I love the holiday season for a number of reasons but one of the main reasons is because I get to witness RVA’s giving spirit. I’ve have been a volunteer at the Giving Heart Thanksgiving dinner from just over half of their 8 years and it’s such a rewarding experience. This year was even more special for me because I was joined by my wonderful wife. Together we took pictures of smiles, laughs, hugs, and pure joy.
The Giving Hearts Thanksgiving dinner is just one of many organizations doing great work during the holiday season. RVA Feed the City fed a record number of people this year in Monroe Park on what had to be one of the coldest days of the year. GiveThanksRVA, led by Prabir Mehta and Travis Tucker, is organizing RVA’s arts and music community to support local non-profits such as HomeAgain. It’s a great time of year to see RVA’s giving spirit and community focus.
This year’s Giving Heart Dinner had some very special guest, Mayor Dwight Jones address the over 800 volunteers in the morning and the VCU Men’s basketball team visited the Convention Center in the afternoon. But I have to say the real stars of the event were the volunteers, the Giving Heart leadership led by the amazing Vicki Neilson and the people that came out to communed together.
Here it is The Cheats Movement 2014 logo! Operating at the intersection of Community X Art X Culture. What do you think of the new logo?
Cheats Movement photos of the final Face Melt Friday of the year are now posted on The Cheats Movement Facebook Page. Visit the Cheats Movement Facebook page – Like the page and share the photos with your friends! Also, Sunday December 8th at Gallery 5 is RVA HOT SAUCE. It will feature a live hip hop cypher – if you want to get down buy a ticket – show up – and sign up on December 8th. WE SEE IT!
It was such an honor to be a part of TEDXGraceStreet. My TED talk was about Defining RVA’s Community and the Community Week project we did right here on The Cheats Movement Blog in March. Take a look at the talk and please give me your feedback. I think right now is an important time in RVA. I encourage the community to use platforms like TEDX, social media, and of course, good old community involvement to make an impact on the future. THIS IS OUR RICHMOND – WE SEE IT!
CLICK HERE to see all the amazing speeches from TEDXGraceStreet.
This week Design Rebels, a socially conscious design class at VCU, is promoting tolerance in the Richmond community by distributing their coffee sleeves at two local coffee shops in RVA: Crossroads by VCU (26 N. Morris Street) and Crossroads on Forest Hill (3600 Forest Hill Ave – AKA Club Crossroads).
The series of sleeves (4 designs total) include a photo and quote from various members of the LGBT community. The goal is to encourage acceptance of and compassion towards the LGBT community. I hope you will visit these locations this week and pick up a sleeve. There is no place for prejudice, discrimination, and intolerance based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. I’m proud to support a more inclusive RVA. For more information visit the Design Rebel website at: http://vcudesignrebels.wordpress.com/.
The people that live, work, and play in Richmond make this a great city. We have illustrators, brew misters, actors, musicians, chefs, a giant flying squirrel, you name it. Pretty impressive when you look back just a short distance into the past. So, lets take a look back, way back. In the study of life many scientists emphasize the importance of the cambrian explosion, the time when life seemed to suddenly burst into many varieties in rapid succession about 530 million years ago. Look at how far we’ve come since then, everything from molds to ducks to penguins to you and me. Well, similarly speaking, there’s a good chance that we’re experiencing a cultural version of the cambrian explosion here in the river city. In the past decade we’ve seen a tremendous amounts of changes in the way we think about ourselves. The booming art scene, vibrant museums, breweries, various athletic activities, a thriving nightlife, sports teams, and much more have all become a regular occurrence here, seemingly in a pretty short time. However, taking a tip from the story and flow of life, perhaps the citizens here could also acknowledge the vast unknown future that this ‘explosion’ has yet to produce. That notion reminds me that we currently have a golden opportunity to shape the future like never before.
Technology and an immensely diverse and growing community make it nearly impossible for anyone to run out of options for new things to try, new ideas to hatch, new friends to make, and new goals to set. While we explore these new happenings we must keep in mind that there are still daily needs for a healthy city that often go ignored because, well, they’re the real life tough issues that can’t be cutely marketed, hash-tagged, and solved in a jiffy. While we are exploring these new connections and cultural growths we must take time to acknowledge the incredibly hard working people that battle some of the city’s most difficult problems every single day. The humanitarian services are one of the most vital parts of keeping a community strong, vibrant, and healthy. They are a part like all the rest. We need musicians, comedians, chefs, and other such careers as well, the city’s diversity is contingent on us all having our part. While we can carry on with our paths, we also have the ability to occasionally slow down and take a moment to give thanks to those that do the many things that we do not.
