Brand Nubian + Cover Girls + Amina Buddafly + Peter Gunz + Nene Ali = Celebrate Bronx Week 2015 ~> Moshulu Park!

May 18th, 2015 by Mr. C

All photos by Mr. C – All Videos by Chocko

(Bronx residents – Throw your X’s in the air to Celebrate Bronx Week at Moshulu Park!)
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(Rapper,B-Boy,Politician,Playboy(kidding) – Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was the emcee at the event)
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(Brand Nubian with special guest Ruben Diaz Jr. performing Step to the Rear)
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(Steph Lova – hostess of the event)
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(Amina Buddafly – has got it going on!)
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(The Cover Girls belting out their hits!)
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Our classic 1990s latin freestyle dance and hip hop hongry’ palates were satisfied last Sunday on the last day of Celebrate Bronx week held at Moshulu park with live performances by the Cover Girls and Brand Nubian! Sandwiched in between was a refreshing set of new school hear me out R&B by Amina Buddafly. She’s a very talented artist that plays the guitar, keyboards, & not to mention gifted with a set of pleasing melodic, & powerful – crystal clear lungs. Amina might be better known to most from the reality show on VH1 called Love and Hip Hop. Joining her onstage was her husband who is also on Love and Hip Hop – Peter Gunz! Most of us know Peter Gunz from his hit rap song from the late 90s – Deja Vu (Uptown Baby) by Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz. Amina Buddafly’s setlist from Moshulu Park included: Never been in love this way, Do you feel the same, I have nothing, Love in silence, Since you’ve been gone (with Peter Gunz). Cop Amina Buddafly’s new album – My Music on iTunes or Amazon! Check out some of the videos of the performances from the event below thanks to Chocko!
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(Peter Gunz & Amina Buddafly)
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(Peter Gunz)
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Nene Ali, a talented young spoken word poet and high energy rap artist from around the way in the Bronx lit it up onstage with her socially conscious & uplifting lyrics. She has that onstage swagger, rhythm, tone & delivery that reminded us of MC Lyte and Roxanne Shante. Definitely look out for more of Nene Ali as she blossoms!
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(Nene Ali & Hakim Green)
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(Chris Rivers-Big Pun’s son tearing up a verse or two!)
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(The Cover Girls)
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Getting to the heart of the matter – The Cover Girls definitely made my “Heart Skip a beat” as the trio laid out their freestyle dance hits from the 1990s! I thought I was transformed back into an era of Chess King & Oakley Oak Tree wares, MC hammer pants, wingtip shoes for the clubs, and z-cavaricci pants to sport around casually. As any freestyle dance music fan knows, the lyrics of most of these dance songs centers around love, relationships, & heartbreak. Any teenager and college student from the 90s can identify with that right? Looking at the photos from the Cover Girl’s performance last Sunday, I think Chocko was right. The Cover Girl lead vocalist doesn’t look familiar. Maybe not the original lineup but 2/3’s isn’t bad! Either way the Cover Girl’s performance was fun & dynamite. Did we see Bronx Borough president – Ruben Diaz jr. – uprock! Yes we did! The setlist by the Cover Girls on their Bronx Week performance at Moshulu included: Inside Outside, Wishing on a star, My heart skips a beat, Because of you, & Show me! Literally the bass that was thumping from the speakers really did make my heart skip a beat or two. Where that pacemaker at?


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(Brand Nubian – Grand Puba,Sadat X,Lord Jamar)
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Last but not least – one of the funkiest hip hop groups of all time – Brand Nubian – rampaged the stage! Their 1990 “One for All” album blew everyone’s Pumas off! Great sampling, socially aware lyrical flow, & mad tight rhythm. No disrespect to Lord Jamar, but Grand Puba and Sadat X have got to be considered one of the best MCs of all time! I wasn’t sure when we’d last seen Brand Nubian perform live was. I think it might have been Tramps or Chocko is telling me it was at S.O.B.’s but I honestly forgot how they sounded in person. Bronx – Moshulu park – 2015 – Celebrate Bronx week – it was real! Brand Nubian sounded tight!.At first I was a little disappointed that only Lord Jamar & Sadat X bum-rushed the stage to perform their first tune of the set – Allah u Akbar but rest assured Grand Puba appeared for “Step to the rear” as did special guest rapper – the Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr.! All in all or should I say All for One and One for All – Brand Nubian put on a great show! Brand Nubian’s setlist that day included: Allah u Akbar, Step to the rear, What’s the 411, Love me or leave me alone, 360 degrees (What goes around), Punks jump up to get beat down, All for one, & Slow down! The 90s was such a great era for Hip Hop music! Thanks to ultra brother-man Chocko for the videos from the show! What’s the 411 – That’s the 411, y’all!

