Cool Things Happening at Uptown Art House by Maxwell Young

Travis setting up the light filters.  Photograph by Maxwell Young

Travis setting up the light filters.  Photograph by Maxwell Young

Art work by Marc Bryant.

Art work by Marc Bryant.

Every time you walk into Uptown Art House, you're liable to find new installation pieces and contraptions or catch it amidst a cosmetic transformation. Camille and Niles Parker designed a DJ booth and projection walls for their techniclored-event, 'Hue Lounge,' featuring DJs Naive Nebula, Kno I'm Not, Romero, Atanga and Bast who formulate their creative collective. Resident artist at the Art House Maps Glover, has been busy constructing several performance art pieces, while Yacine Fall and Sarah Craft have installed a metal hanging apparatus, as they conceptualize an upcoming show.  Mensa Kondo has popped in-and-out of the space continuing to progress his vibrant mural, as other paintings from Marc Bryant and an evolving array of graffiti tags have manifested inside the space.

Nate G and Naive Nebula photographed by Maxwell Young.

Nate G and Naive Nebula photographed by Maxwell Young.

Uptown Art House is a multi-disciplinary venue.  Whether attending a weekend event falling into a sensory experience of light projection and experimental sounds or walking into a boutique of Native American jewelry, the various disciplines of art and cultural expression are evident here.  Last month not only featured a performance by April + Vista, but D.C. thrift-retailer Earl's Closet hosted a vintage shopping event at the Art House.  There's no intent to slow down the space's programming as co-directors Jamal Gray and Sebi Medina-Tayac have committed to Uptown Art House until January 2018.  Take a look at a number of the events taking place at the Art House this August.

1. August 11th, 7-11pm, $5- A Period of Appreciation: a Solo Exhibition by Maya Sun

Visitors to the Art House may have already seen some of resident artist Maya Sun's work, as she was integral to Maps Glover's art piece, 'Home' during Dawkins and April + Vista's show last month.  Her solo exhibition attempts to amplify the bondage of self and mind, peeling through present and past constructs created by self, sexuality, love, womanhood and blackness.  Sun welcomes us to her inner-working through a range of different media.

2. August 12th, 7-11pm, $10- Dawkins, Dreamcast, Leach, Crue

A Dawkins band member checks out the aluminum TV set during their event last month. Photograph by Maxwell Young 

A Dawkins band member checks out the aluminum TV set during their event last month. Photograph by Maxwell Young 

Dawkins and Dreamcast are familiar faces to the Art House, having already performed groovy sets here this summer.  The latter you can also hear on ITR's Sounds of D.C. playlist. OTHERFEELS a DMV-based artist collective and blog is bringing these artists back this Saturday along with Leach and Crue.  Visual projection mapping will be on display as well as physical and performance art.

3. August 13th, 7-11pm, $5- XK Scenario Homecoming Tour

Northern Virginia band XK Scenario is returning to the DMV scene following their first northeastern tour.  XK is supported by an A-list bill of D.C.'s budding independent artists such as Canker Blossom, Lies Kill and Jamal Gray as RAYGUNOMICS.

4. August 19th, 5-10pm- The Artist Solidarity Foundation House of Art 2.0: Ways of Healing

Join the ASF and MNM Creative & Underground D.C. for their second iteration of House of Art.  This year's program is dedicated to discovering the various means humans and artists have for healing.  DMV-based artists and vendors will bring their art and participate in the artistic discussion.  There will also be live music of the andean 'folk' and northern Native American singing/drumming varieties, handmade goods and new wave sounds spun by DJs Luchaoso and DJ A-lex.

5. August 20th, 6-9pm- Psychedelics and Art

The D.C. Psychedelic Society exists and boasts a community of around 250 followers on Facebook.  Later this month, they will be exploring the intersection of psychedelics and art.  Local artists including Khalid Thompson, Luke Stewart, Carmen Jackman and Farrah AbuBaker will speak on how psychedelics have impacted their art and life.  Live painting, visual projection and vending by donut shop Glazed & Infuzed will be amongst the list of activities for the night.






The Geechi P Interview by Alex Young

A Talk with Pittsburgh's favorite fashionista.

