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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mix it up...Grandmaster Flash competition

Strut Records in the UK released "The Official Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash" mix in 2002.

Now, Strut is back and promoting the new 2009 ishit. The brand new album is entitled, "The Bridge: A Concept Of Culture."

To celebrate Flash is giving upcoming DJs a chance to get "flash to the beat"... you can download two tracks and include them on a 30 minute DJ mix that gets judged by the man himself! DJs can use the FREE, fully functional TRAKTOR PRO demo version (downloadable here.)

And the winner is
...prizes include a Traktor Scratch Pro digital DJ system including Traktor Pro software, the award-winning AUDIO 8 DJ audio interface, timecoded vinyls and Multicore Cables. The winning mix will also be played out on the new Strut radio show on Diesel-U Music and it will be featured on the Strut podcast.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hip hop goes to Disney Concert Hall

"Socrates is classic mythology of golden age Greece, like KRS-1 is the classic folklore of Generation me..."

Marc Bamuthi Joseph's latest The Living Word Project called "the break/s: a mixtape for stage" came to LA's Roy and Edna Disney/Calarts Theater in Disney Concert Hall. I'm not a big theatre bloke but when I heard that a former National Poetry Slam champion worked with Jeff Chang (author of the hip hop history bible, "Can't Stop Won't Stop") to bring something to stage I had to go!

All aboard Joseph took us on a journey from New York to Haiti, Paris, Tokyo and beyond. And, with the help of turntablist DJ Excess, multi-instrumentalist Ajayi Jackson and video by Eli Jacobs Fantauzzi he infused unexpected humor into this personal study of hip hop. I'm not going to get all arty describing the play. I'll leave that to the experts...

"Thunderous, expansive... Rarely do word and movement mesh so seamlessly and elegantly... [Bamuthi's] stories put sound and gesture on a single continuum of expression."
The Washington Post

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Friday, April 24, 2009

California's most prolific graffiti artist

This Saturday is the first solo graff show from Chaka who became infamous for being "California's most prolific graffiti artist" back in the 90s!

After being out of the LA illegal graff scene for over a decade Medvin Sobio, the manager of Mid-City Arts, tracked Chaka down. It took a year to eventually find him in the suburb town of Bakersfield painting commissioned murals on the walls of small businesses.

"I just wanted to reintroduce him, bring him back out," says Sobio, who has fond memories of seeing "Chaka" festooning the cityscape while he was growing up in Los Angeles and Gardena. "We hope this can help him get reintroduced back into the scene where he belongs."

Old skool We can expect the old late 80s-90s LA graff style from the 20-30 new canvas pieces that will be at the show. "Do what you did back then, taking it back to that time to give people a piece of history, a taste of what was."

Mid City Arts Gallery 5113 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles Ca. 90019 (310) 694-3460 - Email for more info...

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Run DMC...Roll & Rock Hall of Fame!!!

This month I heard on the radio that Run DMC has made it! Huh?

Yep, it's taken 25 years for the rap pioneers to get recognized by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Did you know Run DMC isn't the first hip hop act to be honored? Nope...Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five planted that flag back in 2007 when the band was awarded the RIAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award!

First in da game But no rap act has won these medals...First rap Top 10 album, first rap Grammy Award nomination, first rappers on MTV and Saturday Night Live and first Rolling Stone cover! Run DMC went against the grain by replacing the funk and RnB grooves and rhythms with something harder...and whiter to get their message across. They popularized rock breakbeats like Billy Squier's "Big Beat" and took the hard rock guitar attitude and sound and crossed over to the rockers as well as open up new avenues for rap.

Love or hate? If you were an Aerosmith fan you might have thought Run DMC's cover of "Walk This Way" was blasphemous back in 1985! That was the only time I ever paid attention to Steve Tyler...well, there was Liv too ;)

RIP Jam Master Jay, 2002

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tyson bio-flick

I got an invite to see the screening of Tyson, the autobiographical film about the man, the husband, the boxer, the (alleged) rapist and more. It was a memerizing film that showed Tyson to be funny, sad, enlightened and likeable. The shrinking windows and audio effects distracted from the dialog at times, but definitely worth seeing.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mos HB?

How did Mos Def, the Brooklyn native actor, rapper and film-star get booked to perform in Huntington Beach I have *no idea*!?

Let me explain...Brooklyn and HB aren't ever gonna be twin cities! If you don't know SoCal (southern California) then Huntington Beach is in Orange County. These places are such landmarks in SoCal they only need to be referred to by their two initials: H.B. and O.C. and they are white and Republican as Wonder Bread. And, even though we know it's really the white, middle-class kids who are buying rap music, how many times did you hear Mos Def on TV shows like "The O.C." and MTV's "Laguna Beach" that are conceived and made in these towns?!