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WFMU Record Fair 2015

May 17th, 2015 by chocko

The Norton Records booth at WFMU Record Fair 2015
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The WFMU Record Fair happened a couple weeks ago at a new venue, the Brooklyn Expo Center (79 Franklin Street) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The record fair is definitely a highlight of the year for me and I’m sure a lot of crate diggers and music fans will agree that the WFMU Record fair is the best place to dig for records this side of the Hudson. I ventured out on a Saturday afternoon and immediately found parking in the neighborhood which used to be a challenge back when the Record Fair was in Manhattan. Inside the sleek Expo Center, the vibe was cool and the new place felt like a perfect fit for the WFMU event. I walked in and Danny Kroha (The Gories) was in the middle of his acoustic set of foot stomping gospel and country roots. The last time I saw Danny play at the Record Fair was many moons ago with his group The Demolition Doll Rods. He’s got a new solo album out, ‘Angels Watching Over Me,’ on Third Man Records. Definitely a good slab of vinyl worth every penny. Shortly after Danny’s set, Todd-O-Phonic Todd started his broadcast which included more live performances by The Baseball Project, Miriam and Bambi Kino.

Danny Kroha
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Jon Spencer and Danny Kroha
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miles and miles of records, CDs, movies and all kinds of junk
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Lord Finesse
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OK, I gotta admit, I was a little starstruck to see a legend in the building…Lord Finesse of the D.I.T.C. crew walking around the Expo Center. The man is a legendary Bronx hip hop MC and producer. His name is on records by Notorious B.I.G., Big L, Fat Joe and the list goes on and on. If you’re not familiar with the work of Lord Finesse, you have some homework to do. Here’s a video of his appearance on Crate Diggers from a couple years ago, talking about his vinyl collection. Check it out!

AP Mike of the Best Show makes a cameo appearance during Todd-O-Phonic Todd’s live broadcast
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dusty stacks of 45’s
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Do you dare spin the WFMU Wheel-O-Fate?
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more photos of dealers, vinyl enthusiasts and boxes of records
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The Baseball Project knocked it outta the park with a set of songs about baseball.
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drummer Linda Pitmon of The Baseball Project. She’s a Twins fan!
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Dope stuff over at Redefinition Records. “Another Time” by DJ EFN…highly recommended!
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Bambi Kino killed it at the WFMU Record Fair
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Bambi Kino (featuring Doug Gillard, Nada Surf’s Ira Elliot) play the unrecorded songs performed by The Beatles in the early 1960’s. If they’re playing a show near you, go! The musicianship is top notch and the songs will get you twisting, shouting and dancing like a fool. Check out some videos from the Record Fair below featuring Danny Kroha, The Baseball Project and Bambi Kino! See you next spring in Greenpoint!

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WFMU Record Fair

May 1st, 2015 by chocko

WFMU Record Fair 2014
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The WFMU Record Fair 2015 is here! It’s at a new venue, so come on down to the Brooklyn Expo Center (79 Franklin St.) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn May 1-3. Dig in the crates for some dusty records, weird CDs, bizarre movies and exotic memorabilia. There will be live bands, live DJs and broadcasts and don’t forget to check out a movie in the A/V Lounge. Check out some blast from the past photos and a video of the pop punk sounds of The Flatmates (all the way from Bristol) performing at the Record Fair in 2014 which was held in the 69th Regiment Armory.

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Damu The Fudgemunk
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Norton Records got that real deal rock n roll
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The Cherry Blossom Clinic with Terre T
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The Flatmates
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Chiller Theatre Halloween 2014

April 25th, 2015 by chocko

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It’s Chiller Theatre time once again..a weekend celebration of all things horror, sci-fi and everything else in between. It’s the ultimate toy, model and film expo you don’t want to miss. Get out of your crypt and head out to Parsippany, New Jersey and party with all the zombies and freaks. Here’s a look back at Chiller Theatre in October 2014 through a ton of photos and some videos below of some of the musical guests.

Ray Mercer
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Sara Karloff
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Victoria Price
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Zacherley The COOL Ghoul!
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Ted A. Bohus at the Auction
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the creepiest moment at Chiller. chocko and Mr. C almost jumped out of a window
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Kristianna Loken
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Basil Gogos
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Nakajima
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Kitagawa
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Henry Winkler
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Animal
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The First Annual Chiller Theatre Live Rock & Roll “Joker’s Ball” Party Contest brought out a lot of cosplaying misfits. It was hard to tell if people were in costume or in their regular getup. The creativity and effort at the Halloween Costume Contest definitely gets props.

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Caroll Spinney and his wife Debra
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Debbie Gibson
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Bobby Steele (left) and William B. Davis (right)
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Pat of The Smithereens
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Lita Ford
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The Cowsills
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A favorite part of Chiller Theatre is sticking around on Saturday night when the bands and musical guests rock out. This time around we were treated to bands such as The Smithereens, The Dead Elvi with special guests including Marky Ramone, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie and The Cowsills. Check out some videos below and see you at the next Chiller!

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Coming Soon: Montclair Film Festival

April 17th, 2015 by chocko

Thom Powers (Artistic Director) making some fest announcements
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The 4th Annual Montclair Film Festival is right around the corner. Check out the latest movies from emerging voices in cinema to the established O.G.’s. Sit back and enjoy a Q&A with your favorite actors and directors, party down with filmmakers or check out a concert by Yo La Tengo. All this and more is happening from May 1-10 in a beautiful town in the Garden State. This year features another excellent selection of movies and shorts. I really want to see the new Kurt Cobain/Nirvana documentary KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK, DANNY SAYS! a doc about Danny Fields-former WFMU DJ back in the day and manager for The Ramones (I’m a huge Ramones fan!), WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE a doc about Nina Simone…bring on the music documentaries. Get your tickets HERE, grab a seat, and see you at the Montclair Film Festival!

BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY directors Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly
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Before Chocko blasts off for Montclair via the Garden State Parkway, let’s look back at last year’s highlights with some photographs from the vaults and quick thoughts on the movies I saw. THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ is a documentary directed by Brian Knappenberger. It’s about a young, internet genius who began to focus on social issues rather than cash in on his talents. He became a target in a national crackdown against hackers and Aaron’s story just goes downhill from there. Sad story about a young man with unique gifts and abilities. On the same night, I saw STARRED UP directed by David Mackenzie. It’s an intense prison drama from the UK about a troubled teenager who ends up incarcerated in the same prison as his father.

Carroll Spinney at Montclair Kimberley Academy
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I AM BIG BIRD: THE CARROLL SPINNEY STORY is a documentary by directors Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker. The movie tells a moving and emotional story about the puppeteer behind Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch. This movie is so well done, tells a beautiful story and is highly recommended but it is a tearjerker…bring the tissues! After the screening there was an entertaining Q&A that included Carroll Spinney, his wife Debra and Oscar The Grouch! Spinney was so gracious to hang out with his fans and fellow puppeteers outside of the venue to take photos and sign anything you brought up to him. It was a delight to see him interact with the children that came up to him. It was the highlight of the festival for me to see such a great movie and meet Mr. Spinney too. See I AM BIG BIRD at a theater near you! It opens in NYC on May 6.

NO CAMERAS ALLOWED Q&A featuring James Marcus Haney
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WE ARE THE BEST! directed by Lukas Moodysson is funny Swedish movie about three preteen female punks who want to start up a band. This hilarious ode to rebellion and youth takes place in the 1980’s in Stockholm. I had a blast seeing this and you should definitely check it out! NO CAMERAS ALLLOWED directed by James Marcus Haney is also a youthful and rebellious romp which documents James as a college student and his adventures sneaking into photo pits at music festivals across the country. Wacky characters are met along the way, friends get in the mix, college gets the backseat, and his relationship with his girl hangs in the balance! Is this wild ride really a documentary or some MTV “reality” show? Either way, it was a fun, movie you should check out.

‘Listen’by Tom Nussbaum at the Montclair Art Museum
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Kevin Smith at the Montclair Art Museum
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Chocko and Mr. C capped off the Montclair Film Fest with the program titled WHAT IS KEVIN SMITH THINKING? which featured an always funny Kevin Smith in conversation with AMC executive Joel Stillerman at the Montclair Art Museum. It was great hearing Kevin talk about his younger years in New Jersey, jamming around Montclair and Paramus Park. He also talked about the television show Comic Book Men and his upcoming movie projects. At the time he talked about TUSK which has already been out in theatres and is now out on Blu-ray. Check out the Q&A’s I recorded from the I AM BIG BIRD and NO CAMERAS ALLOWED screenings below and also check out Mr. C’s review of a Montclair Film Festival documentary he saw titled NO, NO: A DOCKUMENTARY about the notorious baseball player Dock Ellis. Check that out HERE.

