My brother Mikemetic put in serious work on this documentary short featuring his son Meechi – and their trip to Graffiti Mecca 5 Pointz in NYC. Mike has been putting in work all over RVA social media and is making a splash with his newest social media project NATIVES – make sure to visit the site. WE SEE IT!
“About 6 months ago Meech and I took a trip to NYC to visit the international graffiti museum 5 Pointz. The building has been in a legal struggle the past couple of months as developers and the owner of the property want to demolish it and turn it into high rise condos. I put this short vid together in support of 5 pointz and as a preview to a more expansive street art retrospective coming out December 2013. Check it out and visit 5ptz.com to see how you can help.”
The homie, RVA emcee, activist, teacher, and all around good dude Isaac Ramsey AKA Swordplay hit me with the new video for the track “No T.S. Eliot.” It’s the lead video from his new album Tap Water – a collaboration with Pierre the Motionless. Filmed by Dave O’Dell at the familiar Helen’s Restaurant in the Fan District, Swordplay uses his classic intellectual style with a dope RVA imagery.
The album Tap Water was released on July 20th and is available at: http://doradorovitch.bandcamp.com/
The creators of last year’s G40 Art Summit are back to work in RVA. Shane Pomajambo, founder and director of Art Whino, and his creative partner Tony Harris of RVA Mag have a goal to bring 20 new murals to RVA in over the next two weeks as a part of The Richmond Mural Project. EVER (Nicolás Romeo) of Buenos Aires, Argentina is the first internationally known artist to visit and complete a mural for this year’s project. EVER’s finished mural can been seen at Selba (2416 W Cary St Richmond, VA). Ever, along with local based collaborator, Ben Larsen are heading down to Harrison street today to start a new wall at 534. Check back on The Cheats Movement Blog and Facebook for new update of the Richmond Mural Project. WE SEE IT
Inspired by the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia, HaBitS (Hawk and Bez is the Smoothest) links up with RVA’s mad genius Ohbliv, the conscience of the city Brother Manifest and creative director Cheats of the Cheats Movement to create Inner Workings. WE SEE IT. Please follow the entire team on twitter: @AllGoodHaBitS, @BrotherManifest, @Ohbliv, @CheatsMWC and share this video on Facebook and twitter. Show love for RVA.
I love it when the Fam comes together in unique ways. I’ve been a fan of the Silent Music Revival for a while now. Jameson Price does an amazing job keeping this event going with great RVA talent. And tomorrow night at Gallery 5, I think, SMR will reach a brand new level with the one and only RVA Mad Genius Ohbliv.
Ohbliv is a rare talent for RVA. His beats and production reaches far beyond RVA to levels as far as Iceland (No really – the brother released a record with a label in Iceland). The best way to describe to Ohbliv’s music is to truly say there is not description BUT there are moods, feelings, and emotions. He takes the listener through these moods, feelings, and emotions with him. His musical journey is so deep it moves into the realm of something spirtiual. “I’m looking to get an emotional response with my sound. My music is all about spirit and emotion,” is what Ohbliv said to me during an RVA Mag interview last year. This show is one not to be missed.
If you’ve never been to a Silent Music Revival before, it’s truly a gem in RVA. A silent movie is played (tomorrow night Mechanical Man) and the featured musician or band plays their music over the movie. Though the artist has never seen the movie prior to the gig, the film is curated in a way that always makes the artist fit the type of film. It really is something special. I hope to see you tomorrow night.
I just want to take a minute to Thank the entire family for “EVERYTHING.” For the love and support of The Cheats Movement Blog, the special projects, the live music events, just EVERYTHING. This has been an amazing year so far and it’s only going to get better this summer. The blog is only a reflection of RVA’s diversity and community. If the community is doing well – if the family is doing well – the blog reflects that. And RVA…We are doing great. I have to blink sometimes and think to myself…is this Richmond.
If you’re working to support RVA’s diversity and community – then you are family. This year alone, I’ve met so many new friends that read The Cheats Movement and it’s awesome, Thank you. And to the readers that have been their since the start…all I can say is, Wow…right. Nothing would be happening if it wasn’t for you. I’m so happy about what’s happening in RVA. And with that said….please believe that I’m still hungry to cover it all. No time for rest…my goal is to have the best blog in Richmond. I’m going back on the grind this summer. Cheats Movement Family Photo Coming Soon! Here is the thing…I’m easy to find. Hit me up: CheatsMWC@gmail.com. Twitter: CheatsMWC Facebook – I’m on. WE SEE IT THIS IS OUR RICHMOND!
Congrats to the fam, Adrienne Cole and DJ Prolific on the success of Wine Down at C’est Le Vin. They celebrated their 2nd Anniversary last night and Zo! was in the building! Events like Wine Down fill a unique void in RVA. There are only a handful of events that are geared to young professionals with an emphasize on urban culture. Keep up the great work…WE SEE IT! Click HERE to see all of the Cheats Movement Photos from last night. Make sure you follow The Cheats Movement of Facebook!
Anthony Bourdain at the Landmark Theater in RVA last night.
Last Sunday, I stopped by the Silent Music Revival at Gallery 5. The night featured one of my favorite RVA bands: Wolf//Goat; the movie was Charlie Chaplin’s THE KID (1921). It was a great night. Make sure you check out a Silent Music Revival. Jameson Price does such a great job with this event.
