For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop

Whoo Kid and Alesha Renee at Harlem Lanes

WORDS BY KHALID STRICKLAND a.k.a. BLACK PACINO

PHOTOS BY E-PILLS

It looks fun, but since I don’t rock funky shoes worn by other people (unless they’re Prada), I don’t bowl. Some folks enjoy bowling very much; celebrities, in fact. Recently, the homie E-Pills and I attended the cleverly-titled “Bowling with the Stars” event at Harlem Lanes. It was a private, invitation-only affair to launch the Shooters Bowling League. Coors Light, who apparently sponsors everything, also backed this tight shindig. New York’s tastemakers, industry hustlers, radio personalities and the usual freeloaders were networking up a storm.

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The Shooters Bowling League is a 29-member team that features Ed Lover (of Power 105FM and Yo! MTV Raps fame) as team captain. Juelz Santana and G-Unit’s DJ Whoo Kid are also key players on the squad. All three hip-hop luminaries showed up to support. Alesha Renee, host of B.E.T.’s show The 5ive, was also in attendance with her fine self. Fonda Rae, who sang the hit songs “Over Like a Fat Rat” and “Touch Me (All Night Long),” was in the house with a smokin’-hot, tight grey dress hugging her ample curves. DJ Blazita, winner of “Best Female DJ” at the 2008 Justo’s Mixtape Awards, passed through Harlem Lanes with her publicist (and my homegirl) Cynamin Jones of Soul Pitch Media. Speaking of mixmasters, DJ Don Juan and DJ Cee-Lo shared the honor of spinning records that evening. Also spotted was the legendary Teddy Ted of The Awesome Two and Julito McCullum, the young actor who played Namond Brice on The Wire.

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There was also an assortment of mouthwatering honeys sauntering around. Is this usually how it goes down at the bowling alley? ‘Cuz if it is, I may have to rock a pair of those athlete’s foot-infested shoes and give it a whirl…

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The Coors Light babes weren’t bad either. Wrapped in their tight silver mini-skirts, they looked almost like tall, sexy beer cans. I wanted to crack ‘em open and quench my thirst.

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After promising us a photo if we waited for a few hours, Ed Lover shooed us away while slithering out of the premises. “Nah, I’m out,” he muttered without eye contact, knowing that it was a media-covered affair. Even Stephanie, the event’s publicist, couldn’t corral him for one measly pic. Oh well, at least I meet down-to-earth dudes like Raekwon, Bun-B and Capone-N-Noreaga to balance out that bulls**t.

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“Bowling With The Stars” gets a Facebook-style thumbs-up from me. Shout-out to Stephanie of the Carnegie PR Group, a lady who’s very much on top of her business. With bone-headed publicists epically failing me as of late, I can appreciate some professionalism every now and then.

‘Til we meet again, here are some more flicks of the action. Peace!

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For more stories and work by Black Pacino, visit www.spizzyblog.com, www.myspace.com/blackpacino or www.supremearsenal.com.

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IN MY TRAVELS…

(NEW YORK PREMIERE OF THE SKY CRAWLERS, LINCOLN CENTER)

By Khalid Strickland a.k.a. Dirty Angel

All stills from The Sky Crawlers are (c) Stage 6 Films / Production I.G.

THE SAGA CONTINUES…

While getting hammered and pushin’ up on honeys at Run-DMC’s 25th Anniversary Party, I nearly forgot that I was scheduled to attend a movie premiere the following eve. The next day, I was worn-out and desperately wanted to clock Z’s. But once again I thought of the Insomniac readers and dragged my tequila-soaked carcass over to the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. New York-Tokyo, a great organization who sponsors cool and fun events all over town, was premiering an animated film called The Sky Crawlers. The flick was directed by Mamoru Oshii, who also directed two of my favorite anime joints: Ghost In The Shell, and its sequel, Innocence. Best believe my expectations for The Sky Crawlers (produced by Ghost’s incredible animation team, Production I.G.) were pretty high. Before the screening, the capacity crowd watched a special video introduction by the director himself.

