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Outside the Lines With Rap Genius

"OTL 45: Michael Holman Excerpt #1 - Basquiat and Kids"

SameOldShawn: Before moving to New York, you spent some time in D.C., right?

Michael Holman: No, I never lived in D.C. I lived in D.C. one year, 1994, after having lived in New York for many years. I was kicked out of New York. I was kicked out by the goddess..Well, you know New York is a very jealous lover, and wants you to love her and spend every dime you have on her. And when you don't have that money to spend on her, she wants you out. So for one year, I had to leave New York and live with my parents in D.C

But during that year, it was a really interesting time. I had already written the screenplay to the film Basquiat, that Julian Schnabel directed, but there was no money because they hadn't raised the money yet to make the film. So I was broke and I left

But when I went to D.C., I met some really interesting people who didn't really know who Basquiat was. They believed all the hype that they'd read in the press, which was -- half of it was so wrong about him. Jean was upper-middle class, his father was a corporate executive, Jean went to private school, etcetera, etcetera. And they believed the hype that Jean was a ghetto snipe -- he would joke about that. Hip-hop graffiti, lived in the projects in Harlem, all of that is so wrong

In the process of educating my artist friends in D.C. about who he was, we created this arts program called King's Court Project, which was this arts project in which we took kids from the most desperate backgrounds in D.C. and from the worst high schools, five kids, and took them on a journey of art, an art journey. We exposed them to the avant-garde in art -- not just any art, but the avant-garde in art -- and then had them make art

So for example, we played John Cage and Stockhausen music for them, and then allowed them to make music by dropping water drops in water and playing it backwards and using it as a soundtrack to the most avant-garde short films, inspired by Un Chien Andalou by Buñuel or the most out-there films. It was called King's Court Project, and it's something that I want to bring back to life one day

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