I’m paraphrasing but my brief part of my conversation with songstress Nickey McMullen before her Easter Sunday night set at the Camel went something like this:
Cheats: Are you nervous?
Nickey: No. I’m doing what I love to do…I’m just going to go up there and have fun with it.
And have fun she did! There is no doubt that RVA has a lot of talented singers BUT Nickey McMullen possess intangibles that go beyond just vocal ability. I believe it’s the difference between, what I consider, “young adults” and “grown folks.” It comes down to knowledge of self, knowledge of musical direction, and happiness. On stage, Nickey knows who she is, she knows where she wants to go (and take the audience), and she is having a great time performing. She has found her pocket, mixing original Jazz, Blues & Soul numbers with her unique contemporary versions. Her voice has the power that you expect but when she hits particular notes – there is a genuine moment of whoa….I didn’t see that one coming. Nickey is a staple at Tuesday Verses and rocks with Lyric Ave. I hope you get a chance to she her perform this summer. Check out her Facebook Page: CLICK HERE #WESEEIT
My grandmother always says, “If they are talking about you – you must be doing something right.” Well grandma, in the new issue of Greater Richmond Grid, they’re not just talking about The Cheats Movement Blog - they are talking about the Family…deep. Before I go any further I need to fill you in a little bit about what’s been happening this year and how I’ve been processing everything. I hope you’ve been following on the blog and on Facebook but in case you haven’t, this year has been amazing so far: new job, bigger shows, new projects, and I’m getting married in October. It’s definitely been a new level of stress. All of this was happening before Greater Richmond GRID, TEDxRVA, and the Meaning of Community Project.
Then everything centering around RVA and Community just started taking off. Greater Richmond Grid and TEDxRVA played a major role in bringing this discussion to the forefront. Basically overnight everything went into overdrive regarding RVA’s community and I found myself and virtually the entire family right in the middle of it. There were weeks – after working full days - I would then attend a dinner, meeting, or gathering every night – go home, kiss the fiancee, and then sit at the computer for hours working on editing or posting. It is not an ideal plan for work, blogging, or life.
My saving grace has been my family – both my blood family & my Cheats Movement Family. The fact that I know I’m not riding alone gives me energy – too much energy and motivation to keep everything going. And then there are days like yesterday. While at TEDxRVA, a wonderful lady, that I met once while doing a community project with my boss at Trinity Baptist Church, walked up to me and gave me a Greater Richmond Grid and said, “I’m so proud of you.” I open the magazine and not only did I see The Cheats Movement, I saw Brother Manifest, Hamilton Glass, and Tony Harris. I feel like a brother to those dudes (a little brother – they’ve been putting in work for years)…we are always working together – bouncing ideas -and trying to move this city forward. The fact that Greater Richmond Grid put us in their issue about “Makers” motivates me to no end. S/O Paul Spicer for putting this level of detail about Community in your magazine – you didn’t have to.
I would be lying to you if I didn’t mention that I’m still trying to process the growth of the blog. And I’m tying to “process” it while the blog is growing – and I’m encouraging it go grow. That sounds crazy right? I’m “processing” the blog’s current growth – while hoping that you will share it to everyone you know and it continues to grow bigger….I know right. Here is the thing - I know The Cheats Movement Family has what it takes to play a part in positive change in RVA. None of us are going to sit it out. None of us are gong to miss out on the energy that buzzing around the city right now. We are moving forward. Go get that Greater Richmond Grid and see what we see it! #WESEEIT
Like most of you…I drove, or walked, pass the VMFA a million times since October saying, “Yo…I have to check out the Chihuly exhibit…someday.” Well, I started with having, what seem to be, an eternity to, “Oh snap…it’s the last weekend.” Should I go and fight the crowd or sit this one out? I decided to break out the camera and hit the last Saturday of the exhibit. I’m so glad I did. Everyone in RVA should have seen this exhibit and judging by the very impressive numbers of the VMFA (nearly 16,000) so many of you did.
What impressed me the most about the exhibit was the imagination. Art takes all forms. With Chihuly, his work can never be put in a box because as soon as you do – he can change it up. It’s awesome. It’s freedom.
According to the RTD: “Chihuly proved to be a boon for the museum. Memberships reached nearly 40,000 — it was at about the same level during the Picasso exhibit at the VMFA in 2011 — and the Museum Shop had record sales in November, December and January.” I saw the Picasso exhibit (again on the last weekend), and I would say Chihuly was even more impressive. I know it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples but my read of the “Cheats Wow Factor”…Chihuly was a wow on the highest level.
Make sure you visit: The Cheats Movement Blog on Facebook to support the best in RVA. #WESEEIT
There has been so much RVA hip hop coming out lately that I really can’t keep up with it all. I appreciate every artist that sends me their latest work: mixtapes, singles, videos, etc. and I apologize that I can’t get everything posted as fast as I would like BUT keep sending it my way (CheatsMWC@gmail.com). The Cheats Movement Blog will continue to be a outlet for all RVA music and, in particular, RVA hip hop. So with no further delay — Here is what I’m turning up right now:
What can I say about Sweet Petey’s latest joint. Nick F brought it hard on, “Vices.” He is receiving well deserved national attention for the mixtape that features RVA emcees, Radio B and Michael Millions along with his Tokyo Ave Fam, Conrizzle AKA Loochey Lovely, and YMCMB’s Drizzy Drake. Of course, Nick is a beast when it comes to his rhymes and he killed it on Vices. My favorite track on the tape today (it changes all the time) is Pem Pen.
