Sunday, December 28, 2008

WHERE THE PARTY AT: NEW YEARS EVE ...let's do it right!

Let's finish off the year right & kick aside all the worries of yesterday...this party is gonna be jumpin! I'll be live painting on (that is if you want) your face at the Afro Punk & Coup D'Etat NEW YEARS EVE party along with my illustrious painter comrades Concep, Dister, Geeta Khanna, Ibrahim, Livingroom Johnston, Sonny Bombs & Yang-chi doing murals & body paint.. and yummy food by Dante's Fried Chicken!

Afro-Punk & Coup d'etat Brooklyn Present:"The Punk-N-Paint Ball"
9pm-3am Sly Art vs. Robot City (425 Broadway btwn Canal st. & Howard st. NY, NY, 5th floor )


DJs: DJ Tahleim, Synapes, & DJ Soul and live performance by Game Rebellion , Izza Kizza
Cover: $50 Advanced Tickets (includes plate of food & Champagne toast)
$60 @ the Door ///// Open Bar from 10-11pm & drink Specials. Pay Bar after 11pm.
Expected Guests: 500 guests – Artists, Art Enthusiast, Afro-Punk supporters, Trend-setters, & Tastemaker
get your advanced ticket HERE while it lasts!

iRECOMMMEND::: Victer Duplaix at the HUDSON Monday 12/29

Victer Duplaix at the final session of the HUDSON. it's free, all you have to do is RSVP here
get a sense of his music here.

for my travels to the fifth galaxy...

Monday, December 22, 2008

THE SECRET LIVES OF SAMURAIS: the opening

Here are some of the photos from the opening night...After all, the sleepless nights were all worth it, we all had a blast on Saturday! This show was a huge test for me; a test of my ability to produce a consistent body of work under heavy time pressure while also going bigger than usual. My technique is super tedious, so I was sitting all night in front of my board for often more than 10 hrs until the sun forced me to go to bed at 7:30am. My phone had also some virus or some memory problem which ended up causing problems with my SMS service, so as I learned later that I wasn't getting half of the texts I was supposed to...perhaps it was the universe's unpleasant way of cutting me off the world and 'helping' me to keep on pushing forward with the work...I am still recovering from a pile communication backlog. Big shout out to Keica and her crew from the Brooklyn Access Community Television, who came through and interviewed Concep and myself that night and also came out to shoot at the beginning of the show! Also big thank you to Digo of Crazy 88s skate crew who invited me to talk about the exhibit at his Friday night show on riseupradio.org, the freshest youth produced social justice radio station out there in the apple. Much love and I owe you one for that.

Thanks to China for theses photos and for coming out! check more on her flickr.

L1:Two of my favorite homies, Stimulus and Dhundee aka the BROOKLYN BOUNCE crew. Dhundee opened the night with exclusive unreleased tracks from our friends who are coming out with new records in the near future. R1: my katwoman mural at YUME I painted back in he summer. L2: my collab with Pesu. he killed this one big time.

I am deeply touched by just how many people showed love on Saturday. As I was going through these photos, I kept on remembering all the people who came out and brought their good energy...I think the photos speak about that without need for words. A lot of Brooklyn's finest creative minds --some of whom I know very well and some who I admire from the distance-- were at this event, so I tried to make sure to link everyone...partially the reason why this post took so long to post!

These photos below were captured 95% by me (with my magic camera now lost:().
Hosts, Theophilus London and Quan Luv...both made it into the show visually. Quan and I made two collab pieces for the show...he was representing Harakiti, while Theo was the inspiration behind the Return of the Future piece. Make sure to keep your eyes out for Theo's new album, This Charming Man coming next month...it's gonna be big!

Susie & singer, Bilal and Laura Dee! my big inspirations

With artists exraordinaire, the homies Livingroom Johnston and Concep. On the right is my collab piece with Concep.

With Diamond Girl posing in front of our collabo. I drew her character, Condor, and she drew me as the Panther Spirit. Right: Keita of Keistar Productions (Keistar throws some of the best parties in Brooklyn including DJ Spinna's legendary Prince vs. Michael Jackson and the Stevie Wonder parties) and Betta of Music For Democracy & EarthDayNYC .