With that said, I am proud to announce a fun new campaign that me and the rest of the folks at My Glasses Rule, Overcoast, and Hardywood Brewery have dreamed-up together to celebrate the diversity of this town while giving thanks to one of the city’s unsung heroes, HomeAgain. This non-profit emergency shelter and homeless service provider works around the clock to provide service to the many homeless citizens of Richmond. An energized and devoted staff runs this organization every single day of the year. This year, we want to take a moment to stop and thank them for the amazing work they do by launching our community development campaign, #GiveThanksRVA. This is the first year we are doing this and we could not be more excited to have the opportunity to help the lovely folks at HomeAgain. This is how it works and here’s where you can help. From Friday Nov 22 – Sunday Nov 24, Hardywood Brewery has been generous enough to donate proceeds from beer sales to go directly to HomeAgain. The beer’s worth the trip alone, but there’s a whole weekend’s worth of happenings that will show off this town’s cultural diversity and allow you to drink a beer for a great cause. The weekend is going to be awesome. Friday Nov 22 Exebelle and the Rusted Cavalcade will grace the stage, Saturday Nov 23 we’ll have Hypercolor and The Trillions making a beautiful commotion, and on Sunday Nov 24 the Richmond Comedy Coalition will attempt to make beer come out your nose. This is going to be a great weekend and it’ll help a fantastic organization. We’re asking you help by letting people know that our city is in good hands when we have good people looking out for one another. HomeAgain does amazing work everyday and we’re asking you to join us as we #givethanksrva!
HomeAgain - http://www.homeagainrichmond.org/
My Glasses Rule - http://www.myglassesrule.com
Overcoast - http://www.overcoast.com
Hardywood Brewery - http://www.hardywood.com
From Nov 22 – Nov 24 at Hardywood Brewery. Proceeds from beer sales go to benefit HomeAgain.
The Cheats Movement Blog is all about discovering what’s happening in RVA. I don’t have followers – I have friends – I have family. We are family because of what we do together. I want to follow you and hear from you. Send me your instagram handle and I will follow you – send me your twitter handle and I will follow you – email me: Cheatsmwc@gmail.com…and I’ll more than likely email you back. And if you see me on the street – you better say what up! #WESEEIT
I took the Cheats Movement camera to document the early scene at yesterday’s March Against Mass Incarceration in the Jackson Ward neighborhood of Richmond. I didn’t know many details about the March besides it was organized by a Richmond activist group called Collective X. I must admit, I was very intrigued by the number of people that said they were planning to attend the rally on Facebook – it was nearly 300 before the event and I wanted to see if that number would hold.
While I certainly have my own opinions about the best way to improve the criminal justice system, most of them focus on funding successful rehabilitation programs, the parts of yesterday’s rally that I photographed were peaceful and educational. The Richmond Police were on scene and very respectful. The images tell the story themselves. The count number I saw was around 100 people – NBC news reported 150 at the max.
THE TECHNOLOGY PIPELINE VS. THE PRISON PIPELINE: COMEDIAN, ENTREPRENEUR, & BEST SELLING AUTHOR BARATUNDE THURSTON’S INTERVIEW WITH THE CHEATS MOVEMENT
If a person walked up to you on the street and asked you what you did for a living, you would say?
“Hi there. My name is Baratunde. Let’s not start there since we don’t know each other at all. What’s your name?” I hate the idea of starting conversation with the “what do you do!?” question. What if I’m unemployed at the moment? Does that mean I’m not worth talking to? Anyway, assuming we got past all that and ended up talking about how I pay for my food and housing, I’d say “I run a media and technology company that uses humor to connect with people and spread good ideas. I’m also an author, speaker, and comedian.”
Your Chief of Staff (Julia) told me that even she has trouble keeping up with all of your activities – for those who don’t know, give me a rundown of what projects you’re involved in now and what is taking up most of your time?
My main focus is Cultivated Wit. It’s the company I helped start after I left The Onion in the summer of 2012. We believe in the power of humor to communicate and engage people, and we are building a business doing that in a number of ways: as a creative agency making media and marketing campaigns built on humor; running a series of comedy hackathons focused on building funny apps and products; building tools for creative people. Outside of Cultivated Wit, I’m an explorer of the future through my column with Fast Company, my director’s fellowship at the MIT Media Lab, and my affiliation with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. I speak frequently at conferences, companies and colleges about there future of media, journalism, politics, race, and identity. And I’m still supporting my book, How To Be Black, through public appearances and secret plotting on what comes next. So basically, I don’t do that much.
You wrote and self-published 3 books before you worked with a major publisher (HarperCollins) on, How To Be Black, what was the biggest difference for you working on your last book?