Geechi P photographs by Alex Young

Geechi P photographs by Alex Young

Geechi P appears like a "hypebeast." A kid struck with culture craze only doing things to be trendy. Look at his Raf and Supreme outfit. But fault to anyone who judges the man because Geechi P is authentic.

Style plays Geechi. He wore a red cape on his head when I first introduced myself to him out-front Boom Concepts in Pittsburgh's East Liberty. Striking, "the cape" held his braids in-check. Later, a video of Geechi basking in the sun with his red durag flowing in the wind hit his Snapchat. He's funny and aware of his image. "I go on [social media] to entertain people then I leave," he says. 

Now 22-years-old, "my goal is to be a stylist," Geechi says as he walks me through his native Hill District neighborhood. "All I know is girls and clothes."

Although Geechi claims he didn't develop his own style until he was age 15 in high school. "I was the hybrid high school student." He calls himself a nerd who played basketball and painted and even substituted gym for dance at Northside Urban Pathways.

Additionally, the Geechi P nickname came from his pal Fredd. "We needed something catchy," Geechi says. The "P" stems from Malik Pettus, Geechi's government. During hang-outs, Geechi and Fredd watched music videos on MTV and rappers Wiz Khalifa and Currensy. "I was Wiz and Fredd was Currensy." He starts singing Wiz's stylish lyrics. "Camo shorts go with anything I wanna wear." Geechi's taste arrived from devouring these hip-hop icons and others like Kanye and Pharrell. He studied the fashion labels, like Alexander Wang and Bape, that 'Ye name dropped in his raps. He smiles remembering his all-black B.B.C. Ice Cream sneakers with gum bottoms by P and Nigo. Also, when Geechi's mom started his $20 allowance, he bought Diamond Supply T-shirts from Brick Diggler at the Timebomb streetwear boutique as often as he could.

"I like to test myself. Can I make this look nice?" Geechi says. His style combines great designers. During a photo shoot with photographer Jordan Beckham, Geechi mixed labels Fred Perry with Raf Simons and Marc Jacobs with Maison Margiela.

We pass numerous memorials for iconic Hill native and playwright August Wilson on Wylie and Bedford Avenues.

Currently, the fashionista makes his mark as the creative director of Everett Banks' hip-hop events such as Trappers Delight or Trapaganza, a TILT Party. Although Geechi's own clothing label, Humble Island, motivates people to find shelter in their own self-confidence.

I want style and Pittsburgh to be a conversation.

Altogether, the outfits that Geechi curates along with his pep animates a cool depiction of someone on trend and passionate about fashion and streetwear. He sticks out in Pittsburgh's blue-collar, city sportswear dress code. Allow his thoughts to supply an understanding of style, culture, and personality.

I would call myself a forefather because I'm a culmination of style, research, and brand identity. I've been known as a fashion guy longer than these people. People know me as the dude who dresses nice or the dude who knows clothes or the dude who did that fashion show here. People want to see what I'm wearing more than what someone else is wearing. They would critique my fit more than they would critique an average person's fit. If they saw me off my game, it would be terrible. I would be eaten alive. People are looking to say, "he's not as fresh as he thinks he is." That's what makes you a forefather though when someone wants to bring you down from your spot or your wave. Whenever you're at your high and mighty point, and someone wants to take that from you, you're in competition now.

What are you trying to push about style in Pittsburgh?

I'm trying to push the art of mixing and matching great designers. There's a lot of shit that I have on that people don't recognize what it is. I have an $800 Alexander Wang hoodie. It's a plain gray hoodie, but it's cashmere all the way through though. You would know it was an Alexander Wang if I told you or you saw the tag, but people think I just have on a gray hoodie. That's what's up. The real people know what I have on though. It's an Alexander Wang piece and it's $800. The crazy thing is though I got it brand new and didn't pay full price for it. I paid $200 for it, and you know how much I paid for these [adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego]? I paid a buck 80 for a $500 shoe in new condition. Whenever you have connections like that, that's when you know you're in the game. Whenever you can wear shit that people don't know what the fuck it is, that's when you're in the game. Like this simple Y-3 bracelet came out in the early 2000s and it's one of my favorite pieces. You'll probably never see this again.

