Posts Tagged ‘Dalston’
Can you believe its been a whole year since SofterTouch made their cosmic crash-landing at the mothership? This Thursday sees an intergalactic celebration of the rowdy, abrasive, noise intensive experiencé that has become a cult-hit! With three successful club nights AfterTouch, SofterTouch and MEGALAST as well as playing at festivals such as Secret Garden Party, LeeFest and Glastonbury, J.Aria (Jacob Aria) and Ni-ku (Nik Rawlings) are renowned across East London for their eclectic and bratty DJ stylings. We caught up with Jacob and Nik to chat about how their friendship blossomed, why we’ve heard Barry Manilow play at SofterTouch, and what we can expect from Thursday!
Hiya Jacob and Nik! For our readers who aren’t that well acquainted with you two, can you tell us a bit about yourselves ?
J: I’ve been working as a musician in some form or another since I was about 15. Loads of different bands and gigs, festivals and all that. My main focus is a vocalist and experimental producer. I started to find my feet as a DJ about eighteen months ago.
N: I come from a choral background, had a noise band when I was a teenager and ended up studying Sound Art in Brighton, and DJing and promoting went hand in hand with that. For a long time I was obsessed with voguing and that informed a lot of my earlier DJ sets, and I organised a series of voguing events in Nottingham. I’ve always been drawn to more textural, intense, manic music. I think some highlights for me so far have been playing for Boo Hoo at Südblock in Berlin, at Tropical Waste with a hero of mine, KABLAM, and at Intruder Alert in Warsaw. Travelling and making new connections is one of the best things about DJing.
You’ve been collaborating with one another for quite some time now. Let’s rewind… How did you two meet?
J: We met at a Lotic gig in Brighton and hit it off. We’re both quite unbearable so we compliment each other pretty well.
N: Jacob and I hit it off pretty much immediately (ie. we both ranted a lot). Our interests and taste clicked so when I moved up to London it was an obvious move to work together. We’re a good balance as a duo and Jacob’s happy to tell me to shut up which is important when you work with me.
Your first club night, Aftertouch, seemed to have a real underground and experimental vibe to it. Tell us a little bit about the premise behind it?.
J: We wanted to bring together experimental queer performance art with experimental queer club DJing in a way that we hadn’t experienced before in London – it was usually one or the other.
N: We had spoken a lot about how at the time (2015/16) there was a lack of queer nights that focussed on the more experimental club music we were both into whilst also making a good space for performance art and radical drag. We wanted to present a night that was darker, more confrontational, disco-free, without being too overtly serious or prescriptive.
Aftertouch provided an amazing platform for queer artists. There seems to be an abundance of amazing LGBTQ+ performance talent but a lack of spaces for them. How can London become a better city for performers?
J: There are loads of amazing things happening now. But it’s always a nightmare trying to get a venue to support you with your stuff. There’s usually always a catch, and doing something that isn’t super conventional is always a gamble. I think London would benefit from having more interesting and accessible spaces to party in. The licensing laws here are too tight, it stifles a lot of freedom when you’re regulated in that way. It needs to loosen up, and we need more funding to be put into creative outlets. It’s kind of a rich kids playground, and rich kids are boring c**ts.
N: There’s some fundamental issues being in London that need to improve that would positively impact all creative scenes and especially queer performers. Space tends to be in short supply, but so is time; without lower rent and better wages it’s impossible to take time to make work! We all need more time and space than we often have in London if we want to be able to make ambitious, honest and original work. I’m sick of seeing new build flats sold on the credibility of the ‘creative quarter’ that they knocked down. Dedicated spaces are in short supply, so hats off to the LGBTQ+ Community Centre project. Projects like that are going to be wildly important in supporting performers.
Why did you decide to move away from performance to a music-centred night with SofterTouch?
J: I just wanted to bring something really different to the Dalston Superstore programming, and to have a regular night to work on my DJ skills I guess. It had always been that I was the one that sorted the performance aspect of afterTouch and I wanted to cross over into DJing. Plus Superstore have always been so supportive of us as both friends and mentors that we wanted to do something there, something ‘at home’.
N: We’d both worked at Superstore – and for me it was a formative club when I first started coming to queer clubs, so obviously we wanted to ‘come home’. But we were also really excited to disrupt what people might expect from Dalston Superstore, and bring something a bit more confrontational and manic. It’s been a really great learning experience for both of us; we play B2B all night, and play a really frenetic and sometimes jarring combination of tracks, so the music can be a real journey. It’s kind of like an argument on the decks, but somehow it works. Oh, and generally I’ll close out with a basic bitch trance or donk remix of something so there’s that.
In terms of your DJ styles, who or what have been your inspirations?
J: My influences are all over the place. Sometimes I’m pretending I’m Black Madonna or Honey Dijon, other times it’s Aphex Twin or JLin. I dunno, I’m super messy. I get most of my inspiration from my DJ friends or by being on the other side of the desk on the dance floor and kinda peeking over to see how the DJ is working. I’m always trying to study whoever I see.