People read the last book, and I actually got paid! Big, massive difference to have the support of a major publisher.
I’m always concerned that there are not enough African Americans working in the tech/start-up community, is my concern valid? Are there things that can be done to increase the number of African Americans working in the industry?
Your concern is very valid. Technology is redefining how we do everything as individuals and as a society. The effects will be universal. If we’re not including a broad range of voices and ideas in the creation of this new world, that new world won’t be as great as it could be for anyone, not just the folks left out of the making of it. There are plenty of things that can and are being done to increase the number of black folk working in tech. On the front end we need to create more of a culture of creativity and engagement with technology at an early age. Organizations like Black Girls Code and Girls Who Code are headed in the right direction. We need to radically increase the exposure of tech opportunities in our community so people know it’s even an option and see it as cool, see it as a way to make a living and make a difference. Those already in the industry, from business to academia, need to radically expand recruiting beyond the people already in the know. If we’re going to stay innovative and competitive, we need more folks at the table defining how technology is used. Finally, for now, we need to remove the barriers destroying the potential of so many in our community. Specifically, I’m referring to the prison pipeline which seems to be working so much more effectively and aggressively than the technology pipeline for our people. As a nation, we are making some terrible investments.
I’ve recently seen two interviews that reference limitations or as they put it “glass ceilings” from two individuals that I believe there is no limit (Kanye West and Donald Glover). They said because people look at them one way – be it a rapper or comedian – it limits them from breaking through in other industries. You are a writer, speaker, comedian, entrepreneur, etc., everyone experiences set-backs or failures but do you think there are any limitations placed on you because you are viewed one way?
There is always a gap between how people perceive us and how we see ourselves. This is true for individuals and organizations. It can take a while for folks to accept the fullness of a person. Bo Jackson was supposed to just be a football player. Justin Timberlake was just a boy band phenom. Apple was just a computer manufacturer. Over time we evolve and expand, and people eventually (not always but often) catch up to where we are. I’m sure there are limitations placed on me based on some people’s limited perceptions, but those limits a far smaller than the expanse of opportunity I’ve experienced. On net, my view of myself is winning out. From where I sit, that’s the case with Kanye and Donald Glover as well. It’s clear both of those brothers have a lot more to offer the world than the thing that initially resonated with the public. Kanye went from producer others to performing to now fashion and whatever other weird thing he’s into. Donald is a comedian, writer, rapper and probably a lot more. I respect them both for that range and hope I can get even one tenth of the distance they’ve traveled in terms of their own evolution.
In your cover story for Fast Company, you “unplugged” from all things digital. What did you learn from that experience and would you do again?
I would definitely do it again. I learned that all this digital connectivity comes with a lot of noise, anxiety and addictive/compulsive behavior that doesn’t necessarily add to my life. I was missing some part of life by spending too much time documenting and sharing my life. I also learned that the interests of those building connected tools doesn’t completely align with our interests as individuals. All these social digital services, so far, create an ever-growing burden and sense of communications debt that weighs on us over time, and very few of these platforms take that into account. They suck us in, but they don’t make it easy to let us leave or even pause in ways that make sense for us.
What does Cultivated Wit have in store for 2014?
We’re planning an expansion of our Comedy Hack Day series to a few more cities. We’ll be working with a wider range of clients, and we hope to add more people to the team so the three of us can stop staring awkwardly at each other on Google Hangouts. I can’t promise this, but it’s also likely we’ll be enriching uranium sometime after the second quarter. Don’t say we never warned you.
What motivates you and excites you about the future?
We have a chance to build the world better than we’ve done it so far. We can be more inclusive. We can take advantage of good ideas from anywhere. We can collaborate like never before. We can learn better. I get especially excited about new ways to tell stories. Consider how young television is and how dominant it is. Now consider the fact that the most popular forms of media and communications in 50 years probably haven’t been invented yet. It’s just an exciting time to be alive.
Where should people go to keep up with your constant motion?
Coming live from the Southside, Radio B’s new album “Whole Foods” hit the streets yesterday. What started as “bridge the gap” album between “Live Good and Be Great” and the next installment of that series, “Whole Foods” was suppose to be a lower profile album – but in the true form of his click Association of Great Minds (AGM), Radio couldn’t just do “any” album, so Whole Foods organically turned into something much more.
I sat down with Radio at The Shop – in the Manchester section of RVA – earlier this summer – following AGM’s classic performance at Epic Fest – and he told me about the motivation he has to make good music and elevate the city’s hip hop scene.
