Quince / Sea of Streetlights / Cowboy Rap

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The Spanish were looking for the wrong kind of gold

The Spanish were looking for the wrong kind of gold

It’s been quite a semester, urbanites. My job as new-age social scientist, infiltrating the Valley’s hip hop culture, has led me to the heart of art in Phoenix (:

Arizona is so much more than just the bad parts of California! One could never guess at what’s thriving underground, from simply looking at the façade of our ever-stretching suburbia. With so many transplants from more central Hip Hop cities, we have places like Cyphers and Jukebox to teach the history, development, and philosophy of their art along with the sick moves they bring to the desert. We’ve got the foundations solid and native artists here, such as Phonetic Spit, who are taking things in a new, unique direction for our city. But don’t take my word for it:

 

House

House


understanding

All forms of art are essential to the human experience. With no music, no colors, and no dancing this city would descend into the despair of anonymity that so often haunts the newer cities in the country. It’s important, as citizens, to cultivate our own artistic culture in the community. It’s important, as humans, that we interact and share with each other through creative expression. Otherwise, everyone goes crazy. No Bueno. Keep it real Phoenix! I’ll be skipping town while it’s appallingly awfully hot here, but I’ll back in the spring to check back on what’s been growing in our garden. Much love!

Here’s some more from the valley’s finest:

Arizona has a plane graveyard.. might as well make it beautiful and worth visiting?

Arizona has a plane graveyard.. might as well make it beautiful and worth visiting?

lookbeyond the surface in our town!

lookbeyond the surface in our town!

dino cactus peete az

Arizona - Douglas Miles

Arizona – Douglas Miles

Poetry Month

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shes a poem

In case you weren’t there, (the Come as You are Ball, where else?) this is what it felt like:

Electric Snake Charming


(the limelight is a spinning mosaic tonight)


(you know that some part of your heart
Is made of music-feeling-fibers
You can activate if you concentrate
Real hard)


(“Work.”)

The DJ uses a machine
As a snake charmer, & electrically,
Scientifically, she turns to a twin tailed viper.
A rhythm slithering leather leviathan, skin reptilian
Stretching plates of grey-scale Vogue covers,

              Back & forth, back, back & forth another cobra
Hisses hits & misses to me,
Only the forked tongue, oh, only- the forked tongue
Sputters out a tulip
Dirty Dancing:

(the rose on a mafioso’s tuxedo)
It was all,
“you can be anything you feel like,
For one night,
Dream.”

                      & everyone said, naked;
“yeah we brought costumes,
Glad I could make it but to night
Ill be myself cause I shapeshift
daily”

snakes shedding layers theymakebelieve every day
Making sure our thinking is always inside the box
Magazine faces became masks and acted like real people acting like real people

release Souls, they’re fragile as the edge of extra yellow petal lilies on a sunny day


feel me?
Its like mostofthetime mymind is twistedsideways;
Facilitatinginspection from youreyes.
Nomore
feel me?

JOSEPH LORUSSO

April is national Poetry Month! Also, the Come as You Are Ball was simply indescribable through normal language, so this was the best fit. If you were there, you’d understand (I hope.)


Special thanks to Archie Burnett for puttin’ in work these past 2 weeks for ASU’s urban program. The film screening on Monday, the social-roles discussion last Wednesday, and the Ball were all a blast and each event was enlightening! Much love from AZ Archie!


Present at the round-table discussion last week, (we were actually sitting “criss-cross applesauce” on a dance floor) poet Joy Young lent us all a hand to elevate the topic. Here’s a performance of her’s, ‘cause everyone was curious!


Joy Young lives her poetical life in Phoenix, Arizona. If you’re lucky, you can catch her around microphones all over the city. She’s super down to Earth, so snap & say hello!

She
BIG NEWS!
Cyphers, a keystone for Hip Hop in the valley, has found a new location in the Phoenix Center for the Arts in downtown! The grand re-opening celebration is planned for Friday, 5/2, starting at 6p.m.

All the elements of Hip Hop will be celebrated at the grand opening, so whatever you do; bring it downtown on May 2nd. Save the date!

