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?
First and foremost S/O to my brother Mike Kemetic. If your not reading These RVA Streets…you’re are missing out. With that I ran into Ed Trask at the Richmond Folk Fest a few weeks back and he told me about some of the new murals he was planning to work on….fast forward a few weeks and his new baby is done. Check out the dopeness that is now on 18th and Broad St. Ed did this mural with Brazilian muralist Nadya Niehues Becker, RVA’s Marshall Higgins, and some others. WE SEE IT!
When I heard that famed street artist JR created a new mural in DC dedicated to the civil rights movement, I knew I had to go and take it all in. But I couldn’t just take photos of the mural, I had to so something special for The Cheats Movement. I called up my brothers Nick Mastro (MastroTime Photography) and Barz Blackmon AKA Bar Codez (Photosynthesizers) and we took a trip to create something special. More about our video project coming next week. But I must say JR’s mural is well worth the trip up I-95. If you are in or near DC go check it out at the corner of 14th and T. Keep it locked on the blog for our new project. I have a good feeling about what we are creating. In the meantime, check out the behind the scenes photos from our adventure.
WE SEE IT! The most diverse blog in RVA – High Standards and No Limits!
The most diverse blog in RVA. The Cheats Movement has high standards and no limits. RVA -WE SEE IT!
First and foremost, shouts to my dude Black Reed and Hip Hop VA for the call to come through to Beat Battle IX. There is no doubt that producers are stars now in the hip hop community. Who really gets the credit for this turn of events? Yes, I know Dr. Dre and others like Manny Fresh and even VA’s Timberland were “money” producers before producing was cool but who really gets the credit for making beat makers stars? I’m going to lean heavily to Jay-Z and the Roc-a-Fella Records empire…you’re talking Ye, Just Blaze, No ID, Young Guru, stars were made without ever spitting a rhyme (feel free to debate in the comment section). That star power has transferred to every level of hip hop and it’s growing in places like Richmond. Last Thursday, I took the Cheats Movement camera to The Camel for Hip Hop VA X Charged Up Ent. X The Rebirth’s Beat Battle IX. The event was hosted by my brother Octavion Xcellence and in memory of the late Kelph Dollaz.
This was my first time covering a beat battle and I did not know exactly what to expect but I was surprised by the large crowd and the enthusiasm of the event. RVA’s hip hop scene is a “growing community.” I use growing because small is borderline inappropriate. From time to time feathers get ruffled and it appears the support within the community breaks down but last Thursday represented the best of the RVA hip hop community. A community that I have truly grown to love because of the support and motivation. Passion is what fuels guys like Noah-O, BC Music 1st, The Honorable Sleaze and Ivory Snow and it’s that same passion that fuels this blog to present RVA differently – positive and diverse.
As far as the battle goes, there was talent all over the place. S/O to Dr. Millionaire (Hovey Benjamin & Isaiah) put in work and so did Ivory Snow but at the end of the day all roads pointed to Denero and Matt Campfield versus NC’s Millie Vaughn.
Millie Vaughn pumping up the crowd.
After a tie in the final round it was Denero and Campfield that took the Beat Battle IX title. Congrats to them – I hope to catch another battle soon. Keep it locked in to The Cheats Movement Blog. A blog truly as diverse as RVA and follow it on Facebook and twitter. This blog will not survive without your follows and support.
Champs Denero and Campfield with the winning play!
Conrizzle, BC Music 1st, Octavion X
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.
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.
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.
The message was simple and clear, no one deserves being sexually assaulted against their will, no matter how they are dressed or if they are intoxicated.
Organized by a survivor of sexual assault Helen Rogers and sponsored by Taboo the crowd was diverse and wide ranging in gender and age. It was a strong inaugural event ending in Byrd Park. I can only hope that this tradition continues in Richmond until the day when these horrible crimes are not an issue in society.
My favorite sign of the day!
This is our Richmond.
With the summer leaves now turning a striking orange, children back to school, and the nation once again planning to determine our future through democracy; fall is clearly upon us. While we can never stop the hour glass of time from turning, we can always take a moment to enjoy the present through gatherings, fellowship, and of course food.
Richmond Virginia is a magical place filled with historic architecture, beautiful landscapes, gorgeous parks, and great food. Being outside in Richmond during the fall is breath taking. The evening twilight seems to radiate peace and harmony.
Though that was not always the case in the capitol of the Confederacy. As a child, I remember, with great detail, fables of a different Richmond, a colder Richmond. A Richmond that would not have been so accepting of me and my friends setting up our dinner party in the middle of Byrd Park to commune together and celebrate friendship. Well I don’t exactly know when it happened but that old Richmond is dead.