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A Look Back at NOLA 2014 and Wrestlemania 30

March 27th, 2015 by chocko

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It’s almost that time of year again for pro-wrestling biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania which will take place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California in a couple days. Last year, around this time Chocko and the some members of the crew traveled to the beautiful city of New Orleans, Louisiana for Wrestlemania XXX. The following photos are from that weekend of wrestling, stuffing our faces with Southern fried eats and treats, record shopping, wandering the streets and looking to rumble.

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We were lucky to snag a hotel on Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter. We were surrounded by loud bars with Aerosmith cover bands blaring out into the street and drunken wrestling fans cosplaying as their favorite heroes in the ring. I saw about 3 Macho Man’s and half a dozen Hulk Hogans withing a 2 block radius. The area was also hustling and bustling with street performers and artists such as Cubs The Poet who can freestyle a poem on an old typewriter like nobody’s business.

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The French Market located a few blocks from Jackson Square features a farmers market and vendors that sell all sorts of things such as antiques, art, plants and music. I bought a CD titled “The Roots Of American Music: New Orleans” which featured songs by Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Domino. The vendor was super friendly and shared some stories about NOLA which is a city rich in music history. He pointed out a laundromat not too far from the French Market on 840 N Rampart St which was once the home of J&M Studios. It is a musical landmark and perhaps the birthplace of rock & roll which housed sessions by legends such as Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles!

MOTHER’S RESTAURANT (left) and PARKWAY BAKERY and TAVERN (right)
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THE GRILL (540 CHARTRES STREET)
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When it comes to food, NOLA is no joke. Pictured above are some of the fine establishments we visited. Mother’s Restaurant (top left) features good eats including their world’s best baked ham, gumbo and various goodness. I went for the jambalaya which hit the spot. Mother’s is located on 401 Poydras and definitely worth the wait to get in. Friendly staff too. Pictured on the top right is half of a Poor Boy, soda and bag of Voodoo chips from Parkway Bakery and Tavern. They’re located on the corner of Hagan and Toulouse overlooking Bayou St. John. The Parkway Surf and Turf is highly recommended! Also pictured above is The Grill (540 Chartres Street) located in the French Quarter which has delicious, greasy breakfast food and a work crew that will put a smile on your face. Recommended for eggs, bacon, grits, hash browns, you know the deal.

LOUISIANA MUSIC FACTORY (421 FRENCHMEN STREET)
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EUCLID RECORDS (3401 CHARTRES STREET)
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SKULLY’Z RECORDZ (907 BOURBON STREET)
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I was able to get some record shopping done and focused on three shops. First stop after browsing around The French Market was The Louisiana Music Factory. I was blown away by the jazz and blues selection here…a lot of local flavor! Aisles of CDs, used CDs, records, books and DVDs will kept me busy. If you only go to one record store in New Orleans, Louisiana Music Factory is the place! I bought a bunch of CDs including one titled “We Got A Party!” featuring The Best Of Ron Records. Great stuff on there featuring music recorded in New Orleans 1958-1962 by the likes of Professor Longhair, Irma Thomas and Eddie Lang. They host a lot of in store concerts, so check out their website for updates. Last year I visited the Euclid Records location in St. Louis and was psyched to see their location in NOLA. I think they just moved into their present location and were still settling in. Despite the rough edges, it was a fun time browsing through the records and CDs. The closest record store to the hotel was Skully’z Recordz. It’s a tiny shop but it packs a mean punch. I picked out a lost soul classic from 1973, “In Between Tears” by Irma Thomas aka The Soul Queen of New Orleans. It’s a great looking and sounding restored and remastered release which was mostly written and produced by Jerry Williams, Jr. aka Swamp Dogg.

LAFAYETTE CEMETERY NO. 1
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SCULPTURE GARDEN
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Across from the fancy Commander’s Palace Restaurant on Washington Ave. in the Uptown/Garment District is Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. (1833). Anne Rice used to live around the corner and I’m sure wandered the tombs for inspiration. If creepy crypts aren’t your thing another fun and free destination to check out is the Besthoff Sculpture Garden which is an outdoor area inside City Park which features 64 sculptures.

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The street art and graffiti game is strong in New Orleans. I stumbles upon walls on my long walk from Louisiana Music Factory to Euclid Records mostly walking along Chartres Street. It was only a mile, but it felt a lot longer. I noticed one piece under plexiglass and stickers. A Banksy?

