Jamel Shabazz: Street Photographer

Charlie Ahearn’s New Film Retraces a Moment in New York Style

As a teenage photographer in early 80s East Flatbush, Brooklyn, Jamel Shabazz set out to document the then nascent movement of hip-hop. Through the iconic style of his MCs, neighborhood kids and gang members, the unequivocal attitude of New York’s youth was recognized as the calling card of the city’s creative renaissance. Published in 2001, Shabazz’ first book Back In The Days was celebrated as an exhilarating snapshot of the times, and his visual flair has been brought to life in a new documentary by the legendary hip-hop historian and director, Charlie Ahearn, previewed in today’s exclusive clip. “On the cover of Jamel’s book were two young men on 42nd Street. They were captured posing in such strong form as a kind of respectful bulwark against all the chaos that you see around them on ‘The Deuce,’” explains Ahearn, the notable filmmaker also responsible for the classic old-school movie, Wild Style. “I immediately knew that here was an original artist for our time.” Co-produced by Kenzo Digital and enjoying its world premiere in Brooklyn this weekend before traveling to Portland, Seattle and San Francisco next month, Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer is both a trip down memory lane featuring NYC luminaries Fab Five Freddy and Bobbito Garcia, and a discovery of the inspirations and craft behind the titular influencer's urban lens.

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    The Horsemen

    Capturing the Graceful Spectacle of Andalusia’s La Saca de las Yeguas

    At the end of each June, over 1000 horses that for most of the year run semi-wild in the marshland, plains and forest that surround the Andalusian town of Almonte are rounded up by yegüerizos, the horsemen who hold sway over these large herds. The annual La Saca de las Yeguas dates back over 500 years, and characterizes the rural Spanish landscape as much as Pamplona’s bull run, Buñol’s La Tomatina, and Haro’s La Batalla de Vino. Filmmaker Glen Milner spent four days with the riders, capturing the scale of the custom and the elegance of the horses as the animals were driven past the Hermitage of El Rocío to be blessed, and then into the town to thunder through the narrow streets. “Themes of tradition, and where tradition sits within modern society, really interest me,” explains Milner, who traveled to Greenland to shoot the first dawn of the year for Return of the Sun, a film that was shortlisted for Best British Short Film at the 2012 Leeds International Film Festival, and is currently working on a longer documentary about the Middle East. “After speaking with the horsemen in Almonte, and in particular their sons, it became apparent how much of their identity comes from their relationship with the land,” he says. “Horsemen as young as 15 talked of living in harmony with their surroundings and respecting the animals that share it.”

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    Demon Days: Alvin Leung

    The Michelin-Starred Bo Innovation Chef Takes Us to the “X-treme” Edge of Cooking

    Amid tentacles and open flames, the self-professed “Demon Chef” Alvin Leung reveals a wicked palate and a penchant for carnal creations in this short by filmmaker Ryan Hopkinson. Born in London and raised in Toronto, Leung rose to prominence in Hong Kong, becoming known for what he calls “X-treme Chinese” cuisine, a far-out technique that harnesses the futuristic appeal of molecular gastronomy alongside the wide reach of fusion. The incendiary results both morph traditional Chinese recipes into kinky culinary experiences, and tackle off-the-plate issues: the self-taught chef’s signature dish, Sex on the Beach, serves up an edible “condom” on a shitake beach, created to raise funds and awareness for AIDS charity. Preparing to launch Bo London, an offshoot of his prominent Hong Kong Bo Innovation, set to open in Mayfair this autumn, Leung spoke to NOWNESS about the science—and the magic—behind his delectable madness.

    With all the different genres of cooking out there today, why choose “X-treme Cuisine”? 
    I want to give people something more than tags like fusion, molecular or modern contemporary. I'm known for a couple of shocking dishes: Bo Bo for instance was wagyu beef with black truffle and foie gras, but served in a can. But X-treme isn’t just about being shocking; it’s exciting because it can take you to your limits and give people a new, surprising experience. 

    What inspires your X-treme recipes?
    I try to incorporate some element of familiarity when I cook; I make my food multi-sensory because when you eat it combines several senses: sight, smell, temperature and texture. In the East, texture and temperature are very important, and in the West taste and the visual take priority. Using all your senses creates a memory—you're associating and comparing.

    How might you adapt a classic, familiar dish?
    Shalong Boa (little dragon), or Xiao Long Bao in Mandarin, is a dish of tiny pork bouillon dumplings that explode in your mouth. Traditionally they would wrap a thick pastry around chopped up pork fat and seasoning and steam it so that when you bite into it you taste the liquid. I map the perfect Xiao Long Boa using the dish’s original flavors, with the addition of spherification (shaping liquid into spheres), so it looks like an egg yolk—it tastes the same as the original dish, even though that’s not what it appears to be. 
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