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Art Collection Review — The Dean Collection Present’s: Deluxx Fluxx

SWIZZ BEATZ AND THE DEAN COLLECTION INVITE YOU TO EXPERIENCE DELUXX FLUXX – A SITE-SPECIFIC INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION THAT COLLAGES IMAGERY, SOUND, LO-FI GAMING, AND HIGH TECHNOLOGY CREATED BY THE BROOKLYN-BASED ARTIST DUO FAILE & BAST.

The Dean Collection

Tonight we went to Swizz Beatz‘ Deluxx Fluxx presented by The Dean Collection. For the uninitiated uncultured dilettante,

“The Dean Collection, founded by legendary music artists Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Alicia Keys, is a contemporary, family art collection focused on the support of living artists. In addition to being custodians of great artworks, TDC develops platforms that encourage progress in all facets of artistic practice.”

Art by Faile

Thursday night’s gallery was presented by local NYC artists, Faile and Bast. Deluxx Fluxx obscures the lines between artist and consumer, and viewer and participant in an attempt to recapture the recent history of the Lower East Side as a haven for anti-elitist art practices such as graffiti and punk rock. It blends elements from the golden age of arcades, 80s-era basements, and the visual culture of nightclubs. It features the arcade’s signature day-glo palette and ten custom video game installations. Its simultaneously an interactive art project and an active performance venue.

The entire venue was an interactive visual delight. People were encouraged to dress in black-light accentuated clothing. People were dressed in neon’s with neon hair and danced like fools all night. It was a magical place. A place where the beer flowed like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talkin’ bout a little place called… Deluxx Fluxx.

One lady (CLEARLY married and out for the night) wanted a piece of anything with a Y chromosome. We even found her in a crowded men’s bathroom at one point trying to prove she’s still got it. Slow down Ma. Chill.

A master at work

Our homie Swizz was dressed to impress and started a lively DJ set right on time. He spun old school two step classics, NY staples like HOV, Nas, and Biggie, and a few choice tracks from his legendary catalog of hits. Swizz was more than gracious and allowed fans to take pictures and videos with him before encouraging people to put away their phones and really enjoy the experience. But that was short lived because all hell broke loose when his boo Alicia Keys hit the booth.

Looking effortlessly gorgeous, Alicia danced and encouraged the people to have fun. Phones and cameras are nice, but its not often that you get a chance to party with legends as gracious and humble as Swizz Beats and Alicia Keys. People really started to dance and make use of the entire space. Swizz’s pops even hit the floor and joined in the fun. It was a family affair for sure.

If I Ain’t Got You…

This event was one in a million. Keep your eyes open because there are always amazing events like this if you know where to look. DJ set or not, we encourage everyone to experience more of NYC’s art scene. You never really know what you’ll run into.

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“I’m Not Black, I’m Tiger.”

          Last week, Tiger Woods completed one the greatest comebacks in sports as he won The Masters Golf Tournament after an 14 year hiatus and several knee & back surgeries. Many in the sports world told Woods to hang it up. Many said he’d never win ever again and that he was washed. Woods proved everyone wrong by reconstructing his golf game from the ground up. The result was an epic and historic win at the biggest tournament in the sport.

Today, Woods will visit his good friend Donald Trump at the White House to receive the highest honor that a civilian can be awarded, The Presidential Medal of Freedom. People are understandably upset that Woods is going and isn’t using this as a chance to take a stand against all the fucked up shit that Trump has done in his 2 years in office, but looking at the bigger picture, Woods has never stood up for big issues (in the black community or otherwise). This isn’t surprising considering he’s good friends with Michael “Republicans buy Jordans too” Jordan.

Why do we even care? We’ve always known who Tiger Woods is (even if Elin Nordgren didn’t). Do we expect too much of athletes? Black athletes especially?

I’m not Black, I’m O.J.!

