Wild Style NYC to 1920s NYC

Met up with Jonathan and Devin, friends from SF, yesterday afternoon and had a step back into history. Near the 1 stop at Canal St., Jonathan and I walked right past Kevin Bacon as we were about to head into the Scrap Yard graffiti shop. This small shop carries everything from paint pens, tiny Montana cans, to water pipes and graffiti wear. Devin and his girl soon showed up, so we ate lunch on Broadway. Continuing the mood, the cafe played old 1980s hip hop songs (Devin popped and locked a bit when the urge hit him).

We walked up to 151 Wooster St., and I photographed stencils along the way. First, we walked into a gallery full of so-so art. The curator tried to lure us in, and when I asked where the “Wild Style” show was, he scoffed and said that we were in a room full of “real art.” We left to look for another entrance to the building and found it. No elevator due to the building’s ongoing construction (being converted to hyperexpensive lofts), but the exhibit of 1980s street art was only on the second floor. It was locked, and a group of people were having a meeting across the hall. Devin had no qualms about interrupting them to ask about the locked gallery. In a few minutes, an older man let us in. He was accommodating and pleasant, setting up the DVD player so we could watch art historians and folks like Fab 5 Freddy talk about the “Wild Style” wall. Harings, Scharfs, and a Basquiat hung on the walls, along with so-so pieces from graff legends like Fab 5 Freddy himself. The Wild Style wall itself is mostly a photograph of the real wall they found on the fifth floor of the building. There’s a large chunk of it that’s the actual wall, and it all looks amateurish and half-ass. We all agreed that it was a true historical piece of fun that, had hip hop not become a culture in itself, wouldn’t have lasted five minutes after the workers saw the scrawls. Jonathan complained to the curator about the gallery downstairs, and the nice guy said “they aren’t going to be there much longer.”

Devin and his girl had to go their own way, so Jonathan and I wandered around SoHo for a bit. We were both waiting to hear from upcoming meetups. I eventually worked out a meetup with Justine, the Stencil Nation book designer, so Jonathan and I wandered over to Greenwich Village to find a spot to wait. We asked an old local where a noncorporate cafe was, and he sent us to Cafe Reggio. Right around the corner from Washington Square, this spot hasn’t changed in probably 70 years. Hell, Greenwich Village hasn’t changed that much since then. Felt good to not see corporate chain stores anywhere. Jonathan got his call and had to leave, but he stayed long enough to meet Justine.

Had a great few hours with Justine. We didn’t go into much details on the changes of the first draft, but did discuss the need to replace photos due to the Stencil History X overlap. I also showed her the Chronology and mentioned to her that it needs to flow better. We also talked about a few other things related to the book, graffiti and street art, and other general things. I’ll spend next week typing out the changes for her, going over Logan’s new submissions, choosing new photos to replace the old ones, and then will send it all her way for a January push to a second draft.

Wandered around the corner and found a great veggie spot for dinner. Then tried to see Beowulf in two theaters but all shows were sold out. Guess we should all believe the 3D hype! Oh, well, I’ve been pounding out 12 hour days in NYC this week, so a 9 hour day is a needed break.