Tag Archives: flyin cut sleeves


It’s time for another of those film posts that nobody looks at.

Back on the blog and I didn’t prepare anything to up today, so I’m working with whatever I’ve been looking at online over the last 24 hours. Motherfuck content creation, because there’s a strong recycled video streak today.

The homie Jeff at Selectism reminded me how much I love Gary Weis’s classic documentary ’80 Blocks From Tiffany’s’ yesterday, and I’ve discussed the greatness of Rita Recher and Henry Chalfont’s ‘Flyin Cut Sleeves’ — both dealing with the topic of New York street gangs of the 1970s, but there’s another contender too. Firstly, as someone who grew up a long way from the United States, I was a child of the video shop, fooled into renting anything that promised bloodshed.

I digested a fair few films that were ‘Mad Max’ knockoffs — Enzo Castellari’s ‘Bronx Warriors’ trilogy plays a prominent parting my psyche, with its fusion of post-apocalyptic lumbering action, lo-fi stunts and unintentional camp, but gang films like the cheap but fun ‘Warriors’-does-splatter fun of ‘Future-Shock’, the faintly racist yuppies-in-peril antics of ‘Chains’ and my favourite — ‘Enemy Territory’ with a younger Tony Todd and his vampiric posse (plus graffiti from Chico Garcia) causing trouble for the denizens of a project building. I love that movie.

These cultish b-flicks had me believing that on stepping foot outside an airport in New York, a multi-racial gang of ruffians in fingerless leather gloves would slice me up, or set me alight. There’s precious few good documentaries on the crews that fuelled the tabloid myths to inspire the following decade’s cheapo cinematic urban nightmares, but fortunately those that were made are fairly easily attainable. One of the best isn’t even English language — German journalist and filmmaker Max H. Rehbein’s 1978 documentary ‘Lefty — Erinnerung an einen Toten in Brooklyn’ (which I believe, loosely translates as, ‘Lefty — Memory of a Dead Man in Brooklyn’ won a couple of prestigious awards after its debut television screening.

Max and his crew get an astonishing amount of freedom to film the punishments, beatings, arrests, politics and beliefs, debates and even shoot during the infamous New York City blackout of July 1977 (and miraculously escape unscathed) resulting in some phenomenal footage of the titular Lefty and his Sex Boys gang (apologies to any left-handed typers who ended up on here by Googling those words in a non-gang context), the Crazy Homicides (who wore giant cavalry hats) and lots of Coney Island footage, long before Swan and the boys incited fights in cinemas via Walter Hill’s opus. The synth soundtrack is awesome too and if you’re even vaguely interested in the subject matter, check it out.

This classic first chapter in Rehbein’s ‘New York Trilogy’ (screened between 1978 and 1980) is on YouTube at the moment in what I believe is a 60 minute cut shown in 1990, as opposed to the 88 minute original version that continues to elude me. This is early street culture in full effect and a pretty absorbing watch. The director is still alive, and given his wartime experiences prior to ‘Lefty’, New York’s gang culture may have been a walk in the (Central) park by comparison.

Another thing that made me enthuse during the last 24 hours was the official announcement of Edzon from Patta’s ‘Luffie Duffie’ mix from 2006 getting a sequel in 2011 that should coincide with a significant release from the overlords of the sneaker “game” — everyone at Patta knows their shit back to front and Edzon’s soul-laden follow-up will be very necessary.

ATG are killing this blog shit. Looking forward to seeing the byproduct of their partnership with Carhartt.

Speaking of Carhartt, Detroit’s Bo$$ needs a kidney transplant. This lady rapper talked pure gun talk until she was exposed as a middle-classer. But we don’t care about authenticity any more, and while the ‘Born Gangstaz’ album is crappy, ‘Deeper’s Bobby Womack, Gwen McRae and Eddie Murphy samples are still my shit (Curtains murdered a similar beat, sans Gwen and the silly cod-ragga stuff a few years back). I wish her all the best, and I recall reading a lengthy regional newspaper piece on her prior ill health too.

