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With the release of fashion designer Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure video game (Atari) this fall, digital graffiti will score some gigantor points. Interactive game play, player evolution from Toy to All City King, digital blackbooks, incredible fighting and weaponry. In short, the game promises to be a fun and insane experience.

Toy (short version) =a kid who buys his spray paint instead of stealing it, and talks a lot of isht. All City King=A graffiti master of styles as well as locations. You’re All City if your work is SEEN in all the boroughs. Black Books= a black book with sketches of potential graffiti pieces as well as collections of writers’ tags.

Rapper Talib Kweli provides the voice of the protagonist Trane while dozens of writers lend their fat caps and advice, encouraging and motivating dude as he tackles a corrupt government in a fictional city.

Fat Caps= spray paint caps that determine the size of the line sprayed by the artist.

To get the party started Ecko planned a huge block party in Chelsea, a few blocks from his Midtown NY headquarters. Along with some DJ’s, dozens of graffiti writers were scheduled to show up and participate in a demonstration that included painting on giant replicas of NYC subway cars. The permits were granted by the city since mid July but City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg had it revoked because they thought the event would encourage children to go out and vandalize. Vallone even wrote a letter to an Atari honcho to air his dissatisfaction, weeks after hiring Lady Pink, a graffiti writer who is in the game, to paint a mural. Can you spell hypocrisy kids? All together now: V-A-L-L-O-N-E!

For many NYer’s the Councilman walks a gray line between criminal and advocate. NY Newsday’s investigation of Vallone and his partners and business practices in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s seems to have disappeared down the collective memory hole of all NYers .

Vallone interests in children and crime is on par with his concern about subway safety and the NYC Transit Authority ever present financial crises that involves the inflation of rider fares every year. We wonder: Why isn’t Vallone or the Mayor speaking up about the funds the Federal Govt. allocated to the MTA to combat or prevent acts of terrorism? instead Maybe they are waiting for a co-branding of fare beating terrorist brown kids with backpacks of paint for them to start flapping their gums. Maybe we should get a stadium involved. They sure talk an awful lot about stadiums in Queens, Brooklyn and Mahattan.

Kids writing graffiti in NYC are a nil category of interest because most of the writers who destroy NYC with markers, paint or acid, wheatpaste, rollers and so on, are adult tourists from France or Germany. Further, the notion of graffiti leading children to crime is unproven. The only broken windows, (you know the theory: one broken window in a neighborhood leads to decay) in NYC are the eyes of kids who do not have a balanced meal yet recieve sub-par education and inadequate housing.

While cities like Amsterdam, London and Berlin encourage youth culture via music and art programs, these two oldsters with cash are suppressing it, creating a sterile retail environment of resentment, listlessness, migration and hostility. We can’t even dance in a bar without getting a ticket for heebie jeebies sake! And this is the city that never sleeps? The art capital of the world?

The thousands of teenagers who demolished NYC transit in the 70’s and 80’s are voters now. Their rage back then was unorganized. One of their admirers is Marc Ecko and he is suing the city for violation of his 1st Amendment rights. Lets see the city buff that.

Buff= a system in which graffiti is removed chemically from trains before they leave the yards.

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  • Eric Olsen

    fascinating stuff and love the lingo lesson – thanks Cacy!

  • At least in Manhattan, I rarely ever see graffiti anymore. I agree that an Ecko party in Chelsea would be harmless, but politicians have to cater to the uptight voters who like to blame video games for their poor parenting skills. So it goes.

  • Celia

    Cacy, you are so right!

    It’s absolutely idiotic for Vallone to focus so much energy on preventing legitimate artists from displaying and celebrating their craft. First off, he’s a hypocrite. Secondly, there are much bigger issues that he should concern his fragile little mind with. But it’s just a typical move from a predictably conservative and downright repressive government. While they talk about building stadiums, the joblessness rates continue to plague New Yorkers, most black and brown people in the Bronx and Brooklyn are living in subpar housing, and our kids are beign subjected to a seriously flawed public education system.

    And Vallone going public against Cope 2 and claiming that he’s going to charge Cope with harrassment is the biggest punk move ever. Yes, Cope did leave him phone messages where he expressed his anger. But, you know what? He has kids to feed and, by revoking the permit, Vallone took away an opportunity for Cope to make some good money. Wouldn’t anyone be upset? Maybe people with trust funds can’t understand that. But yo, I’m a mom and try as I might, I’m still in the working poor bracket. If someone tried to take away an opportunity for me to make some money in a perfectly legal form, I’d be beyond upset too.

    Anyone who backs Vallone up is an idiot — nowadays, everything from shower curtains to flatware are covered in tags and sold at hipster stores like Target and LES stores. Nobody makes a fuss when Nike releases the new limited edition sneaker featuring a graff artist. Nobody goes up in arms about the latest 12″ figure sold by Kid Robot which resembles a graff writer. But when there’s actually a graff writer who will be present, in the flesh, then it’s an issue? What is THAT?

