Archive for Playdough

Our first video experiment: Playdough, Ron, and Valenti jam

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 8, 2011 by artlovemagic

post by Michael Lagocki

So a few months back, we told you about the video experiment we were shooting with Blue Pill Entertainment, and some local musicians. Blue Pill is headed by Teddy Cool, a local director who is tearing up the Dallas music scene this year. The musicians we enlisted were local rapper Playdough, and local drummers Valenti and Captain Ron Davison.

I wanted us to try and capture something with some spontaneous energy, and I definitely wanted to pair artists that otherwise might not cross paths and work together. Making videos of pre-existing tracks is cool, but there’s a lot of people who are already good at that. Since ArtLoveMagic is known for live creation, I wanted to find a way to make something on the spot, and then shoot it documentary-style.

For it to work spontaneously, and be caught well on film, I figured we needed to make it as simple as possible. The people involved, from the film and sound crews, to the musicians, all had to be really good at what they did.

A hip hopper and a few live percussionists seemed like a safe bet to try this for the first time. Playdough’s a seasoned freestyler, so I knew he wouldn’t feel pressure making music on the fly. I first met Ron Davison at Open Mics where he was backing up poet after poet, creating live beats and ambiance to whatever they performed. And Valenti works with Ron in the band Melody Memory, so they’re real comfortable playing together. Seemed like a winning team.

I asked Playdough to bring in some lyrics and told him he would meet two drummers who were talented enough to just jump in and collaborate live. I told Ron and Valenti that they would work with a rapper who wrote positive, intelligent lyrics and had a clean delivery. In retrospect, everyone trusted me a lot. Heh. (thanks, guys)

Sunlight makes everything look good. Setting up lighting rigs often only works for one camera angle. The Blue Pill crew is brilliant with lighting, but a rig is expensive to rent and means moving around a lot of big clumsy equipment. The sun however is free and always looks awesome. So we needed to find a sunbathed, INDOOR location. Remember, we were shooting live sound too, so the outdoors was a no go. My friend Tanner found us a yoga studio – Super Yoga Palace – that worked perfectly.

Live sound would’ve been a nightmare, but we immediately went to someone who knows great sound, Colin Roy (who runs audio at The Green Elephant). Colin and I have spoken a lot about what shows should sound like, and how to balance performers vs. instruments, being able to hear lyrics from live singers with bands, etc. I thought he was our safest bet to get this right.

So how’d it go? The whole shot took about an hour from beginning to end. Before starting, and just after meeting them, Playdough gave the Valenti and Ron a quick idea of what the beat should move like. Not more than a minute or two conversation.

And then the musicians went for it. There was no practice run. We actually did two songs, and two takes of each, but all the audio in the vid is from song one take one.

This was a project I dreamed about for quite a bit before executing it, and even sat on for several weeks after it was completely edited. We released it this week specifically because Playdough has a huge show Wednesday night opening for BLACK STAR at the House of Blues, and another big show Friday Night, headlining at The Bone.

But I’m really proud we did this, and I’d love for a lot of people to check it out. If you have anywhere good to post it, a group of friends to share it with, a hip-hop site you know of, whatever… please do. I’d like to get more than just the ArtLoveMagic crowd to see it. The direct link is here:

Crazy thanks to everyone involved from Teddy and to Danny (our second camera man), Colin, Deb, David, Kzach, and Tanner who all supported this experiment in one way or another. To the musicians, thanks for trusting me and sharing your talents.

We hope in the future to do more projects like this, and have already begun discussions with directors and other musicians for upcoming collaborationss. I see no reason why there aren’t dozens of musicians we know who’d be great at something like this. Even visual artists or poets can get in the game. Who knows? It can be like a playground.


Local artists making waves – Teddy Cool

Posted in Artists, Community, Deep Ellum, music, videos with tags , , , , , , on July 9, 2011 by artlovemagic

Don’t sleep. Director Teddy Cool and his crew at Blue Pill Entertainment are doing some amazing work lately – a LOT of it. In a recent conversation, Teddy let me know that he had a goal of directing 10 music videos this year alone (currently, he’s completed and released 5).

photo by Gordon Black

Teddy’s work is a cut above. From the shot selection, to the lighting, to the editing, these videos are sharp, clear, and professional. Teddy’s impacting the local art scene by giving musicians quality videos that showcase their talents… and he’s really good at making his subjects look like rock stars.

