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.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

L.A.'s Freestyle Fellowship rock LACMA (Aug 2012)

Another warm Los Angeles evening, another "LACMA Hip Hop Series: Through the Mic." The latest of this phenomenal series of live hip hop concerts brought together Breakestra, the old skool beats obsessed band, and Freestyle Fellowship, the rapper's rappers, for a unique collaboration for L.A.'s fans.

Everyone in the house looking for a performance from Freestyle Fellowship's landmark 1993 album, "Inner City Griots," got everything they wished for! Here's my timelapse video of the Fellowship dubbed with one of the hits from the album, "Innercity Bound," featuring  The crew also performed the intricate rhymes of their 2011 tune, "We Are," released by creative house, Decon.

Hip hop history  Before I moved to L.A. I got a copy of "Innercity Griots," but didn't know too much about Freesetyle Fellowship. So, I learned that they met and formed at the legendary South L.A. Good Life Cafe on Crenshaw and Exposition. If you want to swot up on hip hop history check out "This is the Life," an award-winning documentary about the Los Angeles underground rap scene. This is where Cut Chemist and other heads got their start!

Watch the trailer below, but don't download a bootleg - watch it on a legitimate site so the producers can get paid. Find out how to watch legally here. Support grassroots hip hop!

"The film features new interviews and rare performance footage by these teens, who went on to become some of the biggest names in alternative rap today: Jurassic 5, Cut Chemist, Chali 2na, Pigeon John, Abstract Rude, CVE, Ellay Khule, 2Mex, Freestyle Fellowship, Medusa and many more."

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Retna billboards in Los Angeles

Driving around Los Angeles you are dwarfed by advertising billboards sat high in the sun bleached sky. But, at night these geometric shapes look alien and odd, artificially lit up on a black backdrop.

What's the message? Four billboards caught my eye around Beverly Blvd. and Wilshire Blvd. in Mid-City. What were they advertising? To the casual observer, nothing special, except may be another clothing brand trying to get its 15 minutes of fame. But to art lovers, a series of Retna artworks were being revealed. To what end, I'm not sure.

(credit: pictures 2,3,4 Sunny Phono)

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Beat Junkies..."For the Record" 20 years in the game

West Coast hip hop history isn't complete without a chapter on the World Famous Beat Junkies. This summer, I turned my back for a minute and missed the Beat Junkie tourkick-off at the Echoplex in June. But, the tour is headed your's the tour schedule.
  • Hip Hop Kemp,  Hradec Králové, Czech Republic 17th August
  • Royal Arena,  Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, 18th August
  • MC Theater , Amsterdam, Netherlands 19th August
  • Jazz Cafe, London, UK 23th August
  • Nouveau Casino, Paris, France 24th August
  • Cassiopeia , Berlin, Germany 25th August
  • Mighty, San Francisco, CA 30th Sept.
  • Brooklyn Bowl, New York City, NY 21st Oct.
  • more U.S. dates to come.
Luckily, I can share this documentary to commemorate the Beat Junkies' 20th anniversary released by clothing label, LRG. Thanks for the schooling and amazing interviews!

The 14-minute video that outlines the history and influence of this influential DJ scratch crew from California with commentary from DJs Jazzy Jeff, A-Trak, Peanut Butter Wolf and Q-Bert.

LRG also released a Beat Junkie snap back baseball cap and t-shirt for all the DJ heads out there.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Los Angeles graffiti hits Bristol, UK for "See No Evil" graffiti Olympics

As Los Angeles boils under a 100°F / 37°C sun some LA artists have decamped to cooler climes of England in pursuit of graffiti walls.

Man One (Crewest, Couple of Indians,) Mear (CBS, WCA) and Vyal (Couple of Indians) are making the 5,600 mile journey from LA to Bristol to participate in the UK's largest street art permanent exhibition. The second annual "See No Evil" event will be held again in Bristol, UK, infamous for its slave trade history and for being Banksy's hometown.

"See No Evil" postcard set (credit: Mark Chilvers)  

The UK connection  Both Man One and Mear competed against "See No Evil" organizer, Inkie, and Ben Eine in the BritWeek art event in May 2012 as reported on this blog. So it was only right to extend an invite to paint in Bristol. The painting starts tomorrow, but the official public opening of the finished walls is on Thursday 16th, August.

Check out the videos below for a sampler of the Bristol music (drum and bass) and the Bristol accent (West country) :). I'm proud to call it my hometown...5,600 miles from Los Angeles.

