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Wall Ball-in’ Out!

Photos by Kim-Thao Nguyen

Last Thursday, some of Philadelphia’s finest creators, movers and shakers congregated at the Vie on North Broad Street for one of the city’s most highly anticipated events: WALL BALL.

In its 9th year, The Mural Arts Program strived to bring an array of entertainment and excitement to its biggest annual fundraising affair. Not to be outdone by last year’s star-studded event honoring State Senator Vincent Hughes and his wife, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph as well as The Legendary Roots Crew, whose mural on South Street will be formally unveiled this upcoming Friday, this year’s swanky soiree put the spotlight on City Council President, Darrell L. Clarke and Philadelphia’s favorite big baller, former 76er, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, whose iconic mural on Ridge Avenue is a favorite in this acclaimed “City of Murals”.

This year, it was obvious that The Mural Arts Programs wanted to wow guests and contributors with fun and fantasy:  from fancy face-painting to scatting stilt-walkers to the elaborate array of light bites, Wall Ball 2013 left little to be desired from its content attendees. Mike Jerrick of FOX 29 News was the evening’s emcee and opened the floor for the live auction by dancing to Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” followed by some impressive sales in the name of charity.

After the last bid and before handing out awards, Mural Arts Program founder, Jane Golden, shared a story about a young Michael Whittington from the organization’s Restorative Justice Program before introducing him to speak briefly on behalf of its participants. With a testimony and an expression of gratitude extended to the guests, Whittington reminded everybody what doing this work is all about.  Jane Golden and the Mural Arts Program also posthumously honored the late local real estate developer, Tony Goldman.

In an effort to engage younger patrons of Mural Arts, the organization also incorporated an Off-The-Wall Ball at the neighboring Alla Spina Restaurant. This abbreviated party was an amazing amalgamation of muralists, artists, and mural-lovers having fun and making a contribution to art and its restorative power.

The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is the nation’s largest mural project and provides programming for over 100 communities, including at-risk teens and adult offenders. For more information about the Mural Arts Program, visit www.muralarts.org or follow on Twitter @MuralArts.

Tailor Made

Men of Philly, this is the final weekend to get into the suit of your dreams!

Indochino’s Traveling Tailor and virtual menswear phenomenon wraps up their two and a half week run in Philadelphia on Memorial Day.  This six-year-old brand from Vancouver, BC, brings their luxurious online label to life with their Pop-Up Shop tour that aspires to make men fall in love with their offerings, purchase a piece-by-piece suit, and become a loyal customer—looking to the Canada-based operation to provide all of his future menswear needs.

Situated on 1518 Walnut street—near the business district, blocks from the Gayborhood, and alongside some of the city’s best apparel shops—it would be hard for Philadelphia’s stylish men to have missed this moving gem.  And with custom suits starting at $379, free gifts with a suit purchase, and an online profile that captures the entire fit experience, what guy wouldn’t want to get fly before the innovative shop bids Philly farewell?  Even if your budget doesn’t allow a major splurge this weekend, Indochino brand manager, Crystal Walton, encourages both window shoppers and garment grabbers alike to make an appointment with a tailor before they go bye-bye:

“Every guy that has come into the Traveling Tailor in Philadelphia, whether he’s made a purchase or not, has had an online account profile created for him.  Once we’ve taken his measurements, we’ve now uploaded that onto Indochino.com.  For future purchases…he would go to Indochino.com and it’s point and click: he chooses his suit, his fabric, his customizations and feels confident in the fact that we’ve taken his measurements for him.  In doing so, we have now removed the majority of the work for that guy and made it very easy for him to shop with us in the future.”

To further capture the essence of what Indochino offers within the four walls of the Pop-Up Shop on Walnut Street, two.one.five magazine asked one of our readers to take a walk through the Traveling Tailor and share his experience.  Here’s what Cleveland Pickett, UPenn student and former Saks Fifth Avenue menswear associate, had to say about shopping at the Pop-Up Shop for an Indochino dress shirt:

“For a novice gentleman who has never had the chance to treat himself to custom tailored clothing, the Indochino process was both simple and rewarding.  

