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PHOTOS: Blackalicious at the Magic Bag 1-12-17

In a hip-hop career that has stretched past a decade, Blackalicious has earned respect the old-fashioned way–rising through honesty, commitment, and artistry. Blackalicious is an American hip hop duo from Sacramento, California made up of rapper Gift of Gab (born Tim Parker) and DJ/producer Chief Xcel (born Xavier Mosley). They are noted for Gift of Gab's often "tongue-twisting", multisyllabic, complex rhymes and Chief Xcel's "classic" beats.

Like a few other West Coast rap acts, including the Pharcyde and Jurassic 5, Blackalicious has generally favored what hip-hoppers call the "positive tip"; in other words, its lyrics have often been spiritual and uplifting rather than violent or misogynous. Like a lot of experimental alternative rappers, Blackalicious can be quirky and eccentric; nonetheless, spirituality is a big part of the group's music. Although Blackalicious wasn't formed until the early '90s, its members had known each other since the late '80s. Founding members Gift of Gab (Timothy Parker) and Chief Xcel (Xavier Mosley) first met in Sacramento, CA, in 1987 when they were students at John F. Kennedy High School. Neither of them was originally from Sacramento; DJ/producer Xcel (who was going by DJ IceSki at the time) was a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, while rapper Gift of Gab was from Los Angeles' suburban San Fernando Valley.
The two went their separate ways after Gift of Gab (also known as Gabby T) graduated from Kennedy High in 1989, but they were reunited in Davis, CA, in 1992. By that time, Xcel had become a student at the University of California at Davis and the Gift of Gabhad moved to Davis to form Blackalicious with him. UC Davis was where Xcel had started working with a hip-hop crew named SoleSides, whose members included DJ Shadow, Lateef the Truth Speaker, and Lyrics Born. SoleSides Records was the name of the SoleSides Crew's Northern California record company and in 1994, that label released Blackalicious' debut single "Swan Lake." Although not a triple-platinum smash, the single was a small underground hit that fared well among alternative rap audiences. The following year, SoleSides Records released a Blackalicious EP titled Melodica. By late 1997, SoleSides Records had transformed into Quannum Records, and in 1999, Quannum put out another Blackalicious EP, A2G.

In 2000, Quannum released the group's full-length debut Nia (whose title is the Swahili word for purpose). After being together eight years, Blackalicious finally signed with a major label when, in late 2000, the Californians were added by MCA. In April 2002, Quannum/MCA released Blazing Arrow, which boasted guest appearances ranging from vocalist Zack de la Rocha (of Rage Against the Machine) to the Roots' ?uestlove to veteran soul singer Gil Scott-Heron. After the requisite tour, both Xcel and Gab began developing solo material; Quannum released both Maroons' Ambush (Chief Xcel with Latyrx's Lateef the Truth Speaker) as well as a Gift of Gab solo LP, Fourth Dimensional Rocketships Going Up. The pair returned in 2005 for their third album, The Craft, with a contract in hand from the Anti- label


DIRTY SHOW 18 Tickets on sale now!

Dirty Dhow 18 - Call For Art
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Dirty Show 18-Exhibition • February 10-18, 2017
Russell Exhibition Center • Detroit, MI USA

Direct link to ticket website

Also at local Detroit area outlets (cash only):
Noir Leather-Royal Oak  •  Rivers Edge Gallery-Wyandotte
Found Sound Records-Ferndale  •  The Road Show-Roseville

Forward to Friend


Studio 8700 presents…THE TWO-HEADED RAPTOR SHOW

On January 28th be prepared for an art show unlike any other! The Two-Headed Raptor Show invades Studio 8700, Oak Park's newest art gallery/performance space.

The Two-Headed Raptor Show is the collaboration of two local artists and life-long friends Brendan Patrick and Tom Beste. Their unique artistic vision is brought to life at this show which will also benefit a good cause, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. More than 30,000 people are living with cystic fibrosis (more than 70,000 worldwide). Raising awareness of this disease is an important issue to both artists.

Blind artist Brendan Patrick and tattoo artist Tom Beste share an upbringing and residence in the Metro Detroit area, a lifelong devotion to the visual arts, and a passion for playing music in their rock band The Wretched Sights. 

By Brendan Patrick

Brendan Patrick is a blind artist, but he hasn't always been blind.  While fighting a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, Brendan lost his vision at the age of 26 due to complications from treatment.  Having been an artist his entire life, Brendan had to find new ways to create.  Through trial and error Brendan has devised a new technique using a raised texture so that he can feel his painting.  He also selects his paints by labeling all his colors with braille. Currently, Brendan is the subject of a documentary being filmed about his daily successes and struggles titled “Can't See Sh*t” by local indie filmmaker Rob Cousineau. Brendan's artwork has been showcased at different galleries across the nation. He also does public speaking events, all in attempt to raise public awareness of cystic fibrosis.

