Some vibrant nostalgia from the mind of Michelle Guintu. East Bay raised but SF residing, Michelle has developed her aesthetic simply by painting the things she likes. From 90′s R&B superstars, like Missy and Aaliyah, to Joe Montana paintings and McDonald’s installations.
Known for his charismatic demeanor and extra lit videos Ezale has garnered a considerable following in a short amount of time. Our own Ben-DL sits down with the enigmatic Ezale, for his first full length interview to date. From early beginnings rapping in a closet, to his cult classic video for Too High, Ezale is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
We take a look inside the world of Post-It Note Illustrator turned author Marlon Sassy. The Vancouver based artist has grown a considerable following for his hip-hop culture inspired “doodles,” and with his first book under his belt, it seems like things are only going up for our friend Marlon.
Bike Night Part II went all the way up. A big thank you to everyone that ventured out with us and to the folks at Manifesto and 15th & Webster for helping making it happen. Our goal is to do tight shit, so we thank you for your support. Check out our recap with photos from our good friend Max Claus
Far Out was another one to remember. We took it underground for our most recent Wine & Bowties party. Bringing together an assortment of DJ’s in Yung_smh, Starter Kit & Sad Andy, we brought the vibe back and then some. Shout out to the Command Center and the folks who helped put it all together, and a big thanks to our eclectic crowd who make the parties so dope.
It seems as though capturing the environment around him is almost second nature to Bristol-based photographer Tom Lowther. Kids in their element, dreamy landscapes and peculiar objects typify the photographer’s work although it seems as though Tom is just getting started. Building an eclectic resume of images, Tom’s work reveals a unique set of life experiences, colored by simplicity and youth. With a distinct element of spontaneity and a touch of deliberateness, Tom’s photography reminds us how easy it is to take a picture, but also how difficult it is to capture a moment.
A suspended act of affirmative persistence…an aesthetic meditation on the human desire to believe in the futile and to conceive the impossible. That’s the statement of purpose given by Diego Agullo and Dmitry Paranyushkin, the creative minds behind The Humping Pact. I’ll be real though. My first thoughts when I saw this video weren’t exactly concerned with aesthetic meditations. My first thought was to laugh. Hard. Because this is a fucking funny idea.
Aside from that though, with the project’s crew of humpers making their way across the European continent, stopping in various “dysfunctional spaces that still emanate creative potential”– think coal mines, Soviet military bases, abandoned architectural curiosities–and getting better acquainted with the space. In addition to the initial performances, these spectacles are then reenacted in a gallery setting or transformed into large scale video projections, prints and other media. In any case, I’m sure I’m not doing the Pact justice here, so visit their site for a better explanation of what all the faux-fornication is about. For now, feel free to meditate on this.
There’s something completely hypnotic about Cooly G’s new album. It’s as if she was able to distill the feeling of a few dozen late night ’90s house-R&B classics into just a handful of tracks, before soaking each of them in the appropriate dose of narcotic reverb. A fixture of the London underground scene, Cooly G’s made her name to date mostly off the strength of a subtly spacey take on UK funky. With Playin’ Me though, she expands on that formula into more personal territory, putting her voice front and center, and crafting sultry, intimate jams that give us a glimpse of her own world. “Good Times” is an absolute stunner, complimented by some slow-burning synth work and sparse, bouncy percussion, and ready to soundtrack just about any hazy, post-party montage imaginable. Suffice to say, it’s not every producer that’s able make three in the morning feel this warm and inviting.
It would be hard not to notice just how orange the cover artwork for Channel Orange really is. It’s intensely, artificially orange. It’s practically glowing. Looking at it now, I can’t help but be reminded of the Nickelodeon logo. For better or for worse, images like that one from Viacom’s entertainment empire are inextricably linked to my memories of childhood. It’s a pretty frightening realization, but it’s undeniable. The impression made by television’s constant barrage of vivid colors and exaggerated characters on my nascent imagination is something completely immeasurable, and impossible to overestimate. It strikes me then, in listening to Frank Ocean’s latest, that he’s likely a product of the same set of influences that permeated the formative years of so many other twenty-somethings the way they did mine–Nicktoons, late ’90s MTV, a few dozen early internet fads, VHS tapes, Anime, Super NES, even Adult Swim. The fifteen seconds or so of Street Fighter music that kicks off Channel Orange is enough to trigger just about every nostalgia reflex my brain has at its disposal.
