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.
The new track “Salutations”by Chance Fischer is making the rounds. I’ve covered Chance a couple of times at live shows in RVA and his live performances are impressive. His Passport to Nowhere album released last year and produced by the late Kleph Dollaz was my introduction to his musical vibe – the record is well worth a listen. In addition to his rhyme skills Chance also did some guest blogging on the Grape Cloth website back in the day and I can honestly say when I ran across him a while back at West Coast Kix…he was just a laid back cool brother. Humble and hard working – any dude like that I’m happy to share their new stuff on The Cheats Movement.
A very special group of Richmonders gathered for the first time on Friday night in Shockoe Bottom. The group was pulled together by Melody Joy Short (Artisan Cafe) and organized to meet a new friend to RVA, activist and writer, Kevin Powell. Though Kevin has been to RVA in the past, he has recently accepted a guest teaching position at Virginia State and will be traveling from his home in NYC to Richmond on a regular basis.
It was an honor for The Cheats Movement be in the room with such great community leaders. Every once in a while, there is an evening that motivates me to keep pushing forward. Being surrounded by so many successful Richmonders, everyone with the goal of improving the city’s arts, culture, creativity, education, health, etc. is just what I needed to push through the dog days of fall. Check out the photos from this great night. MAKE SURE TO LIKE THE CHEATS MOVEMENT OF FACEBOOK – CLICK HERE!
(Left to Right) DJ Prolific, Lenise Robinson, Nadira Chase, Melody Joy Short, DJ Nobe, Kevin Powell, Shaunn Casselle, Duron “Brother Manifest” Chavis, Heaven Hewlett, Amy “Mimi” Wentz. Photo by Cheats – Not pictured but attended the event, Tamir Rock, Angela Patton, Dr. Shawn Utsey.
DEREK 32Zeoro (left) and producer Nottz on stage at the Canal Club.
I got more must hear music for you today. I first heard DEREK 32Zero at the Happily Natural Day Concert featuring Phonte. S/O to Brother Manifest and Lorna L-Boogie (Tuesday Verses) for putting me on. 32Zero had unbelievable energy on stage and really delivered a strong performance. After the show he handed me a copy of his sampler, “Breathe Deeper,” and I must admit that I slept on if for a minute BUT when I put it on…it played all the way through. It’s a must listen. I’m looking forward to his album, “I’m Not Bargain-ing,” that will be released sometime early next year. Check out some of the Breathe Deeper tracks – all produced by VA super- producer Nottz.
LIFT ‘EM UP – DEREK 32Zero FEAT. TALIB KWELI
BREATHE DEEPER – DEREK 32Zero FEAT. DJ BEE
I love the annual Richmond International Dragon Festival! This was the second year that I was able to take some photos of the event. The dragon boat festival is a photographer’s dream, it has it all: tailgating, performances, diverse culture, and of course dragon boats. Last weekend was amazing for festivals and event. Unfortunately, I was not able to make a lot of them but I was not going to miss this one.
There is no doubt that this summer has been amazing for The Cheats Movement Blog. The readership growth, the events, the projects, the interviews, the new opportunities, and all the new friends have motivated me beyond belief to keep building, keep reaching, and maintaining a level of blog post that are worthy of this great city and the creative friends that I spend time highlighting. I’ve made a few sacrifices, mistakes, and had to take a few step backs in 2012 just to put everything in perspective and make sure that I’m doing the right things to achieve my goal of highlighting RVA’s creative community in a diversity and positive light. I can’t say for sure that it’s working 100% because I still meet people that honestly ask me, “Is there anything to do in this city?” But with that, I’m really humbled and appreciative of the progress and positive response to what the blog is doing and just overwhelmed with warm feelings when I get a nice note from a friend or and email from someone asking for The Cheats Movement to cover an event. It’s a bit crazy to me…I still call my sister or mom or someone just to be like, “Yo…guess what just happened.” So you could imagine how I felt this week, with summer coming to an end, and me feeling a bit overwhelmed with projects and a demanding day job that the Richmond Magazine article hit the stands. I can’t thank Richmond Magazine’s Editor Kate Andrews enough for taking time to highlight The Cheats Movement in Richmond Magazine. She was so great to come out to the Epic Group Photo to see exactly what “The Family ” is all about. Her write up is so spot on. It’s great feeling to see that and I’m not too cool for school to say publicly — articles in places like Richmond Magazine is a big deal to me and motivates me beyond belief. I don’t get many of them and I don’t take any of them for granted. As the summer comes to end…there is no stop in me – can’t stop/won’t stop/don’t know how to stop – Bad Bay 1995. Stay tuned…new stuff – BIG STUFF is coming. Make sure you pick up Richmond Magazine this month. WE SEE IT!
LIVE AND NATURAL: PHONTE, PHOTOSYNTHESIZERS, DEREK 32ZERO, – PHOTOS FROM THE HAPPILY NATURAL DAY CONCERT
Hip hop heads were out in full force Saturday night for the man they call Tigallo – Phonte of Foreign Exchange (formally of Little Brother). When I spoke to him last week he told me that RVA should expect a good time – he was right. Phonte delivered one hell of a show. He brought high energy, amazing stage presence, and a connection with the crowd on every song. Of course, it helps when your fans are hanging on every word and know every lyric. Phonte’s fans new every track – weather it was from his solo album, Charity Starts at Home, or Foreign Exchange, or Little Brother – they sung almost every word. He could do no wrong Saturday night and represented to the fullest. I commend the organizers of Happily Natural Day for such a perfect selection. Beyond the performance, Phonte appeared to be having a great time doing what he loves. He is fully aware of his place in hip hop and appreciates the support he gets and the fans that came out. He didn’t take too many breaks but during the breaks he did take – he took a moment to talk to the audience about real life. And his chats were mostly hilarious. His best line of the night was, “There are two types of people in the room – people that are sad that the summer is over – and people with kids.” Well, I’m sad that the night had to end but it was well worth it. One of the best shows of the year.
Also holding it down Saturday night was my family: Photosynthesizers. I was glad to hear that Photos had spent all day in the studio recording new tracks. You know how I feel about them as a group (BEST BAND IN RVA). I can’t wait for the new music to come and and kill the RVA scene. Also, they got on the merch grind too – check out and pick up one of their new T-Shirts.
Finally, shout out to the brother Derek 32Zero. This was my first time seeing him perform but he held it down. You could tell he was a seasoned live performer. He kept the crowd engaged, worked the stage, and represented for real hip hop. He put in work to a crowd that wasn’t really familiar with his music (and the music was dope). Always good to see new hip hop talent in VA. I will be looking to see him perform again. He also brought with him VA super producer Nottz. S/O to him for coming through.
A great show and night all the way around…follow the Cheats Movement on FB for more updates. WE SEE IT.
IT’S MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!!! SMILE, DRINK, BE MERRY…IT’S A CELEBRATION!!!
I kicked off my holiday weekend in a big way. Here is an inside look at my Grind Date Friday: Dropped The Passion of (The) Sleaze video trailer. I’m so excited to be shooting, directing, and editing a video from start to finish. I could not be working with better brothers than The Honorable Sleaze and Brad Ohbliv. S/O Just Plain Sounds. Check out the trailer and let me know what you think.
After the trailer dropped, I headed out to The Shop to meet Sleaze and Ohbliv to finish the video. It’s not done yet but we got most of the work done. Watch out for the full video in June!
7:00 PM It was time to hit West Coast Kix in Carytown to see more Cheats Movement Fam, the very talented Hamilton Glass AKA HAM?. HAM? was kicking off his Last Friday Art Show. I’d been looking forward to the show for about a month and it was great to see RVA come out to support. I also met the lovely Shannon Santiago. Shannon is a photographer extraordinaire that collaborated with HAM? for the show. She also comes with a very funny bodyguard – S/O Cindy (JRT). S/O to the amazing Glass family – Taekia and Sanaa I see you. And my man Distant Dee!