N: Big question. I think the whole of our particular scene looks to TOTAL FREEDOM as an originator. KABLAM, originally of Janus in Berlin is still my current favourites, we have a lot of choral influences in common too. Then also I always look back to the Bubblebyte party, maybe seven years ago in Peckham where AIDS-3D & TCF (then known as Craxxxmurf) played loads of insane bubbling and hardstyle – it still stands out years later, and I’ll weave in some tracks from that period throughout most sets. When I’m playing a solo mix I’ll plan a trajectory and think about the textural and emotional story I want to tell, and when I play SofterTouch with Jacob it’s much more about wild trax that’ll just about fit with whatever they’ve been playing and keep bodies moving without being too stuck to genre or tempo.
Its safe to say that you both are quite contrasting in what you play, but we’ve never experienced a dull moment when you’re both going b2b at SofterTouch! Why do you think you both work so well together?
J: It just keeps the night evolving, because the mood is constantly shifting. We have totally different tastes but there’s a middle ground, we are both trying to experiment in similar ways – just with different tracks. If I think Nik is being too bratty I’ll play Barry Manilow just to piss him off.
N: We kind of battle each other a bit and sometimes there’ll be 30 minutes of us playing tracks that mix smoothly and then you’ll have a whole load of material that shouldn’t work together but somehow does. There’s a huge range of genres we’ll play from…. and every now and again I’ll drop a lipsync track in and get on the bar. We play a lot of quite intense music but it’s all with a sense of humour.
More recently, you both brought your experimental flare to our Friday night line-up with MEGALAST! Whats in store for the next one?
J: MegaLast is our new Friday night party. It’s kind of a natural progression from softerTouch. We are bringing in challenging and experimental DJs from across the country and the continent. I guess we are really trying to shake up the kind of programming you would expect on Kingsland Road on a Friday night. We are back on August 31st for round two, it’s gonna be even bigger and rowdier than our first. I’m super excited about who we are looking to get down to the lazerpit this time around.
N: MegaLast brings both SofterTouch and AfterTouch’s music policies together; there’s artists downstairs playing more abrasive, experimental and intense music downstairs in the basement and diverse party tracks upstairs. The next one will be headlined by Object Blue whose recent release on Tobago Tracks is one of the standout records of the year for us; they’re also a regular Superstore-goer and so we’re really excited to have her at DSS for the first time
Who would be your dream booking?
J: Flying Lotus or J Lin would be nuts.
In five words, can you describe what we can expect Thursday?
J: Bratty, erratic, explorations, heaviness and audacity.
N: Cute bounce, much booty, kick.
Catch J.Aria and Ni-Ku at SofterTouch: One Year this Thursday 7th June 9pm-2:30am at Dalston Superstore!
Dalston Superstore is absolutely thrilled to announce new weekly gurlzzz party Goldsnap will be debuting on Thursday 31 March! The three-way lovechild of local female DJ collective Goldsnap, this is a party space for all with an emphasis on showcasing amazing local female talent. You can expect R&B, Hip Hop, House, Trap, Afrobeats, Garage, Dance, House and more from Mwen, DJ Dibs, VDubs & very special guests! We caught up with them to see what they’re planning to unleash!
Hi guys! We are super excited about your new new Thursday night girls night at Dalton Superstore! Can you tell us a little bit about your vision for Goldsnap?
We feel it’s time for something new to happen on the scene. A place where girls can go every Thursday to dance till they sweat, with other girls. It’s pretty simple. That’s all I’ve ever wanted from a girl’s night – good music, good vibes and dancing.
Where did the inspiration for the name come from?
We all met through VDubz back in 2014. VDubz was bartending in a basement joint in Dalston and DJ Dibs played a set that basically blew her away. So VDubz fed her rum and coke until DJ Dibs was convinced to come over and do a jam session. VDubz brought Mwen along and it was so electric that VDubz’s house burned down a couple weeks later. True story.
If you could change anything about queer nightlife in London, what would it be?
If anything, it would be more QTIBPOC (Queer, Trans*, Inter*, Black and People of Colour) spaces. We want a night which plays something for everyone, we’re setting out to create a space where everything comes together, the music, the queer, the funk & the fun.
If you had a time machine and could do dancing anywhere/ anywhen, where would you go?
Dj Dibs: Definitely back to the 70s when no one gave a shit. Music was at its peak, everyone had to dance and hairy guys were in – lol.
Mwen: Any time a new scene emerged like hip-hop or jungle/drum ‘n’ bass. I remember when dubstep was emerging. Those early moments in a scene when a few artists are doing something really interesting and exciting I think are golden. Working outside the paradigm of popular music is such a hard thing to do and I think there is something magical when you witness it happening.
VDubz: Back to the Golden Age of hip hop: the nineties. The style was everything, the lyrics were on point – Fresh Prince, A Tribe Called Quest, VH1, MTV… I find it all terribly romantic.
What is your favourite track of the year so far?
Dibs: Am I Wrong by Anderson Paak. It’s a party track but also soothing at the same time.