O.J. Simpson

F. Dougie: Look, people can do whatever they want. I don’t think that we should be propping people up as heroes and telling them how to live or engage with the black community….But when you have Colin Kaepernick out here giving up his career to speak up for black people, when you Have LeBron James out here always speaking up for the black community and trying to empower us and emulating the example of Ali….. Visiting the biggest catalyst for the rise in white nationalism and hate crimes this century makes you look like an Uncle Tom.

“I’ve always wanted to say this….For Shizzle!”

– Dave Chappelle as Tiger Woods

Considering how many championship sports team have declined to go to the White House citing Trump’s racism, this presents itself as an opportunity for Trump to align himself with a popular athlete. I just see this as a lost opportunity and shame that Trump can once again use a black prop to show himself as a champion for black people when all the while he’s been winking and nodding at white supremacists.

Idris Gray: You’re right. People should be able to do whatever they please. I’m actually not mad at all about the honor I think it recognises the impact that Tiger has had on Sports. He’s basically the MJ of golf right? But I’m just being consistent. I didn’t want to see NFL or NBA champs in the White house because of the Don, and I don’t want to see Tiger in there either. You’ve stated the reasons already. He is a clearly the representation of hate for minorities. He’s also a misogynist. I don’t really see how anyone could want to associate themselves with him knowing his opinion of people who look like us. Perhaps this honor is too big an honor to boycott? But that’s exactly why I think that refusing to participate in the ceremony would send waves.

I often wonder about the idea of selflessness when things like this come up. Perhaps Tiger doesn’t feel at all slighted about the various things that Donald Trump has said and done in the past. Maybe he doesn’t identify with the various groups that have been impacted by the hate his presidency has encouraged. But at some point you still need acknowledge the problem even if you don’t feel them directly yourself. That’s why that O.J quote you mentioned is very problematic. The fame and wealth that you’ve created as an athlete shields you from the plight of average black man. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

What do you guys think?

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Avengers: Endgame — Movie Review (Spoiler Free)

Runtime: 3 Hours and 2 Minutes

Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo

Starring:
Robert Downey Jr.
Chris Evans
Mark Ruffalo
Chris Hemsworth
Scarlett Johansson
Jeremy Renner
Don Cheadle
Paul Rudd
Brie Larson
Karen Gillan
Danai Gurira
Bradley Cooper
Josh Brolin

The Universe has been Balanced

We finally made it. We reached the end of Marvel’s Infinity Saga. The most ambitious and successful cinematic universe ever created on film. The reviews are glowing (96% Positive Reviews with a 94% Audience Rating as of this article’s writing) and the film broke damn-near every record imaginable by making $1.2 Billion in its opening weekend. You guys know the story by now.

When Marvel Studios launched Iron Man in 2008, they did so in the Marvel comic book style of storytelling beginning a 12-year epic saga (Imagine Game of Thrones or Harry Potter for comic movies). The creators and producers wanted to create a world in the movies that mirrored the Marvel Comics. Not a world where new characters would just appear in sequel after sequel, but a cinematic experience where those stories would work was as their own tales but also work towards a larger goal. A world where Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, and Captain Marvel could just drop by unannounced. In the comic world, these characters and stories were often tied together into larger overarching stories to tell a massive publishing wide epics.

“Whatever it takes…”

We personally recommend the following:

House of M – $17.99

Civil War – $17.99

Planet Hulk– $18.99

Secret Wars– $14.99

Siege – $15.99

Spider-Island – $23.99

Infinity– $29.99

Spider-Verse– $29.99

Secret Empire– $26.99

Their first goal was to introduce the world to several stand-alone superheroes and bring them together as the world’s greatest superhero team. The Avengers. The film was the biggest movie of its time and began Phase 2 of the next 8 years of storytelling. We came to grow with and love these characters. We watched their journeys and immersed ourselves in one of the most unique movie-going experiences ever created.

