The Story of Us.

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The story I want to tell is one that is asked of me all the time; mostly when people meet me and my wife for the first time. It is often asked with a palpable note of incredulity. If you’ve never seen us, my wife and I, at first glance, make for an odd visual. And that is solely because of me. To say that I married way out of my league is no small understatement. And people are often baffled at first sight of us together. I am short, roundish (fat); been bald since my early-thirties. Glasses. Big fucking Italian nose. Definitely not matinee idol material here, folks. My wife, on the other hand, is tall, slender, absolutely fucking gorgeous. She looks like she doesn’t even belong in this world. And, standing next to me, well…. The word “incongruent” comes to mind…

In the arena of personality, most people think we couldn’t be more polar opposite. I’m a fucking arrogant loudmouth with a penchant for obscenity and the most inappropriate humor. She is quiet, calm, cool and gracious. Deeper than that, we meld on levels of perverse logical that is unique to us and that I couldn’t explain to you even if it weren’t privileged information. Suffice to say that we are more alike than anyone who knows us would ever guess.

There is quite a charming story as to how we met; how we got together, and as the calendar tells me we are approaching our 14th year together, I would like to tell you that story. Because it’s nice. And heartwarming. Like kittens and puppies and rainbows and all that other happy shit.

Whoever said stalking was a creepy thing that only ends badly with fire and restraining orders and usually a corpse or two didn’t know the value of persistence. Yeah, I stalked her when I first saw her; stalked the shit out of her for almost a full year. That was somewhere around the summer of 1993. I was 21; svelte and had a full head of glorious hair and just thought I knew everything about everything. I was armed with a backpack, a newly-broken heart (I was still trying to recover from that world-crushing destruction that comes when your first “real” love stomps out your soul by having drunken, sloppy, dorm-room sex with some douchebag frat guy named Rob… FUCKING BITCH!!!!) And batches of bad, bad poetry. Yeah, I was that dude.

Anyway, I would spend a lot of time as a third wheel with a good friend of mine and his new lady-friend as they were discovering their own new love. I bitterly resented them and their stupid happiness, of course, but it was OK. We would frequent a certain Irish dive bar that is well-known in Philadelphia for its cheap drinks and cheaper random hookups. I would try like crazy to get laid; to fuck her out of my memory (ahhhh…the revenge fuck. Nothing better) but the cloud of abject desperation I projected kept me well protected from any amorous advances. There is no better chastity-inducing, female-repelling cologne than utter defeatism. So I would sit with the happy couple, espouse my pronouncements on the futility and failure of the happiness quest, and drink cheap liquor.

And then, one Friday night, I saw her. Wow. I had been hit by Michael Corleone’s thunderbolt. I’ll spare you the over-prose of the ode to her rapturous beauty, but man… she was it. This may be poetic hindsight, but I’m pretty sure I said to my friends; “I’m gonna’ marry that girl.” Not that I even believed it at the time, but I wanted to say something that sounded like I was in a movie. Of course they urged me to go talk to her. That was a fucking joke. I was neither drunk nor stupid enough to initiate some sort of conversation with her. I just sat and watched her like a true psycho. By the time last call came, I decided that if I ever saw her again it was meant to be. And if I never saw her again then hopefully I would quickly forget her. I gathered my pitiful self, backpack and all (who the fuck brings a backpack to a bar?) and went back to my parents’ nice suburban home.

The next Friday night was the same routine. Back to the bar, third wheel in place, but this time I was drinking like a maniac. She came in. Good old liquid courage; I knew I was going to speak to her that night. Fuck it. At one point, feeling pretty well-lit, I stepped outside for a breath of fresh, Center City air. And there she was, just standing on the sidewalk like she was some mere mortal and not the most beautiful vision of gorgeousness and gorgeosity that the universe ever created. And I couldn’t think of a single fucking thing to say. I looked at her, she was wavering. I’m pretty sure she was as drunk as I. Fuck it. I stepped in and laid my smoothest rap on her:

“Uh… hi.” Yeah, I was good, baby. Real smooth. Commence the swooning.

She looked at me like I was some kind of insect. Not having an ounce of self-confidence (or self-respect, for that matter) I just started gushing. I told her she was beautiful. I told her I had spent every day since I’d first seen her writing poems to and about her. Yep. I went that route. Fucking embarrassing. I think she was slightly amused. Slightly. She smiled indulgently, she may have even thanked me, and we both went back to our respective drinking.

Another week went by. I geared up for the following Friday night. In full stalk-mode. I didn’t care if I got to speak to her; I would be content to just watch her. But I must have been planning something, because I stuffed my stupid backpack with stacks of coffee-stained papers. Yep, the poems… And I did see her that Friday night, right on schedule. I followed her outside and told her that I didn’t want her to think that the poem thing was just some empty, cheesy pick-up attempt (of course it was) and I handed her a riotous stack of unkempt, overly-florid words that didn’t rhyme and told her they belonged to her. (It makes me nauseous just remembering it). I quickly turned to leave and she stopped me. She was so drunk, I almost had a shot. She asked my name. I told her. Then it got even more awkward. Silence. I asked her name. She told me. OK, now what? I had no idea what to do or say (man, I was fucking smooooooooth). I asked her if maybe I could call her sometime. And, she said to me (with a straight face):

“I don’t have a phone.”

Now, I’m no stranger to polite rejection, so I know very well what “I don’t have a phone” means. I’ve been turned down by the best of them I once met a really hot girl who worked at one of those fancy hair salons where I went and got 5 haircuts in like a 3-week span before I finally realized that she was just trying to get new clientele. Again: I know rejection when I sees it. So, when my future-wife gave me the “I don’t have a phone” rap, I knew where I stood. It was cool, though: I was happy just spending every Friday night watching her from afar, and I was prepared to make that the rest of my life.

Well, life moves on in unforgiving ways, and when I returned to the bar the following Friday there was no sign of her. I lasted well beyond last call, my eyes glued to the door, waiting for her entrance. Nothing. No sign of her. Her friends were there. She was nowhere to be seen. I was crushed. The same thing next week: no sign of her. I would hear rumors during the week. Some of my friends, who had become attuned to my obsession, would torture me with tales of spotting her. On South Street, at Dirty Frank’s… they would see her all over the city and report to me, almost delighting in my discomfiture. It was horrible.

