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.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mos Def photography

Tyler and the crew at HVW8 brought an exclusive look at Frolab's (aka Cognito) photo exhibition “MOS DEF: ECSTATIC MOMENTS.” It's a one week one month extended exhibition showcasing rare performance and behind-the-scenes images taken over a two year journey following Mos Def's on his “The Ecstatic” tour.

From January 30, 2010 through February 6 February 30, 2010 the exhibition coincides with Mos Def's show at Los Angeles' The Key Club and the Grammys too! The Key Club Grammys aftershow party was dope from the looks of the okayplayer video below.

If you wanna go shopping there's a monchrome HVW8, Union and Frolab t-shirt to commemorate the show. $30 and all sizes.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Makes me want to get some new skills!

Serge Gainsbourg - animation des graffitis sur 5 ans du mur rue de Verneuil from Arnaud Jourdain on Vimeo.

When you can take 2D stills and video and make a 3D video out of it my brain gets wired and inspired! It's crazy. Love this video!

Translation from the director, Arnaud Jourdain:

"Project in progress; location 5a Rue de Verneuil.

The idea: Music tribute to Serge Gainsbourg. This project takes place over 5-years and is like time travelling through the layers of graffiti at 5a Rue de Verneuil.

How it was done:
- 5 years' of shots superimposed. Thousands of photos.
- 40 generations of graffiti (only 30 visible in the video due to time.)
- Right side of the wall not yet processed.
- Source filmed in Full HD 1080p 1920×1080 and higher.

Rue de Verneuil should serve as a historic place because of the inscriptions that have been left over the years.
Mr Johann Sfar is visible in the video and he retains all rights to his image. His work, even if ephemeral, is part of the history of this wall. The music is from a remix album of Serge Gainsbourg: 'I Love Serge Electronic Againsbourg' and the song is 'L 'Hotel Particulier.'

Please give your opinions, ideas, comments ...
positive, negative or constructive ... they will be very useful." Arnaud Jourdain

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

B-Boy 2.0

What has Darmouth College, one of the 46 Ivy League colleges in the US, got to do with hip hop? Well, I discovered that The Hopkins Center gave Bruno Beltrão's "Grupo de Rua" its U.S. premiere.

Before I read that the UK's "The Guardian" newspaper described the show as “Raw 21st-century expression... Extraordinarily brilliant," I went to see the show at Redcat (thanks Sam) and was taken by the Brazilian choreographer's interpretation and metamorphsis of b-boying.

The video below shows elements of breakdance, popping, locking and crunk, yet never conforms with the most established forms of these street dances. No, with Grupo de Rua, Bruno Beltrão and his nine-member troupe deconstruct the typical "one-on-one battles" and synchronized crew routines to create the latest in the H-Series, H3.

"Unlike other choreographers, Bruno Beltrão does not seek to transpose the street to the stage, but to enrich hip hop with the infinite possibilities of choreography." Isabelle Poulin

Learn more about Beltrão and Grupo de Rua here.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Sundance time!

This weekend sees the opening of the Sundance Film Festival, founded by Robert Redford, and held every year in Utah. When I went back in 2003 there was no cool documentary on the exploits of Banksy, and his fellow street artists.

"'The story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed,' is how Banksy describes 'Exit Through the Gift Shop'."

"Many here in Utah are already surely wondering, will the artist be in attendance?"

"'Banksy is a graffiti artist with a global reputation whose work can be seen on walls from post-hurricane New Orleans to the Palestinian segregation wall in the West Bank,'"
said the festival, in a description.

"Fiercely guarding his anonymity to avoid prosecution, Banksy has so far resisted all attempts to be captured on film. ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ is the story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur filmmaker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner with spectacular results. Billed as ‘the world’s first street art disaster movie’ the film contains exclusive footage of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader and many of the world’s most infamous graffiti artists at work.

"‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ is one of those films that comes along once in a great while, a warped hybrid of reality and self -induced fiction while at the same time a totally entertaining experience,' said John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, in a statement. 'The story is so bizarre I began to question if it could even be real… but in the end I didn’t care. I feel bad I won’t be able to shake the filmmaker’s hand and tell him how much I love this film. I think I will shake everyone’s hand that day and hope I hit on Banksy somewhere. I love his work in all forms.'" Indiewire

The founder, Redford, told reporters that in recent years he has felt Sundance was "sliding" from its original vision because indie film began to mesh with studio movies. But Reuters noted that "In fact, some of the best indie films of recent years were products of divisions of Hollywood studios that worked in the arena for low-budget moviemaking. "Slumdog Millionaire," for instance, was originally backed by Warner Independent Pictures, a now defunct unit of Warner Bros."

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bristol represents the Old Skool!

Even if you've never heard of my home town of Bristol, UK you'll know that there's love for hip hop when promoters bring the The Furious 5 and Kurtis Blow to town.

That's what's happening in March 2010! Ok, it may not be all the lights and lasers that accompanies a Jay-Z show, but it'll be a trip back in history that every rapper since the 1980s will recognise and respect.

Kurtis Blow was big, but Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5 were just gritty and real...still to this day. Imagine...Melle Mel still representing hip hop for the love of it?! In 2007 Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5 entered the "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame" (later joined by Run-DMC.) If you missed that bit of hip hop trivia watch the videos below that put you right in the centre of that historic moment! Serious old skool, right there!

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5 tunes of note:

"Flash to the Beat" (my fave from 1979!! Check the beats below!)
"Superrappin’" (on Enjoy in 1979)
"Freedom" (on Sugarhill in 1980)
"Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" (1981)
"The Message" (1982)

“'The Message' was [the first record] to prove that rap could become the inner city’s voice, as well as its choice.” This slice of unvarnished social realism sold half a million copies in a month, topped numerous critics’ and magazines’ lists of best singles for 1982, and cemented Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s place in hip-hop’s vanguard. “I ask myself to this day, ‘Why do people want to hear this?’” Grandmaster Flash wondered of “The Message” in 1988. “But it’s the only lyric-pictorial record that could be called ‘How Urban America Lived.’” Rolling Stone

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

LA Art Show showcases graffiti art talent

This year, the LA Art Show will have live art by some of Los Angeles' legendary street artists, including Kofie, Retna, El Mac, and Mear One. The event is called Vox Humana and it will run from January 20-24, at the LA Convention Center.

This is a coup for us because while there is a lot of heat around street art right now, this is the first time I can remember that a top-tier Art Fair has actually sanctioned, promoted, and made happen a big live art performance like this,” says Bryson Strauss, Director of L.A. Art Machine. “And it's FADA, which is just crazy-cool.

The artists will be set up during the art show at the main entrance facing Figueroa. El Mac and Retna will collaborate on a 12 x 24 foot canvas, while Mear One and Kofie will work independently on 12 x 12 foot canvases.

(All the spray paint is sponsored by 33third and canvases are underwritten by Lucius Hudson.) More info can be found here. Let's hope the torrential rain in LA won't keep folks away...

To coincide with the LA Art Show Rivera & Rivera gallery downtown is exhibiting "Street Legal," a show featuring other works by El Mac, Kofie, Mear One and Retna. Opens on January 22nd, 2010.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Doze Green shows in New York

Old skool legend Doze Green has his third gallery show in New York's Jonathan LeVine Gallery till February 13, 2010.

Doze Green has transformed himself from one of the original members of the Rock Steady Crew to a world renowned artist. But, his work is not graffiti in the classic hip hop sense. Doze paints more in a Basquiat-style using all the colors of the rainbow and also simplistic black and white. His largest painting in the show is called "Siddhartha" and is influenced by Eastern and South American cultures, as well as his own Afro-Caribbean roots.

Even though Doze doesn't use aerosol, preferring to work in ink, gouache, metallic pigments, charcoal and collage, he does incorporate highly stylized lettering which points to his hip hop roots.