By Tom Beste

Tom Beste works in a variety of mediums and has been a professional tattoo artist for the past decade.  He was originally taught how to tattoo by Brendan before his friend lost his sight.  Tom works at Eternal Tattoos in Eastpointe and has been employed there for the past seven years. Tom's media of choice for the exhibit is oil paint on canvas.  His subject matter is intentionally cerebral, both sensual and macabre with a dynamic use of color.

By attending the show you will support the awareness for cystic fibrosis as all monies collected at the door for entry will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. $10 per person for entry. Included with entry is a chance to win an original collaborated painting by Brendan and Tom, via raffle.  Live performances will entertain throughout the night and there will be pizza and refreshments served.

The date is SATURDAY, JANUARY 28 at 7 pm-1 am and all ages are welcome. Studio 8700 is located at 8700 W. Nine Mile Rd, Oak Park, MI 48237, phone number is 248-965-2832 and more information can be found on their website

For more information about the artists please visit their websites at and


TOMORROW (Sat. Dec. 10): Duende!'s Dance Party 45 Release at Planet Ant

This 45 single release with Hold Fast commemorates DUENDE!’s tenth anniversary performing live rock-n-roll to and fro the four points of the compass; the West (Austin), the South (New Orleans), the East (New York City), and the Great White North (Canada) while keeping their footing firmly in Detroit.

“Dance Party” was one of the first songs written by the band and has been a staple of the live set over their decade reign on the killing floor. Originally recorded in basement sessions, released CD only in 2007, you’ve never heard it until now on this limited vinyl only release. The band re-recorded the track along with its exclusive B-Side, “Keep It Cool”, in January 2016 with legendary sound engineer Jim Diamond at The Tempermill in Ferndale, MI.

The band invited some very special guests for the get down.
Give it up for...
The Deadly Vipers
Paint Thinner
The Flipsters

Saturday Night December 10th
Planet Ant Hall (across the street from Planet Ant Theatre)
2320 Caniff Ave. Hamtramck, MI

$10 cover gets you in & the 45 in your hand along with 5 bands

Planet Ant Hall
2320 Caniff Ave.
Hamtramck, MI 48212


Free download of the Counter Elites albums now through 12/17 - Go get the new album "The Pledge of Aggrievance" now!

Everyone should know that Detroit theatrical punk band The Counter Elites has released their second album "The Pledge of Aggrievance" (recorded at Woodshed Studios, produced by Jonathan A. Berz) and is offering free downloads of both their albums through from now until December 17th….get over there and download these fantastic albums now for some great holiday listening!





You better watch out! On Friday December 2nd 2016, Krampus is coming back to Detroit with his 6th annual festive charity event:


Krampus Night 6 Poster

* Badly & Barely Rehearsed Holiday Musical Variety Show *

* Not-So-Holiday Art, Lights & Animatronic Exhibition *

* Local Artist Bazaar For The Naughty On Your List *

* Not-So-Silent Fine Art Charity Auction *

* Full Bar with All the Boozy Trimmings *

* Swanky Holiday Lounge Music *

* Sexy Krampus Photo Ops *

* Good Food and Fun *

MOST IMPORTANT - It's a toy and canned food drive for needy kids and the homeless!

=== SCHEDULE ===

07p - Wreck The Halls & the Krampus Bazaar opens
09p - Big K arrives giving photo ops, swattings & candy
10p - Christmahanakwanza Variety Show Spectacular Pt1
11p - Christmahanakwanza Variety Show Spectacular Pt2
12a - Last call (& bidding fight!) for the Silent Auction
$10 with Unwrapped Toy and/or 3 Canned Food Donation* or $15 for rotten Scrooges without
*non-Scrooges also get a coupon worth $5 off their purchase of $25 or more in the Krampus Bazaar!
There is no dress code but creative/naughty/festive holiday costuming welcome!
KRAMPUS NIGHT 6 - A Not-So-Holiday Benefit Extravaganza
Friday December 2nd 2016 - 7pm until 2am - Strictly 18+
Tangent Gallery/Hastings Ballroom, 715 E Milwaukee St, Detroit, MI
Merry Krampus and stay naughty!!!
Christmahanakwanza Banner

Wreck The Halls Banner

MONDAY (Dec. 5): AIGA Detroit Presents: Freelancing - Design Talks Vol. 1

Join AIGA Detroit for a new series of ongoing Design Talks - moderated discussions geared towards specific topics with local creatives. December's design talk will focus on freelancing. Gain valuable insights and learn the ins and outs of the freelancing world!