I never saw her in that bar again.

4 years went by. I’d like to say that I spent every waking moment of those 4 years thinking about her, but we all know that ain’t true. Eventually I came out of my misery and had a good run. Mid-20s and I was living the life. I lived and worked on South Street. I was a coffee-guy, working in a little shop off of 2nd Street. I had an apartment right above the coffeeshop. I was out every night; single, still svelte, still with a full head of gorgeous hair, banging everything in sight. I’d work nights at the shop, then rage until dawn, then pass out in a fitful haze. Drugs, booze, loose women, dangerous nights… it was a beautiful time. I would stumble out of bed usually around noon and wander down to the shop for a cup and a perusal of the Daily News. Back then you could still smoke indoors and I always took the last table at the back of the shop and chain-smoke Marlboros while I caffeinated. I was (and still am) a miserable morning person and most folks knew to leave me alone while I read, smoked and coffee-ed. One day, I noticed a woman sitting in my usual spot. I was pissed, but said nothing, and took the only other smoking-section table in the back. She was reading and had headphones on. I barely noticed her, more concerned about the sports page than I was in any human being. After a time, she removed her headphones and I could feel her looking at me. Oh, Christ, what now? I thought. She turns and says; “excuse me, I know this sounds stupid, but I think I know you.”

In my bleary, miserable morning-mode, I was offended. How dare this woman interrupt my coffeeand? How DARE she? Did she not know that I was Coffesehop Dude; the God of South Street. How could she not know that I banged girls two at a time and ran with the hippest crowd and was on my way to becoming a famous writer/music mogul? HOW DARE SHE INTERRUPT MY SOLITUDE? I turned to her with something just short of contempt and told her “um, NO, you don’t know me,” and went back to my paper. HA! That’ll learn her…

Well, it wasn’t until maybe 45 minutes later that my stupid, stupid brain cleared and I was hit with the realization of just who she was. It was HER. And I had just fucking dismissed her like a total jackass. Well done, sir. Well done indeed. My stupidity was Costanzian in its epic-ness. I ran out the door and spent the next 3 hours walking up and down South Street, hoping against hope that I could find her again and profusely apologize. Nothing. Again, she was gone, and this time I was certain it was forever. I had my shot, and not only had I royally blown it, I did so with an arrogance that was stunning. Even for me.

And so I was left, in all my ineptitude, to ponder fate, chance, karma and all that mystical bullshit in which I really don’t believe. I was still living it up, but something was missing. I felt like an asshole. As summer turned eventually to winter I was still king of the coffeeshop and one Tuesday night I was schlepping milkfroth when in walked this couple. A tall Italian Vinnie-looking dude straight out of South Philly and an attractive woman. They were both laughing. I was barely paying attention when Vinnie or Paulie or whatever the fuck his name was, gave me his order. He was still smiling and I kind of looked at him questioningly. “Yo, my crazy friend here thinks she knows you, but she’s too embarrassed to say anything,” he said. “I don’t think so, man,” I had started to say, when all the triumphs of revelation and enlightenment struck me in a symphonic bolt of jarring clarity. There she stood; a dreadlocked vision of smiling dark eyes and secret summer sonnets. A muse, an obsession… she was right before me. Five years after I had first spied her in a dank pit of booze; she was real.

We talked. After half a decade we finally talked. She told me about her life. It was beautiful; an adventure that was rich with detail. She had lived; had traveled the land and found herself in all sorts of unbelievable situations. She was a roamer; a gypsy who had run across the country several times in search of meaning. I loved her for every hair-raising adventure she encountered. There was the tale of being on the bum in Texas; of a car loaded with guns and weed and dogs and a stopover in what turned out to be some kind of half-assed cult. She talked of California; of its solemn beauty of beaches and camping. She spoke of highways both less and more traveled and sleeping under skies whose expanses were vast and humbling. And I loved her life. She still claimed, even after all these years, that when she had told me of having no phone she had been speaking the truth (a claim she still holds to be true to this day, though you and I both know it’s bullshit). We laugh about it now.

I asked to see her, and we agreed to meet on the following Saturday afternoon. She would come back to the coffeeshop. I had never been more excited in my life and I somehow lived through that long, long week. Saturday came and I spent the morning having breakfast at a diner with an old friend; I was killing time until the afternoon came and I could meet her. My friend, the cynical prick that he was (and still is, god love him) was so sick of hearing me gush about her. When we went back to the coffeeshop she was there, waiting at the same back table she had occupied six months before. And I was such a pussy, I was afraid to go in and see her. It wasn’t until my friend physically pushed me in the door that I went up to her and sat down. What began that afternoon was a dialogue that has lasted 20 years now. At the time she was staying with a friend. In fact, she was only in Philly visiting and was due to leave in a few days. I was dismayed. We did the whole stay up until the sun rose having deep, meaningful conversation. Every cliché you can think of: I lived it in that night. I was so distraught at the thought of her leaving that I asked her to move in with me. It took about three days, but she decided to take the plunge.

We haven’t been apart since.

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DiWulf Publishing Announces "Hard Times" Anthology for 2019

DiWulf Publishing House has made its primary mission to document and celebrate subculture in its many forms. One of the most important facets of the punk and hardcore DIY scene has always been the proliferation of the fanzine. In fact, the ‘zine represents the ultimate expression of true independent publishing, one of the founding principles for us here at DiWulf. In a time when no established, “respectable” publications would cover underground scenes, the fanzine was there to broadcast and inform and, most importantly, to inspire. It was the most important part of underground music in terms of communication and information and it was a very powerful tool for kids who would otherwise be voiceless. It can not be overstated how important ‘zine culture is and was to the underground movement, and it is something that is very close to our hearts, and, naturally, we wanted to represent what a huge influence ‘zines were to us both personally and as authors and publishers.

