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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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CASSETTE FROM MY EX: STORIES AND SOUNDTRACKS OF LOST LOVES

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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REST IN POWER MIKE DREAM FRANCISCO - 40th BIRTHDAY

Posted by Billyjam, August 15, 2009 03:55pm | Post a Comment
Mike "DREAM" Francisco 1993 interview @ No Justice, No Peace art opening

Exactly forty years ago today, August 15th 1969, Mike "DREAM" Francisco was born. But instead of what should have been a landmark birthday celebration today, this August 15th is just another sad reminder to those loved ones and friends and fans of the late, great Bay Area graffiti artist of how Mike "DREAM" Francisco's life was prematurely, senselessly halted nine years ago. On February 17th, 2000 on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, DREAM was gunned down and killed, the victim of a random street robbery.  Mike DREAM Francisco

Not only was DREAM (or "King Dream," as he is referred to by many) a gifted and prolific artist, with a passion for hip-hop -- having collaborated with countless hip-hoppers, including Hobo Junction over the years -- but he was also a most outspoken individual, one concerned about his community, and one never afraid to speak out against the ills of society.

Had DREAM been allowed to live today, you can bet he would have been at the front of the protests against the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police earlier this year. In fact, in 1993 he was one of the featured artists in the anti police brutality show No Justice, No Peace at downtown Oakland's Pro Arts Gallery. Above is a rare interview with DREAM at the opening of that show by A Debonair Affair's Melinda Bell which, despite the poor audio quality, gives you a great insight into the kind of person DREAM was: down-to-earth, fun, & witty, but also most passionate about his beliefs. I first met DREAM around 1990 and was instantly struck by what a genuinely good spirited and generous person he was, always upbeat and interested in what others had to say. But what is perhaps most profound about the DREAM interview above is how he defines what "reality" means to some people, like himself, as  "to brothers like us reality is watching people die on the streets everyday!"

BIRTHDAY OF BAY AREA GRAFFITI LEGEND DREAM

Posted by Billyjam, August 15, 2007 06:55pm | Post a Comment
dream graffiti artist
Legendary Bay Area graffiti artist Mike DREAM Francisco, who was shot and killed in cold blooded murder in 2000, would have celebrated his 38th birthday today (August 15th, 2007) had he been spared his senseless death on the streets of Oakland seven years ago. Dream was not only an amazingly talented artist and integrated part of the Bay Area hip-hop scene (collaborating with countless hip-hoppers over the years), but he was also one of those really cool-and-always down to earth, caring people who took time out for others. All of which made his passing so much more painful for all who knew him. One of those most affected was his longtime partner from TDK crew, SPIE (who is one of the authors of a forthcoming book on DREAM), who I ran into today in the Mission District as he was finishing up a mural project on 24th Street (b/w Capp and Lilac) and about to head over to a meeting at the SF Planning Commission over funding of the H.O.M.E.Y. Project (more on this with pictures over the next two days here on this AMOEBLOG).

Born in Alameda, CA, DREAM was one of the pioneers of the beginnings of the Bay Area graffiti scene from the early eighties up until the time of his death, both as a solo artist and with his crew TDK. But despite his tragic passing his legacy grows and grows each year. A few months ago the RX Gallery in San Francisco had a tribute exhibit to DREAM organized by fellow TDK graf artist WIllie Maze. Meanwhile, outdoors around the Bay Area there are countless pieces dedicated to the late, great artist, including out under the junction of the 280 and 101 freeways in SF -- coincidentally the place where DREAM, along with SPIE, did one of his very last pieces (see below).