    What irks me the most is that, to me, it’s also a racial issue because Zephyr and Ces and all these other white writers don’t seem to get any heat from politicians. They’re the ones who are always getting love from media outlets while the REAL writers like Cope, T-Kid, Kase 2, Min One and all the other legendary guys, get labeled as vandals or their contributions simply get ignored.

    Honestly, this is an outrage. And I hope they win this lawsuit. Not because I give a crap about MArc Ecko making more cash but because I hope the WRITERS get something out of it — at the very least, they’ll be vindicated.

  • Graffiti is art! Take a look at the old subway paintings that inspired the game and the event @149st NYC Graffiti History

  • Ms. T. sunset

    Ya made some good pointz, but I don’t tink it is a race issue. KEO, REVS, REAS and ESPO all been targeted by city government and police and last time I checked, they wus all white boyz.

  • ket

    This is all about politicians try to get airtime during an election year. They want to look tough on youth and crime but we all know that when they get into office they just want to give breaks to their boys and make their pockets grow.

  • ket

    it’s not a race issue. it’s a class issue. writing is a poor man’s art form. Anyway, you know that this is just an art event and there is no way to ever stop the impulse that humans have to express themselves publicly on a wall or not.

  • Officer Dribble

    It’s a DAMN good thing that they shut down that event! The had a REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER and CHILD MOLESTER scheduled to appear there- DURO. Was Marc Ecko planning to tell the publice about DURO’s past so as I can protect me children? Marc Ecko uniting perverts and children what would that game be rated?


  • travis bickle

    Duro in a kids game? Now that’s sick! He can hand out copies of the game instead of lollipops to his victims. He must be creaming in his pants (no pun intended). As for Celia, you made some stupid racist comments regarding Zeph and Ces. Last time I seen Min he was still white? And Zeph most surely put his time in on the One Line back in the days when heads of ANY color were scared to venture into the One Tunnels! So Zeph is most definetly REAL! Now Pink and Smith those two remain suspect…

  • reca67

    why is it ok to build memorials on 9/11 for kids to see the damage someone can do to innocent people?wouldnt showng the war and screaming terrorism allll day on the t,v news and news papers be giving children the messege that its cool to be a killer? but when kids wanna get creative or older people who still love grffiti cause it most likely kept them from becming drug dealers or PICKPOCKET THIEFS TO GET NOTICED IN in bad nieghborhoods its the worst thing that can happin/graffiti was a way to be able to be seen as DOWN in hi crime areas without having to hurt or rob someone to get a reputation,

  • I say fuck all those hater, for not seenin the art in graffiti, but thank all those kats who took graffiti to a next level and who still takin big ups..

  • munch

    no one tells me wat 2 do! old skool dont encourage da new generation cuz half of these new kids dont like old skool grafitti writers and now adays they dont, and wouldnt paint trains cuz das dat old shit. pure street bombing..be carefull they might etch ur car! big ups 2 da old skool kats dat did thei thing and to da new kats dats keepim it real….

  • CEO

    I am a white kid graffiti writer and hate hip-hop and rap music. I like micheal jackson and the beatles and write graffiti in new york city.

  • So the block party happened, and I went and took some pictures. And created a qt slide show (10.7 MB)
    If you’re interested in seeing what the fuss was about

  • KayLove

    The block party was HOT but with all that is being said here are my 2 cents worth: 1.Off coarse Mark Ecko is making $$ off a culture he copied, he was never really a graff writer, the original ECHO was from the BX but you must give him some props for trying to legitimize the art form. 2. Most of these taggers now a days, all toys to me have no concept of lettering style or color, they are all after the fame by bombing and throwing up the ugliest fill ins i have ever seen. They cannot be associated with kats like COPE2, T-Kid, Dondi, Pink, Smith, Bio, or even SKUF. You must respect the past and understand it in order for you to progress. If it was ok for Keith Haring to paint on walls why isn’t it ok for De La Vega or COPE2? Its a color and class issue….if your poor and talented your a VANDAL, if your rich and less talented, your a ARTIST!

  • kaze fmf

    bomb the system..

  • rykr 3MG (612)

    travis bickle…you know nothing of graffiti if you say smith and pink are suspect…pink is one of the best (if not THE best) female graff writers in the world…hands down. and KayLove i agree with what you’re saying about the whole kieth haring thing. the only part of it is that the people who control whats going on around us dont see that kind of art threatening. graffiti is threataning because its hard for most people to read and understand (and people are scared of what they dont understand), a lot of gang bangers use it to show “thier boundaries”, and they dont like the opressed to have an outlet that lets them feel free for a short amount of time. i write myself in mpls,mn. i have been taught by some of the 612 greats and know the history (back before new york and how they used it in politics and so forth). just as a little added note…one of the funnier things i heard about graff (from a guy who was in jail for a long time) is “why would you break into a building, paint all over the walls and then leave without stealing anything?”

  • shy kru

    KayLove staight up knows what they are talknig about. All the faggoty new writers have no respect for the old school. Bombing trains is where its at, i dont care what anyone says. it all started on the trains. these new rats are throwing up shitty ass handstyles and pathetic bombs, they need to keep it on the paper until they develop thier style, and can actually write.

  • O