Buena Vista Social Club - Out Of Retirement

The Buena Vista Social Club holds a huge piece of my heart! I feel it is my duty to pass along the goods to those of you who may not have had a chance to embrace the passionate, moving, golden age of Cuban music. *BVSC is just what it was too, a club. A club for members only, consisting of talented young musicians who enjoyed drinking rum & coffee in the afternoon, playing cards, smoking the finest cigars...just sharing a camaraderie of social interests. These men were also making little money hosting dances at their clubs. The communistic uprising during the Cuban Revolution in 1959 seen these clubs as rebellious, even hedonistic in nature. All the clubs were shut down, causing a steep unemployment rate among thriving musicians, thus causing the fall of a great era in music.

The music carried on through the heart of the people, and 50 years later *BVSC was resurrected. The gentlemen most poplular, Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Cachaitio Lopez, (plus others), and one lovely lady Omara Portuondo began touring and became well recognized internationally. In 1997 the self named documentary was released which gave fans a visual tour inside the lives of these passionate people. The documentary is gritty, yet beautiful and moving. I play it for all my guests when they come over while I cook, and we together enjoy our own little club of camaraderie.

One of my favorite slow jams from *BVSC majors, Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps. They sing with so much soul.

This is a great one too! "Chan Chan". With lyrics like "I can not deny the affection I have for you", you will want to listen to this one with a little sugar by your side.

Omara Portuondo the lovely cubana songstress is still performing. Follow her Gracias tour here @ Omara Portuondo


Just So You Know...

Although Gritty Velvet will showcase many fashions that we all would like to have, these are just possessions and really mean nothing. So just keep in mind that you make the dress you are wearing, it does not make you. It really doesn't matter where you got it from, nor how much you spent on it, if you wear it well than that is where the true art of style comes in. With that said, take risks, think outside of the box, dare to be different! Fashion to me is an art form, a way of expressing your creativity! Coco said it best "“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

Leggings gone wild...

So unconventional & screaming with flavor! These beauties are screen-printed by hand and come in limited quantities so hurry up and get them while they last @ Les Queues de Sardines

Lego's the most ingenious toy in the world!

The colors alone caught my attention on this + the amazing coat (minus the hideous fur) = WIN! Perfect attire for SIA attendees.

Get your own @ JC de Castelbajac


Denver...Shoe Shine Winter Has Arrived & Is Out Of This World!

In two days over 20,000 people from all over will be dancing through the streets of Denver! That's right SIA Snowboard Trade Show has come home to Denver! - The highlight of SIA will most definitely be the Shoe Shine Winter 4.0 party at  Andenken Gallery located at 2990 Larimer Street. Shoe Shine Winter is brought to you on behalf of Pulse Arts Creative Founders, Lily Marsh "FireLily", DJ Musa Bailey, & Ramu Bailey in conjunction with Raul Pinto (Satellite/Installation), & Jen Nordhem (Production Consultant). The theme this year is "Outer Space", and will feature a visually out of this world display of Nike ZF-1 snowboard boots, all uniquely designed by some of Colorado's top artists such as, Filthe (my fave), Marz, Jher451, Karma Leigh, John Strieby & many more! This is just the tip of the iceberg! Brooklyn's finest DJ-MC- Jasmine Solano will be in the house! Jasmine has opened for Nas, The Roots, Common, to name a few and is working on a new single with The Cool Kids! Denver's own reigning DJ Musa will be spinnin' up the goodies too! Musa recently opened for Method Man & Redman at The Monolith Festival. Word just arrived that DJs Ietef, Gyp, Bitwise and Peter Black will be bringing the freshness too! So get your tix now, $7 Pre Sale @ Brown Paper Tickets, or $10 @ the door (trust they will be sold out!) Stay tuned for the after party exclusive interviews here at Gritty Velvet!!! - All photos courtesy of Firelily


No Idea's Original, There's Nothin' New Under The Sun

Yes Jay Z and Alicia Keys did a great job on the commercialized song Empire State of Mind; but we cannot forget that at only 19 years old, Nas released the gritty N.Y. York State of Mind on the Illmatic Album. This song had no cameo, no hype, no bs, it was direct and came correct. Nas was asked to do a cameo on Jay Z's version, but had to decline due to personal issues. Oh well, the classic remains and Nas lyrics ring true..."No idea's original, there's nothing new under the sun, It's never what you do, but how it's done."

On another Nas note, Damian Marley & Nas have been busy bees in the honey comb hideout, making some seriously sweet music. Their new LP Distant Relatives is set to drop on April 20, 2010.


Sunday Evening Chill Session

Ending the weekend with The XX and painting shades! Take a listen & chill.

The xx "Basic Space" from Jean Hürxkens on Vimeo.


Goodwill Hunting

As far back as I can remember my Dad used to say "Take really good care of your belongings, they may be really valuable one day." Well a day late and a dollar short, I finally understand the statement "Father knows best." If you haven't noticed by now, people are paying top dollar for vintage threads, thus the mass conception of chic boutiques on every artsy corner, and even more so on-line shopping forums. This should come as no surprise as these retro finds were well constructed, and had mad flavor. I must admit that I am apart of this hype; however I can not afford to drop $1,800 for an Avant-Garde YSL piece. Would you like an alternate affordable option? If so then please read on.