Below are four videos, all directed by Teddy in recent months. Each features a local hip hopper (or crew) performing original work. It’s worth noting that pretty much all of these were shot on shoe string budgets.  I find it inspiring that Blue Pill can do this much with a few cameras and a few dedicated people.

JackRabbit James’ Me and My Music video uses several different locations and tons of local faces. The “extra” song at the end of the video was a last minute choice to add, but ends up being one of the most expressive and fun parts of the whole thing. Make sure you watch all the way through.

Playdough’s Ya Heard was a single day shoot in Denton in only two locations. I was lucky enough to be there and get to see the crew work. We shot a LOT more than you see here. Teddy shoots enough so that he has plenty of good moments to pic from. One thing that impressed me the most, was that by doing most of the work in-camera (ie without post effects) we were able to look at shots within minutes of filming them.  This is a great example of doing a lot with a little and using lighting correctly to make everyone look good.

* — * — * — * — *

Language warning: the next two videos are not for kiddos

Teddy directed the first two videos of the DFW cypher project. That project involves small teams of local rappers coming together to perform on a single track and display their lyrical talents. Great editing here is what enables a very simple shoot to produce a great video.

This one really takes it all the way. Hardcore hiphop crew, the Aux Heard, put together this fast and powerful track. Together with Teddy, they created a video with feature film quality shots and effects… and ZOMBIES! This one really blew me away when I saw it.

It’s great to see someone local really going for it, and expressing this much talent. Keep your eyes peeled for a soon-to-be released experiment that artlovemagic and Teddy teamed up for. Check out a sneak of that here.

Keep pushing, Dallas.


local music – Playdough’s Ya Heard video

Posted in Artists, Community, music, videos with tags , , , on June 8, 2011 by artlovemagic

Dallas music videos are looking GOOD lately. That’s thanks in part to Teddy Cool and the folks at Blue Pill entertainment. They’ve been shooting some rrreally impressive stuff lately- comparable with big budget shoots- smart editing, clean lighting, good work. Of course for it to mean anything, you need a great performer with a great song. Fortunately Playdough’s latest album Hotdoggin‘ is up to the task.

Blue Pill Entertainment shot the video for the song “Ya Heard” a few weeks back in Denton. ArtLoveMagic’s Michael Lagocki was on hand for the shoot (you can see ML hoping around the video at the end in the party and couch shots).

ArtLoveMagic, Blue Pill and Playdough also shot another video the following week in Deep Ellum. That one is part of a very cool experiment that you’ll get to see the results of soon. But this week is all about Ya Heard. Enjoy the video. And if you know folks that’s enjoy conscience hip hop, or Texas music, pass it along. Support the good stuff.


A new experiment – filming local arts

Posted in Artists, Deep Ellum, photography, PR, videos with tags , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2011 by artlovemagic

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Today, Sunday May 28th ArtLoveMagic partnered with Blue Pill Entertainment to produce the first pair of a new series of video projects. The projects will involve filming local performers, mostly in collaborative performances with other locals.

Our first shoot was a spoken word piece with Konichiwa Zach, regular host of our Art & Coffee shows. We shot outside our office at the Deep Ellum Community Center. K Zach surprised everyone by killing it in two simple takes. This set the tone for a day of fast, efficient shooting.

The second shoot combined the talents of local MC Playdough alongside local percussionists Valenti and Captain Ron Davison. The drummers met Playdough for the first time today, and quickly worked out a drum line for two songs Playdough brought with him. In a short burst of time, we did two performances of each song and got what we needed it. The guys were great, found a rhythm together right away.

The day was blur, and a success. What film project finishes 3 hours ahead of schedule? Ours. The professionalism of director Teddy Cool and his team of Danny Williams and Colin Roy of Blue Pill helped us speed through the process. All of us, involved in this one have been at our crafts for awhile. I proudly believe our experience led to us doing this the right way. When we were done, we were done. We knew we had it and we didn’t waste any excess energy shooting takes we didn’t need.

