Getting schooled

Started almost by accident — as a side-tent public attraction during 2003’s X-Games Global Championships — the Battle of the Alamo has become SA’s premier B-Boy event.  Asked to suggest a theme for a party being held at the nearby Sunset Station during the first and only international extreme-sporting event held in the Alamo City, Billy “VooDoo Child” Angelini said he had a better idea: B-boying “...was an extreme sport in my eyes” he says. And Inside the Circle, the predecessor to Battle of the Alamo, was born.

The sixth edition of South Texas’ biggest B-boy battle, dubbed “Rock the Bells,” was initially scheduled for December 20, 2009, as part of a holiday coat-and-blanket drive for the needy. But it was postponed, and nearly canceled completely. In the economic downturn, Angelini found past sponsors growing cold, so he set out to fund the event himself.  The Current was able to catch up with Angelini in between his rehearsals for an upcoming Michael Jackson tribute tour that’s set to start in Las Vegas soon and gearing up for the Battle.

“I believe that events like this give the chance for the people who sit in the shawdows to get the light, the guys who want to be onstage, who want to perform, who see this on TV and want to do it — this shows them hey, we’re here for ya’ll,” says Angelini, but he is quick to add that Battle of the Alamo is for everyone.  “It’s not just for the kids, or just to perserve the culture that I grew up in, but more importantly, it’s for the community. I want parents, teachers, police officers, and everyone else to come out here, so that they could understand the B-Boy culture.” 

Pride’s not all that’s on the line: There’s a cash prize for the four main events, so get ready to throw on your old Adidases (but for the love of God, this time please get laces that fit, and tie them) and get the old crew together for at least one of the following; One-on-One Poppin’, One-on-One All Style, Crew-on-Crew, and Mickey & Mallory.  If your only idea of breakdancing was doing the worm in your middle-school cafeteria, don’t worry, Angelini also helped to break down a little of the terminology so you won’t feel left out Saturday.  Poppin’ is rhythmically flexing and releasing muscles — think back to just about every sterotypical breakdancer that you have seen in your lifetime and you should be able to picture it correctly.  One-on-One All Style blends both East Coast and West Coast breakdancing moves into one fluid routine, a succotash of old and new styles.  Crew-on-Crew is a posse battle for supremacy in the cypher (or circle of B-Boys/B-girls and onlookers). Think Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” and feel free to rock a Member’s Only jacket. Mickey & Mallory is a co-ed couples battle named for Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, and contestants are expected to be equally ruthless in execution.

New this year is the addition of a classic-car show hosted by the OG Tradition Car Club and a BMX Stunt Show hosted by South Texas Demo.

Angelini says 2008 was the first time that spectators packed the house, so it hit him that he needed to entertain onlookers as well, from car-show enthusiasts, and breakdancing aficionados, to extreme sport junkies and the parents who Band-Aid them. “We’re one in the same,” he says. “We all grew up around the same neighborhoods, but we had our different ways of escaping the bad, and now it’s time to come together.  Which is why I want everyone in the community to come out. … People just see baggy clothes and assume the worst, but that’s not the case. … It’s not about what you wear, it’s about bringing the talent out. If you have some good Jordans, then bring them out, but bring an extra pair in a backpack that you can tear up on the dance floor.”

Providing the sounds are some notable DJs:JJ Lopez, Chorizo Funk, Sean G, and Chacho. “I pay attention to who moves the crowd,” Angelini says. “These guys are involved — you don’t just see them dancing, but you might see them jump from behind the tables and start dancing. That’s amazing.”

The thought of decent live music made me press Angelini about what he thinks of today’s “brag and boast” bling-porn hip-hop.

“Well I believe that that they ran out of things to say so they started to brag about their clothes, instead of their skills,” he says. “I can brag about my tennis shoes all day long, but without showing you how I use them what’s the point?  If you got a car that can go 200 miles an hour, but you can only drive 65, then what’s the point when there’s people hungry out in the streets?  I keep it underground really, for the new-school guys, to educate them Battle of the Alamo is like going back to school.” •


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