Pem Pen – Sweet Petey ft. Loochey Lovely
Number 15 – Sweet Petey ft. Drake
The Grindaholic himself Octavion X dropped his latest solo project, “Vigilante” in November of last year. While many folks that I’ve talked to believe “Vigliante” to be his best solo project to date (I believe this as well), it has been a slow build for tape. I sat down with Octavion last week for my Grindaholic series and he agreed that, “Vigilante” is in the process of deliberate and targeted branding effort. He wants everything to be right – the marketing, the videos, etc. because he believes in the music. I agree, the music is very impressive. My favorite track is, Get it How I Live ft. Artik Phreeze, Chance Fischer, BC Music 1st, produced by Mr. Ivory Snow.
We R VA ft Suburban District
Noah-O’s New Video, “Looking Down”
Charged Up General Noah O took it back to the Bay for his latest video, “Looking Down.” Check out the new visual. The upcoming record is called, “Thug Wilders Revenge.” It’s coming soon and RVA is on notice.
I’m a fan on HaBits. I’ve seen them rock a few times live and really appreciate the element of hip hop they bring to RVA. It’s a return to the emcee. Their feel reminds me of the throwback origins of NYC hip hop. The new record is called, “Soul Connection.” It is dropping very soon and here is a new single from the record.
HaBits – I Wanna Be
When I sat down with So !lla for the first ever Grindaholic interview, he made it clear to me that Broad Street Elite is the focus and 2013 is year. I respect his grind. Check out the music and see what BSE is all about. My favorite track? This one is tough because I’ve been sitting back watching what !lla have been going through and because of seeing some of his journey I’m going to post the track, Runnin Too Long.” I feel l like !lla has turned a corner and this track sounds like victory to me.
So !lla – Runnin Too long
There it is for now. There is so much more but again, I can only do so much at a time. Keep supporting The Cheats Movement and I’m going to keep supporting your work and RVA. #WESEEIT!
Words by Cheats, Photos by Greg Garner (BlueGoo Studios)
WRIR threw one heck of a party last Friday night. The independent radio station packed out the Renaissance Ballroom for their 8th annual benefit, “Party for the Rest of Us.” This is easily becoming one of my favorite annual events because of its extremely diverse, and RVA based, line up of performers which included some of my favorite bands like: Wolf/Goat and Dead Fame. And it introduced me to ”my” surprise of the night, The Upper East Side Big Band (pictured above), who were flat out amazing.
Last year, I was able to cover the benefit for The Cheats Movement Blog and had a great time running around, taking photos, hanging with friends, and meeting bands. This year it was my honor to curate a Cheats Movement Presents Showcase for the Adams Room. I was asked by my main man Shannon Cleary (WRIR, Commonwealth of Notions) to present some of my favorite artist from RVA’s hip hop community and it was my honor to do so. Right away, I made three calls, Ohbliv, Artik Phreeze, and Black Liquid. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to pull it off but I knew I wanted to work with these hardworking artist and their teams. Ultimately, the showcase turned out even better than I could have imagined because we were able to expand the performers to include team YFD Clothing (Doe, Chris Haskins, Destiny Da Chef, and Flight Crew), and The New Juice Crew.
There is not much I can say about my brother Ohbliv. RVA’s Mad Genius did it again. He had the crowd stunned with his beats and was the perfect lead off to a unreal hour of hip hop.
RVA’s Mad Genius Ohbiv
If you are not familar with YFD Clothing, The Williams brothers, along with emcee Artik Phreeze, are really making an impact in both RVA fashion and music. Their music roster includes, Phreeze, who is really becoming a star in the RVA hip hop scene, Doe & Chris Haskins, who often perform together but both can carry a strong set indivdually, newcomers Flight Crew, Ms. Proper (who was under the weather last Friday but well worth seeing live), and Destiny Da Chef, who did her thang and killed her set on short notice.
Doe rockin “YFD” clothing
Artik Phreeze, Chris Haskins, Destiny Da Chef holding it down for YFD.
Once the crowd was turned up by YFD, then came the show-stoppers known as The New Juice Crew. Led by the one and only Black Liquid, The New Juice Crew took the stage and, as they say, “melted faces.” My good friend from the RCC Matt Newman said it best, “There is no middle ground with The New Juice Crew. No one ever leaves their show and says, ‘They really didn’t bring it tonight.” They bring it every night and I’m glad the WRIR crowd got to see if first hand. Special S/O to my man Bandolero for holding down the dj set all night, as well as performing with TNJC. My brother Corey Starks has a track, “Wurk Wit It” that stands out on the mixtape, “Know The Ledge” but hearing that track live proves it’s clearly a fan favorite. Also the song, “Trackaholic” really showcases all that is TNJC. It was great to see the team on that track.
Bandolero of TNJC, held it down by djing the set and performing.
After the Cheats Movement Showcase was complete, I was able to relax a bit and enjoy one of my favorite bands Dead Fame. I first saw Dead Fame perform live at the RVA Playlist Birthday Bash, last year. They are fantastic. And their live show comes with great music, balloons, and a crazy light show. I just love it.
