Quince / Sea of Streetlights / Cowboy Rap


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:





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


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)


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,

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

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.
feel me?


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!

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!

Halloween in April


Wild West Hip Hop

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.

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!


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.



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

Rhythmic Intervention


Armando Renteria            The walls of the Fine Arts Center reverberate with pounding bass from somewhere deep underground every Friday night, as passerbys above wonder if giants are knocking at the door. Laughing and the mouse-quiet squeaks of rubber on a dance floor echo up the sketchy, ugly staircase, hinting at more fun than should be possible to have. What could be going on?!

            Nope, that’s not a passage from Goosebumps. That was last Friday’s workshop/open sesh, led by our girl Shacks of the Urban Arts Club. A smile on her face the entire night, she lent her students her passionate take on Punking, showing us how to reach within and paint what you feel on your face, with your arms and your core, your knees and your toes. Punking is an aspect of a style called Waacking (both of which I was unfamiliar with) that involves the “silent movie” dramatic expressions and poses, whereas Waacking is the very dynamic, striking and striding movements involved. Together, these two forms make something amazing but just beyond my powers of description. Take a look for yourself.

            Every Friday night this semester has been quite the learning experience. Even if you dance like a Silverback Gorilla being chased by a swarm of bees, experiencing a different form of art and being around people who are passionate will deepen your understanding of your own pursuits. In other words, it’s fun, you won’t see what you see here anywhere else, and it’s good for your soul!

By VisualSingularities

By VisualSingularities

That being established, next week’s workshop is a little change of pace, featuring Tomas Stanton of Phonetic Spit. This workshop will be focused on poetry instead of dance but will no doubt be just as loud. You’ll hear the audience laughing and snapping their fingers cross-campus, as thought-provoking dopeness flows through the mic cables & into everybody’s hearts. Bring a pen & a friend y’all.

You know the deal: Nelson Fine Arts Center, 5$ just for the workshop, 5$ for the open-sesh-after-party, or 7$ for both! Room FAC 28 (you have to go down the sketchy, ugly staircase!)

Tomas + Beard

Tomas + Beard

En nuestra comunidad:

2 001 Urban Sol Flyer ++

ASU’s Urban Arts Club (in alliance with Archie Burnett) will be hosting the Come as You Are Ball on April 18th. There will be Waacking. (Need I say more?) This ain’t no king-&-queen, funny-French-masks-with-the-sticks-attached type of “ball.” I mean, if you wanna come as Marie Antoinette, that’s cool too. The point is to express yourself without any lines or definitions imposed, this will be a judgment-free event, open minds must be brought. Just DO YOU (: Join us in our stand for free expression and against self-consciousness:
Tickets for the ball can be had for 8$ presale, or 10$ at the door. Strapped for cash? Follow the link and get yourself presale price: Facebook
The Come as You Are Ball will be located on campus, in the lobby of PEBE East. (Just a little East of the MU). I’m not exaggerating when I say this event has the potential to change your life (:


Outside the University, inside the city, this weekend is the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, a 3-day, completely non-profit, cross-genre charity event at the Margaret T. Hance park in Downtown Phoenix (right by the library, ride the light rail my fellow New Hippies). Artists attending run the gauntlet from Ben Harper to Gramatik, so there is definitely something for everyone here. Make the most out of this weather we only have a few weeks of, experience the music. All (100%) proceeds from this event go to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Umom Day Centers. Do your part as a Phoenician!


andrea lupe

We Might End up Somewhere in Mexico (vaudevillians)


We Might End up Somewhere in Mexico (Vaudevillians)

Ed Mells - Colorado Forms

Ed Mells – Colorado Forms

            Learning something new, moving your body in a new way, & meeting new people are all a big part of urban at ASU. Last Friday’s (3/7) workshop had the janitors in the hallways of PEBE East grooving to Beyoncé (I saw them!) & trying to get Anton Smith’s choreography down. The man’s infectious energy, coupled with a laugh that could make Adolf Hitler crack a smile, made for a refreshing, heart-cleansing dance workshop. Everyone felt just a little closer to themselves, and more comfortable communicating with any rhythm, NOT just Beyoncé. The man has been out of sight since relocating to Mexico City to explore life and grow as an artist, but was happy to spend time with us at ASU and to teach us a thing or two, as well as sit down with yours truly to talk about how many suit cases of purely clothes is appropriate for international travel (not 3, Anton), drinking black coffee as a refreshment after instructing a dance class (at 11 p.m.), as well as being a living lesson in following your heart & not being afraid to carve your own path in life. We all really enjoyed Anton, & it’s impossible to not learn something or laugh when you spend a minute with him. Get the experience for yourself by reading on:

Anton wanders like a cowboy

Anton wanders like a cowboy

            Born & raised in Philly, Anton Smith started dancing seriously in his teens & throughout high school. After graduating, he joined the army out of curiosity to see the world, keeping the love of movement close to his heart wherever he went.

