Jun 10

The Roots Webisodes: Episode 2

In this never released 4 part series for the album How I Got Over, celebrity photographer Ben Watts documents The Roots for that album.  If you saw the entry for Episode 1 you know about my frustration dealing with the label when it came to penetrating the carefully crafted veil of The Roots.  I wanted to document them with their guard down, smoking, fighting, talking about folks, etc.  The Roots wanted something more montage like, complimentary and high energy.  Episode 1 was as close as I got to capturing that.  This episode is sort of a compromise.  I guess it is to be expected when the label is flipping the bill.  In the end no one seemed happy.  I think this contributed to the project getting shelved.  I thought despite the label not being happy with the end product that I worked my butt off on these videos and I wanted it to see the light of day even if it is late.  Here it is Episode 2.



Jun 10

New Pop Vintage – Whole In The Wall (R.I.P. Rammallzee)

Legendary Graf Writer Rammallzee passed away today. I only saw him once at the Whole In The Wall show I documented last year. He had one of the coolest pieces.  I overheard someone saying that may be the last time we would see him.  That night Rammallzee was acting really strange; mumbling under his breadth, buzzing around like a hummingbird, not speaking to anyone, a few weeks later a friend of mine who knew him told me that was just who he was.

The photo below (courtesy of  The Arab Parrot) Rammallzee had that icy look on his face because this stodgy artsy couple told Rammallzee not to touch the art not knowing who he was or that the piece he was touching was his piece.  If you think the look on his face is funny you should have seen the couple.  I caught the same scene on video from a different angle.  (You can see it about 2:00 in) He was one scary dude.


Jun 10

NYC Pride Overview: The fierce, the fab, the fantasy

Hey kids,

So I checked out NYC Pride the other day. My first time experiencing it was nothing short of incredible.

The only thing I did mind was the heat. I must have walked approximately five miles. I showered three times yesterday.

Things got started with the Pride parade, which was the most interesting mix of crazy, hot, sickly fierce and original fashion, politics, art, expression, and love.

Check out some of these pics from the festivities.  Me and my friends got front row at the barricades!

My voice went hoarse from yelling “WORK!” to those deserving of such a catcall.

Candy Land Couture

This was during the Puerto Rican portion of the parade

Bubbles came out the back :D

Navy uniforms, rainbow flags

Navy uniforms, rainbow flags

I like that she posed when she saw cameras flashing. FIERCE!!

Sidenote, speaking of “workin’ it,” I loved the way the New Yorkers booed the new mayor when he was announced on the float. They keep it real all day, everyday.

PrideFest (the annual street fair of sorts) was next – over on Hudson. There was a slew of local and up-coming national performers, including headliner Antigone Rising. I only saw two acts. One’s name is fuzzy but his song /dance moves was hot.

The other was Lex Z. Check out her website at lexzoutloud.com. I’ll just leave it at that.

Anyway, after a wonderful $10 dinner at Cafe Tasia (appetizer, Merlot AND entree), I slept, showered and recharged before hitting up Phoenix on 13th and Ave A.  It was like a hipster version of gay pride, if you will.  There, I met up with Carolina and Jason, whom you will remember from The Scene’s Episode 3.

We watched as the band Little Victory revved up their guitars and cruised through sociopolitical songs bashing bitchy gays and homophobes.

They had a fabulous, radiant energy. The bar was dark and packed body to body, and surprisingly, it was cooler inside than it was outside! I only had room to sip my ($5!) Long Island.

After that, we went back to Carolina’s to get dolled up for Greenhouse Sundays, which is notable for its guests in costume.

Time for more sweat. The club was packed.

Me and the crew got on top of a booth adjacent to the DJ booth and danced like it was 1999. We had a great time, but my camera died in the midst of grinding and droppin’ it like it was hot (because it was hot, in the club, I mean). :( So no pictures from that…

But check these out:

Little Victory score big win with crowd @ Phoenix

From left: Jessie (KITE!) and Jason (CAPE!) before the Greenhouse sweatshow.

Getcha stunna shades on

Overall, NYC Pride gets an A+ for being the most diverse, intense, saturated, and expressionist event I’ve seen since I’ve been here. Can’t wait for next year.



Jun 10

(Costume) Party/Unreported Crimes @ BPC

Hey kids,

So we loved it. And we had a great time.  Despite the lack of costumes – Amber, Eunice and I came decked out, but it was still fun.

I was a little worried that  we were gonna miss out on the fun. The party started at 11:30 and we thought that we wouldn’t get there in time to see my buddy Rob Melso, and his rock/hip-hop band, Unreported Crimes, do their thing.

We caught a cab from 4th St after being super far uptown, and walked in right as Rob and co. were hitting the stage.

