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AfroPunk Fest 2015, Brooklyn

We danced, we laughed, we sweat out our afros under the Brooklyn sun-  Afropunk Punk fest rocked the neighborhood with alternative Nu Soul and fashion forward styles.

blkgrlswurld, christina long art, mfa, saic, zine, nyc, afropunk fest, warped tour, rock, metalcore, black girls rock, www.christinalongart.com

Afropunk Fest 2015, Brooklyn, NYC

For people of color floating in the margins of alternative music, AfroPunk can feel like a national holiday. The one weekend a year you’re music interests and aesthetics about black beauty are validated. “So I’ve been styling this #twa right all along?! Go figure?” and “So that’s what Manic Panic looks like when you Really bleach first…maybe I should get that nose ring after all, looks good on her…”

I was happy this year to bring my lil sis along for the celebration, who like me comes from rural suburban roots where our interests in heavy rock and punk music were considered Extremely unusual for little black girls to be interested in. From the moment we got into the ticket line I could tell it was her Emerald city too. So many folks passionate about individuality and self expression. The love was deep!

However, a few hours into the first day of the fest, she turned to me with a very valid question. “Where’s the punk rock music?” I nodded with a solemn face, feeling too tired to acknowledge the truth. The rock scene that had started the movement had all but been driven out of the event these last few years and this year, with tickets over $50, the presence of the original punk rock scene and the local kids that normally would have attended for free had all but vanished.

I’m a metal headbanger by default so I wasn’t expecting full on circle pits or crowd surfs, but it was clear this year that only a couple of bands such as LetLive. and Suicidal Tendencies were even remotely hard core rockish in some way. The metal scene generally has a lack of focus on fashion or what people look like- it’s all come as you are, whatever is comfy for you. I’ve hung around the NYC punk scene enough to know they definitely care about fashion statements, but you need more than that to reside in their anti-establishment, DIY headspace. Yes, I know Lauryn Hill had to rep the nu soul/neo soul movement and Lion Babe is certainly on the fringes of pop as much as FKA Twigs, but this year’s fest relied too heavily on electronic DJs of little distinction and the saving grace of Lenny Kravitz closing out the event.

I know so many punk, hardcore, post-hardcore, metal and metalcore bands (locally and internationally) with multicultural members that could have exposed the Brooklyn scene to heavier, thrashier performances that still held a taste of R&B, bluegrass, hip hop or pop. Starting with Coheed and Cambria, Bloc Party, Counterparts, and Dance Gavin Dance- ending with The Word Alive, Alesana, Deftones, and Every Time I Die…come on guys keep up! Anyone one of these bands would have driven other underground music fans to the fest and inspired a more diverse mingling of alternative music cliques and communities.

As the AfroPunk brand continues to expand to other cities, I hope they really listen to their audience, lower ticket prices to under $20 for kids under 21, and book more musically diverse bands towards creating a space that is less predictable and more supportive of all things misfit.

xoxo #Blkgrlswurld

Featured Image -- 1966

AFROPUNK @ Lincoln Center, July 2015

Originally posted on #blkgrlswurld:

Everyone’s revving up for the AFROPUNK fest set to take place in Brooklyn later this August so it was great to get a taste at Lincoln Center of the fun that’s only weeks away. I learned my lesson last summer, that free events in NYC can generate substantially long lines and hours of waiting, with no promise of everyone getting a chance to see the show. I enjoyed how AFROPUNK approached this event, by offering a couple of stages to attend.

christina long art, blkgrlswurld, nyc, afropunk, metalcore, summer, 2015, mfa, siac, chicago, brooklyn, black girl Chargaux at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, July 2015, photo by #blkgrslwurld ZINE

When I first arrived at Lincoln Center, I drifted towards the east side of the Metropolitan Opera house, hearing Brooklyn based duo Chargaux performing and had assumed that this was where Vintage Trouble, The Skins and LION BABE were set to play as well. It was a modest size crowd seated in the shade with plenty…

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Artist talk w/ #blkgrlswurld July 18th, NYC

Head over to the Manhattan Graphics Center for an evening with Blkgrlswurld ZINE creator, Christina Long, MFA. For details please see http://www.manhattangraphicscenter.org/artisttalks.html

Saturday, 6:30–8:30 pm | Saturday, July 18 2015

Bio: Born in Chicago and raised in Metro Detroit, Christina Long received her MFA in Printmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012. Her art practice explores non-traditional printmaking through stop-motion animation, hand crafted artist books and wall mural installations. With a child-like desire for an imaginative landscape she plays with cultural mythologies to share her experiences with blackness, heavy music and illness. Being heavily involved in the metalcore music scene for over a decade, she cares about exposing its supposed lack of African American Female presence through a collabroative art zine known as #Blkgrlswurld.

Print by Christina Long, MFA

Print by Christina Long, MFA

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Vans Warped Tour, Long Island NY

For the past couple of weeks I stared enviously as the gleeful thrill of the Warped Tour flew across my dash and Instagram feeds. No fair! Finally last Monday I decided I wasn’t going to miss out.

