Crazy Legs

Crazy-Legs

Congratulations to breaking pioneer Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón of the legendary Rock Steady Crew who was honored at McDonalds B-Boy Royale today with a Lifetime Achievement Award. I took these photos of Crazy Legs in 1983 at the Roxy.

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Straight Outta Compton

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I shot this photo of NWA in 1990 in Torrance, The band were recording, we were out on the street outside the studio when I saw a cop car, flagged it down and asked if we could take a shot with the car. I don’t think the cop knew who the band were. After seeing the movie I am even more aware, why they may have seemed a little nervous. ‘Fuck Tha Police” seems all the more relevant today. The ‘Straight Outta Compton’ movie is great. Actors who play Eazy E and Ice Cube (Cube’s son in real life) are amazing. If you are an NWA fan go see it.

 

New Edition

 

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In 1983 I went to Boston to photograph the group New Edition for the cover of their British release of the single Candy Girl. We went to their school in Boston where I took this shot.

The group was formed in 1978 by childhood friends Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins,Ricky Bell, Travis Pettus and Corey Rackley, all of whom were living in the Orchard Park housing projects in Boston. They took the name New Edition to signify they were a new edition of the Jackson 5.

They were spotted at a talent show by by singer/producerMaurice Starr, he decided to bring the group to his studio the following day to record what would become their debut album, Candy Girl. Released in 1983 on Starr’s Streetwise Records, the title track went to number one on both the American R&B singles chart and the UK singles chart.

Returning from their first major concert tour, the boys were dropped off back at their homes in the projects and were each given a check in the amount of $1.87. Starr told them tour budget and expenses had taken up all their money. They parted company with Starr in 1984 (Starr responded by promptly creating the group New Kids on the Block( essentially a white teenage New Edition).

 

France

In Montpelier, France decided to take a walk. Met this man ( below) a Moroccan singer called King Habib, he invited me into his house for a cup of mint tea. I learn later he is believed to be the local drug dealer and pimp.

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Talked to the ‘King of the Gipsies’ in the market, photographed him and his son.

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The Jam

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Pete Townsend said; ‘The Jam were a very real manifestation of the kind of band I would have wanted to be in myself’.”

An exhibition ‘The Jam – About The Young Idea” just opened at Somerset House in London, the band symbolized life for Britain’s disenchanted youth during the late 70s and early 80s. I photographed them several times and documented their farewell concert in Brighton which ran in Melody Maker in 1982 (below).

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Tuff City

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Last weekend I went to take a– portrait of CES the legendary graffiti and tattoo artist at his spot ‘Tuff City’ in the Bronx. The place is great, tattoo artists work on their clients in individual train cars, they have a recording studio upstairs, and next door is a yard for graffiti artists to paint. It seemed to me like the “Cheers” of graffiti – people drop by to chat, paint and hang out. On  rainy day I bumped into legends LAVA, TRIKE, BIDS, BOOTS, CHECKER170,BOT707,HEZE and KEYS shooting the breeze in the yard.

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Welling Court Mural Project

 

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The annual Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria Queens near 30th Ave and 12th Street took place in June this year. On a hot summer’s day over 100 artists came to paint. It all started in 2009 when residents approached Ad Hoc Art gallery owner Garrison Buxton to inquire about sprucing up the neighborhood.
What started with 44 murals has now grown to 130. The artists donate their time, and in some cases materials, other supplies are donated by local businesses. Buxton gets permission from property owners to turn their buildings into a canvas. Artists from all over the world come to paint the walls of industrial buildings in the neighborhood . If your passion is ‘Bob Marley’ then bring your kid and paint a mural, if you are an OG come paint a wall with old friends. This year artists such as Greg Lamarche, Lady Pink & Smith, Cey Adams, Queen Andrea, and Meres of 5 Poitnz fame all came to see old friends and paint. Meres-5Pointz

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Take the 6 train

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Compelled to take a photograph of these guys on the 6 train platform tonight at Union Square.

Streetbird Harlem

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Take the B train to 116 street and Frederick Douglas Blvd. Marcus Samuelsson’s new spot Streetbird is (to quote reggae artist Dr Alimentado) ” The best dressed chicken in town” . The restaurant feels like home – thanks to the lovely staff, decor echoing the Harlem hip hop street vibe and a few of my photos on the walls. Food is off the hook, street flavors, rotisserie chicken, mac and cheese, corn bread and great cocktails.

Nona Hendryx at Harlem Stage

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Last night Nona Hendryx sang “Strange Fruit’ as part of the Harlem Stage Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf Tribute. It was a stunning bone chilling performance with intense vocal backup by the the singer Kiki Hawkins.. Other great performances by Women of the World and Joey Arias.

Thankful and relieved to hear that 6 officers have been charged in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.