Category Archives: Dig It

It’s Official, Twurkaholics Are Sell-Outs

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Two months ago (in December, 2012) we brought you the story of Actual Records, the successful rise of their label, and their “Twurkaholics” party at Soundgarden Hall.

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To give you a quick recap, the first ever Twurkaholics was held at Medusa Lounge, a venue that holds somewhere between 100-200 people.

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The first Twurkaholics party at Soundgarden Hall two months ago, packed over 1100 fans into the 2000 person capacity venue. The January edition, on the night of a snow storm in Philly, still brought in 1000 people.

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Last night (Saturday, February 16th), the third installment of Twurkaholics set a venue record for pre-sale tickets (800+) and by midnight the party had completely sold out the venue, forcing staff to turn away anyone without an advanced ticket. Sometimes, selling out is a good thing.

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The night before, Soundgarden Hall hosted a sold-out, 21 and over show with the legendary trance group Above & Beyond, making it two consecutive sold-out events.

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While the Above & Beyond event sold-out the venue based on the strength of name recognition and rabid fan base of the performers, it was quite a different story for Twurkaholics. The performers, while all very talented in their own right, would not have anywhere near the drawing power of an internationally acclaimed tour in other venues or cities. So how were they able to do it in Philadelphia? Good old fashioned hard work.

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We’ll be the first to admit that we’re fond of the dudes from Actual Records. They are all hard working, down to earth, talented, performers and self promoters. However, we don’t need to blow smoke (machines) up their ass. We don’t cover Twurkaholics because they are good guys; we cover their events because they have quickly become some of the largest, craziest, all-out-parties in the region.

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Their formula is simple, much as it was in the movie “Field of Dreams”: If you build it, they will come. Of course Actual Records isn’t in the business of building baseball fields, instead, they have built trust among Philadelphia EDM fans. That trust has been built in warehouses, small venues, and large venues. It is trust in the notion that their events are all about the music and the fans.

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They might not get the biggest names, okay, let’s be honest, they don’t get the biggest names, but they get top notch TALENT on the decks that throw down from the first set of the night until the last. It’s the trust that regardless who who is performing, that Twurkaholics will provide a full night of stellar music, that compels fans to faithfully pack into these events.

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Add in the low ticket cost ($10 in advance, $15 at the door), a ton of giveaways, dancers, performers, and costumed characters (courtesy of Funtown Productions), and it’s easy to see why Twurkaholics continues to raise the bar that they have set themselves.

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Last night’s Valentine’s Day edition featured DJs from the Actual Records crew and several others from the Trouble & Bass crew. There were women, men, and even a couple that performed a B2B (tag-team) set. The evening was headlined by AC Slater.

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Now that they’ve sold out one of the largest venues in the city that caters to EDM, what is next for Twurkaholics? Will they take the show on the road? Will they draw in fans from greater distances? Will the production value of the show increase? One thing is for certain… when the party returns next month, on March 8th with a Moombah edition called “Moombaholics”, be sure to get your tickets in advance or you could, quite literally, be left out in the cold.

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You can view more than 100 additional photos below (click thumbnails to enlarge):

2013 Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention: Ink All About It!

Joe Matisa in action
Joe Matisa in action

The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention once again returned to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 2013. The three day extravaganza, presented by Villain Arts, showcased everything from the world of tattooing (and beyond) over three days, February 8-10.

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Crowds of people packed into the convention on all three days (most noticeably on Saturday) to view the latest tattoo gadgets, watch presentations, buy an assortment of wares, and of course, get a new tattoo or piercing.

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In addition to the multitude of tattoo artists on hand, including celebrities from several tattoo TV shows, there were also a slew of charitable foundations, vendors, food, and alcohol.

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The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention focuses mainly on the art of tattooing but there were also booths/artists showcasing piercing, scarification, body modification, and even tattoo removal.

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The convention also features some of the best people watching around. Not always for the faint of heart, seeing beautiful works on art come to life on skin is a magical experience. The buzz of tattoo machines is constant as you move up and down the aisles and it’s hard to not pause at almost every booth to see what the artists are working on. Those that aren’t tattooing are often working on some amazing new sketches on paper.

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For the third year in a row, we wanted to get a first person perspective on getting inked at the convention. We teamed up with tattoo prodigy Joe Matisa from New Jersey to get some fresh ink (an imprint of a pair of feet) and some insight on the life of a tattoo artist and tattoo culture.

