LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK -- Self-proclaimed Chef Henny, Harvey J would have definitely enjoyed this event. The vibes were in full effect during All Star Weekend at Sip and Paint: Hennessy & Picasso Valentine’s Day edition, presented by KickBackz. With so many other events happening the same week, including the historic, box-office breaking Marvel movie, Black Panther, KickBackz made sure that this event was one to remember.
Fresh off the heels of our first Sip and Paint: Hennessy & Picasso, KickBackz kept the energy going and the henny flowing.
In case you aren’t familiar with paint events like this, art classes featuring adult beverages, have become widely popular as of late. Often titled “wine-and-paint”, they eventually become colloquially known as “sip and paints”. While the origin of said events is difficult to trace, the thriving art culture and entrepreneurial spirit of millennials in New York City boroughs undoubtedly played a major role in their prominence today.
Fast-forwarding to present day Long Island, KickBackz has decided to team up with Straight Tax to bring their series of Sip and Paints, dubbed “Hennessy & Picasso”. With admission prices starting at just $40 including all paint materials and a BYOB option, it became an easy choice for wide-eyed millennials looking to spend the night doing something other than just Netflix and chill.
To make things unique, KickBackz offered a special package for couples looking to spend their Valentine’s Day weekend doing something fun. Sure, you could take your significant other to Ruth Chris’ for the third year in a row, but why not switch up the monotony?
If you were tired of your #mcm just giving you Russell Stover’s chocolate every year, this was the event for you.
For a cool $99, couples received complimentary strawberries; a fresh-cut long stemmed red rose; and the option to choose Champagne or Hennessy drinks while they painted.
Why henrock? Why not? KickBackz sought to capture the essence of the present day culture by incorporating into the event a drink that perhaps causes more hype and loathing at the same time than any other alcohol. Whether it is top rappers naming drop it in records, or the appeal of having a bottle of “Very Special” cognac in your ice bucket in your VIP section at a lounge, Hennessy has got all the firepower right now. A shortage caused by a cold snap and high demand around the world has only added to the allure of this LVMH product.
It made choosing Hennessy an easy option, especially when KickBackz founder, Nas (not to be confused with iconic rapper and Hennessy brand ambassador, Nasir Jones) harbors a penchant for the brown water himself.
Each student was armed with an aluminum palette filled with vibrant globs of acrylic paint, a blank canvas, and a set of brushes.
The instructor for Hennessy and Picasso this time happened to be the bohemian and charismatic artist, RT Morgan. Well-seasoned to teaching art to new students professionally, he deftly took the class on a creative trip that had them expressing their emotions using a medley of shades, strokes and colors.
The class was packed with attendees from the surrounding Long Island area who chatted and vibed with each other while they poured all kinds of mixed drinks and liquor into the bottom of their red solo cups, but none more significant than our signature beverage of the night, Hennessy.
While canvases dried in a storage location with the aid of a powerful fan, RT Morgan had students participate in a simple but entertaining task to kill time. Armed with pencils and several sheets of white paper, students were asked to draw a portrait of the person sitting across from them. After several cups of Hennessy, Jack Daniels, and Cîroc Vodka, hilarity ensued.
To create the perfect vibe of art, liquor and music, KickBackz reached out to longtime collaborator and official DJ of KickBackz, DJ LIV. LIV set the tone often and early playing a variety of hip-hop, R&B, and reggae. Early on, you were greeted by cuts of melodic vocals from TDE’s rising jewel, SZA alongside the ambient, brooding synths of your favorite members of October’s Very Own.
As the night drew on, a wintry mix intensified outside the venue in Lindenhurst, leaving vehicles parked outside coated in a slushy of white snow. Inside though, things were just heating up.
DJ LIV kept pumping out more chunes, and the paint class in the sleepy county of Suffolk became the hottest & loudest nightclub in the area for one night.
LIV went into his bag and played the latest singles including “Bodak Yellow” from Cardi B and 6ix9ine’s explosive record, “Gummo”. Later in the night, he took the class on a trip back into New York in the 2000’s, where he played the most memorable and infectious records from iconic rappers like 50 Cent and Fabolous.
Sturdy milly rocks and slow whines over soca and reggae beats permeated the walls of the basement. Looking at any corner and you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find a troop of ladies crooning to Drake’s #1 hit, “God’s Plan” while taking Snaps.
“If every event is going to be like this, I’ve got to come back for sure” - .
By the end of the night, the once matte gray floors were checkered with blotches of paint. Empty glass bottles of cognac and vodka sat juxtaposed on tables, with their contents flowing smoothly through the veins of their owners. As everyone stood on the back wall to take a final group photo, you couldn’t help but appreciate the litness of the event.
Sip and Paint: Hennessy & Picasso Valentine’s Day edition was a huge success. Be on the lookout for the next KickBackz-hosted event, as we’ve got several in the pipeline for 2018 and beyond.
Special thanks to Straight Tax for providing the venue, Duck of Earwaxx Sessions for capturing the visuals, DJ LIV for spinning fire records all night and Trey aka RT Morgan for instructing the class.