I will close by mentioning the amazing performances from Wolf/Goat and “my’ surprise of the night The Upper East Side Big Band. Wolf/Goat is just cool to see play. Who doesn’t like a band with a banjo and violin? They have a great sound and perform well live. Their record, “In Watermelon Sugar,” was on of the best RVA records of last year. I truly believe they can go a long way.
Do yourself a favor - check out Wolf/Goat.
WRIR always seem to hit me with pleasant surprise every year. And this year’s surprise was major, “The Upper East Side Big Band.” The are amazing and just left me wondering, “Why haven’t I seen this before?” It’s huge, it’s modern, it’s jazz, it’s everything amazing. I can’t wait to see them again. I loved it.
I could not have asked for a better night to be a part of in RVA. The WRIR Party is truly one of the best Richmond events of the year. Thanks to Shannon and Lindsey for inviting me to be a part of the evening. #WESEEIT
It has become very clear that the goal of The Cheats Movement Blog in 2013 is to do something bigger for the RVA community. What do I mean by, “bigger?” I mean the blog, myself, the entire Cheats Movement Family will deliberately take on the task of creating and presenting the type of Richmond community that we want see spread throughout this city. I think that has always been the underling goal of the blog, to present RVA as the positive, diverse, creative community that I see daily but is not reported in the RVA media. With the growth of the blog it has become clear, or should I say even more real, that this blog (with the help of a lot of amazing friends and supporters) can be a driving force to bring Richmond’s community together. If you were not there last month at Gallery 5 when Photosythesizers, JPS, and Glows in the Dark performed on the same stage, you missed the very best of what I’m talking about. The most diverse audenice in the city coming together to enjoy Cheats Movement Family, The Richmond Comedy Coalition and these bands, that may not have been billed together if it wasn’t for a platform like the one we created together.
It happened again last night at WRIR’s Party for the Rest of Us. Seeing such a diverse crowd, in a small room, grooving to the music of Ohbliv, and then turning it up with YFD and The New Juice Crew gives me a feeling that I can’t explain but I know I want to duplicate over and over again. Immediately following the showcase last night, as well as the Richmond Famous show at Gallery 5, and even follow the RVA HOT SAUCE show nearly 2 years ago, strangers come up to me wondering when are we going to do “that” again. How can we get that vibe again. I feel the same way.
HEAR IS THE POINT – I can’t do it – WE can’t do it without everyone playing their part. Step 1 – if you are not following the Cheats Movement Facebook Page – Click HERE and follow, share it with your friends. We need to spread what is happening in the city. Step 2 – If you see that The Cheats Movement Blog is hosting/supporting a event or cause – rest assured that it will be one that is worth attending or supporting. I am very clear that this blog is about positivity, creativity, diversity, and anything that lift up RVA. Feel comfortable knowing that while you may not feel every blog post, it all serves a goal. Step 3 – if you see something that this blog “should” be supporting, send me an email (CheatsMWC@gmail.com) and let me know. If it is positive and good for the RVA community, you have a friend in me.
I strongly believe that celebrating Richmond’s creative diversity will go a long way in healing some of the lasting bitterness of the past. It’s not the only answer but I can’t solve every problem with a blog post or event. I can take action to create a better city. We can together. I need you to be a part – will you help?
There it is…is that definitive enough. I always shy away from making such bold statement simply because when I do there is something out there that proves me wrong — some unturned rock in RVA that I’ve yet to find that makes me reevaluate such a declarative statements BUT, in this case, all I can say is: good luck proving me wrong. Tuesday Verses is the truth and has been for 11 years now. I was first made aware of Tuesday Verses a few years ago – Yes, I said years ago – when it was operating out of Tropical Soul on 2nd street. I went as far as trying to attend one night and remember showing up only to see a line spiraling around the building. At that point, I turned away thinking I would make it another time. Well, months, even years passed before I had the opportunity to meet Lorna “L-Boogie” Pinckney last year at the Happily Natural Day/Tuesday Verses Anniversary concert featuring Phonte. It was there that we first got a chance to talk and I told her I would love to bring the Cheats Movement camera through in 2013.
So what exactly happens at Tuesday Verses? Well, the thing is – you never know. Every week is different but you will ultimately see and combination of spoken word, talented singing (not your weekly karaoke talent – much better), live musicians, and if your lucky something special. Last week that something special was violist Eric Stanley who blessed the crowd with a few gems. In addition to JeRoyd Dyore Strother, Narrator, Nickey McMullen, the list could go on an on.
Eric Stanley was in the building last Tuesday night.
I would say equal to the Verses talent, what makes it the best open mic in RVA is the family atmosphere. Once you walk in – you are no longer a stranger. As someone that prides this blog as Cheats Movement family – I can tell you Tuesday Verses is a family atmosphere that is inviting and supporting. Lorna and her team gets a lot of credit for that – they set that warm mood from the jump.
Tuesday Verses vet Narrator blessed the crowd last Tuesday.
Tuesday Verses is every Tuesday at Addis Ethiopian restaurant 9 N. 17th St, Richmond, VA. Doors open at 8 PM – Open mic from 9 PM to midnight. Make sure you support Tuesday Verses on Facebook and of course The Cheats Movement Blog on Facebook. Without those followers on social media we may not have to opportunity to do what we do. It’s very important to like both our pages to keep this momentum going.
