Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The return of Art Basel...and me!

Taking a break from the usual is always good, especially if it's a holiday. Being that Thanksgiving was last week, there was lots of food and beverage to consume, family and friends to host, and most of all some much needed time away from the 'puter. Not only does this blog-post sanction my return, but it also marks the arrival of the annual art orgy that is Art Basel. Dudes like Shepard Fairey and Dickchicken have already started their pre-Basel bombing campaigns throughout Miami's neighborhoods, flyers are beginning to appear any and everywhere and galleries like OH-WOW are working overtime and into overdrive to make sure everything is perfect! Yep it's that time again, and since there's such a heavy saturation of exhibits and events all going on at the same time, I'm here to trim the fat and present to you a few of the better art gatherings going on such as Primary Flight's 'Street Art Cycles' or the Friends With You exhibit 'Rainbow City'. Check out the flyers below, click for hi-res.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Is Overtown

Overtown Miami is one of the oldest, yet poorest neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County. Incorporated in 1896, famous developer Henry Flagler's railroad workers took refuge in this part of town since segregation during those times prevented blacks from living anywhere else, therefore the workers lived west of the railroad tracks and the town became known as "colored town".

These days, Overtown is still predominantly black and is one of the roughest, crime ridden areas in Florida. I happen to live just one block east of those railroad tracks that separate Overtown from the rest of Downtown Miami and let me tell you, it's an entirely different world and way of living. Check out this short, solid video below produced by photojournalist Stretch Ledford, which provides a detailed insight into the urban-underbelly of Miami. It's filmed using Cannon 5D's so the quality is superior. Great work!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Downtown 81

Jean-Michel Basquiat's productive career spanned just one short decade, yet he is considered one of the best-known artists of his generation. Graduating from subway walls to canvas and from the streets of New York to the galleries of SoHo, the artist and his work will forever remain a mystery to those who seek explanation. Sadly, he lost his life to heroin at the young age of 27.

The film 'Downtown 81' is a real-life snapshot of the hip, drug fueled clubland that was downtown Manhattan during the post-punk era of the 1980's and tries to explain the identity of Jean-Michel Basquiat at the same time. It's basically a day in the life of Basquiat as he wanders around NYC trying to sell a painting he made in order to pay his rent. He was recently evicted and would wander different downtown clubs trying to pick-up women so they could take him home and give him a place to sleep, which in real life was going on with the artist as during the actual making of the film, Basquiat was homeless and would sleep in the production offices. Throughout the movie, several real-life downtown superstars make appearances, such as Blondie, James Chance, Fab-5 Freddy, Lee Quinones and a few others you might recognize. It was originally titled 'New York Beat', but the film was later abandoned due to various financial issues. Then in 2000 after original writer Glenn O'Brien purchased the rights to the film, it was resurrected as 'Downtown 81'. Just over an hour and ten minutes, I'm totally in love with the music and footage they display throughout and the way it's captured on film. A must see!

You can view the entire film below. Unfortunately, the audio is of slightly poor quality due to the original dialogue audio being lost, therefore actor Saul Williams stepped in and dubbed the late Basquiat's voice. However, the musical soundtrack, mostly live club performances recorded on location using a RCA 24 track mobile unit, survived. Be sure to also check out the 1996 biopic/drama feature film titled 'Basquiat' as well, which is based on his life and death. For more on Jean-Michel Basquiat, click here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Archival Thursdays: Portishead - Third (2008)

The Portishead complexity became ever so clear with the release of 'Third'. It was their first studio album in 10 years and at first listen, it can be a little confusing or even off-putting. The static laden samples and sluggish scratching are gone, and most electronic effects have been pushed into a warmly analog moog and theremin role. However, patience and a little faith reveal 'Third' to be a work of sublime subtlety and dynamic depression easily on par with its critically adored predecessors. Tracks such as "Threads" and "Machine gun" are audible proof that Portishead's sound has evolved into something greater than ever. Amazing in every way!

I purchased this box set pre-order from Portishead's online store back when it was released.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cycles Of Life

Here is another cycling 'shortumentary' just over six minutes. It's directed and edited by Johannes Bay, shot in the picturesque hills of New Zealand. I truly wish I had the time and space to ride as much as this lad! Check it out.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fuck It Fridays: Fellsilent - Immerse

It's Fuck It Friday time and I'm delivering some more UK experimental/progressive metal. This time we have Fellsilent, possessing a technical polyrhythmic style of music, these boys are relentless. The track "Immerse" packs one hell of a punch and is one of my favorites off their debut album, 'The Hidden Words' which came out in 2008. Sadly, they broke up in April 2010 before they can make another album and are now doing separate projects, such as TesseracT. Give em' a listen!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Archival Thursdays: Metallica - And Justice For All (1988)

In honor of Veterans Day, I bring you Metallica's "And Justice For All". Since this is a concept album revolving around war and politics, I figured it would fit in just right. This was their fourth studio full-length and was their best selling upon it's release. I remember buying the cassette at K-mart back when it came out in 1988 and playing the life out of it till the tape snapped. How can I forget the first time I saw the morbid video on Headbangers Ball for the track "One"? I was immediately sold! Then I took a listen to the rest of the album and heard "Harvester of sorrow" and remember thinking to myself, 'these guys are going to be around for a loooong time'.