As far as imagination goes, Frank Ocean has a pretty boundless supply, and Channel Orange feels like nothing so much as a playground for those far-flung ideas and influences to run wild–a channel-surfing tour through the three or so pounds of gray matter sitting inside his skull. Sonically, it’s just as adventurous, a smattering of technicolor sounds, loosely revolving around a futuristic funk motif. The stories are bursting with all the rich detail and bizarre variety of a Saturday morning cartoon lineup, and the characters who populate this landscape just as colorful: unsupervised rich kids railing lines and joyriding in daddy’s Jag, the black queen Cleopatra who moonlights as a stripper, a lonely basehead reflecting on better days, a stage-diving Dalai Lama, and even a love interest based on good old Forrest Gump. Don’t get me wrong with the cartoon talk though. This is big kid stuff. Often what’s being filtered through that expansive imagination is raw emotion, the kind that bleeds through anything created in the midst of internal crisis. These are the kind of songs that make private emotions feel like they couldn’t possibly be expressed without reference to surreal, sweeping metaphors and sensational drama. It’s the kind of vivid, poignant storytelling that reaches out to you from somewhere internal and can’t help but pull big, disparate chunks of the universe into its orbit.
Saturday afternoon marked our inaugural art show for Wine & Bowties. Warm weather, good food and great art made for one particularly settled afternoon. Focused around the visuals of black and white imagery, each artist utilized their own interpretation of black and white to share their work with our audience. Congratulations and thanks to Rebekkah Castellanos, Danielle Schnur and Jesse Draxler who we collaborated with for this first show. And a special thank you to everyone who helped make the day happen. Louis XIII and dJ Hemisphere on the tables. Oscar on the tacos. Our greeters Teo and mother. And Hannah, Geoff and Ya for keeping the sangria flowing. Rest assured there will be more to come.
If you didn’t know any better, you might say that the last few years have been exceptionally kind to Colin Tilley. When Max and I meet Colin at his Silverlake pad, he pulls up in the benz, all-black everything with tints, and hops out, greeting us with a grin. Freshly inked, the “skate and destroy” tat across his forearm is still wrapped in plastic. When we take a seat in the living room, Colin takes to breaking down some trees on the coffee table in front of us. Across the room, on the mantelpiece sits Colin’s moon man, a glistening reminder of the VMA he helped win for Justin Bieber’s 2010 smash “U Smile”.
Aside from that, it’s a reminder of just how far he’s come. Over the past few years, Colin’s trajectory is one we’ve been able to watch pretty closely, from humble beginnings with hometown heroes like The Cataracs and Lil’ B to his place now, as one of the industry’s premier, in-demand directors in hip-hop and beyond. A brief glance at the names on his resume reads something like the guest list at an award show afterparty: Wayne, Chris Brown, Wiz, Rozay, even Diddy himself. It’s all the more impressive considering the fact that Colin was celebrating his twenty-fourth birthday just a few weeks ago. And yet in talking with him, he seems comfortable, but not satisfied. When he talks about his work, he talks about immersing himself, about being in the moment, and rarely finding the time to reflect. When he talks about the future, his eyes widen. He’s engaged, ambitious, ready to pursue new ideas, and yet still grounded– by home and family, but also by perspective and a relentless work ethic. A few minutes into our conversation, it becomes pretty clear that the past few years haven’t just been kind to Colin. More accurately, you might say he’s made the most of them.
• • •
Read our full interview with Los Angeles-based director Colin Tilley here.