This project has been a dream of mine for a long time. Valenti reminded me during the shoot that he first heard me talk of doing this more than a year ago. It’s nice to have it come together like this. My grateful thanks to everyone involved. The shoots will take some time to edit, so keep watch for updated information about their respective releases.

We’ve just begun to talk about our next shoot. We’ve got some great ideas.

More soon.

-Michael Lagocki

Playdough’s HOTDOGGIN’ on some Dallas Hip Hop

Posted in Artists, Community, music with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2011 by artlovemagic

Friday night is going to be a pretty spectacular night of music and painting for the Dallas Hip Hop & Street Art scene. This is the official release party for HOTDOGGIN’ the third full studio album by local MC Playdough. The cd actually dropped online Tuesday and can be streamed live or downloaded here at Playdough’s bandcamp site.

In preparation for the release, we also had Playdough on our live radio show this Friday. DJ Sean P was there backing him up, and we had guest Daniel Katsuk in the studio as well. All three were interviewed and performed live (including a wicked little freestyle challenge that Playdough ripped into). Watch/Listen to the whole episode here.

Friday Night’s event will be no joke. In addition to Playdough and Sean P on stage, there will be sets from Dustin Cavazos, Sivion, and Jaybee, plus over a dozen live artists will be slinging paint. The amazing Just.Us.League will be joining the show as well – they’re a crazy wild art experiment that you’ll definitely want to see. Think 11 artists hitting a giant surface at once in a mad dash to create a 10 ft wide jam piece in under two hours.

Here’s the official facebook page for the event on Friday night at THE GREEN ELEPHANT.

Artist Spotlight: Playdough

Posted in Artists, Community, Magic, music, Spotlight with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2011 by artlovemagic

Tell me a little bit about yourself..

I’m Playdough. I’m an Emcee and producer. I’m a solo artist as well as part of a crew called Deepspace5. I’m a family man and I live in Arlington.

As you have grown within your talent, what inspires you to create?

I love making music. I love having an idea and working on it to it’s completion. I love all the different styles and cadences and melodies and moods that music allows us to explore. Sometimes it’s personal and changes you, sometimes it changes others that hear it. Meeting and talking with people that have been effected or enjoy my music is a big part, but I honestly couldn’t do anything else. Music is infused into my life and is a part of me.

How long have you been producing your craft and why did you begin this form of expression?

I’ve been rapping since I was in the 6th grade. Hip-Hop really grabbed me. I was always drawn to music, but hip-hop specifically spoke to me in a way that I never really made a conscious choice to do it. One day I looked up and I was knee deep in it. It just kind of sucks you in and makes you a part of the culture.

What do you ultimately want to accomplish with your talent?

I want to continue to take it to people who need and enjoy it. Worldwide. I want get people thinking. At the end of the day I want people to hear the Life in my music. I have nothing to offer people outside of Christ and what I’ve learned from Him. I hope my music reflects the Life and eternal hope that comes through knowing Him.

Outside of your artistry, what other interests do you have?

I’m a huge family man so if I’m not doing music I’m probably playing around with my family. I also love basketball and am forever supporting the Mavs. I’m also a big fan of reading so it’s nothing strange to find my nose in a book.

What was your first experience with ArtLoveMagic?

My first experience was meeting some of the ArtLoveMagic family at some of my shows. I started to meet people associated with them and was really impressed by the type of people they were. Lots of Love, support and genuine encouragement. The more people I met the more I saw the talent and how deep it goes. Everyone involved is ridiculous in their own way. I’ve got nothing but Love for you guys and am honored that people of your talent appreciate what I do. In my mind somehow it adds validity to what I do.

What web address can one go to to view more of what you do?

How can someone contact you?

On my website is probably the easiest, but I’m on the usual sites, too. Try or or you can ask your mom, she’s got my number.

Deep Ellum On Air – Real Local Music

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2011 by artlovemagic

Playdough, Parallel Play, Blunt Force Crew, Elle, GOAT, Deborah Driscoll, Erin Gayden, The Texas Red Legs, The Zachary Scott Pohl Band.  What do all of these phenomenal local musicians have in common?  They can all be heard right now at Deep Ellum On Air.

Deep Ellum On Air is the first source we’ve come across that wanted to play all local music, all the time.  Obviously we didn’t hesitate when asked to come do an ArtLoveMagic Radio show, or when they asked our Music Director to give them all the local music we had access to.