Sidenote: The Bowery Poetry Club is a great little spot, cupcakes and pies sold in the front, an intimate stage, dive-esque lighting and full service bar in the back behind a curtain.

Rob chattin' it up Outside the Bowery Poetry Club.

Unreported Crimes showcased a sound that was fun and party-hardy. The band cruised through covers of songs like The Beatles’ “Come Together” and Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up.”  Their original songs had a feel good Cali vibe to them. My personal favorite song of theirs was a track called “Millionaire.” And Rob, who was lead guitar, was killin’ on the rhymes. Had no idea he could rap. Anyway, I enjoyed it.

Unreported Crimes arrest the audience :P

Unreported Crimes arrest the audience :P

At one point the guys brought girls on stage to do a cute call and response song called “Girls.” Kinda reminded me of the Beastie Boys. Hilarious.

At the end of their set, Amber, Eunice and I went to get more $3 PBRs when a random, crazily sicknasty hot beat broke out over the speakers.

A chick with blue hair by the name of Toxic Egyptian was rockin’ the stage. It was a treat. Not only could she spit, but she had maaaad style and a quirky, yet commanding sound and stage presence.

Toxic Egyptian look fly and rockin out

Toxic Egyptian commands attention during her brief set at the BPC

I later found out she was from Philly and does shows in NYC every now and then.  Would love to profile her.

Alright, here are the goods. More pics. More fierceness. Until next time, check out Unreported Crimes and Toxic Egyptian on MySpace Music.

Congratulations, Toxic, you WERQ'd so hard! GET. IT.

Zuly was one of the girls dancing onstage. Had to catch a picture. Her outfit was fantastico.

From left Eunice is a black Barbie, Amber is a sailor. YESSSS

From left Eunice in Black Barbie and Amber in Sailor Couture

Rob of Unreported Crimes, Me (RAWR) and Amber after the show

Rob Melso of Unreported Crimes, Me (RAWR) and Amber hangin after the show

Get yer leather on.

Get yer leather on.



Jun 10

Tonight: Unreported Crimes/Costume Party @ Bowery Poetry Club

We love sexy devils.

Yo kids,

Break out the skimpy costume you put away in October. Or if you dressed as a hot dog or Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh, hey, do ya thing. But, there is no reason to miss tonight.

On the performance lineup is Unreported Crimes, a red hot up-and-coming rock/hip-hop band led by my buddy Rob Melso.
Check out their jams on MySpace/Unreported Crimes.

Like you needed another reason to be a little hellion. 11:30 p.m. Bowery Poetry Club. BE THERE.

AND did I mention discounted entrance/ drink specials for those in their flyest duds?  Bring yer dancin’ shoes kids.

I’m bustin’ out my Ziggy Stardust Fit.


Jun 10

One Year Ago Today…

…we lost a legend.  I’ll never forget that day.  I had to shoot a party that night and it turned into a sappy MJ tribute.

R.I.P.  MJ


Jun 10

The Roots How I Got Over – Episode 1

Over a year ago I got a call to document The Legendary Roots crew as they were in the process of producing their album “How I Got Over.”  As a filmmaker not of the “industry” it was fascinating to see the private behind the scenes Roots vs. the public ready for primetime Roots we have grown used to. The private Roots are far more intense than I would have imagined. I had hoped to capture more of that side but often ran into roadblocks from the band and the management whenever my lenses penetrated that carefully crafted image.  I was able to capture some intense and private moments but not nearly as much as I would have liked. The little that I did get was fascinating. Hopefully it shows a side that you guys have not seen before.  Not sure when or if this series will ever get the official release it deserves.  I doubt it. Seems like anything of substance has a harder time gaining traction online than in traditional media.  It’s less a world of story-lines and substance and more a world of sound-bytes, montages and cool kids.  But instead of bitching and moaning about the state of the web, I’m going to do something pro-active and publish the 4 part series here weekly starting today.

Enjoy Episode 1


Jun 10

XXXX magazine’s Surrealism issue launch party!

Hey kids.

So, I didn’t make it to both events like I planned.

However there was this hot magazine launch cocktail party for XXXX magazine’s second issue, “The Surreal Issue,”  featuring a video art screening at the Studio Cesarine in Soho.  It was a who’s who of past and present, young, hip fashion designers, fashion lovers and MOOODELS.  Former “Scrubs” star Zac Braff was also in attendance.

I got to go with freelance makeup artist Amber Morrow, my buddy Eunice, while meeting a new friend, photographer Mars Hall.


Guests were served free champagne and white wine. (Do I even need to mention that folks were well dressed?)

The magazine held a similar multimedia exhibition for artist Indira Cesarine for her Surrealism piece during New York Fashion Week this past winter. In lieu of the actual invite you had to RSVP for, here’s what this one looked like for an idea:

Check out more from the up-and-coming multimedia fashion and art publication here:  http://www.xxxxmagazine.com!

The space was cozy, with guests spilling out into the street to mingle.  Very informal and laid back.

I wasn't kidding when I said guests were spilling out into the street.

I would love to sit down and talk with Ms. Cesarine and find out what moves her. The video screening was incredible.There was this one frame of a guy in a plane white T with blood splashing over his head Stephen King style. Another was in slow motion of a girl’s fiery red hair blowing around her couture and impossible-to-describe garments.

Now, here are some pictures from the night. I ended up in the Meatpacking District later on, where me and friends got a fine view of the city from the rooftop of Hotel Gansevoort at Plunge Bar. (Yes, I’m aware this isn’t a fashion blog, but New York style is so diverse and SIICK that I have to show it here.)

Amber and Mars WERQIN' at Plunge NYC.

From left: Michael, Sandra and Jerome model individual styles and casual party looks

From left: Nadia Renak in Top Shop London and Rampage Head Designer Chong Cha in her own design.

Fashion model Sarah Parr in a vintage Levi's T-shirt, American Apparel skirt, and vintage cowboy boots.

And of course, yours truly. <3

Next up for me, a rock show/costume party with the band Unreported Crimes on Friday. Should be fun!

Peace, Love, Fashion


Jun 10

The Pretty Reckless @ PUMA Social Club!

Hey kids,

Mickey here. So I just got back from the PUMA Social Club, in the heart of the Seaport, Lower East Side Manhattan. Never been til tonight, and I gotta say it was swanky.  My buddy Eunice tipped me off to this and let me be her plus one.

Since it is supported by the PUMA brand and World Cup has been crazily captivating, well, the world, there were flags and maps of Africa just about everywhere.

But tonight I wasn’t seeing soccer stars, but 16-year-old Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen with her band, The Pretty Reckless, at an exclusive event hosted by the always-chic Nylon magazine.

Guests gather for The Pretty Reckless at PUMA Social Club in Seaport

Pretty Reckless frontgirl Taylor Momsen points to a dancing fan

There were swirling strobes, what seemed like a fleet of photographers, and fashionistas inspired by Gaga and pop art in attendance.

I have to say, I was shocked, not only with the decent turnout, but with The Pretty Reckless themselves. They’ve gotten buzz from Taylor’s star power, but have made a name for themselves since forming last year.   They have since signed with Interscope Records and are currently on the Vans Warped Tour.

Taylor, clad in tights, an oversized NYC T-shirt and eyes covered with dark mascara, got her Courtney Love on as the foursome rocked out to Hole-esque tunes from their new self-titled EP.  The jams included “Zombie,” “Miss Nothing,” and “Make Me Wanna Die.” Something tells me this Gossip Girl will make for a great interview.

Tay-tay gets her C. Love on

Tay-tay gets her C. Love on.

In addition to mingling with fierce guests (see below), I got free coconut water samples, and had my picture taken for The Studio Booth and Wire Image. Eunice and I even got to hang with DJ Josh Madden before the show started.


Check out the hotness of the night below (I mean, hello, a fashion magazine did host this shindig!)

I had an amazing time.

Eunice, DJ Josh Madden and Mickey (thaaat's me!) chill before the PR set

(From left) Natalia and Amanda were at the Nylon party WERKIN like the rent was due!

Mr. Chris Reed rocked a hot vintage look.

One word Ni'ma uses to describe her fashion interests: everything. I say: fly and flashy.

Tomorrow, I head out to the L.E.S. again for a art/rock show put on by the fine fellas of Con Artist Gallery. Keep it locked at The New Pop.

Check The Pretty Reckless on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theprettyreckless

Also, pick up the latest issue of Nylon, featuring cover girl, M.I.A., on stands now!



Jun 10

The Scene Episode 3 – Halfway There

Unlike episode 2 where just about everything went wrong this episode was all fun.  E2 was a series of first; my first time directing fiction, the first time acting for most of the actors, and the first time I was using the 5D.  It was also unseasonably cold and windy.  This time around the weather was much better, the shoots were short and we all had a blast.

In this episode Nate “Igor” Smith of Driven By Boredom fame and the lovely model/actress Carolina Ramirez return in the lead roles.  Promise Smith of Black Angels NYC expands on her sexy cameo appearance in Episode 2, and we introduce the talented singer Mariella who I have shot so many times.  Also my intern Mickey Woods who is now blogging on thenewpop makes his acting debut, Jason Haaf played a mean stalker type and our very own Contessa styled.  As far as fiction goes, I am still on the steep end of the learning curve with a long climb ahead, but I had so much fun that I am going to do my best to continue the series.