8:30 PM Off to Gallery 5 to catch the Richmond Comedy Coalition (Voted Best Comedy Group in RVA for the 2nd year in a row). Richmond Famous is one of my favorite shows because the RCC takes great stories from some of RVA’s most interesting peeps and do improv motivated by the stories. Last night’s featured guest were the ladies from Rumors Boutique. I’ve always been a huge fan of Casey Longyear and Marshe Wyche since I heard their story years ago. I met them both before but I’ve haven’t been able to land a The Cheats Movement profile with them just yet… but I have not given up hope :). The show was great – The RCC is always awesome. S/O to Dirty Richmond and Bree El – spoiler alert: the much missed (by me) Sunday Cypher will return! And word on the street…there will be a great comedy night coming up a Pie (on Lombardy). S/O to Kristen – Have fun in France.
11:00 PM Final stop of the night was at Belly Timber to meet up with Bar Codez and J. Bryant from Photosynthesizers. Photos had just played Friday Night Cheers earlier in the evening. I also caught up with the lovely Maat Free (2011 Vegi Iron Chief)…big plans in the works! All this and not to mention, I just spoke with Black Liquid and he said another great Face Melt Friday went down last night
RVA has some crazy energy right night now. And it’s all love. Go out and see it all – WE SEE IT! Enjoy your holiday weekend.
The crowd far exceeded what was anticipated last Saturday at Dominion River Rocks. There is no doubt the attendance was helped by another glorious RVA day. I must say, as much as RVA is a trending hippster town, there has always been strong support for hiking, climbing, running, and all the outdoor events that River Rocks brought to Browns Island last weekend. I was extremely impressed with the slack line competition. Slack line is definitely a reminder that I’m getting older and there is a generation of kids that are growing up with cool things that I never had. In addition to slack line, competitive wall climbing, and bike jumping, River Rocks brought a ton of cool things to RVA: air dog competition, mud runs, food vendors, and of course, live music. One of the best live bands in the world closed out Saturday night, the one and only Galactic from New Orleans. I was unable to make it back down to the island on Sunday so my photos are from all day Saturday. Check them out and let me know what you think.
True hip hop was on deck Saturday night at the Art Whino Gallery (115 West Broad Street). Everyone that knows hip hop knows that the rap battle is a core element of being an emcee. Man v. Man – my skills are better than your skills – off the top – no written rhymes - THAT IS WHAT SEPARATES THE REAL. The G40 rap battle was a fun time had by all – Flex Matthews (D.C.) did his thing as the host. DJ MadOne held down the beats. And a combination of emcees (mostly from D.C. and RVA) represented well. Eito, the traveling man (based in NOVA), edged out RVA’s own James Dangle in the finals to claim the battle crown. Just Plain Sounds represented well with Dangle making it to the finals and Damaged Andy battling hard against the eventual champ Eito. Others emcees representing: Chungo Rock, Profit, Tesla, and Spike Mouth aka Ray aka he saved the battle. The photos really show the love in the room. The event was small but well done – all love for G40 and the emcees on this one. S/O Mr. Harden — I see you homie on the coin flip.
Style Wars Summer Continues: Check out this great guest post from Jeanine Guidry, Executive Director of Arts in the Alley
With all the mural-painting taking place in Richmond this month, you may have missed one project: Arts in the Alley. Arts in the Alley is a project of local nonprofit Offering, and on April 14-15 we hosted our sixth event in Greater Fulton in Richmond’s East End. During Arts in the Alley, volunteers clean up a run-down alley or block and revitalize it by painting murals on its walls. Usually, we have between 75-125 volunteers – this time, we were blown away with more than 325!
Families are welcome at Arts in the Alley – our youngest volunteer was 24 months old…. she brought a crayon :). Our most dedicated one? Near the top must be little Mia – five years old, and already an Arts in the Alley veteran. Mia has been to the past two Arts in the Alleys (with her family, of course) and each time cleaned and primed and painted more than 7 hours. What Mia is teaching me? You are never too young, too old, too…. anything to make a difference.
Paint may not change the world, but people and paint can change things. They can makes dirty buildings prettier. They can make boring walls more interesting. They can make dark places brighter. They make a group of people who have never met before turn into a well-balanced team. They change a little girl into a community worker. Little boys, too. They brighten neighborhood and they brighten hearts. Together, people and paint can turn strangers into friends. Here are some photographic impressions (courtesy of the amazing and generous DJ Glisson at Firefly Imageworks. Want to get involved? Just click HERE.