  • A cypher is a creative circle that allows for energy to flow between the artists so they can build off one another.
  • Hip Hop was born from the energy in cyphers, and all that stuff you see on TV began as friends goofing and having fun in a cypher. Whether it’s for breaking, or dancing in general, or droppin’ bars on a mic, a cypher is the best way to hone your skills & learn from others. Plus it’s a chance to show your friends your maniacal moves. Cyphers is surely the best place to catch a cypher, so definitely support the Hip Hop movement in Phoenix by coming out!

The King of Hearts

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~Shout out to my grandma who said this blog is great! Thanks grand mama!

 

Feed your Mind this week

Feed your Mind this week

 


You’ve all got a packed schedule this week, & guess whose filling in your calendar? Read on (:


Monday (4/14) – It’s all Archie this week, urbanites. Check Your Body at the Door, Archie’s artful documentary (over two, scratch that, three decades in the making) will be shown tonight in PEBE East (right in the lobby y’all), starting at 8 pm. Fill your backpack with candy, sit back, & relax with us all & absorb the knowledge!

Wednesday (4/16) – A discussion panel, following “To the Grind”—(Adriano Cabral’s piece that delves into social definitions, specifically sexuality & gender, & what we feel is “normal” in our day to day reality). The panel will be a probably not-too-formal yet very enlightening conversation along those topics. ASU professors will be sittin’ in the chairs! Free your mind at PEBE East, (room 132) at 7-10 p.m.


& if you aren’t already a completely different person at this point, the Come as You Are Ball will be smashing down the walls of PEBE East on this Friday. I don’t know if I can handle this one you guys. Bring 5-hour energy & your best friend. Archie Burnett, ASU’s resident artist these past couple weeks, will be hosting the party!


comeasyouare

Artist Profile – Archie Burnett

01ArchieBurnett1


“Check your body at the door, so your spirit can be free!”
Archie Burnett began dancing at age 3, watching Soul Train & learning from James Brown. His family, Seventh Day Adventists, did not approve of dancing or other aspects of popular culture, so his innate, 3-year-old love for music had to be sort of a secret from the beginning.

soultrain-1

Consequentially, it was a long while before Archie could go out & experience dancing in the real world, in his case, the clubs in Brooklyn. He told me he didn’t get the chance to go out until after he had gotten his first job, an usher in a movie theater, where the late hours allowed him to stay out a few extra and spend them how he wanted without suspicion.

(Queue scene of Archie Burnett dancing down halls of empty theatre at midnight, broom partner in hand, about to tear the clubs up.)


He told me “where there’s a need, you will find something to fulfill it.” It is easy to imagine the hole in one’s life when dancing is what you love but the only thing you can’t have. So Archie soon became nocturnal, spending his nights in rhythms and his days well-behaved.

I asked Archie for advice regarding artists such as himself, & following your dreams when they go against your circumstances or situation. Guru Burnett told me “don’t worry where you’ll end up, just have a direction. Follow the love & the passion in your life but don’t worry about meeting some specific destination.” Word. Archie’s wisdom reigns true for all artists out there!

Check Yourself

ccheckIn college, Archie teamed up with his professor & the two began work on Check your Body at the Door. The documentary examines how artists in the New York House scene maintain their outside lives, and how they balance what they love in their lifestyle. Definitely intriguing for people of any passion! Their study of House dancing and the life of its aficionados has spanned across three decades, watching the growth and evolution of an art form through generations.

Roll with the Punches, Laugh at the facts

Archie will continue following his direction, the rhythm of good music. He continues to teach his groove to people all across the world. After his couple of weeks at ASU he is taking the globe by storm, touring across Europe and into Asia. Don’t forget us Archie!

Mr. Burnett told me balance was the key to life. If you do too much of one thing, you’ll go crazy. If you don’t do enough of another, you’ll go crazy. That goes for all of us, as we struggle to balance passion with making a paycheck. “Roll with the punches. Accept what comes in life with an open mind, but delete the bullshit. Keep your balance, and keep it simple stupid!”

check

Archie Burnett will be at the panel discussion this week and will be running the show at the Come as You Are Ball. Don’t miss your chance to learn from his worldly brain! Thank you for inspiring us all to follow our hearts & giving us the knowledge necessary! That’s a rap folks. The man will be in the country till the weekend, so get your fill of the wisdom and charm!