One of the first things people need to understand is that Radio Blitz is a true fan of hip hop. His knowledge of classic records, beats, rhymes, and culture is something that most people won’t fully comprehend unless you draw it out of him – one on one. Our conversation ran the gambit: from Tribe to Jay to Nas to AZ – but what really struck me about Radio’s approach to Whole Foods was his goal of reaching a particular “classic” feeling, “I want to provide a pure, authentic and organic hip hop experience. Something nostalgic – that reminded you why you fell in love with hip hop and to remind me why I started rapping.”
The most appropriate review I can give of “Whole Foods” is that it’s quality hip hop from top to bottom. Radio really shows his range and diversity as an MC. The track, Live From the Southside – produced by Trac-Qaeda – gives you a real introduction to the record and Radio’s heady rhyme style. I think of Radio – both rhyme style and presence – as the AZ of Richmond. He’s not the most acclaimed feature on a record but it’s often his verse that you find yourself repeating over and over again.
Live From The Southside – Radio B
He gets his swag on talking – what MC’s talk on the Nickelus F produced track “Dixie Normus” and then gets his Nas/Slick Rick story telling on with his brother Nick F on the track, The Cart B4 The Horse.
Whole Foods is the first album that Radio has work with wide range of producers. Don’t worry – AGM super-producer NameBrand still has the title track – but production really comes from Cashby, Trac-Qaeda, and Nickelus F. Radio takes you into a “Public Service Announcement” moment – without the reintroduction – on the Ohbliv produced “Journal Entry.” Radio is clear on, “If you can’t see my motivation/I don’t need to bring you around…”.
When speaking about his peers in RVA hip hop and, particularly those in AGM, Radio was candid, “It’s healthy competition within our group – I see what my brothers are doing and it motivates me to work harder – go further. My brothers in AGM is who I look at and listen to – to really spark that fire within me.” He went on to say, “sometimes we (AGM) can come across as misunderstood a bit – like we are too into our own movements – and that’s not really the case. We really motivate each other and that competition pushes us to the next level. We’re never pulling others down – we’re about elevating our music.” That sentiment comes across in Whole Foods because the real highlight of the album is the Whole Foods cyphers – 3 editions – spread throughout the album that features 17 local spittas. I’ve never seen anything like it on record in RVA hip hop. The cyphers alone is reason enough to support the album but the album itself is the real gem. Radio B delivers a classic for RVA. #WE SEE IT
I’ve never rated an album before – so this is a Cheats Movement first: 4.6 mics out of 5. The best Radio B album to date – and in my 2013 RVA Hip Hop classic albums of the year.
Radio B will be performing at The RETURN OF RVA HOT SAUCE on December 8th at Gallery 5. Tickets are available right now at: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-return-of-rva-hot-sauce-tickets-9233715291?aff=eac2
JJ Burton Photo by Cheats – Follow The Cheats Movement of Facebook for the full photo album
I made my first ever trip to The Listening Room last night. I’d heard about the monthly music session – held at the Firehouse Theater – earlier this year, I think from my buddy Shannon Cleary. The group of volunteers that run the monthly event always books some of the best talent in RVA and last night stayed in-line with that tradition. It was exciting to see JJ Burton play live. The trio of Scott Burton, Reggie Pace, and Devonne Harris (DJ Harrison) have been making waves with other projects in RVA (and beyond), last night was the first time they’ve played live as JJ Burton – or whatever name you want to suggest – they are open. The current name is spawned from Burton’s work with NOLA artist Jneiro Jarel of JJ DOOM. Burton and Pace (NO BS! and Bon Iver) also play together in the amazing band Glows in the Dark. Harris has been generating a buzz all this year with a combination of different projects that span several musical genres. I’m looking forwarding to seeing exactly what this trio can pull together in the future.
Following JJ Burton and closing out the evening were Listening Room alums Bonnie Staley and Josh Small (above). I actually use to play hoops with Josh during our VCU days – I’ve been a fan of his music but last night was the first time that I was able to see him play live. He is truly an amazing talent. I love the chemistry between him and Staley, you can tell instantly that they enjoy playing together.
The Listening Room is a wonderful series. I highly recommend it to all music lovers. I will warn you that they take the music seriously – there is not talking during the performance and even if you’re not talking – some people consider photos a distraction – so be warned – I have learned from my rookie mistake. To see all the photos – visit the Cheats Movement Facebook Page and while you’re there click like to follow along. WE SEE IT!
Yesterday I visited with Movement Family at the First Annual Harvest Festival presented by Renew Richmond. The Green Harvest Festival celebrated healthy food, urban agriculture and community health. Despite the unpredictable weather and some outdoor sound issues we gathered at Jerusalem Connection Community Garden on Richmond’s south side to bond and enjoy some good food and music. Any day that I can hear one of my favorite songs “The Call” performed live by my brother JD Haze – it’s a good day. I was able to capture some special family moments on camera. To see all the photos from the event – visit and LIKE the Cheats Movement Facebook page.
There something really special happening in RVA right now surrounding urban gardening and producing healthy food in areas designated as food deserts. One of the people leading these efforts is my brother Duron Chavis (pictured above). Make sure you follow him on Facebook and twitter to learn more about his urban garden efforts in the RVA Community.
JD Haze (above) Any day I can hear The Call performed live it’s a good day
For all the photos visit and Like the Cheats Movement Facebook page. WE SEE IT!
I often struggle with post I write on The Cheats Movement that deal with “hot” topics surfacing around the city. That is not the case with this post. It is not the case with this topic. The Cheats Movement Blog – The Cheats Movement Family has always been about bringing people together and celebrating the best aspects of Richmond’s culture.
As you are aware, a group is raising a 15 by 15 Confederate battle flag today on a unspecified tract of private land – along interstate 95 in Chesterfield County. While I understand that I can’t stop the group from raising the flag, they can’t stop me from helping support a better decision for Richmond. A better movement.
Untied RVA is offering a positive alternative to highlight who we are as a city and who we can be moving forward. I hope you will join us in supporting this effort. United RVA is raising funds on social media to blanket the city with the American flag and positive symbols of unity and inclusiveness.
The way I see it, RVA is not perfect, it’s not. But the goal is to improve everyday and move forward together as a city, community, and family.
It’s very easy for this whole issue to get muddle. The Confederate flag is a lighting rod for controversy. That is why the group decided to use the flag and this approach to drive attention to themselves.
I’m not in the business of opposing division with more of the same. There is a better way to voice disappointment. The best way to overwhelm hate is with an overwhelming abundance of love, right? The best way to overwhelm division is with an abundance of unity, right? So let’s do that RVA.
There is a better flag to support, The American flag. The American flag is the only flag that represents the freedoms we all live under today. This country is not perfect, RVA is not perfect…but we need to strive be better. Where do you stand? What do you stand for? The Cheats Movement stands for unity, diversity, tolerance, and an inclusive community. WE SEE IT!
I was not able to spend a lot of time at this year’s Street Art Festival but here are a few photos from my visit Sunday. Let me know which mural you think is the best.
For more photos check out and follow: The Cheats Movement on FB. #WESEEIT
I know that it has been a minute but I have so many photos from Fall Line Fest, I can’t drop them all on the blog. I will have them up on the Cheats Movement Facebook Page. Like the Cheats Movement FB Page and check out all the photos. Fall Line Fest was a huge success for RVA. I can’t wait until next year. Thanks to all that performed and supported. #WE SEE IT. This is exactly what RVA needs. Lovin my city right now!
The entire Cheats Movement X Fall Line Fest photo album will be on the Cheats Movement Facebook Page!
I hope you have heard by now about TEDxGraceStreet happening this Friday, September 20th from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM at the Richmond Times-Dispatch building at 300 E. Franklin Street. Tickets are available and only $25.
Earlier this year, I was introduced to TEDx events by TEDXRVA. The event made a huge splash in RVA , taking over the Power Plant Building and producing a TEDx on par with some of the best in the nation. I was there, got to know some of the organizers, and was glad to be a part of the online community at the event. And while I look forward to the next TEDxRVA let me tell you a little bit why I’m excited about TEDxGraceStreet.
1: I’m speaking! I’ll just get that out the way first. I am one of the 12 speakers so far announced for the event. While I’m still working on my talk right now, it will be about the project we did early his year on the Cheats Movement, where nearly 50 Richmonders posted about what community means to them. I’m excited to highlight some of the answers and focus on what we can learn from these answers to move RVA forward. I’ve wonder since March how to keep the project alive and I think TEDxGraceStreet will be an amazing boost for this project.
2: TEDxGraceStreet is “clearly” Richmond Focused: TEDxGraceStreet is described as a special TEDxCity2.o event that will showcase local experts and innovators in arts, education, urban planning, civic engagement, social justice and economic development. The key word here is local. Friday’s event is not a national event featuring a mixture of local speakers, it’s entirely focused on the Greater Richmond area. I think that is very important that we support events that are focused on improving Richmond from within.
