Leaping Underground : Graff and Performance Art for New York’s Explorers

Andrew H. Shirley Throws a Party for Leap Year

There would be no above ground scene in New York without the abiding underground scene. Furtive, secretive, accessible by invitation or last minute word of mouth, art parties and performance have always supplied a forum for expression, inspiration, and a release of raw energy. Without idealizing too much, these are frequently places where the petri dishes for future movements are mixed, or at least experimented with. Not exactly galleries or performance venues, these spaces converted for one-night-only can be a great place to party, see something new, and let your mind loose with friends.

Artist and party planner Andrew H. Shirley threw a sort of impromptu bash a week ago to celebrate the occasion of February 29th, and he invited some artists/graff heads to hit up the space like Smells, Cash4, UFO, Gen2, R2, and Fade. The abandoned warehouse feeling was juxtaposed by some rather ornate furniture, and eventually everything got tagged – since the scheduled installations included a surprise visit from Net, Krt and Serch. “Kind of a random perfect line up,” reports Shirley of the artists, “It ended up being really proper.”

Cash4 sets the scene, and Fade offers a seat.  Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

Once the visual aesthetics were laid the performances were clear to go for the small enthusiastic collection of fans that braved the cold night and they were rewarded with an eclectic mix of energetic shows by Beef, Jogyo, Fake Hooker, Japanther, and Ninjasonik. Shirley was really happy with the turnout –  “A great crowd of heads braved the sh*ttiest night of the winter to be part of the Leap Year Party,” he says.

BSA: What was the party all about?
Andrew H. Shirley: I’ve had a telepathic calling to throwing a leap year party for a few years, and one day while hanging with Robbie from Fake Hooker, we talked about leap year, and how we couldn’t remember anything fun ever happening on that day .I took it upon myself to try and make a holiday out of this. Evolving out of the ideas we came up with, Beef and Fake Hooker planned a tour which began at Death by Audio in brooklyn and ended on leap year at the El Dorado.

BSA: Who did you hook up the venue and the painting part of the show?
Andrew H. Shirley: Party professional SPAM was stoked that February had an extra day to party this year and pointed our idea in the direction of the El Dorado space. The el dorado is an amazing space; it’s totally reminiscent of the type of space you’d find in the Lower East Side, like the Lounge on 11th and Avenue A circa 1995.  It’s totally grilled out in scrawls and tags, really grimey, old New York. It’s a free for all. The dude who runs El Dorado is actually not into graffiti at all – he hates it. Because the place was pretty grilled, I asked if I could have some heads come and do some walls and he was cool with it.

In addition to the artists and performers, shout outs go to Laura Kaplan for Japanther’s costumes and Devi Mambouka for Jogyo’s makeup and costumes. The Superior Bugout did promotion and thanks to photographer Tod Seelie for sharing his images.

JOGYO imparting knowledge. Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

Smells, Cash4, UFO, Gen2, R2, 907 Crew, Fade, Net, Krt and Serch.  Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

 

For all you underground Marie Antoinettes, a regally appointed couch adorned by UFO 907 with a wall piece by Smells.  Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

Hitting the high notes! (photo © Tod Seelie)

A sideways blastoff from UFO and the 907 crew.  Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

Fashion Week isn’t just for Paris you know! 11 Years in the underground and standard bearers for an ever changing Brooklyn scene, Japanther modeled organic fashions by Laura Kaplan for their performance. (photo © Tod Seelie)

Fade feels nostalgic for a 1980 sex party.  Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

Duo Ninjasonik reliably rocked mics with their nasty and funny rhymes, bringing an electrifying performance in the midst of the party. (© Tod Seelie)

A welcoming and cozy seating arrangement. Principal decor supplied by Gen2 of the 907 Crew. Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

I have an announcement before I blast your eardrums! (photo © Tod Seelie)

Smells, Cash4, UFO, Gen2, R2, 907 Crew, Fade, Net, Krt and Serch.  Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

Ninjasonic taking it home.  Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

Smells, Cash4, UFO, Gen2, R2, 907 Crew, Fade, Net, Krt and Serch.  Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

 Leap Party 2012 at El Dorado (photo © Tod Seelie)

 

 

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