I’m in the process of saying farewell to StencilNation.org. The book is officially out of print (Manic D Press has corrected me, stating that the fourth printing is still in print) and the website was designed (by Antonio Gomez) in the heady days when Adobe Flash was du jour. With the rise of mobile phones and HTML5 (and the whole responsive site mania), it is time to retire the Stencil Nation site and redirect to Stencil Archive (the mothership).
While backing up Stencil Nation one last time, I saw a random mp3 file on the top level of the site’s backend. I clicked listen and it was a Cross Currents interview I did while on the book tour. It was a great experience and it actually riled up a listener who felt that all public art was vandalism. Fun!
I guess I was worried about taking up too much memory back then. Good thing the cloud revolution caught up and now memory is practically infinite. The interview mp3 is on this site’s cloud, and WordPress even allows super easy linking via its “Add Media” button.
Here’s my original post about the interview:
Had a great bike ride over to the KALW studio near McClearen Park this morning and interviewed with Penny Nelson for Cross Currents. The engineer, a bike commuter, told me another route that sent me through the park and then down Mission St. in the Excelsior District. Found some stencils along that ride home! They posted the show early so here’s the goods. Fast forward in about 3 and a half minutes to hear my segment. About 10 minutes long total.
Woe be the artist who doesn’t dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Who would expect to have that song become a YouTube sensation, or that illustration to end on on the cover of a magazine? FaceBook and Google+, etc. may weasel in on your rights too, if you post things on there. After the success, what do you have if you haven’t covered your ass?
YouTube has become the great DJ in the cloud. Can’t quite remember that song you last heard in 1987? Find it on YouTube! Digging through the shaky, poor sounding live vids and other detritus can be a pain. But usually, good nuggets are easily unearthed in a matter of minutes. Trading links is fun too, so here are some recent tunes I’m spinning in my video cloud DJ player:
Here’s a YouTube of the band Action Jackson at CELLspace’s CELL:15 Funkathon Party. They were a great help, putting the “c” in community with their help repairing CELL’s stage, setting up all the extras, promoting the night, volunteering, and funking things out.
August rolled around in 2001 and the SoundLab couldn’t pull off a third concert three months in a row. I had an idea: Israeli master musician Yair Dalal was going to be in the United States in September. I had several of his CDs and loved his music. I found his website and cold-emailed him with the proposal of playing World Remix at CELLspace. Dalal plays many instruments and fiercely upholds his beliefs in peace for all peoples through music. His family hails from Iraq, making him a Mizrahi (Eastern) Jew. He always plays with Muslim, Christian, whatever-religion musicians with no hint of animosity towards their beliefs. When the Oslo Peace Accords were signed, Dalal set up a multinational orchestra that played in celebration of the event.
He was perfect for World Remix!
This flyer was never printed, and only used online. I took this photo during a 1999 trip to Israel. The hamsa design was based upon a stencil I had created and cut out for Chales Gadeken’s 2000 Illumination Project. The hand-written Hebrew and Arabic was from Deborah Ben-Eliezer’s cousin Roy (the IDF taught him to be fluent in Arabic). The Hebrew text to the right was taken from Yair Dalal’s CD insert and speaks on music and peace.
As the SoundLab tried to craft a concert around him, Dalal waited a while to confirm the gig. I assume that he was looking for better money and a better hall to play in. He didn’t find one, mostly because the Bay Area didn’t really know him, his politics, and his music. I got the Jewish Voice for Peace involved with the project and let them sell cabaret-table tickets for a higher price. They also got to serve concessions to the tables and took all the profits. The SoundLab got the door.
I also got Judy Cohen, a friend of Deborah Ben-Eleizer (whose father is from Iraq and attended the concert) to perform a one-woman piece about a sexual experience in Tel Aviv. I had seen Yuri Lane beat box about a year prior in Oakland, so tracked him down and booked him as an opener too. He rocked the house and went on to book CELLspace for a one-man show that sold out, got extended and then toured. I think the African band approached us to perform, and they ended up being OK and running way too long! Dalal was impatient to go on early: “If I play late, they will fall asleep to my music!” Deborah hosted the event, bridging the gap from the Middle East to San Francisco. DJ Sep barely played due to the over booked night (my mistake) but she got paid and thoroughly enjoyed the night.
