And they say Ottawa isn’t poppin’… truth is, behind the strip malls of commercially driven establishments, as far as the eye can see, lies small gems of passionate independence. Places like Flavor Factory, a new dance studio space and the only studio space of it’s kind, geared towards street dance and supporting events within that community. I found myself hanging out there last Saturday night, in lieu of the momentous reunion of the Fresh Format bboy crew, who all reached down from Montreal, Ottawa, and even as far as from out west in Alberta.
[Creeasian on the decks!]
It was really refreshing to be an observer amongst a new collective I have never interacted with before. There’s something about group dynamics that intrigue me: how they get down, the types of inside jokes and humor they share, what kind of energy they exude and exchange amongst each other and how that comes out in the character they portray as a collective. Fresh Format is… exactly that — friggin’ FRESH. 11 B-boys, with that flavor and attitude that culminates the chillin’ west coast, effortless type of vibe, and the Quebecois-French mentality of mastery in taking the time to do things… and to do things WELL. In Toronto, we call that shiet Propa Tings!
[The video stylings of Cee]
[The First Ladies of Fresh Format -- Aileen, Julia and Lyndsey]
For the reunion, B-boy Lost Child organized a video shoot with two dope videographers, Cee and Yves, with myself taking some behind-the-scenes pictures. It was a goooood time, yo, being in the energy of people feeling super stoked to see each other after quite some time, some as long as three years ago! From the way Lost talked to me about his crew, I knew the night would go down organically, and the shoot was going to be something we’d all have a lot of fun with.
[Bboy Lost Child]
[One of the best poppers I've ever seen.]
[Raul's fresh leather vest]
[Julia aka B-Lady Jussik]
[Monsta Pop on that berry steeze]
[Sancho, power monster.]
[One of my fave photos of the night]
But really though, who woulda thought we’d end up spending the entire night inside this random irish pub in the same strip mall joint, with Saturday night DJ and Kareoke?! Our initial intention to drop by for some pub grub and be on our way to downtown to a club quickly switched gears as we were all enchanted by the Kareoke DJ’ing of this young, 20-something year old heavier-set woman, with gel slicked from root to curl, rockin’ a dry-fit t-shirt with the Kareoke company logo stitched onto the shoulders. She was quite the character, lemme tell you. Hahahaha. The girl kicked back a few shots by her lonesome and killed the mic with some Sheryl Crow. Seeeeerrrious!!
But there was nobody else badder than Lyndsey and Julia to set the stage with some Salt N’ Peppa to introduce us to what was about to go down that night. I grew up total city life steeze, so you can only imagine how this was all quite the spectacle to me that like 15 of us “hip hop kids” took over this small-town bar and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly with DJ & Kareoke night at Conroy Irish Pub. It was honestly… one of the best nights ever.
Much respect to the Fresh Format Fam for letting me be part of it. I hope you all like the pics I took from the shoot! Check em out below: