WHERE FROM HERE

WHERE FROM HERE

Charting the intergalactic travels of Phillip T. Annand

From his early efforts with The Award Tour, to globetrotting adventures with The Madbury Club and Flatbush Zombies, Phillip T. Annand’s journey has already led him to some extraordinary places. We sat down with the multi-talented, multi-faceted young creator in between pursuits, and asked him about the road that lies ahead.

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THE WEST INDIAN DAY PARADE

THE WEST INDIAN DAY PARADE

A photographic trip through a Brooklyn celebration of culture

Photography by Celso White

Growing up Panamanian with family roots in the islands, I had always heard about the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn. Little did I know, the first time I would go, I wouldn’t be watching from the side of the street. I’d be fully immersed in the celebration. Dancing down Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights packed in between feathered costumes trying to capture the vibe and catch a rhythm.

What brought me out to the parade this year was a documentary I’m filming with three friends about Crown Heights. Crown Heights, the two-mile by one-mile Brooklyn neighborhood, has vibrant Hasidic and Caribbean communities, making the neighborhood one of the most culturally rich in New York City. For the film, we’ve been using an unfamiliar, intimate filming device, Google Glass, to develop a truly collaborative narrative of the similarities and unique differences of these communities. The West Indian Day Parade, which attracts millions of each year, is one of the largest parades in New York, an ideal first adventure for the documentary.

During the parade, I really did feel pride when I saw flags wrapped around people’s heads and gripped in their hands. I don’t always rep my heritage or culture but being there reminded me that I should. I felt a bond, with fellow Panamanians, but also with everyone there, no matter their roots. On that day, we were all in a celebration of community. From the man cutting the sugar cane to the kids dancing to reggae music, I felt a momentary transformation of the neighborhood around me. Special thanks to the carnival group Sesame Flyers for taking us along on the ride and sharing their world with us. Hit the MORE to get a sense of it all, and follow more stories from the Crown Heights neighborhood here.

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STRANGELY RECOGNIZABLE PERSONALITIES

STRANGELY RECOGNIZABLE PERSONALITIES

Life imitates art in Dillon Marsh’s photographic series, Assimilation

Dillon Marsh

The Sociable Weaver Bird builds multi-chambered nests that can only be described as palatial. Each chamber in these colossal structures houses a pair of birds with the whole framework accommodating over one hundred pairs. Multiple generations and sometimes even multiple species live together harmoniously. Aside from their scale though, the nests in these photographs are also unusual for their location. Spread across the uninhabitable stretches of the Kalahari desert, many of these nests are woven around telephone poles rather than trees.

Photographer Dillon Marsh has captured these amazing feats of engineering in a series he calls Assimilation. Marsh’s images are sparse and barren, a reflection of the landscapes in which he shoots. Across his portfolio, Marsh studies how unnatural structures interact with the natural world, from the symbiotic, to the decrepit, to the outlandish. As Marsh says, the nest gives the “otherwise inanimate pole” a “strangely recognizable personality”. In this solemn landscape, the seemingly dormant formations are indeed “teeming with life”—the literal life of the birds, their collective life as a community, and the figurative “life” that the structure itself emits. These lavish bird dwellings are natural pieces of art in their own right, made even more fascinating by Marsh’s photographic interpretation.

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EL PATRON

EL PATRON

William Child tells the story of Pablo Escobar through papier mâché

William Child El Patron

This past Thursday felt very close to the vision and much closer to where we’d like to take it. As we mentioned before the start of the film, part of our goal is to celebrate culture, while facilitating community. That’s what the screenings are for. Many thanks to Max and Ari of Oakland Surf Club for providing us the space to hold our screenings. Check them out if you haven’t already. Also, equal amounts of love go to Galen and Michelle of United Roots Center for providing screening equipment for the film. Very thankful for ya’ll. To those that stepped inside the gallery for Cocaine Cowboys, thanks for being a lil’ adventurous with your Thursday night. Many more of these to come.

Wanted to state the message above to give thanks, but also to segue into this piece by mixed-media artist William Child. Retelling the rise of cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar through the medium of animated papier mâché, Child has created a history lesson well-primed for the Youtube generation. Utilizing archival footage alongside astounding narration, Child’s El Patron is a five-minute masterpiece. Along with the animation, Child’s creations are also the basis for a full-colour hardcover book, telling the story on paper, as well as on-screen, and providing artistic insight into one of the world’s most notorious criminals.

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SYNTHETIC DREAM

SYNTHETIC DREAM

Mixed-media artist Leo Eguiarte offers up a surreal vision of the modern condition

Leo
Come On This Journey With Me

Lending clever visual commentaries on humanity’s ever-growing fixation on material wealth, mixed-media artist Leo Eguiarte creates colorful pieces that speak to the stranger realities of our modern condition. Painted directly onto circuit boards, the works featured in Leo’s 2013 collection Synthetic Dream come to life through vibrant imagery and a focus on the celestial.