Mwen: Missy Elliot’s WTF. I’ll be playing that tune a lot I think…
VDubz: Beyonce’s Formation. We slay!
And one track you can’t wait to drop at Goldsnap?
Dibs: Afrikan Lady by Aina More
Mwen: I can’t wait to drop a few garage classics…you’ll have to wait and find out which ones though…
VDubz: Rewind by Kelela
Catch the Dibs, VDubz & Mwen at the premiere of Goldsnap on Thursday 31 March at Dalston Superstore from 9pm-2:30am!
For the last two years at Dalston Superstore, Dirty Diana‘s tear-away club kids, hellafied homos and their gorgeous homies have been stomping in the darkness of the laser basement. The heaving bodies were brought together by their debauched sense of creativity and their uninhibited self exploration. Thanks to the killer, throbbing soundtrack presented by the incredible team of rotating DJs and performers, we have seen some serious magic over the last two years. In honour of the final Dirty Diana at Superstore, we caught up with the crew to talk about what DD has meant to them, and to hear some of the top tracks that had the laser basement screaming for more.
Dirty Diana is the type of party you grow to love. She celebrates being and thinking outside the box. She is a community where you are celebrated for being the fierce individual that we all have the potential to be. A place where everyone is welcome.
The beats you hear at Dirty Diana take you all over the spectrum from the fiercest house and underground techno to c*nty ballroom chic in the basement. Upstairs you get the latest in trap, bounce and underground hip hop in the Banjee Bar; with regular live performances from up and coming queer hip hop acts, guest go-go dancers and performance artists from New York City, Paris and Berlin. Dirty Diana serves and never fails to deliver.
Resident basement DJ, Frank.co Harris reflects on his unfathomable ability for tearing up the Laser basement: I literally get to play tracks from the stateside gay/ballroom scene and incorporate it into the ballsy techno and underground sounds that East London has come to appreciate. These kids literally dance, scream and slap the walls with excitement. You don’t get that energy at too many other parties.
Join us at the final Dirty Diana at Dalston Superstore – DD XV – on Friday 31 July from 9pm-5am.
How Do I Look: Talking Ballroom with Wolfgang Busch
By Whitney Weiss
Documentary filmmaker/activist Wolfgang Busch started life managing bands in Germany, relocated to New York in the 1980s, and leapt right into nightlife and activism, the latter of which still keeps him busy on a daily basis. How Do I Look, his look into the voguing community of New York, is a deliberately constructed counterpoint to Paris is Burning and a selection at this year’s Fringe Film Festival. Ahead of the screening, he spoke candidly about New York in the ’80s and his experience with the politics of queer subcultures.
How were you first introduced to the ballroom scene in New York?
In 1987, I saw my first ball by accident at the New York club Traxx. It was an Xtravaganza ball, and I experienced the magic of Dorian Corey, Pepper Labeija, Avis Pendavis and voguing legends Jose and David Ian Xtravaganza. I was so mesmerized and I remember saying to myself that I would love to work with this community one day.
In 1989, I created the New York Promoters League of NYC club promoters to raise funds for local charities and was introduced to Mike Stone, the youngest gay black promoter in NYC club history. We became friends and I learned about the discrimination in NYC clubs. At that time I was a club promoter and booking agent for the Limelight and I had access to all the clubs in Manhattan. I helped Mike to find clubs for his parties and we did parties together. Mike introduced me to the Ballroom icon/historian/activist/living legend Kevin Omni. Kevin educated me about ballroom history and introduced me to many icons and legends. I learned that the documentary Paris is Burning was rejected by the ballroom historians and many icons because of its imbalance and because it portrayed the community as thieves, prostitutes and drug users. Unfortunately, the public is not aware of this, because many people in the ballroom community have been selling out the community for personal gain and they continue to promote this film, which left behind many scars. Ballroom historians understand the positive in this film, but the exploitative elements in this film still affect this community.
And how did you decide to make a documentary about the ballroom scene?
Kevin asked me if I would be interested in doing another documentary about the ballroom community that would be cultural and educational. We had many meetings at the LGBT community center in NYC, which was attended by ballroom hall-of-famers Octavia St. Laurent, David Ultima, Junior LaBeija, Marcel Christian and Kevin Omni. We talked about what they wanted How Do I Look to be and we had many screenings to let the community know of the direction of the film and they gave me input at every step of the way. Nobody signed the agreement until the film was completed.. This is a rather unusual way of making a film, but due to the situation with Paris is Burning and the fact that Jeannie Livingston was sued by Octavia St. Laurent.
After its release, How Do I Look won best documentary and a Humanitarian Award from the Diaspora Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. It was screened worldwide.
Your approach to documentary filmmaking is about providing a spotlight for particular cultural communities. What inspired you to want to tell these stories?
