Sister Crayon: Breath of Fresh Air for Sacramento

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Dani Fernandez tappin’ on the MPC as if you were at a Hiero show, An outstanding drummer and electronic pianist (Genaro Ulloa, Nicholas Suhr) drumming and playing his decks of different keyboards, and a lovely soulful fleeting singer Terra Lopez makes up Sister Crayon.

Their sound is folksy with a lot of funk and electronic shenanigans mixed all up in. Recently signed to Manimal Vinyl, an indie record label from LA, expect a lot of good things in the future from this Sacramento group.

I had a chance to say, “hi” to Terra after a recent show and she was sincerely happy that I was present at the show and that I liked their music, which was refreshing.

Anyways I will keep this short, so go see Sister Crayon and / or buy “Here We Never Die” on Itunes.

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/silentandclementine

What do you want from us?

Just as any other night of the week, my friend Ron and I decided we would walk to a local hole in the wall and get some drinks. Flask packed so I could discreetly pour additives to my one, or possibly two, bought drinks at the bar, we grabbed the umbrella because some clouds were looming. There was a strange feeling in the air, probably because the streets were dark and quiet. We were talking about this girl I had just met and we were going to go to a location that she would be at. He told me about his recent dealings in NYC. Nothing unusual, just friendly banter commenced betwixt us for about five to ten minutes. Right when we neared 19th Street we heard a yelp.

Our heads spun like two lazy suzans at a holiday feast. There was this little guy with a decent build creeping up from behind on us. The fact that he was in the middle of the street should have triggered in my mind something was not right. He came rushing up to us with one hand in his pocket gripping something. A knife, gun, nothing or maybe his dick, but I didn’t know what. I was not in the mood for fighting but the guy looked normal and I wanted to figure out what he wanted. I asked, “Do I know you?” He promptly returned, “Yes, we know each other well!” I said “I really don’t think I know you!” He said, “Dude, what are you talking about we met the other night.” I thought for a moment trying very hard to think if perhaps I had met him in a drunken haze at one point. I decided that I hadn’t. Aware of the threat that could be looming in his pocket; I asked him how he knew me. He said that we went to Fairfield High School together. I said, “Ok, buddy, we surely don’t know each other, BYE!” He persisted and would not leave or quit following us.

I thought about what I wanted to do; Feel vulnerable having this tweeker follow us, and maybe trying to jack us, or figure out what his fucking problem was? I turned back around and said “Fool, you better beat it right now before I knock you out!” He said, “You think I am scared of you?” I said, “You’d better be asshole, I’d knock you out in one punch if I wanted too.” I was still concerned about why he kept his hand in his pocket, so I quickly decided to take a fake swing at him with my umbrella. His hands flew up as I had hoped they would, and I saw that he had nothing. I let the umbrella back down to a non threatening position. I noticed that he had good pectorals and that he must work out quite a bit.

I was a little less worried, knowing he didn’t have a gun or a knife, but he was still lingering around us. My friend stopped at the next alley entrance. I didn’t know why he decided to stop there. We stopped at the edge of the wall and were leaning there, just looking at him. He glared back as if he wanted something badly from us. I said “I’m giving you 10 seconds to bounce, if you don’t I’m going to knock you out.” He just stared at us. I counted. Ten seconds passed and I still couldn’t bring myself to punch this buff little pretty boy.

We heard what sounded like horse hooves thumping down the street. I noticed that in a flash the guy was gone. I realized he was running from us at break neck speed, as if we were going to go after him and he needed to get away from us. I asked my buddy why he had stopped where he did at the edge of the alley. He replied, “I was about ready to drag him in here and knock him out.” I replied, “good idea”.

Cholo Writing: Latino Gang Graffiti in Los Angeles // Book Review

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“Cholo Writing: Latino Gang Graffiti in Los Angeles” was released recently by Dokument Press of Sweden. The editor is Francois Chastanet. The photographs can be attributed to him and Howard Gribble.

This book is a very comprehensive documentation of Cholo art / gang graffiti in the Southern California area. Many people may think that gang graffiti is only some ugly scrawls there to mark the particular gangs turf. While it may be true that in some instances the graffiti is marking their turf, this book really does a great job on outlining the history of Cholo writing. The foreword by Chaz Bojorquez details the origins of Cholo writing back to the 1940s and the “Zooters”. After reading the foreword you realize that this form of art arose out of necessity for the Zooters and Latino/as to protect themselves from Anglo-Americans racist attacks at the time.

After the informative foreword there are about 35 pages of black and white photos of gang graffiti from the early days. In the middle of the book Howard Gribble and Francois Chastanet write two essays dealing with various stories about the culture of the early days and development of letter forms within the realm of Cholo writing. After these two informative essays the book continues with over 100 pages of great color photos of gang graffiti.