The Sky Crawlers takes place in a futuristic world where war, as we know it, has been eradicated. In this alternate version of Earth, private “war contractors” enlist their own fighter pilots in an endless “war for entertainment.” These pilots are called Kildren; innocent-looking teenagers who never age into adulthood. They just live in a state of eternal adolescence (like your 40-year old, jobless friend mooching off his mom) until the day they’re finally killed in battle. But with its brilliantly-executed aerial combat scenes, eroticism and heavy casualties, The Sky Crawlers is no corny Peter Pan flick. The film’s main protagonist, a Kildren pilot named Yuichi, arrives to his newly-assigned airbase with sketchy memories of his past. The female base commander, Suito, is also a Kildren and seems to know more about Yuichi than he does about himself. Even though he’s perplexed, Yuichi gradually becomes attracted to Suito and a Pandora’s Box of plot twists, mayhem and gunplay springs open. There’s also a mysterious enemy fighter pilot called The Teacher, an invincible ace who always gets the best of his opponents… the Michael Jordan of aerial carnage, if you will. Instead of wearing a Number 23, however, The Teacher rocks a black jaguar emblem on the side of his plane.

Movie-goers looking for endless amounts of brawling and bloodshed, ala Ninja Scroll, may want to scale back their expectations a bit; although the combat scenes are fierce and realistic when they do occur, The Sky Crawlers is more of a cerebral film. I admit, I came to the theater looking for a shoot ‘em up like Ghost In The Shell, but I’m also a fan of well-written, character-driven screenplays so I was satisfied. Come to think of it, the Ghost In The Shell films and their Adult Swim TV series were pretty cerebral too.

The Sky Crawlers was nominated for the coveted Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival and it’s a really good movie. I highly recommend it and fellow anime fans will be dazzled by the stunning animation. Production I.G. is at the top of their game per usual.

See more stills from The Sky Crawlers at THE FLICKR PHOTO SET.

All stills from The Sky Crawlers are (c) Stage 6 Films / Production I.G.

For more stories and work by Dirty Angel visit www.supremearsenal.com and www.myspace.com/blackpacino.

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IN MY TRAVELS…

(Run-DMC’s 25th Anniversary Party at the Marc Ecko Showroom)

By Khalid Strickland a.k.a. Dirty Angel

Photos by Sundiata Acree & Black Pacino

The iconic Grandmaster Caz at The Ecko Showroom.

I just got back from Hangover City and it was not a good trip. I’ll be confined to detox for a while, but that’s the price I have to pay for consecutive nights of non-stop partying. Why do I put myself through such grueling missions? Why do I attend open-bar events knowing that, despite my vows, I won’t stop after one drink? Why do I go to venues full of potential mistresses, knowing that wifey will assassinate me in my sleep for cheatin’? The answer is simple: I do it for you, dear Insomniac readers. It’s my job to report what’s poppin’ in the streets and the clubs of NYC, and no amount of media-list shenanigans, loud-mouthed bouncers or stupid dress codes will stop me from delivering. If I have to remove my du-rag and stash the shank under a garbage can, then dang it, I’ll make that sacrifice for the readers. That’s just the type of guy I am.

My binge began at the Mark Ecko Showroom in Chelsea where Run Athletics, Toy Tokyo, Marco Art and Ecko himself sponsored Run DMC’s 25th Anniversary Party. I’ve been to a lot of shindigs this year and this one ranked with the best. Shout-out to the homie Yellow Rebel for keeping me in tune with the matrix. The Ecko Showroom is a cavernous loft with a big, well-stocked bar planted squarely in the middle (every crib should have one). Marco, a famous artist whose paintings were featured on MTV’s reality-show Run’s House, was in attendance and his vibrant artwork adorned the Showroom.

Toy Tokyo also had their unique and crazy products on display; they even had dolls in the likeness of Obama, Biggie, Michael Jackson, Chuck D. and Flavor Flav. They also had the voluptuous “Bode Broad” doll created by cartoonist Mark Bode, who I interviewed in this very magazine.