The issue that never was: Hard Times Issue 8, featuring John Stabb, was never printed

And now DiWulf presents its own ode to ‘zine culture: a retrospective anthology of the seminal NY/NJ/PA ‘zine Hard Times. Tentatively scheduled for an early-2019 release, the as-yet-untitled anthology will contain all seven issues that were published, as well as the long-lost and never-published eighth issue, which featured Government Issue frontman John Stabb on the cover. Included in the book will be all original interviews along with record, ‘zine, and show reviews, scene reports, political commentary, and some really great photography from Hard Times creator and publisher Ron Gregorio. Hard Times was a glossy black and white printed ‘zine that ran from 1984-1985 and covered some of the biggest names in punk and hardcore history.

Hard Times was also a starting point for DiWulf Publishing House co-founder and author of No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the legendary City Gardens Amy Yates Wuelfing. Amy’s presence is featured throughout Hard Times’ life span and her interviews and reviews are a creatively intimate look into her young career as a writer and historian. While the Hard Times anthology will surely spark waves of nostalgia for any east coast punk from the ‘80s, it will also serve as a reminder of the exuberance of youth and a cultural barometer for what was happening in ’84 and ’85.

Included in the features are several interviews with punk and hardcore luminaries like Samhain, Cause For Alarm, Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye, Butthole Surfers, U.K. Subs, Flipper, The Meatmen, John Lydon, Circle Jerks, The Replacements, and many more.

We will be bringing you all the information as this project moves forward right here on our website, as well as all release date and pre-sale information as it becomes available. We also have a few cool surprises we are working on to go with the book and may even have a few old, original issues of Hard Times stashed away in the DiWulf basement…

The Husker Du lads enjoying a fine issue of Hard Times backstage at City Gardens. Photo by Ron Gregorio

We cannot express how excited we are about this book; it is a true labor of love, and it will be something that will add just another small piece to the rich history of the punk and hardcore subculture.

Hold My Coat? Not in Philly: The True Story of a Female Punk Pioneer Set for Release by DiWulf Publishing House

Teacher, author, and punk rock promoter Nancy Barile

Teacher, author, and punk rock promoter Nancy Barile

Finally, Philly punk rock gets its due. DiWulf Publishing House is very excited to announce a new book from punk rock teacher and Philadelphia promoter Nancy Barile. 

Hold My Coat? Not in Philly: The True Story of a Female Punk Pioneer from 1976 to 1982 is the working title for Nancy's book and it tells the story of a young woman's fight for acceptance, legitimacy, and meaning in a very male-centric scene at a time when punk rock was scary and new. The book is filled with memorable characters, punk rock riots, and colorful anecdotes. Nancy, an accomplished and highly lauded teacher who has spent a lot of time teaching and mentoring at-risk kids in Revere, MA, was instrumental in helping to birth the earliest punk scene in Philadelphia. From booking some of the city's earliest DIY punk shows to managing legendary Philly acts like Sadistic Exploits, Nancy was one of the earliest proponents of the underground music scene in and around the city of brotherly love. Whether it was booking the infamous Buff Hall show with Minor Threat and SSD (which eventually led to a friendship and eventual marriage to SSD legend Al Barile) or getting some of the biggest national and international punk bands to come through Philly, Nancy's story recounts both the history of the Philadelphia Punk scene and the challenges she faced as one of the only females to brave the sometimes-violent, sometimes misogynistic punk rock scene of the mid- '70s. Nancy's journey has been a long, dedicated one that started with punk's inception. Along the way she's forged many lifelong friendships with some of the most notable punk and hardcore bands to ever exist. 

Photo by: Allison Schnackenberg

Photo by: Allison Schnackenberg

In keeping with the DiWulf tradition of working exclusively with family and friends, Nancy is an old friend of the publishers. Nancy was a huge contributor to Amy and Steve's book about City Gardens and, since that first interaction, it has been an inevitable conclusion that Nancy would eventually join the DiWulf family. 

This book will chronicle the true story of my life as a disenfranchised Catholic School girl to punk rock fan, manager, and promoter. It will cover Philly music history through my natural progression.

Part memoir, part historical document, part inspirational story; Nancy's book aims to show the struggle for legitimacy in a culture that generally regarded women as objects or groupies or showpieces. Through her devotion to the music and her desire to be a part of something bigger, Nancy helped foster a community of outsiders and misfits and made an indelible mark in her local scene. Nancy was involved in booking some of the earliest punk shows in Philadelphia, making her mark with Punk Fest and attending shows at legendary Philly spots like The Elks Club, Omni, and The Hot Club. and it is that indomitable DIY ethic that has driven her in both purpose and execution. To this day she incorporates much of her punk rock experience in her role as an award-winning teacher, instructing the kids in her charge on how to do thing for themselves and to never let anyone decide what you can and can not do.

Photo by: Rikki Ercoli

Photo by: Rikki Ercoli

Work is underway to bring this story to fruition, and, as the publishers, DiWulf is proud to support and help introduce a strong female perspective. It is part of DiWulf's mission to give voice to those whose stories might never make it to publication, and to represent the strength and tenacity of those voices who might otherwise go unheard. 

A publication date has yet to be determined. DiWulf is aiming to have the book out in late 2018 or early 2019. Keep up with the progress and learn more about Nancy's process right here at DiWulf.com

DiWulf Publishing House Begins Production on New Book About the American Ska Scene by Marc Wasserman

Bigger Thomas co-founder and author Marc Wasserman

Bigger Thomas co-founder and author Marc Wasserman

DiWulf Publishing House is very excited to announce a new member of the family: Marc Wasserman. Marc is embarking on his passion project: constructing an oral history of the American Ska scene and its place in American subculture. Marc, who has been collecting stories and researching histories for some time now, is currently in the process of putting all the material together. The as-yet-untitled book will be told through the recollections and anecdotes of the people who lived it: the musicians who were heavily influenced by the 2-Tone stuff from the UK, the historians who documented and supported the scene from its infancy, the bands that made music and toured relentlessly, and the fans who fell in love with the American counterpart of a beloved British subculture. 

Marc, a New Jersey native, has been playing bass in the band he co-founded decades ago: Bigger Thomas. Bigger Thomas, who were originally known as Panic!, hold the prestigious distinction of being the first Ska band from New Jersey. These days he splits his time between his latest outfit, Rude Boy George;; a band that re-imagines '80s hits in Ska and Reggae formats, and keeping up with his highly-regarded blog Marco on the Bass.