“We’re in the endgame, now”

Dr. Strange / infinity war

Years of character growth and development, seeding plot, easter eggs, hints, reveals, and meticulous planning has gone into this finale. The main actors contracts are up and it’s time for someone else to begin a new story. At this point, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America are as iconic as Christopher Reeves was as Superman. As fans, we’ve been loyal and patient. We’ve wanted an ending and some closure, but we’ve also been on the edge of our seats waiting to find out if the good guys can save the day.

Without spoilers, what did we think of the film and experience?

F. Dougie: You already know how I feel.

There were soooo many amazing moments. I feel very rewarded for being a true fan of this experience. We’ve been rewarded for our loyalty. The cast and crew got a great send-off, and the characters were all put in what I think were the right places. We laughed, we cried (I cried), we cheered.

I honestly don’t think something on this scale will ever be pulled off again. The bar has been set. I’ll share this experience with my grandkids. Yes, I’m sure they will make more movies. There is too much money at stake for them not to, but as far as this saga? For me, it was perfect, and nothing will ever take this away from me.

Idris Gray:

I’d consider myself a fan of the genre and a big fan of action movies in general, I’m nowhere near the size fan that Dougie is, but  I’ve enjoyed all of the Marvel films and like everyone I have my favorites. Remember that scene in Winter Soldier where bucky rips the steering wheel off and Falcon just has that “I’m fucked” look on his face? How about Killmonger yell and point is this your king after handling T’challa? Listen there are a million scenes in the past 20+ films that we’ll remember forever, and Endgame just adds a whole lot more to that list.

Without getting into any specifics, there’s just never been a final movie in a series quite like Endgame. It stays true to the spirit of all the prior movies that came before it, while offering up a brand new element that had previously only been touched in a prior movie. They really dove into some new territory here, and it worked. They really did Stan Lee proud with this one.

The Infinity Saga is over and we’re more than satisfied with its conclusion, but we also can’t wait to see what the next generation of filmmakers does with these amazing characters. Here’s to another decade of Marvel movie magic.

Have an avid movie-goer in your circle of friends or family? Make it easier on yourself and gift them Fandango gift cards! (Link Here)

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Cancel Culture is Cancelled

Here’s how the story usually goes. Someone (usually a celebrity) says something racist, bigoted, sexist, or problematic and ends up offending a certain demographic or group of people. Cancel culture takes place and a bloodthirsty mob descends like a plague of locusts to drag, humiliate, and disown the person. Sure, some folks got us fucked up (Roseanne, any one who works for Trump, and our one time hero Kanye West). But are we really jettisoning these people into the sun without further analysis and introspection? Exile them forever for a shortsighted statement?

The problem with cancel culture

Cancel culture perpetuates the idea that one uneducated or wrong opinion invalidates ones entire existence. It assumes that any other contributions you may have are now negated forever.

But there is a huge problem with that method of thinking. If someone does something wrong, and we don’t have a conversation about what they said or why they did something, we are losing an opportunity to educate and potentially improve that person’s viewpoint. And even improve our own. If a racist or sexist person says some outlandish shit and we just cancel them without trying to engage with them, they aren’t learning anything and we’ve likely lost an opportunity to change their minds. Don’t believe us?

Basketball player Kyle Korver is a brilliant example of this. The Utah Jazz guard recently wrote an article for The Player’s Tribune called “Privileged”. Korver’s article has gone viral for stating that white members of society need to have more empathy and should better better allies for people of color. He did a wonderful job of unpacking his white privilege and coming to grips with the fact that his black friends and co-workers are treated differently and thus differently in the same society.

One of the main examples that he exhibited was an interaction that he had with  teammate Thabo Sefolosha after he was arrested and beaten by the police at a club outing:

Anyway — on the morning I found out that Thabo had been arrested, want to know what my first thought was? About my friend and teammate? My first thought was: What was Thabo doing out at a club on a back-to-back??

Yeah. Not, How’s he doing? Not, What happened during the arrest?? Not, Something seems off with this story. Nothing like that. Before I knew the full story, and before I’d even had the chance to talk to Thabo….. I sort of blamed Thabo.