AZ MC Countdown

yuh

The valley is full of talented microphone commanding poets, & hardly anyone knows it! Here’s a compiled list of focused dopeness (these guys got the magic like hocus pocus! Okay.. sorry.):

1) Lord Kash & ZeeDubb (of the Stakes); double timed fury over live instrumentation, with tell-tale influences from 30’s jazz to 2pac to slow ballads. These emcees and their band probably get compared to the Roots a lot, but I’m not doing it here! Check out the Stakes for a fresh sound, for a fresh breath in Hip Hop.

2) Mav of Sol Camp; the man has been putting in verses & killin it with several groups over the years, always bringing something genuine & new. Originally from California, Mav has been representing Phoenix since he settled here & made a home in the sun. His group Sol Camp is currently working on their first full length album, which will surely go down as a classic!

3) Myrlin (Phonetic Spit); His mixtape The Funky Autopsy covers a lot of ground. Every song is distinct & different with a different emotion behind it. So real & in tune & in time, it’s the best mixtape I’ve heard around these parts, ever. (really)

Yarmosky_soldier_boy

4) Ill Al (the Anglo Saxon); another really unique emcee, born & raised in Phoenix. The dude’s got a really good sense for melody in his lyrics, with an original flow the listener truly gets swept into. His lyrics also touch on subjects with perfect clarity that a lot of other rappers usually struggle to convey in their rhymes. Props for putting together 4 mixtapes & showing the world how it’s done down here!

5) Kanon of NewBreedz; a master of the flow! One minute the man is chopping syllables like he’s Kendrick Lamar in perfect rhythm and next thing you know, his flow flooded into full singing. A lot of variety in his subjects as well, & a badass dancer too. Keep holdin’ it down Kanon!

Art!: southwestwar&peace light

latin dragon consumer

Keep the Hands High

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Urban Sol

Urban Sol!

           

Damn, I still can’t get over last Friday. Urban Sol exploded and flared into the night. Cyphers of dancers were grooving long past the point where I was falling asleep, the moon almost below the horizon. It was seriously some controlled chaos at ASU. Urban Sol definitely made Tempe & Hip Hop history as well this weekend. We might have broken a few windows with the beats. Really. Lemme break the night down for you:

  • Furious Styles Crew took home the bacon in the 5-on-5 battles, though every crew gave it everything they had and put on an amazing show. I was seriously blown away by these b-boys & girls. It was intense but it was all fun at the same time, showing true breaking spirit in the aggression but also the respect all dancers had for one another. Unbelievable moments a-plenty. The amount of work and raw passion that obviously went into every crew’s performance was inspiring. Y’all put Hollywood to shame with your moves!
dopeness! Get it Kyle

dopeness! Get it Kyle

  • • Conducting all the madness on the turntables, the winner of the DJ competition was selected in a classic audience-response style. That means screams. DJ Panic succeeded in gaining the most hype, taking home a cool 200$ & some definite bragging rights for beating out local hero DJ Tiger (dude even had his own signature tiger noise!). All four DJ’s of the night kept the energy more live than Frankenstein taking a lightning bolt from Zeus. That’s the only way to describe the music they chose, ranging from old school hip hop, funk, 80’s music (dancin’ with myself, oh oh oh-oh!), all through the 90’s and some stuff so new, not even the trendiest of college kids could keep up!
DJ Panic

DJ Panic

      • • & of course, New Breedz (link), the Urban & Funk ensembles, Juke Kids & everyone else who took the stage blew us all away. The acts of the night covered all 4 corners of Hip Hop, with each act doing their own unique take on their art. Real incredible talent, all around.
      takeflight

      takeflight

      • • The graffiti wall was also signature and unique. Audience members gave away shoes, shirts, sweaters, (one guy brought a clock) amongst other things that were nailed to the canvas and painted on, giving the final piece a three-dimensional aspect. Take a look:

      house house us

@ ASU:


King Charles, of Footworkingz, proclaimed by his city as the monarch of Chicago Footworkin’ at age 14, was our guest artist for the Urban program last week. I attended a class session led by him and left with five new callouses. I left convinced this man had the fastest, most intricate movement even possible for the human body to do.


