Record Store Day is to Radio-Active Records what Rex Manning Day is to Empire Records: a day that is magical, stressful, and potentially life-changing. Record Store Day at our dear Radio-Active has been massive the past few years—too many bands, food trucks, and happenings-within-happenings to enumerate here—but this year, Record Store Day will herald a veritable storm of events. Hosted by Fort Lauderdale-based event and community collective Subculture along with 3J, Block x Blog will take place on Record Store Day, functioning as an after-party for Radio-Active Records’ event.
As Subculture founder Phillip Roffman explains, the event’s name comes from Subculture’s desire for “Block x Blog to be the combination of two great resources: the analog community and the online community: block, being the community; blog, being the media outlets coming together to communicate this project.” It’s a way of celebrating the ease with which businesses and artists can communicate “via a simple text or tweet,” says Roffman, but also a reminder that it’s at the in-person level, the street level—the block level, if you will—where community engagement really happens. “Meeting and engaging with your audience and even newer audiences: that’s how communities truly grow. If Block x Blog were to have an end goal, it would be to create, build, discover, and share a new form of culture never experienced by South Florida. The catalyst of this culture? The analog community and online community coming together.”
Come together, they will. The line-up is intense; the block will be on fire. Utilizing an 8-bit video game aesthetic and parlaying their nostalgia for the arcade into an all-night-long adventure at Revolution Live/Green Room/America’s Backyard (yes, all three!), Subculture will host:
- An exhibition, curated by Kristin Frenzel and Gina Bentivegna, of local and national artists (the full list is as yet unreleased), including 8-Bit Lexicon, showcasing themes in pop culture and old-school video games. Live artists include Paul McEnery, Ian Santos, Hilda Vazquez, Lisa Perz, Mark Perez, Brandy Rumiez, Kristin Frenzel and Keegan Hitchcock. The works will be displayed at Revolution Live and Green Room.
- An electronica showcase co-hosted by music blog Consequence of Sound, featuring the likes of Holy Ghost! (Revolution Live).
- The official after-party for Record Store Day with support from Radio-Active Records, Limited Fanfare Records, the New Times, South Florida Music Obsessed, and Pure Honey, featuring bands like Suede Dudes and the Jacuzzi Boys. (Green Room).
- A Black Locust Society/The Swarm take-over with local vendors–like Iron Forge Press and the Fine Print Shoppe–local rappers, and tricks up the crew’s proverbial sleeves. (America’s Backyard).
Between the three events, you’ll catch: Lil Daggers, Suede Dudes, Jacuzzi Boys, Plains, the Gun Hoes, the Goddamn Hustle, Lavola, Deaf Poets, Krisp, Boxwood , Ex Norwegian, Millionyoung, Killmama, Sound Sleeper Rebel, Holy Ghost!, the Hongs, Eons, Featherweight, Rickolus, XS3R, Abdecaf, Afrobeta, JAMS, Bleubird, Protoman, the Astrea Corporation, Jabrjaw, Gaps, Tonx, JimiTheGenius, the Politix, Phaxas, and Andie Sweetswirl. (See right for set times.)
Sweet lord. Block x Blog also happens to be the celebration of Subculture’s one-year anniversary, so it’s appropriate that such a gigantic cross-section of the local community will be featured. That’s what Subculture is about: community. Roffman founded Subculture when he realized that Fort Lauderdale’s own set of subcultures and neighborhoods were filled with talent, but disparate and under-promoted.
“Subculture came about in the way I felt as a teenager within Fort Lauderdale: lost,” he says. “Growing up, I had Borders … and CD Collector, soon to be known as Radio-Active Records. That was it. I depended way too much on Bret Easton Ellis and the records that Mikey Ramirez [of Radio-Active Records] gave me.”
Although it wasn’t much, it was enough to get Roffman’s brain geared toward pop criticism and culture. He began writing for his brother’s blog, the aforementioned Consequence of Sound. However, eventually Roffman “felt disconnected only writing about pop culture. I wanted to experience it and have others experience it with me. Fort Lauderdale was a perfect place to start Subculture because it holds so many individuals, businesses, artists, and local acts wanting to do something.” What was that something? “I think that something Fort Lauderdale always wanted to do was create a sense of community. Apparently, Fort Lauderdale and I share the same passion.”
That passion has enabled Subculture to help turn a city that can often seem devoid of independent artistic expression into a place where things happen. When creating a Subculture event, Roffman asks himself a few questions: “Who in the community represents this [event’s] theme? Would they want to be a part of this? How would they benefit? Is it beneficial to the community? How can we allow the community to see its benefit? It’s not about the mainstream. It’s not about being cool. It’s about coming together to create something successful for everyone to experience and be a part of.”
The communicative and integrative theme of Block x Blog is hard to ignore—there’s something in it for everyone. It was one year ago when Subculture helped host Record Store Day at Radio-Active. In honor of that, the Green Room will serve as the official location for Record Store Day’s after-party. As for the electronica event, which will take place at Revolution Live—Roffman says that “came from the idea of Consequence of Sound wanting to be found within South Florida—a new potential audience to be created!”
Black Locust Society at America’s Backyard is, says Roffman, “probably the most exciting aspect of Block x Blog for me personally, as I have never admired anyone’s marketing as much as I do theirs. [They’re an] incredible group of individuals—most specifically Bret Wilkin, Ricardo Tejeda, and Chris Hall, who have truly pushed this project for Subculture and helped Block x Blog’s stability within the community.” Roffman adds: “ ‘Black Locust Society is bringing The Swarm to Downtown,’ Bret told me. You can interpret that however you want. That’s all I’ve been given to say.” You’ll find the vendors at America’s Backyard, too, but we have a feeling the Swarm is going to be much bigger than that.
As for the visual art aspect of Block x Blog, the event “was in its embryonic stage of planning and I happened to bump into Alexis Frias, a.k.a. 8-Bit Lexicon,” Roffman explains. “Subculture has always wanted to do an arcade-based event. When we saw Alexis’ work, we couldn’t help but ask for his assistance in creating the makeup of what is to be expected at Revolution Live’s stage and outside perimeter.”
Subculture seems to have premiered at just the right time. As a teenager, Roffman suffered with the city’s public transportation—which he refers to as “a nightmare”—and the shortage of much of anything at all for young, curious creatives. “Now,” he says, “we have people, better yet businesses, who actually care.” Block x Blog, like other events with which the city is luckily and rapidly becoming rife, is entirely community-driven, and can only exist with the support of passionate individuals like Roffman, Ramirez, and everyone else involved—including you. “I hope people take ownership of Block x Blog, as it’s a festival created by the community,” says Roffman. “As Doc Brown says in Back to the Future, ‘you’re going to see some serious shit.’ ”
Block x Blog. Doors open at 6 p.m. at America’s Backyard (100 SW 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale). Featuring vendors, performances by Black Locust Society and other rappers, and more. Free. All ages. Doors at 8 p.m. for Green Room and Revolution Live (100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Event ends at 4 a.m. Admission is $25; age 18 and up. Tickets are available at Revolution Live’s box office or at Radio-Active Records (845 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale). You can also purchase tickets online at Revolution Live’s website. For more information, visit Block x Blog’s Facebook page or subculture.us.