Clinton Street Theater
Hiphop started in the South Bronx around 25 years ago-- too bad you weren't there. The closest you're going to get to it is this weekend at the Clinton Street Theater, when writer/director Charlie Ahearn personally takes you on a tour of his seminal hiphop film, Wild Style.
In the film, Zoro (played by legendary graf writer Lee Quinones) is a hot-shit graffiti artist learning to deal with his newfound fame and is having troubles with his girl, Rose (queen of graffiti, Lady Pink). He hooks up with local promoter Phade (Mr. Suave himself, Fab 5 Freddy) and Manhattan art writer Virginia (Patti Astor), and they cruise the South Bronx hiphop scene. This loose and generally underdeveloped plot serves to divert the focus to what's really important in this movie: the graffiti, the b-boys, the DJs, the MCs, and how these four elements define the culture of hiphop.
So what is hiphop? Graf writers climbing into the yards at night and bombing trains and trading nozzles on spray cans for different spray effects. Artists checking out each other's piece books while watching trains coming out of the yards in the morning with new pieces by legends like Doze, Dondi, Lee, and even Fab 5 Freddy's famous Warhol-inspired Campbell's soup train. Grand Wizard Theodore on the wheels of steel, with Chief Rocker Busy Bee Starski trading off the mic with Lil' Rodney Cee, doing call-and-response routines with the crowd at a club jam. Busy Bee and Lisa Lee (of Afrika Bambaataa's Cosmic Force) freestyling during a limo ride. Grandmaster Flash cutting it up in his kitchen. The Fantastic 5 and the Cold Crush Brothers having an all-rhyme throwdown on the basketball court (fuck that Carmen: A Hip Hopera shit) and later, battling it out at the Dixie, while the Rock Steady Crew teaches the crowd what b-boying is all about. And finally, a massive outdoor jam at the East River Park Amphitheatre with Grandmaster Flash, Double Trouble (K.K Rockwell and Lil' Rodney Cee from the Funky Four Plus One), Busy Bee, Kool DJ AJ, Rammellzee, and Grand Mixer D.ST. That is hiphop. And it's all in Wild Style.