Bar Codez of Photosynthesizers puts us under his spell. The video filmed by Cheats and Nick Mastro (MastroTime Photography) in front of the I AM A MAN mural by the famed street artist JR, on the corner of 14th and T in Washington DC. WE SEE IT!
HIGH STANDARDS – NO LIMITS -THE CHEATS MOVEMENT BLOG. WE SEE IT!
Go behind the scenes with Cheats, Barz, and Mastro on the set of “Spells.” We shot this video in front of the amazing, I AM A MAN, mural by famous street artist JR on 14th and T in Washington DC. The “official” video is coming soon.
High Standards – No Limits – The most diverse blog in RVA. WE SEE IT. Follow The Cheats Movement Blog on Facebook. Email me at CheatsMWC@gmail.com if you want to collab on content…We do this for Richmond.
Henry Rollins linked up with Art 180 at the RVA Floodwall
RVA is an artist’s town. In spite of all the noise ordinances, CAPS harassment, and venue crackdowns over the past couple of years/decades, the spirit and culture of live music in particular permeates this town in ways that no other city in Virginia can claim. The ever spectacular Richmond Folk Festival is a perfect example of that. And in reality, it’s been that way since before I moved here many moons ago and is one of the reasons that I call RVA my home in 2012.
One of the first things I delved into when I moved to Richmond to attend VCU in 1991 was the punk and hardcore music scene. As a skate kid from Virginia Beach I had been exposed to some punk stuff in the 80s via my older brother Paul and burned holes in his vinyl copy of the soundtrack to the 1984 movie Repo Man. That compilation served as my early gateway to the sounds of The Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, and Iggy Pop among others while expanding my known-sound parameters in a different but equally dramatic manner as the Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa records I was also listening to at the time.
My freshman year roommate at VCU was a musician from Lynchburg who had played in a variety of different bands in high school and had an amazing collection of punk and hardcore cassettes that I would diligently sift through on a regular basis to discover and consume these new and domestically foreign music styles. Digging through his collection I discovered the sounds of Primus, Gorilla Biscuits, Four Walls Falling (an RVA hardcore band I would later record with), and Corrosion of Conformity amongst a plethora of other less talented and much less inspiring noise bands.
One name that would repeatedly pop up in the cassettes was Henry Rollins. I knew him nominally as the frontman of the monstrously influential 80s band Black Flag that is credited with pioneering certain elements within the hardcore, punk and pre-grunge musical sounds. Honestly, I hadn’t really listened to much of his musical work (I had listened to earlier versions of Black Flag before he was involved) and his “spoken word” performances usually left a lot to be desired to a kid who was raised on Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets.
In his post-Black Flag days, Rollins has maintained a successful and active career as a public speaker (I hesitate for a variety of different reasons to truly label what he does as “spoken word”), an activist, actor, and hard-edged social commentator that is as well known for his combustible content as his fiery, in-your-face demeanor. The first musical work of his that really caught my attention was 1992′s The End of Silence from The Rollins Band which was a commercially successful release that landed him a spot on the second Lollapalooza tour which is where I saw him live for the first time. From there, I became familiar with his work in reverse order and his recordings soon earned a solid place in my heart for the music’s inherent socio-political edge and lyrical focus on a full spectrum of human conditions.
Because of my evolved level of respect and admiration for Rollins’s honesty, integrity, and unapologetic opinions, I was more than honored at the privilege of representing Art 180 in a meeting / documentary filming with him this past Sunday, October 21st. He was in RVA for a performance at The National and getting footage for his new documentary called “Capitalism” which follows his path through the 50 state capitals to talk to “the people” about the democratic process, voting, and personal accountability among other things.
Myself and the rest of the Art 180 staff met Rollins and his producer at the floodwall murals as he had an interest in knowing more about what our organization does, and the mural the kids created during this year’s RVA Street Art Festival was an accurate reflection of the constructive voice that many of Art 180′s participants find through art. Three of the teens from the Art 180 Teen Alumni group that completed the mural attended the filming as well and were given an opportunity to meet and talk with Rollins about art, the future, and their take on the current State of the Union. The kids, who previously had no idea who Rollins was outside of his appearance in the movie Jackass, took the time before hand to research him so they could be prepared to engage him with knowledge of who he is and what he represents.
Needless to say, they knocked it out of the park! He was so impressed with the dialogue with the kids that he invited one of them to his speaking event at The National that night as his personal guest. And while I am not surprised at the stellar representation of RVA, Art 180, and themselves that the teens provided, I was a little surprised at Rollins’s even-keeled demeanor and his concentration on objectively listening to what everyone had to say. Definitely a jump from the Henry Rollins I was familiar with through urban legend and book lore. One of the things that I had always heard in my early days of uncovering his works was that he was super-aggressive, condescending and always at war with those around him. And while that is nothing new or particularly unusual for 20-somethings in the punk scene, it was a pleasant surprise that he had transcended that characterization that is still thrust upon him in many of his recent television and movie appearances.
In many ways, Henry Rollins represents an evolution that many people and places go through in an ongoing challenge to define one’s true identity in a world of mass media, stereotypes, and unforgiving pre-judices. A lot of that applies to an evolving RVA as well: while the Capital City has spent many decades trying to re-define itself in the shadow of an ominous and troublesome past, our musical and artistic voice has spoken up in a manner that must be noticed. Credit that to the artisans, musicians, thinkers and everyday people that believe in and support one of the best little music towns on the East Coast. Our art matters and we are putting it up and playing it loud for everyone to experience. Because most of the time, that’s the only way you will ever be heard.