During my visit, I met with Hassan, one of the executives and tailors for Indochino’s Traveling Tailor Pop-Up Shop. Within ten minutes, Hassan measured me for a perfect fit from the neck all the way to the break in the pants. During this time we talked about my likes and dislikes with off-the-rack suits and what I should expect from the Indochino brand.

 After my measurements, I was able to start creating my shirt from its beginning. The combinations of colors, patterns, and fabrics seem endless—they have the oxfords, the poplins, broadcloths, twills, and end-on-ends–they’re all here. The patterns range from plain, stripes, checks and plaids to other unique patterns. After I’ve made these selections, I must finally choose which collar and cuffs best fit my style.  My options are spreads, button-downs, pinned, and even tuxedo collars; the one, two button, and French cuffs.

 When it’s said and done, I’m pretty confident that I have just created the best shirt that, in about 2-3 weeks, I will have the pleasure of draping across my back. I’m excited that I’ll have the chance to have an ensemble that compares to the same pieces I’ve seen every month in GQ Magazine for a fraction of the price.”

Still curious about the Indochino brand? Take a look for yourself!  Book an appointment at Indochino.com/Philadelphia and receive a free custom dress shirt and gift set with your suit purchase.  Open Saturday, 9am-7pm; Sunday, 11am-7pm; and Memorial Day, 8am-8pm.

The Deejay with an “SS” on Her Chest

Tucked on a tiny street in Germantown is G-Town Radio where, on any given Sunday, Shawanda Spivey morphs into DJ Aura and sits on the hostess side of things to interview local acts and up and coming names for the internet airwaves.  Places and Spaces, Aura’s online radio show for 1.5 years, is one of the major channels through which this talented, underground deejay showcases her varied music tastes as well as her love for the art of mixing a well-balanced groove for her listeners.

Aura has been in the deejay circuit since 2006 when she first took on spinning at local parties after graduating from Temple University. I initially heard a mix from this lady deejay via a link to her “A Taste of Power” mixtape on Soundcloud.  With music from local producer, Suzi Analogue and Philly deejay, Jazzy Jeff and further laced with indie hip-hop tracks heavy with electronic beats and girl-power raunch (like my personal favorite, Likwuid’s Camel Toe), “A Taste of Power” maintains a chill flow that is both nostalgic and worldly, demanding a bounce and head nod from listeners who appreciate a deviation from the radio norm.

A self-proclaimed music snob whose music tastes tend to gravitate towards more soulful house and indie grooves, she admits she can’t always be a “purist” and will occasionally indulge in some “guilty pleasures” and radio ratchetness to please her crowd.  A closet fan of popular hip hop artists Drake, 2 Chainz, and working on Trinidad James, Aura’s ability to incorporate popular urban music in her sets enables her to create what she considers a well-rounded party for her audience.

To keep abreast of what’s hot, Aura says she still listens to the radio, surfs music blogs, frequents clubs and learns from watching other area deejays.  She gives props to the radio jocks, DJ Damage and Diamond Kutz and says that her favorite time to listen to their on-air sets is during holiday weekends when good-time hits from the New-Jack 90’s all the way to the trap-music present are plentiful and the parties are nonstop because of it.  She also tips her hat to fellow lady deejay, AfroDJiak (also featured in this series), who helped her get started by taking her to Armand’s to show her what she needed to build her music biz.

In addition to her mixtapes and radio show, you can also find Aura on the nightclub grind.  Whether it’s pumping up the volume for real hip-hop heads or turning up dancefloors for divas in drag, Aura is ready with a Mac packed with rhythmic crowd-pleasers.  When talking about some of her favorite folks to spin for, she includes her friends in the Gayborhood.  With experience spinning for such parties as STASH at Woody’s, Sexy Beast at The Treehouse, and a variety of shows at TABU, paired with deep respect for the community’s appreciation for good music, Aura jokingly coins herself as the “black Lady Gaga.”