I want to show people that you can wear high designer shit with average shit. If you have a couple rare designer pieces in your wardrobe, then you're good. I want style and Pittsburgh to be a conversation. I want people to be like, "Pittsburgh style is dope." I want to bring that vision to people's eyes and have them say, "that Geechi dude knows what he's talking about." I want to be the reason for people to look deeper into fashion.

I hate when people say I'm fresher than you. I'll say to people, "I'm fresher than your boyfriend." It's my catch phrase though. It's a joke, but it's not a competition to me. I don't think fashion is a competition. It's supposed to be you expressing yourself with what you feel comfortable with. I'll be out, looking fresh, and see somebody else looking fresh and I will tell them, "I like that." It's mutual respect. Communicate through the way you dress. People want to be in fashion but don't know the essence. People think fashion is being the freshest. If you think fashion is having the dopest 'fit on, then that's base level. That's where I was at years ago. That's cool, but somebody out there is going to look better than you.

So, what is the essence of fashion?

Being comfortable with your own sense of style. Being the freshest version of yourself. I'm fresher than old me. I look back on my 19th birthday outfit and think I could have done that better. Elevate yourself through fashion and art. Evolve because it's always changing.

"Hypebeast" is used wrong. It has a real definition. A "hypebeast" is someone who doesn't have their own sense of anything, and they follow trends. But you can still follow a trend and not be a "hypebeast." Trends are supposed to be fun. Real fashion people find trends fun, and that's why you see fashion related people doing the same things. Remember when VLONE came in? People want to have fun with a trend while it's hot. You'll see Playboi Carti in a VLONE shirt and then A$AP Rocky will wear the same shirt differently. Trends are like hashtags on Twitter. Everybody wants to throw their two cents in. You're only a "hypebeast" when you wear something specifically because of somebody else. Be original with your 'fit.

I remember I had a hairstyle back in the day. In high school, I wore my braids to the back with one braid down. Then this dude copied me and called it the Geechi P. 

Talk about the stereotype of a fashionable man perceived as gay.

I'm not gay. I just really really like clothes, and I'll take your girl. It comes down to the perception of someone well-groomed perceived as feminine. Society says a man has to get his hands dirty. You know? We're in the coal mines, we have to be in the trenches, and we have to have dirt on our hands to be manly. You can be a manly well-groomed man though. I know people who wear skinny jeans who would fuck you up. There is someone with a Glock in his skinny jeans. There's a well-groomed gangster out there. That stereotype is getting lost now, especially with the purple and pink hair rappers. Even Rocky and Chris Brown for example. Don't fuck with them. Feminine looking dudes are... think about Michael Jackson and Prince. People would tell me I look like them as an insult. But, I'm like Michael Jackson got hella hoes. Prince, assless chaps and all, got hella hoes. The dude you think is the roughest toughest dude probably didn't get as many bitches as them two. Prince wore assless chaps and still took your girl. I used to want to be Michael Jackson. Behind closed doors, you can call me whatever, but respect me when I'm here.

Ian Connor is one of those people who does something that I can't do. His style is dope. He makes dirty look good. He looks very rugged and dirty. He wears a dirty pair of shoes and a baggy sweatshirt and it looks dope every single time. He gets respect from me. You can see hints of Ian Connor in the people who he styles, like Kylie Jenner. I want people to see Geechi P when I style them.

I don’t want to be a stylist in a box. I want to style anybody from the country clubbers to the rappers.

Where is your biggest influence coming from now?

I like anything Nigo does. Nigo and Pharrell are big influences. I got my all-black Ice Cream sneakers from Social Status. I can't wait to see the Pharrell and Chanel collab. He can do no wrong and he's a vampire. He just started aging. Rocky is a huge influence as well. His braids are clean like mine. We bring a 'hood influence to fashion. I'll never lose influence in Kanye. Carti's style is dope and Offset is the freshest Migo. That nigga knows what he's doing. Quavo is mainstream fresh and Takeoff called Raf Ralph Simons. I was pissed. It goes to show that even if you have money that doesn't mean you know what it is, like drug dealers and rich white people. They just like the price tag. But, mostly my influences are organic. I stumble upon these things. I keep tabs on people, but I pull from everywhere.