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We stopped by The Destrehan Plantation which is the closest plantation from New Orleans. The guided tour is definitely the way to go. It features a tour of the building established in 1787 and you get to see a document signed by Thomas Jefferson. A lot of history to soak in! We stuck around for a carpentry demonstration which almost put me to sleep. For the movie buffs: scenes from the movies “Interview With The Vampire” and “Twelve Years A Slave” were filmed at The Destrehan Plantation.

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The Prytania Theater (5339 Prytania St) is a beautiful single screen theater which was built in 1914 and we happened to be in town for a local film festival FilmOrama. We saw the documentary “Finding Vivian Maier” an excellent movie about the discovery of an unknown photographer’s undeveloped rolls of film from a lifetime of taking photos and documenting life in the city. You have to see it. I loved the movie.

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Oh yes, the reason the trip to N.O. was made…wrestling! So, pictured above are the steps leading to not the Silverdome, but the Superdome where Wrestlemania 30 was gonna go down! On the right is a fan dressed up as Papa Shango. I think he put a spell on me that made me want to eat my body weight in fried chicken at Brothers Food Mart. Good stuff!

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One of the most memorable matches of the night and undeniably the biggest shocker of the evening came when The Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar. The Beast vs. The Streak ended with a silent crowd, totally dumbfounded while the huge numbers 21-1 were displayed on the screens above the ring along with the faces of shocked fans. We all thought The Undertaker was unbeatable, but looks like he’s seen better days. Pictured below is the crowd favorite and underdog Daniel Bryan winning the Championship in front of a hyped up crowd…Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes chants were heard all over the French Quarter that night.

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More wrestling cosplay outside the Superdome! I get it the dude on the left is supposed to be C.M. Punk, A.J. Lee in the middle and a Million Dollar Woman (Tina DiBiase?) to the right but who’s the guy with the glittery suit supposed to be? Is he supposed to be Blowfly? I don’t know.

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We also were in attendance at the RAW taping at The Smoothie King Center which was just a short walk from the French Quarter as was the Dome. It was a great night of wrestling…The Yes Movement was red hot, saw Cesaro after his impressive victory in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and in retrospect, the bittersweet last appearance of The Ultimate Warrior. That’s it for now…see you at the next Wrestlemania.

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Sharkmuffin and Janet LaBelle played Iris Records

March 18th, 2015 by chocko

Iris Records (114 Brunswick St, Jersey City, NJ)
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Chocko and Mr. C are a little late to the game when it comes to checking out in-stores at Iris Records in Jersey City. Last weekend we were curious to see how Sharkmuffin and Janet LaBelle, plus vinyl connoisseurs were going to even fit into the already cramped aisles of Iris Records. So, we got there a little after 7 pm last Saturday and watched as a table of 12″ house records got shoved a couple feet towards the back of the store, guitars get plugged into a couple towering speakers and instant stage!
Janet LaBelle at Iris Records
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First up, was the lovely chanteuse straight outta New Jersey (now residing in Brooklyn), Janet LaBelle. Great, soothing pop songs while playing the ukulele and sometimes switching up to an acoustic guitar. She shared stories in between songs about her recent vinyl purchases and songs she’s been obsessing over including Astrud Gilberto’s cover of The Loving Spoonful’s “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” which Janet covered and darn, I wish I recorded it. It sounded sweet. I’m hoping she plays it again at her next show which will be on Thursday, March 19 at The Living Room at their new location 134 Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn. I’m sure she’ll have some CDs for sale so, definitely go and support live music!
Natalie of Sharkmuffin and Janet (former Sharkmuffin drummer)
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I’ve seen Sharkmuffin before, so I knew what to expect but wasn’t too sure how a show without reverb, drums and amps was going to play out. If you have never heard the Brooklyn trio before, they sound gritty and punk with some garage and pop sprinkled in. If Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s joined the Dum Dum Girls and they played Misfits songs…that’s Sharkmuffin. Their first song was was a train wreck! Maybe too much Pabst, but the guitar and bass were definitely out of tune. Thankfully, they stopped after their first song to tune their instruments then it was full steam ahead for Tarra Theissen (guitar and vocals) and Natalie Kirch (bass and backup vocals)! They flipped the script when closing out their set with a gentle cover of Velvet Underground’s “After Hours.” On the way out, I picked up the 7″ singles they had for sale…their debut single and their newest 7″ titled “1097” which was named after the Jersey Shore summer home bassist Natalie lost at sea thanks to Hurricane Sandy. Sharkmuffin are presently in the middle of a tour which will take them through the Southern states to SXSW, the Midwest and back to Brooklyn by the end of March. Check ‘em out at a venue near you!
Sharkmuffin at Iris Records
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CHAMPS boxing documentary playing at Village East Cinema in NYC

