Category Archives: Printed Matters

Tonite! New School Poetics Presents: These Are The Breaks – Chicago Book Launch

 

Idris Goodwin is back home to Chicago tonight to celebrate the recent publication of his first book. It’s a collection of prose, poetry, and essays titled THESE ARE THE BREAKS.
These Are The Breaks is the debut collection by NEA award-winning playwright, HBO Def Poet, and critically acclaimed “indie” rapper, Idris Goodwin. Diverse in scope and wickedly satirical, Goodwin’s poetic essays sample race, class, and culture, transcending the page with hip-hop musicality. Goodwin cross-fades past and present, personal and political: Motown’s last vinyl factory juxtaposes against Bronx rap legends battling in open-air arenas; Chicago’s Public School system contrasts against Santa Fe’s tourism industry; an Egyptian child drowns in the Dead Sea as Nat Turner sprints across Death Valley. These Are The Breaks is the literary mixtape of our cacophonous times.

It’s scheduled to hit shelves in March 2011, but he’ll be selling advance copies after the performance.

If you don’t live in Chicago…

If want to secure a copy sooner than later visit www.WriteBloody.com to place a preorder or just contact me www.idrisgoodwin.blogspot. com or if you use a Kindle you can purchase at Amazon.com.

 

 

NEW SCHOOL POETICS presents
THESE ARE THE BREAKS – CHICAGO BOOK LAUNCH
Hosted by Poet, Educator ,WBEZ Correspondent Kevin Coval
Featured Performers: Award Winning Playwright/Performer Tanya Saracho & Poet Lamar “the trufe” Jorden, star of the critically acclaimed documentary Louder Than A Bomb
CHICAGO URBAN ARTS SOCIETY
http://www.chicagourbanart society.org/

 

2229 South Halsted Street
Chicago, IL
 
$5 donation, students free.  No one turned away 

click here for a downloadable preview of the book, slated to hit stores Spring 2010.
 

Don’t Care Bears. Hilarious.

 

You know you love it. Or else, you don’t care.   This t-shirt, featuring a trio of apathetic bears modeled after the iconic Care Bears is available from Chicago’s own Threadless, by artist Alex Solis.


Ebony in the digital age

 

Chicago’s own Ebony Magazine has digitized its archives.  Celebrate.

Ebony was the premier photojournalism and news magazine of the Black Diaspora for decades.   During its peak, Ebony featured groundbreaking work by photographers such as Gordon Parks (work seen below), as well as thought provoking articles that exposed sometimes obscure corners of the “black experience” (Mixed race children of WWII G.I.s in Japan, black scuba divers, black opera singers, et al.).  A beautiful thing.

 A contender has yet to step up to the plate and pick up that mantle.

click here to access the archive that goes back more than fifty years. Jive on!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Eunice Johnson: Wrought a Roadshow of Dreams

 

Eunice Johnson (1916-2010), widow of Ebony/Jet Publisher John H. Johnson, was more than Black Media’s First Lady.  As Creator and Director of the Ebony Fashion Fair (an all black roadshow of haute couture), she paved the way for generations of black models from Beverly Johnson and Naomi Sims to Naomi Campbell.  In fact, Richard Roundtree (“Shaft”) was a Fashion Fair model before he was kicking tail on the big screen. 

In the show, which was started in 1961, she included some of the most fashion forward designers, including Yves Saint Laurent (pictured with Mrs. Johnson, above).  In a time when Chicago was in many ways the hub of culture and information that bound the Black Community together (i.e., the nationally recognized Chicago Defender, Ebony, Jet, and a world renowned music and arts scene), Mrs. Johnson took her Fashion Crusade to the streets in towns both near and remote.  Accordingly, sewing machines buzzed each season, inspired by the roadshow of dreams.  Her shows, as well as so many of those classic Ebony Magazine fashion layouts, presented our people as we were (and still are) striving to be: free and uplifted. Strutting. Gliding.

As if that weren’t enough, Ebony Fashion Fair, which grew into the world’s largest traveling fashion show,  annually encompasses a nearly 180-city tour of the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.  It has raised more than $55 million for various charities.

And it keeps us dreaming.  To me, that is her legacy.  She brought the dream to our door.

Jive on!


All Power To The People: The Revolutionary Art Of Emory Douglas

The University of Chicago’s Center for the Studies of Race, Politics, and Culture, DOVA (Department of Visual Arts) Temporary Gallery, Black Panther Party Illinois History Project, and Diasporal Rhythms for an exhibit of works by Emory Douglas, internationally known artist and former Black Panther Party Minister of Culture. Location: DOVA Temporary (5228 S. Harper). Exhibit runs December 2, 2009-January 2, 2010.