Jeanine Guidry, Executive Director, Arts in the Alley
What Mia is teaching me? You are never too young, too old, too…. anything to make a difference.
Art Whino’s third edition of G40 is kicking off right now in RVA. Renowned international artist, Gaia, is here on W. Grace killing one of his signature murals. My brothers at RVAMag is the driving force behind the G40 project coming to RVA. CLICK HERE to see the G40 website. This year’s focus is, “The Art of the Mural.” Some of the most known mural artist from around the world will be in town: El Mac, Roa, and Aryz to name a few. I’ve also been told that some local Richmonder’s will be doing their thing as well and I am very excited to see that. Check out everything about this amazing art project at RVAMag and Art Whino’s websites. Like Gaia on Facebook – he is mad cool.
Last week at The Shop, the Richmond Comedy Coalition debuted The Lab; RVA’s first open mic improv show. This is a brand new opportunity for local improv crews to do their thing – in front of a live audience – FOR FREE. That’s right — this is a free show! Don’t have a improv crew? No problem – just volunteer for improv games as part of the open improv jam. It’s a great night of free comedy. The inagrual night featured two new acts; College for Bears & Faking it. The night also featured the RCC improv crew Karate Practice followed by a “open improv jam” Below are some photos from the successful night. CLICK HERE (or the phot0s below) to see all the photos from the debut of The LAB.
FAKING IT [Kristin Kirkley, Rachel Weatherly, Emilie Tweeddale & Townsend - not pictured] Side note: Faking it are four of the funniest girls I know — I was lucky enough to be in an RCC improv class with them last year — so proud of y0u!
College for Bears: Steve Howze & Josh Blubaugh. Both Steve and Josh are what I call duel threats — the are great at improv and also very funny stand-up comics. Laugh at Josh and Steve at Cafe Diem’s Open Mic Comedy Night.
“It seems like with abandoned buildings – they sort of take on a life of their own – a different life – a different type of community takes over when a building is left behind. An unseen community – the homeless – the artist – the explorers – bondage photographers.” — Decayed Richmond
Last week, I sat down with Decayed Richmond to talk about their amazing urban exploration project. Decayed Richmond has been killing RVA’s art-culture scene since they launched their website last spring. Documenting urban exploration has really skyrocketed in popularity with the growth of affordable cameras and the rise of the internet. Richmond, with all of its history, and unique appreciation for historic relevance, makes it a perfect backdrop for a state-of-the-art urban exploration project. Decayed Richmond is that project – but they need your help. Support them at: decayedrichmond.com
Below is only a snapshot of THE INTERVIEW. Click HERE (or the main menu tab) to read the full interview with Decayed Richmond.
Cheats Movement: Decayed Richmond really jumped on the scene last year. Tell me a little about the creation of Decayed Richmond?
Decayed Richmond: It started around the spring of last year. We basically started the site because we saw other sites about exploring abandoned buildings and wanted to start something of our own. We had a stock of pictures that have been collected over the years. We knew the photos would fit well on a website. So we went up with Decayed Richmond and it really blew up. Over the course of two or three days the site got like 200 to 300 followers. And that’s when we decided we wanted to shoot a movie about it.
Cheats Movement: There is defiantly an element of surprise every time that you explore a new building. What are some of the most unique things that have happened on site?
Decayed Richmond: The most unique, and the most recent, is the last time we went out – we ran into some other people doing bondage photography (fetish photography). We kind of spooked each other out. They ended up being very helpful. They showed us some different ways to get in and out of the building – but it was weird.
Cheats Movement: So when you go into a new building – what is the goal?
Decayed Richmond: It really varies. Going into a new building, we shoot photos and video. We try to explore all the ends and outs of the building. We try to learn a little bit of the history of the building before we go in so we have a better understanding of what a room could have been used for. One of the main goals is to always reach the roof of the building – seeing the rooftop.
Cheats Movement: What is the most interesting building that you’ve been in so far?
