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.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

New York went to the UK - "Downtown Calling" premiere

What can you say about a film about New York set in the '70-80s narrated by Debbie Harry and produced by Michael Holman?! It's gonna be funkier than a mosquito's tweeter!

Last weekend, "Downtown Calling" opened in the UK as the main event of the three-day East End Film Festival at Village Underground in east London's Shoreditch neighborhood. The supporting documentary film by Paul Tschinkel was "Graffiti/Post Graffiti," which captures the turning point in the downtown New York art scene when street graffiti broke into "the hallowed grounds of major art galleries and institutions" in the early 80s.

That moment can't be underestimated as it paved the way for all the graffiti gallery shows of our time. From the 1985 Arnolfini (Bristol, UK) show curated by Nick Walker and featuring 3D, Goldie and Chrome Angelz, to the the huge 2009 group retrospective, Whole in the Wall, at Helen Beck (New York, NY) and everything in between.

"In the late 1970s, the “greatest city in the world” was teetering on the edge of total chaos. A failed economy, crime and en masse housing corruption gave way to a city in crisis. Yet out of the economic and social strife that held the “Big Apple” hostage, a family of homegrown cultures that would forever change the world began to emerge. Downtown Calling not only documents, in detail, the evolution of New York City’s fertile music and art subculture during this period, but how its collective output continues to play a prominent, driving role in the international fashion, art and music industries today."
Must-see "Downtown Calling" fills many of the gaps in my knowledge about the New York downtown scene that I associated with hip hop when I was growing up in Bristol. My first visit to New York was in 1988 for the New Music Seminar and by that time much of the raw scene and excitement had disappeared, but not for my fresh eyes and ears. And of course today, New York is unrecognizable even though the L.E.S. has remained a destination for b-boys.

First b-boy businessman? Michael Holman was a major player in early downtown hip hop days and was part of the authentic hip hop movement that influenced generations like me! He's described as "being one of the truly first journalists and impresarios of hip-hop culture" for his nights at Club Negril (do you remember seeing those in UK's Blues & Soul magazine?) that brought the uptown and downtown scenes together.

Back in the day Holman managed the New York City Breakers, an "A-Team" collective of b-boys, directed "Catch a Beat," the first b-boy film in 1981 and was involved in "Beat Street." Although most folks will know Holman for producing and hosting "Graffiti Rock," the first ever Emmy Award nominated hip-hop television show back in 1984! That's history!

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