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some more about Mr. Douglas and his work after the jump


the heart of Funkadelic’s image, crafted in Chicago

Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove - Front

This week the Sun-Times published an article talking about Pedro Bell, the man behind the iconic cover art, liner notes, and other print ephemera for Funkadelic from 1973 till about 1986.  Pedro, a Chicago native who went by Sir Lleb, has hit hard times.  Today he’s facing dire straits in Hyde Park, though his work was recently featured in a retrospective of acceptional album art at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Thick dust covers the gold lame shirt and silver leather coat in Pedro Bell’s closet.

The clothes are remnants from a brighter time when Bell, a rainbow Afro wig on his head and platform shoes on his feet, strutted through Chicago as a charter member of the ’70s funk revolution whose sound is heavily sampled in rap songs today. 

“It was psychedelic from a black perspective,” Bell said.

And despite the commercial success of Clinton’s music, Bell said he didn’t profit from it.

He’s broke.”  for more from Kara Spak’s article, click here

Last year, not only was his work featured in a retrospective entitled “Sympathy for the Devil”, but he embarked on a collaborative T-Shirt design project with Supreme, a skateboarding lifestyle store based in New York.  They captured a video interview with the man that you can catch here.  Despite this, he’s barely skirted eviction.  Every reissue that features his cover art is only a reminder of a former life, not a means of survival (which he needs).  Tragic, yet it’s one of the oldest story in the Music Industry.

Mr. Bell’s story is well worth digging into… For his 1994 interview with Jake Austen’s Roctober Magazine, click here

 


Light on the South Side Book Release

light-on-the-southsideblog

In the mid-’70s, photographer Michael Abramson set his viewfinder on the South Side of Chicago, specifically the many clubs and lounges that served as Hothouses of street fashion (among them, the legendary High Chaparral and the Showcase Lounge). They reflected where blues, soul and disco collided:  a dream of grit and gold lamé.  The resulting photos have been compiled into the book A Light on the South Side.

The Numero Group presents:
A Light On The South Side
Release party, Discussion, and Social
Sunday, November 1st 2pm – 6pm
Chicago Cultural Center
Discussion with Michael Abramson and Rick Kogan in the Claudia Cassidy Theater
Reception in the G.A.R. Rotunda

Following the talk there will be a book signing and reception where Intelligentsia Coffee will be serving a special Numero-inspired creation, the 24-Carat Blend, and the Numero staff will be playing South Side classics in the G.A.R. Rotunda.


AREA/Chicago Release Party… inside and outside Chicago

pigasus for president chicago 1968

(above, Pigasus [the pig candidate for President from the Yippie party] at a rally, Chicago 1968.  classic Windy City protest)

AREA/Chicago announces a publication release / art happening….

(AREA Chicago Art/Research/Education/Activism is a publication and event series dedicated to researching, supporting and networking local social, political and cultural movements.)

AREA #9 Release Party marks the release of AREA #9 Peripheral Vision: A Local Reader Inside and Outside Chicago…November 1, 2009 from 2:00pm till 5:00 pm.

The release party will be coinciding with the closing party for the exhibit/event series titled Demise of the South Side Community Art Center at the South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. (CTA: Indiana stop on the Green Line)

So there will be lots of great things to see alongside two events which are scheduled:

3:00 Peripheral Feminism: Readings by contributors
and 4:00 Performance by Sebastian Alvarez

This issue’s contributions are by/about:

Notes for a People’s Atlas of Calumet, Claire Pentecost, disability activism, Paul Durica, deindustrialization, Stephanie Farmer, Sean Noonan, Compass Group, Hobofest, Jayne Hileman, Ishpeming, Anthony Rayson, Forgotten Chicago, Dinah Ramirez, James Lane, Crandon mine campaign, Sarah Kanouse, Nick Brown, suburban segregation, The Brownlands, Mairead Case, rural pilgrimage, Beth Gutelius, feminism, Dale Asis, Southeast Environmental Task Force, Sarah Kavage, the Burnham plan, Lorenza Perelli, Chicago Otra, Donna Kiser, Erin Moore, immigration detention, Mara Naselli, used bookstores, Sue Simensky Bietila, Mary Patten, donation diasporas, Joann Podkul, MAS, Brian Schultz, ecology, Joey Pizzolato, regional energy, Alex Yablon, Native American sites, Carrie Breitbach, HIV in minority communities, Quincy Saul, Gary, Bert Stabler, Great Lakes waterways, Charlie Vinz, teaching urban studies in the suburbs, teaching art on the south side, Larry Shure, Southworks, Laurie Jo Reynolds, Dan Wang, Nazis in Skokie, No Se Vende, Mike Wolf, Human Action Campaign Organization, Ashley Weger, demolition, Ryan Hollon, Andrew Greenlee, Gloria Ortiz, Steel Shavings, Paul Sargent, slumming, Laurie Palmer, neoliberal poetry, Michelle Lugalia, world systems, Steve Macek, distribution, Rebecca Zorach, Nicolas Lampert, sprawl, Daniel Tucker, Tamms, Carol Ng-He, STAND, Wade Tillett, Nicole Marroquin, CTA, anarchists in the suburbs, Sam Barnett, Chase Bracamontes, Sergei Chrucky, Generations for Peace, Matthias Regan, Just Farming Small Farmers Confederation, parking meter protests, radical memory.

RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/event.php?eid=150798202534&ref=ts 

For more info, email areachicagointern@gmail.com

(below, the South Side Community Art Center. The Art Center, which was established as part of the Works Progress Administration’s [WPA] Federal Art Project, has been influential in the development of the city’s African-American artists. It is the only continuous survivor of the more than 100 centers established nationwide by the WPA during the 1930s and ’40s.)

ssarts1a


Tim & Tom: it wouldn’t be funny if it weren’t so true

tim_and_tom_cover

As part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, this Saturday meet Tim & Tom… a “Salt & Pepper” comedy team born in the hotbed of sixties Chicago…

Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen met for the first time in tumultuous 1968 Chicago. As the heady promise of the sixties sagged under the weight of widespread violence, rioting, and racial unrest, two young men – one black and one white – took to stages across the nation to help Americans confront their racial divide: by laughing
at it.

“While the country was wracked by the civil rights movement, a sexual revolution, and a controversial war, these friends took the stage as the first—and so far, only—black and white comedy team. Together they spent five years touring the country, facing unabashed racism, occasionally violent hecklers, and cheering crowds. Reid went on to star in the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati and create the influential Frank’s Place, and Dreesen spent 30 years in stand-up, including 15 years as Frank Sinatra’s opening act. The duo returns to the stage to tell their stories and reflect on a lifetime of unique experiences. Ron Rapoport moderates.”

–from Chicagohumanities.org

Where & When:

DuSable Museum of African American History
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637
Saturday, October 17th 2pm-3:00pm

Tickets:

Adults: $5.00
Educators & Students: FREE
The book entitled Tim & Tom: An American Comedy
in Black & White
is published by University of Chicago Press.

Ronald Fair: Griot of Chicago Tales

BkWorldOfNothingM

Ronald Fair is perhaps best known as a teller of crisp, satirical, and unsentimental Chicago Tales: inner city stories of struggle, morality, and overcoming (not unlike his own Chicago story).  Born in Chicago on October 27, 1932, Fair attended public school. He was inspired as a young man by fellow Chicagoan Richard Wright to begin writing. Wright, as well as a black English teacher encouraged him to keep at his craft despite setbacks. 

Fair ultimately published various short writings in the Chicago Defender, Ebony, Chat Noir, and other publications. His first novel, Many Thousand Gone: An American Fable, was published in 1965.  The book covers the span of time from the Civil War to the 60s, and presents a fictional town called Jacobsville, Mississippi, whose residents were unaware that slavery had been abolished.   The work, through symbolism, called for Blacks to wake up and rise against the systemic oppression they were under.  

His second novel, Hog Butcher (1966), set in the 1960s, told the story of three inner city Chicago boys and one tragedy that changed a community forever. It was adapted into the film Cornbread, Earl, and Me (1975, see the theatrical trailer below).  The film starred a pre-pubescent Laurence Fishburne, and featured a grooving soundtrack composed by Donald Byrd and performed by the Blackbyrds.

Fair’s next work, World of Nothing, was published in 1970.  The work consists of two edgy, perse, short novellas: one of which dealt with sexual abuse in the Catholic church and, like Hog Butcher, featured a young central character.

Soon after the publication of Hog Butcher, Ronald Fair moved to Europe, were he remained, as he was “fed up with American racism”.  While in Europe, he published what he considered his supreme work,”We Can’t Breathe” (1972).  The book covered the lives of five Chicago friends (one of whom becomes an author), and was deeply autobiographical.  The book sold well at first, and then sales inexplicably tapered off.

Ronald Fair still writes today, but has dropped off the national literary radar, unpublished in the U.S. in more than twenty years, yet the messages within his work remain eerily pertinent for folks coming up in our hardscrabble city.

 

 

Read more: http://biography.jrank.org/pages/2345/Fair-Ronald-L.html#ixzz0QiUlGCM4