Dhundee and Sima. On the right, another one of Brooklyn's amazing talents, the poet, spoken word artist, activist Caitlin Meissner with friend.

On left, the last image of the installation night, when Dorjan was helping me out till 4:30 am. You and Jason were my heroes that night..thank you! Carlos who presented me with a gift of his amazing artwork. In the background is Kesed, one of the most talented poets/performing artists out there today.



With Daoud and Rasu of Coup d'Etat BK movement..these fellas have done a lot for Brooklyn's youth and the arts. On the right, the homies I haven't seen for a long time, DarBrahem.

Jason is rocking the tea-stained tee with my Samurai print, Shadowplastic put out. Thank you guys! Right: dope artists Chakaras and Rodney White.







My homie I haven't seen in ages, dope MC & musician Asen James.

 Malik, dope photographer and the founder of the underground art movement AvantYard, which as I heard is back.

The collabo with the one and only Jelsen Jargon. Jelsen's design -and in particular his typographic skills- are insane! Jelsen and I had collabo back in May, so I couldn't wait to see what he came up with. He custom built the font for the piece "Crown Your Heart" also in Hungarian, my native tongue "Koronázd a szíved", so my contribution was more in spirit rather than hands on work. Completely brilliant. Thank you Jelsen!

Jelsen with Sima & Bahareh, and photographer, Stephanie Land. Photo source: Jelsen & Bahareh's wonderous blog journal Courtesy of....check his account of the show and the making of the 'collab'.

these came from my peeps at the A.L.I.E.N. crew The Galaxy Riders/A.L.I.E.N.

Melo-X -watch out for him--another rapidly rising star of BK:: Quan of A.L.I.E.N. & Rasu of Coup d'Etat


Chillin with Dhundizzle :: Photo by Tamara Hood :: Theophilus & Melo-X

The sexy Cee, my photographer mama getting in on a quick shoot with Bilal.

Here are some of Cee's shots from the night.

Musical inspirations: Theophilus London, Melo-X. Originally Theo was supposed to perform along with Jesse Boykins III and Raye 6 (who sadly was out of town to attend a family emergency), but as we learned shortly before the show, YUME could no longer host loud performances, so the NINJA JAM! was down a few blocks in another loft. :(well, at least you had a chance to hear some of unreleased tracks of these cats...watch out for them in 2009..they are taking over!

Right: Rasu with his lovely lady and Tamara on right

Nikki, Bentley, Jeff Donna and Dorjan

Mary Prior, Betta, Sima, my girl and collaborator Sarah White and Susie. Photo by Betta

Paridee runs three blogs, including WhatsgoodinNYC that gave me a lot of support. Thank you!

By the time I got to the NINJA JAM, the afterparty with Ninjasonik and Theophilus performing, the cops have dispersed the whole party:( so I headed with Amir and Livingroom to Benji B's birthday party at the Submercer, where his close friends Moni, Ge-ology and Waajeed were holding it down all night...was quite the night
thanks for everyone else I didn't have the chance to mention...you made this night unforgettable.

Big shout out to Mike of YUME who made this night possible and who believed in me from the beginning. Also to everyone else who helped me with encouragement! love you much

KASHMIR: my spiritual homeland

In the summer of 2006, I spent a month in Srinagar, Kashmir, the part of Kashmir that is now part of India. The Himalayas have been calling me since I was a child...I used to dream that I was a young boy living in a small tribe up in the mountains, which I later identified with images of Tibet. Kashmir's capital Srinagar, which lays in a valley at the foot of the Himalayas used to be the most precious pearl of the Mughal Empire, during which time they named it "Paradise on Earth" because of its breath-taking beauty and lovely climate. It took me two years to revisit my journey there. Kashmir changed my life in ways I could only understand later...the experiences I had there are still hard to verbalize but I am ready to share some of the glimpses of this magical land and the beauty of its people.