Back on track Why travel 40 miles to see Mos Def in a tiny venue in a hood that reeks of "wrong"? It's because you get to bypass all the corporate bullshite and bring your camera and Flip video and get up close and personal. Even though Mos Def didn't come on till 1am you know it was worth it when the crowd erupted as his DJ dropped the hits "Definition" and "Ms. Fat Booty"!

Mos Def in Huntington Beach, CA 2009 from stevio on Vimeo.

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If you are in San Fran this weekend you *have* to see Mos Def...with a live jazz band at Yoshi's. If I'd known about this Yoshi's gig I think I would've planned a long weekend up there. That is gonna be ill, because he knows how to rock a show. Let him flow and he's's a dope clip from the Dave Chappelle Show that shows off his unique flow and undeniable skills.

"To the streets, to the beats, the bitches, the niggas,
the women, the children, the workers,
the killers, the addicts, the dealers
the quiet, the livest, the realest
- and that's close

Don't push me, 'cause I'm close
To the edge, back, middle and front
Strong back shit liftin' it up
From the big and the small
I'm like J. Brown Gettin' Involved"

Amateur night at...To the promoters and management of Flight Bistro & Social Lounge. Forget that you (try to) cater to "the contemporary nature and sophisticated palette of Orange County" and remember you suck as a venue for live music! Your wack feedback, your soundcheck, your security up on stage (no clue), the VIPs and groupies, the O.C. wannabe debutantes and last but not least, the amateur photographers!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

This is huge...coast to coast!

And it's international...Belgium, Italy, Canada, Japan...and Ireland! This is the 3rd annual event to celebrate the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA and beyond.

B-boy delight! On US soil and in the hood, Brooklyn’s Basement Mix are rocking Record Store Day with with Jay-Z's latest signing, Uncle Murder (he sounds cuddly;) ), and Notorious “Gravy”, the actor best known for portraying Notorious B.I.G. in the film “Notorious.”

Def Jam releases the cream of the crop on vinyl on Record Store Day for the first time. And anyone who's anyone know that Fat Beats is where you can bump into the Biz doing his weekly vinyl shopping. This Saturday has a huuuuge line-up. If you're in town go there to check DJs Rob Swift (X-Ecutioners) and Primo (Gangstarr) spinning shite! The Rock Steady Crew will be in the hiz-ouse and the ill Talib Kweli will be doing an in-store! Word!

On the Wessssside Not to be left out, Fat Beats on Melrose will be reppin' with one of my favorite DJs, Kutmah (Sketchbook, Dublab) and many more LA mainstays. And the almighty Death Row Records will relaunch with a special free CD sampler on Record Store Day...cop it whilst you can!

Irish Record Store Day...check out the scenery outside:)

The Ears of the Town: Plugd records from John Callaghan on Vimeo.

The wise quote of the day: "'s not the internet and MP3s that are closing the stores, it's the rents!"

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Damien Hirst is bootlegging again!

We all know that Hirst is a magpie...taking shiny things around us and interpreting them to create multi-million dollar works of art. Well, after pharmaceuticals and anatomical models comes industrial information symbols used on this Supreme series of (sold-out) skateboards.

Wait, haven't we seen these before somewhere?! Come on Damien...get original pleeeease!

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Scion x Giant Robot Papershapers show 2009

"Papershapers is a group show featuring ten artists who work with paper, not "on paper." The exhibition will feature works that are cut, torn, folded, and sewn into unique creations."

I love that 'City of God' like paper slum and the Monkey King on his cloud limo is cool too!

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

April 14th ~ it's tax time...again!

Now, that's what I'm talking about! This year there's a happy ending!

Previous years has had me owing the IRS up to $5,000! So this year if feels *soooo* good to get a tax rebate, even if it really means that you paid too much over the past year and let the government spend your hard-earned money instead of you putting it to use!

"How did I do it?" a friend asked. Hmmm. Home office tax break and investing the max in a Roth IRA seemed to help a lot. May be giving to charity helped too.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Goldie solo show, London, April 10th - 26th

As I wandered around the web I spotted that Goldie opened his UK Solo Show 2009 this Easter weekend!

The Maverik Showroom in Shoreditch will host a retrospective of Goldie's work from the 80s until today's "Apocalypse Angel" and "Estate Agent" series of paintings. There's a punk-ish, political theme in Goldie's paintings picking up on real estate insanity, global retail bullies and political instability, but for some reason it didn't seem so fresh after other stencil and graffiti artists like 3D or fine artists like Micallef have touched on these themes.