With the Byrd Park’s War Memorial as our backdrop, the air filled with the aroma of salmon, sausage, pasta salad, deviled eggs, and more. Our old favorites Merlot and Chardonnay met a new friend named Naughty Shirley. We laughed, joked, learned and loved for hours. It was the perfect Richmond evening.
The night ended with dessert, photos, sparklers, and hugs. There were talk about the how quickly the summer had passed and how we need to see each other soon. With Richmond serving as the perfect backdrop, I know that we will.
Dinner Friends: Aria, Maat, Lock, Julian, Victoria, Patience, Jorge, Clay, Nevena, & Nick Mastro
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.
I had the most amazing time in NYC on Saturday. I went up to interview one of my heroes, NYC legend Bobbito Garcia (more on that later this week). Troubling weather in Queens, and later in mid-town and Brooklyn, hurt some of the activities that I had planned for the evening but overall the bad weather led to an even better trip. I was able to visit some really great places and take some amazing photos. I often joke about how much I love Brooklyn, but my recent trips to NYC have led me to believe that I’m more of a Lower East Side guy. I love the LES from Reed Space to now End of Century. Yes the End of Century gallery that is currently featured on Bravo’s Gallery Girls. I stopped by and actually met one of the owners Lara. She was mad cool and treated us really nice for visiting. My favorite photos of the trip are the ones I took of cut throat handball action. It was so intense. I also took some great streetball photos but again that will be for later this week.
NYC is truly a photographer’s dream. I love the energy and hope to visit and shoot more in NYC and beyond. Hopefully, with the growth of this blog, I will have more reasons to take special trips out of town in the future. For now, let me know what you think of these new photos.
Handball action in the LES.
Kids will be kids in Washington Square Park.
End of Century is the one of the galleries featured on Bravo’s Gallery Girls (It’s the cool one).
The very nice gallery owner Lara. She was so cool to us Southerners.
A Long Subway Goodbye
We miss you.
Reed Space Reflection
Doin’ It In The Park
NYC Subway Mixtape!
I’ve said this before, PJ Sykes is one of my favorite photographers and one of the best in RVA. Check out his new show currently showing at Steady Sounds. His show runs for the entire month of September. It features a collection of black and white photos of bands that PJ shot while on location up and down the east coast. In honor of this post…I edited this photo of PJ so I could say that I PJ Sykes’d a photo of PJ (lol). WE SEE IT! Check out the show! Hit me on Facebook!
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.
Don’t look know but I’m finally learning Adobe Photoshop. That’s right up until now I have been doing all of my “editing” in Adobe Lightroom. And trust me – Lightroom is amazing and I will continue to finish all my photos in Lightroom. It’s an awesome program BUT I cant deny the major things Photoshop can do. After 3 quick online lessons, I have already learn how to edit specific layers and remove items. Check out this photos and see how I completely removed the care in the middle of the street and edited the sky! Once I get Photoshop down – it’s going to be a problem!
I first met photographer Marc Schmidt a few months back while covering the G40 Art Summit. I was determined to crush the G40 for The Cheats Movement. I wanted to have the best photos – best features – best everything – but I noticed everywhere I was going I always saw the same guy either before me or after me killing photos. After a while, I walked up to him and introduced myself. Being that we share the same first name it was pretty obvious from the beginning that Marc and I were going to be cool.
Marc started shooting photography around 7 years ago – around the same time that his son was born – and his skills have grown “almost” as fast as his boy. Marc has a diverse portfolio. He shoots art, bands, portraits, board sports, just about anything he can. He is working a lot with two speedlights right now and doing some really different stuff in RVA.
Despite my goal of crushing everything – Marc Schmidt is the guy who crushed G40. His dope images were everywhere and all of them were amazing. He was the first person I called to shoot the Cheats Movement Family Photo. Marc is available and willing to work in RVA for a really reasonable rate. Check out his great stuff at: http://scratch1019.wix.com/1eyephotography#!home/mainPage Contact Marc at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marc at the Cheats Movement Family Photo. Thanks Marc!
Just seeing the photos from other races, I knew that I would be kicking myself for missing the RVA’s Color Me Rad 5K last Saturday. I knew it would be a photographer’s dream – and it was. Fortunately for the Cheats Movement Blog, several of my friends are much better photographers than me. My improv comedy buddy John Hilowitz (check him out doing improv most weekends for Comedy Sportz) is a great photographer and sent me some of his Color Me Rad catalouge. Thanks John! Enjoy this rainbow of color photos by John Hilowitz.