Foot Tattoo
Foot Tattoo

Independent Philly: How long have you been a tattoo artist?

Joe Matisa: Collectively about ten years. I started when I was 13 years old apprenticing, and started full time at 17 years old. I’m 23 years old now.

IP: How old were you when you did you first tattoo?

JM: Thirteen.

Work of Joe Matisa
Work of Joe Matisa

IP: What made you want to become a tattoo artist?

JM: My father is a tattoo artist and he has three shops in Virginia and now I have two shops in Jersey, and it’s always been a thing for me to wanna do what he was doing… of course I didn’t want to work with him, but you know, I wanted to do his thing on my own terms.

IP: Tell us a little bit about your two shops in New Jersey.

JM: My one shop is in Trenton, NJ and used to be my father’s shop. It’s been open now about twenty years and I took over there about six years ago. That’s a really high volume, high traffic shop, right in the middle of Trenton, right next to the high school and Saint Francis hospital. So there’s crazy stuff going on all the time, we get a lot of high traffic from all the kids and stuff like that. My Flemington shop is the complete opposite, it’s real mellow. It’s in a small part of town next to some outlet shops and stuff, a really kind of cookie-cutter place. It’s real small and quiet.

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Work of Joe Matisa

IP: What are the names of the two shops?

JM: The shop in Trenton is “Kiss of Ink“, it used to be called “Il Bacio” which means “The Kiss” in Italian. I just changed it to English because of people not knowing Italian. “Ink Junction” is my Flemington shop because we’re in an area called “Turntable Junction” which is like a big old-school railroad crossing.

IP: What’s the longest you’ve ever worked on a single tattoo (in terms of total ink time)?

JM: I’ve got a guy now I’ve been working on since I was 17, and I think we’ve probably put about 80-90 hours of work into him already. But we’ve been tattooing steadily at least once a month on him usually. Even if it just takes an hour for something small we still do it.

Work of Joe Matisa
Work of Joe Matisa

IP: What’s the longest you’ve ever worked on a tattoo in one sitting?

JM: I’ll usually only work at the most for 5-8 hours, 8 hours is usually the max I go to, and then I stop after that.

IP: How many tattoos do you have yourself, and is there any one in particular that is your favorite?

JM: I have about 21 or 22 tattoos now. I don’t have as many as I thought I’d have by now, just because I’ve been so busy. I’d say my favorite tattoo honestly would probably be (on my) throat. Either my throat or my face tattoo. My face tattoo is the only one with any sentimental value, my father and me have the same one. When I did my first convention I was 18 and I won first place for “Small Black & Grey” (tattoo) and at the end of the show we were really excited and he wanted to tattoo me and I think that might over take it (throat). I think that’s my big time favorite.

Work of Joe Matisa
Work of Joe Matisa

IP: Tell us a little bit about your experience here at the 2013 Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention and what’s the craziest thing you’ve seen over the past three days.

JM: I’ve loved it so far, it’s been really great, really packed, lots of people. I really like all of the freak-show stuff. I like the burlesque stuff, the dancing, and the suspensions, and all that. I remember coming here when I was younger and watching it and wanting to try all that stuff, and I was like “Man, that is so cool”, and it always gets me amped to be here and see stuff like that.

IP: What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to break into the (tattoo) business and become a successful artist?

JM: I would say the most important thing, that I’ve stuck to no matter what, is that I never slow myself down. I make myself a schedule, and I never say to myself “I wanna make a flat rate of money” or “I wanna do one type of thing or accomplish one type of thing”. I literally just work everyday as if it might be my last day tattooing. I just want to pick up as much stuff and do as much as I can every day that I work. That’s the most important because you don’t ever wanna slow down and say to yourself “You know what? I’m gonna mellow out on this stuff for a little bit, focus more on this and then I’ll go back to it”. If you’re young and you want to get into this, you gotta be non-stop, 24/7, you gotta really drive for it. You gotta work every day.

Work of Joe Matisa
Work of Joe Matisa

IP: What do you consider your areas of expertise as far as the different styles of tattooing?

JM: I would say majorly it’s realism and cover-ups. I do a lot of cover-ups.

IP: What do you find people regret the most in terms of what they are trying to cover up?

JM: Names, it’s always names.

IP: What’s the biggest rumor about tattooing or tattoo culture that you’d like to dispel?