Chicago Footwork is a high energy, lower-body focused style that is purely unique to the Windy City. King Charles & the Footworkingz are on a mission to spread their passion around the nation & the globe, taking the breath away from their audience at every performance. The dance is usually done to songs at around 180 bpm, so you can imagine the intensity involved. Actually, you can’t. You can only watch and be amazed:


King Charles taught us all about dedication and believing in your artwork. Being the King of anything isn’t easy, so as the leader of his own style of dance King Charles is a living lesson to dancers & all artists to believe in what you have to offer to the world, and to pursue that with everything you got. The amount of sweat this guy gives to his style every day is a testament to what it takes to be a professional chasing their dreams. Keep it movin’ King! Big ups to you & thanks from ASU for the inspiration!

 

Freshy Fresh Archie Burnett

Freshy Fresh Archie Burnett

 

These next two weeks belong to Archie Burnett, true dance veteran & legend from Brooklyn. Archie has spent the past two decades working on a documentary entitled “Check Your Body at the Door,” a study into the lives of New York dancers and how they get by, why they do what they do, & also a striking look at the many different moves seen in his home city.


Archie himself is a guru of dance, a connoisseur of movement & music. Don’t miss the chance to share with him at his workshop the evening of Friday, April 11th. (FAC 28, 5$!) This is also the last workshop of the year, so don’t miss out on the fun!

 

comeasyouare
Archie Burnett is also hosting the aforementioned Come as You Are Ball, on April 18th. This is going to rival Urban Sol as ASU’s Hip Hop event of the year. No doubt it will be a night you will never forget! Tickets are 15$ at the door, but presales can be had for 8$ (here’s your hookup for that presale price y’all, post your name & email & you’ll get the link for half price!)

  • • Love Hip Hop? Of course you do. Deepen your knowledge of the culture at the Check Your Body at the Door film screening! No matter what you’re into, knowing more about a culture you’re unfamiliar with will help your own pursuits.

Even if you’re already a certified Hip Hop head, you’ll definitely learn something new, or at least have a lot of fun (: BE THERE! This is going down in PEBE East, April 14th, at 8 p.m. I’m bringing munchies!

  • • ASU’s Urban Arts Club is also hosting a panel discussion April 16th, PEBE East (room 132) at 7 – 10 pm. We’ll be gettin’ all scholarly; discussing gender & sexuality in art & our society. Get Educated!
Steven Yazzie

Steven Yazzie

This week’s art spot is a focus on Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, a local Phoenician and Tohono O’odham Native American. His style combines graffiti & traditional Native motifs, to create something that’s well, really just indescribable. If you live here, you’ve probably seen his work saving Phoenix from the despair of white-washed monotony downtown. Take a peek at some of his lesser known work:

breeze & sliim

Breeze (shot by PHX New Times)

Breeze (shot by PHX New Times)

breeze & slim

taken by Chris English

taken by Chris English

steven yazzie

steven yazzie

Breeze

Breeze

Halloween in April

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Wild West Hip Hop

Janda
Urban Sol is a-comin’ my people! This Friday (4/4), ASU’s Tempe Campus will be conquered by Hip Hop. The Galvin Playhouse (the Southwest section of campus) will be a beautiful horde of artists, professionals, and students alike breakin’, graffin’, deejayin’, and emceein’. Reunited at last, the four elements of Hip Hop, all in one place at one time, might just spark TOO MUCH magic & dopeness. Ancient Native American spirits will probably rise from the desert and dance with us. The city officials might mistake us for a riot. The retirees out in Sun City will reconsider their quiet, peaceful suburban blocks as Urban Sol echoes through every corner of the Valley. Whether or not the streets are shutdown, this is sure to be a night to remember, so don’t miss out!

