A few rough-and-tumble coding gangs from our Clinton Health Initiative code-a-thon with Tumblr at Ace Hotel New York. FastCo. confetti’ed us, and Chelsea released balloons.

A few rough-and-tumble coding gangs from our Clinton Health Initiative code-a-thon with Tumblr at Ace Hotel New York. FastCo. confetti’ed us, and Chelsea released balloons.


Thirty years ago Wild Style gave a world stage to New York City’s burgeoning hip hop culture while deftly skating the chasm between its subject — young graffiti writers, break dancers, MCs and DJs making something from nothing — and the Manhattan elite that had begun to take notice. So much has happened since. Hip hop would soon bypass the cultural elite with no regard to established rules of etiquette and make its appeal direct to youth worldwide. The graffiti styles documented in Wild Style inspired a generation of street artists who have now thoroughly infiltrated the overground art world. Stateside, hip hop eventually surpassed country as the number one music-of-choice for working and middle class America, and continues to thrive in the post-record sales music business. And though the Manhattan elite has to some extent re-established its dominance as an arbiter of culture, young hip hop artists from the Bronx to Meridian still insist on ignoring its conventions. NYC Parks SummerStage is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Wild Style Monday with a free outdoor screening at the East River Bandshell with live performances by Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Grand Wizard Theodore, the Cold Crush Brothers and Rodney C, and appearances by director Charlie Ahearn and stars Fab 5 Freddy, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones and Patti Astor.

Thirty years ago Wild Style gave a world stage to New York City’s burgeoning hip hop culture while deftly skating the chasm between its subject — young graffiti writers, break dancers, MCs and DJs making something from nothing — and the Manhattan elite that had begun to take notice. So much has happened since. Hip hop would soon bypass the cultural elite with no regard to established rules of etiquette and make its appeal direct to youth worldwide. The graffiti styles documented in Wild Style inspired a generation of street artists who have now thoroughly infiltrated the overground art world. Stateside, hip hop eventually surpassed country as the number one music-of-choice for working and middle class America, and continues to thrive in the post-record sales music business. And though the Manhattan elite has to some extent re-established its dominance as an arbiter of culture, young hip hop artists from the Bronx to Meridian still insist on ignoring its conventions. NYC Parks SummerStage is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Wild Style Monday with a free outdoor screening at the East River Bandshell with live performances by Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Grand Wizard Theodore, the Cold Crush Brothers and Rodney C, and appearances by director Charlie Ahearn and stars Fab 5 Freddy, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones and Patti Astor.


Faythe Levine and Sam Macon set out to document the diminished but resurgent craft of hand-painted sign making in The Sign Painters. The documentary’s New York premier, tomorrow and Thursday night at Nitehawk Cinema, is sold out. But New Yorkers can meet the authors and scoop a signed copy of the book tonight at Strand. In its pages you’ll meet the unsung artists who hand-lettered the American landscape, like Clark Byers. His “See Rock City” on the roofs of myriad barns throughout the Southeast is familiar to anyone who hails from or has traveled through the region. Or Ernie Gosnell, who was tutored in the trade by a lady wrestler who “tattooed a little bit on the side,” before lugging his brushes from Atlanta to Seattle, ladeling lovin’ spoonfuls of alphabet soup along the way. 


Because travel is a question. Courtesy of Niko Skourtis, Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, who have archived online the entire New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual designed in 1970 by Massimo Vignelli. 

Because travel is a question. Courtesy of Niko Skourtis, Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, who have archived online the entire New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual designed in 1970 by Massimo Vignelli. 


MisterWives brings their human pyramid game and a song or two to 5 At 5 this coming Tuesday July 30 in the lobby at Ace Hotel New York, presented by Martin Guitar and Bowery Presents. Catch them on their way to indie-big and lose yourself in their vibes, 5pm Tuesday.
Photo by Matthew Phillips.

MisterWives brings their human pyramid game and a song or two to 5 At 5 this coming Tuesday July 30 in the lobby at Ace Hotel New York, presented by Martin Guitar and Bowery Presents. Catch them on their way to indie-big and lose yourself in their vibes, 5pm Tuesday.

Photo by Matthew Phillips.


LONDON // NEW YORK
Pond-hopping street art bible VNA is celebrating the release of their 23rd issue with limited edition screenprinted versions by the omnipresent-here-lately local duo Faile, whose recent collabo with the NYC Ballet led many to discover the place called Lincoln Center. The issue is stuffed like an olive with inspiration, including pictures and words by Morning Breath, Eelus, PeachBeach, Moose & Yeti and Agostino Iacurci among others. You can cop one of your very own at the New York launch party next Wednesday at Reed Space, or the London bashment on August 8th at Lazarides Gallery on Rathbone. 

LONDON // NEW YORK

Pond-hopping street art bible VNA is celebrating the release of their 23rd issue with limited edition screenprinted versions by the omnipresent-here-lately local duo Faile, whose recent collabo with the NYC Ballet led many to discover the place called Lincoln Center. The issue is stuffed like an olive with inspiration, including pictures and words by Morning Breath, Eelus, PeachBeach, Moose & Yeti and Agostino Iacurci among others. You can cop one of your very own at the New York launch party next Wednesday at Reed Space, or the London bashment on August 8th at Lazarides Gallery on Rathbone. 