JM: One thing major, that has been bothering me a lot more lately, is all the people coming in that just think that tattooing is one of those things that, they’re just gonna come in and it’s gonna be like they’re buying a pair of shoes. They’re just gonna walk in and say “Tat me up”, and they’re just going to go for it and get what they magically want in their head, and you know, it’s there. It’s not like that and everybody comes in and they’re just like “I’m gonna get something, I don’t know what I want, I just want something”. I want people to just sit down and realize that just because you see it on TV a certain way and it seems so easy, there’s so much more involved. There’s so many more steps to take and so much more to think about that everybody just ignores because they only show you (on TV) what they want you to see.

Joe Matisa
Joe Matisa

IP: If you could tattoo any living person with any one tattoo, who would it be and what would you give them?

JM: That’s tough. I would honestly pick Oprah because last year here (at the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention) I did an Oprah with the fireworks shooting out of her crotch like on South Park, and it won, it won first place. I always said to myself “A Gaylezilla would be really cool…Oprah needs a Gaylezilla tattoo”! I always wanted to do an Oprah tattoo and I got to do one and I was like “How cool would it be if Oprah, the richest woman in the world, had a tattoo”? And I think a “Gaylezilla” tattoo would be a hype thing to do.

IP: What award did the Oprah tattoo win?

JM: It was first place “Most Unusual” at the show. I always go for the weird stuff because I feel like everyone else always goes for the typical shit. You know like “I’m gonna do a big-ass portrait today” or “I’m gonna do some big traditional half-sleeve” and I’m always like “Nah, fuck that I’m gonna do something weird that nobody is gonna look for here, and that was like, really cool. I had all kinds of people throwing weird ideas at me and I was like “Oooh I like that, oooh I like that”, and you don’t get that from the typical stuff so it was awesome to try that here instead of at home.

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IP: Are there other awards that you’ve won as a tattoo artist?

JM: Yeah I’ve won, in the state of Virginia I did a convention in Lynchburg that I got first place for “Small Black & Grey” in (I think) 2007. In 2008 I did it again, at the same convention but in Richmond (they moved it). And then I did first place here last year for “Most Unusual”.

IP: Awesome! Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself as an artist or about your tattoo shops that we haven’t covered?

JM: The only thing I would say is that I’m young, I’m now 23 years old, and I’m officially the youngest award winning artist (I believe) on the east coast right now. The one thing I would say is that there are I lot of young artists that fall into what the old artists are doing. Never fall into what everybody else is doing. I spent a lot of time as a kid straying away from what my father did to be my own artist because I knew I wouldn’t grow to my full potential without it, and I don’t want anybody else to do that, to miss out and not do the same thing (as I did). One other thing, for tattoos, would be to never draw the same style. Don’t ever strive to be an artist that’s a traditional artist or a realistic artist or anything like that. Because, what’s the point, you know? You switch up your styles and everybody will complain but who looks the same and who doesn’t? Everybody should strive to do something off-the-wall, over-the-top, and always do something different every day… a different style, a different form, anything. Even if your line work changes every day slightly, just do it, just be flexible.

We had a blast at the 2013 Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention! It only seems to get bigger and better with each passing year. We can’t wait to see what the 2014 show has in store. If you’re looking to get some ink yourself, we highly suggest working with Joe Matisa or one of the other amazing artists at Kiss of Ink or Ink Junction (tell them Independent Philly sent you). Joe was a breeze to work with. He is friendly, professional, and above all else, extremely talented. If beauty is only skin deep, it’s best to have the most stunning artwork possible, just beneath your skin.

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Kiss of Ink:

515 Hamilton Ave. Trenton, NJ.

Open 7 days a week from 12pm-10pm

609 393-5000

Ink Junction:

24 Turntable Junction Flemington, NJ 08822

(609) 891- INKD (4653)

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You can view an expanded photo gallery below (click thumbnails to enlarge):

The 2013 Philadelphia Auto Show

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The 2013 Philadelphia Auto Show, once again held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, opens to the public on Saturday, January 19th and runs until January 27th. Independent Philly was on hand today for Media Day to get a sneak peek at the 2013 show before it opens tomorrow. Here is what you can expect this year:

The 2012 show was the biggest one ever held; an additional 30,000 square feet of space has been added for 2013. For you pigskin fanatics, there will be over eleven football fields worth of space housing the 2013 displays.