@geechi__p wears it better #newstory #soon #pgh

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Geechi P Rants

+ "There's nobody who can dress better than an Asian."

+ "Fashion people have fun with trends and put their own spin on it."

+ "I ride for Kanye. He's an artist. I don't stand for Kanye beef."

+ "All the people wearing Raf in Pittsburgh wear it to a T."

+ "I want a dope ass Rolling Stone cover. I'll be in all black and the cover will be colorful as fuck."

+ "People who can't afford great fashion pieces are the most informed about fashion."

+ "Shop at Clothes Minded."




Cool Things Happening in Pittsburgh (Vol. 3) by Alex Young

a piece of history - respect to late Mayor of Pittsburgh Bob O'Connor

a piece of history - respect to late Mayor of Pittsburgh Bob O'Connor

Youth and popular culture in the 'Burgh flourishes because the movers are extremely active in pushing their innovation, creativity, community, and business minds. With this, the responsible public creates masterpieces like events or products that residents and tourists can enjoy.

Basically, the following reports on cool things happening in Pittsburgh to look out for.

1. Uptown Florals 2.0 by Makayla Wray

Cheers to this design prodigy. Since releasing a couple custom Nike Air Force 1 back in 2015, Makayla Wray returns to her bread and butter. Wray's Uptown Florals 2.0 are extensions of her "Warhol Flower AF1" and "BLK AF1" projects, Nike's iconic sneaker decorated with flowers. Officially under the "MAW" label, Uptown Florals 2.0 appreciate Swoosh heritage, Wray's ability to craft premium leather goods (the flower petals on 2.0 are calfskin), and "my uproot from Pittsburgh to New York—parallel to the same path taken by Andy Warhol," she says.

Stylistically, Florals is great. Though Wray spends a lot of time in New York, the Pittsburgh native is back in the city often, and she linked with locals model Donovan Green and photographer Preslav for the shoe's visual presentation.

Only 50 pairs of the Uptown Florals 2.0 will be available on July 1 via at 4:12 p.m. EST. [$280]

2. No Joke with Paizley

Do you want to dance? Come to No Joke and be turnt. Paizley, the DJ, will keep the bangers going. The first time I heard Paizley was a year ago at Finesse with EYEJAY. He threw down, and I left the event sweaty. You can have fun at No Joke because Paizley advertises it as "Trap, Rap & Whatever Else." It's lit.

To give yourself fuel for No Joke on Saturday, July 1 at Remedy in Lawrenceville, listen to Paizley's new mix called "Blue Collar" that celebrates the 'Burgh's underground rap and hip-hop culture. "To be something special in Pittsburgh means working non-stop on your own time and with little resources," he says.


5121 Butler Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15201

3. Creatives Independence Collection

"Creatives" becomes a way-of-life in Pittsburgh. The brand and slogan honor the people behind great productions. The staple that Cody Baker and Chancelor Humphrey have established in their Creatives Drink party they now transfer into core Creatives garments. The Creatives Independence Collection includes two Champion mesh short colorways and three Champion T-shirt colorways. Each comes with an American embroidered flag. Creatives' range drops on July 4 at 11 a.m. EST and will be available for 24 hours at

4. Summer Livin

Splash around. Enjoy summer. Summer Livin provides energy and feels with food and music at the Highland Park Pool on June 30 from 1-9 p.m. Songbird Sierra Sellers and hot rappers like James Perry, and Lokal Foreners, have performances.

If you miss the pool party, attend LiveFromTheCity's Sun Fest '17 on July 7 in partnership with the 1Hood Media and Boom Concepts collectives. Support a community clothing drive and music.

Highland Park Pool

151 Lake Drive

Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Boom Concepts

5139 Penn Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15224

5. Supa Jefe Tour with Kap-G and J.R. Donato at Spirit

Georgia spits out rappers like faucets spit out water. Up and comer Kap-G, the dude who moans "I just took a flick with your girlfriend," is the latest product from The Peach State and he comes to Pittsburgh on July 10. Some of the city's prime rappers like Calvin Portsworth, Pet Zebra, and Pk Delay open for Kap-G.