My background was in entertainment. While I was growing up in Germany I worked as a DJ and a sound engineer touring mostly in Germany and Austria. The band Crypton I was working for had a black singer, Michelle from Boston, and I became the negotiator for her, because of my English-speaking background. I always had an attraction to the outrageous entertainers going back when I was as a booking agent at the Limelight in the 1980s. I moved to New York in my twenties and was very much attracted to the diversity of music that the city had to offer and the existence of its subcultures and underground movements. I was many times the only white boy in black and hispanic clubs. I wanted to know what makes a trend-setting community like the ballroom community or the leather community.
During my time as a club promoter, booking agent and TV producer, I learned about the entertainment industry in New York City and learned about the disrespect and exploitation towards the artists, which was the opposite of what my experience was in Germany. I couldn’t get over the fact that the entertainment industry is so horrible towards artists, so I decided to kiss the corporate entertainment industry goodbye. I got involved in the Gay Lesbian American Music Awards (GLAMA), OutMusic, the Arts Project and Community Center on Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove and The Imperial Court of NY. I wanted to build an infrastructure and fight for justice and empowerment while promoting natural artistic progression.
I know that you have definitely strong feelings about Paris is Burning. Plenty of people in the new ballroom scene have referenced the movie as something that they like, as something that introduced them to that world.
Right, there’s a motivation to do that because if they associate themselves with this film, which is internationally known, that’s how they then get gigs. I had conversations with these DJs and they will not quote the negativity from that, they will only talk about the positive side, they completely ignore what really leaves the scars behind. It’s unfortunate when you deal with a disenfranchised community, if you really understand what disenfranchised means, is that for a dollar they sell out their mother. And when you really understand the black community, with the history, with the slavery, so once you understand that whole part, then you then also understand that more educated people who support Paris Is Burning and support The Latex Ball and support the AIDS agencies, these are all people that are really only doing it to benefit financially and personally. It’s really unfortunate, and it’s so widespread now but only amongst the people who either benefit or the people that are like really on drugs and they really don’t care.
Then of course what also happened with the AIDS agencies, and if you look at How Do I Look, people speak very critically of the AIDS agencies. And because I included that in the film, it was rejected by GMHC and the local AIDS agencies because, you know, they looked at that as some kind of attack towards their agency because people were telling the truth. So part of the reason why How Do I Look was never successful commercially is because it was blacklisted by these AIDS agencies. It makes sense. So, you know, you can see how they use their social status, these agencies, to boycott or blacklist or interfere with the arts or the truth and manipulation and all that comes into play. And that’s really really unfortunate.
So in New York right now, who is throwing balls and who in the scene do you feel is really embodying the more sincere spirit for voguing?
There’s this disconnect between the old school and new school kids. The old school doesn’t respect the young kids, the young kids don’t respect the old school. So there has been this divide for the longest time, and when I produced the Ballroom Convention focusing on the history, which means more of the old school, it somewhat woke up lots of the old school people wanting to come out again. And then the convention was followed by the Omni Ball, focusing a lot on old school categories, bringing out some of the old school children again and some of the new school kids. That seemed to, somewhat revolutionary and a huge change, bringing back more of the old school categories and traditions. Because the new school kids don’t really have much respect for the old school.
Who in New York do you think is doing good work to help with education without trying to turn taking care of things into a money-making business? Who is the non-profit that you support? Which organizations doing outreach in NY do you think are doing good work and doing work that’s based on helping the community? Who is making a real difference?
They all do good work, it’s not that they aren’t doing good work. They all do good work to an extent, but the question has become ‘at what cost?’ GMHC has food programs and provides condoms, that’s a great service. But on the other hand, they are cutting into the ballroom economics, they created their own subculture so they can continue to get the grants, so that is really the question. They are providing services, but the problem is at what cost. And that, at the end of the day, is the real question here. They are taking advantage of this community. The executive director makes $250,000, the COO makes $200,000, and then she goes to the media and complains because ‘we have to cut food programs for our clients because there were budget cuts.’ But they have $100,000 to produce the Latex Ball and give $5,000 on prize money. They have money for that. I’ve contacted so many people, like C Virginia Fields, she was the Manhattan borough president. The big leaders that we respect, the doctors, all these leaders, they all sell us out because they want to keep their 100,000 or 200,000 jobs and they give each other awards and rewards and parties so they can write about what a fabulous job they’re doing. And it’s nothing but a bunch of crap because they just keep hanging on to these jobs and exploiting communities and completely take advantage of it. And this is what it really comes down to. These respected people are the biggest sell-outs of the community.
Do you think that underground communities like the ballroom scene will still be flourishing there in 15 years, or have things actually started to gentrify and change so much that working class artists/dancers/musicians/etc will be squeezed out?
The ballroom community with all the challenges it is facing right now with the AIDS agencies will continue to survive, because of its infrastructure it has created. Because of the discrimination and class divide in this country, they have to stick together and help each other, because they have all odds against them.
In regards of making a dollar on their art? Now more people have the opportunity to travel and teach voguing. Is this enough, of course not, but when I look into the future and after the AIDS agencies will be no longer be able to divide the community and will no longer cut into the ballroom economy, the ballroom community will have a new beginning and hopefully with the right leadership, it will find its representation and support on the highest cultural and educational levels. I am so grateful that I am playing a part in this change now.