Speaking on his own work, Leo states, “Synthetic Dream addresses issues of perceived power and its consolidation by a selected minority.” Through this lens, the meaning behind some of these works comes through; take Misfortune, which relates this idea through imagery of the world falling into the hands of a hooded, puppeteer-like figure. Elsewhere, Eguiarte’s surreal landscapes recall the dystopian worlds of classic sci-fi films, hinting at the future we might be facing. “As an artist, I feel that it is my responsibility to document my surroundings and to invite commentary that addresses critical issues affecting humanity and our ecosystem,” stated Leo when reflecting upon his work. With the 20+ pieces that make up Synthetic Dream, Leo hopes to empower the viewer to consider alternative choices for the ways in which we interact with and participate in the world. As he puts it, “to encourage a constantly evolving perspective while reminding us of a shared existence.”

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WINE & BOWTIES PRESENTS: COCAINE COWBOYS

WINE & BOWTIES PRESENTS: COCAINE COWBOYS

This Thursday, we're back at Oakland Surf Club to screen a cult classic

Cocaine Cowboys

Though we’re just getting rolling with the film screenings, I feel like we have a pretty good idea of where we want to take it. In my humble, the best documentaries are the ones that stretch out your imagination, that in a sense, make your world a little more expansive. The first time I saw Billy Corben’s Cocaine Cowboys–undoubtedly smoked out on Max’s couch in Culver City–my sense of possibility in the universe got just slightly wider. I understood, for example, how damn near an entire U.S. metro area could be built on drug traffic. I even had a vague idea of what it might be like to smuggle a few hundred kilos into the port of Miami in a speedboat. This wasn’t Johnny Depp in Blow. This was a set of events that actually happened. And for that reason alone, it was pretty powerful.

In the seven years since its release, Cocaine Cowboys has earned the title of cult classic for it’s gritty, unrelenting portrait of the rise of cocaine in America during the late ’70s and early ’80s. Centered on Miami, Cowboys pairs archival footage with in-person interviews–with traffickers, users and enforcers alike–exploring a massive shift in culture through the eyes of those who were there to witness it firsthand. From the glitzy days of disco to the devastating wave of violence that rocked Miami in the early ’80s, Cocaine Cowboys builds its narrative arc in unflinching detail, putting an era in perspective for those of us born a little further down the road.

This Thursday, we’ll be bringing Cocaine Cowboys to Oakland Surf Club for an intimate screening. In the months to come, along with new, rarely seen films, we’ll be screening older favorites like Cowboys, in an effort to celebrate film and bring folks together. For Thursday, grab some beers, tell a friend, and come through. Should be a good time. Oh, and peep the trailer after the MORE.

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THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE

Erin M. Riley's woven nudes take it there and beyond

Erin M. Riley

In the age of the Instagram-filtered selfie, artist Erin M. Riley aims to provide a new lens on the trending phenomenon–by reproducing said images as loom-woven tapestries. After happening upon weaving while in art school, Riley cultivated a style all her own in an underpopulated medium. Erin has explained the subject matter of her work as the kind of images you might see through Snapchat, or the type you might delete after a hookup. In a recent interview with Arrested Motion she explains, “I try to take pictures of the condoms after I have sex, the pictures I send to people, pictures of tables at parties, substances and liquids that change the course of events.” Riley notes that the act of weaving allows for moments to become permanent, when they might otherwise be disregarded or shamefully deleted.

Arguably the most intriguing element of Riley’s work is the contrast between subject and medium. While tapestry weavings tend to be associated more with blankets, rugs, and grandmas, Riley allows for these associations to compound meaning in her work. “Tapestry allows images to be given more time, for hookups to gel, for mistakes to be thought over, it’s a way to over-analyze every detail.” And she’s absolutely right. Looking over her work, it’s hard not to become entranced when considering the time she had to have dedicated to every stitch, hunched over a loom to produce a crotch shot or a Hello Kitty glass pipe. With these pieces the Philly-based artist effortlessly opens up the opportunity for dense and meaningful dialogue surrounding the provocative content of her work. Or you can just sit back in awe or giggle. Either way, these tapestries are worth a look. Check out some of her pieces below or check here for her full collection.

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SEEING SOUNDS

SEEING SOUNDS

Audium, San Francisco's "theatre of sound-sculptured space" has been taking listeners on trips since the '60s

Audium

Walking into Audium is like stepping into the belly of a modernist UFO, the kind you’d expect to see flying haphazardly across the screen of some retro sci-fi movie with a nylon string attached. Time seems to come to an utter standstill in this “theatre of soundsculptured space,” located in an indiscriminate wood-paneled building on Bush Street in San Francisco. The theatre is pretty intimate; there’s room for no more than 50 people or so. But what Audium lacks in seating capacity it makes up for in noise: more than 160 speakers are installed strategically throughout the theatre. They hang suspended from the ceiling in varying geometric shapes and sizes, cover the floors and sloping walls, and resonate from the far corners of the room.