3. The speakers are outstanding! I’m a huge fan of the speakers announced so far. If you haven’t heard about Angela Patton and her work with Camp Diva, you should come Friday. If you are not familiar with Ross Catrow and how he is moving the needle at RVANews.com, you should come Friday. if you are not familiar with Damon Jiggetts, Prabir Mehta, and Christy Coleman, you should come this Friday. The speakers are amazing and again based right here in RVA. National speakers will come – make a splash – and then go. You’ll be lucky if some of them follow you back or twitter but these speakers not only will you be able to see after this event, you should be able to actually meet with them and work with them to improve RVA.
4. Ticket price! I was fairly vocal about ticket price before TEDxRVA so I feel it’s necessary to mention it here. The tickets for TEDxGraceStreet are $25. I’m okay with that – I’m actually really good with that. I would love for it to be free but I understand there is a cost and I think $25 is worth it. I’m also very happy to know TEDxGraceStreet is setting aside tickets for non-profits. I won’t revisit the past with regard to ticket price at other TED events but I think $25 is a very reasonable price for attendance.
5. Finally, I’m excited about TEDxGraceStreet because it is yet another opportunity for Richmond to continue this crazy/amazing momentum that we have created and held over the last 2 years or so that RVA is a place we are proud to call home. As we transition from summer and move solidly into fall, think about all that is happening in RVA, the public events, the festivals, the art, the music. The creative culture of Richmond is thriving and TEDxGraceStreet provides another opportunity for us as Richmonders to capture what’s happening and keep it going.
Family, tickets are going fast for Friday. The limit in the room is 100 people so please log-on to the TEDxGraceStreet site and buy your ticket now. See you there #WESEEIT.
The interactive Light of Human Kindness mural debuted last night as a part of the RVA Street Art Festival. Richmonders from all over came out to test out the first of its kind mural project created by Richmond’s Kindness Hero Patience Salgado.
Strangers, friends, and family joined hands last night to activate 1,000 LED lights on the Light of Human Kindness mural. The technology was produced by the Martin Agency and the mural design was completed by HAM?, along with a great number of volunteers.
After nearly a year of planning and fundraising, Patience Salgado turned her idea into a reality with the first of its kind interactive mural in RVA; powered by kindness missions and human connection.
The LOHK mural is located at: 2401 W. Cary Street. The RVA Street Art Festival started yesterday and is going all weekend. Please visit both the Light of Human Kindness website and The RVA Street Art Festival site for updates. #WESEEIT
Why I Love RVA Today: The Horn RVA’s video on this weekend’s Fall Line Fest. There will be more recap and photos to come this week on The Cheats Movement and The Cheats Movement Facebook Page. WE SEE IT.
With Fall Line Fest (FLF) fast approaching (this Friday and Saturday), I am very excited about the potential of this new festival. The highlight of the weekend will certainly be the music: 5 venues and over forty bands – headlined by Big Freedia. There has been a lot of media behind this festival and I’m really excited to do my part in spreading the word. Yet with so much information out there I want to boil down a few points – just for my Cheats Movement Family. Here are a few points I want to make about this weekend’s Fall Line Fest:
1. BUY NOW TO SAVE: If you buy a FLF ticket online (before Thursday at midnight) you save enough for 10 McDoubles. That’s right. If you buy a ticket now online it’s $20 for the entire weekend and $15 for a day pass. If you wait until the weekend the price goes up to $30 for a weekend pass and $20 for a day pass. I know there are “reasons” not to get a day pass BUT if you’re in RVA this weekend – there is not a good reason. Even if there is nothing that appeals to you on one of the two days – buy the weekend pass. It’s a better deal and it gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself and see a new band.
Ohbliv Performs at 7:30 PM on Saturday at the Hippodrome
2. THIS IS YEAR ONE SO THE LOGISTICS OF THE FESTIVAL WILL NOT BE PERFECT: I know you think that every festival is run by super-professionals that never screw anything up. Well, I got news for you. This is the first year of FLF and there will undoubtedly be “something” screwed up. I don’t know what it is but I’m telling you now – don’t let any minor thing throw you off your mission of having a good time. The organizers of FLF are bringing an amazing festival – SXSW style – to RVA. We’re going to have to roll with the punches and enjoy the ride.
Dead Fame Performs Friday at 7 PM at the Hippodrome
3. THERE IS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: Look at the FLF schedule. There is just about every musical genre covered. There are a ton of local bands and some cool national performers. If you’re a fan of music, you should be able to find something you like on both days. With that said – there are amazing local bands that are not on this year’s bill and there are some genres not covered ie. R&B/Neo Soul to name a few. To that – I again say, “this is year one.” I”m not sure how everything will work down the line but for year one, I am excited about the make-up of the festival.
