Dramatic Leap for Local Dance Crew as “Black & Blue” Debuts at the Historic Neptune Theatre

Black and Blue Dan Haile Vicious Puppies Seattle  June 11th, 2015 Writer/Director Maximilian Meador-Stockstill brings the real-life police/teen interactions of Seattle residents to the stage in an entertaining combination of drama, suspense, humor, and dance.

Sammy Tekle shines as the main character who (although recently deceased) walks the audience through a series of emotional flashbacks which start with him hanging with his crew (which include some spectacular dance performances) and end with him being shot during a routine traffic stop.Vicious Puppies Black and Blue Sammy Tekle Seattle2

Dan Haile has the audience in tears as he delivers the eulogy for his fallen friend; and Vicious Puppy (aka Dog Pound) members (Jonathan Higuchi, Binh Nguyen, Robert Eyerman, Justin Law, John Pham, Quan Nguyen) deliver a passionate back-and-forth debate regarding the role of police and how we as citizens should interact with them.Vicious Puppies Black and Blue Sammy Tekle Seattle

Black & Blue received a standing ovation and extremely positive feedback during the question & answer period following the performance. Writer/Director Maximilian Meador-Stockstill stated he would be interested in expanding the tour and all actors showed an interest in an extended run.

The Vicious Puppies (aka Dog Pound) continue their meteoric rise to celebrity status by expanding their already impressive resume which includes performances at the Paramount’s “Dance This!” and main stage performances at this Summer’s “Sasquatch” tour.

vpcrew

Hip Hop History, Creativity, and Diversity Celebrated at Washington Hall

November 28, 2014 ~ The timing was perfect as earlier this month Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed November as Washington State Hip Hop History Month; following the lead of Mayor McGinn and the Seattle City Council who in 2010 proclaimed November Hip Hop History Month in Seattle.

Washington Hall celebrated Hip Hop History with an all-star performance line-up of Seattle’s biggest names in rap music; along with some of the nation’s top break-dancers sharing the stage. Musical artists participating in a freestyle open-mic “cypher” included platinum selling artist E-Dawg, along with city favorites Suntonio Bandanaz, B-Ragg, Sammy Tekle, Ernesto Iraheta, and more!

David Toledo Studio Narvaez Clayton Bragg
B-Ragg on the mic with David Toledo and Pablo D in back.

 

On stage were DJ’s Able Fader, Cues, Sureal, and A.C. who kept the place rocking from start to finish.

DJ Sureal
Tamao George Yasutake aka DJ Sureal

There was a delicious potluck buffet and a toy drive to help the B.U.I.L.D. Seattle Christmas giving-tree.

The event was sponsored by 206 Zulu, Seattle City Breakers, Unified Outreach, and Studio Narvaez, in partnership with 4Culture and Rane. It was organized by Nathan (SireOne) Hivick and hosted by the North City Rockers Ernesto Iraheta and Pele’ Ross, along with the fabled Specs Wizard.

The event will be the last break-dance celebration at Washington Hall for the next nine months as the facility begins to undergo renovations to restore the historic building and the install a new elevator; allowing special needs and wheel-chair bound visitors to enjoy the facility without limitations.

The elevator installation will be a blessing to special-needs artists with limited mobility, such as 206 Zulu founder and President Danny (King Khazm) Kogita who has been in a wheelchair since childhood. Also other artists such as Clayton (B-Ragg aka C-Dogg) Bragg who has limited mobility due to cerebral-palsy.

Clayton Bragg and E Dawg
Edawg and Clayton (B-Ragg) Bragg

Clayton is a rapper from Lynwood, Washington who as has a video channel on YouTube which provides regular album reviews for NW CD releases. Clayton has been spending time in the studio and is expecting his album out in early 2015. It was after reviewing the E-Dawg CD “How Long” that Clayton was contacted with a special invitation to attend the November 28th performance as E-Dawg was headlining the event.

David Toledo (Unified Outreach) made all arrangements and acted as Clayton’s personal assistant throughout the evening; physically carrying the artist up 3 flights of steps to the performance hall and making sure that Clayton had full access to E-Dawg and the other artists as well as great seating for all performances.

“It was great having B-Ragg attend the event. He’s doing a lot with his video blog and he’s hard at work in the studio. The crowd really enjoyed hearing him rap tonight; and with his own album coming out we believe that one day he’ll be headlining one of the shows.” David Toledo said.

Clayton Bragg David Toledo E Dawg
E-Dawg, B-Ragg, and David Toledo

Clayton said he really enjoyed the show and is especially excited about the people he was able to meet in person including E-Dawg, Seattle City Breaker’s founder Carolos (Slam) Barrientes, King Khazm, and most importantly DJ Sire One and Pablo D who occasionally act as guest hosts on Boom Box Radio; a Everett-based rap program that broadcasts on Friday nights at 10pm on station KSER 90.7 Fm. Clayton is looking forward to having his new album break on the show.

The event was also attended by a bevy of local celebrities including Georgio Brown from Coolout Tv and Dave (Pablo D) from Studio Narvaez; the two partnered in October for a Hip Hop Celebration at the Experience Music Project (EMP). Also attending were TYRONE “the Working Class Hero” Dumas, members of the North City Rockers, the Vicious Puppies, Massive Monkees, Seattle City Breakers, Circle of Fire, and other famous groups.

Sammy Tekle Vicious Puppies
Breakdancer and MC Sammy Tekle

Highlights of the night were an all-girl breakdance cypher which saw the return of Seattle’s old school b-girls Amber Jamieson and Jojo Tabora-Dyckhoff to the dance floor; as well as a “Seniors Classic” which featured “Seattle’s first b-boy” Junior Alefaio.

Judges for the night included the incredible Rigo Jones, Seattle City Breakers founding father Carlos “Slam” Barrientes, and consummate b-boy Rafael Contreras.

Donte Almenzor Junior Alefaio David Toledo Carlos Barrientes Raphael Contreras Robert Farrell
Old School Icon’s: (L-R) David Toledo, Donte Almenzor, Carlos Barrientes, Junior Alefaio, Raphael Contreras, Robert Farrell

Wrapping up the evenings events Sam “Preach” Dumas, founder of the (Masters of the Prep aka Party People in Action dance crew) issued a challenge to 1980’s dance rivals “the Ducky Boys” to meet at the same time next year for a “prep only” dance off; reviving a rivalry that goes back to 1985 and the Seattle Bandstand television show.   Will the Ducky Boys accept the challenge? We’ll know in exactly 12 months!

With construction estimated to take 9 months the event organizers hope that everything will be ready in time for the 2015 Hip Hop History Month celebration. Next year’s event promises to be on for the ages!

2015 JP Scratches

Story and photos may be reprinted in their entirety.

Deepest Roots: 30 years of Hip Hop in Seattle

roots needle 2

Nearly 40 years ago hip hop was born.  On two coasts it evolved into completely distinct forms of the same base element. Just as both the Diamond and Graphite are both forms of Carbon, the atoms of the base element are simply bonded together in a manner which in the end produce completely different products. By the mid 1980’s both New York and California were both considered hip hop meccas; yet their music, dance style, and fashion bore little resemblance to each other.

It was during these early years that Seattle began to form its own identity within the greater hip hop community. Although there is an argument to be made that there were both California and New York influences it wasn’t too long before Seattle began to stand on its own.

Still, for those of us lucky enough to be around during its conception, the Seattle hip hop scene has evolved in ways that no one could have imagined. In this article I would like to share Seattle hip hop from my perspective. In doing such, I hope that you will forgive me if I saw things differently from you that may have also been there at the time. Please accept this article as a show of love and respect for those that were here from the start.

Seattle_Emerald-Street-Boys_1983

So around 1982 rap music started getting some air play by legendary DJ Nasty Nes Rodrigues. A Seattle rapper with his own tape (let alone LP) was hard to come by; but K-Fox DJ Nasty Nes did what he could to push the music of local artists such as the Emerald Street Boys and Sir Mixalot. The influence of West Coast “freak-rap” such as Egyptian Lover was very evident in Sir Mixalot’s early recordings, although he alternated from “freak” to “fun” with raps modeled after Brooklyn based rap group Newcleus. Shortly after, groups and individuals such as the Silver Chain Gang, Daddy D, KOC, and Jam Delight begin making names for themselves on the Seattle rap scene.

Of these groups the Emerald Street Boys quickly rose to the top, recognized as a complete performance package, even getting attention from Seattle’s premier music newspaper The Rocket.

Meanwhile… Breakdance is slowly making its way into Seattle with kids popping and locking at the occasional YMCA or Boy’s Club Party. It also begins to make appearances at some of the larger summer parties held in Mt. Baker and Rainier Valley by the Dumas and Wiley families. Iconic breakdancer Junior Alefaio and Carlos (Slamalotte) Barrientes form two legendary groups “the Emerald City Breakers” and “Seattle City Breakers”.

Then came the Motown 25 performance and the Michael Jackson Moonwalk and everyone wanted to learn to breakdance. Undoubtedly 1983 was Seattle’s golden year, as Nathaniel (DJ Paris) Wilson, Jamie Sullivan, and John Meadows lit the fuse and brought down the house with their choreographed dance to the Jonzun Crew’s “Space Cowboy”.   The Floor Rockers led by Eric Lamar Johnson and Devon Anderson rocked the Garfield High School homecoming, the Emerald Street Boys, Silver Chain Gang, and MC Andy Hamlin performed at the Black Festival in Judkins Park, and Sir Mixalot’s song “7-Rainier” hits street-gold status selling over 500 copies from the trunk of the Cadillac. Meanwhile… Danny (Scramblin Feet aka DJ Supreme) and Carter (Short Circuit aka FeverOne) from the Seattle Circuit Breakers begin making names for themselves, even as their group performs on Seattle’s Saturday morning variety show “Flash”.

Music videos from Seattle artists were all but unheard of in 1983.  But local artist Bobby and Jack Oram (aka Mr. X) released “I pity the man” accompanied by a video shoot at the Blue Moon tavern and featuring the Seattle City Breakers (starring Baby Ray as “Mr. X”).  Members of DeRoxy Crew, Grandmaster Breakers, Backstreet Breakers, West Coast B-Boys, and Breaking Mechanism also made brief appearances in the video.

seattlecircuitbreakers                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ssb zig

Hot clubs for breakdancers included Lateef’s, Stallions, Club Broadway, Spectrum, Buzzy’s, Skoochies, and oddly enough a little AA joint called Club Fremont. Super groups such as the Circuit Breakers, Paradise, Unlimited Force, Seattle City, West Side, Fresh Force, Breaking Mechanism, 1st Degree, and Deroxy featuring Dave (Pablo D) Narvaez all had a chance to shine in these hip hop friendly clubs. Individuals such as the Mighty Spencer Reed, Dale Lundeen, Reggie Baron, Donald (Ziggy) Zirkle, Gerald Carpio, Flex, Anthony (Mr. Cool) Soriano, Tony Torres, Joe (Dreamer) Baechle, Rubik, Bublz, Chris LaPonsey, Robert Farrell, Wacky & Packy, Ian (Snowboy) Whitmarsh, Sean Holeman, Freaky Lee, and Raphael Contreras quickly became known around town as serious competitors.

1984 Seattle saw its first wax rap album as Sir Mixalot left his job at the video game arcade “Lectric Palace” and teaming with DJ Nasty Nes released “Square Dance Rap”. The following year, Sir Mixalot would continue to build on his fame by releasing a extensive catalog of songs on tape including “On the Map” giving props to fellow NW artists such as Phantom of the Scratch (aka DJ Strange), Vitamix, Wicked Angel, Baron Von Scratch, Glen Boyd, Maharaji, and others.

Seattle also sees its first aerosol mural as DC3 and Kuo (Mr. Clean) Yang paint a block long burner on the side of the Downtown Nordstrom; inspiring other artists such as Musician/Rapper and Graffiti artist Michael (Specs Wizard) Hall, David (Image 8000) Toledo, and Sean (Nemo) Casey to pursue the medium.

spaide piece

Meanwhile.. there was something stirring in Rainier Valley as iconic rapper E-Dawg was beginning to write raps and perform locally as MC Electro Shock…

And just in time for Breakdancing to actually start dying out, Komo television squeezes the last bit of life out of it with Summer Break 84’, featuring a painfully stiff Steve Pool.  Despite the decline of breakdancing, dance parties thrown at the YMCA and Boys Club by Sir Mixalot continue to break records with packed attendance.  Town hero’s Duck & Shame, Aaron (Kaze) Dixon, Sean (Stax) Moore, and Chris (KE1) Morris are regular attendees, keeping the crowds hyped and the dance floor packed.

1985 Seattle Bandstand aired, just in time for the new dance craze to take-off. The “Prep” was a dance that combined all of the competition that breakdancers craved with the ability to actually dance with your girlfriend. Prep crews such as the Ducky Boys and PPIA (Party People in Action) quickly gained notoriety and neighborhood fame on the program. This year also saw the 40 foot mural on the Garfield High School track by graffiti artist (and Ducky Boy member) David Toledo and Bobby (Vision) Charles, as well as murals by Tony (Skreen) Fleeks, Sean Savage, Merrill (Shylo) Brown, Dorean (Solo Doe) Dinish, Spraycan, Keep & Shame, Bazerk & Faze, Dadone & Spaide, Danny Molino, and others.

1 Ducky Boys

car

The following year we saw increases in Seattle rap presence with Demetrius White, KOC, Frostmaster Chill, Robert (MC Le Rap) Spikes, Bill (Mister Bill) Pleasant, and Big Boss Cross all starting to establish themselves; however, it was the 1987 release from former Seattle Circuit Breaker, Danny (DJ Supreme) Clavesilla  that made the nation take notice. Along with Cornel (CMT) Thomas, and Chenelle (Chelly Chell) Marshall they formed Incredicrew. Shortly after Sir Mixalot releases the first full Rap LP from Seattle (SWASS).  Sugar Bear (Emerald Street Boys) spins regularly at Club Encore in Renton and has a capacity crowd every weekend.

Swass

1987 Nasty Nes returned to his true love and local rap on the KCMU station, along with Music Menu record store owner and rap aficionado “Shockmaster” Glen Boyd.   In heavy rotation are Seattle artists Chilly Uptown and Kid Sensation. Local artists Specs Wizard, PD2, Kevin Gardner, Tony O, Redwine, 2Smooth, Dwayne Pitre, Spencer Reed, Nicky F aka MC Ready, Richard & Randy Marley, and Kelly (DJ Zippy K) Peebles are all contributing to a vibrant music scene. A great year for rap, Seattle also saw the emergence of Duracell featuring Derrick (Silver Shadow D) and Bruce (Horton B) Griffith. Barry (DJ B-Mello) Williams also announces he’s arrived with trend setting mix tapes that establish him as a top-shelf DJ.

David (Image 8000) Toledo and Sean (Nemo) Casey complete the seminal aerosol mural “ImageNemo” at Gasworks Park, inspiring the next generation of graffiti writers even as David Toledo himself retires from the art.

Image Standing 1987

By the way, the New York City Breakers came to town and were shut down by the High Performance Breakers, putting a nail in the coffin of breakdancing in the 80’s.

The 1990’s brought some hot new rap acts that not only lit the streets of Seattle on fire but gained nationwide attention. Criminal Nation and High Performance (yes, they rap too!), Brothers Of The Same Mind, and Silly Rabbit featuring Tony Russell all put out quality albums.

Meanwhile…, Tyrone (Cool Rippin’ T aka TYRONE the Working Class Hero) Dumas starts making beats and raps, as his cousin Michael (E-Dawg) Johnson begins mowing Sir Mixalots yard; seeing it as a stepping stone to building a relationship and with future aspirations of a career in the music business.

The nineties also gave us access to our own local video-music station as Public Access Television launched Music Inner City and the Coolout Network featuring Georgio Brown and introducing us to the 206Zulu Queen Kitty Wu, along with Glow Medina and other hosts.

Coolout throwback

1992 the game changed as Sir Mixalot’s “Baby Got Back” (with B-Side “Can’t Slip” featuring E-Dawg) dominates MTV and the charts, pulling in a Grammy and shining a light on the Mixalot Posse aka the Cosmic Legion featuring Terry “Maharaji” Matthews, Ron “Attitude Adjusta” Brooks, and Steve (Kid Sensation aka Xola) Malik. Glen (Shockmaster) Boyd leaves “Rap Attack” and moves to LA to work for Rick Rubin and Def American Records. Still, local groups such as MurderOne featuring James (King Kels) Kelsey, and PDQ featuring Frankie Wells pushed against the mainstream and produced some of 1992’s best music. 1992 also sees Alison Plumper launch the local music magazine “the Flavor”.

Ps… Did you see how E-Dawg went from mowing the lawn to making platinum albums? Learn from that!

And even as the music scene starts to explode; Seattle graffiti art has also found a new group of heroes including Nathan (SireOne) Hivick, Divine, Hews, Soul Uno, Sneke, Stash, and Rey, while old-school artists Specs and Nemo continue to be major forces in the city.

In 1993 Garfield High basketball star Ishmael (Butterfly) Butler and his group Digable Planets take rap in a whole new direction, E-Dawg and Filthy Rich release “Drop Top” and also appear on the Seattle the Darkside compilation (also featuring Xola, Jay Skee, and 3rd Level), Greg B, Silver Shadow D, Ghetto Children, and Six in the Clip all continue to establish themselves as contenders in the rap game.

The following year Andre Bostic forms Sexy Sounds Management and releases the “Moving Target” album featuring David (Image 8000) Toledo, Dawny (Truck) Toledo and Esera (Easy) Mose (also from the group Nature Boys), with production by DJ Supreme and TYRONE and featuring scratching by DJ B-Mello. Additional artists on the Moving Target album include James (Justice aka Boogie Brow) Stewart and Fred (Just Do It) Stewart.  1994 also saw releases by Greg (Funk Daddy) Buren, DJ Kamikaze, Sinsemilla, DJ Topspin, and Prose And Concepts (formerly Six in the Clip).  1994 also saw the publication and distribution of David Toledo and Michael Owsley’s comic book “Urban” based on their real-life adventures as Seattle graffiti artists.

Moving Target Record 2Urban Cover

1995 we saw the stirrings of a rebirth of break dancing, with groups like Circle of Fire, Massive, and Boss crew holding regular cyphers at a number of clubs. Rap-fusion group Silly Rabbit continues to push the boundaries of Seattle music; releasing the ablum “8ball” accompanied by a full length comic book based on the band, written and drawn by David (Image 8000) Toledo and distributed in both the US and Canada. TYRONE release “Middle Man Mojo” to high acclaim and establishes himself as Seattle’s hottest up and coming musician.  Source of Labor performs at the Phunky Phat 95 festival at Evergreen State College.

1997 Edward Dumas launches Wet City Records with artists such as Twin G aka Twin Gamer, Harrison (Tino T) Allen, Jerome (Price) Riley, and Jerrit (Incomparable) Calloway. Chuckundi (DJ Kun Luv) Salisbury begins establishing himself as one on Seattle’s movers and shakers by hosting some of Seattle’s biggest night-out events; and launches Seattle’s Seaspot Magazine the following year. Seattle B-boy FeverOne becomes an official member of the Rock Steady Crew, and takes under his wing a young break dancer named Jerome (Jerome Skee) Aparis.

Danny (DJ Supreme) Clavesilla has a big year in 1998 as his company Conception Records (featuring producer Jake One) releases the compilation album “Walkman Rotation” and he teams up with Kutfather to host “Street Sounds” on radio station KCMU. 1998 also sees the formation of what would become the Unified Outreach non-profit arts program as David Toledo and Edward Dumas began self-funding free arts programs for youth in homeless shelters and transitional housing.

The following year Seattle’s break dance community sees the formation of its first “super group” (the Massive Monkees) headed by FeverOne protégé Jerome (Jerome Skeee) Aparis.  C.A.V.E.’ is formed by brothers Dumi and Tendai Maraire.

Y2K wreaks havoc as faulty systems and futuristic cyborg assassin’s cause the destruction of both the Rocket newspaper and Music Menu Records store. The bright spot for the year? Sportin’ Life Records is established, and Josh (Joshquest) Purden begins a stellar career as one of Seattle’s hottest club DJ’s.

The new millennium sees a new evolution of rap music in Seattle, as Ben (Macklemore) Haggerty performs live for the first time, D’Maurice and Armageddon launch their weekly music and video program, and Suntonio Bandanaz, C.A.V.E’, and Blue Scholars become the new faces of Seattle rap.

2004 Seattle Hip Hop steps outside the box as Ishmael (Butterfly) Butler stars in the film “Men Without Jobs”, and 206 Zulu is established by Danny (King Khazm) Kogita.

2007 Seattle and the rest of the nation saw Jake One establish himself as an major player by producing music for 50 Cent & Mary J. Blige, Rakim and others, and quickly follows up with his on debut album “White Van Music” featuring Vitamin D.  Dave (Pablo D) Narvaez of Foxy DeRoxy crew establishes “Studio Narvaez Photography” aimed at documenting NW Hip Hop.  Devin Pittman host’s “What’s Good Seattle?  The Shop206” on Public Access Television, focusing on local music and arts.  DJ B-Mello takes a spot on KUBE radio.

2009 sees more music evolution as former C.A.V.E’ artist Tendai (Oneder Boy) Maraire and Ishmael (Butterfly) Butler form Shabazz Palaces. Massive Monkees take 3rd place on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. MC, DJ, and Graffiti artist Michael (Specs Wizard) Hall releases a new line of comic books (Capstan Media). Rappers Sean Soultheinterrogator Danaher, Gerry Jermaine Borromeo, Sonny Bonoho, and Pierre Petty-p Guinchard gain notoriety.  Johnie Storm, Nitro Fresh, and Julie C begin basements sessions in what would become the “Saturday Morning Cartoon” project. 2009 also sees the founding of major the major promotion and management company “The Town Entertainment” by Jazmyn Scott (sister of Andre Phillips from the legendary Floor Rockers crew).

2010 David Toledo, Carlos Barrientes, and Dave (Pablo D) Narvaez host the 30-year Seattle City Breakers Reunion featuring the return of Ziggy; bringing together 4 generations of Seattle B-boys. The event also serves as a launching point for Pablo D’s multi-generational group “the North City Rockers” featuring Ernesto Iraheta, Rigo Jones, Nathan (SireOne) Hivick, and Ziggy Zig Zag.  2010 is also a breakout year for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis garnering praise for “Can’t Hold Us’, while Shabazz Palaces signs with Subpop. The same year David Toledo also partnered with TYRONE to produce a composite live-action/cartoon animation video for TYRONE’s song “Coolest Bruva”.

In 2011 we saw Anthony Ladao, the son of old school B-boy Michael (Shogun) Ladao make a name for himself as the front man for fan favorite pop group Midnight Red.  2011 also welcomes E’s Way Radio featuring Michael (E-Dawg) Johnson in a thank-then-rank format that gets high praise from listeners.

massive

Seattle breakdance hits a high point in 2012 as the Vicious Puppies Crew headlines the “STG Dance This!” showcase at the Paramount Theater. The same year the Massive Monkees win the R16 World B-Boy Masters Championship in Seoul, South Korea. Additionally, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis release “The Heist” which will go on to achieve platinum status. Billy the Fridge begins gaining notoriety as one of Seattle’s hottest rappers.  Graffiti artist Delton Son also begins to receive major recognition from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture culminating in a series of art showings.

VP 2

Seattle’s hip hop history is very rich and vibrant; with a community as diverse as the city itself. It continues to grow and evolve, but remains connected to its roots thanks to old school icon’s and historians such as DJ Supreme, FeverOne, Pablo D, and others who have stayed active over the past 30 years (30 years???)

I’m going to stop here it you all don’t mind. I’ve shared 1982 – 2012 giving us 30 years of hip hop history in Seattle.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed Seattle’s history from my perspective.   Without a doubt there are many crews, individuals, events, and items that have had a profound affect on Seattle, and I hope you forgive me if I forgot to mention them.

Please also take time to visit these other sites for even more history.

http://tyronesmusic.com/

http://drdaudiabe.com/5-2

http://www.206zulu.com/

http://supremelarock.com

2014 JP Scratches Mobile DJ

contact: KingCountyNews@Gmail.com

BRING THE NOISE! Legendary Seattle artist David Toledo makes the leap from street art to political activism.

Originally published 10/08/14: http://theincrediblecrew.blogspot.com/2014/10/bring-noise-legendary-seattle-artist.html

Image Standing 1987

Seattle is known as both a place of artistic expression and of issue advocacy.  On one hand Seattle is a place where creativity flourishes and bursts forth in the form of game-changing music, technology, and art appreciation centers; while on the other hand advancing the rights of workers, launching innovative youth outreach programs, and addressing race & social justice issues head-on.

It there is one person that exemplifies Seattle’s dual personality it is artist and youth advocate David Toledo.  A published author, illustrator, musician and playwright; 10 years ago David stepped back (slightly) from the limelight in order to focus on youth advocacy; stopping youth violence, and using the arts to give a new direction to many of Seattle’s at-risk teens.

David and team recently wrapping up the Unified Outreach summer classes and highly acclaimed “Work Training in the Arts” program.  David agreed to sit down with us over a plate of wings and biscuits in Seattle’s Central District.

David:  That’s my high school right there.  They’ve done a lot of renovations but I still like to walk the yard once in a while or slip inside after hours just to breeze through the hallways.

YAC:  Good memories?

David:  Definitely.  I wish I could go back and do it all again… But I’m sure that’s what most people say.

YAC:  You graduated Garfield in 1988?

David:  I was blessed to attend Garfield in the mid 80’s, when the city was exploring cross-city busing as a way to desegregate the Seattle and heal divisions caused by neighborhood redlining.  If you look at my Facebook page you’ll see about 70% of my friends were met at Garfield; but I actually graduated from Ingraham after I was transferred closer to home my senior year.

YAC:  Has the neighborhood changed since you attended Garfield?

David:   I think there is truth to the gentrification argument, that families that have lived in the area for generations being driven out.  Families redlined into the area due to discriminating housing practices that found the good and settled here to put down roots, bought houses, and planned on establishing a home for their children and grandchildren.

“City officials have surrendered to developers, and those that are advocating for the community are just too radical.”

And now we are talking about micro housing and more development but no one is talking about how that will affect the quality of life in the area.  What are the pros and cons?   We have to get a handle on affordable housing issues, and do so in a responsible way.  So far it looks like our city officials have surrendered to developers, and those that are advocating for the community are just too radical.  We need honest mediators to bring both sides together.

YAC:  What would you like to see?

David:  Not all development is bad.  I walked these streets in the 80’s and 90’s and I’m not afraid to share both the triumphs and the tragedies of that time period.  New construction is needed, but we need to respect local establishments that have historical significance.  How can the community partner with the developers to honor these locations?

Anyway, I know you didn’t come here to talk about housing issues.  I’m sure you’d rather talk about all the exciting things we’re doing with the arts.

YAC:  August 30th the Unified Outreach program held its annual youth Fashion Expose.  Can you tell us a little about the work training in the arts program?

d4 (Work Training in the Arts)

David:  Of course, but first let me give you some history.  Being artists ourselves, the volunteers have known the importance of networking and career tracks in being successful.  Politicians are quick to use the quote Pastor Greg Boyle “Nothing stops a bullet like a job”, and we believe that.  However, putting a job in a low income area doesn’t mean that the youth in that area will have access to it.  Which, by the way is why I favor tax breaks or other incentives for hiring employees that live in the same district as the business, but that’s another subject.

Like most who are involved with youth programs we continually heard of kids taking art classes or workshops offered throughout the city- but once the student graduated he/she didn’t know what to do with their newfound artistic skills. So in 2010 we began engaging Mayor McGinn regarding the need for career tracks for any arts programs receiving funding from the city.  We suggested that if a group was seeking city funding that one of the requirements be that the facility provide their students with direction beyond the classroom, and offered our Youth Fashion Expose as an example.  Now one thing about Mayor McGinn is he loved and engaged both Seattle’s youth and the arts.  Mayor McGinn didn’t just listen, he acted, and in 2011 launched the City’s “Work Readiness in the Arts” program, connecting the Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI), and Non-Profit Arts programs in a partnership to provide job training skills in various artistic mediums.  The program doesn’t have the mandatory “education track or networking” component that we sought, but it is a step in the right direction.

YAC:  Which brings us to the Youth Fashion Expose’?

David:  Exactly!  So what this program offers is work training in event production and management.  We offer the Fashion Expose in partnership with Carlisia Minnis/MAC Fashion House and Lika Love, as well as a Music Industry course featuring Seattle rap artist TYRONE (aka Tyrone Dumas) which is incredible.

“Kids need educational or career direction beyond the initial classroom training.”

In these programs Unified Outreach partners with SYVPI to train 10 at-risk youth (per program) to plan, promote, and deliver an industry level community event.  During a 6-week period students learn facilities management, sound & lighting, promotions, stage set-up, video production, and more.  Then on the final night our instructors step back and allow the students to take full control of the show.  Afterwards we spend a week of programming helping the youth to build resumes, obtain contact information for designers, artists, promoters, and other networking opportunities.  The kids leave the program with the skills to put on any type of large scale event, as well as a strong resume which includes a DVD of the performance and behind the scenes footage.

YAC:  That is an incredible program.  I agree that kids need educational or career direction beyond the initial classroom training.  Your program fills a much needed void in the arts community!  Now let’s talk a little about your personal history.  I think it’s especially appropriate that we talk about your roots in hip hop since we are just steps away from your high school and the spot of one of your most famous works of art?  At one time you were considered one of the best graffiti artist’s in Seattle.  Can you tell me about that?

David:  I suppose I had some neighborhood fame during hip hop’s golden era, back around 1983-1985.  I was pretty well known for doing hip hop art back then.  Unlike today, there weren’t a lot of street artists who did full scale murals, really there were only a handful.  So the minute I put up a 30 foot burner on the Garfield High track field I established myself.  After that if I was at Sir Mixalot jam at the YMCA or Boy’s Club I had a little group of aspiring artists that would congregate around me.

d2 (Image Nemo aerosol 1987)

YAC:  So you were Seattle’s first graffiti muralist?

David:  Oh no! Not at all.  As a matter of fact my first inspiration was the block-long graffiti mural by Kuo (aka Mr. Clean) that changed my life.  I had never seen anything like it.  But by this time there were already other artists establishing themselves with large pieces, such as Spraycan, DadOne, Spaide, Skreen, Nemo, KeepOne, Solo Doe, Faze, Bazerk, and others.  But I had really strong characters, and that helped my pieces to get a little more attention; but all said and done, most of those cats were better with a spray can than me.

YAC:  At what point did you transition from walls to canvas?

David:  I met graffiti artist Sean (Nemo) Casey in 1986.  I had already stopped going out at night and began focusing on my music & dance crew (the Ducky Boys) which had been gaining notoriety at local dance clubs in Seattle and surrounding areas.  I think Nemo and I painted 2 walls together, then Nemo suggested that we really start focusing on canvases. He was into all kinds of artistic mediums, truly gifted.

YAC:  Let’s quickly touch on your dance crew, the Ducky Boys.

David:  So there was a period where kids were growing out of breakdancing, but still looking for something to do at the club (other than dance with girls, go figure).  Enter “the prep” which was a dance battle of sorts.  So kids would have “prep crews” that would go out and dance against each other.  During this brief period (85-87) the most well-known crews (thanks to our appearance on Seattle Bandstand) were the Masters of the Prep (later known as PPIA), the Ballard Boys, and the Ducky Boys.  The dance crew slowly evolved into a musical group with the help of DJ’s Spencer Reed and Kelly Peebles.

d1 (Ducky Boys 1985)

YAC:  That sounds like fun.

David:  It was a great time in my life.  But there were also a couple of times that the guys and I had to fight our way out of the club because the regulars didn’t like to see us win cash prizes in the dance contests.

“He literally had pressed me up over his head and was going to throw me through the storefront window.”

YAC:  Really?  Dance-fight?  Like in West Side Story?

David:  (Laughs) not quite.  Some of these fights were pretty serious, there was one fight where I was literally pressed over this guy’s head and thought he was going to throw me through the storefront window, and honestly, he could have if he wanted to.  Thankfully he decided to simply body slam me to the floor. I’m truly grateful that God never allowed me to go through a window, or to be too severely damaged in a fight, because I put myself in a lot of unnecessary situations trying to represent my crew.

YAC:  I think that a lot of kids are dealing with that same mentality today.  There is a willingness to do some pretty crazy things in order to impress our friends.

David:  It’s true.  The respect and approval of your friends means so much at that age.  It’s funny, because in the situation where I was almost thrown through the window, the guy I got into it with that day probably had more in common with me than anyone else I was hanging with at the time.  He’s gone on to be an author of children’s books, he’s a concert promoter, and he’s really sharp.  If he and I would have sat down with our business hats on we might be running a Fortune 500 company today, man I’d like to have a do-over there.

YAC:  Do you remember what you were fighting about?

David:  Sadly, I don’t.  Which means it was probably something pretty silly.  I can honestly say that most of the altercations I was involved in were due to my trying to protect others.  Do you remember the scene in Forrest Gump, when Forrest sees the hippie boyfriend slap Jenny, and Forrest goes over the table to get him? I guess I was everybody’s Forrest Gump back then.  Even today, it’s hard for me to sit still when I see a person physically or verbally attacking someone who isn’t equipped to fight back.  People can be so mean, and there are some out there that escalate their hostility when they see the person they are attacking is not fighting back.

YAC:  But in this case?

David:  In this case I’m ashamed to say that I think we were fighting about who placed where in a recent dance contest.  It was something really silly, and shamefully embarrassing.

YAC:  Do you feel that having similar experiences helps you to better understand the kids you work with?

David:  I think it helps.  But these kids are also dealing with things that I could never imagine at that age.  Social media brings peer pressure and bullying to a whole new level.  But we just try to lead by example.  I share my stories, successes and failures, in hopes that it helps them to make the right decisions if ever found in similar situations.

David:  Wait a minute.  We’re doing it again.  We’re way off track if this is meant to be a story about the arts program.

YAC:  Well, we’re here to talk about the program but I think your history is also important in understanding what drives you.  But okay, back to the gallery showing.  You artists just can’t seem to stay focused.

David:  (Laughs) Okay, so I met Nemo, who was already doing gallery showings featuring his work with aerosol.  My first pieces were aerosol works as well, featuring hip hop style letters and characters; but I quickly moved from spray-paint to oils and acrylics.  So my early showings were a mixture of both traditional and contemporary works.  One canvas would have a hip hop character and letters, the next canvas would be an oil painting of an old man drinking coffee.  The dramatic leaps of style and mediums impressed some, while leaving others trying to make sense of what, when, and how they were connected.

David Toledo oil paint 1999 (Oils 1999)

YAC:  And from there your next project was what?

David:  I think the early 1990’s were some of my most commercially creative years.  During this time I wrote and acted in various plays, was the lead writer and illustrator for a number of comic books, and performed with Seattle alternative-band “Silly Rabbit” and the rap group Moving Target, along with my brother Dawny and Esera Mose (also releasing and album of the same name).

YAC:  Things were really moving along.  Then what happened?

David:  By 1996 I was working a full time desk job and really focused on a steady white-collar pay check.  I dabbled in various artist mediums, but only sporadically.  But there was also something missing.  I had grown up with a mother who was very involved in helping others.  She took in refugees, let families from church stay with us, and housed foster children.  In the late 1970’s she and a few friends began a soup kitchen at one of the senior housing complexes in Greenwood, and in the early 80’s she started one of the first neighborhood food-banks, from our front porch.  This was a single mother, raising 4 kids on her own, working nights to make ends meet.  But despite her own struggles she was always asking how she could help others; delivering and cooking food, sowing buttons, lending a friendly ear, whatever was needed.

“We operated for nearly a decade with absolutely no funding other than what the volunteers put into the program.”

So here I was, almost 30, and wondering how I could make a difference.  So I started volunteering at a transitional housing shelter in the Central District.  I would go in once a week and draw or paint with the kids, and that’s where my love of youth programming began.

YAC:  Would you say that was the beginning of the Unified Outreach program?

David:  In a way, yes.  So as I began volunteering at other shelters I started to ask other artist friends of mine to help out.  When we would show up to do art classes people would ask what group we were with.  So eventually we thought that we needed to establish a name for the group, and Unified Outreach was born.  That was 1998 when we actually put a name to the program.  We applied for and received 501c3 Charity status in 2004.

YAC:  So you actually celebrated 10 years of charitable status this year?  Congratulations!

David:  Oh yeah, I hadn’t even thought about that.  16 years of programming, with the last 10 years under the 501c3 status.  It’s be a very rewarding, full of ups and downs, but very rewarding.  And during this time I think I really grew as a person.  I spent two years in North Los Angeles/Inglewood volunteering at Christ Gospel Mission as well as the Greater Bethany Food Bank advocating for the homeless, working with at-risk youth, and trying to get a better grasp of issues that affect those around me.  Here in Seattle I’ve worked on affordable housing issues, spoken out against corruption and cronyism in our state government, and called for a return of arts programs to our public schools.

YAC:  What do you see in the future for Unified Outreach?

David:  We really have a lot of programs that are being initiated by former students.  There is a production group that meets weekly at our studios, completely made up of former students and other youth.  I believe the oldest in the group is 20 or 21 years.  They are using the sound booth and video equipment with a goal of producing ready for network commercials and television sitcoms within the next 2 years.

And of course we’re looking at other options for future work training in the arts programs such as cartoon animation, ebook publishing, healthy living programs and other ideas.

YAC:  Any personal arts projects for David Toledo?

David:  I’m working on a cartoon series called the Mascots, and finishing a short script for theater, hopefully both to be completed by the end of 2015.

Mascots w David Toledo  (The Mascots Cartoon)

YAC:  What would you say is Unified Outreach’s biggest accomplishment?

David:  I think just surviving.  We operated for nearly a decade with absolutely no funding other than what the volunteers put into the program.  We didn’t receive our first grant until 2011.  We kept the program alive and running with love, sweat, and tears.

“They continued to spin the story that Unified Outreach had somehow broken the law, calling for arrests and threatening to come down to the art center and confront the kids.”

YAC:  Was there ever a time when you thought about closing the doors?

David:  Yes, sadly there was, and it was tied directly into our first grant, although it was really just about politics.  In 2011 Unified Outreach had received a check from the City for $1000.00 to help with printing of a youth arts newspaper.  My sister was running for office at the time, and supporters of her political opponent attacked our program in an attempt to smear her.  As one would expect the kids writing the articles wrote about what they were doing and seeing at the time, including writing about my sisters run for office since it was something they heard me talking about daily.  Nothing over the top, just some general articles about her run which I still think were very fair and balanced.  Seeing an opportunity to attack my sister, her opponents complained to the city and the elections commission about the paper being political literature.

YAC:  Wow.  What happened?

David:  The city officials called us in a panic, worried about being caught in the middle of a political war.  Before they even asked we offered to give the money back in order to help calm the situation, I wrote them a check that morning.  The elections board looked at the newspaper and agreed with us that there was no wrongdoing, and closed the case.  However, the political partisans continued to spin the story that Unified Outreach had somehow broken the law, calling for arrests and threatening to come down to the art center and confront the kids.

That is the thing that still turns my stomach, how adults can do something so despicable as to harm children (even emotionally) just to gain the political upper hand.  Our kids went from feeling like they had accomplished something major, the production of a complete newspaper – written, drawn, photographed, and published by youth, to feeling like they did something wrong.

(At this point David’s lip quivers, as he seems shaken recounting the events).

Because of those threats we had to think about protecting our students from the mental and potential physical abuse by these political fanatics.  So we closed the doors for a time and cut back on programming until after the race was over.  Once we thought that our students were safe to return we began to schedule classes again.

YAC:  That’s terrible.  I’m glad that you were able to regroup and to continue with your programming.  It’s hard to believe that people can be so wicked, but then again, politics is a dirty game.

I’m not sure if this is a good Segue but over the past few years you have really grown from just and artist into many different areas of advocacy, from curbing youth violence, race & social justice, fair housing, and more.  You seem to have become a real activist.

David:  I think that being active in the community demands that we engage on issues that are important to people.  I always try to approach the dialogue with a humble heart; but we never know where inspiration may come from.  Even if someone has completely different ideas about how things should work, there may be some areas of common ground, and if we listen, there may be some good ideas mixed in with the rhetoric.

YAC:  You’ve recently made attempts to engage Mayor Murray’s office regarding a proposal to establish a department of inner city affairs?

“The proposal received strong opposition from department-heads within the Mayor’s office that feared losing their funding.”

David:  Yes, during the summer of 2014 the Central District and Rainier Valley saw a dramatic increase in youth violence and murders.  Over 10 youth murdered, over 20 overall murders, and over 50 reported gunshots in a 4-month period.  Senior members of the community were crying out for outside the box thinking to engage youth.  Our steering committee put together what we felt was a solid blueprint for the creation of a new department that would cultivate a new partnership between community leaders and public safety officials and access previously unobtainable community resources.

YAC:  And the results of the proposal?

David:  The Mayor’s office refused to meet with us, stating that they already had programs in place to deal with youth violence.  Additionally, I understand the proposal received strong opposition from department-heads within the Mayor’s office that feared losing their funding.

I think the proposal was also just a little too radical.  Our design involved recruiting people from the neighborhood; some of which lacked the usually required degrees, in fact many might not even have their high school diplomas, and maybe had police records, whose only education was on the streets, but that the kids doing the violence know and look up to.  These people didn’t fit into the Mayor’s plan for youth engagement.  The city still sees the best course of action to curb the violence as college educated counselors and social workers from Ivy League Schools.

It was also mentioned to us by inside sources that there was a fear that meeting with us would give the proposal and the proposed community leader’s legitimacy and shine a spotlight on areas that our city officials would rather keep in the dark.

YAC:  Like turning on a light in the kitchen and seeing roaches scatter?

David:  The message we got is to not rock the boat. So rather than continue to beat on a closed door we are looking at other ways to bring change on a smaller scale.  We must continuing to engage kids in one-on-one relationships through arts programs, music, mentoring, and just being a part of the community.

And thankfully there are other great programs that are active in the area that we hope to partner with in the future.  Groups like B.U.I.L.D. and programs like Hack the CD that have outstanding leadership and are making a difference where they are needed most.

YAC:  I feel like we could sit and talk about arts programs and community involvement all day, but we have to end the article at some point.  Let me rattle off a few topics and please try to answer in one or two sentences if possible.

“Other than the festivals, Seattle Center is always deserted, but that’s what happens when you have an Arts Commission that is heavily populated with lawyers and real estate developers.”

YAC:  Best thing about growing up in Seattle.

David:  Summertime at Greenlake and at the Seattle Center Fun Forrest.  Two things break my heart, going to Greenlake and seeing “no swimming due to toxic algae” and visiting Seattle Center and seeing a once vibrant community meeting place practically a ghost town.  Other than the festivals, Seattle Center is always deserted, but that’s what happens when you have an Arts Commission that is heavily populated with lawyers and real estate developers.

YAC:  Favorite thing about Seattle today?

David:  Seahawks baby!

YAC:  First thing you would do if you were the Mayor?

David:  Personal camera’s on police officers.  We need that to protect our officers who put their lives on the line every day and need that documentation when they are forced escalate a situation.  And we need it for our communities who may have lost confidence in our public safety offices due to past experiences.

YAC:  If you could talk to the David Toledo of 1990 what would you say?

David:  Find and marry a good woman.  We are created as incomplete beings; having a partner that you can share this journey with is a blessing that I took too long to embrace.

YAC:  Your hero?

David:  My mom, who I love with all my heart.

YAC:  Favorite thing to do?

David:  Dance-off competitions with my daughter, nephews, and nieces.

Dance Point   (Daddy Daughter Dance-Off)

YAC:  Advice for struggling artists?

David:  Find artists with similar drive, ambition, and vision and build together.

YAC:  Advice for political activists?

David:  (laughs) No, no advice.  I’m still figuring it out, and what I do know about politics, I don’t like.

YAC:  Final words?

David:  I’ll just leave you with a favorite scripture, James 2:15 “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY:  M. KaPOWsley

PHOTOS MAY BE USED WITH PUBLICATON OF THIS ARTICLE.

August 2013 Animating Cartoons Summer Day Camp – Ages 9-14 – West Seattle

August 2013 Animating Cartoons Summer Day Camp

2013 Cartoon Animation Day Camp

August 19th – 23rd and/or August 26th – 30th

(Individual stand-alone weeks)

*Open Daily 8:30am – 5:30pm
(Parents Drop Off/Pick Up children at their convenience)

Unified Outreach@Ginomai Art Center provides a unique Summer Day-Camp option for Parents who are interested in seeing their child attain a stronger grasp of Arts & Technology in a fun and exciting environment.

An average afternoon of Summer Day-Camp will include educational exercises embedded in fun games designed to encourage personal growth, positive self-esteem and team building skills. The day will also include physical activities and outdoor time (as weather allows) including lunch in the park. But the highlight of each day will be working on the creation of a personal cartoon-animation using the kids ideas, stories, drawings and voices; of which they will have their very own DVD to show to friends and family.

NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! Our students are coached by knowledgeable, skilled instructors who will work with the kids each step of the way; from story development, to character design, digital imaging, cartoon animation, and voice-overs using industry-level production software including Adobe Photoshop, Flash, Soundbooth, and more.

Doors open at 8:30am and close at 5:30pm – Parents may drop off their child at any time during operational hours. $200 per student/week.

Unified Outreach is a 501C3 Youth Arts Charity which has been Active in Seattle for over 10 years.

Please visit http://www.UnifiedOutreach.com or call 206-371-1139 or 206-333-8118 for more information on our Charity

Georgio Brown – The man behind the Northwest’s “Coolout Network”

Coolout 1    (Georgio Brown)

For 20 years Georgio Brown’s “Coolout Network” has introduced us to hot new talent; and since 1991 the show has kept fresh and evolving. From the early days of “Club Coolout” to its move to webisode format in 2007, Georgio has proven to be a man on with his finger on the pulse of the City.

For those of us around in the early 90’s, we remember the hot local video & dance show shot on location at clubs like the Rock Candy and DV8, and community center’s such as the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center.  “Club Coolout” featured kids dancing in a “Soul Train” setting interspersed with videos from local artists.  The weekly broadcast allowed viewers to get to know local musicians such as Kid Sensation, Specs, Incredicrew, D’Armageddon, Edawg, and a number of others; as well as hip hop dancers such as Sam Dumas and PPIA.

Coolout throwback  (Throwback)

Georgio first caught the video production bug when he was in high school (back in 1980’s New York), where he would film local rappers and B-Boys. This took off for him as he saw how much people enjoyed and were inspired by the shorts he created.  In 1991 Georgio found his way to Seattle, Washington and the rest is history.

In April of that year Georgio began producing a series of videos focusing on Seattle’s Hip Hop scene. These shorts turned into the “Coolout Network” which began airing on Seattle Public Access television stations.  The program has not only been a doorway to success for dancers and musicians, but also for those artist’s trying to break into radio and television broadcasting such as B-Mello and Sacha Starr.

Georgio has worked with Non-Profit performance arts programs and arts education programs and is often used for community awareness.  In the summer of 2004, Georgio Brown and Coolout Network were honored by the City of Seattle, receiving the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Hip Hop for his dedication to create a positive contribution to the community.

In 2009 Georgio won local film-maker of the year at the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival with a short he shot and produced about the 206 Zulu Nation.  Georgio credits this film with lighting a fire in him to tell more stories about NW hip hop. And now that Georgio has announced his 5 year hiatus from Coolout, he plans on immediately jumping into his next project; a collaboration between himself and Scott Macklin, along with NW hip hop historian Mike Clark with will culminate in a full length feature documentary about the Evolution of Hip Hop in the Northwest.

Today Coolout TV can be seen on the following sites: youtube.com/coolouttv, vimeo.com/georgiobrown, facebook.com/georgiobrown.

“There are a lot of talented people in the Northwest that need and deserve attention and Coolout is the platform that can help them get the exposure and inspiration they need” – Georgio Brown.

Coolout cartoon  (Coolout Cartoon)

Vicious Puppies – Breakdance IS where its at!

VP group

Following in the footsteps of their mentors, the world-famous Massive Monkees (seen on America’s Best Dance Crew), the Vicious Puppies Crew is a (West) Seattle based breakdance troop that is being recognized as one of the hottest breakdance groups in the Country, and maybe even the world.

Last year the Vicious Puppies received rave reviews for their part in Paramount Theatre’s “Dance This!”  Showcase. The group has drawn comparisons to last decade’s boy-band’s N’Sync and Backstreet boys in the way they generate intense fan frenzy’s at each of their performances.

Award winning hip hop artist and Seattle icon, Spencer Reed had this to say – “Kids go crazy for the Vicious Puppies.  I mean, they go CRAZY!  The Puppies bring style, power, and just straight up fun to the dance floor.”  He goes on, “Girls love these guys because every one of them looks like a friggin’ model.  And every fella respects them because they straight up deliver on the floor.  I would not be surprised at all to see a Vicious Puppies television series or some sort of movie jumping off in the next few years.  Vicious Puppies are going to be the next big thing.” – Spencer Reed

The group was influenced by the Massive Monkees, and taught by (MM) member’s Jeromeskee and Tim the Pitt.  When asked who the leader of the group is, they answer “No one man is running the crew because each member is a BOSS.”  They each have their own individual styles that make us unique, and when they come together as a group it’s a super-crew; something like a B-boy Voltron (Google it!)

VP 2
Vicious Puppies Sammy, Dan, and Binh

B-Boy “Kid Binh” says that the group is more like a family than just a breakdance crew.  “Dan the Man” says “Our dreams are to blow up one day and travel the world doing something we love to do, whether it be dancing or not.” And “Supa Sav” says that “Even if we took a break from B-boying, the bond that we’ve developed throughout the years will always bring us together as a family, B-boys or not.”

Manager and Vicious Puppy member “B-boy Blazii” says the future looks bright for the group who just shot a television commercial for a local roofing company- “We have shows lined up throughout the summer, we’re continuing to do commercial television work, and are teaching breakdance classes to up and coming B-boys and B-girls.  The schedule is crazy busy but we love it!” He said.

For booking, class schedule, sweatshirt orders, or fan club information email justinmlaw93@gmail.com.  Also look for Vicious Puppies on YouTube!

Vicious Puppies
The crew is deep!

4 Generations of B-Boy’s come out to celebrate 30 years of Hip Hop Culture at the “Seattle City Breaker’s Reunion!”

Seattle’s Pioneer Breaker Dancers “Pablo D” and “Sir Slamalot”

By ZiggyFan2012

One year after Seattle’s historic event we take time to remember how awesome it really was!

Seattle, WA. May 13th, 2011 – It was a historical night in West Seattle as the Unified Outreach non-profit Arts Program hosted the “Seattle City Breakers Reunion” celebrating 30 years of hip hop culture in Seattle.

This event brought together some of Seattle hip hop’s legendary Breakdancers and B-Boy’s/B-Girl’s in a multi generational event that took many through a time-warp and back to the early 80’s when group’s such as the Emerald City, Seattle City Breaker’s, Fresh Force, 1st Degree Breaker’s, and DeRoxy Crew ruled the dance floor.

The event featured guest speaker “Nasty” Nes Rodriguez who was the first radio DJ to host an all rap music show back in 1983.  Having the honor of sharing the DJ booth with Nes were legendary DJ’s  B-Mello (KUBE), Mr. Supreme, SoulOne, SuReal, NaNino, SeaBefore, Khazm, DV-One, and DJ Tecumseh (from Bamboo Beats).

The venue provided by West Seattle Christian Church featured a 600 person event center/performance hall which quickly filled to capacity with four decades of B-Boy’s and B-Girl’s crowding in to see the Seattle’s original break dancers.  Event organizer’s David Toledo and Carlos Barrientes provided a special seating area for a group of 20 special needs youth to attend and to participate in some of the “open floor” breakdancing.

The star of the night (who flew in from Hawaii for the event) was Ziggy “Zig Zag” Puaa; a breakdancer who rose to stardom in Seattle during the 80’s and then disappeared at the height of his career.  Rumor’s had circulated for years about Ziggy’s demise during a surfing accident; only to have Ziggy shock many old friends and fan’s when a video surfaced on YouTube featuring Ziggy breakdancing in Hawaii last year.  Also a surprise to many was the attendance of Danny Molino who has been in a wheelchair since a gun shot wound to the head paralyzed most of his body in the early 1990’s.

Other legends to appear at the event included “Seattle’s first Breakdancer” Jonathan (Junior) Alefaio, as well as Rafael Contreras, Spencer Reed, Danny Molino, Carlos (Sir Slamalot) Barrientes, Li’a Cat (Wacky) Talaga and Dave “Pablo D” Narvaez.

Staying true to the idea of Hip Hop’s “4 Elements” (DJ, MC, Breakdancer, and Graffiti Artist) the house was full of other pioneers as well; including Specs Wizard, Sam Sneke, KeepOne, Tyrone Dumas, FazeOne, Gerald Carpio, Curtis Tauiliili, Mr. Cool Anthony Espinoza, Vince Nguyen, Bublz, Kevin Lundeen, and Kid Silly.

The event culminated in an awards ceremony celebrating the “Heart of Hip Hop” in which 8 “Old School” legends received individually colored award plaque’s celebrating individual achievement.  Receiving awards were Carlos Barrientes (Red/Power), Spencer Reed (Yellow/Joy), Ziggy Puaa (Orange/Passion), Dan Clavesilla (Dark Blue/Knowledge), Sam Sneke (Light Blue/Creativity), Danny Molino (White/Pure Style), Michael Hall (Purple/Magic), and Nes Rodriguez (Pink/Universal Love).

The event welcomed 4 decades of breakdancers to participate in the open floor; from the original’s, to current hotshot’s Massive Monkey’s and the Vicious Puppies, to a group of toddler B-Boy’s/B-Girl’s it was a full-filled family event welcoming all ages.

It was a night to remember and something that will not be duplicated soon in Seattle as many legends and icon’s of the Seattle Hip Hop Community came together for a night of reminiscing, educating, and celebrating a our shared history.

For more information on the event, current, and upcoming event, please visit the Seattle City Breakers group on Facebook.