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Photograph courtesy 5 Pointz5 Pointz Aerosol Arts Center
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Photograph courtesy 5 Pointz5 Pointz Aerosol Arts Center
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Photograph courtesy 5 Pointz5 Pointz Aerosol Arts Center
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5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC
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Photograph: David Rosenzweig5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC
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Photograph: David Rosenzweig5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC
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Photograph: David Rosenzweig5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC
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Photograph: Michael Kirby5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC
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Photograph: Jena Cumbo5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC
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5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC
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5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC
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5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC
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5 Pointz, one of the top ten spots to see street art and graffiti in NYC

"Celebrating 40 Years of Hip-Hop": 5 Pointz reopens for the season

Queens graffiti haven 5 Pointz celebrates hip-hop’s 40th anniversary all summer long.

By Kenny Herzog
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It’s been four decades since DJ Kool Herc’s Bronx block parties helped ignite a new genre of music and a global movement. From Saturday 4 through September 14, 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center (45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens; 317-219-2685, 5ptz.com) hosts “Summer 2013: Celebrating 40 Years of Hip-Hop,” a four-month tribute to both the graffiti hub’s decade in existence and the culture that inspires it. (As for the persistent rumors of its imminent date with a wrecking ball, 5 Pointz event planner Marie Flageul responds that they’re nothing new: “As of now we have not been told anything by the landlord nor is there an approved demolition, or date.”) Throughout the season, Bronx street-art crew Zimad TD4 will curate rotating gallery exhibits; influential first-generation DJ and producer Marley Marl will spin old-school house on Saturdays; and local MCs, including 5 Pointz’ resident beat-box instructor Grey Matter, will battle. Here are five free happenings we recommend tagging in your calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Street art and graffiti guide

5 Pointz reopening bash

Things to do

While onlookers can gawk at 5 Pointz’ art year-round, founder Jonathan Cohen (a.k.a. Meres One) and his fellow organizers put their hardest work into the summer programming, during which all but a few pieces rotate to make room for new work. The season kicks off with this annual party and gallery unveiling, featuring a performance by local hip-hop outfit Briefkase Boyz in addition to break dancing, audible treats from local favorite NYC Beatbox and live painting from German sprayer Semor.

The After Revolution at 5 Pointz

Things to do

The biennial World Nomads Festival—helmed by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)—highlights francophone nations that exemplify creative courage and vision. This year, the focus is on Tunisia, where street art is completely illegal; as part of the festival, FIAF sponsored a collaboration between Tunisian artists eL Seed and Jaye, and 5 Pointz regulars such as SinXero. They created classic calligraphy-style graffiti, murals and stencils at 5 Pointz, as well as in Bushwick and the Bronx. Watch a short documentary on the process, with a follow-up Q&A.

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Iz the Wiz dedication

Things to do

Partake in NYC graffiti history at this tribute to street-art legend Michael “Iz the Wiz” Martin, who died in 2009. A memorable character in Henry Chalfant’s 1983 documentary Style Wars, Iz was known for defining the classic NYC lettering style, and his work was ubiquitous on the city’s elevated subway lines in the late ’70s and ’80s. Each year since his death, painters and crews such as Rebel, NSA, Zimad TD4 and Demer have gathered at 5 Pointz to throw up pieces dedicated to this aesthetic pioneer.

Back to the Roots: Kool Herc at 5 Pointz

Things to do

DJ Kool Herc reputedly created hip-hop on August 10, 1973, at a rec-room party on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx; he devised a new sound by using two turntables to lengthen soul, funk and disco breaks. That mythical night is why many music historians recognize August as the genre’s anniversary month, and on its 40th birthday, who better to spin records than the normally reclusive Herc himself? As part of its own season-long homage to the genre, SummerStage will cosponsor this must-attend party and painting showcase, where Herc’s soundtrack should inspire some epic designs from a roster of as-yet-unnamed artists.

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To the Pointz B-boy battle

Things to do

This annual season closer historically doubles as a celebration of 5 Pointz’s continued survival amid frequent rumors of the warehouse’s demolition—and the festivities have occasionally continued well past the official 8pm end time. In previous years some of the city’s most renowned breaking crews have hit the pavement, including Dynamic Rockers, Supreme Beings, 5 Crew Dynasty and Step Fenz, and 2013 attendees should expect a similarly riveting send-off.

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