242 51st Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15201

6. JAILBREAK Festival

[The] intent is to create strength in numbers by bringing together the diverse groups in this city while having a banging good time doing it.

The theme and date of this event was inspired by Bastille Day, where a mob of over 1,000 people united and stormed the walls of the Bastille prison in Paris, sparking a turning point in the French Revolution.

May JAILBREAK start a massive movement in Pittsburgh that people cannot ignore, an annual festival that brings local talent and local consumers to a big party. Heavyweights Choo Jackson, Benji, Mikey P, Tairey, Slim Tha DJ, DJ Seams, DJ Topgun, and much more entertain the crowd. The underground's best will also be in attendance on July 15 at JAILBREAK. Acquaint yourself with BABYT33TH and 1Geno. Review the entire festival lineup and show up to JAILBREAK for the culture. 

7. InTheRough Features with Geechi P and Yung Mulatto

Here are Pittsburgh's fashion forefather and Pittsburgh hip-hop's creative director. Geechi P and Yung Mulatto respectively move in their own lanes while influencing their peers. Geechi's attention to high fashion and streetwear educates a Pittsburgh public who is behind the fashion curve. Mulatto collects production credits for rappers like Blackboi, and he is the visual connection between artists' image and their music. Both young men are key players in the 'Burgh's progressive society. Learn more about them soon under Life's Goods.

Twelve Twenty One: Mensa A. Kondo Exhibition by Maxwell Young

Artist Mensa A. Kondo outside of Uptown Art House.  Photograph by Maxwell Young

Artist Mensa A. Kondo outside of Uptown Art House.  Photograph by Maxwell Young

There's a skateboard with colorful paint blotches lying on the concrete floor of Uptown Art House.  Mensa A. Kondo, who's currently working on his installation for his exhibition Twelve Twenty One, finishes his clementine and kick-pushes over to his mural.  Vivid blue arms and hands, some featuring six fingers, rip through a green chasm that exposes the viewer to a hell-ish dimension laden with gazing eyeballs.  The piece stretches across an entire wall of the Art House evoking images from the 2002 film The Scorpion King, in which Rick O'Connell duels with Mathayus (played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) over the abyss of the Underworld and the thousands of demon souls. 

Kondo has been a seriously trained artist since high school where he attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Northwest Washington, D.C.  He reminisces about his old art teachers Mr. Harris and Mr. Easton with Jabari, another Duke Ellington alumnus and woodwind musician while we talk under the night sky.  "I first started my style at Duke.  We all went to Duke, most of us kids in the art scene here," says Kondo.

Twelve Twenty One is Kondo's fifth solo exhibition.  It is an amalgamation of works new and old as well as a "manifestation" of himself as an artist.  "There's pieces in the exhibit that I've had since 2011," he says.  "One was my first really big piece and it's an oil painting.  I don't really like oil painting that much anymore."

Sonics will be provided during the exhibition by local artists including *Discipline 99, Shaka, Luke Stewart with Trae the Drummer, and some familiar names from the Sounds of D.C. playlist like Sir E.U. with RobSmokesBands, Mr. Daywalker, Aquatic Gardner, St. Clair Castro and Dreamcast.  This is also a family affair, as Mensa's sister, Meche Korrect, is hosting the show.

The following is a snippet of the conversation I had with Kondo during his installation process:

MY: It seems like music is a complimentary aspect to your process.  What kind of music do you like to listen to?

MK: I've been listening to a lot of old shit, like some old psychedelic bands.  I like that sound--like 'y'all on hella drugs,' but it varies.  I had a Death Grips period, they're wild; they're on some cult shit, so I can't be fucking with them.  I would listen to them if I had to fight a whole set of people...Pink Floyd...Bad Brains forever.  I've seen them perform four times.  I got to see them here and in New York a few times.  The [mosh] pit was epic.

Kondo takes a moment to appreciate his Bad Brains tattoo.

Kondo takes a moment to appreciate his Bad Brains tattoo.

MY: Who influenced you as an artist?

MK: There's a lot of people.  It even goes beyond artists.  I like comic artists.  Geof Darrow and Frank Miller--he did Sin City.  I like Miller's art, but I didn't like his writing.

MK: I do have some of Basquiat's things, though.