I thought, Well, if I’d been in Thabo’s shoes, out at a club late at night, the police wouldn’t have arrested me. Not unless I was doing something wrong.”

Kyle korver
Kyle Korver and teammate Donovan Mitchell

CANCELLED.

By all internet standards, Kyle Korver should have been cancelled by his teammates right then. But if we cancelled his for his ignorant and unwoke words, he probably would not have learned, and would not have reached greater consciousness by diving into these attitudes with his friends and teammates.

How can I — as a white man, part of this systemic problem — become part of the solution when it comes to racism in my workplace? In my community? In this country?

kyle korver

Cancel Culture and the Criminal Justice System

For us cancel culture is too similar to the criminal justice system. When we throw men and women in jail (often for minor infractions) aren’t we essentially cancelling them?

Often, there is no rehabilitation. When people come out, more often than not, they are worse off then when they went in.

We are giving up on these people and essentially saying, “Hey, you fucked up and we just aren’t going to deal with you any longer. We aren’t going to devote time or energy to you“. Now, prison is prison, but out here we should be trying to educate each other and live together, right? In a nutshell, you’ve given up on that person and you aren’t even going to try to help or rehabilitate them.

We’re all for boycotting for the right causes and not supporting people that are a blight on our society…But to cancel someone completely, to say that they no longer matter as a human being? We don’t know if we’re with that. Let’s draw a line between folks who have committed actual crimes and atrocities, and peers or celebrities who may commit what we deem as problematic infractions. It just devolves turns into bullying and shaming people.

Let he who is without sin, bust the first shots”.

Jesus

Remember Civility? People treat each other like trash for having differences of opinion instead of engaging in discussion and trying to find common ground or educate each other. If anything, we should be cancelling social media.

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Beyonce’s Homecoming

Homecoming

Written, Produced, and Directed by: Beyoncé

Running Time: 137 Mins

         Last night, Beyoncé dropped her Netflix Movie and Live-Album of the same name, “Homecoming”. Both are recordings of her legendary 2018 Coachella performance. Written, directed, produced by the singer, and filmed over eight months, the Netflix special is part concert/documentary with a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to put on a performance of this caliber.

Just in time for Summer cookout season (please check to make sure you’re invited first), make sure you peep B’s rendition of Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go“.

Just had twins. No big deal.

Being two broke boys, we weren’t able to fly to Cali to attend her performance last year, but even after watching this on film, Queen B has a way of leaving you feeling inspired. This was Black Excellence. Unadulterated Blackness. Pride. College Marching Bands. Culture. The embodiment of the Black College experience on full display. For me personally, having attended an HBCU, this truly felt like coming home. Ms. Knowles-Carter nailed it. To give you a sense of why this portion of the show is so important to black people in general, let me give you a quick primer on HBCUs.

Brief History of Black Colleges and Universities

Before the Civil War (yes, we are going that far back) higher education for black people was not a thing. After the war ended, freed slaves were not granted admission to colleges and universities. But, we struggled and we fought, and we found ways to educate ourselves regardless. Black clergy and white allies helped to start smaller schools around the South to educate freed slaves. Howard. Hampton. Fisk. Morehouse. Spellman. More than 100 of these schools are still open to this day (thanks in part to federal funding starting in 1964) and they are known as Historically Black Colleges or Universities, or HBCUs

Why are these schools still important? Well, the United States is still dealing with institutional racism in higher education. Historically, not being admitted to attend segregated colleges and universities, HBCUs were our saving grace during these times. HBCUs are still necessary today because they have been the mainstay of educating African Americans at the college and university levels. Black communities throughout our nation are still being devastated by economic polarization and by racial discrimination endemic to higher education at white institutions and black universities help to educate our people and give us a more level playing field.

Well. That was a lot. So let’s get to the fun stuff.