Black Liquid performs on Friday at 10:15 PM at Love RVA
4. FALL LINE FEST IS NOT JUST MUSIC: In addition, to the live music shows, there are a number of restaurant deals (Pasture, Sasion, Ipanema, Rappannock, The Well), visual art exhibits – including a live mural installation by Hamilton Glass, and a food panel on Saturday at 1 PM at the Camel. In addition there are a number of “unofficial” events – associated with the FLF this weekend. The First Friday’s art walk on Friday. Live at Ipanema hosted by RVA Playlist on Sunday. And so much more throughout the weekend.
Mikemetic (Left) will be bringing his Afro Beta energy to Love RVA on Friday.
5. YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE: I think most people don’t get the most out of festival because they are locked into one venue or a few events. That is a formula for a good time but not an amazing time. In order to get an amazing time – you need to move – you need to explore – you need to turn up. What do I mean? Get your ticket early on Friday – hit the First Fridays art walk – hit Love RVA to see Mikemetic, Rattlemouth, and Black Liquid – hit the Hippodrome to see Dead Fame and White Laces – take in the live art on Saturday – hit the restaurant panel – hit a restaurant deal for dinner – and then hit not just one venue but several venues. That is the path to get an amazing return on investment.
HAM? will be painting a live mural all weekend.
There it is family – some family talk about this weekend’s Fall Line Fest. I think Fall Line Fest is going to be amazing. Hit me up on The Cheats Movement Blog and let me know your thoughts.
Right in time for Fall Line Fest – Brand New Ms. Proper – Harder to Stand (Produced by Ohbliv). Ms. Proper will be performing on Saturday September 7 at 6 PM at the legendary Hippodrome. Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the track.
Ms. Proper – Harder to Stand
On Sept 6 & Sept 7, the first ever Fall Line Fest invades in downtown Richmond. The festival features 5 venues: The Hippodrome Theater, The Camel, Strange Matter, Love RVA (Friday only), Gallery 5 (Saturday only) and over 40 bands. The Cheats Movement Blog is excited to play a small part of this inaugural festival. In the spirit of SXSW – one wrist band gets you into every venue – that’s right – one wrist band and you can get a band for $20 right now: http://falllinefest.com/2013/#tickets.
I’m excited that several members of the family – extended family – and bands that I’m just a fan of are playing. Here the first in a series of FLF previews that I’m hype about:
Ms. Proper – Saturday September 7th – Hippodrome Theater – 6 PM
Ms. Proper (shown above): has been one of the my favorite MCs since I started the Cheats Movement Blog in 2011. Always laying down for RVA (though she has recently relocated to the ATL), Ms. Proper has consistently carried the torch for female MCs and RVA as a whole. Her show always brings a level of energy and excitement that is worth the price of admission. GET THERE EARLY on Saturday September 7th. I guarantee if you miss Proper’s set you will regret it.
Ohbliv – Saturday September 7 – Hippodrome Theater – 7:30 PM
I don’t know what I can say about Ohbliv that really hasn’t been said. He is getting to legend status in the game right now. The most truthful thing I can say is that Obliv is RVA’s most popular best kept secret. Hard to explain, I know, but this brother has been on Hot 97.com, he’s doing shows all over the country, released a record in Iceland and yet RVA – I’m not sure you realize what you have right here. If you’ve seen an Ohbliv set – I don’t have to tell you but if you’ve never seen this brother live – be there at 7:30 PM at the historic Hippodrome. Ohbliv will make you move.
DOE the Paperboy – Saturday September 7 – Hippodrome Theater – 6:45 PM
I’ve been so impressed with DOE the Paperboy over the last two years. He reps Petersburg to the fullest. DOE is constantly pushing the boundary of what Central VA hip hop can do. He is a artist and mogul – representing the DOE brand everywhere he goes. His rhyme style puts him in the upper levels of the game and his visuals and production have been off the chain. DOE has really extended his live shows, recently headlining The National with his friends Against Grace. Most Def a great addition to FLF.
Photosynthesizers – Saturday September 7 – Hippodrome Theater – 8:15 PM
One of my favorite bands (period). Photosynthesizers has it all: great music – a great live set – personality – talent – they are just a complete band. One of my favorite bands to be around and I’m excited that they are working on new material to get out to the world. Versitilty is the word that comes to mind when I think of Photos. You can’t put them in a box – you want to go lyrics? Bar Codez got you. You want to go Soul or even Rock? Sam Reed can handle that – DJ’s? New addition Billy Nguyen is on it. And that’s not even mention J. Bryant, Data and Chelsea. Photos is ready to break out.
Finishing the night at the Hippodrome are the amazing NO BS! Brass Band and New Orleans’ Big Freedia. September 7th will be an amazing night at the Hippodrome – don’t wait – buy your ticket to the entire Fall Line Fest right now!