Stan Shaff, Audium’s composer and cocreator, has been warping aural identities and turning patrons’ senses completely on their heads since the 1960s. His manipulation of sound — in intensity, volume and location–carries listeners out of their bodies and into the vibrations themselves. Here’s the catch: the whole thing is in pitch-blackness. The type of all-consuming dark that makes it easy to forget you’re attached to the rest of your body. It’s jarring at first; the sound of hooves thundering around the room made me feel like a stampede was running laps around the inside of my skull. But before long, I was on another plane, feeling rooted to nothing but the miscellany of noise swirling over, under and around me.

While everyone’s experience is different–for some the darkness is too overwhelming–Shaff thinks sound and memories go hand-in-hand. I haven’t heard the roar of a thunderstorm since I moved to the Bay Area a year ago. But for a few seemingly eternal minutes, I was back on the porch of my childhood home on the East Coast. The balmy, humid sensation of watching a summer storm billow in lingered with me long after the show was over. Shaff does next to no advertising, but audiences keep coming every Friday and Saturday evening to be left alone to the doings of their synapses in the aural void. After my conversation with Stan a few weeks ago, it was easy to see why.

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Moments From Nightcap

Moments From Nightcap

We went in for our final celebration of the Summer

Nightcap was memorable for the quality not the quantity. Heads were in the building for Nightcap. Famous faces and soon to be famous faces mingling in harmony. It’s really what it’s all about. I told you, Wine & Bowties party pics will be the best “before they were stars” archives. Mark my words.

Juan G, Bobby Peru and Yung_smh blessed the tables to put on one of the more eclectic listening experiences we’ve had. And while the underground has been our go-to for the Summer, please believe we’ve got more up our sleeve. We’re just trying to bring all the creatives together. The people who put faith into their dreams and see the world how it could be rather than merely the way it is. If we can bring together all the like minded spirits, who knows how far we can take it? Shout out to Morgan for bringing her crew through, and to all the dope folks that are, and have been supporting Wine & Bowties. We do it all for you.

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TOWN BUSINESS

TOWN BUSINESS

Curator Trevor Parham talks Art Murmur and the business of art in Oakland's changing landscape

For art curator Trevor Parham, combining his relationship with art and Oakland is both natural and intentional. After growing up in The Town, Trevor moved across the country to study art at UPenn and, soon after building up his creative bars and graduating, set up shop back at home in 2006. Since, he has become immersed in the local art world, positioning himself as a contributor in an array of roles including artist, curator, artist manager, consultant, and gallery manager alike.
Trevor’s unique perspective on the current climate of art culture in Oakland directly informs his latest exhibit, Town Business: State of the Art Hustle, opening at Warehouse 416 this Saturday. Examining the relationship between art and economics in a changing city, the show will run through mid-October, featuring art from a wide range of East Bay creatives spanning the visual art spectrum, including photographer Lauren Crew, graphic artist Ralph Carlile Browne, and even yours truly. “It’s not only a developing city, it’s Oakland,” Trevor says, “It has a specific flavor and a specific way of doing things. And now we have all this business and economic growth. So like, what’s the child of that? How does the art fit in with that?”

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“SURFING’S A WHITE WASHED SPORT”

“SURFING’S A WHITE WASHED SPORT”

Thoughts on the documentary film "White Wash", and the struggle of black surfers against cultural hegemony

White Wash

I’ll never forget the day I bought my first surfboard. I had been talking with Tiago at my old apartment in Culver City when he said with his typically irrepressible enthusiasm, “Bro! I found you a surfboard, bro! Fifty Dollars. Let’s go!” On July 1st, 2010 I paddled out for the first time.

A year later, Max told me that surfing had changed my life. I never really thought about it. I always just felt how much I loved “tapping the source” as the grimy surf author Kem Nunn would call it. He was right, however, it had transformed me. Physically. Spiritually. Emotionally. I may sound like I’m the stereotypical surf dude, but what I’ve learned from surfing has crossed over into my life on dry land. It may seem like surfing was brought into my life by an enthusiastic friend; like I had simply been introduced to the sport and that’s all that was needed. In truth, however, hobbies don’t form that way. Much of what goes into people’s interests is a result of experience, and my foray into surfing had been slowly brewing over decades.

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PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST

Photographer Sequoia Ziff on life behind the lens, and her eye for arresting black and white portraiture

Sequoia Ziff

What does it mean to be a photographer these days, when everyone has a Nikon and Instagram has made everyone into an amateur shooter? Well, first and foremost, devotion and understanding of one’s craft is what distinguishes amateurs from professionals, and in that sense, LA-based photographer Sequoia Ziff is a true professional. As the in-house photographer for apparel and accessory company Della and with works featured in Urban Outfitters and Vogue Italia, Sequoia has developed a portfolio of portraits that speaks to her dedication to the craft. Snapping candid, intimate portraits of her subjects, her work hints at an admiration for legends like Annie Lebowitz and Helmut Newton, capturing something essential about each of the people she shoots.

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Sequoia for an upcoming W&B profile on R&B and house vocalist Kelela Mizanekristos, and needless to say, she killed it. Since then, I’d been eager to sit down with Sequoia to learn more about her love of photography and her inspirations. Check out our conversation, and more from Sequoia, below.

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