In keeping with DiWulf's family tradition, Marc has long-standing ties with both Amy and Steve, DiWulf's founders. Marc was a big contributor to Amy and Steve's first book: No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City GardensMarc was a veteran of New Jersey's most infamous punk club, and the relationship he forged with promoter Randy Now has been a long and fruitful collaboration that lasts to this day. It was a natural fit for his first book to be published by DiWulf and it is a bit of a homecoming for both publisher and author.

Marc's book plans to cover the years 1979-1986 and will focus on both well-known names like The Toasters and Bim Skala Bim, as well as smaller regional scenes and the Ska bands those scenes produced. Right now he is in the earliest stages of gathering material and research. DiWulf is looking towards the end of 2018 as a tentative release date.

Marc's book and his alliance with DiWulf illustrate the publisher's devotion to working with and giving voice to first-time authors as well as reinforcing the company's dedication to celebrating and preserving subculture in all its eclectic forms. DiWulf is, first and foremost, a family, and having Marc aboard is a natural fit for both author and publisher. 

Stay tuned for more information...

Urban Styles Comes to Jersey with a Book Signing at Randy Now's Mancave

Author Freddy Alva will be appearing at Randy Now's Mancave in Bordentown, NJ on Sunday January 14th to sign copies of his new book Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore. Freddy will also be part of a panel discussion about New York Hardcore history, graffiti, subculture, and will participate in a Q & A with legendary NY writers SMOG RISFCEE, and JERE DMS. Panel will be moderated by DiWulf co-founder and author Steve DiLodovico.

Randy Now's Mancave, a Bordentown staple, is owned and run by New Jersey's most well-known music promoter, Randy "Now" Ellis. Randy's history with music is a long and storied one that has been chronicled in a book: No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens as well as a documentary film: Riot on the Dance Floor. His shop is an emporium of collectibles, records, books, films, and a whole lot of general wackiness. It has become a favorite among the collectors' community since it opened.

Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore is a gritty and vibrant history of art and music colliding in the underground NYHC scene of the '80s. Told through strikingly visual photos and interviews from the artists and writers who lived it, Urban Styles tells of a mostly-unknown cross-section of subculture that could only have happened in New York. Elements of graffiti, hip-hop culture, skateboard culture, and, of course, NYHC are all seen intersecting in a wild randomness that flourished in a pre-internet world. Featuring art and interviews from such NYHC giants as Mackie Jayson (Cro Mags, Bad Brains, Leeway), Chaka Malik (Burn, Orange 9mm), LORD EZEC aka Danny DiabloHOYA ROC (Madball, Dmize), Sacha Jenkins (Mass Appeal editor and member of NYHC outfit The Wilding Incident), Gavin Van Vlack (Absolution, Burn, DIE 116), legendary Absolution frontman Djinji DRUMS Brown, Sergio DEEM Vega (Quicksand, Deftones), and many more

Freddy will also have a limited number of specially-made CBGB prints from artist Andrew Monserrate (whose work is featured in Urban Styles) for sale with copies of Urban Styles.

Limited edition prints made specially for Urban Styles by Andrew Monserrate

Limited edition prints made specially for Urban Styles by Andrew Monserrate

Andrew is featured in the "artists'" section of Urban Styles, and he has graciously created these one-of-a-kind prints to commemorate the release of Urban Styles and to celebrate the vibrant art scene that came out of the New York Hardcore scene in the '80s. Andrew's prints are limited to a first-come first-served basis and will last as long as supplies hold out.

No, Iggy is NOT included with the prints!

No, Iggy is NOT included with the prints!

This event is free and open to the public and starts at 1pm on Sunday January 14th. Randy Now's Mancave 134 Farnsworth Ave Bordentown NJ 08505. For more information check out the official facebook event page.

DiWulf Publishing House Begins Production on Next Book: "Somewhere Below 14th & East: The Lost Photography of Karen O'Sullivan" by Ray Parada

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It is with great excitement and with a deep sense of cultural import that DiWulf Publishing House formally announces plans for its next release: Somewhere Below 14th & East: The Lost Photography of Karen O'Sullivan by Ray Parada. As publishers, a book like this comes along once in a lifetime, and we could not be more honored to have the chance to publish what will be a significant addition to the long and vibrant history of New York subculture. Somewhere Below 14th & East is a book that has been in the making for literally decades, and now the time has come for these stunning photographs to be seen by the rest of the world. And now, thanks to the tireless efforts of curator Ray Parada and the generosity of Karen O'Sullivan, we all get to see the world of street culture as Karen saw it. This story has been a long time coming (as has recognition for Karen's brilliance) and now, with loving effort and care between curator, author, and publisher, it can be told. We, as readers, are invited into an intimate space of Karen's visual life and perspective. And the backstory to the creation of this book is almost as compelling as Karen's photographs.

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Karen and Ray share a long, storied friendship that goes back to the early '80s NYHC scene. Karen was a fixture at the shows and the hangouts; always with her camera at the ready. But, make no mistake: this is not just another "scene book." While there are many photos of the kids who made up the early NYHC scene, there is a plethora of shots depicting everyday life on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Hip-Hop pioneers, boxers at the earliest stages of their careers, street kids, poets and rockers inhabit the gritty, black and white landscape that Karen captured. This is a book documenting youth culture in all its frenetic, wild, outrageous, and sometimes dangerous glory. 

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Karen's images are stark, bold, sometimes haunting, and full of youthful exuberance, and many of the images collected for Somewhere Below 14th & East have never been seen before. Ray Parada is the curator of this massive archive of photos that were thought to be lost, and through his insight and guidance he has collected a narrative of the life of some of the wild characters that ran the streets of the LES during a time when it was often dangerous to walk those streets after dark.

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Music, of course, is the common denominator in most of this story, but there is so much more to this book. Karen's eye is unrivaled; her sense of timing and perspective is eerily beautiful and savagely poignant. 

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Elements of New Wave, No Wave, Punk Rock, Hip Hop, and almost every other sub-genre of NYC subculture are represented in Karen's photos, and Ray has spent decades collecting and arranging them with the careful eye of someone who reveres the time and imagery Karen's shots reflect.

