Since I happen to be in the middle of Tropical Storm Emily with little access to electronics, this is going to be brief. As many of you know, I worship at the altar of Erik Foss, and his upcoming art event “Paths of Rhythm” will be brilliant, and the after party will be the kind of soiree that gets us all in trouble. When the Fuse Gallery and its sidekick Lit get serious, anything can happen and I must attend. The airline says my jet is still scheduled to whisk me back to civilization, not a minute too soon.
Although the very nice people who flew me to paradise for a “possibility” did everything to court me, I shall pass on their plan. Nightlife where I am now consists of beers and tropical fruit drinks, on a veranda surrounded by metal gates and large—most of the time, friendly—dogs. Our banter is occasionally interrupted by not too distant gunfire and the youngest among us can identify the type of weapon and its proximity. It was much like listening to a thunderstorm and counting the seconds between the lightning and bang to guess how far away it was. Some of the shots came from that neighborhood over there, while some were quite nearby. After awhile, you barely notice the rat-a-tat-tats. The subsequent police sirens and helicopter prove more difficult to talk over. I look forward to home and those real tough guys at Lit who weigh a buck twenty when wet and show off their machismo with killer tattoos.
So, Fuse Gallery and 2Feet 12 Inches presents: Paths of Rhythm” Curated by Rob Aloia, Brent Bartley, Frankie Cedeno, Erik Foss and Ricky Powell. The exhibition will run from August 3 through August 17. The Opening Reception tomorrow, Wednesday, August 3, will run from 7-10pm and I will be one of the DJs.
Mr. Erik Foss says: “As artists coming up in New York City, the three elements that inspired and defined our crew’s wild youthful years are represented in our logo: 2’ (kicks-street style) + 12” (vinyl-music) = 212 (NYC as muse). In the streets, on the courts and at the clubs all three elements were with us in some form. “Paths of Rhythm” is a show about being a creative person in NYC. Be as literal or esoteric as you desire just express what propelled you on this journey.” A portion of all proceeds from this show will go to Art for Progress, a non-profit arts organization. Art For Progress’ Arts Education Community “provides underserved youth with dynamic artistic programming that promotes reflection and self-expression.”
During the opening reception there will be The World Famous Ricky Powell Slide Show and all-vinyl DJ sets by: myself, Shorty, Stretch Armstrong, Gatto and DJ Small Change. Participating Artists will include Aiko, BAST, Marcus Burrowes, Tony Chan, Chino, Daze, Harry Druzd, Cheryl Dunn, Tristan Eaton, Shauna Figueroa, Leo Fitzpatrick, Donald Gajadhar, Hugh Gran, Giannina Gutierrez, Charles Hardwick, Eric Haze, Todd James, Kinjal Mitra, John Perry, Ricky Powell, Dr. Revolt, Michelle Reyes, Christophe Roberts, Judi Rosen, Senz, Meryl Smith, Spam, Judith Supine, Joshua Wildman and Nick Zinner.
I asked co-curator Rob Aloia a few questions about the event. What’s the meaning of 2feet 12 inches? That’s our logo and it’s comprised of three elements: 2 feet-(sneakers/street style), 12 inches-(vinyl/music), 212-NYC(muse). I came up with this sometime in the late ‘90s when I noticed my room was being overrun with sneakers and vinyl. But it was more than that, it was the culture behind them like digging for records, going to the new sneaker boutiques, playing ball, going to art openings and going to see DJs and bands. That’s why we say, “From the street, to the court, to the club.” That’s how NYC constantly inspires us.
What are your goals with the event? Our immediate goals are to pull off a great opening and raise money for art programs for city kids. We have a TV pilot we shot with Ricky Powell that is being pitched and we’re planning for more shows here in NYC. Hopefully we get to hit the road as well.
Tell me about “kicks,” sneakers, and shoes. I remember being taken to Buster Brown’s and this was the first time I was going to get to pick my own pair of sneakers, with my older brother’s guidance. Back then there wasn’t much to choose from but whatever you chose you were stuck with for at least a year ‘till your toes pushed through the front. I was leaning towards Adidas Shelltoes but he reminded me of Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier (the Knicks had just won their second championship) and that clinched it, I opted for the Puma suedes in blue.
I haven’t fooled around with vinyl since my second date with Jeannie Luvullo. Why are you asking me and the rest of the DJs to play vinyl? Vinyl always make me feel warm and at home because my dad would pull out a gatefold LP, put on the record and use the jacket to separate the seeds and stems from his stash. The sounds and smells were very comforting.
What’s your fondest club memory? One of favorite early moments of hanging out in NYC was going to Nell’s in ‘86. We were underage, we walked there dressed in sneakers, jeans and baseball caps with no money in our pockets and got right in (a friend was working the door) while limos and people lined the street. As we’re entering, he tells us that they just turned away Cher. Inside there was Run-DMC and—well, I don’t have to tell you who hung out there, but that really says a lot about what NYC is/was about.