AMONG B-BOYS: Bringin' in the New Year part 2

Scanning the Hmong New Years festivities with B-Boys Geo and Suki

Scanning the Hmong New Years festivities with B-Boys Geo and Suki


Whatdya know? No rain! One thing didn’t go wrong. Sometimes I want to kick that Murphey in the (behind). You feel me? or as the kids I used to work with would say, yadidi.. okay I won’t go there. So those 99 problems I was having trying to plan for the big day seemed to start off just as I was hoping it wouldn’t. We woke up around 8 am to try to leave for the New Years festivities by 9 am. Tested the equipment, and then were on our way. We got everything, right? We forgot the the tapes #(*$! How did we forget the tapes? Fortunately the trip back to get the tapes was only about 10 minutes.

Luckily there wasn’t too much else that went drastically wrong. But here’s a few things that I’ll hope I keep in my mental notes:

Use the Lav Mic when possible. We did a quick interview with one of our main characters, Shoua Lee aka B-Boy Suki, and used the shotgun mic, close up to the subject. Because it was a quickie, and we didn’t want to shove the hand held dynamic microphone in his face for this one (like a newscaster), we thought it’d be OK… which it was, just O.K. For a more “superb” sound we should’ve taken the extra second to use the wired lavalier microphone. It would’ve just helped bring the mic even closer to the source and reject the noise.

But other than that the event was a complete success!

The jam was dope, but we didn’t necessarily squander all of our precious shooting time at the jam. We had so much to cover, so we had a guy using my trusty camera #2 to cover the actual breaking competition. That gave R.J. and I the liberty to not only acquire all the shots and inserts to help paint our scene, but it allowed us to roam New Year year’s festival to help us build the event into what should be some over our opening scenes.
It was a pretty cool experience. First of all, by the time we were roaming the grounds in the afternoon, the place was PACKED. Around the outside of the festival, there were vendors one each side of the walkway, ranging from traditional Hmong clothing to healing Herbs to bootleg Karaoke videos to young Hmong kids trying to sell their rap CDs. There were succulent scents of the food booths floating through the air. R.J. described it best: “it was an overload of the senses”.

So overall we got some cool interviews with various Hmong B-Boys, mostly from around California (there were supposed to be some B-Boys from Minnesota, but they couldn’t make it out). We interviewed some of the young people playing this traditional Hmong ball tossing game, and some of the vendors too. We even got an interview with the PR guy of the Hmong International New Year Inc. Hopefully we were able to paint the picture we set out to.

Since we were able to get everything we thought we needed, that night we decided to head back to the Bay Area from Fresno. After filling our bellies with grilled chicken and rice, we dropped of B-Boy Suki to his Mom’s house in Merced where he was staying, on the way back. And we packed it up and called it a night.


(if you haven’t done so, check out the Among B-Boys website)