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We here at DiWulf are ecstatic to have the honor of publishing this one-of-a-kind book and we are very grateful to Ray for deciding to do this with us. What Ray has curated, through the unblinking lens of Karen's perspective, is a cultural lesson in life on the streets during a time of fertile artistic revolution. Hardcore was new and unheard of; Hip-Hop was just beginning to make its impact on the world. The confluence of energies was raw, vital, and fervent. From the underground clubs that gave birth to a new, chaotic, musical movement, to the seedy bars and clubs that provided havens for the addicted and the creative, and down below where mainstream life and the squares were not allowed to infiltrate; Somewhere Below 14th & East traverses the squats and the sewers; the crime and the lunacy that was New York in the '80s.

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Somewhere Below 14th & East contains images and anecdotes from the likes of Joe StrummerAllen GinsbergIan MacKayeJack RabidFreddy Alva, Harley FlanaganJimmy G., The Misfits, and many, many more luminaries of the Punk, Hip-Hop, art, literature, and Hardcore scenes. It features many shots of kids just hanging around, lost and looking for some meaning. It tells a tale, through iconic imagery, of the search for creative outlet; of a meaningful existence in the face of futility. And, most of all, it celebrates the sheer joy of being young.

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As the '80s wore on, Karen unfortunately was diagnosed with the devastating disease MS. As a tribute to her strength and light, DiWulf has teamed up with Ray to bring this important cultural document to fruition. A large bulk of the proceeds will go towards helping Karen's medical expenses and care. The life and times Karen captured with her camera are incredibly important and need to be preserved. It is the mission of DiWulf Publishing House to make sure this book, and others like it, are seen and that the DIY culture of life before the Internet is understood by those who did not live through it. We could not be happier to be bringing this book to life.

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As with all DiWulf books, look for Somewhere Below 14th & East to be beautifully printed and laid out with gorgeous, glossy paper stock. This will be a VERY limited release and we will be working with Ray's brother; Ernie Parada, to design special prints and limited edition silkscreen covers for individual editions. We are going to make something very special here for those who appreciate the artful construction of media. We here at DiWulf are book lovers first and foremost, and we make the kinds of books we would be proud to display on our own bookshelves. It is with this philosophy which we operate. We only work with projects we are passionate about and we only work with artists and authors who share that same intense passion.

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Right now the book is tentatively scheduled for a Spring 2018 release. Keep checking this site, as well as all of our social media platforms to stay updated on the process. As always, we appreciate the support of those like-minded folks who appreciate independent art and literature.

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DiWulf Publishing House: We Specialize in only the Heaviest of Lit.

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When Amy Met Steven: A Not So Brief History of DiWulf Publishing and the Little Book That Could...

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By: Steven DiLodovico

I often get asked how I got involved with co-writing No Slam Dancing. Did I know Amy from back in the day? That sort of thing. It’s kind of a funny story. Well, you may find some smiles in it; to me it’s more of a rescue tale than anything else. A harrowing escape, it was. From the depths of a hell-filled indignity I arose… ok, that’s a bit much.

But, for real, she did get my ass out of a bad, bad situation.

I had been living in Charlotte, North Carolina (don’t ask, it’s an even longer story than this, and one I am not at all fond of) for a few years doing nothing but existing. That, and informally adopting colonies of feral cats. I worked in the service industry; a befitting fate for someone as miserable and un-customer-service-friendly as I. I hated it. I hated my life. My wife was just as miserable. The business of existing was thoroughly inhibiting our desire to live.

I was scratching out a few bucks here and there doing some freelance writing. I hated that, too. Lots of “ehow.com” how-to articles for $15 a pop. You know; the big money. I had neither talent nor drive. I hated writing; I hated the act of writing and the self-abasement contained therein. Mostly I just couldn’t stand the sound of my voice in my head dictating the words.

I had a small gig; I forget who it was for, to write about my own experiences in the Philly hardcore scene of the ‘80s. It was nothing major, but it was better than writing step-by-step instructions for changing turntable belts and the other dumb shit I was writing. The piece was turning into more of an essay/memoir than an actual historic document. I was recalling all the great shows I had seen in such hallowed venues as Pizzazz, Revival and such, and I thought to myself; what about that place in Jersey we always went to? City Gardens? I honestly had not thought about City Gardens in well over 10 years. I figured I had to at least give the place a mention, since it had been so important to me at the time. When I was going there I knew practically nothing about the place. I knew there was some guy named randy who ran the place, and I knew that most of the Philly promoters absolutely hated him. That’s about all I had to go with, so I figured I better do some research.

There was no Facebook or Twitter or any of that other shit (Facebook may have been in its infancy at the time; this was late in 2007. If Facebook did exist, I sure didn’t know about it.) I went with the standard Google search and, surprisingly, found very little information about City Gardens. I did find something called “The Seedy Gardeners Group.” It was a Yahoo news group kind of deal, where members went back and forth with conversations via group emails (how quaint!). So I joined and began throwing about general questions asking to speak to anyone who attended shows (specifically hardcore shows) at City Gardens. Just about all of the responses I got were to the effect of: “most of us in this group went to the dance nights at City Gardens and were more into new wave than hardcore. Sorry.” I had effectively given up when I got this message from a woman named Amy:

Email me off group. I have a calendar with every City Gardens show.

Intriguing, to say the least. I emailed her. She told me she was writing a book about City Gardens and she had compiled a calendar with show dates and bills that covered about 15 years’ worth of the club’s existence. Now that was pretty fucking impressive. She sent me something called a PDF file. I had no idea what that was and it took me four days to figure out how to open it. Once I did, though, the floodgates opened and there was no stopping the heavy rush of nostalgia and sentimentality that washed over me. So many shows… So many that I had forgotten more than I remembered (there would come a time, a few years later when I was fully immersed in the writing of this book, where old friends would tell me detailed accounts of shows I had been to with them that I had no memory of. This would become a very common occurrence).