MY: You have some Basquiat pieces?

MK: No, things, like a jacket of his--my friend gave it to me.  I did find a little bit of hair in it and I threw it away.  I have some photos of him, too.

MY: Where else have you shown your work?

MK: I showed at the Warhol...

MY: Hold up.  You know I'm from Pittsburgh.

MK: I needed to find some more thrift stores up that way.  But yea, I won third place in this print-making competition.  That was the show I was most impressed about.  I've put on a few shows in D.C. by myself.  I rented out a spot on U St. one time, it was $100/day.  That was around 2012.  Now it's a barbershop.  I had something at Art Under Presser when they were still open on Georgia Avenue, and I had something at Union Arts when they were still open.  I was in Philly recently, too.

MY: What's your favorite medium?

MK: I like print-making the most.  You can make the print and just leave it.  I love painting, too, but you can make multiple prints and print on t-shirts.  It's dope. 

Twelve Twenty One

June 24th-30th

Uptown Art House

3412 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20008

Uptown Art House by Maxwell Young

The corner building on Connecticut Avenue in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C. used to be a restaurant/bar space.  First, it was called 4P's--an Irish pub--until the patio was adorned with red awnings and the name was changed to Uptown Tap House in 2012.  Now, the building has a large 'LEASE ME' poster hanging on the exterior wall. Passersby peer through the side windows or poke their heads through the door, curious to see if a third restaurant plans to make its residence there.

In fact, however, the space is fairly open.  The tables and chairs, the wood floors, and even the ceiling tiles that embellished the old restaurant location are gone.  Left behind is an industrial shell that houses a modified Conestoga wagon harkening back to images of the Oregon Trail, graffiti art, and artifacts from protests like the People's Climate March and other activist organizations. Reclaimed and repurposed, the former Uptown Tap House is now the home of Uptown Art House, a community space for art, activism, and cultural engagement.

The empty canvas is reminiscent of the Factory--Andy Warhol's midtown Manhattan studio from 1962 to 1984.  The Pittsburgh-born artist's fifth floor space was the creative epicenter of his multifaceted work.  It was the backdrop to his screen tests that made his band of "superstars" like Edie Sedgwick and Brigid Berlin famous.  It was the recording studio for Nico and Lou Reed's The Velvet Underground.  And it was a manufacturing plant where Warhol churned out print after print.  Uptown Art House, much like the Factory, will be a space for like-minded creatives to congregate and collaborate in various art disciplines.

Advance to the 20 minute mark to watch Sebi Medina-Tayac and Jamal Gray talk about the mission of Uptown Art House.

Envisioned and directed by Sebi Medina-Tayac and Jamal Gray, Uptown Art House was created in resistance to the roles that gentrification and corporate acquisitions play in the displacement of local businesses, residents, and culture. 

"It's the missing organ in the city's creative body," says Medina-Tayac.  "We've had so many spaces shut down in D.C. because of gentrification that to go to an already gentrified neighborhood [Cleveland Park] as people of color, or as a native people is really meaningful. We need a hub."

Functioning since late April, Uptown Art House has already played host to some local programming.  As I previously mentioned, protest signs for the People's Climate March that happened on the National Mall earlier this spring were made in the space, and activist groups in coordination with the District's LGBTQ alliance were also in the space this past week preparing for the Pride Parade.  Rob Stokes of Medium Rare and the CMPVTR CLVB collective also organized an event 'Pittsburgh 2 D.C.,' in which Jack Swing, The Bird Hour, and Rob Smokes came together for a Steel City jam session.

Uptown Art House is subsidized by the Green Faith non-profit, which inspires, educates, and mobilizes people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership.  The community-run space is open every day of the week this summer, except Tuesdays.  On Mondays, visitors can expect instructional workshops on drawing, painting, and even talks on wellness and meditation practices.  Wednesdays will continue to be open house days for anyone and everyone to hang out in the space, make art, and listen to some music by local acts, while Thursdays and Fridays are set aside for organizations to rent the space and use to their discretion.  The Art House will also be open during the hours of the Cleveland Park Farmers Market on Saturday mornings as a youthful environment for kids to paint and create while their parents shop.