Urban Sol is a Free event, but donations will be held for Cyphers (a beloved jewel of breaking & dance in our community) to help them relocate downtown, as well as a fundraiser in support of Jukebox studios, another staple in our artistic life here in Phoenix. Definitely show up and enjoy, but also remember to PARTicipate and do your part for the whole city.

abstractgraffiti
The graphic art portion (graphic art = graffiti.. Urban Sol 101) will be led by b-boy House, of Cypher’s Center of the Arts. Our graffiti installation is a little different this year, as clothes will be incorporated into the canvas and everyone who wishes it can have their swag tinged with tonight. The finished product is most definitely going to be out of the box & something no one’s ever done before, just another reason to do yourself the favor of being a part of all this beauty! Bring one piece of clothing to donate to the art, and one you want back to wear!

frontside
backside

Tomas Stanton (local poet, hippie & thug, ½ of Phonetic Spit) led last Friday’s workshop and open sesh, schoolin’ 20 or 30 ASU students on the art of the Spoken Word. This workshop had real relaxed, personal vibrations throughout & provided a compelling snippet of Phonetic Spit’s unique style of Spoken Word.

Tomas invited his students into the art form by starting with the foundations, showing us some of his secrets of expression. We reached into our hearts through stream-of-consciousness exercises, as Tomas pitched words and ideas, nuances and inflections to bounce off our brains and inspire our souls. “Let your spirit vomit, we’re just goin’ with what comes naturally right now.” We successfully slowed down the breakneck pace of reality and came together from a group of strangers to quickly laughing, thinking, and yes, crying together.

the other 1/2 of Phonetic Spit, Myrlin

the other 1/2 of Phonetic Spit, Myrlin

Tomas’s 3 step breakdown of writing the Truth:


1). Read & Live: “Artists are the best thieves. Nothing is original; we’re all just recycling, improving, or plain stealing ideas from other artists and scientists.” Tomas explained to us right off the bat that reading is essential to refilling that well of inspiration in your mind. Ideas from books and articles can inspire your own work and expand your worldview. Obviously, a nice cache of memories and lived experience is also crucial to the poet, whose function in the world is to show how it really is, really!


2). Write: Phonetic Spit has a unique, accessible style in performances that I feel is mostly due to this writing process. Writing, to Tomas, was mostly getting the raw feelings, the memories, & thoughts into a material form. Tomas emphasized in his workshop that in the initial writing, little to no embellishment is needed. “Fluffy” lines of description or intellectual metaphor is a more cerebral process that can detract from this stage, which is meant to simply get the feelings on paper. Contrasted with my own experience of writing, this technique will keep your poems pure and profound, rooted in the emotion that they were inspired by and not too detached by craftwork.


3) Revise: This is the time to let your mind shine. Tomas uses step 3 to bring in the techniques, the toolbox of expression. Revision to Phonetic Spit is where the raw material, the emotion, gets translated to metaphor & simile, to lines and rhymes and alliteration and assonance, whatever, to bridge your life into your audience’s!


This organization is a fail-safe way to make art out of words. Be sure to catch more intriguing knowledge like this at one of the monthly Phonetic Spit workshops, taking place in the Burton Barr Library, every third Saturday. Always fun and always enlightening, it’s also always free, so be sure to catch the inspiration and meet the people around these parts interested in the same thing.

ARCHIE BURNETT & THE BALL

01ArchieBurnett1


Does the definition of “normal” feel just a little too tight to wear?
Then slip into something more natural!

The Come as You Are Ball is kind of like the best Halloween party you ever went to, minus the Party City plastic but keep the general principle, add a whole lot of Hip Hop, stir in a dash of social change, (bring your own open mind and attitude); and you’ve got the perfect night to forever change your idea of what is “okay” and “normal” to be.


Party with the Urban program the evening of April 18th, in the Physical Education Building – East. (East of Memorial Union).


The Come as You Are Ball will be hosted by master dancer/scholar/weightlifter/teacher/world traveler/graphic artist Archie Burnett. The man’s styles go on & on, but if the words waacking, voguing, feme, posing, & punking, house, or breaking mean something beautiful to you than DO NOT MISS this man’s workshop, to be announced. Even if that last sentence sounded like the recording of a wrestling match to you, don’t miss the chance to experience and learn something new (& what’s more fun than that, really?).

mark ashkenazi JAMES DEAN