            After 3 years of service & getting the chance to experience many different states as well as different countries, Anton decided that the military was not for him. He had fallen in love with Arizona during his soldier days and had decided to come here to study fine art & dance at the University of Arizona, embracing his artistic side. The University did not offer any classes in hip hop or house dance, his roots as a dancer. Anton decided to take the initiative, & created a Hip Hop course for dancers who want to embrace their inner funk. This was all during his junior year in undergrad. The Pima County Education peoples watched an exhibition he choreographed with his students, & welcomed the class into the University. After a few years, this program evolved into his own professional choreography group, the Human Project. This collective travelled the world, from Brazil to Canada, all over the ‘States, & hopped over to Europe. The Human Project continued to perform in Arizona & everywhere else for around 10 years, leaving a profound impact on Hip Hop & dance in general in Tucson.


            After a decade of teaching, choreographing brand new performances, and travelling the globe, Anton felt the desire for new artistic horizons again. He officially ended the Human Project around 2003, when he decided to focus on his other artistic talents, writing poetry, singing, rapping, and producing music. Anton said the transition from ‘8 hours a day on the dance floor to 8 hours a day in the recording studio’ left him a more disciplined, wiser artist. Of course there was no way he could simply forget dancing, as finding a new passion (especially mediums so interrelated) can help rekindle original ones.

            The change of pace in his artistic life required a change of scenery as well, as Anton said goodbye to his belongings to live a little more nomadically South of the Border. He parted with (most) of his material possessions, saying it felt cleansing and enlightening. Anton treats life like the adventure that it truly is & should be recognized as. Living in Mexico City is far from country-side soul searching, but the new culture & language are enough to get you out of your shell. “Being a foreigner & learning Spanish kinda force you to forget your self-consciousness. You can’t be afraid to mess up, or else you won’t go anywhere or learn anything, or meet anyone!… It’s just like dancing.”

            Anton is busy these days south of Sonora teaching & learning a new language. He is writing verses of poetry & songs, producing his own Hip Hop and original tracks, He also writes choreography for any song he makes & plans on performing. You may have seen him by the Greenhaus in Downtown Phoenix  Saturday (3/8), rapping, dancing, & singing for some entranced Phoenicians. He is teaching in Mexico as well as performing as much as possible. He is also translating his English works into Spanish, for another culture to enjoy & share in.

            Anton plans to continue travelling & following his heart, enriching the lives of his students, friends, & lucky audiences. We were happy to have him at our open session & are sending much love his way at ASU.

Anton called his style neo burlesque, vaudeville, classy s***

Anton called his style neo burlesque, vaudeville, classy s***





It's all about Perception this week (this is by Jake Messing)

It’s all about Perception this week (this is by Jake Messing)

This past week was mind-blowing, urbanites. Last week’s resident artist Brickhouse, (of Urban Artistry), dropped heavy knowledge for ASU’s urban program, teaching us all what it means to be an artist, teacher, as well as an ever-learning student of all art forms. Urban Sol is nearly upon us, and soon after that, the Come as You Are Ball will be pummeling the walls of ASU with emanating bass. More details of those below. All my Arizonans, natives, students, and snowbirds alike, are aware of the immature and close-minded bill making its way passed our uncaring representatives. Keep reading if you want the opportunity to throw a fist in the air and let the Governess know how you feel. Oh yes; this article is chock-full of philosophy, politics, important upcoming events, & of course, pretty pictures. (:

Brickhouse & Urban Artistry

Last Friday night I had the opportunity to sit down with guest artist Brickhouse and nerd-out about art, dance, and life for a while. The gentleman had plenty of wisdom to share about his experiences with his foundation, Urban Artistry, and how they have watered the roots of urban culture. These people are all about embracing the heritage of this culture, educating the current generation, and making sure this art moves in the right, positive direction. Like a b-boy in the 80’s, let me break it down for you:

Urban Artistry Timeline: (study this hard, urbanites)


  • ·         Urban Artistry has won Juste Debout twice (compliments to dancer’s Toya & Latasha) and will continue to compete and represent the good ol’ You Es of Ay in this world-wide urban dance competition.
  • ·         Urban Artistry began teaching in 2005 – originally to all adults, already experienced in house, hip hop, popping, locking, etc. It took a little while for the younger generations to realize the opportunity education can provide and the massive strength your art can gain when the artist knows their history.
  • ·         In addition to travelling all over the world, spreading knowledge and establishing urban dance in cities in Africa & Europe, Urban Artistry has performed at the Kennedy Center & the Smithsonian in D.C. (prestige, y’all!)


  • ·         The House That Jack Built” workshops & lectures teach the youngin’s all about how this thing called “urban culture” began and what it means to be a part of it. These workshops are a positive opportunity for kids (& adults alike) in the D.C. area to get to know one another, to build a community, and strengthen ties within the art. Urban Artistry is a driving force in the continual spread of House dance, as well as helping house dance & urban styles become recognized as the true American art forms they are.
  • ·         Urban Artistry recently began operating as a non-profit organization, signifying their now established connection with and importance to the community.
  • ·         Urban Artistry continues to work extremely hard in pushing house dance & hip hop in the right direction. They teach in cities across the globe that have sprouted their own urban communities, that often have much in common with what we’re doing here in the States.


  • ·         When asked about the future of Urban Artistry, Brickhouse looked me dead in the eye and told me they literally did not have time to write down goals. They will continue to practice their art, translate it to outsiders, welcome in newcomers, as well as teach the world to move and keep learning themselves. Urban Artistry plans to establish house & urban styles within academia (go ASU!) as well as for the history books.

Much love to Urban Artistry & Brickhouse for blessing the Southwest with his knowledge!

keep it rollin' Urban Artistry

keep it rollin’ Urban Artistry

            See what you can learn at these workshops & open sessions, urbanites? The next one is this Friday night (2/28), in FAC 28, led by Coflo at 9 p.m. 7 bucks for both events, or 5 for one, you know the deal! You could drop Carlton in on one of these nights and he’ll come out moving like Michael Jackson. This week’s guest artist, Coflo, is a hip hop producer, dancer, capoeira-warrior, and musician, so there will without a doubt be SOMETHING to learn! Don’t miss it.

And it’s that time again, friends. My favorite duty as artsy intern, WHAT’S GOING DOWN?

Y’allreadyknow; Urban Sol festival is fast approaching. Hip hop will conquer ASU’s Tempe campus the evening of April 4th, giving all our b-boys & girls, graffers & taggers, DJ’s & scratchers, MC’s, poets, & rappers a chance to shine bright. Just announced: Newbreedz will rock the mic, providing all the goosebumps and god-damn’s for the night. More artists are planned; stay in tune (:

Urban Sol (ASU, Galvin Playhouse)

Urban Sol (ASU, Galvin Playhouse)

The Come as You Are Ball (April 18th) is also on our horizons. Hosted by Archie Burnett, this event will be runway show, dance competition, royal ball, as well as jungle-wild party all colliding into one helluva night. Primarily voguing and waacking artists, there’s gonna be a lot of flavor and attitude in the air. You’re probably going to witness things here that you will never see again in your life (: This event is all about broadening the definition of hip hop dance, in  that what we see in movies & what is portrayed in the media is not at all the beginning and end of Urban styles. The Come as You Are Ball will feature voguing & waacking and will be providing a space for these new forms to practice and be enjoyed, but the real ideal is to push the boundary on what hip hop/urban styles have to look like. Come as You Are, don’t restrict yourself to other people’s definitions (:

VogueFunk (Archie Burnett)

VogueFunk (Archie Burnett)

On that socio-cultural note (still with me?), The Ball is serendipitously the same week as Gay Pride. Let’s open our minds up Arizonans; there will be a gender studies panel taking place around this time that will be announced towards the end of March. All this talk of what is right, what’s wrong, what’s hip hop & what’s not, reminds me that we’re all just chimps on a rock in outer space (if you really think about it) & there’s no reason to treat another living breathing human being differently because of some fake division between us. Keep this in mind as 1062 faces approval or repeal this Friday (2/28). If the right to discriminate on religious grounds doesn’t sound like it should be a right, or has anything to do with loving religion, then feel free to join the protest happening at the State capital building, in downtown Phoenix, 9pm Wednesday night (2/26). Protesting is patriotic!

            & that’s some real wisdom for you, readers. You’ve earned these beautiful pictures this week:







She’s a Brickhowwwse!


She’s a Brick… howwse.. She’s mighty might-aaay!


Greetings from the City of the Burning Sun, people of the internet. Today I am busy doing yoga & drinking hibiscus tea in preparation for next week’s Open Sesh. I need my creative chakras to be fully flowing for the musical, visual, and physical work of art the Urban Arts Club is making next Friday (2/21) in FAC 28, Tempe Campus. Come share your area of expertise with us and add to the collective inspiration (:. An open microphone will be ready for all the sophisticated poets out there, as well as space-age Ipad Instruments, & not-so-space-age instruments, with a dance floor full of ASU’s finest. Show love.

Junious Brickhouse will be there, as the Open Sesh follows the workshop he will be leading earlier that evening. This dude moves like water. Flowing over a cliff. On the Moon. Check it out:

Don’t miss the chance to work on your steps with this guy. He won’t teach us how to dress that freshly, but hey, we can’t supply you with everything.



  • Learning a thing or two from Brickhouse & then teaching everyone else a thing or two in the open session will only cost you 7$. Come on, it’s worth it. It’s good for your soul. (I’ll be there, and I recently paid the lady at Fedex two quarters & an old fortune cookie to print an essay for class). I wish that was a joke, really. This is all happening 2/21, in the Nelson Fine Arts Center, FAC 28 (ASU – Tempe).
  • As part of ASU’s Night of the Open Door, half of Phonetic Spit Myrlin Hepworth will be hosting a poetry slam March 1, at 6pm. He is representing the power of the spoken word and the written verse in an event mostly advertised for its science-based activities, so make sure you show up and let the University know that art & poetry is just as essential to the mind as science & mathematics. The Night of the Open Door is the evening of March 1, at Memorial Union on ASU’s Tempe Campus. It’ll be dope & inspiring!

Well, that’s all for this weekend mi amigos. Enjoy some of the fresh paint on our walls around the valley:


Starwars Raids you guys!!

Starwars Raids you guys!!

The Music Drug

The Music Drug