Edson "House" Magana is probably going to rack up a lot of miles on his ride next month. A lot. That's because the local b-boy and co-founder of the Furious Styles Crew will be taking many trips to Sky Harbor Airport to pick up the various graf-heads, DJs, and other members of the worldwide urban arts and hip-hop cultural collective that will travel to the Valley for the group's 20th anniversary in early November.
Magana says the crew has more than 80 different members, including dancers, grafitti writers, turntablists, and emcees. Many are scattered across the globe and will be Arizona-bound for what he promises will be a big celebration in honor of an important milestone for Furious Styles, which was founded in 1993.
"We have people coming from all across the country, all across the world. There are members of the crew from Japan, from Australia, and Germany that are like family and they're all coming for it," Magana says.
And they'll all be participating in a five-day mix of b-boys, graf art, DJs, and hip-hop culture kings that will go down from Tuesday, November 5, to Sunday, November 10, at venues in Phoenix and Tempe.
Magana, who co-owns Cyphers: The Center for Urban Arts in North Phoenix, is also planning to have Furious Styles' local and visiting artists sling paint onto walls across the Valley throughout the week as he's setting up locations where they will create several outdoor murals.
"They'll paint at Cyphers for sure, but then we're going to schedule walls around the city so they can paint all week long," he says.
Furious Styles, which is Phoenix's longest-running b-boy and urban arts crews, will also hold plenty of activities taking place indoors during its anniversary week, including dance competitions, DJ gigs, and art battles.
Although the anniversary week is one of the grandest events every year in the local hip-hop scene, Magana admits that its organizers have had some financial shortfalls over the past year. As such, the crew has set up a Kickstarter to help fund all the different events that they have planned.
And believe us, they've planned a lot.
The anniversary week gets going on Tuesday, November 5, at the weekly 602uesdays party at Bikini Lounge, which will feature a guest DJ that will tag-team the decks along with Djentrification, the night's resident. And despite the dive bar's often-cramped milieu, there will be a cypher (a hip-hop term referring to the circle of people that forms around a dancer, emcee, or other artist performing) taking place.
"This year we'll have people coming into town as early as Monday," Magana says. "And the type of music they play at [602uesdays] is a lot of old-school funk and stuff, so it kind of fits the profile."
The celebration continues two nights later on Thursday, November 7, during the weekly Blunt Club session at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, owing to the fact that the popular hip-hop night's promoter Dumperfoo and its resident selector Pickster One are both longtime members of Furious Styles. More guest DJs and various artists doing live demonstrations of their work will be showcased.
"We've been going to Blunt Club since its beginnings and there's lot of Furious Styles members that are directly involved with it," Magana says. "We want to make our anniversaries feel like a celebration of hip-hop for all of Arizona, so we try to include everybody."
The following evening will feature a visit by Cypher Adikts, the Los Angeles-based touring b-boy session that Magana says is focused more on dancing as opposed to battling.
"There's no competition, there's no judges. It's three straight hours of music and dancing that just brings back that raw essence of hip-hop or going to a party to dance without having to have a contest or prizes or anything like that," Magana says. "It's an event for dancers, period. There aren't going to be any interruptions in the music, compared to when we do a dance battle."
The event, which will have a $5 admission, is scheduled to take place at Cyphers: The Center for Urban Arts and will serve as a prelude to the main event of the Furious Styles anniversary weekend on Saturday, November 9, and Sunday, November 10, at the Monarch Theater.
Both floors of the downtown Phoenix venue will taken over by two days of competitions between different crews and individuals that involve various b-boys, poppers, lockers, and practitioners of fancy footwork. The preliminaries in each category will happen on Saturday and the semi-final and final rounds scheduled for Sunday. Turntable scratch battles and a "Beat Swap Meet" featuring vinyl vendors are also planned for Saturday.
"There's going to a lot of vinyl records sold mostly at the Beat Swap meet, but also people who bring out vintage stuff like cassettes and artists creating things out of vinyl," Magana says.
And then there's the infamous Furious Styles after-party on Saturday night at a nearby club, which sees everyone involved with the anniversary weekend celebrating long into the night. It's often a packed affair that's attended by a huge number of people from the local hip-hop culture scene, even those who aren't affiliated with the crew, which Magana says illustrates the all-inclusive spirit of the anniversary.
"The whole week is going to be a huge reunion," Magana says. "We're going to get any major DJ and any major artist and dancer that's been around Arizona the past two decades to be involved, but also people that have been a part of Furious Style and have helped build the hip-hop and graf community in Arizona."
The Furious Style Crew's 20th anniversary takes place from Tuesday, November 5, to Sunday, November 10.
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