Set aside a Sunday, bring along your ipod/mp3 for some musical motivation, & get your *Goodwill hunting on. Goodwill aka, Segunda, Arc, DAV, Swap meet, etc. Now it may be a bit overwhelming and smell a little funky, but just remember nothing good comes easy.

Here is a helpful list of 5 Denver area thrift stores:

Clockwise from top left: 1970's Avant-Garde YSL dress, 1980's Dubliner abstract wool cape - both found at Nasty Girl Vintage. Both Menswear pieces found at Italian fashion powerhouse Ermenegildo Zegna



The Last Of A Living Breed...The Goodie Mob Marches On.

It has been 10...10 long years since the last time I saw Goodie Mob, and it was well worth the wait; they played all the good cuts too, like "Cell Therapy", "They Don't Dance No Mo", & "Soul Food". Last time was up at the Fox Theater in Boulder, I was growing a little seed at the time, and I would like to think Cee-Lo had a little something to do with how amazing my little girl now is; he rubbed my belly and it was as if he sprinkled a little blessing on her.  Yes, I know he is not an ordained minister, but the son of two preacher rents, so you know he has it in his bones, naturally. I needed last night as much as I need water everyday. The Dungeon Family is still strong despite what others may say. I don't think I danced so much in my life, it felt almost as if I had not breathed for a long time. YES Goodie Mob is this good, they are a breath of fresh air. If you don't know who they are, now is your chance to get caught up, I suggest starting with the (1995) Classic Album "Soul Food", you can thank me later.

Here is a little breakdown via Cee-Lo as to why this reunion is so needed now: "The reunion was inevitable,"said Cee-Lo. "The void in today's music and marketplace ironically has become the very place prepared for us. There's a need and a want for what we do and represent as The Mob. Consider the tour a order if you will. The last of a living breed, the Goodie Mob marches on."

Here is my personal favorite member, Big Gipp giving us a glimpse into the world of Goodie Mob. (By the sick is his coat?)

Here is a great photo of Big Gipp from last night holding a supreme piece of art made by Denver's own Dunn The Street Sign Artist aka The Signtologist. Photo courtesy of Dunn The Signtologist


Winds Of Change Are Blowing Your Way...

In two days it will be Legendary Soul Stirrer Mr. Sam Cooke's Birthday (Happy early Birthday), and I want to take a moment to say "Thank you, Sir." His music reflected a lot of pain he repressed, and had to express; in return he helped bring awareness to a change that was definitely needed during the Civil Rights Movement. I commend anyone that can speak up on an issue they feel needs to be addressed. There is nothing worse than being emotionally held hostage by unspoken words. Speak your mind, free your mind!


Make A Statement Without Saying A Word

What better way to accessorize than with sunglasses? They can accentuate or conceal your identity in the most stylish way. Check out the zipped up, tricked out ones! These sunglasses are now available online at Her Favorite Eyewear Also, stay tuned because Gritty Velvet is on the come up with some amazing sun blockers that will knock your block off! Not really block, but you get it!

The Outerwear Business Is Warming Up...

Ok so I slept on this is sold out! A classic 1950's vintage wool leather jacket emblazoned with a chic chenille music patch!

Although sold out, you can still find plenty amazing threads at Nasty Gal Vintage

The Hundreds got the time honored style just right with this light-weight twill outer, satin lined, and chenille patch - jacket "The Dodge", below. Get your own at The Hundreds


We All Fall Short

This video is beautiful, not in the sense of the surface but in what lies beneath. This man may be a little down on his luck, but he is rich in heart. Everyone out there is facing some type of battle, and we all fall short, so be a little more kind today, make someone smile today. Wait a minute to the end to hear one of the sickest subtle beats ever. Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Downtown ATL Nightlife from HENDERWORKS on Vimeo.

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words


 Manuel Alvarez Bravo, London 1980
Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1902-2002) started a movement of photography that is unseen today! Most famous for his Post-Revolutionary picture "Obrero en huelga, asesinado", striking worker assassinated. He also documented the work of Diego Rivera, which whom also befriended and encouraged Manuel. Although not classified as a Surrealist, he definitely played a monumental role in 19th Century Surrealism Mexican art. Find more of his work at New York Museum of Modern Art

The Beatles over a Dre beat...Sky Ferreira makes it happen

There is nothing I love more than finding subliminal messages in songs. Happiness is a warm gun, the song which was written by John Lennon back in the 60's had much controversy as to what or whom he was actually referring to. Some say it was the feeling of just shooting someone, others say it was Lennon's intimate desire for Yoko Ono, then there was the speculation that he was speaking of his liking for heroin, hence the gun being a loaded syringe. Who really knows? All I can say is 17 year old Sky Ferreira's mash up over one of Dre's sickest beats was done proper. Be on the lookout for more hype music from this LA looker. Enjoy...

The Creation Of Gritty Velvet

Gritty: Determined - Hard hitting - Brave - This is the Yin of life, the darkness.

Velvet: Smooth - A profit gained - Concealing strength with caution - This is the Yang of life, the light. 

My cake is dough...Always rising: The first part is originally from Shakespeare's play "Taming of the Shrew" meaning I have failed, but I am still here learning; the second part I added in because that is me, the dough which will always rise. One tid bit about me is I have a strong hankering for poetry, in which you will see conveyed through out this blog. I like to find the deeper meaning of everything and share my formula through art, fashion, musica, & photography. Thank you for checking out Gritty Velvet; where you have your cake and eat it too!