my favorite, the AMBASSADOR, now used as cabs and governmental vehicles that provide a royal bulletproof ride around the city ::: the auto-riksha...one of the most hazardous vehicles ever to hit the roads of a metropolis (Delhi, India). My arrival midnight at the Delhi airport was one of the biggest tests of my courage as a lone traveler. My first sight as my cab pulled out of the airport was an accident involving a motorbike rider on an unlit two-lane road...no one was stopping for the man whose severed leg was lying 5 feet away from him...that sight haunted me for weeks.
:::wheels:::

In the late 90s and then in 2002, there were serious threats of nuclear warfare between India and Pakistan over the territory of Kashmir. As a result, "peace" has been tenuous and is heavily guarded by the military (to learn more, read an interview with Chomsky here). I was in Delhi ready to get on the plane to Kashmir when my local Kashmiri host called me to say that I shouldn't get on the plane, since the violence has escalated and there are regular grenade-attacks targeting the military but taking mostly civilian victims. I had my ticket and I wasn't about to turn around after having traveled more than 18 hrs to get there..."Well, I guess we'll just have to protect you a little more carefully." said my host family, to whom I owe so much for their hospitality.
::guns::

"Paradise on Earth" is now Paradise Lost. The military presence in the city is overwhelming..imagine spotting from the corners of your eyes at least two AK47 per block sticking out from unexpected places. Most of the violence that summer was targeting soldiers who were ordered by the government to protect the peace in the region. Since the military was everywhere, it meant that the threat of being blown away by a random grenade that someone has thrown at them was very high. During the month I was there, there were several deadly incidents that sadly affected women and children passing by, including at the house of the Sufi healer I planned to visit that week.

::: the sanctuary:::
My journey that eventually brought me to Kashmir began several years ago with a book called The Man of Light by Henry Corbin who introduced me to Najm al-din Kubra. Kubra was a sage from Khwarazm (now in Uzbekistan) who developed a spiritual practice based on a color theory of light that seemed to have integrated Sufi tradition with tantric Buddhist meditation techniques and other Central Asian spiritual teachings.
the shrine of Shah Hamadan, the 14th century Sufi traveler, who brought the teachings of Kubra to the Kashmiri valley.



The local architecture reflects Kashmir's position as a meeting point of cultures: many of the mosques had features similar to those of Buddhist stupas you found in neighboring Ladakh and Tibet.

On the night of my arrival, I had a chance to meet the father of Kashmir's world-renowned contemporary poet Agha Shahid Ali (who used to live in the US and passed away in 2001), whose book, "Country Without A Post-office" earned him the title "the ambassador of Kashmir's pain." One of the most wonderful people I've encountered on my travels, he treated me and my hosts with the most incredible 10 course dinner sampling dishes from Kashmiri Hindu and Muslim culinary traditions. I copied this into my journal from his son, Shahid Ali's book of poetry that he showed me... "Srinagar haunches like a wild cat: lonely sentries, wretched in bunkers at the city's bridges, far from their homes in the plains, licensed to kill...while the Jhelum flows under them, sometimes with a dismembered body. On Zero Bridge the jeeps rush by. The candles go out as travelers unable to light up the velvet Void."

::: street life :::

::: the people :::
generations of mothers :::: the beautiful women I met in Delhi at the Nizamuddin Chishti shrine. the lady on the right reminded me of my grandmother.



the Gujar "gypsies", a nomadic tribe that set up their tents behind the house I was staying at. I would come regularly and try to make a connection with them. Part of me that is still connected with my nomadic heritage was really drawn to these folks.



The people of Kashmir have faced decades of civil war, intense economic hardships, and the daily threats of violence remain to this day. The sustained presence of fear has left unimaginable scars 0n people's soul. Their beauty and resilience amidst the harshest living conditions remain my continued source of inspiration and serve as a reminder of the fragility of human life and that we as people are one at the core.

Lake Dal of Srinagar with its famed boat-houses, surrounded by the Himalayas. The only place where I felt the presence of peace. I took these shots from my boat as I was taken to the place where lotuses bloom.


:::windows:::

Most importantly, I give thanks to the man who has served the peoples of Kashmir with his healing power for several decades. He opened his doors to me and treated me like a granddaughter. Meeting him has changed my life at the core. I pray that he is safe and is in good health and that he can continue to mediate love from the purest source. In'shallah I'll make it back there in this life time.