I would recommend adding this book to your collection if you are an artist, graphic artist, graffiti artist or anyone who is interested in Southern California or Latin culture. The book is very informative and educates that there is much more to the world of gang graffiti than one would ever realize!

Buy this book at Amazon.com

Publishers website Dokument.org

Communism 101: Things you should know but probably don’t

So many people talk about Barrack Obama being a socialist and/or communist, flying banners saying “Barrack HUESSEIN Obama this, and Barrack HUESSEIN Obama socialist that”. Clearly emphasizing his middle name because it sounds Middle Eastern, this is only done to garner racism. Most people who spout that and right wing talking points are usually dipshits who don’t really read, ever. My intention here is to write a quick article that one can read then be able grasp the real idea and ideals behind big bad communism.

And then Karl Marx was born. He linked up with a man named Friedrich Engels. In short they worked on a new theory of society together; one that they thought could make the world a better place. These visionaries were born during much turmoil and they endured a lot of the negative effects of being have-nots in society and that dramatically shaped their views. Engels dropped out of high school at an early age. Marx had it even worse and primarily relied on Engels for support since Engels family business was making a decent income at the time. The two saw the inequality in society and thought that indeed there had to be a better way.

The genius thing that Marx accomplished was to look at the evolution of social order. He looked at history and how empirically social evolution went from slaves and slave owners, the most pure form of haves and have-nots, to the peasants, serfs and nobles, a more fair system but not by a whole lot. Forwardly thinking you can look at capitalism as the next iteration of social order.

What is money? One key thing that Marx did was to state that Money represents not physical things, but the work that was imparted on it by the person who made said object. If you look at the money system this way then those who pay you to work are in effect in complete control of selling your labor. Marx called those who pay the workers and make money from their labor the bourgeoisie and those who sell their labor as the proletariat.

If you are to look at objects, land and everything that exists, who is to say “I own that”? It’s a very philosophical question. If you say, “Yes, you can own it”, Then who was the first owner? How do you claim it originally? At some point someone “took” it. One might say, “Hard work in this country can make anyone rich”. That may be true to some extent but overall statistically the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. The rich know this and have mechanisms in place that keep the poor from rising up the ranks and moving into their higher class. They make it hard for the proletariat to get a good education; it’s expensive. What do you need to start a business? Money and a lot of it! “Well just save up, and start your own business”, right? Idealistically the rich can dole out all these arguments and other similar stories until their faces turn blue, but the true stories of people making it “rich” in one generation, except for lotto winners, is extremely rare.

Lastly and very importantly one of the main mechanisms that the bourgeoisie uses is what’s called “false class consciousness”. Most right winger middle class workers are under this umbrella. They always vote against raising taxes that would directly help them! Why? Because the rich have fine tuned the way they deliver their morals to those folks. The Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks can be looked at as agents for the bourgeoisie who pound the idea that welfare is for losers and that health care isn’t a human right into the heads of these people that could benefit from such programs.

If you do a thought experiment where you have someone with 20 dollars in one hand and 5 in the other, then you tell another person to choose a hand to take money from. But before, and over time, you have brainwashed that person and told said person that only “losers” ever take from the left hand (which by the way always has the 20 in it). The rich will always put the 5 in their right hand. That is in direct correlation with how false class consciousness works in this country

Going back to the evolution of society, Marx saw that over time societies seem to level out in regards to fairness and distribution of wealth as a function of time. So together they asked what would come naturally after capitalism. Maybe something that would involve everyone sharing the earth and all things that come from the land, natural resources. This is the fundamental idea behind communism. Think of the earth as something we should all share and protect, and also the fact that money represents labor. Communism rebukes the idea that we should trade our labor. We should do what we want and enjoy for work, and work in conjunction and harmony with our fellow humans. They thought that just maybe they could bypass the anguish that would come along with the juggernaut course of capitalism and the ravaging path it would leave and jump straight to communism. History has shown that jump can’t be smooth.

Communism is not evil in intentions, and whether it works or not is to be seen. Maybe it will take the world being half way under water to make it work. Maybe it will take a million years and evolution of human minds. Maybe some other form of society will pop up that no one ever thought about. Capitalism doesn’t seem sustainable, but maybe the market will in some miraculous act shape itself so it doesn’t self destruct.

Lastly, I want to add, if you pay taxes you are socialist. So Barrack Obama is a socialist, you are a socialist and this country has always been socialist.

The End of the Internet? Naw.

There is a lot of talk about “net neutrality” these days. If you don’t know what net neutrality is here is a quick rundown; If you bought a certain speed level of internet access, for example, say you decided to go with the middle plan with AT&T. They should allow you to connect to CNN.com at the same speed as GoFuckYourself.org. That is essentially all there is to it, allowing you to connect to any website or web service at the same speed level within the package that you bought. All people in the middle range AT&T plan could, or should, be able to access any data regardless of source, at the same speed.

