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.

Monday, November 08, 2010

"Wholetrain"...arriving on platform DVD! Catch it Nov. 23rd [#wholetrain #graffiti]

The graffiti film "Wholetrain" has been described by Charlie Ahern (director of "Wild Style") as " impressive piece of work. It´s the only Graffiti-Movie that can follow in the footsteps of 'Wild Style'."

If you didn't catch it during its international film festival run, wait no more! It's finally being released on DVD in the U.S. later this month. You can pre-order before it ships worldwide on November 23rd by going to Amazon.

And, you can cop the soundtrack now on CD or vinyl here on Amazon! Yep, vinyl...Old skool! Check out a streaming sampler below. Produced by Florian Gaag, aka Aero One, it features KRS-One, El the Sensei, Planet Asia, and one of my favorite rappers, O.C.

Break it down If you don't know the story, "Wholetrain" is a compelling tale about KSB, a crew of graffiti writers in Germany,  but this is happening in every country with an urban sprawl. The story centers around a crew's rising infamy for painting pieces across the city. That is, until they are humiliated by a new rival crew, ATL (Above The Law.)

The film develops into a tale about the crew's internal friction as they try to overcome their nemesis and how it eventually frays the unity between the friends. This does take many hip hop cues from the New York of the 1980s, but "Wholetrain" is a uniquely European tale which highlights how multicultural and ethnically diverse cities have become: David (Mike Adler) could have African blood,  Elyas (Elyas M'Barek) is of Tunisian decent, whilst Tino (Florian Renner) and Achim (Jacob Matschenz) seem of German heritage. Hip hop is the unifying factor that brings these young men and their friends together.

Writer and director, Florian Gaag, captures the limited opportunities these young men have and the sense of freedom and achievement they get through their graffiti. You get a glimpse into the mundanity of life in these cities and why graffiti offers a meaningful creative outlet for a generation. Tino works part-time in a cinema and argues with his estranged girlfriend about childcare for their son, Kenny. We see Elyas' family kebab business and his job as a panel painter, whilst Achim is flunking school to break free from his regular middle-class family.

Getting Up "Wholetrain" captures some of the essence and drive of why illegal graffiti writers do what they do. Gaag shows us the preparation and planning, the blackbook of designs and the bravado of the writers' bench. What is unique in this film is tension and anxiety that goes into an illegal "bombing" mission. We see KSB hit a train interior during the day and several raids on a trainyard at night to paint their burner pieces.

Collaboration Gaag got the (rare) cooperation of a Polish train company to make "Wholetrain." Without it and the support of established graffiti writers (Cemnoz, Neon, Won, Ciel, Pure) the film wouldn't be as powerful and realistic as it is. Support "Wholetrain"by ordering it on Amazon and spread the word!

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