NO BS! Brass Band Plays the Hippodrome at 9:30 PM (Photo taken from NO BS! Brass FB page)
No BS! Brass and Big Freedia photos taken from their Facebook fan pages. All other photos shot by Cheats
I have to give full credit where credit is due, my good friend Matt Newman from the Coalition Theater tipped me to an amazing online comic strip that reviews the lineage of hip hop. He sent me the link to Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree and I was hooked. I have to admit – Hip Hop Family Tree is the best comic strip I have read since the run of The Boondocks. Not just the for the history lessons (and there are several), Ed Piskor is an amazing artist. He visually captures the grittiness of NYC in the late 70s and early 80s. He has worked with giants in the industry and has an impressive run of projects himself. Hip Hop Family Tree is solid on so many levels and I set out to find out some background and details about the comic. Lucky for us, Ed is not hard to track down and was willing to be interviewed for The Cheats Movement. Huge shout to Ed for taking the time. WE SEE IT!
Cheats: Hip Hop Family Tree is amazing. As a hip hop fan, I can’t stop reading it. How did it all come about?
Ed Piskor: It started by accident really. I’ve wanted to do a comic where old school Hip Hop would be an aesthetic backdrop for years. Even as far back as high school. I couldn’t figure out what the story would be. A crime story? A Love and Rockets slice of life tale? Ultimately just doing a straight-up narrative about the history of Hip Hop was the way to go.
When were you introduced to hip hop and how has hip hop culture made an impression on your life?
Ed Piskor: I grew up in Pittsburgh in the 80s and Hip Hop was everywhere I looked. My house was nestled in between 3 major parks in my neighborhood and at any given time you would see breakdancing or you’d see guys in a circle rapping while they waited their turn to play basketball. The fliest drug dealers looked like Eric B and Rakim. There were old-ass pimps who still dressed the part and talked with that rap patter.
Hip Hop Family Tree serves as a true history lesson. How do you determine the stories you want to tell and in what order?
I literally don’t know exactly how the strips will flow from week to week. I have to keep it fun for myself. I have a basic structure of things thanks to the release of the records so that’s how I keep my linearity. Other than that, each Sunday and/or Monday I sit around reading everything I can to unearth some really cool, hopefully visually interesting anecdotes. It is best when dealing with a situation that involves a group because you can find interviews with sometimes five people recalling events in different ways and I almost have to go by consensus at times.
Have you worked directly with any hip hop pioneers in making the comic?
Not really, though many people have reached out to express appreciation. Lots of rappers have tweeted and retweeted strips, etc. I’ll get wild phone calls every now and again.
What is the strangest response/reaction you have received regarding the comic?
There was one lame-o who didn’t like the comic and had a million reasons for it. He is one of those computer science professors from Carnegie Mellon University who also happens to be white. I told him that I would sacrifice every one of him as a reader if it continues to mean that DMC, Chuck D, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, Biz Markie, MC Shan, The Furious Five, etc continue to promote the work by sharing it on their Facebook accounts and twitter pages.
You do a great job at capturing the vibrancy and grittiness of NYC during the birth of hip hop. Is there any part of you that wishes that time could come back?
Not really. We should constantly move forward but it doesn’t hurt to look back and learn from history.
What is next for you and Hip Hop Family Tree?
I’ve really been thinking a lot about doing another Wizzywig comic. This is the computer hacker comic I did before HHFT. There’s so much insane shit going on with Whistleblowers, Wikileaks, Snowden, Manning, etc. That’s years away though. I’m doing the HHFT comics as at least a 5 book series. Book 1 will be available in October/November. Book 2 is almost done and will be out next Summer. Then the rest of the books will stabilize and be released annually or so.
How can we keep up with your work moving forward?
All the Hip Hop comics are online starting with strip 1 here: http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/brain-rot-hip-hop-family-tree.html
Twitter.com/edpiskor would probably be a good place to keep updated. Edpiskor on tumblr too.
Thanks Ed. Please support his work!
LIGHT OF HUMAN KINDNESS UPDATE: Hamilton Glass is on the scene and started painting today. I took a few photos of his progress. HAM? is really going freestyle with the mural. I asked him earlier today did he have a sketch and he does but he’s really trying to feel out the project; it seems that the end result will be much more organic. Follow the Light of Human Kindness both HERE and on Facebook.
I also have to give a huge S/O and happy birthday to Ed Trask. Ed is the architect of the RVA Street Art Festival and has really moved through a lot of challenges this year to pull the festival off. Happy Birthday Ed!