So now if you think about it, if net neutrality goes unchecked and there is no standard for it then what keeps a service provider from accepting money from larger companies that would allow certain access to their site? For example, what if Wal-Mart paid AT&T x amount of dollars a month to accelerate their wal-mart.com site to ensure that potential buyers have a “fast” experience? It would be weird if you started to notice certain corporate websites running very fast and other independent websites running mysteriously slow. You go to pay your prepaid phone bill and that goes fast and easy, but then you want to jump over to independent website anomie1.com and buy a shirt and the connection is painfully slow

Will it get out of control? Will you have to eventually be a big company to even have a website? Doubtfully, but should internet providers have a say in what speed certain content gets sent at all? I certainly don’t think so. But how would there be controls put in place that guarantee the users fair access?

It is nice to know that some large companies such as Google, Yahoo!, Vonage, Ebay, Amazon, and Microsoft have taken a stance advocating for net neutrality. Google likens the idea of net neutrality to someone using their phone. Should the phone company tell one who you should be able to call? Of course not. There are some opponents though. Hands Off The Internet, a group that argues against net neutrality is shockingly funded by AT&T, 3M and some other corporate lame asses.

There is some legislation being pushed forward to make sure that we can all do speed. But most anything you can find about current legislation seems very convoluted. We need to keep our eye on this topic and not let the large telecom companies pull the wool over our eyes. The FCC has laid down so called “Guidelines” but last time I checked, you don’t get in trouble for breaking guidelines. Demand a clear law that states that the telecom companies can not adjust the speed of your connection based on content. It really is just that simple!

Primary Flight announces Blue Print For Space for Art Basel 2009 – a collection of contemporary Street Artists and Graffiti Writers hosted by ArtCenter/South Florida

You don’t want to miss this event. Don’t Sleep!

Note: I did not write the article below. It was a press release that I got in an e-mail.

This year, Primary Flight broadens its reach with the addition of Blue Print For Space, a collection of contemporary Street Artists and Graffiti Writers, hosted by ArtCenter/South Florida. The art exhibition will showcase over 25 of today’s most active and unique street artists at its Miami Beach gallery. Blue Print For Space proposes that these “Street” artists’ works are not just thought provoking or visually pleasing, but are also the voice of a contemporary generation. Blue Print for Space premieres on Wednesday, December 2 with a Collector and Press Preview from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., and opens to the public from 8:30 to 10:00 p.m. (800 Lincoln Road at Meridian Avenue, Miami Beach). Guests are thereafter invited to join Primary Flight and friends at the Shore Club (1901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach); event is by invitation only.

Supporting Blue Print For Space is a list of prestigious sponsors including Morgans Hotel Group, Ironlak, the leading paint brand among street artists, and 33THIRD, a nationally recognized supplier of street art supplies. 33THIRD will be providing paint supplies, as well as supporting Primary Flight’s partnership and artist relations.

For this year’s event, Primary Flight is also working with some of the biggest names in music and consumer electronics to combine the best in sound and technology with today’s most prominent street artists. Beats by Dr. Dre and world leading audio/video accessories company Monster are donating several pairs of Studio headphones from the Beats by Dr. Dre headphone line from Monster.  The products will be custom painted by prominent street artists including Retna, El Mac, Typoe, Santiago Rubino, Tes One and London Police and will be on display at Blue Print for Space and then auctioned off to benefit the ArtCenter/South Florida’s Arts in Education program.

Since its inception in 2007, Primary Flight has hosted site specific, street-level, outdoor mural and performance art projects in Miami’s Wynwood Art District during Art Basel. This global arts and community collective presents an exciting program of street art exhibitions, parties, and crossover events featuring music, film, architecture and design. In just three years, Primary Flight has grown quickly from 15 to over 100 artists, doubling the number of exterior wall space throughout the Wynwood.  Artists collaborate on strategically located walls throughout the Wynwood Art District. Maps outlining the installation are circulated, providing patrons with an opportunity to view street works in process.

Notable participating artists in this year’s event include Augor, Askew, Bask, Blek Le Rat, Boxi, David Choe, Crome, Cycle, Michael De Feo, Dare, Depoe, Dolla Lama, Ellis G, El Mac, Tristan Eaton, Emit, Ron English, Ewok, Shepard Fairey, Frerk, Logan Hicks, Andy Howell, Kofie, Lady Pink, The London Police, MSG, Kenton Parker, Parskid, Pose, Push, Retna, Revok, Reyes, Rime, Risk, Santiago Rubino, Kenny Scharf, Scribe, Sever, She Kills He, Chris Stain, TCP, Tes One, Typoe, WK Interact, Witness, Marc C. Woehr and Agustina Woodgate.

Primary Flight is a launch pad for some Street Artists, and a homecoming for others, such as Shepard Fairey and Ron English, both of whom transitioned from Street Art to the Fine Art arena.

For more information about this year’s event, please visit http://www.primaryflight.com