For those that “don’t understand the big deal about Beyoncé” , and the hero worship shown by her followers, let us break down the shit for you. People love Beyoncé not only because she is an amazing singer and performer, she’s also pure Black Excellence personified. She is unapologetically black and our community feels pride in what she has been able to accomplish. She has ALWAYS put her and our blackness front and center:

Formation –   A black child dances in front of a line of cops wearing SWAT gear, bringing attention to the inequalities that we see in the media and on our streets. Young black children, men and women are gunned down and brutalized on a regular basis. Her message? We see you. And we will stand defiant.

Super Bowl Halftime Show (x2) – Where she paid homage to the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, and Michael Jackson.

Lemonade visual album – in which she recreated images of American wealth and power with black women at the forefront giving us all something to aspire to.

“I have worked very hard to get to the point where I have a true voice and at this point in my life and my career I have a responsibility to do what’s best for the world and not what is most popular.”

Beyoncé
School of Yoncé

“Beychella” was another direct example of black culture on full display. The music. The style. The marching bands. The black college experience. All of it is uniquely ours and to see it on display at the biggest music festival in the world is something special in and of itself.

“Beychella created a safe space for black women and black people alike. She gave us a space where no one felt marginalized.”

Corey Townsend (The Root)

From incorporating Black southern classics like Juvenile and Pimp C to performing a powerful rendition of the black national anthem (Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing), all this comes together to cement this performance into Coachella history. Not only because she was the first black woman to ever headline Coachella (mind boggling), but also because she transformed a historically white and corporate festival into an HBCU homecoming.

Homecoming: The Live Album


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UFC 236: Adesanya and Nigeria do it again

This past weekend we witnessed the UFC fight that has a good chance of going down in history as the best interim title fight of all time. Perhaps even the best title fight period. On a night where the main event included 1 of the top 5 pound for pound fighters in the world and a mixed martial artist with over 20 fight under his belt in the UFC alone, you’d think I was talking about the Holloway and Poirier bout. But you’d be wrong. That greatest of all time title fight was actually the Middleweight fight between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum.

We are huge fans of the UFC, and when any match up is announced that includes Israel Adesanya, we are extremely excited (Especially Idris). This is because Adesanya is a tactician on the feet, the likes of Jon Jones and Conor (whether you like it or not). Adesanya always delivers a compelling match. His last fight with Anderson Silva was originally slated to be a co-main event fight but was changed to a main event after Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum was pulled after a life threatening injury to Whittaker. Needless to say Adesanya delivered.

He managed to out strike Anderson Silva, who is regarded by many to be the best striker to ever fight in the UFC. And sure Silva was past his prime when these two fought, but Adesanya and Silva put on a great fight. Which at the end of the day is what the fans wanted to see. That fight set up this past weekend’s fight with Israel Adesanya facing off against Kelvin Gastelum. And again Adesanya delivered.

In round 1 Kelvin comes out swinging hard, throwing bombs and actually surprises Israel in round one. Nothing too serious but he planted him with a couple shots and put him on notice with how close he gets to Landing a few Haymakers. It’s at this point I realized that this isn’t going to be such an easy fight for Adesanya. Gastelum is faster and stronger than I thought.

In round 2 Israel Adesanya gets comfortable. He attempts several head kicks and sets up his combos a lot better. This is Israel that we’re used to. Really dynamic striking and great head movement.

Round 3 is a bit more of the same for Adesanya, he’s mixing up his striking well going to the legs and the abdomen a Kelvin Gastelum. But that’s mom’s not sleeping either his job is reaching Israel and you can tell that Israel is feeling them. Still, I think at this point I’d Adesanya is winning the match.

Round 4 is it where it gets really interesting! Towards the end of the round, Gastelum catches his opponent with a clean left kick. Israel right under his chin and wobbles him. Calvin has a chance to take real Advantage here but instead of moving forward with more punches he looks for the clinch?! This is probably where Kelvin lost the match, as this was his biggest opening to take his Israel out.

