skool hip hop never dies. Still ghetto!

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Where were you in 1992?

Did I say I am obsessed with a girl named Vashtie? Well, may be I'm over it now, but she's done a lot in her 23 years and next time I'm in NYC I hope I can hang at her club, 1992. Yep, I'm gonna bust out my satin adidas baseball jacket and big ass glasses and drink Red Stripe and Tennants Brew (it's an English Jamaican ting, 'ear me?)

This old skool thing has been brewing for a while. First, there was the Retro Kids, then the Cool Kids...what next? The New York Times (who sacked like 100 journalists this month) published a piece about the whole revival thing happening in New York with a feature on a club called 1992.

Why is it called 1992? Well, it's inspired by a song lyric from UK's very own M.I.A. who asked, “where were you in ’92?” on her recent album.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Loved this London story...Hoxton, Shoreditch

The contradiction that is London.

"First there are too many trendies, then too many suits. It's too scruffy, it's selling out. It's so over, and then it's the place to be.

Like a self-contained model for fashion in general, nothing in Shoreditch ever dies; it just gets reborn with a twist.

Money bought all the flats in Hoxton Square and that was the end of that. But then the kids hit the 'hood and the game was back on. To and fro, back and forth, the irreverent needle of cool swings."

Read more at Urban Junkies.

Hit me on my Beeper If you wanna catch some east London vibes check out my man Sinden's "...Beeper" video. Finally being released on a major label. Word.

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Old skool...directed by Va$htie

Have you seen Vashtie's video for a Kanye West mixtape tune called "Us Placers" sampling Thom Yorke's "The Eraser". Of course, I did a bit of a search as I heard she's hoooot ;). I found a few pics online and this Armand van Helden video. Inspired by old skool hip hop the video features an adidas Run DMC sweatshirt I have in my collection and adidas remixed last year replacing the word "adidas" with "Power" - why I have no idea!? My adidas, yo! Love it!

Apart from directing videos, Vashtie's day job *was* creative director at urban record label, Def Jam, where Jay-Z is CEO until he retires that post to go back to being an artist and entrepreneur. I read that she's given that up to do videos and stuff. (I also read that she's no longer seeing Pharell). Of course I've linked to her blog and MySpace.

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Belly of the Beats, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

Last night was the one year anniversary of the "Belly of the Beats" competition. It's where producers bring their beats and basslines and face the crowd to see who wins the ears and nodding heads.

Check out my videos of the talented LA producers rocking their CD masters. Listen to Sirah, one the dopest female in the game who can definately hold her own on stage, and MC Stamina. Talent is alive and well in LA! (Sorry about the lousy vocal sound...probably where I was filming from :( )

Belly of the Beats


MC Stamina

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Portishead is coming to Cali...

Watch out for the new album, "Third", coming on April 28th. H-U-G-E!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Living in Hollywood has its moments. The Oscars are coming to town on Sunday, 24th (do they ever leave?) so Hollywood and Highland is closed as the staging is prepared....a full 5-days ahead?!

Yawn I pass it on the way to work. I pass it on the way home. There's nothing glamorous about that ;)

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why New York is better than Los Angeles

Part One

Remember when Urban Outfitters came to your town? What about when Muji hit your High Street? Hmmm. Well, we in LA are bored with H&M now. I'm waiting for Uniqlo, that Japanese store jam packed with clothing essentials, like cashmere jumpers for cheep, cheep!

Hurry the hell up! Those cardigans are killer. I want them in all colors!

Love this customizable advertising website too.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Racapture the Rapture, 2006

I'm pained to know I wasn't at this event
! L@@K: Debbie Harry, Lee "Lee" Quinones and Fab 5 Freddy! Ol' Skool hip hop reignited!

The Deitch Gallery is now on my 'watch list'!

