House of painT: BBoys and BGirls Break It Down

(David Kawai / House of Paint)
(David Kawai / House of Paint)

I arrived at the Bronson Street bridge Saturday for House of PainT just in time to catch some of the quarterfinal of the BBoy and BGirl competition.

With a couple dozen graffiti writers covering the walls in art and DJs filling my ears with beats, I was blown away with the dance moves of the breakers.  They move their bodies in ways my mind cannot even think of, let alone my body attempt.  As I was standing there watching the amazing display, a passerby summed it all up, “Why can’t every day be like today?”

House of PainT is such cool and unique fusion of the entire hip hop underground with just the right amount of old-school meeting new school, that it attracts people from across North America.

Before I get to talking about the ridiculous 15 minute finals, I must mention how inspiring some of the speakers were at the event.  Most notably was Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli.  He is a world renown dancer from Montreal who suffers from Arthrogryposis (multiplex congenita), a rare disorder that is explained by limited joint movement and poor muscle growth.  This means he has very little to no muscles in his legs and therefore dances with crutches. I cannot do his speech justice, it was an amazingly inspiring and uplifting speech. Below is Luca doing a handstand and the end of his speech.

No excuses, no limits! So inspiring.

The final showdown was Groundwork Sessions Crew (GWS) from the Yukon vs Floor Assassin Malitia (F.A.M.) from Montreal.  Both crews had already danced twice early in the day but showed absolutely no signs of fatigue as they battled at an insane pace the whole fifteen minutes.  And as if the limb flailing excitement of head spins, hand stands and back flips wasn’t enough, the entire thing was done to Souljazz Orchestra playing a live set.  Yeah imagine that… it was better than you can imagine.  After all was said and done, once the dust settled and the crowd rushed the floor with excitement, GWS Crew came out on top in the hard fought battle.  The boys pocketed $1,000 in cash and the elusive title of champions of the 10th annual House of PainT festival.  Congrats, GWS, you blew my mind. Watch the video below.

I’d also like to do a shout out to the Deadly Venoms Crew from Montreal, who were defeated by GWS in a very heated semis.  You guys did some stuff I had never seen before.  Much respect.

With the winner announced, it was time for Souljazz to retake the stage and tickle our ear drums with their tantalizing soul and funk fusion under the bridge.  With the lights flashing on the eclectic colours of the graffiti and hundreds of people grooving outside to one of Ottawa’s finest, it was a magical way to cap off Saturday night.  It was such a good vibe with people dancing up a frenzy, myself included.

With that in mind I did not want to stop partying, so some friends and I headed out to the Electric Pow Wow at Babylon to dance the night away with A Tribe Called Red.

House of PainT, you truly outdid yourself this time. All the organizers and volunteers should be very proud of this amazing event.  I can’t say it enough.  Taking a sort of hidden gem and turning it into a hip hop mecca for five straight days is incredible.  Moments like this make me proud to be from Ottawa.