March 13th, 2015 by Mr. C

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Champs is a boxing documentary that is premiering at the Village East Cinema on 2nd ave starting today – Friday the 13th! We attended the first screening on the night prior to the opening which featured a Q/A panel with director Bert Marcus, George Willis from the NY Post, Lou Dibellaboxing promoter, & last but not least Evander ‘The Real Deal’ Holyfield! Mike Tyson was in the building for press photos and engaged with the media to promote the movie but was not in the theater for the screening nor for the Q/A afterwards. Bummer, it would of been epic to hear and see Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield on the same panel but we should be happy enough to see one of the best Heavyweight boxers of All Time in Evander Holyfield in person so no complaining here! By the way, Evander seemed so humble and gentle in his speech and body language. I love that he is such a family & church loving man outside the ropes, but when in the ring – will tear your heart out much like how Manny Pacquiao is.

(Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield at premier of Champs at Village East Cinema)
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(From L to R: George Willis,Lou Dibella,Evander Holyfield,Bert Marcus)
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Champs is a very good documentary that profiled arguably 3 of boxing’s All-Time Greatest Boxers – certainly on most folk’s Greatest Top 50 list & at worst – Top 75! The All Star trio that were storied in the film were Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, & Bernard Hopkins. Classic fight footage, talking head interviews with Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Ron Howard, Spike Lee, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and of course Tyson, Holyfield, & Hopkins themselves – would all add opinions & experiences that mattered. The re-enactments of Evander,Tyson, & Hopkins’ early years were done very well! Boxing helped replace the thug passion in Mike Tyson & Bernard while boxing served as Evander’s means to gain more confidence to help set long term life goals for himself as recommended by mama. In the end, the movie was greater than the sum of the parts as the psychology and reasoning of why young men enter this brutal sport would unfold. And the consequences that follows a successful career in the ring would rear its ugly head as most of these kids are ill-equipped in handling the pack of wolves that are pre-built into the business of organizing a boxing event and the management of the boxer’s own earnings as well. The film serves as a great starting conversation for future endeavors for the up & coming pugilist to educate themselves on the business to help control their own financial situation better and get a stronger stance on deciding their own fate with their career. After all, the fighters are the ones putting their health at jeopardy when clashing in the ring. Meanwhile, boxing promoters, lawyers, and managers end up with a nice chunk of the purse as the boxers are often left with a puffy face and high/dry with the earnings. There are no governing bodies and regulations in professional boxing which leads to the Don King style of capitalism – hook or by crook.

After the film there was a fun & informative Q/A with George Willis, Evander Holyfield, Lou Dibella, & the director of the movie – Bert Marcus. Lou Dibella added some real credibility in his dealings of being a boxing promoter – offering his take on the business. Thanks to Chocko for taping the Q/A!

If you are in the NYC/NJ area, go see CHAMPS at the Village East Cinema on 2nd ave by 12th street. It’s also available on iTunes and On Demand or better yet find Champs at a Theater near you!

(Bert Marcus – Director of Champs)
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PRhyme played Highline Ballroom

March 6th, 2015 by chocko

PRhyme (DJ Premier and Royce da 5’9″) at Highline Ballroom 02-22-15
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PRhyme, comprised of hip hop heavyweights DJ Premier and Detroit’s Royce da 5’9″ brought some real hip hop to the Highline Ballroom in New York City last month. Their debut album as a duo dropped last December and features samples of psych-soul composer Adrian Younge…definitely recommended for all you hip hop heads. Their NYC show did not disappoint and featured openers Boldy James from Detroit and Coney Island MC, Your Old Droog. Boldy James brought out DJ and producer Statik Selektah who introduced a song he produced with Boldy James on the track titled “Something To Cry For” off Statik’s 2014 album What Goes Around album. The next opener, Your Old Droog along with DJ Skizz of The World Famous Halftime Radio Show killed it during their set…lots of old school style rhyming and boasting with punchlines and lyrics for miles. Definitely be on the lookout for Boldy James and Your Old Droog and support them dudes! They got more bars than Hoboken.