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Swoon floats her boat in Los Angeles

Swoon is an oddly masculine word even though it conjures up images of fainting women (as they fall for a man's charms?) The 'Swoon' in this post is the prolific New York-based wheatpaste artist. Tonight was *her* first solo show (I only know she's a female cause of the photos I saw online) in Los Angeles, at the New Image Art Gallery.

Drown Your Boats If you wonder why she named her show "Drown Your Boats", it's because she's part of a (weird) group that have been called 'boat punks' who construct their own boats using salvaged materials and then sail them!? I saw lots of salvaged, weather-beaten wood panels in her show and also how she has incorporated her canoe pastime into her art - one of her canoes is the centerpiece of her LA show. Still weird!

I read that Swoon's canoe (no dirty jokes pleeease;) ) will leave Troy in upstate New York in August and be paddled to New York City over a period of weeks. Sounds like fun. Not! Once it arrives it will form part of an installation at Deitch Projects. I've never heard about the Dietch Gallery, but it hosted Swoon's first solo show in New York in 2005, along with a show with Steve Powers in 2005 . But the biggest discovery about Deitch Gallery I'm saving for my next blog.

Critical Beatdown
I'll leave the details of Swoon's art to the 'Cool Hunting' blog where I found lots on info about her show:

"Over the last several years Swoon has been covering the doorways and walls of the streets of New York and other cities with her delightfully detailed wheat-paste cutouts that, over time, become part of the cityscape. Swoon says, her images “are an x-ray of the person and the place where they live and the things that have seen in a day, if there is a way to record that.” She has images of kids playing, pigeons flying, people talking all done in her lyrical style. One of the highlights of the show is an image of a lady (it could be a self-portrait), who has a spine made out of fish bones that turns into a mermaid’s tail and hair that conceals skulls. As with most of Swoon’s work, looking closely rewards the viewer with hidden details."

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Happy Year of the Rat!

I arrived during a major cold spell in the Big hit -5 celcius on Sunday night like the Weather Channel promised! Yep, and it snowed on Sunday during one of the Chinese New Year parades I visited!

Flushing, Queens As soon as I arrived at JFK I headed over to Linda's (from Venice, CA) place and woke her up ;) After a cup of joe and a pastry we headed quick-step to Queens to see the start of the New Year parade. Naama (from The Valley, CA) was still in bed but we all met up later.

One parade wasn't enough, so on Sunday in the bitter cold Nicolette (from Silverlake, CA) and us went to Mott St. Chinatown to see some more revelry. Well, the parade was long gone after our leisurely, carb-filled breakfast, but the folks were still enjoying the noise and confetti-throwing opportunities!

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My trip to New York

I was excited to read the story about some recently 'excavated' old skool graffiti in New York's SoHo district. "Wow! I need to see that", I thought to myself, so I jumped on Farecast and patiently waited till fares fell to $277 (on Virgin America, baby!)

Bust my bubble As I was eagerly reading about the graffiti, I found an article entitled, "Writers of the Lost Ark", which was posted as a comment on NY's Paper Magazine blog. Although it didn't put the dampeners on the trip for me, but did put it all into context:

"Is anyone really interested in the ‘mystery’ behind this ugly and hilarious artifact? Because there’s no mystery at all. Everyone who scrawled on it is alive and well and willing to talk - but few of us are (or ever were) graffiti artists. The 80’s were an era of ‘fake it till you make it’, so we might give 1 or 2 poseurs a pass here, but the only legitimate exception on the ‘151 Wooster Street Mural’ is Lenny (futura 2000), who got up (note the clean background) well before any of us came over to Edit Deak’s and pretended to be ‘writers’ for an evening or two.

