Next Friday marks the first art show from the Native Thinghood collective. Featuring works from a variety of Los Angeles based artists, the initiative seeks to “propel artistic growth with collective intentions.” Artwork from Savannah Wood, Danielle Schnur and Erin Christovale will be presented amongst work by other visual artists. With DJ sets from Henoch Moore and Kasey Cunningham, as well as Sa-Ra’s Om’Mas Keith, the night is sure to be smooth with high chances of good conversation. Doors open at 8:30 for a viewing of the gallery, with live performances and DJ sets after 10. The show will be held at The Cube. $3 at the door.
Photography By Rebekkah Castellanos
One day we’ll throw the perfect party. Each element will accommodate the next, creating the perfect night that we’ll remember forever. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting better. We have a long way to go, but that’s what makes it fun.
In short, our goal is to throw the best parties possible despite the fact that all the elements to do so are still not within our control. While last night was one of the best of the year so far, the fact that everyone couldn’t celebrate together makes it bittersweet. Again, we let some folks down in that regard, and for that I apologize. Nonetheless, last night, was another night, in the history of our journey. Thank you to everyone that came out to celebrate. Trust me when I say the best is yet to come.
I can’t really say I grew up watching Soul Train. I was born in ’88, and by the early ’90s, Don Cornelius was about ready to step down, and Yo! MTV Raps had stepped into Soul Train‘s role as the major television showcase for the most exciting, forward-thinking black music out there. But as a cultural touchstone, its influence is still pretty undeniable. When Max and I plan out these parties, I think there’s usually an image in our heads of all the folks coming down, two-by-two in a Soul Train line, groovin’ out to some Marvin or Curtis. We’ll take it there soon.
With Don Cornelius’ apparent suicide a few days back, it seems like just now, people are fully coming to understand just how impactful the show was for its time. Without the frenzy of nostalgic stories and think-pieces that have surface in the last week, it might be easy for our generation to forget the magnitude of a nationally syndicated show dedicated to soul, funk and the most cutting-edge popular music coming out of black America, being broadcast into living rooms across the country in 1971. Not to mention, everything about the show, and particularly Don Cornelius was just so damn cool. The voice, the fro, the effortless smoothness — not that it was all that hard to make Dick Clark look like a square, but he did. Looking back on some of the performances, in all their lip-synched glory, there were just too many classic moments. And, luckily for the YouTube generation, many of them are here at our fingertips. We thought we’d share a few.
For the sake of discussion, Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80 happens to make for a solid point of comparison to Schoolboy Q’s Habits and Contradictions. Aside from the obvious–the two are frequent collaborators and members of Kendrick’s Black Hippy crew– Habits bears plenty of similarities to 80. For starters, they each have a phenomenal ear for beats, both nostalgic and forward-thinking. Both artists too, are keen observers of the world around them. Both thrive off inner conflict, and turn those conflicted moments into meditations that feel both tangibly personal, and also somehow representative on a generational level.
But where Kendrick’s social conscience tends to kick into overdrive, Q is prone to let the darker aspects of his personality predominate. The tone of Habits is dark and brooding, and the production elegantly gritty and engrossing. The subject matter too, matches the convincingly sinister tone it’s delivered in. To say that Habits then, feels something like Section.80‘s darker cousin, is really to say, more accurately, that Q succeeds here in carving out his own, very distinct creative space.
Sometime around the middle of the year, after a year and change of what could only be described as sleeping on Jacques Greene, I stumbled upon “Another Girl”. Shortly after that, and after watching him get yelled at by Azealia Banks briefly, I dug into the gorgeous trio of EP’s, and the scattered, occasionally brilliant handful of singles and remixes he’s amassed over the last year and a half or so. Greene’s signature sound– elegant analog synth textures, spacey R&B vocal chops, and a typically danceable two-step groove– is about as cosmopolitan as it gets. At its most subtle, Greene’s music feels as exciting and fresh as Jamie xx or the James Blake of CMYK. The rest of the time, it’s fashionable, soulful, extremely well-executed house, which would already be reason enough to listen.
“Arrow” falls somewhere toward the former end of the spectrum, riding out a two-minute slow burn into a bass-heavy shuffle of a song, only to break back down a few more times in the process. At nine minutes, “Arrow” is the subdued, atmospheric conclusion to Jacques latest, Concealer EP, a self-released effort (on the producer’s new Vase imprint) that picks up where his more recent work left off, slowing down the pace a bit for another brief four-song collection. Like most of his work so far, it works for just about any situation. Certifiably settled mood music.