Boldy James and Statik Selektah
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Your Old Droog
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PRhyme
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Joey Bada$$
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PRhyme hit the ground running and the crowd was super amped but early in the set DJ Premier pointed out, “Boston was louder.” You know NYC wasn’t hearing that! The crowd woke up and went rhyme for rhyme with Royce on songs from PRhyme cuts to Royce’s solo jams and verses from his Bad Meets Evil project he did a few years back with Eminem. Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden, two members of Royce’s other super group, Slaughterhouse jumped on stage for “Sound Off” and “Microphone.” Definitely a highlight of the night especially hearing Ortiz spitting out lyrics like a machine gun. Other surprise guests included Royce’s brother, Detroit MC Kid Vishis and outta left field….Joey Bada$$ going beast mode on stage with the DJ Premier produced track, “Paper Trail$.” Another highlight of the show was the moment when DJ Premier tested out the crowd’s hip hop knowledge by playing an original sample before playing the hip hop song that it was in. Definitely a recommended show, so check out PRhyme when they come to a city near you. Videos below!

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Super Saturday – Chinatown NYC

March 1st, 2015 by Mr. C

(Rockits)
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(Norman Chin’s Jook Lum Southern Praying Mantis)
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The Lunar New Year celebrations in New York’s Chinatown marched on with tradition as Kung Fu schools, Youth organizations, Benevolent Associations, Community Organizations, & Dance troupes in the New York city area all came out to perform traditional Lion Dances in the streets going from storefront to storefront to welcome in the new year and to wish prosperity & health to all the businesses. Each Lion Dance organization would dance in front of the establishment and then slowly prance into the store to collect their “red envelope” fortune for their good luck drum beat & Lion prance routines. This festive day is known as “Super Saturday” dubbed by NYPDs 5th precinct as the local police officers would help organize this special day with the community as they block city streets & enforce the rules & procedures to the Lion Dance teams who were chosen to perform through an application process. For those that think what’s the big deal with performing on the streets, think again. There are traditional customs and signs of respect between two Lion Dance associations as to not cross each other and interrupt each others performance. Traditional Lion Dancing in the past between schools & organizations were a very competitive & territorial situation so careful timing and organizing of the routes for each school are imperative. Remember that these Lion dance teams were basically local Kung Fu schools that want to show their bravado. Of course, 2015 is not as volatile as the days of the late 70s to the early 90s when gangs and territorial struggles were abundant.

(Canal Street & Essex)
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I’m not sure what it was but I found yesterday’s Super Saturday showing not as crazed and festive as in years past. Maybe it was the nippy weather or maybe not as many organizations took part as in years past or it could be the teams were spread out more across manhattan’s chinatown so I didn’t get the congested feeling of associations running back to back to each other. Also Chinatowns in Brooklyn & Flushing,Queens are probably getting some attention too. I normally comb the chinatown streets from Mott on both sides of Canal from Hester Street to Bayard and work my way to Elizabeth. Either way, I always have a good time and there are plenty of great photo ops!

(My super saturday got started right right at the glorious Doughnut Plant on Grand Street)
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(One of my favorites – Peanut Butter & Banana Creme filling!)
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(Welcome to Chinatown!)
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(Norman Chin’s Jook Lum Southern Praying Mantis performing in front of Fong Inn Too on Mott St)

(Wing Hong Yip’s Dragon style Kung Fu School)
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(Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute)
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(United East)
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(NY United Lion Dance Troupe)
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(Norman Chin’s Jook Lum Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu)
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(Baby Lion dancers!)
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(Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute)
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(Rockits – skateboard on hand!)
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(Staten Island Lions)
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(Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute)
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(Time to defrost at Spicy Village on Forsyth Street!)
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(pancake w/ pork)
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(Big tray Chicken w/ hand pulled noodles)
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Spicy Village serving up some delicious Henan style spicy fare in the outskirts of Chinatown!

Spicy Village
68 Forsyth St #B
New York, NY 10002

After a bit of strolling around to work off a strand of that spicy village chicken, we ended up at Shu Jiao Fu Zhou for some of their dumplings and noodles. All for a glorious price of $5! I also recommend their fish balls (stuffed w/ ground meat) and their wontons. Their diminuitive wontons are fuzhou style which means they use a thin – transparent wonton wrapper in contrast to the HK cantonese style wontons.