If a legend exists concerning this mess it is one that’s been actively hyped by a number of respectable people, no doubt with the best of intentions. Since hype is the dope of today, we might forgive a group halucination, at first. But I know that an email naming each artist and spilling the beans on Jean-Michel’s perfect absence was forwarded to Lisa Denisson at the Gugenheim well in time to head off the howlers that are now everywhere in print. What hapened to those beans? And what do we actually have here? Fragment’s of a lost Basquiat? Francesco Clemente’s only graffiti? The birth of Graffiti itself? Why not the lost Amber Room of Catherine the Great? Certainly the truth will devalue this treasure

Full disclosure Read the full story to see whether Basquiat's work is actually part of the graffiti discovered and who else is "up" on the wall (or not)! I have no idea who Seth Tillett is, but he's obviously a 40-something hipster from back in the day ;)

VIP, baby If you couldn't make the opening, like me, here's the video. Love the soundbites - bag o' shite!

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Monday, February 04, 2008

RIP: Tony Silver, ace film-maker dies

One of the dopest graffiti documentary film makers, Tony Silver, died today. I saw the LA-based film-maker speak on a panel at MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in August 2005 for the screening of his films, "Style Wars" and "Style Wars: ReVisited".

The original Style Wars captured by Tony Silver and Henry Chalfont in 80s New York and is the essence of *real* hip hop. Silver's film takes you back to a golden age of hip hop before G4 jets, "Jacob The Jeweler" bling watches and quick strike Nikes. This was a New York City that was governed by Major Koch, where the Guardian Angels patrolled the subways and where graffiti artists (aka vandals) painted "whole cars" (top to bottom) and transformed the New York subway system into an rolling art gallery that would fetch millions now. Style Wars: ReVisited was Silver's addendum project that fast-forwarded us 20 years on to see the lives of the artists through personal interviews and outtakes never seen before.

Thanks Tony for bringing Seen, Dondi (RIP) and Case (legendary graffiti artist with his "Computer Rock" style), Ramellzee (artist and MC) and Crazy Legs (Rock Steady Crew, b-boy) and many, many more to my TV set!

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Apish Angel lands in the City of Angels

Tonight is Nick's, aka Apish Angel, solo show opening party live in Los Angeles' Carmichael Gallery of Contemporary Art in Hollywood.

It was a bit of a roadblock, with a buying frenzy over his (signed) posters and tongue-in-cheek stenciled canvases. I loved the take on the four US Presidents' heads (Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota)...replacing George Washington (1732-1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) were Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Spears, and Paris Hilton.

I wondered how the prices would translate from GBP to US$...very favorably (for Nick and Carmichael) with pieces fetching up to US$35,000 price tags :). I met some Israeli collectors who came out to support and pick up some unique pieces from the show.

News fresh off the press
Nick is featured on the cover of the UK's Independent on Sunday newspaper 'Art and Culture' section. Nice one, Nick! Brisssstol!

Nick Walker: The existentialist
"The late, great director Stanley Kubrick employed Walker for his final film, Eyes Wide Shut, to recreate graffiti along the streets of New York. "It was the worst style of graffiti; it had to look as if it had been done by crack-heads," says the 39-year-old.

Walker never trained at art college. He started his career as a graffiti painter, writing on the streets of Bristol. It was when he moved to London that he started to work on feature films.

For Judge Dredd, the Sylvester Stallone vehicle, he studied Hebrew and Japanese letters to come up with a futuristic style.

He still works on the street but does not consider himself a graffiti artist. "I'm just an artist," he says. "That's how I make my living."

There is an existential flavour to his art. "The whole thing with graffiti is that it's about making your mark, leaving something behind," he says. "We are here to create."

He uses images of butterflies, because they live for only a week, to depict the fragility of life. "These butterflies shed their colour before they die," he says, mournfully.

Not that his work is always so serious. His Moona Lisa, for example, is an image of the Mona Lisa showing her bare behind to the viewer."

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Asian Hip Hop Summit..."K-Town Stand Up!"

Who knew there was such a thing? And it was on in K-Town (Koreatown) on my birthday weekend, yet I wasn't invited?! Man, these Asians really stick to themselves ;)

Next year, I'll be there in full effect.

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