Category Archives: Nightlife

“Hip Hop…Hooray.”

(Note: Webster defines Hip Hop as ‘rap music; also : the culture associated with rap music’.)

“When I first arrived to the U.S., Hip Hop quickly became my favorite genre of music. I had grown up in Germany and Italy and was therefore naive to most of it, American music was hard to come by overseas. I had also just entered my teenage years and could relate to most of the lyrics in most of the songs. Although I hadn’t grown up in the lifestyle that was often rapped about (drugs, violence, drug-use and life in an urban city), I could associate with the culture of it…fun, freedom, non-conformity and the expression of oneself through music and other forms of art. For many years recently, however, I’ve felt as if Hip Hop has changed into something that I no longer understand. It seems to be flooded with money, exorbitant living, disrespect to opposite sexes and races, and a bevy of one-time, one-hit, one-good-song artists. Not only has the music scene changed completely, but the culture associated with that music has also become unrecognizable.”

“I used to wonder why my parents (and the generation they belong to) still listened to music from fifty years ago when so much more has been released since then…I understand now. To continue enjoying the culture that I found so dear to me, I find myself holding onto the music, clothing styles and social scenes that I was a fan of years and years ago. As a New Yorker, that was easy to do…I simply had to look up the music or crowd I wanted to mingle with and then go to that location. Now that I live in Italy…it’s not so simple. Most of the city (and the country, for that matter) doesn’t listen to Hip Hop. It’s true that there is a very large selection of American music around, in locales as well as on the radio, but for the most part it’s music that I don’t listen to. In the rare instances that I do find a place where they’re playing the music that I enjoy, the culture of that music is missing. The crowd remains completely, well, Italian. The Italy of today is exactly like the Italy I grew up in 30 years ago; Hip Hop-less. Or so I thought…”

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(photo: Samuele Storari)

“Two weeks ago I stumbled upon an event here in town. It was billed as ‘the newest Hip Hop night to hit Verona’ and cleverly titled ‘Hipology’. I was asked to be the night’s photographer, and I was looking forward to it because I was told ahead of time that my favorite local DJ (my good friend Carletto) would be there. So even though I could trust the music would be solid, I wasn’t truly aware of what the scene would be until I got there. Some of the nights out I had experienced during my first year here in Verona were filled with my kind of music, but as I mentioned before, the environments had been different. I wasn’t entirely prepared for what was in store for me, but I can safely say that I wasn’t disappointed in the least!”

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“It was as if walking through the doors of the establishment was the same as jumping in a DeLorean and going back to 1995. Not only was the music exactly what I knew it would be, but he ambiance fit the bill as well. The attire was a recipe of 90’s dress code and NYC/LA outfits, with a pinch of the stuff ‘kids wear today’ thrown on top. Hairstyles, accessories and shoes were picked to match…with the occasional gold tooth and nighttime sunglass-wearer thrown into the mix.”

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“Everything about the place screamed Hip Hop! The dance floor was packed, and counting the number of dance battles took two hands instead of one. Three separate DJ’s spun a never-ending supply of ‘that’s my jam!’ songs, interrupted only by a mid-party pause featuring a handpicked selection of some of the local b-boys and fly girls. The line outside was long, the bouncers were big and the VIP tables were perfectly typical: at first too empty, then before you could say ‘I’m on the list’, too few.”

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“Finding Hipology not only proved that there is in fact a Hip Hop scene in Verona, but it gave me a taste of an Italy I had never seen. Black, white and mixed people were everywhere…there were no groupings of different creeds, colors or races. And even though Italian and English were the main languages spoken, many others had come out to play…giving it that NYC, melting pot feeling. I was happy to see a room full of multiracial friends, as well as multiracial couples, enjoying the night carefree…it made my job as a photographer not only easier, but more enjoyable personally. I’m certain it’s a bias, preferring to shoot environments filled with mixed race individuals, but I can’t help it…I am one myself.”

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“Like the party flier said, the entire event mirrored the Hip Hop culture that I had adopted and made my own while in New York for fifteen years. No one was afraid to flaunt their own style, and those that were afraid flaunted it anyway…even as far as the race of friends you hung with or the person they called their own. Their people were their people, and their music was their music…period.”

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“The only thing that mattered was Hip Hop.”

– F

* All photos by me, except the first *

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Filed under La Bella Italia, New York City, Nightlife

“A Person In The Darkness…”

Sometimes when I’m out and about late at night in New York City, I’ll come across a patch of darkness in the middle of the blinding lights of the city.

Most of the time there’s nothing there, just darkness…but every so often there’s a person in the darkness.

(photo: Fidel Amos)

(photo: Fidel Amos)

Depending on the depth of the darkness and the distance between yourself and that person, it can sometimes seem impossible to tell if the person is coming or going…or BOTH.

It’s during that exact fraction of a second that my skin begins to crawl.

– F

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Filed under Blog Quickies, New York City, Nightlife

“A Quick Bit Of Facebook Advice.”

Yes.

We’ve all heard the warnings. We all know someone that has a sad story to tell. We’ve all almost become victims ourselves and probably didn’t even realize it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about Facebook privacy.

I don’t want to spend too much time discussing it, but I do want to quickly touch upon one of the areas that would save a lot of you a lot of potentially embarrassing situations. An area that goes hand in hand with my day to day activities: your Facebook photos.

Your Facebook photos can be set in a way so that only the people that are your Facebook friends can see them. You’ve probably acquired tons of them over the years and chances are you don’t want strangers seeing half of them because you’re drinking, throwing up a finger, looking fatter than usual, just waking up or are in some other way being inappropriate. You can hide most of them to the general public by selecting each individual album and setting it from “Public” to “Friends”. This can also be done with the album “Profile Pictures”.

Take my advice…do this.

* Note: Changing these particular settings won’t save you if your boss is your Facebook friend. *

* Secondary Note: Know who your Facebook friends are! *

Your “Cover Photos” however, must remain set to “Public”. This is a general Facebook default setting that can’t be changed. So these are the pictures that the entire planet can see no matter what you do. Make these your cool, impressive, sexy, orphan-saving, churchgoing, non-smoking/drinking/tongue out photos. That way when you apply for a job, start dating someone new, or get stalked by your parents…..you won’t look like a total a**.

Here’s one final piece of advice for those of you who desire to be truly Facebook savvy. The albums in your page can also be set to “Custom”. There are varying degrees of “Custom”, ranging anywhere from “Only Me”, to only someone in a certain group. If you really must post photos of a party that got a tad ‘outta hand’ and you have no other way to get photos to everyone at that party. Simply create an album, change it to “Custom”, then add the names of the individuals at the party one by one. However, if they tag themselves, then all of their friends will be able to see them in that particular photo. Other than that, only your party will be able to see exactly what went on ‘the night before’.

Voila.

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Filed under Blog Quickies, Controversy...Ya Gotta Love It, Nightlife