Al Diaz and Yoav Litvin to Talk About LES Graffiti History and the Current Scene

Posted on: July 22nd, 2015 at 10:24 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

Basquiat and Al Diaz, Photo: Street Art NYC

Decades after its introduction, the SAMO tag still intrigues and inspires. Commands respect. It’s so well known that there’s a dedicated Wikipedia page with more than two thousand words. Now its co-creator, Al Diaz, who conceived the idea with high school friend Jean-Michel Basquiat (and also went by “Bomb I”), will talk about the graf scene both past and present.

The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative organized a discussion with Diaz and notable photographer Yoav Litvin. “A History of Street Art on the Lower East Side” is slated for Thursday night (July 23).

The SAMO scrawl – pronounced “same-oh” – was a shortening of the phrase “the same old shit.” City lore has it that, sometime in 1977, Basquiat and Diaz were getting stoned and called the weed itself the “same old shit.” From there, the tag took off, finding its way across the downtown scene. SAMO was short-lived, though, and ended in 1980.

The Al Diaz/Yoav Litvin event on Thursday is the first installment of a two-part series at CSV. Graffiti writer YESONE will paint a mural in the back parking lot while explaining process. That goes down the following Wednesday (July 29). Tickets are $15 per evening, or $25 for the two-night shebang. Buy ’em here.

Recent Stories

Armed Man in Wheelchair Fires Shots into Crowd on Madison Street

An armed man in a wheelchair allegedly fired shots into a crowd of people outside a Lower East Side bodega Friday night, police said. Leroy Mensah, 28, brandished a (stolen) 9mm gun outside the Stop 1 Deli on Madison Street and Rutgers Street shortly before 10:00pm on Friday. Officers on patrol reportedly chased down the […]

City Preps East River Park Demolition Ahead of Coastal Resiliency Project

It has come to this. The southern section of East River Park is now fenced off, ready for its destruction and rebirth. Barely a week after a temporary restraining order in place since November was overturned on appeal, the city is now ready to begin resiliency work inside East River Park. Fences are up and […]

Homeless Shelter for Chinatown Elderly Planned for East Broadway

Following a trend set during the pandemic, a former Chinatown hotel will soon be reborn as a homeless shelter. Nonprofits Asian Americans for Equality and Care for the Homeless have partnered to create the new “Safe Haven” facility, located in the former Hotel 91 on East Broadway. According to its FAQ mailer, the new safe […]

LES Father Charged in Toddler Son’s Death After Drugs Found in System

Police arrested a Lower East Side man yesterday in connection with the death of his 22-month-old son who had drugs in his system, according to the NYPD. The city’s medical examiner determined last month that the toddler – Charles Rosa-Velloso – suffered acute intoxication from fentanyl and cocaine. Police subsequently ruled it a homicide. Now, […]

Appeals Court Overturns Restraining Order that Halted East River Park Resiliency Work

The community-led effort to permanently halt destruction of East River Park for coastal resilience took a major blow this week. An appellate court ruled Tuesday that the $1.45 billion project can move forward after a month-long hiatus. On Tuesday, the Appellate Division, First Department upheld the lower court’s decision, and overturned the temporary restraining in […]