Assemble Sound
2300 17th Street

Free Street Parking
AIGA Members FREE | Non-members $10
Light Refreshments will be served

Line up of Panelists:
Ellen Rutt - Multimedia Artist & Designer 

Eugene Carland - Dynamic duo illustrators Michael Burdick & James Noellert

Sean Tulgetske - Illustrator & Hand Letterer


Krampus Night 6 – A Not-So-Holiday Charity Benefit Extravaganza

Oh you better watch out…’cus he’s coming back to town!  On Friday December 2nd 2016, Krampus is at it again with the 6th annual festive event:


Who is Krampus?  Only the swellest devil to accompany ole’ St Nick on his rounds during the holidays.  Unlike Santa, he joyfully punishes the naughty by swatting them with switches…but who doesn’t?  However, on  this day he’s a devil with a cause helping those in need with a…

 Toys For Tots & BWBD Benefit 

Bring in some new toys or cans of food and get in on the cheap (and some good feels)!  All toy donations are taken directly to a Toys For Tots center to benefit less fortunate children during the holidays and all canned donations go to Burners Without Borders Detroit to help feed the homeless (click here for details).
But he’s not stopping there with his benevolent malevolence!  He’s also helping to support local artists with a…

 Krampus Black Friday Bazaar 

Buy some swell affordable art gifts for the naughty on your list (or for your naughty self)!  You’ll find everything from small unique stocking stuffers to large original art pieces.  
And to make this a Black Friday you won’t regret, there’s also a…

 Not-So-Silent Art Auction 

Generously donated by various artists of the DAMNED Exhibition, Corpus Illuminata and the Krampus Bazaaryou can bid to take home some amazing fine art while helping the homeless!  100% of all auction funds go directly to Burners Without Borders Detroit to help purchase much needed supplies to create survival backpacks for the homeless (click here for details).
But wait!  There’s also the 6th annual…

 Wreck The Halls Exhibition 

It’s a “no-so-holiday” exhibition of naughty art, animatronics, ornaments and decorations!  The exhibition will be spread out all over the venue.  And this year, WTH includes a bad gingerbread house competition!
And for your “entertainment”, we once again bring you the hilariously disastrous…

 Christmahanakwanza Variety
Show Spectacular

Come experience a wild night of amazingly bad lip syncing, barely rehearsed skits and impromptu shenanigans loosely based on your favorite holiday television and film classics!  Featuring Satori Circus, Lushes LaMoan, SofĂ­a Syntaxx, Bootsie La Fontaine, Scott Dambacher and lounge singer extraordinaire Konrad Lee!
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also…
  • Live action Fugly Holiday Sweater Contest!
  • A full bar with all the boozy trimmings and spiked punch!
  • Swanky holiday lounge music all night…in the lounge
  • So-bad-they’re-good vintage holiday B-movies all night
  • Demented decor by the Krampus Recrafting Antidecoration Party
And THE BIG MAN HIMSELF (KRAMPUS) will be present on his throne to hear how naughty you’ve been all year.  Will you get switched or candy?  That’s HIS call.

+ Schedule +

07:00 – Wreck The Halls & the Krampus Bazaar opens
09:00 – Big K arrives giving photo opps, swattings & candy
10:00 – Christmahanakwanza Variety Show Spectacular Pt1
10:45 – Audience participation Fugly Holiday Sweater Contest
11:00 – Christmahanakwanza Variety Show Spectacular Pt2
11:50 – Gingerbread House Competition winner selection
12:00 – Last call (& bidding fight!) for the Silent Auction

+ Admission +

  • $10 with New Unwrapped Toy and/or 3 Canned Food Donation*
  • $15 for rotten stinkin’ Scrooges without either
*non-Scrooges also receive a coupon worth $5 off their purchase of $25 or more in the Krampus Bazaar!
There is no dress code but creative/naughty/festive holiday costuming welcome!
Krampus Night 6 – A Not-So-Holiday Charity Benefit Extravaganza
Friday December 2nd 2016 – 7pm until 2am – Strictly 18+
Tangent Gallery/Hastings, 715 E Milwaukee St, Detroit, MI
Merry Krampus and Stay Naughty!!!

+ 2016 Krampus Bazaar Artists 

& Merchants +

  • Armageddon Beachparty - Psychedelic Pop Art Wares for the Well Curated Individual
  • B.P. LeGault/B-Bomb Music & Arts - Paintings of black cats that dig sex, catnip, and tattoos
  • Brian Lewandowski and Ramona Minjoe - Leather masks, ornaments, art prints and stained glass mosaics
  • Curious City Art - Found object jewelry
  • Dekilah - Necklaces, felted pendants, critters & mini frames, and self portrait photography prints.
  • Detroit Kaiju & Motor City Dolly - Monster art and custom Blythe dolls
  • DVS - Small framed art, "altar relics", tshirts, lighters, cards and prints.
  • Electric Vector - Fictional Vintage Posters
  • fairiesfive - handmade art purses and totes
  • Julie Fournier - Ornaments and Prints
  • Motor City Nightmares/Skull House Den - One of a kind creepy coffin boxes, masks, jewelry and more.
  • Painted Lady Trashions - Oddities, jewelry, taxidermy and specimens.
  • Poking Dead Things - Elegant jewelry and decor made from ethically sourced and naturally processed animal bones.
  • Shanta Ambady Ceramics - Handmade ceramic housewares with a quirky, dark sense of humor
  • Silber Gypsy (formally Just A Little Off) - A lot of skills, wire wrapped Jewelry, funky fun fashion jewelry & spa quality sexy bath &body produ
  • The Divine Iguana - Oddly thoughtful jewelry and gift items
  • Zachariah Messiah - Bats, Tarantulas, and Octopus..