How Do I Look screens this Sunday 9th November at the Rose Lipman Building as part of Fringe Film Festival.
All images courtesy of Wolfgang Busch
Dalston based knitwear designer Amy Hall has just launched her latest ss15 collection inspired by acid house and balearic raves. She’s also commissioned this mixtape from Homoelectric resident Jamie Bull based on the pieces in the collection and Amy’s love of old house records!
We sat down with Amy for a chat to find out more about the inspiration behind the collection and her own personal acid house experiences…
What are your earliest acid house memories?
One of my earliest memories is probably the first time I heard Voodoo Ray on pirate radio. I thought it was the best thing I’d ever heard. Imagine my joy when you guys opened Voodoo Ray’s in Dalston!
You’ve woven British threads with British textile history- why is this so important to you personally?
The British textile industry is slowly making a comeback, thanks to demand from British brands and designers breathing new life (and money) into it. It’s a shame it ever had to die out in the first place – apart from a few places dotted across Scotland and the north, for a long while it almost ceased to exist. But now it is beginning to thrive again and this really excites me. Consumers in the UK are becoming increasingly concerned with provenance (especially after what happened in Bangladesh last year) and they’re realising they have significant power to make a difference. The reason it’s important to me, is because I don’t see why good quality clothing needs to impact on a person’s quality of life. It IS possible to produce beautiful clothing that’s made to last without paying someone a pitiful wage and making them work in dangerous conditions. Our knitwear is made by hand, using (mainly) British fibres and should, if you take care of it, last you a lifetime.
What drew you initially to knitwear?
I have knitted for as long as I can remember. My grandmother and my mum taught me when I was a child and I’ve carried on ever since. I graduated with a degree in photography and worked as a photographer for a few years but I lost my passion for it. After that the knitting took over. I realised there was a distinct lack of good quality knitwear available in shops at the time, so I decided to set up my own label, with a strong focus on quality and sustainability.
What’s the best industrial warehouse rave you’ve ever been to?
The best one actually wasn’t in a warehouse, it was on the side of a cliff on the Isle of Wight on a particularly warm and beautiful night, a VERY long time ago…
Which artists soundtracked the design process and were specifically played to inspire?
I actually have Jamie Bull’s mixes on in the studio a lot (more of that in a minute). But specific tracks from that era that I love are Voodoo Ray, LFO, Papua New Guinea, Break of Dawn and a lot of the early Prodigy stuff.
Were you aiming for a more sun-kissed Ibiza beachwear Balearic vibe or a ’90s English summer free-party fashion look?
My plan for the collection started out with a very British rave-y vibe, but as the pieces developed I felt some of them had quite a beachy, summery feel to them, which made me think of Ibiza and the sort of wardrobe you might want while partying there.
Why did you ask Jamie Bull to make your accompanying mixtape?
I have been a big fan of Jamie ever since a friend introduced me to his HomoAerobic mix about four years ago. I have most of his mixes on my iPhone and basically alternate between those and BBC 6music while I’m working. So when I decided to approach someone about a musical collaboration for this collection, he was an obvious choice. I was honoured when he said yes!!
What’s your favourite piece from the collection? And what, for you, is the most wearable piece?
My favourite piece (which is probably the most wearable, too) is the ‘Space’ striped t-shirt dress. It’d look awesome with heels on a night out but works equally well thrown over leather trousers with flats for day. But I actually can’t stop wearing the ‘Halcyon’ wrap cardigan at the moment.
If you had a time machine and could go back to any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would you want to go to?
Bestival 2006, Carl Cox’s old skool set on the Sunday night. It was the perfect way to end a brilliant weekend and the best last night of a festival my mates and I have ever had.
Another one: in Bali, when I was at a beach club and Voodoo Ray (that one again!) came on as the sun came up. Crowd went wild. Amazing night. It may have even been my husband DJing, but my memory is a bit hazy…
What are the plans for your next collection – will you be going further back in time in UK music history and basing it on Northern soul?
Probably not, although this isn’t the first time I’ve been inspired by music when working on a collection. I have already started work on the Winter ’15 collection, but it’s going in a different direction this time. I’ve been looking at some of my archive pieces, but that’s all I can reveal at the moment.
Visit Amy Hall’s website: amy-hall.co.uk
It’s the beginning of the month, which can only mean one thing…! It’s almost time for another Pecker! Special guest Per QX joins Gibson and the Duchess Of Pork in the laser basement whilst the top bar plays host to the madness that is Grizzle. Ahead of Friday’s party we caught up with Pecker poster artist John Lee Bird. With his own exhibition, Before Encore, coming up this month featuring a cast of familiar faces including Grizzle/Pecker duo John Sizzle and A Man To Pet, we decided to quiz him a little on his drawing processes, artistic inspirations and more!
What is your favourite piece of pop art, the piece that defines the style for you?
It has to be Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Simple, bold and brilliantly iconic.
Do you prefer sketching from life or do photos work just as well for you?
