Last Night Some Kind of Urban Art Expo @ Parking Lot Outside the Old Snowboard Connection in Pioneer Square
posted by August 28 at 12:33 PMon
Mural by Jeff Jackson and Joe Nichol of Writers Union
Last Sunday, riding the 54 on Highway 99 out to West Seattle, I cruised above the parking lot beside the old Snowboard Connection downtown and noticed a bunch of mural walls set up and a slew of painters going at them with spray cans. Turns out the people I was hanging with in West Seattle knew the folks putting on this tragically under-promoted urban art festival, so on our way back into the city we stopped in to check out the scene.
I’m really glad we did—this grass-roots gathering of grafitti art and hiphop music turned out to be a super cool, low-key event. It was a beautiful evening, and 100 or so folks milled around the parking lot, checking out the murals, listening to DJs spin records, and just hanging out in the downtown outdoors. Across the street, a bunch of Seattle hiphop notables were using the Pioneer Square Saloon as a de-facto beer garden, hanging outside smoking and listening to the music from the parking lot. And some great art was being produced—the Writers Union guys were telling me of their all-spray can, commissioned mural at the Microsoft offices. When the cops stopped at the curb it wasn’t because of a noise complaint but because they wanted to talk so some artists about getting murals done in their homes.
Murder Dice by Edd Cox
The always-entertaining Murder Dice and his band played a fun set; dude’s more of a Curtis Mayfield soul slinger than usual MC. He raps, he sings, he saunters through the crowd in a supremely fly baby blue suit while the rest of the band swings on funk and soul grooves. It’s hard not to love what he does.
Mr. Lif by my crappy cell phone camera
As small as it was, the crowd was loving the vibe. And then when Mr. Lif took the stage—REALLY? Like, who knew? The organizers paid the expense of flying dude out from the East Coast, holy shit—people really went nuts. Lif is an underground hero and performer’s MC, working the crowd, changing up lyrics, spitting rapid-fire but always enunciating impeccably. Outside in a parking lot, on this tiny stage, with a tiny crowd, he ran shit and made for one of the rawest, purest hiphop moments I’ve had in a while: me and 20 or so hardcores bouncing around the front of the stage, giving pounds to Lif, rocking out to his music.* He ran through a few new songs, had the crowd chanting “Word up!” like a bunch of old-schoolers, and went out with everyone singing along to “I Phantom.”
The whole affair deserves props, from its cool downtown setting to some great graf art to a paint-splattered fashion show to a surprisingly kickass lineup. Organizers Jen Vertz and Shaina Foley plan on going bigger with the thing next year, so keep an eye out—they’re doing good things. (Even if I had no idea their good thing was even happending, or what the heck it was called.)
* This comes after the full-frontal bullshit swagger flinged by Mickey Avalon and his lame-ass wannabe opening act on Friday night. What an affront to hiphop… fuck, it was just an affront to anything of any substance whatsover. I won’t even try to call what those clowns do hiphop. Low-rent fronting for college age hipsters and glam-trash groupies in training is more like it. With really weak beats, too.