DREAM Day 2016 Attracted Aerosol Art Fans Of All Ages, & Further Fueled Legacy of Legendary Late West Coast Street Art Pioneer

Posted by Billyjam, August 25, 2016 10:45pm | Post a Comment

It may be sixteen and half years since the death of Mike "DREAM" Francisco, but the dream and legacy of this widely beloved pioneering East Bay artist/activist is more alive than ever. This fact was made abundantly clear at last Saturday's DREAM Day 2016 at the Greenpeace Yards in West Oakland.

Organized by friends and family, notably DJ Willie Maze and DREAM's brother Lil' John Francisco, the annual heartfelt homage to DREAM celebrates the life and legacy of the Bay Area aerosol art pioneer who has become a bona fide Bay Area legend.  That most refer to him as "King DREAM" demonstrates just how revered he is by so many today. 

DREAM was equally artist and activist.  A pioneering figure in Bay Area graffiti history, DREAM was first and foremost a down-to-earth, real good person. He was instantly likable, always sharing and giving props to others, never ungrateful, but readily displaying his passion for hip-hop in all its elements, and for justice in his community. If DREAM were alive today he would be active in Oakland in the fight against injustices.  Back in the summer of 1992, DREAM and Plan B (murdered a month later) were at a Spice-1 video shoot where they painted a big "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE" piece for the East Bay rapper's Jive Records single "Welcome To The Ghetto." The following year DREAM, with other artists, continued the theme via the "No Justice No Peace" art exhibit at the Pro Arts Gallery in Downtown Oakland. The message of that 1993 Oakland art exhibit titled "No Justice No Peace" exhibit? "The problems that go on in our community, as far as East Oakland and any other ghetto out there. You deal with police brutality. You deal with the oppression by the city and by the government. You deal with that all the time," said DREAM in an interview with Melinda Bell at the time.

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DREAM DAY 2016: Celebrating Life & Legacy of Mike "DREAM" Francisco [1969 - 2000]

Posted by Billyjam, August 19, 2016 03:10pm | Post a Comment

It is now sixteen and a half years since internationally revered, pioneering Bay Area street artist Mike "DREAM" Francisco was senselessly murdered in Oakland CA. But both the positive influence and the iconic status of the beloved artist/activist & integral part of Bay Area hip-hop history from the 80's up until his death in February 2000, has grown substantially in the years since. This is thanks in part to his family and friends keeping his legacy alive via such things as the annual DREAM DAY celebrations that have taken place every year since his tragic death. DREAM would have celebrated his 47th birthday this week. These annual tributes to DREAM have taken place thanks to the tireless committed efforts (nearly two decades later) of such dedicated folks as Mike's brother John Francisco, and DJ WillieMaze of the longtime Local1200 turntable crew.  In fact WillieMaze was the one instrumental in accomplishing in getting the DreamDay Proclamation passed through the City of Oakland. Following him investing his time and patience wading through all the red tape, finally six years ago, the City of Oakland officially proclaimed every February 17th "Dream Day."  That bittersweet date is when DREAM was murdered in Oakland back in 2000 during a random armed robbery on San Pablo Ave. A few years ago OPD solved DREAM's murder when they arrested two guys from West Oakland (both were pretty young at the time of the crime) who are each currently serving 25-to-life sentences in prison.

Dream Day 12 is proof of profound legacy of slain graffiti legend Mike DREAM Francisco

Posted by Billyjam, February 16, 2012 03:15pm | Post a Comment

For the twelfth straight year family, friends, and fans of slain Bay Area graffiti legend Mike DREAM Francisco will gather in a celebration of the beloved artist's life and legacy in what will be the biggest Dream Day (the official name of the day bestowed by the City Of Oakland) celebration to date at the Oakland Metro Operahouse where DJs, MCs, B-Boys and (naturally) graffiti writers will all gather and display their talents and honor the man who was killed not too far from the venue in cold blooded murder during a robbery on Feb 17th, 2000. Yesterday I caught up DJ/writer/TDK member Martin "WillieMaze" Aranaydo who, along with a tight knit crew of DREAM supporters has been tirelessly keeping the artist's legacy alive and looking out for the well being of the slain artist's son Akil who was only an infant when DREAM was killed. "Dream Day 10 we got the City of Oakland to officially acknowledge the anniversary, if you can call it that, of Mike's murder as Dream Day so we can imagine our city without gun violence," said Aranaydo yesterday, taking a break from prepping for tonight's event and recalling how last year was especially hard for everyone. "Dream Day 11 was a tough year [because] Akil's mother/Dream's partner, Nikki Sellers (aka The Dream Kween) lost her fight with cancer. We raised money to retain a lawyer when her family tried to keep Akil in Wisconsin. [So] money from the event went directly to bringing him home to this community that loves and honors the memory of his father."
Another individual busy getting for tonight's event is DREAM's brother Mike Francisco who I also talked to yesterday to ask him about the importance of this year's event and his feelings on everything?  "This year marks the 12 year anniversary of my brother's passing, and as we're moving on to the 3rd annual celebration of Dream Day I feel a bit overwhelmed from all the love and support from the community," he said. "It seems like every year this event gets bigger and bigger, another historic lineup with some of the Bay Areas top DJs, MC's, BBoys/BGirls, and Graff writers, to top it off some artwork by Dream and his crew TDK. This year L*Roneous will be one of the co headliners along with Equipto from Bored Stiff, and L*Roneous will be filming a video for a track he produced for Dream, so as u can see it's going to be one memorable night."  It certainly will be with, in addition to Equipto and L*Roneous, performances scheduled from Renegade Rockers, Dub Esquire, Mic T, DJ Shortkut, DJ Platurn, Tim Diesel, Pam the Funkstress, Sake One, DJ Fuze, Max Kane & Teeko, and WillieMaze himself too.