I was at a dead end. I had nothing... I thought of all the people I needed to interview and it just made me want to get drunk and forget the whole thing. My efforts to bamboozle someone - ANYONE - into doing this book with me came to nothing. And then this message appeared from some a-hole I never heard of. Steve? Who was this dick?
— Amy Yates Wuelfing

Even stronger than the memories of the shows was the memory of friends I hadn’t seen in so many years. The fun times, the scary times… everything we shared. I was very excited that someone was writing a book about City Gardens, and I enthusiastically volunteered to help in any way I could. Amy offered to send me a chapter she already had done and I couldn’t wait to read it. She sent me a link to a site called the Rumpus. They had posted the (now-infamous) story of the Butthole Surfers wreaking havoc in their own, special way. I was blown away. It wasn’t just the story that got me; it was the format. I had never read an oral history before. I quickly dashed off several of my own recollections and sent them to Amy. We began chatting through email. Amy and I were from two different eras. I was the young late-comer to everything; uninterested in anything that wasn’t hardcore, thrash, etc. The hard stuff. Amy was a new wave/dance night girl who covered a lot of early hardcore while doing her ‘zine Hard Times in the early ‘80s. We both had our areas of expertise and it was almost too perfect how complementary they were.

A few months went by and I kept sending Amy stories. I must have sent over a dozen, and I hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of my City Gardens life. I really wanted to contribute to this book. Again, it was the format that pulled me in so deeply. All these different perspectives telling their details of the same story. It was sometimes contradictory and sometimes eerie the way two strangers would point out the smallest details and describe them identically. Meanwhile, Amy and I formed an electronic friendship. I would write her early in the morning before I left for my soul-killing job and return home each night to her reply. No, I didn’t have a phone where I could check email. I didn’t even have a flip phone then. Just a landline. I was always excited when I saw her name in my inbox, and always disappointed when I didn’t. She became a lifeline to my home and my previous life. I wanted in, and I was going to keep pestering her until she asked. I asked her if she had any contacts into the world of the later hardcore bands; the post-’86 wave. She didn’t. Either did I, really, but then I found this Facebook thing…

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PART II

So, there I was: stuck in Carolina and writing like a madman. Writing to live, really. I got by on more “how-to” articles, interviewing bottom-of-the-barrel porn stars (true story!), and freelancing for a bunch of Hip Hop Magazines. I got to interview some really cool people, and it was fun and all, but I wasn’t making any money. Every week something got cut off; electric, water, gas… It was a laughable combination of juggling and plate-spinning, and each day something new crashed. And me on my psychotic unicycle looking ridiculous amidst the buffoonery.  And with each shut-off notice came that dull, impotent anger and guilt-ridden shame of not being an earner of any worth. I just wanted to write; to disappear into that page and forget everything around me but it’s hard when you have a wife staring at you, wondering how the bills are going to get paid…

Each day got a little brighter, though; messages from Amy were a godsend. We would have these really great conversations through email and things were beginning to really click between us. Amy had a very motherly persona; I could tell that even before I heard her voice. As evidence I point to her many stray cat adoptions. She’s that lady in the neighborhood that feeds all the lowly wretches; she has room in her heart for every unkempt straggler, both human and animal. Amy was also very structured, organized and able to get shit done. I could tell just from her emails. She wrote me a proper resume to help me get a decent job (I had no problem getting jobs, I’m hip to the interview gimmick and how it works. What I was not good at was keeping my mouth shut long enough to actually keep the job. I usually got fired after about 6 months. But that’s a whole ‘nother story…)

I was really, really interested in her book. I wanted to be a part of it any way I could and I pestered her with every little thing I could remember about City Gardens. At this point, I’m pretty sure we hadn’t even talked on the phone yet.

I started contacting people; bands mostly. Almost every person I contacted from the hardcore scene of my era was enthusiastic and helpful. Jordan Cooper at Revelation Records gave me email addresses of a large part of the Rev roster circa 87-91. Every person I spoke to turned me on to two or three new contacts and it kept growing. The first person I interviewed was Richie Birkenhead. In my mind, it may as well have been Bowie or someone of that stature. I was that much of a fan and I was incredibly nervous. Luckily it was a phone interview. Richie was very mellow, very nice and endured a good two hours of me gushing about how much I loved all of his bands. Again: I couldn’t have been more un-punk.

I would transcribe these interviews from cheap microcassettes that had been used in a tape (TAPE??) recorder that was at least 25 years old. I’d send them off to Amy and tell her to do whatever she wanted with them. I didn’t care; at that point I was just excited to connect with people whose music had been such a big part of my life. Well, I guess my insidious plan of constant bombardment worked, because soon enough I got an email “formally” asking me to co-author No Slam Dancing with her. Fuck YEAH!

It’s fair to say that that day, that question changed my life forever.

I began conducting more and more interviews. All phoners; all done with my pitiful little tape recorder running the whole time. One interview would lead to two more introductions; conversations of, “oh, you should really talk to this person. They have a lot of City Gardens’ stories.” The scope of this thing began to unfold exponentially. It was very exciting to me; I had never attempted anything so ambitious and the escape it provided was invaluable. When I couldn’t even scrape together enough money to buy new microcassettes, I’d tell Amy, and within a day or two there’d be a package in the mail straight from some office supply chain with packs of tapes. When I couldn’t pay my phone bill to actually do the interviews, Amy would say, “send me the information,” and within an hour it would be back on and working. I’m not proud of these things, but this is the absolute truth. She had never met me, and was doing all this for me. For my family. Without having laid eyes on her, I was ready to do anything she wanted. In an instant she was elevated to that skinhead level of “I would take a bullet for this person” devotion. In my world, that’s the highest honor I could bestow on anyone, and Amy is more than deserving.

But, still, there was a lot of work to be done…

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PART III: Amy’s Version

Since Steve is giving his side of the story of how we met – I will give mine.

I started working on this book years ago. How many? I don’t know. I say 15, but I fear it’s been longer than that. Finnegans Wake took less time. The Brooklyn Bridge was built in less time. At times I said I was done with this stupid project, screw it, I’m not doing it. But the Universe was having none it. The story of City Gardens and Randy Now was getting told. By me. No way around it.

I had one bright shining moment when the Butthole Surfers piece was published on The Rumpus – and then nothing. I was at a dead end.  I had nothing. I would sit there looking at interview transcripts and wonder, What the hell am I supposed to do with this? I thought of all the people I needed to interview and it just made me want to get drunk and forget the whole thing. My efforts to bamboozle someone – ANYONE – into doing this book with me came to nothing. And then this message appeared on the Seedy Gardens Yahoo newsgroup from some a-hole I never heard of.  Steve? Who was this dick? He was all like, I went to City Gardens and does anyone have a list of shows?  My first impulse was to ignore it, but I couldn’t.