Still, with airfares to the UK as low as $400 it's almost possible to go visit this show for a long weekend...or buy a screenprint online instead...hmmm!

Here's a peep of the show courtesty of Unusual Image.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Bristol celebrates its overground talent

The Royal West of England Academy has brought together Bristol's graffiti and urban artists for a show (on display until May 2009.)

Bristol has been a significant contributor to the global graffiti scene since the early eighties, bringing together UK artists like Goldie, New York artists like Bio and Brim from TAT Cru and spawning many prominent artists of its own like 3D, Inkie, Nick Walker and Banksy.

All aboard The news of the event might seem like the establishment has missed the boat a little, after all this exhibition will be discussing something that has gone so mainstream its in Sotheby's auction houses now. Yet it is important to get a platform to discuss this artform. I only hope that there might come a permanent collection somewhere in Bristol, a bit like Amsterdam has the Van Gogh Museum and Liverpool has The Beatles Museum.

Made me laugh The public transport instructions took me back a decade: "Just across the roundabout (via the pedestrian subway) from the Bus Station, the number 1,2,8,9,41,42,43 buses stop outside Debenhams and run to Queens Road."

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Word of the month is..."triptych"

The cool things seem to be coming in threes. Last week I finally got to see Tokyo, the arty independent film from three directors, Michel Gondry, Léos Carax and Bong Joon-ho. The two "bookend" films ("Hiroko and Akira in Tokyo" and "Shaking Tokyo") were beautifully done, but "Merde" has been acknowledged as challenging and hard to understand. That doesn't mean it was crap ;) but Jason and I fell asleep?! OMG!

At a separate event, last month was Augustin Kofie's art exhibition at 01 Gallery which featured a large triptych that showed off the scale and detail of his work. Those pieces were wonderful, but I didn't feel I had a few grand to kick around.

So, that's why this month's word is "triptych."

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Friday, April 03, 2009

New York City is tops in retail...again!

Yep, NYC has got another flagship retail store. First there was Uniqlo from Japan, and now there Topshop from Britain!

But, I felt a bit pukey reading some of the press hype around the opening event this week on April 2nd. OK, so this UK-only store has lots of fashion nous and its Oxford Circus flagship store has become a must-shop destination for tourists and fashion journalists alike! And how many boring fashion victims looking glum and skinny do we need to see in the lines to get into the store?

If you're name's not on the list And, how many parties does this store need? There was a pre-opening party (think Kate Moss, Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs), the opening party (Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Lopez and a load of other celebs I'd never heard!) and then there was an after-party! Jeeeez?!

If you don't know Here's the address....

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Peter Saville hates LA with a passion...

I was invited to see Manchester-born graphic designer, Peter Saville, in conversation. His portfolio of work spans decades and has been very influential in music, fashion and now municipalities, yet I hadn't heard of him before watching the documentary "Shadowplayers" this month at a Cinefamily event. But, everyone else knows him...I found a good bio of him at the Design Museum which exhibited his work in 2006.

Digging around I found that Creative Review interviewed Saville in 2007 to discuss his seminal graphic designs for progressive Brit electronica and pop groups like New Order, Joy Division, Pulp and Suede.

In LA, during his hour-long interview, Saville was honest, funny and irreverent about life, Los Angeles and his new role as Creative Director for the City of Manchester. A classic quote when he was asked if he liked LA, "...I like LA more when I have a ticket out!" He was encouraged by the laughs and continued, "LA has its beautiful areas but mostly it's ugly..."

Fashion victim When asked to describe his work for fashion designers he could barely disguise his disdain. "I was working on Stella McCartney's first perfume line and was sat quietly at the back of the room...Stella asked me 'if I was interested in the project?' I said 'Not really'..." This led Saville to offer some career advice too, "You won't ever be rich following your passion, but if you don't love what you do, why do it?"

Still in the fashion world he then got stuck into today's handbag culture, "When we used to do photoshoots we only ever did handbags if we had a few minutes spare at the end! When did fashion move away from the body to handbags?!" He paused and then mimicked women shoppers who have just found a new darling handbag: he grabbed an invisible handbag and slowly lifted it in a circular movement and hissed, "Yessssss!"

New contacts I met the marketing manager for Marketing Manchester at the event. She said I couldn't take my tea and cake into the theater, so I bagged the cake..."no nibbling", she said! Saville's logo is on her business card and he's the man behind the new city slogan "Original Modern" which is a focus on the future and not the Manchester of the past.

You can read some more on this NME blog from LA.

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