I’d be lying if I told you I was listening to anything other than Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange for the last 48 hours. Trust, that review’s coming shortly. But in the meantime, there’s plenty of other music that’s dropped lately that’s more than worth the listen. Case in point, Julio Bashmore, who’s been absolutely wrecking shit in the wide world of British dance music over the last few years, most notably with the infectious “Battle for Middle You” last year. For the first release on his newly founded Broadwalk imprint, the compact Au Seve EP, the Bristol-based mastermind laces us with a handful of jams that both help to solidify the hallmarks of his style, and expand into new territory, from retro-leaning, shimmery updates on Chicago house to the EP’s surprisingly smoothed out b-side, a slowed-down, soulful amalgamation of several tracks that doubles perfectly well as a poolside mix. The latter side is featured here for your listening pleasure, but the A-side is prettynecessary. So cop that vinyl here.
At one point their population numbered in the tens of millions, the Great Plains of North America their habitat and domain. They were the bison, also known as the American buffalo, and were the native inhabitants of the Great Western Plains. Benefiting from plentiful land and resources, the bison flourished for several millennia before humans inhabited their land. Their territory was extensive, but the 19th century would prove fatal for the vast majority of the bison population. Hunted to near extinction by American market hunters, the once massive bison population was reduced to a mere 1,000 by the turn of the century.
There’s something classic, and iconically American about the cover of Twin Shadow’s new record. There stands the project’s mastermind George Lewis Jr., pristine rockabilly pompadour combed beyond perfection, wrapped in a worn leather jacket, the look across his face somewhere between pretty boy smugness and outsider vulnerability. In all its nostalgic simplicity, it almost immediately locates Lewis in a long and romantic mythology of bad boys, stretching back at least as far as James Dean. Lewis’ claim that Confess was inspired by a motorcycle accident, self-admitted fast living and debauchery on the road, even his slick, understated confidence at shows–all the pieces are there. And as personas go, Twin Shadow’s is a well-crafted one. More importantly though, talking about it offers a helpful introduction to a record that lives up to the all the grandeur that posturing conjures up.
Heidegger once wrote about a Van Gogh painting, depicting a pair of shoes, and said something to the effect that Van Gogh, though his depiction wasn’t naturalistic, and didn’t directly resemble the material reality of those shoes, that it had revealed some truth beyond physical reality. It had brought to light something true even as it failed to faithfully, accurately represent exactly what it is we see when we look at those shoes.
Philosophical notions of “truth” aside, I think Daniel Sesé‘s out-of-focus, blurred photography does something similar. They are not, by the most technically conventional of standards, “good” pictures of the objects they capture. And yet, the shots are gorgeous in every way a crystal-clear image is not, and in most cases, they bring something out that couldn’t have been seen otherwise. Aside from the fact that Sese is from Barcelona, and that he’s multitalented, I have to admit I don’t know much about him. But as photographic aesthetics go, I’m not sure I’ve seen anything quite like his. Every edge is blurred, every color is vibrant, and every figure is smudged almost to the point of painted abstraction. Contained in these images is beautiful motion and color, whether he’s capturing the movement of women dancing or a single tree. As strange as it sounds, these images can make you feel like you’re seeing the subjects a little more clearly.
Some of you, if not most of you recall Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories from Chappelle’s Show. Detailing one of the comedian’s more memorable tales from his days in Hollywood, you’ll recall Charlie’s story of the night he and his friends played Prince and the Revolution in a game of basketball.
While hilarious for a variety of reasons, it turns out much of Charlie’s story lands closer to fact than fiction. Enter Harlan “Hucky” Austin. A Close Protection Operative and bodyguard who spent over 20 years serving as a private bodyguard to Prince himself, Harlan sheds more light on the rumors of Prince’s basketball skills in a short story of his own.
For Harlan, who was never too far from the iconic artist, it seems as though memories of Prince’s basketball prowess still circulate amongst those who were there. As the bodyguard puts it, apparently Prince was one of the nicest to step on the court. But don’t take our word for it, hit the MORE and read for yourself.