Graffiti Olympics  There are 72 confirmed artists selected by an art steering group, including Conor Harrington, L’atlas, Nychos, Flying Fortress, Seize, M-City, Pixel Pancho, Mark Bode, CanTwo, Chu, Satone, Lyken, Mr Jago, China Mike, Sick Boy, TCF crew, KTF Crew, Limited Press, Lucy McLauchlan, Kashink, Kuildoosh and Nick Walker.

Last Chance If you're quick you can see last year's phenomenal paintings from U.S. household names like El Mac and Tats Cru alongside the Brit posse: Nick Walker, Inkie, Soker, Jago, MauMau, China Mike amongst others. A full map can be found here.

To fully appreciate the scale of this event you only have to look at the supporters: the Arts Council England, London 2012 Festival, Bristol City Council, Watershed and the prestigious, University of Bristol. There are six events: Mail, Maps and Motion, the free all-day Block Party, the Longplaya art event and a trio of club parties. For street art lovers, there is the main event: a three-day street art event, plus the See No Evil gallery show featuring 50 artists and over 100 artworks available for sale. Check out more here on the official website.

Now that's Love  The city has closed down a section of central Bristol for the weekend so visitors can enjoy "See No Evil" as a walking experience.

See No Evil Official Schedule - all times are BST.

  • Thursday 16th - Saturday 18th August - See No Evil Nelson Street art walls, free
  • Thursday 16th August - Resident Advisor a taste of Bristol with Livity Sound, Eats Everything, Young Echo and Outboxx, tickets £5 (10pm-4am)
  • Friday 17th August - See No Evil Paintworks Art gallery, free entry (11am – 7pm)
  • Friday 17th August - FutureBoogie Recordings presents Eric Duncan, Behling & Simpson, Christophe & Lukas, tickets £5 (10pm-4am)
  • Saturday  18th August - See No Evil Block Party, free (12-9pm)
  • Saturday 18th August - See No Evil: Sound Clash with Smith & Mighty, DJ Krust , tickets £5  (10pm-4am)
  • Monday 21th August - See No Evil Paintworks Art gallery, free entry (11am – 7pm)
  • Tues 22nd August - See No Evil Paintworks Art gallery, free entry (11am – 7pm)

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Futura Very Special cognac

France's Hennessy, the world-leading cognac house, has extended its artist collaboration series with graffiti great, Futura 2000, who I interviewed last year.

Today, to celebrate the release of the limited-edition Futura x Hennessy V.S. bottle, Futura came to Los Angeles's Melrose Avenue. The venue for the "bottle-signing" was a high-end liquor store, not the Melrose Avenue graffiti alleys.

"Futura and Hennessy share a passion about the meeting of art and function. Hennessey has teamed up with the legendary Futura 2000 to collaborate on a very limited run of Very Special Cognac utilizing his signature atoms and abstractions. 
To create his limited edition bottle, Futura drew inspiration from Cognac's warm color palette, incorporating abstractions of his signature atomic motif and adapting his eye-catching use of line and shape to a new experience.Hennessy

Hennessy x Futura x Converse Chuck Allstar

Hennessy V.S. Futura limited-edition

For cognac officionados, Hennessy's Very Special cognac is one of its most popular. As the youngest cognac of the range, Hennessy V.S. is also it's budget got to start somewhere. ;)

Collectibles  Wikipedia gives us a list of the Hennessy collectibles to add to your sneaker collection! ;)

  • Hennessy VS "No 1" 2009 Artists Kesh and David Burrows
  • Hennessy VS "44" 2009 Honor of 44th president
  • Hennessy VS "NUL" 2010 National Urban League
  • Hennessy VS "BOA" 2010 Blending of Art (5 different bottles with 2 designers per)
  • Hennessy VS "KAWS" 2011 New York graffiti artist KAWS design
  • Hennessy Fine De Cognac and Tea 2011 Tea House Maison de Thé Théodor
  • Hennessy VSOP Helios 2011 Gold Bottle (Named after Greek god of sun)
  • Hennessy VSOP "NyX" 2011 Platinum bottle (label glows under black light)
  • Hennessy XO Odyssey 2007-2011 Released every year since 07 (2011 bottle sits on rock formation)
  • Hennessy Kenzo year Fashion designer Kenzo (subsidiary of LVMH)
  • Hennessy Red Book 2011 Levandovka filling

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