Download: Jacques Greene – “Arrow”
Charting the artistic pursuits of Stuk Designs founder Brette Sims
Photography By Max Gibson
What do you think is the value of being fearless?
It’s what separates a brilliant artist from an artist that’s like, “Hmm okay”… almost touching you, but not really. It’s hard to put your art out there. It’s like putting your soul out there to be judged by people.
By Willee Roberts
Last Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of operations at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. Bush-era fear tactics rationalized the creation of the military prison despite its defiance of Geneva Convention protocol against torture. In Obama’s early days in office, he attempted to follow through on his campaign promise to close the camp and return terror suspects to US soil. Gitmo remains open, with 171 prisoners still confined to living in its inhumane conditions. Obama is not soft on terrorism.
Beware America: Osama is dead, but terror lives on. This time, it does not wear turbans or live in a cave. It wears 99% buttons and lives in a tent. But these new terrorists want the same thing as the old, to dismantle the structures that allow capitalism and “western values” to colonize and oppress.
Obama is not soft on terrorism. On the eve of the new year, 2012, our president signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA), a piece of legislation which, among other things, grants the federal government the authority to indefinitely detain anyone suspected of terrorism.
There’s a common thread that ties together each of Gusmano Cesaretti‘s photography collections. Each collection displays his uncanny ability to capture a specific place and time, in a way that feels almost mythical, and yet also deeply personal. While each series, taken as a whole, paints a sort of romanticized portrait of the place in question, the idiosyncratic details of each picture tell a story of their own. The pair of collections currently being shown at Los Angeles’ Roberts & Tilton gallery– the first documenting 1970s East L.A., and the second depicting the harsh realities of Panamanian street life– put some of the most powerful examples of that particular talent on display.
336 South Hill Street
In an era where one million youtube views can equate to instant stardom, it’s hard to define what’s truly fresh from what’s just popular. It’s a debate plenty of us have had many times over, and one that comes to light when considering the rise of A$AP Rocky. I think Dom understands. So when A$AP’s latest visual offering hit the net sometime last night, I thought twice about throwing it up. Has A$AP become trendy before he’s even dropped an album? Maybe so. Nonetheless, I’ve watched this video like six times.
It always seems like we should show the illustrators and authors of children’s books more love. Personally, I credit folks like Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Bill Watterson, Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein for stretching out my imagination as far as it would go when I was a kid. I suppose what distinguishes the great from good in that category are the books you can flip through fifteen or twenty years later and still be blown away by their creativity or their power to convey complex ideas in deceptively simple ways.
Whether or not it’s intended as a children’s book, in the traditional sense of the word, Rop van Mierlo‘s wordless Wild Animals collection has that same sort of classic feel and elegant simplicity to it. Billed by van Mierlo as “a wild book for civilized people” and “a sophisticated book for wild people”, Wild Animals is a collection of gorgeous watercolors, done in a playful, gestural style that almost recalls Rorschach inkblots. Aside from that, the award-winning work is self-published, and now in its second printing. Read on for a closer look inside, or cop here.
I don’t listen to Norwegian black metal. Until about two hours ago, I couldn’t have told you anything about it, and after spending the better part of that time learning about it, I can’t say I’m rushing to find a download link. But Until the Light Takes Us is just a fascinating film, and for that hour and a half I was immersed in a subculture completely foreign to me. Released to mixed reviews in 2009, the film is the product of directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell’s vision, a documentary compiled through years of interviews and archival footage with some of Norwegian black metal‘s most controversial figures.
That most critiques of Until the Light center around the overly sympathetic, romanticizing tone it takes toward its subjects only makes sense. The story of black metal is, after all, primarily documented as a result of controversy– a series of church burnings, a handful of murders, and some grisly suicides, to be more specific. Beyond that though, the film explores the troubling ideology behind those actions, and behind a cultural phenomenon that captured the world’s attention at its peak in the mid-’90s. For those curious enough, it’s an experience, to say the least. Read on for the full movie.
It seems like the collective Internet is breathing a sigh of relief today. At least the part that concerns America anyway. Big ups to everybody involved in stopping SOPA and PIPA dead in their tracks, and talking some sense into at least a few of the politicians planning to lend their support. In the spirit of toppling those particular pieces of legislation, I figured we should celebrate by providing some free, downloadable new music we’ve been digging lately. Among other things, the new year has already brought us new, quality material from Santi, Raekwon, Sleigh Bells, Azealia Banks and a handful of others. And just for good measure, there’s also a few favorites from the end of the year. Highlights include the latest from Nicolas Jaar, the Clams Casino K.R.I.T. remix, and The Internet’s Natural Born Killers-inspired visual for “Fastlane”. Happy Friday.