Vans Warped Tour holds a stigma for us metalheads between the ages of 21-29 as being a silly little playground for awkward little kids and Hot Topic shoppers. We image their parents waiting outside the venue in air conditioned mini vans while the mosh pits get muddy and fashionably emaciated tweens pass out from heat exhaustion. Admittedly it depends on what town your in as to how much of this nonsense you’ll see.

Lucky for me, I checked out the Long Island tour which was a couple hours outside of Manhattan and situated right on the coast of Jones Beach :D So beach weather, ocean waves, And metalcore?! It was so perfect, it felt as if I’d been transported to San Deigo or some such west coast locale. I could almost taste the Red Hot Chili Peppers performing from some apartment rooftop.

Beau Bokan, Vocalist of Blessthefall

Beau Bokan, Vocalist of Blessthefall

The line up for this year’s tour is pretty conservative as they continue to book directly through the smaller indie labels like Epitaph, Fearless, Relapse and Rise records. Not too many unknown artists to discover this time, but it allowed a veteran like me to focus on the real fun to be had with Blessthefall, Escape the Fate, Miss May I, Attilia, Silverstein and Asking Alexandria.

We rocked hard underneath the blaring sun, smaller kids clawing my taller frame like a tree, to leap into the crowd from my shoulders. I still don’t get what the circle pit is supposed to do, there are so few times where I’ve witnessed it actually work and create a robust energy of excitement. Wtf are we on a hamster wheel? I’d rather watch out for wacky karate kicks in the pit than run circles around water tanks and t-shirt stands. Come on.

Jones Beach, Long Island

Jones Beach, Long Island

I am soo happy I checked out the tour this year, no kids, no parents just music, sand and sea. NYC doesn’t have enough metal, metalcore or any other heavy music for my taste so I appreciate how the suburbs still deliver \m/

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All photos by blkgrlswurld

Silverstein trying to beat the heat :)

Silverstein trying to beat the heat :)

Miss May I, Warped Tour Long Island

Miss May I, Warped Tour Long Island

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Artist Talk w/ John Mauceri and Sandy Cameron

Everyone has been looking forward to the big Danny Elfman performance of Tim Burton film music for most of the summer. Taking place at Lincoln Center for much of July, I attended a pre-show conversation taking place between the show’s lead conductor John Mauceri and its solo violinist, the young and talented Sandy Cameron. The performance itself lasts about 2.5 hours long and explores a number of Tim Burton films that Elfman supported through music, from Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie, to The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands.

I wasn’t sure what to expect considering neither Danny Elfman or Tim Burton were present, but I came to understand how collaborative these projects can be when it comes to scoring/updating film music for symphony orchestras, when the original music was never intended to be heard outside of the original movie recording. Mauceri has made a career out of legitimizing movie music as critical compositions as serious and well crafted as any classical Beethoven or Strauss suite. As Mauceri explains, the public’s interaction with original music compositions has only increased since the time of silent movies and as we have familiarized ourselves with great works like Star Wars and Lord of thr Rings, the music from those films is just as memorable to us. We have become well versed in the kind of music that keeps us engaged with a visual narrative, and the sort of music (or lack thereof) that can turn us off.

I quickly recognized that Mauceri has teaching experience working with students, as he rambled on to us about historical instruments such as the Theremine instrument and eastern european composers who migrated to the western United States during WW2 who began writing for Hollywood productions. All very fascinating and compelling. I hope to attend any programs he ever teaches about music theory.

Solo violinist Sandy Cameron stars in a special performance of Edward Scissorhands that was specifically composed for her by Danny Elfman. A graduate of Harvard University and the Juilliard Pre College Program, her debut onto the public stage has only just begun. I’m looking forward to her becoming more known in future projects and being a great musical role model for young girls.

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Story drawing by Tim Burton

Story drawing by Tim Burton

 

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Getting Back To It 

The summer is finally getting started here in NYC and we’ve got all sorts of projects cooking with Blkgrlswurld ZINE. It’s been great getting back into printmaking as a scholarship fellow at the Manhattan Graphics Center- I’m thrilled to be meeting new artists and learning more about the local print community. Printmaking is a tight knit circle nationally and internationally- only so many folks know how to churn a Heidelberg press ok?

 Anyways, I’ll try and share here what’s going on in the print shop. I’m focused on silkscreen this summer, hoping to edition some zines, but I’m also planning some press work with chine cole. It’s surreal discovering this printers row of presses, screens and book makers in the heart of Times Square. This city is quirky, I’ll say that much. 😘

Summer events have me running rampant across Manhattan so stay tuned for my take on the NYC Ballet, Juiliard Chamber, System of A Down, From Autumn to Ashes return to NYC, Afro Punk Fest and some other special summer moments. 

christina long art

Doing some monoprinting on top of the Girl in a Plastic Bubble, by C.Long