“It’s fun…I mean, music is such a big part of that community. Music, dancing, vogue-ing is, like, such a big part of the culture.  Like when people come out to a party [in the Gayborhood], it’s understood: ‘I’m ready to get down.’ And they know their music, you know—and I like that because I like a challenge,” Aura dishes when talking about how she keeps the party poppin’ at the bars between 11th and 13th Streets.

Want more Aura? Follow her @DJAura360 and def check out Places and Spaces every Sunday from 6pm-8pm at GTownRadio.com. You can also check out  her latest mixtape “Electric Gems” on Aura’s Podcast. Lastly, look out for Aura’s follow-up to the mixtape of femme classics with “A Taste of Power, Part 2” coming soon.  But this Friday night, join Aura as she celebrates her birthday by spinning the opening set at Silk City‘s monthly MIGHTY# party and spreading the only love you’ll get from this motley crew of Heartbreaker deejays.

KAsh for a Dose of DOPEness

Its official: DJ K.Ash needs no sleep. This girl is merely four months and a hospital residency away from being both doctor and deejay.  In the meantime, Kathryn Ashley Brandt—shortened to produce the moniker, K.Ash—is booked as the resident deejay for three local parties; can be found spinning for audiences of 800+ in international nightclubs; and regularly travels to Atlantic City, Baltimore and DC to rock dance floors– all while studying to finish medical school at the top of her class by the end of spring.  Oh yes, K.Ash isn’t just a name for this Philly deejay—she’s gettin’ it too.

K.Ash began mixing music over six years ago after moving from Central Pennsylvania to Philadelphia to attend Swarthmore College.  With plans to play with records only until it was time to focus on medical school, K.Ash never really intended to be a big part of the party scene.  It wasn’t until 2009 when she competed against 10 other lady deejays and won first place in the Equality Forum’s Female Deejay Awards that she would garner the attention she needed to keep her in the game.  With proposals from Sisters nightclub, Stimulus, and Pulse to hold residencies and frequent parties, K.Ash was no longer a closet deejay phenomenon—she was out and on top.

Starting with vinyl, turntables (which she still favors and prefers because she enjoys scratching) and other traditional mixing apparatus, K.Ash quickly added onto her collection of equipment to ensure she was keeping up with technology and great levels of production.

“I’m a pretty firm believer that every deejay should know how to use any piece of equipment… if you’re serious about what you can do, there should be no situation where you don’t know how to handle it.  If there’s a piece of equipment that a club doesn’t have, you should be able to accommodate that,” K.Ash shares.

With an affinity for house, techno, pop, and hip-hop, K.Ash is also proficient in fusing all of these genres together to create a brand new mix, producing MASHUP sets for her audience to dance to.  As one of few MASHUP deejays in the city who also has great interest in production, K.Ash uses Serato, Ableton, and The Bridge along with her MAC, turntables, and a mixer when she is in the perfect situation.  The process of merging songs and sampling music to create amazing MASHUP matchups could be long and arduous work, but K.Ash says she enjoys it because it allows her to produce her own sampled tracks, some of which she plans to spin for the Silk City crowd at the MIGHTY#Heartbreakers party this Friday.

Recognized as one of Philly’s Premier lesbian deejays by Phillesbian Magazine and the only woman nominated as a top deejay by Philadelphia Gay News,  K.Ash enjoys being among some of the most sought after deejays in the LGBT community.  However, her ultimate goal is to engage larger, general audiences.  Her recent collaboration with A.D.D. has allowed her to break onto the international scene and showcase her mixing abilities to thousands of partygoers in Tel Aviv, Israel—a city that appreciates American hip-hop and has long been recognized as one of the world’s best gay cities.

However, while she is in this city, this Philly lady deejay is the go-to person for Stimulus and Pulse parties—the biggest and baddest hotspots for hot girls in the LGBT community.  Additionally, K.Ash rocks the house every Thursday night upstairs at Sisters nightclub in Center City.  This week, get an extra dose of K.Ash and watch her administer the remedy laced with dope music and sampled tracks at Silk City as two.one.five magazine and D24K present Mighty#Heartbreakers!

On Twitter? Follow K.Ash

Gun$ for Girls!