Earlier this year – one half of “Team Awesome” Julian, Brian, and Cheats took a one day get away to Virginia Beach. It was a fun and very relaxing adventure for fellas that are always on the grind. AND I was introduced to the famous “oyster shot.” Check out this brief flick of our day. Bonus points to anyone that can name the song in the comments section.
The Cheats Movement “Almost” World Premier - Nicholas Mastro “Mastro Time Photography” hooked up with The Cheats Movement and of course the lovely Maat Free for a VEGI ♥ LUV Promo for What’s the Tea with Malcolm V. This video features good friends of The Cheats Movement Fam: Mike Kemetic, Lady V, Team Awesome (Julian and Vic), Aria “In Progress”, and Sam “Sunny Harmonic.” The crew runs deep!
It goes down tonight on What’s the Tea with Malcolm V (Richmond Public Access at 9 PM) - the debut of the VEGI ♥ LUV short video staring my home girl, the lovely, the wonderful, the culinary diva of RVA, Maat Free. Filmed, directed, and edited by my dude Nick Mastro of Mastro Time Photography, and supported all the way live by Cheats Movement Family from top to bottom. This was my first opportunity to really get down and learn from Nick Mastro. Nick really is an amazing photographer and a great dude to learn photography, film-making, and editing from. I can’t wait to work with him again. S/O to my fam Mike Kemetic, Team Awesome (Julian and Vic), Lady V, Sunny H, Aria “In Progress”. Here are some exclusive “On the Set” photos from Saturday filming. Follow Mastro Time, VEGI ♥ LUV, The Cheats Movement, and What’s the Tea. WE SEE IT RVA – Something special is happening in this town.
I first ran across Kellen Dengler’s work last year on Vimeo. For what it’s worth, I believe Kellen had the best cinematography reel that I saw in 2011. His reel featured all kinds of work from shooting NYC hoops, to Nas, to Snoop, to even covering a Miami Heat game. From his vimeo page, I started following his website (KellenDengler.com) and his twitter (@KDengs) just to see the latest work he was dropping.
Kellen is currently growing a body of work that, I believe, is one of the best collections of visuals currently in the game. It is only fitting that he is working with one of the best up and coming rappers in the biz Stalley and ultimately one of the hottest cliques doing it right now: Maybach Music Group.
I reached out for Kellen for an interview for the Cheats Movement and though he is extremely busy, currently on the road with the BET Music Matters Tour featuring Stalley and Kendrick Lamar, he was able to answer a ton of my questions via email. In addition to the travel, his new visual for Stalley, “Fountain of Youth” is currently being featured as MTV’s Jam of the week. Shout out to Kellen for always being on the grind and putting out some of the best, most innovative, work coming out right now. Follow him on twitter and Vimeo to keep up with his amazing work.
Cheats: If a person walked up to you on the street and asked you what did you do for a living – you would say?
Kellen: I’m a director/cinematographer, but I do a lot more than that. I feel like in today’s age with so much content being produced so rapidly and with smaller budgets than in previous years you have to be able to adapt to the situation and wear many hats. Yeah I direct, shoot, and edit, but I also write, produce, consult etc etc. It all depends on the job, the client and their needs, and the budget.
I knew I was in love with photography when…
I knew I was in love with photography/filmmaking when I realized it was something that I could totally do on my own, for myself without initially needing help or guidance. I feel like I was lucky to enter the video world right at that time when video was going from analog to digital. Digital allowed the cost of equipment to become much more affordable to the consumer and other resources such as software, computers and online learning all became a part of it. A lot I learned in school, but I think I learned more on my own. I learned how to do everything analog which is still very important knowledge to have even in 2012. I’ve done several projects over the last couple of years that require managing archive media that came in all of these old school analog tape formats. I feel like a lot of kids learning today don’t know what to do with that type of stuff, which isn’t a bad thing, after all it is 2012, but there are some things I’ve done that require analog knowledge and experience.
For me, filmmaking is a way for me to…
For me filmmaking is a way for me to express my creativity in a way that I enjoy, and something I can fully control and create myself. Yeah a lot of projects have some sort of corporate influence or objectives, but you need that to pay the bills. I like to use that money to fund my own projects that have no creative boundaries or obligations. I’ve been working on a very big project this year that will be a true testament of my own creative efforts and is truly the biggest project I’ve ever created. More details to come soon…
In regards to being a professional, I would say my first “real” break came…
In regards to being a professional I would say my first real break came when I realized that I could do this on my own. My last year in college I had an internship with MTV here in NYC. After graduation I was offered a job with them and dropped everything and moved here. That was right a t the time when the US economy went to shit. Everyone who I had interned for had gotten laid off and left me without a job. It forced me to figure things out myself. It wasn’t easy at first and there were a lot of hurtles, but I ultimately started working more and more and then at some point in 2010 I quit the job that I had at this production house and just went for it on my own. That was the moment that I really felt like I had it in me.
I first met Rick Ross….
I first met Rick Ross while working with Stalley who I have been documenting the past few months. It was earlier this year when Stalley’s mixtape “Savage Journey to the American Dream” dropped. The MMG crew was in the city and they did some promo stuff together that I covered, and then Stalley had his release party at the Beats By Dre store in SoHo.
