'Kings of Leon Tour Bus Catches Fire' And Other Headlines SF Artist Johnny Selman Should Interpret


What's that you say? A San Francisco-based artist agitating for sociopolitical change? My stars, now we've seen everything!

But seriously, folks. Transplanted Virginian and extremely assiduous master's candidate Johnny Selman has embarked on a pretty cool project for his Academy of Art thesis: for BBCX365, he's making a new poster daily for 100 days, each inspired by a BBC News headline. As of last week, some of his work to date can be seen and studied in the windows of businesses along Valencia Street (check Uptown Almanac for a non-exhaustive list of them).

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Photo of the Week: Obama or JFK?

Click to enlarge
We can't tell either.
Found on Townsend and Fourth Street.

Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle: Now That's Hip-Hop

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The party in the park is, quite possibly, hip-hop's most singularly enduring tradition. Saturday's Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle honored that tradition - and then some. Held in conjunction with the Living Word Festival, the National Poetry Slam, Hood Games and Life Is Living.org's Life is Living Festival, the event took over deFremery Park, which was buzzing with vibrant energy. In addition to live graffiti painting (this year's theme word was "grow"), there were b-boy battles, live performances by poets and musicians, eco-sustainable booths, and much more. Visceral activity was just about everywhere, and not a single one of hip-hop's foundational elements was overlooked--if anything they were added to.

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Oh, No: Pharaohe Monch
Oakland's own Vogue TDK took home the top prize for his piece, a 3-D calligraphic masterpiece which used bamboo symbolism to convey the idea of verdant, active plantlife. Life performers included Marc Bamuthi Jacobs, Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Ensemble--who performed folk songs from the Underground Railroad era--the Kev Choice Ensemble, and Pharaohe Monch, who rapped with such intensity, he bloodied his lip. All in all, it was an extremely good look for hip-hop, reminding people that there is no substitute for organic community-building.
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2,3 Break: B-boys in a cipher

Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle Starts Tomorrow

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Yes, He Can: Estria

The fascinating subcultural (and frequently subterranean) world of graffiti art surfaces this week, as the third annual Estria Invitational Battle, organized by Bay Area spraycan art legend Estria (in conjunction with Marc Bamuthi Joseph's Living Word Festival), gets underway. The festivities begin tomorrow with the Can Film Festival, a free event at the 1:AM SF Gallery featuring screenings of the films "Style Wars" and "Bomb It," and an illustrious panel including moderator Jeff Chang, Estria, Suzie Lundy and Kevin Epps. On Friday, Pecha Kucha Night at East Side Arts Alliance in Oakland presents "Don't Sweat the Technique," an exhibition/discussion featuring 10 graffiti artists showing 20 slides, promoting social change. On Saturday, Oakland's deFremery park becomes ground zero for the culminating event, the Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle, bringing together 16 of the nation's top graffiti artists, as well as workshops and a black book battle.

I Heart Street Art: Political Stencils in Morocco

This week, Telephone and Soup check in once more from Morocco:

Is that a bird or a plane or a superman or... Moroccan democracy hard at work? It's actually two birds, two envelopes, and one horse all hard at work for Moroccan democracy.

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I Heart Street Art: Moroccan Sports Fans

This week, an exclusive dispatch from San Francisco artists Telephone and Soup (most notable for having unleashed Shitty Kitty on the world), who are currently doing time in Morocco:

We're in the city of Rabat for the next four months, finishing up our upcoming graphic novel ("To Timbuktu") and researching for another book. When we're not working on all that, we've been walking the streets.

We've noticed a lot of the tags in the 'old city' are for the local soccer clubs. For example, here is Rabat's team, "FAR," right below Coke's Arabic logo:

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I Heart Street Art: Pineapple Palm Job

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On Sunday I was supposed to meet with some friends for lunch at Herbivore (only because I have a free meal coming my way), but they had a hard time mobilizing, so I went solo to Mission Burger instead. At that point, it was so late in the day all the mandarin Jarritos were gone! With mild trepidation, I settled on pineapple. Would the super-specific natural and artificial pineappley flavors clash with the epicly subtle nature of my vegan burger and fries?More »

I Heart Street Art: Transbay Terminal Tag

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The best part of spending last week in Berkeley was the commute. There's this thing called the CalTrans Commuter Bike Shuttle that runs during peak periods between MacArthur BART and the Transbay Terminal. For $1 you can be one of the 14 passengers on a 14-passenger commuter van with a 14-bike bike trailer hitched to the back. One dollar! That's a fraction of the cost of a BART ride, in case you hadn't noticed.More »

I Heart Street Art: Another Tag I Like

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Last week's I Heart Street Art, which I'd thought was the height of both critical analysis and street credibility, drew the ire of a trio of anonymous commenters. Today we respond to their concerns and look at pictures of a big purple tag I like on Jack London Alley in the SoSo District of San Francisco. (That's South of South Park for those outside the know.)More »

I Heart Street Art: Murals Vs. Tags

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Lilac Alley has been in the news a lot lately thanks to a new addition, a big fancy mural about agriculture and stuff associated with Mission Pie. And that's great. I Heart Street Art is thrilled to see people excited about public art, and pie. But whenever I venture down Lilac Alley, it's another piece that gets me. This PE is big and sloppy, and shares few of the qualities with the PE we gushed about way back in our second week. But it's got heart...
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