Help support the arts in Chicago…drink a Pepsi!

“Politicians don’t bring people together. Artists do.”
-Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago

 

From high school through college and up until about 8 years ago, acting was my profession and pretty much my life.  Movies, commercials, industrials and of course…theater.  Like every struggling actor trying to make a name for themselves, building up their resumes and doing what they love, I immersed myself in every production I could audition myself into.  One very meaningful experience I had was with a theater collective called COLLABORACTION.  I remember performing in their annual Sketchbook production at the Chopin Theater and loved how they combined theater, music, visual arts and video. They even had House music DJs! (I think that’s when I first met Brian Gardner.)  Clowns. Dancers.  Inspired, creative people that I formed lasting friendships with.  The beautiful couple that ran Collaboraction (Anthony Moseley and Sandra Delgado) even had a House night to go with their ventures! They definitely won cool points with me :)

So fast forward several years later, and Collaboraction is still an immense artistic force to be dealt with.  Recently Sandra reached out to me and told me how they are in the running to win a $50,000 grant from Pepsi to start their new youth program called Sketchbook Jr. as well as to finish building their new home at the Flat Iron Building in Wicker Park.  Their ultimate goal for this space is to create an artistic community center.

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

1) People can vote TWICE A DAY through June:
ONLINE http://www.refresheverything.com/collaboraction

or

TEXT PEPSI aka 73774 and enter code 107023

 

2) Save the bottle caps from any Pepsi drinks. These caps are VALUABLE. On the inside of caps is a code aka “POWER VOTE” that is worth 5-100 votes. They desperately need these. People can enter the code themselves or can email it to sandra@collaboraction.org.

 

This contest runs through June.  Currently they are ranked at #52 and need to reach the Top 10 to be eligible. So save those bottlecaps, text 2x a day through June, and let’s bring this money home to Chicago! Let’s help create JOBS for teaching artists and nurture our youth in the ARTS!

VOTE NOW!

Promoter flashbacks

I had a dream last night that I was promoting a party in 2003.  It’s a month and a half away and I’m getting a late start.  After I go back and forth between a hard to reach artist on the flier design, I’m down a week.  I rush to Pronto Printing, a run down, bustling office filled with posters screaming parties with tons of throwback DJs, reggae booties and general visual overload.  I beg the exasperatingly slow receptionist to please have my fliers ready in no more than 3 days?  I’ll pay the extra cost.  It’s a small party, so I’m torn between getting 5000 or 10,000 fliers.  Can I hustle my butt and get rid of all that paper in under 5 weeks with my schedule?

 

FLIERS!

After multiple phone calls with dismissive “call back laters”, I end up with the fliers and a stack of posters 2 days late.  I’m down to a little over 4 weeks to promote and I’m panicking.  I drive around for the next 3 hours to different record stores, coffee shops, salons and any kind of place that will allow me to dump my fliers.  Posters are taped, stapled and push pinned into any available surface, finding company amongst rock shows and fun runs.

 

LICK THE STAMPS

I run to the office supply store before they close.  Armed with 100 envelopes and stamps, I start the laborious task of writing down my friends’ addresses.  I’m hoping nobody moved in the last year.  Stick the flier in and seal. There’s just no time to include a personal note. My right hand has cramped into a permanent claw.

 

HIT THE STREETS!

It’s Wednesday evening and there are 2 small House nights I can hit up.  One ends at 2am, the other at 4am.  I head out to the 2am spot and proceed to hit up the cars all up and down the surrounding streets.  I wait for the crowd to start trickling out at 1:45 and take my place alongside 2 other promoters to hand out fliers.  Did I mention it’s January and I’m freezing my ass off?

At 2am I drive on over to the 4am spot and start hitting up the cars around there too.  I can barely feel my fingers.  I go inside, have a drink, mingle and politic.  I tell everyone about the event.  (And no I don’t hand out any fliers inside the club unless I’m speaking to someone one on one.)  It’s 3:40, I stake out a spot outside and repeat the process.  People are full blown wasted at this point, so there’s a lot more zombies that walk past my outstretched hand, stumbling boozers and dropped fliers.  I hate this part of promoting.