The concept of a MMG NYC Take Over film came from…
The concept of the MMG NYC Takeover film sort of came about after I realized what I had. Initially, I was focused on just documenting Stalley and what he was doing that week with the Self Made 2 promo. I realized pretty quickly that I was the only camera that was sort of allowed “all access” with MMG during those 3 days. I pretty much rolled non-stop and was as non-obtrusive as possible. I wanted the real behind the scenes moments that most people never really get a chance to see. Once those 3 days were over, I realized that I did in fact have some pretty exclusive content that captured these guys very naturally and candid. MMG didn’t have a video like that with the whole crew that was really just a “behind the scenes” type piece. That’s what sort of sparked the idea to package it together into a longer format piece that could really offer that true behind the scenes look. I think it was pretty well received overall, I wasn’t looking to make a MMG fanboy piece, and I feel like the majority of people realized that and accepted what I had made as not being that and appreciated it for what it was.
Right now I’m working on…
Right now I’m working on getting organized to head out on the BET Music Matters Tour with Stalley and Kendrick Lamar for the next 6 weeks. I’m busy closing out some other projects and preparing to be on the road for a while to create some video pieces for the tour.
My inspiration comes from…
My inspiration comes from my friends, this city, and online. I’m lucky to have a lot of really talented friends that do so many cool things from fashion to music to design to art. That all rubs off on you just from being around them. NYC is such a cultural melting pot that you pick up inspiration almost naturally. The way the internet has evolved also inspires me so much as well. I sometimes log on to check my email and then end up browsing a few things, then look at the time and hours have gone by and I didn’t even realize it because I was so drawn into whatever things I was reading about or videos I was checking out. It’s amazing to me how the internet offers this platform to showcase your creativity in such cool ways, pretty easily.
The best advice I’ve ever received….
The best advice I’ve ever received was from a mentor of mine in college who taught me the importance of being a “one man band.” Basically being able to do everything on your own since the landscape was changing so much in the digital age. Knowing how to direct, shoot, produce, edit, design, consult etc. Ideally, you won’t always have to do all of those things and you can just focus on what you like most or are best at, but knowing how to do all of those things is really important and has helped me a lot.
The best city for a person to do what I do…
The best city to do what I do is New York City. Period. Yeah LA has more readily available crews, equipment, and studios because it is Hollywood, but I think what NYC has to offer is almost more important. There is so much culture and creativity here all mixed up in this relatively small area (in comparison to LA) that it’s almost impossible to walk out the door and not become inspired. I think LA is great, and I do work out there a fair amount, but NYC has been so good to me and really molded me into who I am and what I do now that I don’t see myself ever planting roots anywhere else. This city breeds culture.
Stalley’s “The Tune Up” Video took me _________ long to make? I really like this video because….
Stalley’s “The Tune Up” video took me a day to shoot, and probably a day or 2 to edit. I really like this video because I tried something something knew that I honestly didn’t even know was going to work or not after I shot it. It’s a very simple concept, but what you have to do to ensure those layers of video match up and blend together was the challenge. There were things I overlooked in production that almost ruined it for me, mostly lighting stuff, but I ended up making it all work and I think that turned out pretty damn for for it being my first real video that I directed.
Before I go – all I want you to know about me is…
Before I go all I want you to know about me that I did it myself and on my own. I’ve still got a lot to learn and a ways to go, but I’ll figure it out. You can to.
As I stood in line waiting to board the 7 AM Megabus from Union Station (Washington DC) thoughts were still rushing through my mind, Man, am I crazy? This is just a bit crazy isn’t it? This is certainly not normal. Yo, is this really happening? And those were some of my more relaxed thoughts, I had spent the first 2 hours of the trip, driving from RVA to D.C., thinking to myself, What am I going to ask him and how can I get the entire interview done in just 5 minutes. And of course, reminding myself not to spend the first 4 minutes of the interview wasting time on pictures and autographs. The “him” I was referring to was the one and only Bobbito Garcia AKA Kool Bob Love AKA Bob the Baber AKA Soul Food Bob, AKA DJ Cucumberslice.
Garcia, 45, is a true legend in hip hop culture and entrepreneurial pioneer for modern culture all over the world. Let me be clear, hip hop culture is modern culture throughout the world and Bobbito Garcia has successfully transitioned his passion for the culture into a career that benefits the entire world. As a writer, DJ, radio host, and sneaker expert, Bobbito Garcia wears many hats and I was making my way up to NYC, on 3 days’ notice, to speak with him about his passions, career, and latest project, a feature film titled, “Doin’ In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, New York City.”
I have closely followed Bobbito Garcia’s career for over 10 years. I can’t remember the first time I heard his name but as a fan of hip hop and sneakers, he has always been a person that I considered an authority on both subjects. It was only later that I became aware of his history in basketball and then I really began to understand that we shared very similar passions. I credit his career as one of the major inspirations for this blog and my success as a writer and photographer. If someone like Bobbito can turn his passions into a career, why can’t I?
So you can understand that I was excited to even be in a position to reach out to him for a Cheats Movement interview. And I was even more enthusiastic when he quickly responded with a yes and an invitation to come up to Brooklyn and see a screening of the film. Without any hesitation, I quickly accepted and started making plans to travel up to the Planet Brooklyn.