Emails were exchanged and I could tell this was the sucker, ah – I mean person – I was waiting for. And he knew that whole later era of City Gardens, the era when I had sort of stopped going as much.  Literally, a prayer had been answered.

I think the point is never give up. If you’re a creative person and you hit hard times, JUST KEEP GOING. Don’t let circumstances take your vision away. Ever.  Keep doing the work, keep producing. You never know what you’ll encounter. It could be life-changing.  It was for us.

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PART IV

Social media made No Slam Dancing happen; made it a reality. Suddenly, digging up legends from the past was simple. Contacting them was even easier. Selling them on participating in a book about City Gardens was the easiest part of the entire process. The people who played there had almost as strong a connection with the place as the people who went there. I don’t want to speak in such sacrilegious terms, but I have to imagine the kind of reverence I got from people when they spoke of City Gardens was similar to that which people attached to CBGB’s. I’m not comparing the two clubs (or scenes) by any means, just saying that people had a fondness for City Gardens that went beyond just the structure of the building.

Well, I was working hard; every day was spent engulfed in this world of the past. I found old friends (“show friends”) and we would re-live those great memories through pictures of shows, old fliers, etc. I was getting a lot of interviews on tape; connecting with a lot of people. But there was a wall I was hitting: I was too far away, geographically speaking. I needed to get home.

And, in so many ways, this is what the whole City Gardens project was about for me: going home. I had been away 10 years and now it was time. I couldn’t get anything done being so far away. Phone interviews are great, but it’s just not the same as being able to look a person in the eye when you’re interviewing them. I’ve learned a lot about the interview process: I have found the subtle ways to coax a subject down the avenues you need to get down without being obvious or obtrusive. It was fascinating, and I felt the process evolving as I did. The art of the interview is not an easy thing, especially for me. It’s a constant struggle for me to NOT talk; to just ask a question and let the subject say his or her piece. I talk too goddamn much. I get real excited, especially when the topic is music, and start interjecting and exclaiming. Trying to transcribe my interviews is a fucking NIGHTMARE because I often step all over the responses. And, more than anything, I really, REALLY hate the sound of my voice! This is why I’ve NEVER let anyone else transcribe my interview tapes. I play them back and get the biggest douchechills just listening to myself talk. It’s horrifying.

But jumping into this project was the ultimate trial by fire and I sure did jump in head-first. I navigated on instinct and enthusiasm and a strong sense of purpose. I’ve never taken a single college class; I’ve never studied anything about “journalism” and this flaw was a huge hurdle in terms of self-doubt and lack of confidence. But, again, it was just the sense of purpose; of needing to be a part of this, that drove me. Fake it ‘til you make it, right? Yeah, I’m the fucking KING of that.

So, we went all in (“we” being my wife and I and our two cats). I called in some favors and tried to see about moving back to Philly. I knew in my gut this was what I had to do. Amy had been pleading with me to move for months now. She often offered her home as a place for us to live, and, again, let me stress: we had never even met face to face. I knew Amy only as a facebook picture and a warm voice on the phone. But I had reservations. Doubts. Fears. Bouts of paralyzing anxiety. I am a huge weirdo, with all sorts of annoying habits and “quirks” and I’ve only ever met one person who could put up with living with me (I married her). I didn’t want to inflict myself on these good people. But Amy kept insisting.

I had this job; I was working in an HR call-center that served as an outsourced department for employee health benefits enrollment. It was a giant entity that took on huge corporations as clients and pretended to be their HR department. Companies like Sears and K-Mart and whatever behemoth puppeteer controlled their strings. Their employees called us when it was time for them to re-up their health insurance. They actually thought we were part of whatever company they worked for. Usually the callers were just so happy to hear a voice that spoke English as its first language that they never stopped to think about if we were at all qualified to advise them on their health plans. What a fucking joke. We were $12 an hour wage slaves who couldn’t give two shits about the people calling. It was a 90 minute bus ride each way for me and it was fucking miserable. The last straw was when we were told that our department’s new client was going to be General Dynamics. General Dynamics orchestrated war and did absolutely nothing on this planet but construct things whose only functions were to kill and harm human beings. We got this huge presentation from a couple of over-hyper suits sporting raging war-boners. For real: even the lady suit had a rock-hard warrection while describing missiles and tanks and god knows what else. The people around me got excited, too, which was kind of disgusting and scary. I was sick to my stomach and, on a break, called my wife. I was almost in tears. Crisis of conscience? I’ll say.

So, we loaded up the truck and we moved to Beverly. I mean, Morrisville, that is. We cut all ties with Charlotte, having worn out our welcome there several years before. Just us, the cats, a few meager possessions, and one long-ass drive. Do you have any idea how frigging big the state of Virginia is? It’s forever big and takes twice as long to drive through. But we made it. Barely. It had been a long time since I had to worry about gas prices (the last time I owned a car was somewhere around 1994) and I was continually amazed at how often I had to stop and just how damn much money it took to fill that U-Haul up! We seriously didn’t think we’d make the last 20 miles or so, and as we pulled into my parents’ driveway I knew I was going to have to borrow money to get enough gas to make it to Amy’s.

We made it and it was the middle of a weekday, so Amy was doing her 9-5 thing. Her husband let us in and showed us to the room where we would be staying. And that’s when it all came clear to me. In a small bedroom towards the back of the house was a room filled with memorabilia. Some really cool stuff, too. Deep purple walls, Leopard print on the rug, a green vintage couch, a neon light up that said “lounge…” It was a neat, comfortable room. I almost missed it. It blended in so well with the rest of the décor. On the wall, perfectly matted and framed, was a punk rock collage that was beautiful to me. There, under glass, sat three never-folded record sleeves for Halloween, Three Hits From Hell and Bullet. Originals. Assembled in Glenn’s mom’s basement in Lodi New Jersey. Three perfectly un-creased, perfectly preserved and mounted for all the world to see and probably untouched in decades. They were pristine. Just the sleeves, no records or inserts or anything, up there on display like it was perfectly normal to hang such things in a home. It was a sign. It was an immense sign; a portentous forbearing of how all this would go. And it would go swimmingly. It told me that my decision was right; that this was where I belonged. That this was the first step down a path I was meant to travel. Seeing Amy’s Misfits sleeves hanging there so casually was a comfort beyond words and a boost of strength after such arduous journeys.

