Wild Style (15)

Part of: The Grime and the Glamour season

Still from Wild Style

Shot over three years, primarily on location in the Bronx, Wild Style is an invaluable record of graffiti in early 1980s New York.

A loosely-scripted fusion of fiction and documentary, it centres on up-and-coming graffiti artist Zoro (real life street artist George Lee Quiñones), promoter Phade (Fab 5 Freddy) and journalist Virginia – played by underground actress Patti Astor, later a key player in the downtown art world, founder of the FUN gallery, and early supporter of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

A minimal plot provides the excuse for appearances by the likes of graffiti artist Lady Pink, rap king Busy Bee, and breakdance crews Electric Force and Rock Steady, and some vivid set-pieces – including Grandmaster Flash spinning records in his mum’s kitchen, a rap-battle between Cold Crush and the Fantastic Freaks on a South Bronx basketball court, and a rousing finale at the East River Ampitheater, where Rammellzee roams the stage with a shotgun.

US 1983 Dir Charlie Ahearn 82 min 

+Scratch Ecstasy 
We open the doors early at our screening of Wild Style for a special presentation of Scratch Ecstasy, a 20-minute slide show from 1980 with an original mix by Grand Wizzard Theodore, who is credited with inventing the Scratch technique. One of the first documentations of hip hop culture, it is made up of images screened by director Charlie Ahearn at the Ecstasy Garage Disco in the Bronx. The slides, many of which Ahearn and Fab 5 Freddy have scratched, celebrate the pioneers of the movement who later appeared in Ahearn’s film Wild Style. 
 

Courtesy of Charlie Ahearn and the P.P.O.W Gallery New York

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