So while you’re sitting there Facebooking, working, or reading this blog, you can simply click one of the links to Deep Ellum On Air and enjoy your favorite local tunes.  You don’t have to wait for a song you dig, either.  Deep Ellum On Air has a simple playlist on their home page with the Artists’ names and tracks listed, and all you have to do to hear that track is click on it.  Pretty sweet.

The guys at Deep Ellum On Air have been very good to us and all our musicians.  They’re really great people who, like ArtLoveMagic, just want to help brighten the spotlight on Deep Ellum with more examples of fresh, local talent.  They finance the whole station out of their own pockets for the good of this city and its music.  Since we first came by, the guys have done major work to the space like adding more HD cameras, making the area more comfortable for guest hosts, and adding more microphones and headsets.

The last time we visited the station we asked what their next improvement goal was.  “To upgrade to UStream Pro”, they replied.  That would mean those silly ads and blurry videos would be a thing of the past, and all the people who enjoy the station would have a lot more fun listening.  To get there, all they need to raise is $200.  They just added a brand spankin’ new “Donate” button at the bottom of their homepage.  $200 isn’t an insurmountable goal, and we think our collective could really help out.  Anything you can spare to help these guys out would be appreciated.

Whether you can donate or not, Deep Ellum On Air is free, all-local and all for you.  Enjoy it.  Love it.  Check out our next ArtLoveMagic Radio show in February!  More details to come.

ArtLoveMagic Radio

Posted in Artists, Community, Deep Ellum, Global Community, music, PR with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by artlovemagic

Yep, you read it right…ArtLoveMagic is going to be on the radio.  We’ve been offered a monthly spot on DeepEllumOnAir, a station that has just started up and is all about an area we Love.

For our pilot episode from 2pm – 3:30pm, Michael Lagocki, Jedi Jantzen and Deb Driscoll will be hosting a talk radio segment that features a few local creatives you may know.  Eric Tipton, a soulful Deep Ellum songwriter will be joining us for a live, on air performance of his song, “Soul Music” plus an insightful interview on his current goals and career.

Eric Tipton - Bridget Foley Photography

Our other guests are Chris and Hallie Garcia.  Michael will be talking with them about their experience of moving to Dallas, jumping into the arts scene and Comic books.  Chris is a colorist for a few comic publishers you’d recognize.  Think Marvel.  Hallie is an amazing artist in her own right, and has several different avenues of creativity we’ll discuss.

Apart from the talk between badasses, we’ll also be playing some music from your favorite past and present Dallas musicians. Drop a couple names? Ok. Playdough, Erin Gayden, Zachary Scott Pohl Band and The Texas Red Legs.

We hope you’ll join us for this momentous occasion by tuning in online at  The show will stream live from 2pm – 3:30 pm.

Entry Image: Santa and the ArtLoveMagic family

Posted in Entry Images For with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by artlovemagic

Our new entry image at is a jam of images that came from our 2010 Holiday Party. The photos were various attendees as shot by Sherry Muldoon and Jen Shu. The Santa drawing came from Khalid Robertson, who drew it live at the party (on a computer – with a graphic tablet hooked up to a projector so we could all watch him draw). Michael Lagocki whipped the whole thing into a happy collage.


Local release: Playdough’s Bible Bus Mixtape

Posted in music, Spotlight with tags , , on June 30, 2010 by artlovemagic

post by Michael Lagocki

You know how when an artist you really love drops new work, and you’re always a llllliiiiiitttttlllleee bit nervous about whether or not your going to like it?

Yesterday, Playdough’s Bible Bus Mixtape dropped for free at

I’m thrilled to say it’s great. I’ve only been through it a few times, so no in-depth review for now, but I will say that track 3 LIVE IT UP is flippin’ fantastic. I wanna direct the dang video for it. Great beat, lyrics, delivery. I dare you to listen to it twice and not dig it.

Anyway with 11 tracks, this is a lot of great, free music from a Dallas MC who’s putting out incredible work. If you enjoy real hip hop (I’d explain the difference between real hiphop and radio hip hop, but there’s simply not enough space on the internet), you should definitely download a copy of this one.