Want more? For more of Doze's work go to Vegas. CityCenter commissioned him (and Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, Claes Oldenburg, Coosje Van Brugen, Nancy Rubens, Frank Stella, Henry Moore and Richard Long) to paint a permanent installation that will greet guests in the tramway stations at the Monte Carlo and the Bellagio hotels! His painting is called "Crossroads of Humanity" and the two murals are huge covering 6 conjoined walls (3 walls each) and measuring 80 feet by 20 feet, per mural!

What recession? CityCenter is a $11 billion project with $40 million going to the art installations. That's about a third of a percent!

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ricky Powell comes to town!

Ricky Powell's slideshow @ Cinefamily, Los Angeles from stevio on Vimeo.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

What's the definition of a sneakerhead?

In a recent Fortune magazine story an ex-banker turned sneaker dealer was interviewed about his vintage sneaker business. During the conversation a guy called Ben Baller was mentioned. Who is this guy and was his sneaker collection really sold for $1MM?! Get the scoop on the self-named "K-Town Hustler" :) below.

Here's a lil' video on the topic of sneakers. He's currently representing the Supra brand. - The Ben Baller Interview from on Vimeo.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Road trip to Palm Desert

Outside of LA is desert...flat lands of dirt, tumbleweed and mountains dissected by freeways. The landscape changes depending on the season and at this time of year you start to see snow on the distant mountain tops.

On this trip Sam drove by Coachella, home to the annual music festival, and Palm Desert were we stopped for lunch in downtown. We also stumbled upon a mountain and managed to get a short hike in before sunset. Then we hit the road for a 2 hour drive back to LA. Cool!

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Business Week consults Sneaker Freaker

It's a big challenge to name the top 25 sneaker designs of the past year, but Sneaker Freaker has stepped up to the challenge for Business Week.

"Bloomberg BusinessWeek's got more kicks than a Bruce Lee flick—sneakers that is. For more than a century, athletic shoes have been basically the same. Yet every year, such companies as Nike (NKE) and adidas produce thousands more designs. We teamed up with Sneaker Freaker, one of the world's foremost shoe magazines, to bring you the top 25 sneakers of 2009..."

Here's a slideshow of the shoes. For more descriptions go to the BW story. The list of shoes is surprising in that it tugs on some nostalgic heart strings with Vans and Converse making the list several times. Less surprising are the collaborations between sneaker/fashion boutiques and brands that resulted in Proper x Reebok, Patta x Nike or at its most outrageous, Jeremy Scott x adidas!

What's your flavor? It's hard to say which were the most innovative or creative sneakers of the list. Definitely the most blinged pair were the Kanye x LV sneakers. The most hip hop were House of Pain x adidas. For me, I think that Gourmet have shown me a fresh angle on an obsessive pastime!
  1. Nike Yeezy
  2. New Balance 850 Skippy Sneaker Freaker
  3. Nike Air Jordan Raging Bull
  4. Reebok Pump 20
  5. adidas Hypebeast & Solebox Zeitfrei
  6. Converse Auckland Racer
  7. Nike Air Max 90 Dizzee Rascal
  8. Gourmet
  9. Nike Air Max Patta
  10. adidas Kazuki ObyO
  11. Reebok Proper Dual Pump Runner
  12. Nike ACG Ashiko
  13. Converse UNDFTD Poorman's Weapon
  14. Nike Presto
  15. adidas Jeremy Scott
  16. Vans HUF Old Skool LX
  17. Nike Supreme Bruin
  18. Louis Vuitton Kanye West
  19. adidas Ransom
  20. Nike ACG Salbis
  21. adidas House of Pain Campus 08
  22. Vans Taka Hayashi
  23. Puma Solebox R698 Light Ups
  24. Saucony Shadow 6000 Varsity
  25. Supra Skytop II

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Friday, January 01, 2010

再見 2009...你好 2010!

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