Walking up to such a beautiful woman with such a commanding presence as the newly crowned Miss America Nina Davuluri is wonderful. But thinking about all the negative comments on Twitter from people who were upset that a woman of Indian heritage won the crown, it made me wonder if she and her friends could—without the help of her publicist—get into a NYC nightclub.
There was a time when I would say definitely be problematic. Now, it’s a probably maybe. Racism at the door of nightclubs is rarely talked about except by the people turned away because of the color of their skin. Most clubs are extremely whitebread. Nightclubs which are sometimes thought to be so forward seem, in this regard, stuck in Selma in 1966. Simply put, it’s much easier to be white and get into a whitebread club. Am I being to subtle? Or too obvious?
In the mid-1990s, people of Indian descent began to visit clubs in earnest. They usually came in large groups with the girls negotiating with the door staff. Most clubs refused based on purely racist grounds. Clubs that embraced the well dressed and monied clientele were rewarded with loyalty. Today, there are Indian owners and employees but still, there’s inequality at the door.
Man about town Terry Casey is hitting me about action at the National Underground on the LES. On Thursday, I’m supposed to attend Undergroove hosted by Kontraband and KB Jones. Terry told me the place is refreshingly hot. I hope I don’t ruin things by telling you about it.
Tonight, I will attend the 10-year anniversary gala at Canal Room. My boy Eric Presti has his cover band Jessie’s Girl performing. Word comes from Bali that Mark Baker, who used to be the man about town here in NYC, is getting really really close to opening his Townhouse night spot. The teaser flier says September 2013 and I’m a believer. I’ve always believed in all things Mark Baker and I just won’t stop. He was the best I ever met here and I’m sure it will be magical.
Tomorrow night is Alon Jibli‘s long-running Tuesday.Baby.Tuesday party which thrives at Finale at 199 Bowery will have some notable and wonderful guest DJ’s. Run DMC’s Rev Run will be joined by the incredible Ruckus. Residents Reach and Shortkutz will also be on hand. If you haven’t seen this, I advise you to motivate.
Holiday rap music is a frequently recorded but highly underappreciated genre. Surely, most connoisseurs of both hip-hop and Christmas tunes know the most tried-and-true standards—Run-D.M.C.’s “Christmas In Hollis,” Kurtis Blow’s “Christmas Rappin’”—and those who maybe don’t exhibit the same appreciation for the genre still looked up that video of DMX singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” But the genre still has just so much potential, so many tracks left unnoticed and so many holiday raps to even attempt, and who better than to bring seasonal rap to the Twitterin’, content-farmin’ masses than the ultimate Christmas music overachiever himself… Sufjan Stevens?
Of course Sufjan Stevens made a free Christmas rap mixtape, on top of Silver & Gold, the five-album new holiday set released last month. Of course he did. And of course it’s called Chopped and Scrooged, which, if you’re going to make a Christmas rap mixtape with a punny name addressing both of these qualities, you might as well make it something as great as that.
You’re probably reading this and not even batting an eye. And the roster of artists he compiled is as varied as his own cross-genre festive material. Heems (formerly of Das Racist) opens the mixtape with the commanding “The Boy With A Star on His Head,” a decidedly less jovial holiday rap than, say, “Christmas In Hollis,” but still effective, especially with the weird, atmospheric middle section from Stevens. Elsewhere, bounce master Nicky Da B invites Santa Claus over for an NSFW rendezvous on the scandalous and very fun “Christmas in the Room” and Kitty Pryde (who previously tweeted about the album) addresses Kris Kringle in a different manner, asking for gifts in the form of “Implants and Yankee Candles.” You can download the mixtape here or stream it via AsthmaticKitty’s SoundCloud below.
Old and new will be battling it out for command of audiences at this year’s Rock The Bells Festival, which announced a formidable lineup for dates in San Bernadino, Calif. (Aug. 18th and 19th), Mountain View, Calif. (Aug. 25th and 26th) and Holmdel, New Jersey (Sept. 1st and 2nd). Tickets go on presale Friday and general sale Saturday, May 19th.
Composer and member of the Wu-Tang Clan RZA and festival regular Supernatural share hosting duties while the likes of fellow veterans Nas, Ice Cube, E-40, Too $hort, Naughty By Nature, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane and Prodigy will top the bill. Relative newcomers performing at the festival include Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller, 2 Chainz, Yelawolf and Tyga.
Among the most exciting acts are Missy Elliott, making her live-performance comeback following the release of her first album in seven years, Block Party, in June, along with her longtime musical sidekick Timbaland in a joint performance. Method Man and Redman will unite to perform Blackout in its entirety, not the first time the festival has seen well-established rappers perform their most iconic works (Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and Nas’s Illmatic being among them).
All five original members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will perform together for the first time in nearly 20 years to perform their standout album, E. 1999 Eternal, as well as a tribute to the late Eazy-E. Well, the news of a Bone Thugs reunion is as good of a time as any to revisit Bone Pugz-N-Harmony’s classic rendition of "1st of Tha Month." Enjoy.
Street artist Thierry Guetta, a.k.a. Mr. Brainwash from Exit Through the Gift Shop, is being sued for copyright infringement over an image of Run DMC. Guetta allegedly used a 1985 photo by photographer Glen Friedman in artworks, prints, promotional materials, even postcards, without paying any licensing fees. Guetta is claiming “fair use,” which would allow him to use the image for things like parody even though it’s copyrighted. So, this must be conclusive evidence that Mr. Brainwash actually exists, right? How do you sue a fictional character made up by Banksy?
This is the first time since Shepard Fairey’s tiff with the AP that the street art world has been shaken up by a copyright dispute. Which is logical enough, because street art in its purest form is found on the street and its artists are anonymous. But now that street artists are becoming mainstream and having gallery shows (like Mr. Brainwash, who according to Exit Through the Gift Shop burst onto the scene in 2008 with a massive show in L.A.), their appropriation of pop culture images could get them in trouble.
What makes it depressing is that the art in question isn’t really that good. It’s just that photo of Run DMC (which is a great photo) with a bunch of graffiti on it. At least in Shepard Fairey’s case, he turned a photo of Obama into an iconic image with artistic value. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out and what repercussions it’ll have for street artists in the future.
Related: I was really hoping Mr. Brainwash wasn’t real. Too bad.