I bought this original version at Sweat Records here in Miami during the summer of 2007.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Henry Rollins' analogies are so spot on, aren't they?

"I don’t want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don’t want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow. I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun - hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks. People will walk by and say, “Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case.” I will turn and say to them, “It is you who are the basket case. For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn’t even conceive. For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!” And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup."

-Henry Rollins

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm Here

'I'm Here' is a 2010 sci-fi romance short film written and produced by Spike Jonze and commissioned by Absolut Vodka. The film is a love story about two robots living in Los Angeles during a time where humans and robots coexist.

The film begins by giving the impression that the robots are the underclass in society and had a vibe of robo-racism seeping through. Sheldon is the quiet librarian type, following the rules and living out a pretty lonely and sad existence. He rides the bus daily to and from work in Los Angeles where he works as a library shelver. One day at the bus stop, Sheldon meets the rebellious Francesca who happens to be driving (something the robots are not allowed to do). A human woman reprimands Francesca for driving a car, saying that she is 'not allowed'. He sees Francesca at the bus stop once more, this time with a car full of passengers. Francesca turns the car around and convinces Sheldon to let her give him a ride home. The group ends up at a shopping mall, hanging out in the parking lot. Francesca and Sheldon walk off together, and Francesca falls, injuring her knee. Sheldon repairs her knee with his toolkit. They begin to date. At night, they sleep together, sharing the same recharging cable. Francesca tells Sheldon about her dreams, which he thought was clearly impossible for robots. At a rock club, Francesca's arm is detached while she dances. Sheldon fixes it by transplanting his arm. Later, she stumbles home without a leg. Sheldon transplants his leg, despite Francesca's protests, telling her that he had a dream about it. Finally, he gets a phone call summoning him to the hospital, where Francesca lies on an operating table, torn in two. Sheldon donates the rest of his body to her, leaving only his still functioning head. Francesca is discharged from the hospital in a wheelchair, cradling Sheldon in her lap. Basically the film follows their story together and the happiness they enjoy while spending time with each other. Inevitably things start to go wrong and Sheldon ends up sacrificing various body parts to keep his love alive.

Ever since the days of Spike Jonze's 'GoldFish' skate video, I've always found interest in all of his work. Smart, unique, different and emotional is the best way to describe this film. The video is beautifully shot and full credit to all involved. Check out the official website here where you can view the entire film, view the trailer below. The soundtrack is out now via the wonderful Chocolate Industries.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Archival Thursdays: The Sword - Gods Of The Earth (2008)

'Gods Of The Earth' is the second studio album by doom metal legends The Sword. Breaking it down with downtuned guitar riffs and dominant four note power chords, this album is one of the better works from this band in my opinion. Released during spring 2008 on NY's Kemado records, it provided the band with its first chart success. Standout tracks include "The black river" and "The white sea". Pretty gnar artwork too, eh?

I purchased this online about 1 year ago.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Underbelly Project

Interesting write up in this Sunday's New York Times about a hidden art show which took place illegally in one of the many abandoned subway station's in NYC's vast network of underground tunnels. So hidden that the only attendees were the artists themselves and access to and from was destroyed shortly after it's opening. Titled 'The Underbelly Project' and put together by artists "Pac" and "Workhorse", the purpose of this gritty project is defying the norm. No clean white gallery walls or servings of wine & cheese, the public can't buy or view the art and danger is ever present in the dark, risky tunnels. The exhibit features work of over 100 well established street artists such as Revok, Swoon and Ron English and took over 18 months to complete and organize. According to curator Workhorse, "There is a certain type of person that the urban art movement has bred that enjoys the adventure as much as the art. Where else do you see a creative person risking themselves legally, financially, physically and creatively?"

I totally agree and I wish I could have seen this in person. Down in those tunnels there is no bullshit, just real art displayed the way it should be. Read the entire article here, view the short video here, and peep some photos below.

Photos courtesy of Pac and Workhorse.

Personal Velocity

Personal Velocity is a documentary of cycling in the big apple produced just recently by Jon Vatne of Norway. It captivates the speed, fun and dangers involved with biking in the great metropolis on a daily basis and gives you an insight on the current state of cycling culture in the big city. It also features the one and only Crihs who is the man behind the NYC track bike film Empire, and shows how people in general just hate cyclists, yet at the same time it depicts the beauty of riding in a concrete jungle.

This was put together really well with lots of solid footage. I'm not too sure when this will be released so keep checking the official website here for updates, in the meantime be sure to view the trailer below.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Well Played

Just in time for election day!