Where They At: Bounce & Hip-Hop in Words and Pictures

Posted by emynd on | March 1, 2010 | No Comments

For Immediate Release
March 1, 2010

WHERE THEY AT: New Orleans Bounce and Hip-Hop in Words and Pictures

Documenting the Latest Indigenous Musical Genre to Arise from the Streets of New Orleans

A Collaboration between Aubrey Edwards and Alison Fensterstock

April 22 –August 1, 2010 at Ogden Museum of Southern Art

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans is proud to announce Where They At: New Orleans Bounce and Hip-Hop in Words and Pictures. This exhibition celebrates the founders, architects, and players in New Orleans hip-hop and the uniquely regional rap known as bounce music, a phenomenon that evolved from the city’s housing projects. Photographs, oral histories, and video footage compiled by photographer Aubrey Edwards and journalist Alison Fensterstock document the passing of seminal beats from New Orleans music traditions to a new generation in the late 1980s to create this new voice in Southern roots music. This multi-media exhibition draws a line to the present-day New Orleans diaspora, as Hurricane Katrina has scattered a once tight-knit bounce and hip-hop community whose music only existed at home — a home that has been redefined physically and culturally. Where They At will also be exhibited during SXSW in Austin, Texas, and the full archive opens in New Orleans at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art (925 Camp St., New Orleans), where numerous events spanning several months are planned. There will also be a smaller exhibition of the show at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, opening April 23, which will be on view through the festival.

Opening April 22, 2010, the exhibition features photographs taken by Aubrey Edwards and Polo Silk of bounce performers, including Juvenile, DJ Jimi and Katey Red, and of landscapes where bounce performers grew up, lived and performed. Audio-visual stations offer footage of live performances and oral history recordings by members and tradition bearers of the bounce community. Ephemera, such as LPs, tapes and posters document the material culture and its adaptations over time. A full online cultural archive will be launched in conjunction with the exhibition, serving as the only resource of its kind in hip-hop research.

New Orleans is the source for many forms of indigenous American music, including funk and the street music of Second Line bands and Mardi Gras Indians. Bounce is the newest manifestation of that Southern tradition. Mardi Gras Indian chants, brass band beats and call-and-response routines equally inform bounce music, which almost invariably samples the Showboys’ “Drag Rap” (a.k.a. “Triggerman”) and Derek B’s “Rock the Beat” or Cameron Paul’s “Brown Beats.” Featuring lyrical patterns that focus mainly on sex, parties and dancing, it invites – even demands – audience participation by calling out dance steps or prompting replies.

In the ‘90s heyday of New Orleans hip-hop, female rappers like Mia X, Ms Tee, Magnolia Shorty and Cheeky Blakk appeared in significant number with songs that were just as bawdy and aggressive as their male counterparts. Often, their tracks served as answer songs that challenged male MC’s sexism in a way that created playfully ribald conversation, such as Silky Slimm’s “Sista Sista” or Mia X’s “Da Payback.”

The prominence of queer members of the bounce community, such as such as Big Freedia, Sissy Nobby, and Vockah Redu, defies the myth of insurmountable homophobia within hip-hop culture, and speaks to a curious tradition in African-American entertainment in New Orleans, which has accepted and celebrated queer and cross-dressing entertainers for over half a century. Katey Red, a “Sissy,” was signed to the prominent bounce record label Take Fo’.

Where They At is the title of a song generally recognized as the first bounce release, recorded by DJ Jimi Payton in 1992 for producer Isaac Bolden’s Avenue Records. (The song was recorded earlier the same year as a homemade cassette-only release by rapper T.T. Tucker, with the late DJ Irv.) To all accounts, these recordings marked the point in time at which New Orleans rap found its own voice in the raw, celebratory, infectious block-party sound that would go on to influence artists at the top of the game. The chants Jimi originated on that track, “Do it, baby, stick it” and “Shake that ass like a salt shaker” are still quoted by bounce artists and DJing parties today, and Jimi famously used his mother and grandmother as backup dancers.

About the Exhibition Collaborators:
Alison Fensterstock is a New Orleans-based music journalist. From 2006-2009, she wrote an award-winning music column for the city’s alt-weekly, The Gambit. Her writing on roots music and New Orleans rap has appeared in MOJO, Vibe, Q, Paste, Spin and the Oxford American Music Issue. Recently, she wrote the text for “Unsung Heroes: The Secret History of Louisiana Rock n’ Roll,” an exhibit currently on view at the Louisiana State Museum. She is the programming director for the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation. Her Gambit cover story on gay and transgendered bounce artists in New Orleans, “Sissy Strut,” was selected for an honorable mention in Da Capo Press’s Best Music Writing 2009.

Aubrey Edwards is a New Orleans- and Brooklyn-based music photographer and educator. Edwards was the primary music photographer for the alt-weekly Austin Chronicle from 2004-2008; her present client list includes the United Nations, Magnolia Pictures, Playboy, SPIN and Comedy Central. She teaches photography and videography in Brooklyn schools, as well as with continuing adult education. Her recent work in New Orleans includes guest lecturing with the University of New Orleans photo department and conducting workshops with the New Orleans Kid Camera Project.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans is home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world, and includes the Center for Southern Craft and Design. Here you will find the story of the South—the old as well as the new, as told through its art, music and education programs. The museum includes Stephen Goldring Hall, which opened in 2003, and two buildings under construction and renovation: the Clementine Hunter Education Wing and the Patrick F. Taylor Library, designed by American 19th-century architect, Henry Hobson Richardson. Among the many artists represented in the museum’s collection are Benny Andrews, William Dunlap, Ida Kohlmeyer, Will Henry Stevens, Kendall Shaw and George Ohr.
Museum hours are 10 am-5 pm Wednesday through Sunday and 6 pm-8 pm Thursday evenings for Ogden After Hours. For more information, call 504.539.9600, or go to www.ogdenmuseum.org.

Upcoming Where They At Events:
March 16-21, 2010: South by Southwest event: Day Party/Closing party at the Birdhouse Gallery, 1304 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, Texas

Tues. April 20, 2010: Screening of “Ya Heard Me,” a documentary about bounce. Filmmakers will also be in attendance for a discussion after the film screening. Event starts at 6 p.m. at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St, New Orleans, La.,

Thurs. April 22, 2010: Where They At exhibition opening and Special bounce music show featuring DJ Jubilee, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., New Orleans, La.

Fri. April 23, 2010: Partial exhibition opening on the grounds of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in the Grandstand.

Ongoing programming at the Ogden Museum, including performances, live interviews and screenings will continue through July 2010.

This exhibition has been partially funded by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Helis Foundation.

PRESS CONTACTS:
Heather West
Western Publicity
773.301.5767
westernpublicity@gmail.com

?Sue Strachan
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
504.539.9613
sstrachan@ogdenmuseum.org

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