Urban Grafitti 4

An original, raw, edgy and uncensored forum set for October 11

By Stacey Kumagai
Published on LatinoLA: September 7, 2003

Urban Grafitti 4

When it comes to arts and culture, Urban Graffiti 4 (UG4) Live Slam Festival competition, October 11th, 2003 is the ultimate dream buffet where competition and exhibition come to fruition in an ultra-hip, city-slick, edgy street beat LIVE 12-hour Noon-to-Midnight event.

Forty acts with sixty competitors will take center stage at UG4's Live Slam Festival tournament-style competition for performance championships with the final round judged by a panel of celebrity judges including actors Keith David ("Hollywood Homicide," "Head of The State," "Barbershop"), Reginald VelJohnson ("Waitin' To Live," "Die Hard 2," "Family Matters") and Tony Award-winning writer/performer/Actor, Poetri.

The one-day multi-cultural event at Warner Hollywood Studios 'The Lot' (1041 N. Formosa West), Fairbanks Auditorium will come alive in an array of other ways. With special guest performances, live music, a festive outdoor street fair, an industry networking party, all-day Hills Backyard BBQ and the work of three unique photographers and graffiti artist in the UG4's Art Exhibit Showcase.... UG4 is a festival buffet -feeding all senses of the creative artist.

Photographers Justin De Leon, Pablo Aguilar and Mario De Lopez and Graffiti Artist, Chris Equihua are as diverse as UG4 itself. Justin De Leon is an East Los Angeles native whose Sol y Sombra Series: Mexico was just featured all summer at the Lisa Coscino Gallery in Northern California. His dreamscape matador images pay homage to the bullfights in Mexico and Spain.

Though Los Angeles native, Pablo Aguilar has been commissioned by NBA star Kobe Bryant to travel as his personal photographer on a world tour, photos of the basketball celebrity are not his only forte'. Aguilar's work for People Magazine, Fortune, Essence and Los Angeles Magazine represent a consistent artistic flair for combining time-transporting visuals with natural stimulating elements.

Guatemalan-born-Los Angeles raised, Mario De Lopez's modern-edge photography talents produce clean lines, deep contrast and the hip look today's fashion, advertising and progressive news magazines love. He's been featured in Newsweek, Shape, Flaunt and has done work for Addidas.

Local graffiti artist Chris Equihua has been creative from an early age. When he was a child, his 'big break' came when his art piece was showcased on KCET. Inspired by taking a stroll down the street, absorbing images of everyday life, people and music Equihua says "Every piece I do is individual, unique. I get an idea in my head and I am immediately inspired to create." His vibrant images are as hot and expressive as the rainbow of colors he enjoys (particularly the fire-y hues of yellows and reds) and he hopes to develop larger creative works in the future.

Fun contests and promotions will also pepper the all-day event. Tickets for the special UG4 Raffle will be sold from door opening at 12 noon with the ultimate raffle prize giveaway to be unveiled at 9 p.m. Tickets are sold in a special 5 pack for
$5 - and winner must be present to win. A street-fair festival atmosphere provides plenty of activity in addition to a full-slate of exciting entertainment, and an industry networking party.

Observation, inspiration and motivation are moved from the mind to center stage arena when the competition takes place. From the flying words of the spoken word artists, the eloquent and rhythmic mix of poetic messages, to comedic bits of witty, ranting monologues to exchanged scene performance dialogue - it's all happening though the four rounds of competition of Urban Graffiti 4. From artists who've overcome life adversity to seasoned Hollywood's up-and-coming performers - four champions will emerge from the tournament style festival in the areas of Best Monologue Performance, Best Spoken Word Performance, Best Scene Performance and Best Written Material. Previous champions will join as special guest performers.

UG4's interactive melting pot of poetry, acting and monologue will be enhanced by music performed by Al Keith and The Gypsy Cats. Al Keith is a renowned percussionist and singer who plays extensively in Los Angeles - but says he really enjoys performing at Venice Beach for the people who "keep coming back to enjoy the music." He has performed with Urban Graffiti since its original debut (October 29-30, 2002) and is looking forward to UG4. "I enjoy the challenge - performing in front of an audience that is waiting to see what you can deliver and expecting you to give all you've got is exciting and fun," states Keith. The Gypsy Cats sound is a Latin-Afro-Cuban Acoustic Jazz group with a unique blend of live instrumentation from flamenco guitar to brass. DJ Jedi, House DJ of Da Poetry Lounge - the largest poetry venue in the world will be featured throughout the event adding to the sights and sounds of UG4

Family-owned Hills Backyard BBQ will be at UG4 all day providing food for the soul! From smoky home-style barbecue baby back ribs and mouth-watering juicy tender Tri-Tip the all-day feast will be feeding everyone's creative
appetite -audience to performers.

UG4 is like no other live slam competition! The power-packed high-energy showcase of the nation's top actors and spoken word poets (ages 18-65) is an unmatched fusion of fresh street, high-profile and celebrity talent. The event is peppered with special guest performances, entertainment industry judges, prizes, and passionate expressions of thoughts, feelings and ideas with head-to-head rounds of competition on a single stage. Diversified in cultural exchange, UG4's ethnic representation of 30% Latino, 30% African American, 30% Caucasian and 10% other mixes (including Asian, Native American and more) displays a wide range of unique viewpoints and perspectives tied together by the creative common threads of Urban life and mutual echoing of expressive voices.

Spoken word star, Shihan Van Clief will be the MC/Host for the UG4 Live Slam Festival. Van Clief, is most recognized from Nike-Presto/Atom Films "Exist To Be Different" verbal dynamics piece and currently the national talent coordinator for Russell Simmons' Def Poetry (c) on the HBO channel.

UG4 is presented by Boricua Bros. David & Erik Llauger-Meiselman of Boricua Films, LLC and produced by Henry K. Priest. They describe the "one-up" original, raw, edgy and uncensored forum as "a cross between Star Search and Friday Night at the Apollo with a twist of Def Poetry." In addition to being the creators of Urban Graffiti, Paris Falls and L.A. River Stories, Boricua Films is a visionary new film company committed toward bringing audiences the diverse Latino experience of the Americas from the harsh urban barrios to the rural lush Campos, exposing the human condition at its worst and best.

For Ticket & Event Information, go to: www.UrbanGraffiti.TV. To purchase tickets go to www.wantickets.com/UG4 For all media inquiries and interview requests call event publicist Stacey Kumagai at 818/506-8675 or email: mediamonster@yahoo.com

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