Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wild Style

Ah, the irony…graffiti writers, the outlaws of yore, are being officially honored at a SummerStage event in Central Park on Sunday, with the screening of Charlie Ahearn’s film, Wild Style, and performances by early hip-hop’s greats. All that's missing is an opening address by Mayor Koch. However while it’s being billed as a 25th anniversary celebration, 1982, the date of Ahearn’s film, actually marks the beginning of the decline of a movement that started in the seventies. I always admired the graffiti artists for their self-taught aesthetic and such intense passion for their art that they were willing to risk their lives for it. What artists could you say that about today?

So now hip-hop has been consumed into the culture as a full-fledged musical genre, and we have legions of artists whose adolescent cartoon-y style has its roots in graffiti. But what I don’t understand is the lingering popularity of oversize droopy-butt pants, which were never a turn-on in the first place. That this style has stayed in vogue continuously for thirty years must constitute some kind of record in contemporary fashion. It also means that kids today are into the same clothing their dads wore…now that’s revolutionary.

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