(Shui Jiao otherwise known as “water dumplings”)
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(Egg noodles with peanut sauce)
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Of course the day didn’t end there as we stomped across to the other side of Delancey Street to our old stomping grounds of ABC No Rio for some good ol’ crusty Saturday matinee hardcore punk music! ABC No Rio is a community based organization comprised of local artists & international folks alike. ABC NO RIO is the little engine that could, the underdog, & the under-appreciated fighting for the rights of the under-privileged & outcasts not fitting the mold. The ABC DIY space includes an art gallery performance space & Zine library with over 12,000 items! “ABC No Rio is a place where people share resources and ideas to impact society, culture, and community. We believe that art and activism should be for everyone, not just the professionals, experts, and cognoscenti. Our dream is a cadres of actively aware artists and artfully aware activists.” -ABC NO RIO

Thanks to Chocko for taping some of the afternoon punk matinee at ABC No Rio last Saturday including performances by an NYC Filipino Hardcore band – Namatay Sa Ingay; Lakras – high energy Latino hardcore, & Tin Vulva, an experimental – alternative band from Brooklyn. Last Saturday’s performances at ABC No Rio was a benefit show for the Workers Justice Project – Proyecto Justicia Laboral! Let’s stand together in unity to help others and to continue to fight for the working class!

(Lakras – Latino hardcore – video by Chocko)

(Namatay Sa Ingay – a Filipino hardcore punk band performing at ABC NO RIO on Sat 2/28/15 – Video by Chocko)

(Tin Vulva – an alternative,experimental band from Brooklyn – video by chocko)

(Punk Matinee at ABC NO RIO on Sat 2/28)
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ABC NO RIO
156 Rivington Street
NY,NY

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You goat girl – Moon Over Manhattan: Celebrate the New Year 2015 – Year of the Goat

February 22nd, 2015 by Mr. C

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(Korean drumming)
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(Bo Law Kung Fu)
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My original plans to invade Flushing, Queens’ Chinatown for the Lunar New Year celebrations were foiled as the Planet Chocko spaceship was in the lab getting a circuit board swapped out due to malfunction. When the systems were all a go again, I was running late so the backup plan was to dive into Manhattan’s Asia Society were they had some festivities of their own dubbed the Moon Over Manhattan: Celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The celebrations at the Asia Society were catered more for the family and kids but the event was still fun & festive nonetheless. First on the lineup were 2 short films, one was the Hunchback’s Tale – a cartoon that told a tale through a series of events where different people think they have commited a murder. It was the ultimate lesson learned between covering up the murder and revealing the truth. It seemed a bit harsh to talk about the subject of murder with children in the audience but in the end things would work their way around full circle. The 2nd short – What’s Yours is Mine was a story about a clumsy fisherman who would have his luck turned around when he meets a mermaid. The greed of others will rear its ugly head while the good natured will try to remain persistent and humble. You can tell the success of children’s film when the kids erupt in laughter.

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After the films, The New York Bo Law Kung Fu school would welcome in the Year of the Goat by performing a traditional Lion Dance to bless good luck, wealth, & health to all! Some of the kids in the audience would take part to help feed the Lions after the festive dance and present them a ‘Red Envelope’ for their efforts.

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A kung fu demonstration would follow the Lion Dance.

(King of Weapons – the Spear)
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(Staff vs Bench)
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(Double Axe)
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(Double Sai)
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(Butterfly Swords)
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The next thing on the lineup was the Korean Drumming performance. The NY Korean Traditional Marching Band performed “Salmulnori” (Playing 4 things – The changgo or hour glass shaped drum; the buk or barrel drum; the jing or large gong, & the kkwaenggwari, or the small gong.) These drummers were fantastic. At times they sounded really traditional which then morphed into an all out blend of wild percussions, a sort of jazz session and hypnotic tribal beats!

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(the kids bum rushed the stage & banged the drums!)
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There were also activities for the kids to make stretch dragon puppets with the Chinese Theatre Works folks as well as making Paper Lanterns, and creating a Year of the Goat clay figure with master ceramic artist Syma.

(Making paper lanterns)
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(making clay Goats)
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Savages played Saint Vitus

January 31st, 2015 by chocko

Savages at Saint Vitus 01-17-15
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UK post punk band Savages wrap up their 9 show New York City residency with a sold out show tonight at Saint Vitus in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Planet Chocko was in the house for their first show at Saint Vitus which usually hosts metal shows. The all female band played a fantastic set list that mixed familiar tunes from their 2013 album, Silence Yourself along with brand new songs for their next album. Lead singer Jehnny Beth showcased some intense stage presence and pointed out the low lighting in the performance space was intentional. So, put down those clunky cameras and sleek smartphones, and focus on the music! I’m down with that. Johnny Hostile (producer and musician) opened up with a set of grimy Dirty Beaches/Suicide sounding tunes. Tonight’s show features opener Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. See you there!

exclusive tour poster, shirt and other goodies at the merch table
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No (New Song)

Shut Up

When In Love

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