Jun 242012

By Clay Shields

On May 4 this year, after almost three years battling cancer, Adam “MCA” Yauch passed away—a sad day not only for B-Boys, but for all of music.

MCA was a founding member of the musical powerhouse the Beastie Boys, as well as the Milarepa Foundation, a non-profit responsible for the international, decade-long Tibetan Freedom Concert series, the biggest, US-based musical benefit since 1985’s Live Aid.

In 1986, MCA, Michael “Mike D” Diamond, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz—the three emcee’s behind such genre-bending classics as “Fight for Your Right (To Party)” and “Sabotage”—cut their debut full-length album, Licensed to Ill, the first hip hop album to top the Billboard charts.  Over twenty-five years later, the Beastie Boys were still touring and had produced seven platinum or better albums by April 2012, when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (just a month before MCA’s passing).

Sheisty-Krhist. Image by Stacey Earley.

But the honors and homage aren’t stopping there (“You can’t, you won’t, and you don’t stop”).  On Friday July 27, Al’s Bar (Sixth and Limestone) will play host to “Sheisty Khrist & Sundog Revival present The Beastie Boys: A Tribute”—an event which will be equal parts hip hop extravaganza, ‘80s (dress-up) dance party, and charitable benefit concert.  Continue reading »

Nov 092011

PRHBTN runs 11/11-18 on Manchester Street

By Clay Shields

“Your expectations will be simultaneously defied and exceeded”—Myke Dronez, CEO, Dronex, Inc.

The Herald-Leader refused to write this article.  Now a dirt bag has to do it.

On November 11, Lexington will begin its first street art exhibition, PRHBTN. “Street art” is a catch-all term for art processes and products created in public spaces. More often than not, the phrase refers to unsanctioned work done illegally by individuals as graffiti.  The PRHBTN event will showcase both unsanctioned and “legitimate” artists who utilize street art methods.

Since its birth fifty years ago—most notably in the subways of New York and Philadelphia—modern graffiti has been steeped in counter-culture.  In a culture where they were otherwise silenced, writers like Taki 183 and Cornbread began “tagging” their names everywhere in an act of defiant self-acknowledgement.  Graffiti (and later street art more generally) became an avenue for reclaiming the public spaces of the city through the self-expression of a largely disenfranchised, impoverished, immigrant youth:  a bold, simple, “I was here (and here and here and here).” Continue reading »