Bounce Meets Vogue

New Orleans Airlift Unites Two Street-Dance Disciplines for the First Time as Part of 1MSQFT

“People who are not from New Orleans are trying to learn about bounce music,” says Katey Red, a 15-year-veteran of her homegrown music scene and self-confessed ‘queen of bounce.’ “People want to learn how to do the booty dances. And I give them the information. I say, look up Katey Red!” New Orleans bounce collides with New York vogue for the very first time, with Red co-hosting the dance clash as part of the two-day One Million Square Feet of Culture [1MSQFT] event. “People are realizing that voguing is not just a gay dance, everybody can do it,” says New York’s voice of the ballroom Jack Mizrahi. “We’re enjoying the synergy right now, to finally have a battle against bounce—a couple of weeks ago it was breakdancing vs. vogue. It’s become it’s own dance spectacle.” The event was curated by New Orleans Airlift, a crew founded by curator and DJ Jay Pennington aka Rusty Lazer and visual artist Delaney Martin to support the city’s artists in response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. “As a metaphor, gumbo works really well,” says Pennington, who also organized a rally to close the weekend and celebrate NOLA’s creative underground, set on the dusty grounds under the Ninth Ward Bridge. “You can’t deny that New Orleans is the kind of place that stews and grows really organically. This is just the beginning of bounce.” Captured by Court13, the filmmaking collective behind director Benh Zeitlin’s Louisiana-set fantasy Beasts of the Southern Wild, today’s film goes behind the scenes of the rehearsals for the ball at the city’s Wax Museum. Red, one of the city’s first openly gay MCs, hosted the ‘meeting of courts’ alongside fellow bounce poster queens, Big Freedia and Sissy Nobby, and vogue legend Mizrahi. “The first time I got on the mic was October 21, 1998. I would get on stage looking like Beyonce,” she says, “but then start acting like Nicki Minaj.”

Find out more about One Million Square Feet of Culture’s series of curated events here.

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    Scott Campbell: Adoptive Ink

    The Tattoo Artist Introduces Young New Yorkers to Their Permanent Mentors

    For Free Arts NYC, a non-profit organization providing arts education for the city’s underprivileged youth, artist Scott Campbell created a collaborative “karmic mentorship” inspired by the permanence of tattoos. The session was part of the Free Arts NYC Annual Auction, hosted by Marc Jacobs, who has an extensive collection of tattoos by Campbell and helped introduce his inky designs into the world of fashion. “Ten kids from the programme and 10 volunteers met up at the studio: after an afternoon of telling their stories, the kids drew their names on the volunteers and I tattooed them on,” says the Louisiana-born creative. “Every time the volunteers look at the tattoo they consider the kid, and believe in them. It’s a nice reminder to be generous and not take yourself so seriously.”  The project evolved from the feeling of support and confidence that his friends gave him during the early days of his career in California. “When I first started tattooing I was just some kid in San Francisco until one of my buddies kept bugging me to tattoo him because he really liked my drawings,” he says with a self-deprecating tone that belies his celebrity client list that includes Josh Hartnett, Helena Christensen, and Penelope Cruz. “It catches you off guard sometimes, when people feel you're more capable than you believe you are. It made me want to be the person that he thought I was.” 

    Scott Campbell and Marc Jacobs have collaborated on a book of temporary tattoos, sold at Bookmarc stores. Proceeds go to Free Arts NYC.

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    Ballroom Battle

    NOWNESS is Burning in Clara Cullen’s Interactive Voguing Experience

    Make it to the third and final round to crown your champion. Taking cues from ball culture and the hyperreal aggression of Japanese video games, today’s dance-off sees eight new-wave ballers walking it out to be named overall winner by the viewer. “The scene is so alive and the culture is amazing, with all the different houses dancing off,” says Buenos Aires-born filmmaker Clara Cullen, recalling her first experience of attending a vogue ball in New York three years ago. “It started at 3am and didn’t end until nine in the morning.” With dancers including Aniyah Lacroix, Bootz Givenchy and Cullen’s close Ballroom Battle collaborator Alex Mugler, this film takes the underground dance-offs that started amongst America’s black and Latino gay communities out of the clubs and into an online sphere, with help from the transatlantic digital studio, Convoy. With Philadelphia’s Kevin JZ Prodigy providing the beat-laden soundtrack and live commentary, every dancer belongs to a “house”—their moniker is adopted from a leading fashion label and they are clad in their namesake’s clothes: Alex, of course, dances for the House of Mugler. “When I was a kid I used to play the video game Street Fighter,” adds Cullen, whose filmmaking education included stints with Spike Lee in New York and Werner Herzog in Los Angeles. “I wanted to take each dancer and make them into a very defined character, so people could choose their favorite and stick with them.” 
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