About 250 people attended and World Remix again proved to have a deeply diverse audience. Dalal was nothing but sweet and supportive of the event and the space. Jef Stott got Jim Santi Owen to play tabla with Dalal, adding a great layer onto what would’ve been a duet with Dalal and his amazing percussionist. The event was nothing but perfect in my mind. Everything worked out and came together with flawless satisfaction. We even had an amazing camera shoot of the whole thing, which is what was edited down for the segment on CELLtv.
The night was full of politics, which was great for World Remix. Dalal told stories of meeting Palestinian musicians who had their hands chopped off because they played secular music or played with Israelis. He preached peace with his music and between songs. This concert was held September 6, 2001. Five days after that the World Trade Centers in New York City crumbled to the ground. For the rest of my life, I will never forget the contrast that happened within a week’s time: the peace, love, and music of an Iraqi-Israeli and the war, hatred, and death of 9-11. There was a radical innocence at World Remix III, and it was lost a week later.
The wars, invasions, occupations, and stupidity of the coming years dispersed the World Remix project. Not until Pod suggested a Romani Remix in 2005, which Jef and I pulled off to mediocre effect, did we try to recapture the magic. World Remix III helped me find my center just before the wind got knocked out on September 11. Yair Dalal came back several times to the Bay Area to teach Eastern-Jewish music to the community and was an artist-in-residence for the Jewish Music Festival.
I’ll never forget that amazing night of music at CELLspace.
Pod had the idea all along that the World Remix concert series would run often and have a political angle of some sort. With a serious lack of funds to produce the series, we still somehow managed to pull a second concert together in a short time. I always leave out the “246(i)” in the title of the series. Not sure why, but Pod put that in there to signify something having to do with culture and borders. Pod and I also developed a mission statement: 246(i) World Remix is “a new concert series emphasizing cross-cultural collaboration and active social context.” I have to remind myself that this was just before the 9-11 attacks, so Pod and I thought that we were doing something different here in San Francisco. And we were seriously trying to create change in the world.
I made this flyer art with a scan of a shirt I had bought in Israel (the background) and an oud from a CD insert. The right side of the flyer was intentionally pixelated to symbolize Lumin’s roots in the traditional and the digital.
World Remix II starred Lumin and featured Ledoh. We mixed together digi-Middle Eastern styles with East European vocals and Japanese butoh dance. I can’t remember who we brought in to be our political/grassroots guests, but we made a point to politicize World Remix and thus the people that came to the events. I was getting great feedback about World Remix. These were some of the most diverse audiences that CELLspace had ever seen. Before our eyes, we were really remixing things!
This concert came off quite easy due to the fact that Jef Stott was one-third of Lumin and a hard-working member of the SoundLab. Delphine Mae was dancing with Ledoh and a member of the SoundLab as well. All the other groups were connected to Lumin somehow, and so we had an smooth production. I recall about 250 people attended World Remix II, and the band (or most of them) got paid.
Once again, glad that Jonathan captured it all on video and put it on CELLspace.tv (I think it was him).
“This is a critical moment in history for reinstituting the lauguage(s) of music as the primary mode of human interaction from neighborhood to global relations” – World Remix I statement
Ten years ago, Pod, Jef Stott, and I (along with 5-6 other folks form the CELL SoundLab), got the idea of creating a music series that, if anything, mixed genres and indigenous styles in a way that made people scratch their heads. So we mixed Cali-style Qawwali with beatbox/tabla improv for our first World Remix concert. Simran Gleason, Deborah Ben-Eliezer, Rob Penn, and Andrew “Kid Beyond” Chaikin also filled in many gaps for this first attempt at bringing different people together in CELLspace (probably the most amazing place in San Francisco for doing this).