Decayed Richmond: It’s hard to pick one but the 25th street theater in Church Hill is really cool. Another would be Innerbake, the old cookie factory on Belvidere and Broad. Every time in that building is a new experience.
Cheats Movement: This seems like way more than just a website and movie to the Decayed Richmond team.
Decayed Richmond: It is. It’s something that we will do forever. Whenever we travel, any city, any town, we try to find something (to explore). You would be surprised how many places are just completely neglected. I feel like so many of these places would be great to give back to the community.
Cheats Movement: I feel like Richmond is one of the worst offenders of that – we have so many great opportunities to restore history here. Even the laws in Richmond, in regards to restoring abandoned properties are very tough.
Decayed Richmond: Yeah. That’s fortunate for us and what we are doing but tough for the city. There are so many places that can be turned into cool venues, artspaces, etc.
I’m still pretty sick today — so I couldn’t work on new stuff last night. However, I’ve been holding some gems that were dropped on me by RVA Super Producer Brad Ohbliv. And since I’m feeling a little down — might as well pick up my spirits with some new boom bap. If you don’t know about Ohbliv — you are missing one of RVA’s most talented producers. The dude is a throwback to when hip hop was a little more simpler yet a little more real. I first met Ohbliv early last year when I tracking the collective Just Plain Sounds, which he is a member, and we just hit it off — then after I met him I heard Yellow Gold – his collaboration with RVA Emcee Nick F - and I was hooked. I reached out to Ohbiv a few weeks ago when I decided that I was going to start posting Cheats Movement Club Picks and he dropped these beats on me. Check them out – more official club picks coming this week.
freekphone – By Ohbliv
tete-a-tete – By Ohbliv
January 8, 2012: Trust me I understand the new year – new attitude mentality. I’m a strong believer in that concept — people (myself included) need to hit the reset button from time to time and focus on change and self-improvement. However, it’s never good to make a “FLOOD” of new year changes — flooding yourself with pressure will only burst your pipes — and before you know it — everything has gotten away from you. So my advice for myself — and anyone who cares — is to to take a walk. An actual walk is the best — but if you can’t physically get away — a mental walk of relaxation will do too. Take 20-30 minutes a day to control the flood of what’s going on around you. Don’t try to do too much change all at once — focus and “stay focused” on achieving your goals. It can be done!
Why I love RVA today: Unseasonable warm day in January — might as well have a books and records sell while hanging with friends. That’s exactly what Ren, an advertising grad student at VCU, did today near her home at the corner of Floyd and Lombardy.
I think most people will agree that RVA is a close knit town — and that there are many positives (and negatives) about that aspect of our city. A positive is the close connection of talented people. Often I will be doing a project for The Cheats Movement and someone will ask, “have you seen my friend’s art work or have you heard my friend’s cd?” That is pretty normal and I love it. It is the best way to connect to what’s hot on the street.
Since I started this blog, the name Hamilton Glass has come up over and over from my friends and other artist. Though I was familiar with his mural work, I had never met HAM until a about a week ago. HAM’s talent is truly world class. I was instantly drawn in by the visual ascetic of his art and also the powerful messages he displays. I agreed that HAM would be perfect for a profile on the site but then I thought — PROFILES ARE NOT ENOUGH IN 2012.
I really want this site to be a part of RVA’s creative community. Instead of just profiles, I want to build real relationships with the talented people I highlight doing work in the city. So this post is just a start of my new goal.
HAM has blessed the site with a brand new 2012 logo and I will continue to highlight HAM’s work on this site. CHECKOUT HAM’S WEBSITE: www.whosham.com and hit him up for work.
Let me know what you think of the new logo by comment, facebook, twitter, or email. I want to know — and the first ever Cheats Movement stickers are coming later this month.
HAM X THE CHEATS MOVEMENT 2012
WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT? BLACK SCIENCE SESSION: PHOTOSYNTHESIZERS, AMUL9, JAMES DANGLE, & THE WITCH DOCTOR [BALLICEAUX, RVA]
It’s not often that I leave a local show wondering exactly what just happened — last night was one of those nights. Presented by AudioMassTransit and Photosynthesizers the final Black Science Session of 2011 went down last night at Balliceaux. The show was headlined by Photosynthesizers and as usual they did not disappoint – another amazing live show. Through this blog, I have met several members of Photos and they know how much I love their music so here is my brief assessment of me mid-way through every Photos live show — Damn, they are really good! Why aren’t they signed and traveling all over the world? I know, easier said than done but here is to all the Photos crew — much success in 2012. My personal favorite local live performing act of 2011 (next year I take off the local).
Now here is the part that left me scratching my head a bit — I saw the really famous and amazing documentary Afro-Punk by James Spooner a few years ago and really liked it but I had never seen a “Afro-Punk” style performance live until last night. Amul9 from ATL blessed RVA with their hardcore talent last night. Though I thought I was ready — I was not fully ready. The energy — the excitement — it was a bit shock but hats off to those brothers. If you like that Bad Brains (original Afro Punk) sound – check out their debut album Elevated Beings. They even worked with the pioneer Earl Hudson of Bad Brains on the project.
Opening the show was my dude, Just Plain Sounds representative James Dangle. He hit the stage early (and late) with some tracks from his album One Time I Knew. I’ve said it before and will say it again – Naima is my favorite local track of 2011.
Also spinning his unique fusion of old soul and “Lord knows what” but it’s amazing was The Witch Doctor.
Overall, a great night.
It’s true — I love birthdays! And though birthdays in your 30′s can be a bit tricky — I’m still a huge fan. The thing about birthdays is that it’s a really good time to assess your personal standing in life — figure out exactly where you are — where you thought you would be — and of course, where you want to go. I’m just like everyone else when it comes to this — I often take my birthday to reflect on the past year, figure out what has made me happy, assess my relationships and career, and all sorts of stuff. Through it all I can truly say that — I’ve been truly blessed with the best family a person can ask for — my mom, dad, big sister, and big brother have loved and supported me in everything I’ve ever done. They are amazing! I’ve got some amazing friends — from high school (JRT), VCU, my job, to my newest friends from The Cheats Movement — It’s been a really special year. Looking forward — there are things that I do want to change and need to change — no one can stand still – you have to keep growing and moving. But – I’m really looking forward to the future! I’m looking forward to new challenges and goals – meeting new people and highlighting RVA. I hope that all of you will join me for the ride. Thanks for making this past year so special and for the birthday wishes! Stay Focused – Cheats
The best birthday present ever would be 400 Likes on Facebook! CLICK HERE to help a brother out!
If you haven’t picked up the latest RVA Mag — make sure you do that (if you can find any) and check out my article with Black Liquid titled The State of the (Richmond Hip-Hop) Union. The is not your average interview with a local hip hop artist. Black Liq goes in on the current state of RVA hip-hop and what needs to be done for RVA to reach it’s full potential as a hip-hop community. I feel that we pushed the envelope with this interview and this is only the begining. Along with conducting the interview the good folks at RVA Mag asked me to organize and shoot the photography for the story. S/O to The Shop for letting me shoot at the spot. The Shop is one of the fasting growing creative hubs in RVA — always something creative going on and S/O to the Capitol Police for allowing me to get a few shots at the capitol w/o a permit. Check out the entire shoot by clicking HERE.
This year has been amazing for the Cheats Movement Blog. I would have never imagined when I started in January that nearly a year later I would be having so much fun covering the creative community in RVA. This blog started as strictly a photoblog — and because of the support and the inspiration of Richmond — it has become so much more. From RVA Profiles to RVA Hot Sauce — The Cheats Movement is committed to presenting content that supports the RVA community – and I will keep that commitment in 2012. There is no doubt that the site will continue to grow — but I can’t do it without your support. Make sure you do your part to spread the word about this blog on facebook and twitter– and I will continue to make sure it’s the best blog that I can do — WE R-VA!
Now with that– check out my quick holiday present — The Cheats Movement – Year One.
It’s been a great year for Graffiti in RVA. I’ve had a great time going out and taking photos of the RVA graffiti scene. Another S/O to the best graffiti site in the city Graffiti Richmond. More photos coming in 2012 — CLICK HERE to see the final installment of Graffiti Adventures. And check the graffiti tab on the home page to see all my graffiti photos.