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Every type of car you can imagine will be on display in the numerous Convention Center halls. There are your industry standards (Toyota, Honda, Volkswagon, Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Nissan, etc), high end cars that top off at over $100,000 (from makers such as Cadillac, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Acura, Infinity, Audi, Porsche, and Jaguar), over-the-top luxury vehicles (from Aston Martin, Lotus, Rolls Royce, Maserati, Lamborghini, Bentley, and for the first time ever, McLaren) that can cost more than many homes, vans, trucks, hybrids, electrics, pre-production 2014 models, and our personal favorite, rare and classic cars.

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Toyata and Jeep will both offer ride-and-drive opportunities inside the Convention Center. There will be additional test drives available outside from Cadillac, GM, Hyundai, Kia, and Suburu.

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DUB Magazine will once again host the DUB Show Tour on the lower level. This area will feature customized rides including those made for several Philadelphia sports stars like Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin, Thaddeus Young, and Trent Cole.

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Local Mustang and Camaro clubs will be competing in the first ever Philadelphia Auto Show “Face Off” in 2013. These clubs will showcase their best cars at separate displays and after visiting both areas, attendees will be able to vote for one or the other. The winner will have $2500 donated in their name to a child related charity as well as $1000 to divide up between the participating clubs.

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There will be pop-up shops selling all sort of automotive related goods, food, demonstrations, autograph signings, and all the Vroom you can handle.

Show Hours:

Saturdays: 9AM — 10PM
Sundays: 9AM — 8PM
Weekdays: 12Noon — 10PM

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Show Location:

The Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia PA 19107
(Click here for directions)

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Ticket Prices

Adults (age 13+): $12.00
Seniors (age 62+): $6.00 (weekdays only – must purchase at box office)
Children (age 7-12): $6.00
Children 6 & under: FREE with paid adult

Tickets can be purchased online through the Tickets page or at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on any show day. For each auto show ticket sold, $2 will be donated to the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation.

Discounted tickets are available through Septa.

You also have one day left to enter our contest to win one of two pairs of tickets, good for any day you choose.

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You can view an expanded photo gallery of the 2013 Philadelphia Auto Show below (click thumbnails for full-sized slide show):

Atlantic City Experiences New Year’s Eve 2013 with Life in Color (Dayglow)

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There were countless options for ways to ring in the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 on New Year’s Eve.

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As far as we could tell, only one option involved packing over 10,000 people into a heated tent in Atlantic City for seven hours and soaking them with enough neon paint to literally paint the town red (green, blue, and pink anyway).

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Life in Color (formerly Dayglow) invaded Bader Field in AC for a memorable night that featured the paint, performance artists, and top notch DJs that have become the signature of their nationwide events.

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For New Year’s Eve, the party was ratcheted up from the normal five hour event to a full seven hours. The music was provided by David Solano, Tommy Trash, Adventure Club, and headliner, Steve Aoki. As always, the party was hosted by MC Emir Duru.

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The doors opened at 7pm and it wasn’t long before the tent began to rapidly fill with party-goers clad in white and neon clothing, and sporting 2013 NYE garb.

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Once inside, there were plenty of options for spending more money (in typical Atlantic City fashion). There were libations for those 21+, drinks, food, paint, t-shirts, light up toys, and even designer condoms.

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The crowd continued to grow in size and by the time Tommy Trash hit the decks shortly after 9pm the party was in full beast mode. Although the music was on point all night, Trash played the set of the night in our estimation.

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Up next was Adventure Club who took the reigns and led the party into the final minutes of 2012, closing out what was a memorable year to say the least. Complete with a countdown, paint blast, confetti, and digital ball drop at midnight, the year came to a close and 2013 officially began with a bang.

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Steve Aoki isn’t as much a DJ as he is a performer. His antics on stage (and in the crowd) are well documented. From his crowd surfing on rafts and inflatable mattresses, to champagne baths, to smashing full cakes in the faces of his fans, the man knows how to get a venue pumped up.

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That’s exactly how 10,000+ people spent their first 90 minutes of the New Year, basking in the showmanship of Steve Aoki and Life in Color.

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The final 30 minutes of the party featured a closing set by David Solano (who had also played for an hour prior to Tommy Trash) who wrapped the entire event up in a nice New Year’s bow. It was seven hours of mayhem and the perfect way to close out one year, and begin the next.

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We wish all of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013.

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You can view our expanded photo gallery with over 250 pics from New Year’s Eve below (click thumbnails to open full-sized slideshow):