I repeat this every damn day until the party.  And when it’s this awesomely cold, the last thing you want to do is head out your house at 1am to stick fliers in cars.  But you gotta do it.  On the weekends I hit up all the major areas that have parties, and not just House music.  Wicker Park, Slicks, the whole North Avenue/Sheffield area with its cluster of bars and clubs, boystown, then the southside…I’m just a numb, automatic leaflet dispenser.  Some of these cars have so many fliers in them I try to find sneaky and creative places to put mine on so they won’t be tossed out in one fell swoop.

 

PICK UP THAT PHONE

I’m down to 4 days before the party and it’s time to hit the phone book.  I call the appropriate party friends that live in Chicago and personally invite them.  “How’ve you been?  Really?  That’s great!  Listen I’m having this party…” and so on and so forth.  If I’m lucky I get their voicemail or a person with a life.  If I’m not so lucky, then I get the long-winded-let-me-tell-you-a-story ones that will bend your ear.  Because this process takes so long I  break it up into 2 days.  

 

WILL THEY SHOW UP?

I have no idea who will be coming.  I have no gauge, no Facebook attending numbers, nothing.  Only people’s word.

 

PARTY TIME!

There’s a dog licking my face and I realize I’d just been having a bad dream. That seriously gave me an anxiety attack.  That’s a lot of work to throw a party.

Why bother when I can just create a Facebook event page and call it a day.

Right?

 

 


Where are all the Women House Producers?

In one of many long and contemplative conversations I had with my business partner, I asked “Where the hell are all the female House producers??” I mean the big, HOUSEHOLD names? And no not singers that get the occasional songwriting credit, not the ‘so-and-so producer featuring’ (insert female singer/songwriter name here). I mean one name, HER NAME, doing complete production work with no male saddled to the project?

My partner says that the reason is because soulful House music is extremely male-dominated, way more than politics, corporate boardrooms or pop music. Women are often reduced to mere songbirds.

JUST DANCE AND LOOK PRETTY
Another reason offered was that women have no role model, an archetype to embody and aspire to be like one day. Women love House music, yet how many of us while listening to our favorite dancefloor tunes think to ourselves: “One day I want to be like Louie Vega, Grant Nelson or Dennis Ferrer?” Now I can’t speak for every woman obviously, but based on my conversations with hundreds of them I know that is not a thought that enters our cognizance. For the majority the thought is just to sit back and enjoy the beautiful music that men make.

I know they are out there. I’m just wondering why there aren’t at least one or two that have elevated to household names in the House community? One on the level of a Frankie, Black Coffee or a Cajmere?

NO SHE DIDN’T…
For most of you who know me I hate getting into the whole female/male debate. It’s a necessary evil and I quietly go my way without doing too much of the Z snapping “I’m a woman and proud” bs. As an upcoming DJ I’ve had tons of challenges, setbacks and behind-the-back eyerolls and snickers to deal with which I’ve cheerfully resigned myself to. When I put out my first mix CD everyone thought my boyfriend did it.

But at least when I played out, people could see that it was ME playing. Guaranteed, if a woman were to put out some banging ass tracks, people would be looking over her shoulder trying to see who *really* made the track. And since most female DJs and producers were often mentored by their male counterparts, the prevailing thought whether unspoken or not will be that it was their Pygmalion who shouldered the load.

(And may I add, I can’t always blame them. I know of a handful of female DJs that pay male producers to make their songs for them and call it their own. So they definitely don’t count in this equation. If Dennis Ferrer offered to make a track for me and slap my name on it I’d still pass. But the whole argument of ghostwriting is a whole creature in itself so let’s save that for another day.)

CAN WE CHANGE THIS?
Right now I can think of one woman that is making serious waves: Maya Jane Coles. She has had 17 releases from 2009-2011 and the best part is that she is only 22 years old. Is she the household name I wish we had more of? No. But who knows if she keeps this up she may be in a few more years.

SINGERS WHERE YOU AT?
I honestly think our hope lies in the singers. I’m pretty sure they’re already adept at making their own tracks, but for whatever reason the producer moniker is still given to another. I think it would be dope if I saw full on productions by Barbara Tucker, Ultra Nate, Stephanie Cooke and Dajae. SOLO.

A bigger wish would be that for those women that do go into making House music, that they stray from the insta-sample-edit-track-laptop-ramen rubble we are inundated with. Ladies if we love this music so much, then surely we can create new and original work? For those that have the talent and the drive for it, I champion you to create a new archetype for us.

Tragedies don’t just disappear…Chicago aids Japan this Thursday

It’s been over 2 months since a catastrophic earthquake recorded at 9.0 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of Japan, creating a tsunami of such massive proportions that it swept over cities and farmland. Hundreds of thousands were killed, thousands missing and the devastation has yet to stop. There were explosions and leaks of radioactive gas at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and numerous fires ignited releasing radioactive material into the atmosphere. Traces of radiation were found in Tokyo’s water. Nuclear officials say that this crisis is on the same level as the Chernobyl disaster.

The official death toll has been quoted as 14,133 and more than 13,346 people are said to be missing. More than 130,000 people are in temporary shelters and tens of thousands more have had to evacuate their homes.

This is not a tragedy that will go away in one month, one year, not even 20 years. The rebuilding process has not even begun because the after effects are continuing to spiral out of their control.

Watch this video, one of so many chronicling the epic proportions this earthquake has cost:

***Click here to see pictures of the after effects***

Let us show our support by giving a donation, volunteering with relief efforts, educating ourselves on what can be done to help the people whose lives will never be the same again. Chip E and his lovely wife Liliko will be throwing a benefit to aid the victims of Japan.

WHEN: Thursday, May 26th
WHERE: Zentra (923 W. Weed Street, Chicago)
HOURS: 10pm-4am
DJS:
CHIP E
MAURICE JOSHUA
TERRY HUNTER
CZBOOGIE/CZARINA
PHIL LEE
and a special guest DJ from Japan: DJ UCHIKAWA

COVER: $10 (Absolutely no guest list!)
*All the money goes to an NPO – Nihon Univa Counter Crisis Team in Japan.

*Special thanks to Chip E and Liliko for throwing this event!


Jack4House Benefit at Zentra (5/14/11)

A letter from Kevin Saunderson. A free track for you to download since someone is already ripping off his…

I recently received this letter from Detroit legend Kevin Saunderson via his PR Agency Rephlektor Inkorporated. It’s yet another sad instance of artists with zero originality who insist on plagiarizing talented people’s work.


FROM THE DESK OF KEVIN SAUNDERSON

Dear friends, fans and members of the music industry

Today I’m giving away as a free download one of the productions I am most proud of:

“The Sound” – Reese & Santonio (1987, KMS Records)
Click Here To Download Now From My Website

I recorded “The Sound” back in 1987 and released it on my own KMS Records label. It was a massive hit at New York’s Paradise Garage and in Chicago and of course Detroit. Once it hit the UK it became one of the earliest Detroit anthems all around Europe, a huge underground record across the globe – a true desert island techno track. It is such a special record to me because it was one of my first really successful productions and I hope that you all will enjoy this free, fresh digital download of my original 1987 version.

The reason I have decided to give this track away for free is because of a situation that recently developed involving the unauthorized sampling of “The Sound” by Italian producers Giacomo Godi & Emiliano Nencioni (Supernova) in their release “Beat Me Back” on Nirvana Recordings. It came to my attention that they are licensing and selling, with considerable success, this track which is nothing more than a continuous loop of the main hook from “The Sound.”

For me to hear ‘Supernova’ taking an extended loop of “The Sound” and claiming that this is their own original composition and production is both dishonest and disrespectful. My first thought was that they were perhaps naïve, but as they have apparently been recording together since 2002 this seems unlikely. In any event this is completely unacceptable, we cannot continue to let this kind of wholesale rip off go unchallenged and tolerate “artists” who completely sample recordings, add nothing of their own and then release the results as their own work.

I have a huge affection for sampling, it’s how some of the most inspiring and ground breaking tracks of our times were created. We’ve pretty much all sampled records at some time, and cleared the sample so we can use it on our releases, but it is just not cool to take someone else’s music, create a big old loop of it and then put your name on it and try to have success entirely off the back of another artist’s efforts. This really has got to stop. For this reason, I have uploaded the Godi/Nencioni version of “The Sound” to Soundcloud so that you all can download this for free if you so wish. These producers and their record label should not be profiting from my back catalogue… this is not their track to sell.

LISTEN TO THE RIPOFF TRACK HERE
The Sound rip off/now called Beat Me Back By Supernova, what the hell by Kevinsaunderson

Peace

Kevin Saunderson – KMS Records, Detroit USA
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Supernova