We had hours to pass, my wife and I, before our host came home and we would actually have the chance to set eyes on our punk rock benefactor. We stretched out under the Misfits monument and talked quietly. I felt a calm come over me; a certitude that only comes from knowing deep in your heart that you are right. It was a joy to know such peace and confidence and I could feel it sooth both of us. She felt it, too.

When Amy came home it was more like a reunion than a first meeting. There were hugs and excited talking. Amy laughed off the Misfits sleeve’s so casually. “Oh, those? Yeah, Glenn gave them to a guy I did a ‘zine with back in the day, and he gave them to me…” Yeah, cause that kind of stuff is no big deal, right? I was freaking out!!!!

We knew we were onto something here, we just didn’t know what, or exactly where it was going to go. But in those first few hours I don’t think either of us cared. Amy had some long-desired help with this burden of a book and I had the long-desired purpose for which I had been searching all my life. We settled in for a cold, cold winter. I hadn’t seen a Philly winter like that in over 10 years. We hunkered down and began walking up a long, snowy hill that at times was such an insane idea, neither of could believe we were attempting to do this.

The real work had now begun. It would be another 4 or 5 years before No Slam Dancing was finished, but we persevered and, eventually, we had a finished book in hand. The problem: no one had any interest in publishing it. We got a fancy agent and everything. No help. We were told it was “too Jersey,” that it “wasn’t sexy enough.” We had no idea what these things meant and we started to get discouraged. But we were not undeterred.

Around this time a new thing was kind of taking over social media: Kickstarter. Now, I get the criticisms of Kickstarter, I truly do. In many ways it is little more than digital panhandling for people who have no business creating anything. But, back before facebook went super-crypto with all their content-suppressing algorithms: you could post just about anything and all the people who followed your public page would see everything you posted. Oh, those were halcyon days. So, Amy and I dove in to Kickstarter and we relied on every DIY lesson 25 years of punk and hardcore had taught us. We figured that if people really wanted to see this book happen they’d be willing to contribute to its production. We were right.

The highlight of the No Slam Dancing days was obviously having Amy booked on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. That was one of the greatest nights of our lives. And it was HUGE for what we wanted to accomplish. The day after the episode aired we sold out our entire first print run. We quickly set a second in motion and sold all of those as well. It was fucking insane.

And that feeling; that sheer joy of seeing something through to the end; to contributing to a history that we loved and revered, and to see it all come to fruition in a very grass-roots kind of way, was inspiring to us. We wanted to do the same for other authors we respected and admired; authors who might face the same publishing challenges we did. We wanted to provide a home for history, especially the histories that would be overlooked by the mainstream world. We wanted to make dangerous literature and vivid histories. What began as a last-minute name invented just to have something on the spine of No Slam Dancing became an entity itself. DiWulf Publishing House: Heavy Lit Is Our Specialty.

 

-Steven DiLodovico December 2017

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THE BOOKS ARE HERE!!!!!

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It is with great excitement that we announce Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore by Freddy Alva has reached our warehouse and will be going out in the mail very soon. This includes ALL orders through DiWulf.com as well as Amazon orders. Shipping should begin by 11/17/17, and all scheduled book signings will go forth as planned. Cancelled book signings will be rescheduled, and we will bring you that information as soon as we have it. Again, we cannot thank you enough for your patience and your continued support and we promise: you will not be disappointed once you have this book in your hands!

You can also get a signed copy of Urban Styles directly from the author at any one of the upcoming book signing events we have coming up:

The Bowery Electric 11/14/17 NYC

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Also, stay tuned for more information on book signings in Miami, LA, Queens NY, and Yonkers NY.

Urban Styles Release Delayed: New Release Date 11/15/17

Due to an unforeseen shipping error on the part of the printer, DiWulf Publishing House regrets to inform you that the release of Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore by Freddy Alva has been delayed. We are very sorry about this situation, but, as it stands, it is out of our hands right now. Unfortunately this situation extends to those who ordered through the DiWulf website as well as all Amazon orders. We are just sick about this and we humbly apologize to everyone who is currently waiting on their copy as well as to Freddy. Being that we are a very small, independent press, we do not have the manpower to oversee every bit of logistics as we should, and that is on us. But, rest assured; the books are on their way to our warehouse, and the very second they arrive we will get them out to you and will fulfill EVERY order as fast as is humanly possible. We gratefully appreciate your patience and understanding and we promise we will make this up to you and you will have your book in hand as soon as we get it. We thank you for your continued support. This is a new venture for us and we are kind of learning as we go, and this is the unfortunate side of doing things DIY. Sometimes shit happens, and, believe me, we have been agonizing over this ever since we learned about the shipping problem. While we are VERY happy with the print and design job they did, the  printers' shipping process leaves a lot to be desired. But, we promise you: you will NOT be disappointed once you finally see how amazing the book turned out, it truly is a work of art and we believe it is worth the wait. Once again, we are deeply sorry for this inconvenience and we promise we will get the book out to you as soon as we can. We cannot thank you enough for your support and understanding

-Steve and Amy

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DiWulf Publishing House is Throwing a Party, Philly!

Saturday night, November 18th, our good friends at Cresson Street Tattoo are throwing an inaugural party for DiWulf Publishing House. We are celebrating our official debut as a publishing company with a book signing, some beers, some good friends and some amazing music.

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Special guest DJ Don'tLikeU AKA the inimitable Reverend Paul Bearer of the legendary Sheer Terror will be providing the music. Paul will be spinning his precious Old and Northern Soul 45s and Urban Styles author Freddy Alva will be selling and signing copies of his new book from 7-11pm. It'll be a gathering of good friends with great music celebrating the arrival of our newest offering, Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore by Freddy Alva. Tattoo artists Jackie Brown and Jordy Ponamarev will be on hand to take care of all your tattooing needs. Cresson St. Tattoo is located at 4371 Cresson St., Philadelphia PA 19127. This event is free and open to the public. For more information check out our Facebook event page.

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