Mr. Chris Aylen brought this eBay auction to my attention. Just as a Tribe Called Quest’s demo (from the same seller) ended at around $800, DMX’s demo (in some no-frills studio biro aided packaging) came to a close with a final hike from around $100 to $625.29. I’ve heard plenty on rarities CDs, but there’s some bits on the tape samples that the seller provided that I’d never been exposed to. This man’s style changed a lot over five years or so.


Let me start by pointing out that this blog entry is merely an excuse to post this Panther Books edition cover of Sol Yurick’s ‘The Warriors’ up here as some form of thug motivation.

That’s the only reason.

[[And before I commence rambling, big up Carri for the brief but brilliant Cassetteplaya show at Men’s day for LFW today – I thought I’d underdressed with the Polo, camo and AF1 Duck Boots, but her having ‘Bingo’ by Gucci Mane and ‘Salute’ by Dipset as a catwalk soundtrack (complete with models painted gold with gold hi-tops to match) vindicated my sartorial choice. The blazers, wood-handled umbrellas and leather holdalls around me were out-of-place, unless they concealed “Louie belts with the guns still tucked in ’em.” I doubt they did.]]

This cover just looks awkward — the gang member depicted looks about forty for starters, with a Mercedes badge and non-menacing font on the back. Where’s the sleeveless cut vests? If I started a gang, we’d rock the Undercoverism sleeveless hoodies (shouts to Acyde), the IronHeart black denim numbers, or — if we were hard up — prison fatigue jackets at £3.50 a throw. But then just as this cover hardly represents its content, the original novel bears very little resemblance to the final film. At least there’s a substantial resemblance between Richard Price’s ‘The Wanderers’ and the resulting film – both classics, even if some of the darker short stories in the former were excised.

Despite the whitey on the cover there, the main gang aren’t tactically mixed-race and they’re not even called the Warriors — they’re called the Dominators, and the Dominators are pretty brutal, making the book a far more gritty affair. While it’s still a trashy read, it’s not half as daft as the film. The same applies to Leon Garfield’s anti-vigilante novel ‘Death Wish’ and the subsequent “adaptation.” But I still love the films these books inspired, even if both authors were left fairly pissed off.

They still seem to be scheming a ‘Warriors’ remake with Tony Scott involved. This is a bad idea. His ‘Man on Fire’ was good (though I favour the Scott Glenn version — a onetime Sky Movies late night staple), but his version of ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’ was insipid.

This remake could well be a repeat of John McTiernan’s dreadful ‘Rollerball’ remix of a few years ago. I’m still smarting from the director’s cut of the original (the comic book captions and “Sometime in the future…” concept are badly misjudged), but Walter Hill is still one of my favourite directors — I concur with this tribute here. Anyone who directs ‘Extreme Prejudice’ has earned the right to fuck with own his films to his heart’s content. At least the novelization came over a decade before the film itself — anyone else remember the 1983 Scarface novelization which opens with Tony getting his face cut in Cuba by a cuckolded love rival? That book even ended with Tony being blown to bits by his own rocket launcher. Liberties. Major liberties.

It’s nice to know that the more obscure ‘Warriors’ gangs have been named in recent years. The UK fansite is phenomenal. Not only does it let you know who was a Jones Street Boy, that those fucking mimes were the Hi-Hats and that the camp-looking Moonrunners repped for Pelham, there’s a whole thread dedicated to identifying every other gang in the film that’s just mind-bogglingly exhaustive. There’s even some replica vests being produced within that community of obsessives.

I hope the remake gets put on the backburner — despite some tough competition from Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Luther impression during ‘Shame on a Nigga’ and Puffy’s prior to the ‘Flava in Ya Ear’ remix, I still love the ‘Crunk Muzik’ video…notwithstanding the rollerblade content. Isn’t that what a crappy update would end up looking like?

And ya’ll might know your ’80 Blocks From Tiffany’s’, but I still want to see more video footage from the 1971 Hoe Avenue Truce meeting which inspired the Cyrus-led park gathering that opens ‘The Warriors’ — there’s footage in Henry Chalfont and Rita Fecher’s ‘Flyin’ Cut Sleeves’…though apparently that was all strictly for show, with the real truce being a more thugged-out affair, worked out behind-the-scenes…