I always work from photos, life drawing can be a bit embarrassing, I’m a bit too worried about staring too much…or looking in the ‘wrong’ place!
How long does the average portrait take you? What’s your process?
Once I’ve done the photoshoot I come home and make a simple line drawing, then refine that as I draw it onto the canvas. Some things need changing when you see a small drawing projected up onto a 5 and a half foot canvas, and the projecting process makes it easier for me to be more ruthless or considered with simple lines. They’re really controlled paintings so I like to make mess when I’m mixing up pots of the colours I need. I work for about 12 hours a day over the course of a week to get the paintings completed. Each colour requires at least 3 layers of paint and then the outlines takes about 3 or 4 days to finish. I haven’t got the steadiest hand so I blast out loud music while I paint to take away from the stress!
What are some of your highlights from your latest Before Encore exhibition?
They’re all highlights, I can’t choose a family member over the other… haha!
Why these subjects?
I think they’re the best at what they do. I make a list at the start of each series and start pinning people down for photoshoots and then the list relaxes a bit; I tend to meet someone and then catch someone else performing and fall in love with them too, and as I’m there I rope them into the clan there and then…. so then the list grows. I’ve already written out a list for the next series (the 10 year anniversary of the project) and it features a few people that I wanted to catch with when I first started the project, so I won’t be able to deviate too much this time. 10 years waiting is long enough!
What besides people do you enjoy drawing?
It’s always people really. I’m always sketching faces, or sometimes stupid creatures – depending on how drunk I am.
What outside of art inspires you?
Music and performers and meeting people inspire me. I rarely go to art exhibitions. When I go out it’s to escape my studio so I’d rather go to a gig or see a show. Before Encore is my way of making exhibitions entertaining. I like to see everything happening at once, and especially if you’re showing portraits; people can see the inspiration for the painting in the flesh, doing what they do best!
You’re the designer behind the amazing Pecker posters! Tell us what was the brief, what was A Man To Pet’s input into that brief, and how do you make them sleazier every month?
John Sizzle and A Man To Pet said they wanted something sexy with birds and cocks, some leather, jockstraps and sex, more sex and SEX! So I just started collaging bits together from leather mags and added birds heads, and slapped Sizzle and Pet’s heads (from their Before Encore portraits) onto any naughty bird I could find, it’s basically chicks with dicks (literally) at a leather bar with tongue firmly in butt cheek!
What was the first piece of art that you saw in real life that really touched you?
Watching Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane when it was screened on Channel 4 when I was at school. I then found a book at the library and got completely obsessed. Derek’s films, with Simon Fisher Turner’s soundtracks, and Derek’s art and journals are pure heart-wrenchingly honest and full of sexy/angry joy.
What can we do to get our mitts on your amazing Before Encore tea towels and tote bags?
I’ll be bringing a few to Pecker on the 6th June and handing out some flyers while I have a good gossip with Sizzle and Pet at the DJ booth.
Then they’ll be on sale at the exhibition on the 20th/21st June at The Liquor Store, Stamford Works, Gillett Square, Dalston. Facebook event is here. It’s open to all, everyone is invited!
I’m looking forward to being able to wipe up some dirty dishes with Ma Butcher’s face, who could resist? That should be on everyone’s list of life’s simple pleasures!
Join John Lee Bird, John Sizzle and A Man To Pet this Friday 6th June at Pecker at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.
Visit John Lee Bird’s official website: johnleebird.com
Photo credit: Jonathan Dredge
DALSTON SCREENTESTS EXHIBITION
Exhibition run: February 12th – May 11th, 2014
A two-part exhibition at Dalston Superstore & Stunt Dolly
Curated By: Ryan Lanji & Saskia Wickins
This February curators Ryan Lanji & Saskia Wickins unveil a two-part exhibition celebrating some of Dalston’s cultural icons through a modern interpretation of Andy Warhol’s iconic screen tests.
Between 1964 and 1966 in his studio known as ‘The Factory’ in New York City, Andy Warhol created over five hundred screen tests featuring anyone he deemed to have ‘star potential’
These silent film portraits not only remain a testament to his eye for celebrity but acted as a time capsule for the cultural fabric of New York in the sixties.
Dalston has been an area infused with creativity due to its continuous support for art and music. Over the past years it’s undeniable that this unique district of north-east London has unknowingly had the same Warholian effect on ostracised creatives in search for a home and an outlet for their eccentricities. Landmarks such as Dalston Superstore and new additions like Stunt Dolly have championed the heritage of Dalston and understand its strength as a culturally mosaic community.
Dalston Screentests will act as a two-part exhibition inviting eight of Dalston’s most iconic creatives to Stunt Dolly hair salon where they will be captured in a screen test. The silent film portraits will then be unveiled in Stunt Dolly and continue to Dalston Superstore where screen printer Cassandra Yap will transform the short portraits into artworks fusing Warhol, Dalston and it’s championed creatives.
The exhibition will run from February 12th till May 11th and is free for the public.
