The “Shacks & Shanties” project is a South Side Chicago installation initiative organized by Faheem Majeed. Shacks were constructed as platforms for artistic performances and installations. I attended one such installation/performance, titled “Ghana Must Go” after the infamous plaid patterned tote bags that are so prevalent in West Africa. I talked to Faheem Wajeed as well as Abbéy Odunlami, the artist behind “Ghana Must Go”. We talked about community engagement, fashion, and appropriation.
The piece below was produced for “Reclaimed Soul” (hosted by Ayana Contreras). Reclaimed Soul airs Thursdays from 8-10pm on http://vocalo.org, and over the airwaves on 89.5fm (NWindy) and 90.7fm (CHI).
This Friday, Shacks and Shanties is hosting a community open mic. See details below:
I’ll be spinning for the opening of this… The record store is completely modular and made to encourage the kind of listening-based cultural interchange that makes record stores awesome. Over 4,000 records on loan from community members’ collections. None of them are for sale, but visitors can listen to them all: from “Belly Dancing Favorites” to the Moody Blues to Earth, Wind, & Fire.
Record Store — an installation presented by Seattle Art Museum in collaboration with [storefront] Olson Kundig Architects (MacDowell architect Tom Kundig’s firm) — December 13th in Seattle! Attempting to remove the barrier between artist and audience, Record Store encourages the community to participate in the curation of this Olson Kundig Architects-designed traveling installation. Record Store is on view at Olson Kundig Architects (406 Occidental Ave., Seattle, WA 98104) from December 13 to January 31, 2012, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. An opening event will be held on December 13, 2011 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Special DJ listening parties will take place during the installation’s run.
Psssst… David Boykin Expanse with DJ Ayana. It’s a righteous situation at a secret location. RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Featuring work by LTAB all-stars, alumni, and co-creator Kevin Coval
Friday, August 5 & 6, 2011 7:30pm
Zacek McVay Theater
TWO NIGHTS ONLY!
This will be one of the most exciting nights at the Victory Gardens this summer!
Don’t miss out on ENGLISH CLASS HERETICS: LOUDER THAN A BOMB IN CONCERT! The stage artists from the largest and most explosive youth poetry slam in the world, Chicago’s own Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) will take over Victory Gardens with an evening of great performances.
This exclusive concert presentation features the best LTAB performances from recent years as well as performances by LTAB staff, teaching artists and alumni (including poets from the critically acclaimed LTAB documentary.)
The Ladies Ring Shout as a Performance was born of a weekly workshop, dialoguing space, and “jam session” for women.
Participants talked, wrote and moved in the spirit of collaborative experimentation and explored what an urban feminine discourse looks and feels like. What are our notions of an Urban Feminine? What is her legacy to/for future women/humans? What defines the urban woman’s community?
LRS is comprised of three core members Felicia Holman, Abra Johnson and Meida McNeal, who proclaim:
Performance is our therapy, our catharsis, our way to community. Performance is the haven that welcomes us to rediscover our own value and worth. Performance and expression bring our dormant, unsaid emotions to the surface and urge us to work them out within a community that not only bears witness, but also empathizes through experience.
Buy tickets here
Honey Pot Performance on Facebook
This Month, Chicago welcomes back both springtime and Versionfest (BTW, I think I saw a daffodil on South Shore Drive the other day).
Organized by the good folks behind local Arts & Culture publication Lumpen, the Fest runs from April 22nd until May 1st in Bridgeport (a neighborhood that’s been going through a lot of changes in recent years). Speaking of change, according to their website:
These years of recession, insolvency, uncertainty, and calamity have affected us
in ways we couldn’tve imagined before.
…But there is hope… Version 11 is a
celebration of the Chicago communities — projects, spaces, groups, individuals
— creating their own strategies for participatory economies, co-prosperity,
and the pursuit of genuine happiness. Version will demonstrate the possible,
celebrate the impossible, and showcase the ingenuity, spirit and passion that
create The Community we aspire to take part in together. This is an invitation
to share your community, your goals, your dreams for a better Community of the
Future. It’s all we have left.
Events for the Fest include:
* The New New Chicagoans
* The MDW
* Materiél Magazine
Maria’s Community Grant
* reenactment of the Haymarket
Below, an image from “Printervention” (an part of Version Fest 10). Jive On.
“Passing Strange“, the Tony-winning black rock-opera is righteous, and it’s being staged in Chicago featuring local soul revivalists JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound… and my chica: LaNisa Frederick. Amen.
Passing Strange is the coming-of-age story of “Youth” (Daniel Breaker), a kid growing up somewhere in LA in the seventies. He is disillusioned because he doesn’t fit the common definition of blackness. Floating above the city, getting high in his choir director’s blue Volkswagen beetle, “Youth” decides to uproot himself from everything he’s known in order to find home.
It takes a blurry, nomadic trek across Europe to realize some ultimate truths about where he fits in the world and whom he can count among his tribe. Features a great live band (book and music by Stew and Heidi) and meaty writing that sometimes billows poetically like blood in water. For anyone who grew up not fitting in, then realized that they fit in perfectly, after all. Jive on. Below, an excerpt from the Spike Lee-documented Broadway staging.
Featuring JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound
Chicago Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA)
777 N. Green St., Chicago IL (Google Map)
APRIL 21 – MAY 29, 2011
Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm
Sundays @ 7pm
What do you get when you mix a maverick artist with strong community ties and an Urban Planner? For one thing, Theaster Gates. For another, the Dorchester Projects, pictured above. Theaster has been purchasing properties in the Woodlawn/Grand Crossing neighborhood for a few years now, and has quietly acquired the stock of the former Dr. Wax record store as well as the now defunct Prairie Avenue Bookstore (both businesses were revered in their respective collector communities). He created a home for glass lantern slides that depict the canon of Western Fine Art. Using reclaimed materials, he is turning his properties into cultural community hubs, featuring curators and programming that reflects the collections and the community.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll be curating the record collection in May and June of 2011, culminating in a series of talks on Chicago Music History (details to follow) and a couple of good, old-fashioned dance parties starring local-born music.
Read the New York Times article about what’s poppin on the South Side with the Dorchester Projects.
Chicagoans… Thaw out this Thursday (and every Third Thursday) with Simeon Viltz and DJ Ayana at the Groove Conspiracy. The revelry starts at 10pm. Dance, eat, drink, play pool, and catch a classic movie with subtitles (past features include The Best of Soul Train, Monkey Hustle, and The Last Dragon). Morseland is located at 1218 West Morse.