Sunday, July 7, 2013

Burny Worm Guy? Anyone?

The pics I've posted here are a little old, but I've seen them popping up again.  The cool thing here is that the black stickers for this artist are actually singed, and then the worm itself is scratched onto the surface.  I've seen this technique a few times, but this is with a worm!  10x better, right?  If you know who this artist is, please comment below and you could win! 

Rewiew: Monstro and the Kelp Kids at Thumbprint Gallery

As Thumbprint Gallery's current solo exhibition from Kreemworks, "Werkaholic," closing today, I'm just catching up to talk about the previous long-term exhibit, "Monstro and the Kelp Kids."  I urge you to use the rest of your Sunday afternoon to check out "Werkaholic" at the La Jolla location, as it's really a great show as well.  Info is on the event page, or at

I was excited to see "Monstro and the Kelp Kids" because I've been a big fan of Monstrinho for a while now.  Just a word of advice if you're not used to the private gallery scene: if you're going to see a show outside of the opening or closing parties, gallery hours are usually subject to change.  Thumbprint's regular hours are Weds/Thurs/Sat/Sun from 12-4pm, but if there's not a lot of traffic, they may close early.  Thumbprint is basically run by one guy also, so I just think things probably come up.  The first time I tried to go, we got there at around 3pm on a Thursday, and it was a no-go.  No judgement on this, but plan your trips accordingly for any smaller gallery.  Below are a few pics of me trying to shoot through the windows, and my friend left a kiss mark for the owner.  Timing digression aside, I was able to go take a look and take real pictures the following Thursday at the closing party. 

For those of you not familiar, Monstrinho is a New York artist who is and should be known for his bright and colourful open-air and street murals.  Reminiscent of children's books but with an adult flair, his works and shows often contain their own grouping of characters and stories.  The Kelp Kids are no exception.  In Monstrinho's own words, "The 'Kelp Kids' are a family of a diverse group of kids, that embrace each others differences and have a profound love for the sea and adventure. They possess characteristics and qualities that can be found within ourselves and others we have met and will meet on our separate life journeys, making it relative to both adults and children."  Sounds great to me!

The colours and materials used are also childlike and whimsical in this series - most of the technique looks like watercolour, but upon closer inspection, it looks like special acrylics and inks that created this effect.  Monstrinho says of his technique in this series, "This approach has been extremely liberating in that it has given me the opportunity to truly find beauty in imperfection. The pieces are loose, multi layered and have hidden messages and icons within."  Both the technique and the message seem multi-layered and complex, however the pieces can be appreciated on simply an aesthetic level, and I think it would be likely that kids would like this show and hopefully be inspired by the bright colours and fun characters.
My favourite piece at this show - rappin' kelp kid!

"The Kelp Kids" apparently premiered in Miami, and we definitely have Thumbprint to thank for bringing this exhibit to San Diego.  You can learn more about Monstrinho, check out some of his murals, and if you are interested in purchasing any of the pieces you see here, go to  Prices are reasonable and vary based on the piece.  I've got my eye on a couple myself.  Enjoy the pics! 

After the Kreemworks show closes today, the next event from Thumbprint will be a one-night group show called "Anarchy in Artistry" at Bar Basic in Downtown San Diego on Tuesday, 7/23 .  It looks like a punk rock theme and will surely be great.  Check out or the Facebook event page for info.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review - Hybris at SD Union: American Jungle Filming Party

There were forces at work during this landmark show that I, as a mere attendee to the American Jungle taping at SD Union with Hybris headlining, was unaware.  I have, in spite of myself, been following American Jungle's progress around the country as they film at different parties and interview the various local heroes who gave birth to, or have worked hard to maintain the stateside Jungle and Drum and Bass culture, and based on what I've seen it looks like it will be a pretty good representation.  In San Diego alone, I was impressed with the range of DJs and MCs they spoke to; oldschool heroes like Havok Mega and Uncut, Brand New Heavies from the Organized Grime Crew like MC CSD, Proof, and Gum-B (who's actually been around for a long time but OG is the new project), and trenchmasters like MC Ridda and Eric Yo!, who have been slaving away trying to keep the DnB cruise ship from going Titanic lo these 7 or 8 years while the others have been busy regrouping or being in high school.  It was a great mix, and if these guys have been nearly as thorough in other cities, and all this great material also makes it into the finished documentary, we're in for a great ride.

When I say I wasn't aware of all the players, it's because I still have no idea who the dudes are who are touring and doing this work, but that's ok.  They're clearly insiders to know as much as they do about whom they should hit up for filming, and if they're also promoting themselves and trying to make connections at the same time, I for one will applaud their efforts.  That is, as long as they stay true to the scene and I don't see this shit on MTV after Teen Mom.  Deal?  Deal.

Since I'm hardly fully informed about the project, however, I've found it difficult to finally get this review down on virtual paper.  The best I can do is give readers my own experience of the event, and hopefully that will suffice.  At the very least more connections will be made.

When I first got to the Ruby Room at around 11:30, I was surprised to see that it wasn't completely packed.  Between Hybris (Metalheadz) and the taping, I expected people to be lined up around the block.  A little shy, are we San Diego?  People did start to filter in a little later though, and once Hybris was onstage, it was properly packed.  Other featured DJs that night were Organized Grime's SubKillaz, of whom I am becoming more and more of a fan, and DJ Evlo.  Us vs. Them's Volz rounded out the lineup, and the event was hosted by Ridda and CSD.

As a crotchety old Junglist, I really appreciated American Jungle's muted presence at the event.  Ridda did merch giveaways onstage throughout the night, and I saw some people being interviewed, but I was happy to see that they made sure not to stick any cameras in anyone's face, and they stuck to the sidelines and didn't disrupt the flow of the party.  They were definitely there, but didn't make a big deal about it and it seemed like they were trying not to make the party all about them.  Yet another indication that these guys really get it.

What this party was all about, as it should have been, was Hybris.  I don't believe I'd seen Hybris live before, but I've definitely been digging his tracks for a few years now.  They're reminiscent of that great time in DnB around 1999 when jump-up and darkstep were first merging - his tracks are dark and grimy but higly danceable and the whole party was definitely on its feet dancing for the entire set.    I believe I caught a few minutes of my two favourite tracks by him as well, "Not Human" and "Please Exist" (off the Prague Connection EP) but don't quote me, as I may have had a few adult beverages and dreamed it.  If you're not familiar with Hybris, click these links or here is a video of him live another party:

As usual the SD Union vibe was fun and not too heavy, and I credit Ridda and the Technical Support crew for really keeping things together after the SD scene split up into crews and rivalries back in 2005.  It was good to see everyone out in full force, and to see that the San Diego scene will be well-represented in American Jungle.  I missed one installment of this monthly in June, but the next one is coming up next Saturday, July 13 and will feature Ben Soundscape from the Insiders.  SD Union is tagging this as "Pride After Dark" as it falls on the weekend of pride and will be in Hillcrest at The Merrow, which is the new name for the Ruby Room after the shift in ownership.  Check the SD Union July event page for info and updates.