Upon my arrival to the Big Apple, I noticed that the weather was not lining up for an outdoor screening that evening. Though the weather was nice in the Lower East Side, I had heard reports of rain in BK and even worse a tornado touching down in Queens. I sent an email to Bobbito with my number just in case we could save the interview and save it we did. A few hours later, he called me and asked me to meet him in Tillary Park in Brooklyn; rain or shine. At this point, he did not have to do the interview but he did it anyway because that is his character. That’s really all you need I need to know about him as a person – he went out of his way for a stranger to do something he didn’t have to do – just because he said he would.
The following is my interview with Bobbito Garcia:
Bobbito: What up everybody and peace to Richmond. My name is Bobbito Garcia AKA Kool Bob Love, representing New York and Puerto Rico and honored to be with my man Cheats.
Cheats: How have you been able to transition your passions (DJing, Basketball, Shoes, etc.) into a career?
Bobbito: That’s a difficult question to answer in retrospect. Along the way, I really didn’t anticipate all of this happening. So much of my success comes from cross-pollinating. For example, I started at Def Jam and I use to play ball with Russell Simmons, RUN DMC, and Rakim – I started getting a rep as a ball player in the hip hop industry because I always had ill sneakers. I would have customized sneakers in 1989 – 90 it was unheard of at the time. I would paint and customize my sneakers. That led to The Source recognizing me for my sneakers and me writing an article. That article was read by the person that ultimately published my book – 13 years later she put my book out.
Then though Def Jam I met Stretch (Armstrong) and that’s how I got on the radio show (the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show) . The radio show introduced me to the whole world. And I would always shout out basketball, “Yo, I’m playing at Tillary Park tonight. I got another game tomorrow night.” So people started knowing me as a ball player…overall it’s just kept growing…Cheats so much happened.
Cheats: It sounds like a perfect NYC story. Perfect timing…
Bobbito: Cheats, I have been blessed. Now I’ve been to 35 countries and 5 continents playing ball in each and djing in each. I look back on it all and really don’t know how I was able to do it all. But I do feel blessed. I’ve been kind to so many different people and that always plays infinite dividends.
Bobbito: I really don’t know if there was a defining moment. When I was 19 years old, I played professional basketball in Puerto Rico. That was the first time that I got paid to do what I loved to do and that could have been the original seed that everything else grew from.
Cheats: And now you can add something new to the resume. You can add filmmaker. Tell me about the film and the process of making the film.
Bobbito: The film is, “Doin It In The Park: Pick Up Basketball NYC,” is co-directed by myself and Kevin Couliau. We both took our passions for basketball and film and combined them to create a really unique project. We went to 180 courts in 75 days, 90% of them on our bicycles, and because of technology, we shot the film with at Canon 5D camera, we were able to carry our equipment in our backpacks and make a proper feature film that when you see it – you’re going to bug out. The film is shot beautifully. We got phenomenal interviews; we have amazing archive footage due to the research we completed….
Cheats: And the film was all self-financed?
Bobbito: 100% self-financed. No one commissioned us to do it. Now that the film is done, we are working on distribution so that the world can see it. And hopefully it can be released in theaters and for downloads but for now we are just doing a lot of community screenings.
Cheats: What did you learn about filmmaking that you did not know before the start of this project?
Bobbito: Well, I’ve been in a lot of documentaries Cheats – Just For Kicks, Beats, Rhymes, and Life, Freshest Kids, around about 30 films – Freestyle by Kevin Fitzgerald – so I’ve learned a lot but I can’t really take credit for the film because it was truly a team effort in that regard. David Couliau, our editor, put the film in a structure that made sense to a viewing audience. I’m just a dude that knows a lot about basketball and I love to play the game.
Cheats: I know topics like legacy is tough for you to talk about – most people will end up doing that for you – but as you put things in perspective with music – with everything – what are the moments that you most proud of right now?
Bobbito: Right now I would say two things, playing professional basketball in Puerto Rico. I’m proud of that because that is my homeland; and because I’m 5’10, 160 pounds. I don’t think I was born to play pro basketball. I made that happen through hard work. That is special to me because I beat the odds by achieving that dream. I was cut from my college team 3 years in a row and the spring after that I played professional basketball. I was the second pro basketball player in my college’s history.
I would say my second might be writing the book, “Where Did You Get Those? New York City Sneaker Culture: 1960 – 1987?” I went to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and I graduated in the bottom 10% of my class. It took me a long time to have confidence as a writer and I built that confidence over the years writing for The Source, Rap Pages, and Vibe, to the point where I felt like I could take on the challenge of a book; which is a lot bigger than at 2,000 word article. It took me 4 years to put it together. It took a lot of research…so right now I would say those two but you never know because this film may be the defining thing. Film is such a bigger medium than books and I have already seen the way the audience reacts to the film. And the film is a combination of me as a DJ as well because I supervised the score of the film. I also wrote the script, so the film really combines my music skills, my writing skills, and my basketball skills. You will see me playing ball in the film.
Cheats: And I’m about to see you play ball in a minute so last question. What advice would you give to yourself 20 years ago – knowing what you know now?
Bobbito: I say this to a lot of people, just figure out what is missing and fill the void. That has been my whole career. No one did a film about pick-up basketball before, no one had written a book about sneaker culture before, on the radio show, we had Nas, Biggie, Wu Tang, Jay Z, Big L, before anyone had ever heard of them. We were just filling the void – that’s it Cheats, I’m about to run.