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, October 14, 2013

Patti Astor's interview in New York's Vulture webzine #pattiastor

Patti Astor in February 1983 with Keith Haring's "The Smurfs" and " II" (photo credit: Eric Kroll)

New York's Vulture published a great interview with Patti Astor, the "Queen of Downtown" (New York,) to publicize her book about her life story. In it, we're reminded how influential Astor was, even before her starring role in Charlie Ahearn's "Wild Style" hip hop film.

I've interviewed Astor in the past and she knows how to tell a story. But, it's hard to keep up. She was there during the creation of  the urban culture blueprint in the '70s and '80s, yet she'd be the first to say there was no grand plan. The people in Astor's circle include unsung heroes, long forgotten players and a few people whose reputation precedes them. She treats them all the same when she tells her tales.

Check out Vulture here. Even better, go to The Fun Gallery website to buy Patti Astor's self-published book.

Here are a few snatched paragraphs of my favorite parts of Patti's interview by Mary Kaye Shilling.

If you've never heard of Patti Astor, it may be because she’s one of those people who should take credit for things but doesn’t. Back in the day, she was more interested in making sure the young artists she championed — graffiti masters like Dondi, Zephyr, and Futura 2000, as well as Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, and Jean-Michel Basquiat — were properly respected. She's still at it some 30 years later. 
"We were the first gallery to give one-man shows to graffiti artists," says Astor, poking her head into her former gallery, where a guy is renovating the tiny space. 'Our first hit of the big time was [Fab 5 Freddy’s] show. I remember sitting in the gallery, in that tiny room, and Bruno Bischofberger drives up in a limo like a city bus. He looked like Goldfinger and had a babe on each arm. I didn’t know who he was at the time, but [sculptor] Arch Connelly, who was kind of like our art guardian, later told me that Bischofberger was the second biggest collector in the world after Count Panza.” Astor, who sounds like Roseanne Barr, cackles at how ridiculous the names sound. “Anyway, Bischofberger dumps the babes and pulls out these index cards and starts asking me all these questions: Who is the most important person in graffiti? What do you think of Basquiat?" She snorts derisively. "I couldn’t believe it when I saw Tamra Davis’s documentary about Basquiat, which is really valuable for all the footage of him, but the rest is revisionist bullshit. Bruno and all these other people were like, "Yeah, we were really good friends." And I thought, You fucking pricks! You all treated him so poorly. Fred is the only one in the documentary who was a real friend of his. It really pissed me off.
Diatribes like that could be another reason Astor isn’t better known; she's not what you'd call political. Take, for example, her opinion about Julian Schnabel, who was an aspiring artist and fry cook when he first started hanging out at FUN. “Julian was really nice when he was still a cook,” says Astor. “But he got a real chip on his shoulder because he was a fry cook and not some world-famous fat slob artist. And then, of course, he fulfilled both of those goals. I loved how in his Basquiat he took 40 pounds off himself. That movie also makes me sick — that whole scene of him telling Jean-Michel what to do, like they were friends, which they weren’t.”
Don’t even get her started on Jay Z referencing Basquiat.

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