(photos by Tim Blackwell)

 

Loving bad bitches ain’t never been a problem for Regina Garcia Dyhouse aka Gun$ Garcia.  As a matter of fact, her affection for the ladies of music is what has gained notoriety for this popular bad girl of Philly deejays.  Gun$ Garcia, who has only been in the deejay circuit for three years, is the “newest” player amongst our list of Philly’s lady deejays.  However green this may seem, Gun$ is ripe with accomplishments and accolades.   With a chart topping mixtape under her belt (her Bad Bitches Bomb First compilation was #34 on SPIN magazine’s 40 Best Rap Albums of 2011), a forthcoming lady deejay collaboration effort being released for Valentine’s Day 2013, and an ongoing party for which she is a resident deejay, Gun$ Garcia makes wearing a skirt and packing a MAC and a mixer look incredibly easy.

In 2001, Gun$ moved to Philly from Maryland to attend Moore College of Art and got her deejay start several years later at the Barbary’s monthly open deejay night called The Fight Club.  Here, amateur deejays would line up for whiskey and beer pong before gracing the turntables to showcase their new skills in a 20-minute mixing set.  Both intrigued by the process and dismayed by the lack of women involved, Garcia asked her boyfriend, well-known deejay, Dirty South Joe, to show her how to build a 20-minute set to spin at the popular event.  After unloading several rounds of 20-minute sets at these monthly parties, Gun$ Garcia eventually became the most-winning deejay in The Fight Club competition and landed herself a party at the Barbary nightclub.

With a preference for Baltimore/Philly/Jersey club, trap, and new hip-hop music, Gun$ Garcia’s aim is to infuse most of her set with some of the dopest girl tracks to get a party going.  Her allegiance to girl power music and pop hits is what sets her apart from the deejays with whom she parties.  But Gun$ penchant for empowerment is evident in more than just her music tastes—one half of the up and coming lady deejay collective, Yellow Girl Mob, Gun$ has taught both her YGM partner, Marissa Le aka Yolo Ono and the award-winning lady deejay, Suga Shay, whose recent noteworthy performance in the Redbull Thre3Style Qualifier has made Gun$ Garcia a pretty proud bird.  She is quick to give props to some of her fave ladies (one of which includes local lady deejay, Ultraviolet, who is also featured in this series and to whom Gun$ pays homage for wanting to become a deejay) and talk about the camaraderie that is necessary to uphold a strong lady deejay presence in the city.

When asking the ultra-femme music spinster about her plans for the upcoming HGR/Mighty#Heartbreakers party and ways in which she plans to set herself apart from the other lady deejays, Garcia responds with a cool confidence, “I really don’t think any of them are gonna play anything like what I’m gonna play…” Yep, the Gun$ are out.

Follow Gun$ Garcia’s on Twitter and on SoundCloud and look for her all-girl deejay collaboration, Galentine’s Day, out this week.  You can also catch her on Valentine’s Day for Fashion in Action Benefit for ActionAids at Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia or  spinning at the weekly MAD DECENT MONDAY party at Silk City.

Find out how Philly’s Bad Bitches Bomb First at Silk City on Friday, February 22nd when two.one.five magazine presents Heineken Green Room’s Mighty#Heartbreakers with Gun$ Garcia and four other dope lady deejays in Philly.

Girls on Fire!

(photos by Tim Blackwell)

 

If you think Diamond Kutz and Lady B are as good as it gets when it comes to Philly’s hottest lady deejays, think again!

DJ’s AfroDJiak, Aura, Gun$ Garcia, K.Ash, and Ultraviolet represent this city’s women to be reckoned with when it comes to mixing music and making the crowds move. With skills that enable them to blend everything from ultra-femme crate classics to radio-hit ratchetness, these worldly girls know how to make you dance without the bands.    This month, join two.one.five magazine as we shine a light on these deejay divas and bring them all together for a MIGHTY# party that you don’t want to miss!

 

Ultraviolet: All Hail the Queen Bee

Gun$ Garcia: Gun$ for Girls

K.Ash: For a Dose of DOPEness

Aura is The Deejay with an “SS” on Her Chest

AfroDJiak is The Lady DJ We All Love