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Posted by Billyjam, November 4, 2009 09:43am | Post a Comment
Jason Bitner Cassette From My Ex
Since the release last week of Jason Bitner's engaging new book Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, the St Martin's Griffin published, 212-page anthology of 60 short stories, has been striking a nerve with  readership of a certain age who can directly relate to and recall its pre-iPod subject matter: the bygone era of the homemade mixtape -- specifically mixtapes made to woo new crushes or love objects.

An image that pops into many minds would be the Rob Gordon character played by John Cusack in the  Stephen Frears directed film adapatation of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity and his obsession with making the perfect mixtape, regardless of how long it took. Or as Shirley Manson of the group Garbage wrote for Cassette From My Ex's jacket cover, "Anyone who understands the obsessive attention to detail, the time it took to collate, select, and edit the content of a perfectly executed mix tape, or just someone who appreciated the rhythms and nuances of such extraordinary artifacts will treasure this collection of stories, comfortable and secure in the knowledge that such exquisite efforts were not made in vain and indeed there was a time when a humble cassette tape was perhaps the greatest gift of all."

For Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, Bitner, who is best known as a co-founder of the wonderful Found magazine series, compiled first-person essays about mixtapes fueled by crushes or love (some tragic, some hilarious, many in-between) written by sixty different writers, many of them journalists & musicians. Contributors include author Rick Moody, This American Life's Starlee Kine, The New Yorker's Ben Greenman, The Magnetic FieldsClaudia Gonson, Improv Everywhere's Charlie Todd, Mortified's David Nadelberg, and former Rolling Stone writer and MTV2 veejay Jancee Dunn.

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Heaven For Bay Area Graffiti Fans This Weekend

Posted by Billyjam, October 8, 2009 06:22am | Post a Comment
Style Wars
Bay Area graffiti fans should be in heaven this weekend, with so many amazing events celebrating the urban art form jumping off in both SF and the East Bay starting today, Thursday, and ending on Saturday with The 3rd Annual Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle (EIGB). This evening (Thursday, Oct 8th) kicks things off at the 1:AM Gallery in San Francisco with The Can Film Festival, which will include screenings of the two graf films, Style Wars and Bomb It. The films will be followed by a Q&A session with a panel that will include Kevin Epps, Suzie Lundy, Erin Yoshioka, Estria Miyashiro and will be moderated by hip-hop author Jeff Chang. Screenings start at 7pm but doors open at 6:30pm. Even better, this is a free event, so get there early to ensure admission. 1:AM Gallery is located at 1000 Howard St. (near 6th St.), San Francisco, CA . Click here for more info. Note that tomorrow at 1:AM gallery will be the last day for the exhibit Don't Sweat The Technique - Ode To The Spray Can Art Show, featuring art by judges and contestants involved in Saturday's Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle.

Then tomorrow (Friday, October 9th) is the big event at the Eastside Arts Alliance in East Oakland-- the Pecha Kucha Night Oakland: Don't Sweat The Technique - Graffiti For Social Change, which is being presented in partnership by the Eastside Arts Alliance, Hard Knock Radio, Samurai Graphix and Youth Speaks. The event is happening at 2277 International Blvd., Oakland, CA 94606 from  7:30-10:30pm tomorrow (get there early)! Its ten presenters scheduled include legendary graf archivalist Jim Prigoff (co-author of Spraycan Art, Walls of Heritage Walls of Pride and Graffiti New York), Spie from the mighty Bay Area TDK crew, Steve Grody (author of Graffiti LA), and San Francisco community activist Nancy Hernandez.
According to artist Estria, who is another of the presenters and who was instrumental in bringing this event to Oakland, "Pecha Kucha is a great way to expose your art to many professionals in other fields in one quick-fire burst."

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