"In D.C., spaces are extremely expensive and scarce.  To find a space where anything community- based can happen that's not being run by the government is hard," says Gray.

On  Saturday, June 17th from 5-8pm, Travis Houze will be hosting a free viewing of his documentary Sounds of Summer, which highlights the past and present of DMV music culture. There will be a coinciding Q&A panel with the founder of One Love Massive and the CEO of B.A.M.M. Entertainment Molly Ruland and Cortez Santana respectively, along with Jamal Gray. 

We will be hosting a viewing of @travishouze "Sounds of Summer " Saturday June 17th 5-8pm

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Keep your eyes peeled to InTheRough for more programming by the Uptown Art House until their web infrastructure is established. 

Uptown Art House

3412 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20008


(Hair)itage by Maxwell Young

Chris Gellein and Becca Melville co-produce and co-star in their documentary (Hair)itage, a film about a young woman seeking to understand how her ethnically diverse background shapes her hair and her identity. 

Melville is fare-skinned with thick, black hair.  She's Jewish and Jamaican, although depending on the day and what hairstyle she wears she may be mistaken for hispanic or Asian heritage.

"My hair is the signifier that 'Oh, she's definitely something else,' which is why when I straighten it it's very much like changing hats, like changing identities because I don't present as black.  I present as not white, but it's not black," she says. 

Becca at Rachel Joyce Organic Salon in NW Washington, D.C.

Becca at Rachel Joyce Organic Salon in NW Washington, D.C.

Gellein, who could pass as a paler Ab-Soul, also shares a mixed heritage as his mom is from Trinidad and Tobago while his dad is of Scandinavian, Irish, and Welsh descents. 

"People don't guess that I'm Caribbean because I look dark enough to pass as African American of some mix, so it's never really a thought.  I'm just seen as black," he says in the video.  "I find myself not separating from African Americans, but there's a little bit more of a distinction between the Caribbean culture that I connect with that I don't connect with on the same level as African American [culture]."

Watch Becca detail her morning routine and the various products she uses that are compatible with her hair, and curly-haired friend, Maryah Greene, transform Melville's hair into a retro half-braided style.  Chris and Becca also visit Rachel Joyce Organic Salon where a young patron talks about her annoyance with people touching her afro.

From straight to curly: the evolution of Chris' hair.

From straight to curly: the evolution of Chris' hair.

In Good Hair, Chris Rock's 2009 documentary about the $9 billion African American hair industry, the comedian uncovers the intricacies of "black" hair.  He visits the hair factories in India where women sell their locks to be shaped into wigs and weaves that are popular hair extensions among African American women.  He visits the internationally renowned Bronner Brothers Beauty Show in Atlanta, Ga. where hair designers compete to style the most ostentatious hairdos.  And he interviews black celebrities, like Nia Long and Kerry Washington, to talk about the impact certain hair styles have had on their lives and why black women choose to style their hair in a myriad of ways.  Rock's film not only re-ignited the "natural" hair movement, but it also revealed the struggles of identity and self-confidence black women deal with regarding their hair.  These struggles are societal, shaped by the ideal image of western beauty: smooth, straight hair harkening back to images of white women.

"Being comfortable with your hair is the biggest thing," says Greene as she flaunts a curly, blonde afro.  "Not just deciding that you're not gonna straighten it or get a perm anymore, but just that you look just as good as everyone else, if not better, if you do nothing to your hair."

Check out the film above and browse through some of Chris' other work here.


Cool Things Happening in Pittsburgh by Alex Young

a piece of history - respect to late Mayor of Pittsburgh Bob O'Connor

a piece of history - respect to late Mayor of Pittsburgh Bob O'Connor

Youth and popular culture in the 'Burgh flourishes because the movers are extremely active in pushing their innovation, creativity, community, and business minds. With this, the responsible public creates masterpieces like events or products that residents and tourists can enjoy.

Basically, the following reports on cool things happening in Pittsburgh to look out for.

1. Javed + Serene at Matt's Music Mine

A knowledgeable and excited hip-hop culture comes together at Mr. Roboto Project on May 26. Rapper Javed and his Serene team flex a stylish and fun atmosphere on stage. Crisp production from retrorosser and bars from Calvin P, Jet and illiterate form Serene into an entertaining lineup. Other musicians, like the experimental band Skeletonized, are set to perform at the Matt's Music Mine event, a showcase of up and coming talent from Pittsburgh.