The Showroom’s bar was open that night and there were plastic barrels full of ice-cold beer scattered throughout. So although the house was packed, there was more than enough booze for every freeloadin’ bum (*ahem* I mean, socialite) in attendance. Marco took a moment to autograph his limited edition Run-DMC 25th Anniversary t-shirts; only 1,000 were made and they were on sale at the party.

Of course, celebs were in the house. I met the legendary DMC a.k.a. Daryl Mack for the very first time. Normally I don’t get star-struck, but I grew up listening to Run-DMC and quadruple shots of tequila act like truth serum. “Sir, it’s an honor to shake your hand,” I drunkenly gushed to the amicable, down-to-earth King of Rock. My man Sundi snapped a flick of the emotional moment…

Also in the house was comedian, actor and radio personality Donnell Rawlings a.k.a. Ashy Larry (Chappelle’s Show, The Wire).

The Retro Kidz, who got busy on the dancefloor with some slick, old-school moves….

Kangol Kid of UTFO, who rolled through looking the same as he did from the “Roxxanne Roxxanne” days (time has been much kinder to him than it has to me)…

and Hip-Hop legend Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers

Caz, who showed up with a fine, top-heavy M.I.L.F., got on the turntables and played some classics. I don’t think any song made before ‘87 was played throughout the entire party and that’s whassup. He even incorporated a laptop into his routine, showing that a seasoned dog can learn some new tricks.

The following night, I donned a blazer and a pair of hard-bottoms for a wedding reception wifey dragged me to. It turned out to be a nice event but once again, they had…oh no… free liquor. I‘d just dried out from the Ecko party and swore to wifey that I’d only have one cocktail at the most. Yeah right. Multiply that by ten instead. So like a Quentin Tarantino flick, my story ends where it began: with me lying in bed, fresh from a trip to Hangover City.

But keep in mind… I did it all for you.

See more pics of the party at THE FLICKR PHOTO SET.

For more stories and work by Dirty Angel visit www.supremearsenal.com and www.myspace.com/blackpacino.

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Graffiti Stories told by Cop

December 10, 2008

Vandal Squad offers a unique perspective into the world of urban graffiti. The book was written by a former police officer, Joseph Rivera, who was actually assigned to New York City’s Transit Police Department during the golden era of graffiti. His job was to chase down and bust graff writers in The Bronx. This book chronicles his work with an array of photographs and stories about arrests. picture-7.png

Overall the book provides the reader with a twisted view that is not usually known. It’s odd to read these stories from the other side of the track, regardless; it’s still an interesting angle.
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(pictured- Lork from Da Honey House and Mr. Rudy Ray Moore.)
70′s exploitation filmmaker, actor, and comedic genius, Rudy Ray Moore passes away at 81. Best known for his character Dolemite, Mr. Moore was also a legend in Hip Hop circles. In many ways, he was one of the first rappers. Edgy rhymes delivered within his films and on stage made him a favorite up until his death. Although many people only know about Mr. Moore’s comedic side, he was inspirational because he was able to write, direct, and produce his films outside of traditional film industry circles. He did this against all odds.

More so than any other film presence, he exemplified the spirit and attitude of the original Hip Hop movement. On the big screen, Moore portrayed a character that today many rappers emulate in songs, videos and even within their personas. Dolemite was brash, flashy, street savvy, outspoken and full of pizzazz. He dressed jiggy before the term existed. He took no shorts from anyone, and had the attention of all the ladies. Regardless of the similarities to today’s rap scene, this fictitious character’s image had much less in common with Hip Hop, than the real man did. Mr. Moore was able to overcome adversity by creating his own brand of humor and art, and delivering it to the masses. He did this without the assistance of the system, and in many ways, in spite of it. In the early days, he would go into a town, pitch to theater operators, book his film for later in that week, deliver the print, and then visit as many radio shows as would have him, to promote the film’s showing. Ultimately, Moore and his movies have garnered massive attention, and for decades have continued to gain in popularity. He was able to accomplish all of this, outside of the traditional Hollywood structure. Mr. Moore will continue to be an icon, and an inspiration to many.

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