I recall Jonathan Youtt as the man behind the video for this event. Nothing but appreciation for everyone who put this music series together (with almost NO BUDGET), including Meyer Sound for getting conned into loaning us an amazing PA system!
This will be the third or fourth time the Big Tadoo Puppet Crew has opened up for Michael Franti and Spearhead’s Harvest Ball (I have a Fillmore poster from 2005’s Ball hanging in my room) and the second time they have flown the show to Colorado. BUT…. this is the first time they have flown out the WHOLE show, which includes the two pedal-powered crankies and the whole six-member cast! The family show is already sold out, so this should be a great adventure indeed (which I will probably blog about). Fly there, perform, fly back…. the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.
The harvest season is approaching and, in true tradition, Michael Franti, KBCO and AEG are set to present the 7th Annual Michael Franti & Spearhead Harvest Ball at 1st Bank Center in Broomfield (Denver), CO on Saturday, November 27th, 2010. Combining music, art and action, Michael Franti & Spearhead will perform two live shows in the spirit of sharing abundance and inspiring sustainable and eco-conscious lifestyles. Tickets go on sale Saturday, October 2nd at 10am and can be purchased by visting www.tickethorse.com. KBCO will hold a presale for interactive members on Friday, October 1st from 10am to 10pm. Please visit www.kbco.com for details.
The early afternoon show will be a Family Matinee (SOLD OUT) with kids activities including local kids bands, puppet shows, organic food samples, a kids recycled costume show, contest and parade, eco-friendly painting and much more. The fun and games will be followed by a Michael Franti & Spearhead kids concert with Special Guests The Big Tadoo Puppet Crew, Jaden, and Conscious Carnival Games. The doors for the matinee show will open at 1:00 P.M. and the show will begin at 2:00 P.M. The evening show will be a harvest celebration like no other with Michael and the band performing songs from their new album The Sound of Sunshine and some surprises for the big kids, too! The doors for the evening show will open at 7:00 P.M. and the show will begin at 8:00P.M. The Harvest Ball will also include a food drive and all attendees are encouraged to bring canned goods to the shows.
I feel sorry for the Canadian trio NoMeansNo. Backstage at Bottom of the Hill, which is outside where everyone was smoking, I sipped a beer and met a group of folks who are big fans of the band. They were all lamenting about the horrible technical problems NoMeansNo was having on this tour. Last night in Oakland, Bassist Rob Wright’s amp went out right at the top of the show. They took a 15 minute break to try to fix the problem. The story of drummer John Wright’s problem followed, which was a busted drum that had to be replaced for the night by an opening band’s piece. That happened in Oakland too.
I tried to encourage these big fans that maybe the show tonight in San Francisco would be perfect. No problems at all. An unease settled across several faces, and the subject changed. Before going into the opening number, Rob told the audience that “the gods are testing us!” Sure enough, his bass amp started going out at the beginning of the set. Frustration set in as they finally got the first song going on the third try. The aptly placed song was “Old,” which is what all the band’s equipment was feeling like at the current moment. (more…)
Andy Blue from the League of Pissed Off Voters called me up yesterday to see if I had any plans last night. None, really. So he told me to stop by Pirate Cat Radio/Cafe before 7pm to sit on a panel and discuss graffiti on the League’s weekly show. All worked out nicely, so I met up with Reyes, Cuba, Chris (who co-created the new local books with Steve Rotman), Eddie, and Eclairacuda to have a one-hour talk about what’s going on in SF with graffiti and street art. The talk mostly discussed spray graffiti, so it was great to hear Chris, Cuba, and Reyes talk about what’s going on in their world. Chris has great thoughts and concepts about what’s happening. Eddie and I got to throw in some angles too. And the writers, including the always entertaining Eclair, kept things real throughout.
You can hear the discussion here. Make sure you scroll half way through the two-hour show to get to the graffiti talk.
Thanks to Andy Blue, a fan and grey-area participant of the scene, for pulling us together in what may become an ongoing dialog about the City’s Zero Graffiti stance, and how absurd that goal truly is.