Mr. Roboto Project

5106 Penn Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15224

$5 | 7 p.m.

2. Aris Tatalovich ROY G BIV Bag

Aris Tatalovich is a young designer from the 'Burgh's outskirts who is responsible for handmade bags. Tatalovich's merch receives authentic appreciation from subculture heroes, and that is a plus as he looks toward longevity and market success. His bag seen on style icon Ian Connor and fresh rapper Playboi Carti hypes the ROY G BIV release, although Tatalovich's talent makes his brand stand alone.

Shop the Tatalovich bag here on May 26. $220 | 25 numbered bags available

@playboicarti $100k in who bag? 🌈🌈🌈

A post shared by Aris Tatalovich (@aristatalovich) on

3. Summer Sound Series #1 by Studio A.M.

Studio A.M.'s footprint in Pittsburgh's art community is consistent. They do best at bringing eclectic audiences to their artwork, painter Baron Batch's colorfully inspiring pieces or Chef Steve's food. Brunch, weekly yoga nights, and now the Summer Sound Series show the range of Studio A.M.'s interactions. On May 26, musical acts Starship Mantis, Mars Jackson, and Royal Haunts will perform alongside guest DJ RPM. Starship Mantis is a band who go by the phrase "dedicated to make you move," Mars Jackson is an O.G. hip-hop lyricist and live talent who is preparing to release a new album, and Royal Haunts fits the bill as a versatile singer-songwriter. The Summer Sound Series show starts at 9 p.m., and Studio A.m.'s brand manager Tori Meglio says the series will run throughout the summer months.

Studio A.M. - photo by Tori Meglio

Studio A.M. - photo by Tori Meglio

4. Trap Dojo with Choo Jackson, Mikey P and Friends

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Choo Jackson leads hip-hop's underground on Saturday, May 27, as he takes the stage at Boom Concepts with a solid cast of young artists. Choo readies to drop his new project called "Parade," which he recorded with I.D. Labs, and a party with Trap Masters Banks and Flack as the hosts in the Trap Dojo only aims excitement around Choo's music. Rapper Mikey P, spoken word artist Brittney Chantele, and Virginia native Miah Travis accompany Choo for the concert.

5. Jenesis Magazine x Drinking Partners Podcast

This year Jenesis Magazine celebrates their tenth year as Pittsburgh's "word up" news source. They've thrown an anniversary party and an archival gallery at their culture kitchen Boom Concepts. During episode 92 of comedians Ed Bailey and Day Bracey's Drinking Partners podcast, Jenesis founder Thomas Agnew and his business partner D.S. Kinsel spoke about their mission to add to Pittsburgh's creative communities. Together, Jenesis and Boom feed opportunities to local artists. Both entities show love to many people. In the name of collaboration and celebrating Jenesis's 10th anniversary, Drinking Partners will join the magazine to host brunch and record an episode of their podcast in front of a live audience. Drinks are unlimited, and you can get your ticket for the Sunday brunch event here.

6. The Couch Crasher Tour by Daily Bread x Lokal Foreners

Daily Bread, a streetwear clothier, and Lokal Foreners, a rap and skate crew, have enjoyed an effective partnership. Their images combine in music videos, lookbooks, and now a tour that stretches from their Pittsburgh home to Alabama and other locations. On June 2 or June 3, catch Hippy Swizzy, Que Dafoe, Ahse, James Perry, and the rest of the Lokal Foreners crew at Daily Bread in Pittsburgh or at the Greensburg, Pa. stop of The Couch Crasher Tour.


7. Three Rivers Arts Festival

Stop down to Point State Park in dahntahn Pittsburgh from June 2-11 for the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival. Enjoy plenty of free visual and experiential art, as well as major music shows for local acts. Rappers Choo Jackson, Hubbs, and others join the legendary DJ Selecta on June 8 for Beats + Bars. Explore all the events for the festival here.

Look for another edition of "Cool Things Happening in Pittsburgh" soon to ITR.