PRIVATE VIEW: ITINERARY
PART I: The Screen Tests
Feb 12th 2014 – 6-8pm at Stunt Dolly Hair Salon
PART II: The Screen Prints
February 12th 2013 – 9pm – late
RSVP TO: email@example.com
The Curator’s invite the exhibition spectators to walk as a collective to the second part of the private view creating a ‘Dalston Procession’.
Our founder lived in the area and was a teacher. She heard about some great projects in other areas that used volunteers from the local community to support children’s learning with extra one-to-one attention, and thought – Hackney people can be those people!
Because we have so many amazing people here who have both time and talent to give. There are so many resources hidden in our local community and we believe that we can untap them to support local young people.
If you could pick a song that sums up the ethos of the Hackney Pirates what would it be?
The Go Team! – The Power Is On
Fairly soon we will be moving into a four storey building on Kingsland High Street (and just opposite Dalston Superstore). We’ve “popped up” in seven different locations since we started so we’re incredibly excited to be granted a permanent home for The Hackney Pirates. It will allow us to expand the work that we do with schools and young people as well as try out some new things, like an event space and Shop of Adventures.
Is it ship-shape(d)?
Yes! The current designs have the workshop space in the basement as an underwater cave environment with all kinds of sea life and giant octupuses. The ground floor will be the main deck and the upper floors will be reaching up the mast. They’re just designs at the moment, but we are pretty sure it’s going to look great.
In your Indiegogo crowdfunding video for it, the kids asked local residents about adventures… what was the best one you heard?
Our neighbour from the local corner shop who told us with glowing eyes about an amazing trip she did a couple of years ago. Adventures makes people smile!
What’s the response been like from the community?
How did you guys come to work with the English Disco Lovers for this event?
And sum up in one sentence why the Hackney Pirates need our donations…
Because all children deserve the chance to do well at school and to develop the skills they need for the real world (and because learning should always be a grand adventure)!
Juggling leadership of the LGBT group, a long-distance relationship with Kelly, his Paris-based girlfriend from Louisiana , and the problems behind the scenes at Outrageous Fortune, the gay bar managed by Ben’s ex-boyfriend, are all par for the course.
Will Ben retain the confidence of his bondage-loving boss, survive the humiliation of his mother dating a toy boy, navigate the shoals of relationship challenges, and keep his career alive in the face of hard partying?
Turn again, Ben. A lot will happen within earshot of the bells of St-Mary-le-Bow.”
Join TEDxHackney tomorrow daytime at our neighbours the Arcola Theatre for their next SOLD OUT event! To win a pair of tickets just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “TEDXHACKNEY TICKETS PLEASE!” by 4pm today to be in with a chance.
*Only the winning entrant will be contacted. You must be available from 11am-5pm Saturday 29th June and able to get to Dalston.
Here’s the list of confirmed speakers…
The Barefoot Doctor
The Barefoot Doctor, Stephen Russell is an acclaimed and controversial interpreter of the philosophy and the methods of the ancient Taoist warrior-sages. Working across all platforms he teaches how these may be best deployed to ameliorate the human condition from the inside out. He’s dedicated nearly 50 years to his specialty, has authored 17 books, including HANDBOOK FOR THE URBAN WARRIOR, produces ‘psychoactive’ electronic dance music, and founded the ‘conscious clubbing’ movement. He is an avid bridge-builder between the worlds of esoteric study and contemporary culture and has a following of millions around the world. www.barefootdoctorglobal.com @BarefootDoctor
According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in ten children between the ages of one and 15 has a mental health disorder and it is reckoned that 1 in 4 will experience some form of depression or anxiety at some point in their childhood. Erika founded Karisma Kidz a company that coaches children through their problems, helping them to learn to manage and counter any difficulties they are facing or having to deal with using play. Erika specialises in cutting-edge techniques that embrace Quantum Physics, Epigenetics, Noetic Science and Energy. Having spent 14 years in Education, Parenting and Family Support and Performance Improvement (Triple P, Strengthening Families, F.A.S.T and Nurturing Links) she decided to follow her passion for working with people at the subconscious level and delve into the world of Energy Work and Psychology. She qualified as an EFT Master Practitioner and Trainer (AAMET), NLP Master Practitioner and Coach (ABNLP), META Medicine Health Coach, Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner, PSYCH–K advanced facilitator and is an accredited Heartmath provider of workshops and training. www.karismakidz.co.uk/about-us/ @ErikaBrodnock
Inua is an award winning poet and performer, a writer with a style influenced by classic literature and hip hop, by Keats as it is by MosDef. Rooted in a love for rhythm and language, he crosses 18th century romanticism and traditional story telling with contemporary diction, loose rhythm and rhyme. 2009 saw the debut of his first play ‘The 14th Tale’, which toured nationally, scooping a prestigious Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before returning to London for a sold-out run at the Cottesloe, National Theatre. His second play toured nationally for 30 dates including 2 weeks at Soho Theatre in October 2010. @InuaEllams