The Party Wall at MoMA PS1 weaves together the ‘bones’ and ‘blanks’ —  bi-products of skateboard manufacture, subverting the drab conformism of Big Skateboarding to help people party. CODA, the project’s creators, won this year’s Young Architects’ Program with this post-industrial shade source and slip n’ slide, up at PS1 in the wilds of Long Island City throughout Warm Up season. PS1 comrades stopped by to dress our gallery space at Ace Hotel New York with some party wall paraphernalia — stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.

The Party Wall at MoMA PS1 weaves together the ‘bones’ and ‘blanks’ —  bi-products of skateboard manufacture, subverting the drab conformism of Big Skateboarding to help people party. CODA, the project’s creators, won this year’s Young Architects’ Program with this post-industrial shade source and slip n’ slide, up at PS1 in the wilds of Long Island City throughout Warm Up season. PS1 comrades stopped by to dress our gallery space at Ace Hotel New York with some party wall paraphernalia — stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.


The Obscura Society NYC guides a tour of Brooklyn’s vast and labyrinthine Green-Wood Cemetery this Sunday. It’s a chance for the living to step into the rarely seen catacombs and a mausoleum. Maybe after a Sisters of Mercy session on the Q, R, N.

Photo by Brendan Reynolds

The Obscura Society NYC guides a tour of Brooklyn’s vast and labyrinthine Green-Wood Cemetery this Sunday. It’s a chance for the living to step into the rarely seen catacombs and a mausoleum. Maybe after a Sisters of Mercy session on the Q, R, N.


Photo by Brendan Reynolds


Harry Smith’s painting of Manteca by Dizzy Gillespie.
Though rightfully well-known as an archivist of American music traditions, Harry Smith the conservator never staked out a static position on the musical spectrum. He started his polymath’s journey into the universal languages inherent in music as a young, conspicuously crewcut kid recording the songs of a Lummi ceremony. 

Harry Smith photographed by American Magazine in 1943, recording songs on a Lummi reservation.
At the dawn of bebop, he was at Jimbo’s Bop City in San Francisco, painting Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca stroke-for-note and creating experimental films to sync with the flight patterns of Charlie Parker’s saxophone. In the 50s he recorded a fifteen LP set of liturgical songs by Orthodox Rabbi Nuftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia. In ‘65, he produced The Fugs First Album, one of the earliest documents of garage rock. By the 80s you could catch him at punk shows around the East Village. 

His was a life lived steadfastly out of place, always avoiding the paths worn by less wanderous feet. He paid a price — it was the life of a hermit, a true starving artist and visionary from another time. Yet he was recognized during his lifetime — for the influence of his Anthology of American Folk Music on 60s culture and of his experimental films, which you can still see shades of today in, say, the stage show of Flying Lotus. 

Harry Smith with Harley Flanagan, later of the Cro-Mags.
It’s hard to imagine his grapples with esoterica, his obsession with the inscrutable systems underlying things, if you aren’t wired the way he was, and probably not many of us are. His life itself and the cultures that shine through in his work though stand as an exemplar of polyculture in action. He was never prone to mass monoculture from above or provincialism from below. The cosmogony he left behind is like some vast temple where you may never unlock the mysteries of the rites but the door is open to all. We’re celebrating his too-brief stay on this planet next Wednesday at Ace Hotel New York — on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday — with music, reading and reflections by some people who knew him and some of the many more changed by his work.
 
Typewriter drawing by Harry Smith.

Harry Smith’s painting of Manteca by Dizzy Gillespie.

Though rightfully well-known as an archivist of American music traditions, Harry Smith the conservator never staked out a static position on the musical spectrum. He started his polymath’s journey into the universal languages inherent in music as a young, conspicuously crewcut kid recording the songs of a Lummi ceremony. 

Harry Smith photographed by American Magazine in 1943, recording songs on a Lummi reservation.

At the dawn of bebop, he was at Jimbo’s Bop City in San Francisco, painting Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca stroke-for-note and creating experimental films to sync with the flight patterns of Charlie Parker’s saxophone. In the 50s he recorded a fifteen LP set of liturgical songs by Orthodox Rabbi Nuftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia. In ‘65, he produced The Fugs First Album, one of the earliest documents of garage rock. By the 80s you could catch him at punk shows around the East Village. 

His was a life lived steadfastly out of place, always avoiding the paths worn by less wanderous feet. He paid a price — it was the life of a hermit, a true starving artist and visionary from another time. Yet he was recognized during his lifetime — for the influence of his Anthology of American Folk Music on 60s culture and of his experimental films, which you can still see shades of today in, say, the stage show of Flying Lotus

Harry Smith with Harley Flanagan, later of the Cro-Mags.

It’s hard to imagine his grapples with esoterica, his obsession with the inscrutable systems underlying things, if you aren’t wired the way he was, and probably not many of us are. His life itself and the cultures that shine through in his work though stand as an exemplar of polyculture in action. He was never prone to mass monoculture from above or provincialism from below. The cosmogony he left behind is like some vast temple where you may never unlock the mysteries of the rites but the door is open to all. We’re celebrating his too-brief stay on this planet next Wednesday at Ace Hotel New York — on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday — with music, reading and reflections by some people who knew him and some of the many more changed by his work.

 

Typewriter drawing by Harry Smith.


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