Sunday, April 1, 2012

It starts in the streets. It stays in the streets.

The street has always been infinitely important to me.  I identify with it.  It’s outside and there are lots of them. They go to all types of places. They go everywhere.  Everyone has probably been on one at some point. Those odds are Fascinating.  Those facts are real.

Maybe that’s why I lived in New York City.  Those streets are a maze of amazing possibility.  A random turn down a street in lower Manhattan could give you a staph infection, a girlfriend, a buzz, a bloody nose, a hundred dollars, an erection, or a chill.  It could also just be a street to walk down and wave at someone, or nobody.

I skateboarded as a youth.  To this day the sound of a skateboard rolling down the street makes me feel 16 and rebellious.  In many ways I still am 16 and rebellious.  The difference being, back then I wanted deeply for a revolution to be attached to the rebellion.  Now there is and it’s because I never left the street. 

I wrote graffiti, listened to punk rock music, went to the Sunday matinee shows at CBGB’s, smoked, and attempted to learn how to rap.  I was a product of the street, still am.  Based on these things you could probably tell that my house was difficult to stay inside, and it was at times.  Regardless of that fact I always felt at ease sitting on a curb watching the afternoon pass as the sun went down.  

I found out very early on that I had the overwhelming ability to affect those around me.  I knew that my smile had possibility and promise behind it, beyond just telling a joke.  I knew I had an understanding of how the street could affect a person and leave them open for inspiration.  I was aware of the symphony in the street and I wanted so desperately to be one of it’s conductors. 

No matter what I studied, how much I learned, or how much I grew as a person I always found myself back in the street marveling, at the street.  Someone, years ago figured this out and began filming my shenanigans.  This was during the infancy of You Tube.  I had no idea what a viral video was, but I was in one as a character called The Chad that I’d created.  For the first time I realized that I could take the interactions with others in the street, record them and show them to the planet so the moment captured could affect anyone and everyone.  My head exploded with possibility and New York City caught the shrapnel.

I shot something like 98 videos as this character. The Chad acquired many fans and millions of hits.  He received emails from American Soldiers stationed in Afghanistan thanking him for making them smile for a moment amongst the violence they were regularly exposed to.  There were also countless youths that approached me on the street and quoted The Chad's silly words as they giggled.  That’s really why I do this anyway, for that.  After a couple million views and 3 years I retired the character.  It was a sad day. 

I left my home state and favorite grid of streets in my favorite borough, Brooklyn.  I drove across the country to LA and these streets were brand new and crazy.  People out here are just insane.  There’s something, literally in the air.  Every girl has a nice rear end and every dude is a bro.  The homeless people here are abundant and they surpass the lunacy in NY because they are at the end of America at the end of their rope.  Most of them have a blue wig on, truth.

After about two years of living inside the spice rack of West Hollywood I decided to get back to where it all started with my art and the street, back to me.  It’s hard for me not to talk to everyone in the street.  I’m obsessed with the existence of existence.  I smile at the world in the hope that it smiles back.  I don’t always win these games, and some people are adverse to my antics.  Regardless, people like seeing the outcome.  That’s where we are at now.

After some hard work with some great friends I’m in a ironic position.  A New York based company called My Damn Channel believes in my brain enough to show my antics to the world, using their web site as the showcase.  The show is titled McMayhem, a play on my last name.  I’m joining the lunacy of the streets of West Hollywood with my dear friends Stephen Seidel, Jon Hill, and Nate Cornett.  My super music producer friend Ariel Diaz from Long Island is the composer of the show. 

The long and the short of it is this.  I left my home two years ago. The first big deal I received is with a company based there.  It's a show in the streets. The through line and theme of Graffiti, Hip-Hop, and humor are the general focus. 

Everything happens for a reason.  The older I get the more that cliché makes sense.  I fell in love with rebellion and most art attached to the concept.  Years later I’m throwing all that into a blender and making a milkshake for all consisting of my dreams and favorite things in the hopes that people drink it. 

Today as I walked home from getting a coffee I was reminded of why I do this.  I decided to take an alternative rout home.  I saw a familiar face.   It was a man I went to college with. I wasn't particularly close with him, but we had a lot of mutual friends.  He was walking with a sullen look on his face.  I asked him what was up. He informed me that he had just put his dog down.  I immediately gave him a hug and held him close to me.  We barely know each other.  He wiped his face off and thanked me.  We parted ways. 

I’m in the street, because you can turn a corner and run into a situation where you must make people smile.  It’s there, in the street, that I’m needed.  I’m here.  It’s ok.  


  1. Much like your vision as an artist, I created Renegade Reporting, and a goal was bringing artists dreams from the streets to the screen. It's been an honor to both grow and know you as a friend, producer, and a brother. It is amazing to see all the hard work paying off. We can only hope that our humanitarian approach, helps countless others during our efforts, as we need more love in the universe. It is happening, and I thank you. The world needs more Matt McManus'es. - 650 for life

  2. "Obsessed with the existence of existence." That's a hot. lol. Ur words r priceless kid. Straight genius. And u inspire the whole team. I feel priveleged to be able to share my talents w/ u. Not as collaborators, but as friends. Fuck that. Brothers. "I'm on a throne in my own mind, brain is a gold mine, rhyme and produce, - so I'm always loose to co-sign. I can't do it on my own, but I'm doin' it. Put the Rotten Apple in the Air like it's a crucifix."