Dr James Giles is a philosopher and psychologist, holds a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, and is Lecturer in the University of Cambridge Institute for Continuing Education. He has taught at several universities in Canada, Australia, Guam, Hawaii, and Denmark, and has also travelled widely through India, China, South-East Asia, and the Pacific. Giles’ writings on philosophical psychology, metaphysics, and human relationships, are much discussed. He is best known for his version of the no-self view of personal identity, the naked love theory of human evolution, the vulnerability and care theory of love, and the idea of sexual desire as an existential need. Author to several works, including The Nature of Sexual Desire, Giles’ is typically interdisciplinary and intercultural in his research, drawing on such areas as philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and biology, while exploring their expression in different cultures. Only through such an approach, argues Giles, can we hope to understand the human condition. Giles is a long-term teacher and practitioner of yoga. @jamesgiles33
Ian is the Creative Director and Partner of technology company Zolmo. Since joining in 2010, Ian has led the creative for the Apple Design Award-winning apps for Jamie Oliver, some of the top-grossing, top-rated apps for iPhone and iPad, with over 8 million downloads. Three years later, Zolmo has been ranked in Design Week’s Top 50 Design Consultancies. After graduating best-of-show from university with acclaimed short animated film Solar, he joined leading visual effects company The Mill as an art director, designing commercials for Audi, Nokia and game trailers for Sony. Ian is also a regular speaker on creativity and the mobile industry and contributed to the best-selling Mobile and App Case Study Book. He is a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, serving on juries for the D&AD Student Awards, Webby Awards and Art Directors Club. Ian takes an active role in championing youth in creativity. @ianwharton
Jamie created The Irrepressibles, a ten-member orchestral ensemble described by The Sunday Times as “an enchantingly theatrical pop extravaganza.” Brilliant interpreters of the cabaret tradition, they blend cutting edge fashion, contemporary electronica and gay iconography. With successful spectacular productions at the Southbank Centre, Barbican, Cite De La Musique in Paris, Holland Festival, and many other celebrated homes for innovative artists, The Irrepressibles have established themselves as blazing young talents in the world of international performing arts. The Irrepressibles recently continued their reputation as creators of arresting images with the video for their last single, ”Two Men In Love”. The video has had over 50,000 viewings– despite Youtube censoring the video with an ‘Over 18 only” for its depiction of men kissing men, women kissing women. Their third album, the self-released, ‘’Nude’’ received rave reviews including the Independent who called the record ‘”An act of bravery in a cowardly world.” www.facebook.com/TheIrrepressibles @Irrepressibles
Alexa is an American artist best known for her painted portraits. However, she works on an unusual canvas: the actual human body. And she takes a classical concept — trompe l’oeil, the art of making a two-dimensional representation look three-dimensional—and turns it on its head. Her aim is to do the opposite, to collapse depth and make her living models into flat pictures. The result is walking, talking optical illusions, 3D paintings that confuse how the eye processes objects in space.
David Knight is a designer, author, and director of the architectural practice DK-CM. Concerned with the production of the built environment, David’s work spans design, criticism, research and activism. He teaches architecture at Kingston University and the Royal College of Art, where he is currently also working on a PhD called ‘Making Planning Popular’, and he has lectured, exhibited and published widely. David co-authored ‘SUB-PLAN: A Guide to Permitted Development’ (published 2009) and has recently written for Domus, Architecture Today, and Building Design. DK-CM is currently working on a new town square in the interwar suburb of Barkingside and a series of public realm improvements in Southall. @knight_david
Jaime Rodney of Brooklyn, New York began his dance training at age nine at the Eliot Feld Ballet Tech program. He later attended LaGuardia H.S for Performing Arts and received his B.F.A in dance from S.U.N.Y Purchase University. He is the recipient of The Eiger four year dance scholarship as well as the Bert Terborg Dance award. Professional credits include Ballet Black (UK), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (US), Metropolitan Opera (US), Tania Perez Salas Compania de Danza (MX), The Lion King (DE), Hairspray (DE), Setsuko Kawaguchi Ballet (JP) and WOW (IL). He has also performed in various other productions and festivals through the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. As a Producer, he has worked with theatre company Dante or Die, writer Harold Finley and is in the process of producing his own solo work. He is currently completing his MA Creative Producing degree at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama.
24 Ashwin Street
London, E8 3DL
June 29th, 2013 11:00am-5:00pm
Keep up to date with all the TEDxHackney event on Facebook.
This Friday pop down to the V & A Museum in South Kensington for a little taste of Dalston Superstore at their Dalston Takeover! You can sample one of our delicious cocktails, the aptly named Hackney Iced Tea, and watch a video shot by the wonderful Kenny Campbell at our bi-monthly B(e)ast night from the lovely Borja Peña.
Also showcasing for this special Friday Late event will be our neighbours The Arcola Theatre, Dalston Roof Park, Cafe OTO, Stunt Dolly, the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and loads more!
For the full list and info of Dalston based companies and venues appearing at the V&A’s Friday Lates Dalston Takeover visit the website: www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/f/friday-late
Join the Facebook event for the V&A’s Friday Lates Dalston Takeover this Friday 28th June from 6pm – 10pm at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington.