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Peace, Beats, and Bombpops ~ Tropico de Nopal Artspace ~ Echo Park

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MEAR ONE CBS

An inspiring night went down yesterday, with creative, pro-peace friends throwing it up and partying for Peace, Beats, and Bombpops: A Night of Independence Through Unity at Tropico de Nopal Artspace in Echo Park. Everyone had a great time, dancing and rapping with one another, and no doubt took inspiration from the confluence of subversive forces in the candle-lit, cactus-dotted garden courtyard.

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A whole gangload of selectors spun dancehall, hip-hop, soul, and funky-ass funk to get booties shaking, while Hearts Challenger's old skool ice cream van provided candy, lip gloss, and mmmm...Big Sticks. I was drenched in sweat all night, but apparently I'm too self-concious to eat a Big Stick in public at this age.

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In the corner was set-up a booth for the Iraq photo project, where everyone could take a photo to add to the project with themselves holding a giant sign reading 'Peace in Iraq.' I think over 600 photos were added to the archive last night!

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One of the things (besides peace) bringing me out last night was to see the mind-blowing MEAR ONE do a live painting. His work is very inspiring, but there was actually a lot to see in watching the man paint as well. Starting methodically, after awhile he really throws his physical self into what he does, hitting his knees, rythmically splashing paint over the work, and working the entire surface over in such a controlled flurry of activity, one of my friends said he was feeling protective of the abused canvas. The piece speaks for itself and speaks volumes. Respect to MEAR ONE for his works of beauty and action.

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Brandy Flower was rocking his phenomenal Mark of the Beast collection of slanted corporate symbols, possibly the only L.A. art exhibit to be shut down by LAPD for being 'offensive and aggressive' or some shit. The symbols are so familiar that they blend into any scenery, yet no matter how 'comfortable' you feel around them, taking awareness of your surroundings and coming in for a closer look reveals a genius jab at the babylon system or some infantile expression like 'Hard Cock,' which provide much needed levity after a couple clever reminders of our government's global tyranny. Like the greatest music, there is always something new and jarring to find among Brandy's work, even through repeated exposure.

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The best of the images are possibly the most simple, blending symbols of Western excess with the names of cities brutalized or negelcted like the Def Leppard logo that simply reads 'Darfur.' Brandy and the great Mike C were running things as always with their Hit N' Run Crew, busting out one-of-a-kind t-shirts by the city's best rising artists before bringing Japan to its knees in the coming weeks.

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Lot of hots kids shaking their hips, but I think I mentioned that. You know Sticky Rick was in the house, I took a picture of him dancing that I've promised to hold over his head for the rest of his life. Nathan Nice, the LA-born-and-bred MC who rocked the Hallowed Wheat Paste jam, was also chilling. Big ups Nate!

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But yeah, the music and vibe was fucking great. Peaceful, bursting with creativity, flowing with beer, and full of willing dancers and plenty of amiable L.A. heads. Respect to Azul 213, Pablo Aguilar, Reyes, Phloe, Mike the Poet, Tropico de Nopal, the Esparza-Ahrens family, Mike C, Inside Out Community Arts Family, Nathan Nice, Rebeccona, Alma, Danny, Graffism, Restitution Press, H&R Crew, Mear-1 CBS, Toks, the DJs, and everyone else who made it such a positive, fun night!

Peace & love! Have a great day BBQing!

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