The first film from TT The Artist, Dark City Beneath the Beat, is a loving homage to Baltimore-based creativity, a cinematic dance party featuring the kings and queens of Baltimore Club music, and a celebration of rich, multigenerational musical and dance traditions. The film is a musical documentary, but unfolds cyclically and builds layers of relationships between its subjects, rather than narrating a story in a chronological or linear way.
Featuring vignettes from Baltimore’s musical soundscape and offering an original soundtrack from a collaborative group of producers and musicians, the film is a deep dive into a talented community that is often sampled but not always recognized, and places them at the center of the story, giving each a solid opportunity to be seen and heard. A number of familiar Baltimore locations serve as the backdrop for dance performances—from Lexington Market to the Baltimore Museum of Art to the Inner Harbor—presenting an architectural and cultural landscape that will challenge the expectations of audiences unfamiliar with Baltimore.
It was important for TT and her team that the “first-look” film presentation happen in Baltimore. At the sold-out event at The Parkway, members of the Baltimore music and film community turned up to clap, cheer, dance in their seats, and to participate in a discussion afterwards between TT and music and culture writer Lawrence Burney of True Laurels magazine and The Fader.
Not surprisingly, TT and her collaborators, friends, members of the music, dance, and film community, and audience members showed up for the red carpet event looking effortlessly fashionable, as Baltimore tends to do, using playful, inventive, and vintage style to declare their affection for an artist who has lovingly documented and impacted Baltimore’s art scene. It was a pleasure to collaborate with Jill Fannon to meet, talk to, and photograph several featured dancers, producers, and audience members at the event. Not only were they thrilled to be present and support an exciting new project, they were dressed to express their personal style and to share in the energy generated by this new film.
Photo Essay by Jill Fannon.
The Parkway Theatre was a dramatic setting for the “first look” presentation of Dark City Beneath the Beat on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
TT The Artist, Rapper, Producer, Owner of Club Queen Records, and Director of Dark City Beneath the Beat
Wearing: Club Queen Records hat, Dark City T-shirt, Jacket is a vintage collaboration between TT and Illicit Rag Vintage Boutique, Hand Painted Jeans by TT The Artist, and Converse Chucks
Jaylen Brown, 15, Student (son) and Keaira Richard, 35, Cosmetologist, Brand Ambassador, Reiki Healer, and Promotional Model (mother)
Wearing: (Left:) Yellow glasses, Shirt from H&M, Vans and (Right:) FashionNova Two-Piece Dress
Kotic Couture, 27, Rapper and Rovo Monty, 26, Recording Artist, Singer, and Dancer
@koticcouture and @rovomonty
Wearing: (Left:) Shirt by Pretty Little Thing, pants by Adidas, Patrick Ewing Shoes and (Right:) H&M Dress, Nirvana T-shirt, and Boots from Forever 21
Marquis Revlon Clanton, 30, Vogue Dancer, Performer, Model
Wearing: Fendi Hat, Zara Shirt, Michael Kors Belt, Vintage Necklace
Elliot Doughtie, 34, Artist and Art Handler/ Installer, Ashley Molese, 35, Independent Curator in NY/Baltimore, and Caitlin Tucker Melvin, 30, Curator
@elliotdoughtie, @rhymeswithgeese, and @cryinginmuseums
Wearing: (Left:) Vintage Depot Shirt and Pants, (Center:) H&M shirt, Shorts she has “had for a million years” and Skagen Watch, and (Right:) Vintage ASOS Dress and Purse
Jennifer Monroe, 31, Postal Service Employee and Hairdresser
Wearing: Dress found “online,” Coach Bag, and Reeboks
Malcolm Gasque, 26, International Pro Football Player and Mike-Mike Zome, 31, Rapper, Videographer, Producer
@noodles_shawty123 and @mikemikezome
Wearing: (Left:) Shirt and Pants from H&M, jewelry from Brazil, Adidas shoes and (Right:) Chicago Bulls Hat, Original Mike-Mike shirt (that’s him), and Jordans
E. Brady Robinson, Photographer, with TT The Artist, Owner of Club Queen Records, and Director of Dark City
@ebradyrobinson and @tttheartist
Wearing: (Left:) Zara shirt and pants selected by friend and stylist Marisa González and (Right:) Club Queen Records hat, Dark City T-shirt, jacket is a vintage collaboration between TT and Vintage Rag Boutique, jeans by TT The Artist, and Converse Chucks