For those who don’t know, Color Me Rad is a 5K race in which you start wearing white and throughout the race there are different ways to cover yourself with colorful “non-toxic” corn-starch. Each section of the race brings a new wave of color. And each race has a “Charity Partner.” Richmond’s charity partner was the Special Olympics of Virginia.
I know that hip hop coverage has taken up a lot of my blog post the last week or so but for those of you new to The Cheats Movement Blog – I try to keep it as diverse as my daily life. I have been really working my photography on the low in the last few weeks – shooting some photo shoots for West Coast Kix and stepping up my street photography around town. Check out a preview of my last two West Coast Kix shoots and visit the West Coast Kix Blog to see the all the photos.
“Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of my Blood, Ruff Ryders, and of course, This is not a F-in Game,” all chants synonymous with the legendary rapper DMX. The Grand Champ took the National stage last night to a very enthusiastic crowd. X did not waste any time going right into the string of hits that made him one of the biggest emcees of the late 90′s and early 2000′s. He performed nearly all of his popular songs from his 7 albums, normally performing one or two verses from each song while the DJ kept the pace moving. X, the ultimate showman, showed tons of energy – despite saying that he had just gotten off of 3 planes. He interacted with the crowd, often joking with members in the audience, pulling women on stage (yes he did), and he even poured a bottle of Hennessy on the front row. To the dismay of National security, at one point X climbed on the large speaker system on the side of the stage to launch into the Ruff Ryder Anthem.
He controlled the stage at every moment with ease. He ripped through songs like: “Get At Me Dog,” “Who We Be,” and “Party Up.” He slowed it down with, “Slippin.” As always, X ended the show with a prayer and left the crowd chanting for more. Also, S/O to the homie Black Liq and The New Juice Crew for always representing RVA on stage. The man works hard.
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.
Art work by Chris Milk Huburt – Photo by Cheats
It’s been crazy busy of late and haven’t posted any of my Sunday thoughts in all of 2012 but I’ve been feeling a certain way lately and want to share my thoughts with my friends who care to read. It really started about two weeks ago… with my normal Friday night question: Should I go shoot a concert or stay home and rest. That night, something told me to go out and take photos of the Carolina Chocolate Drops on Brown’s Island – I did and had a great time. Last night was kind of the same situation: Should I stay out at River Rocks and shoot Galactic or head home and rest up…well I ultimately hung around and again had an amazing time (photos coming). After I got home last night, I was dead tired – laying in bed and it hit me like a ton of bricks – the feeling that all of this could be over at any minute. Don’t get me wrong, I hope that we all live happy lives forever but I understand that’s never the case. Situations change – people change – and ultimately – we will all be judged by a different standard – no matter if that standard is by your peers – history – a higher power – whatever.
Of course, I don’t live everyday thinking it will be my last – maybe I should – but I don’t. I have been reflecting a lot on the best experiences that I’ve had and how they have come about. And what I’ve figured out is this: WHILE YOU CAN…DO! There is a lot of value in resting. Spending a night at home is sometimes needed and well deserved BUT my great times have always been out enjoying life – with other people (family, friends, and even strangers). Never let your circumstances stop you from really having a great time – you’ve had a bad week – you can’t find someone to go with you – you’re tired…I understand where this comes from – I personally feel those exact feelings way too much but this blog has provided me with the ultimate excuses to put all of that on the back burner and just go. And I’ve had some of my best times when I’m tired, frustrated, alone, and even upset at the world. Bottom line…Don’t wait until it’s too late to really start enjoying yourself. If you’re around my age and like me – have a lot of different things pulling at you – a lot of serious responsibilities – and you may think that you can’t do all the things that you want to do…I hope that you realize that you can – you just need the proper motivation.
Last thing for today, I am someone that is desperately afraid of (and/or hate) rejection in general. I’m talking anything: jobs, risk taking, dates, you name, I’m kinda scared of it and hate if things don’t work out. I won’t go as far a saying being turn down is a good thing – I know some people that would say that. What I will say is: You never know until you try…and most of the time that means putting yourself in an uncomfortable position – for that new job, that new challenge, whatever…All I can say is: just try it. If it doesn’t work – blame me and this blog post. Everyone deserve to live life to the fullest while they can because one day it will be too late.
To my big Sis Mel…I love you. S/O to all the Cheats Movement blog readers – Over 6K hits last month. STAY FOCUSED – WE SEE IT! ENJOY YOUR SUNDAY — GO OUT AND ENJOY RVA!!!