In round 5 is where Israel Adesanya cemented himself as a star! After some forward pressure from Kelvin, Israel to the surprise of most everyone in the bar traps Gastelum in a guillotine. Calvin slips out but is forced to the ground where Israel puts him into another submission attempt, a triangle! Didn’t know Israel had that in his bag… Kelvin escapes and they both end up on the feet. And that’s where the fight stays (for the most part). At this point is real has found his Mark and continues to rock Calvin with punch after punch. It turns out that Kelvin Gastelum is The Terminator and cannot be stopped in a match. He survives but this is a clear victory for Israel Adesanya

This fight is just one of the many great fights that we’ve seen from the UFC this year. The fights and cards keep getting better. I don’t know how long they can keep up this pace, but I hope they do. As for Israel, we’ll be looking forward to his next match to unify the championship with Robert.

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Movie Review: Guava Island

Guava Island

Directed by: Hiro Murai

Screenplay by: Stephen Glover
Starring: Donald Glover, Rihanna, Nonso Anozie, and Letitia Wright
Running Time: 55 Minutes

“This IS America. Anywhere, where to get rich you have to make someone else richer, IS America.”

– Deni (donald glover)

    Donald Glover dropped a surprise movie this weekend co-starring the ever talented and beautiful Ms. Robyn Fenty (Rihanna) and with all the great projects he’s been involved in over the last few years (Awaken, My Love!, Atlanta, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Lion King) we were naturally intrigued.

Like most of Glover’s projects, Guava Island is hard to pin down or classify. Glover and his Director, (Hiro Murai of Atlanta fame) almost seem to delight in the fact that they have almost no obligation to follow any kind of tv or movie making rules. The film is shot entirely in Cuba in the atypical 4:3 aspect ratio, giving the sense that it’s older than it really is.

The film incorporates the most recent songs from Childish Gambino‘s (Glover’s musical alias) most recent catalogue. We’re feeling some real MJ/Thriller vibes as the film seamlessly switches from movie to music video. At only an hour so its an easy watch.

Given the rabid fan anticipation over Rihanna’s upcoming album, fans my be slightly disappointed that her role (especially musically) isn’t as pronounced in this film, but make nor mistake, her presence is felt. Ms. Fenty is still coming into her own as an actress and this project was a brilliant way for her to flex some of those chops on a smaller scale before taking on another more prominent role.

You feel like Summertime Magic

Plot: Kofi (Rihanna) narrates the animated opening sequences, telling the tale of Guava Island as a folk and fairy tale that all children on the island know. Her friend Deni (Glover) would come to her window every night to sing her songs and make her feel like living on the island wasn’t so mundane.

Fast forward to present day, and Deni is now a musician, dock worker, and radio station DJ where he plays live music to the people of the island while they work their difficult jobs. He dreams of writing a song so amazing that it will bring together the entire island and defy the evil ruler of the island, Red Cargo (Nonso Anozie). To reach this end, Deni plans a secret all-night music festival (this film was released during Coachella weekend. Wink wink) which angers the boss of the island because people will miss work the next day… I get it. Not terribly intricate but this film is more about the music so you might have to give them a little latitude.

Glover and Murai seamlessly tie Childish Gambino’s music into the story and that is where I think the film excels. Without giving too much away, our favorite scene takes place at one of Deni’s jobs. While at work, a co-worker wonders aloud how great it would be to leave the island and go to America. In typical Deni fashion, he makes light of the man’s naïveté and ignorance taunting him with the lyrics to This is America“:

“This is America / Don’t catch you slippin’ up / Look at how I’m livin’ now
Police be trippin’ now / Yeah, this is America / Guns in my area / I got the strap /I gotta carry ’em”

– This Is America

Other well-incorporated songs include:

Summertime Magic

Terrified

Feels Like Summer

In typical Glover fashion, the film takes some dark turns, but the message and overall tone land well. Check it out and let us know what you think.

“In the end, what else do we have but dreams”.

– Kofi (rihanna)
Guava Island Playlist
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