An Evening with Sisters

On Friday, I ventured to Hyde Park to see Ntzokae Shange and her sister and Chicago resident Ifa Bayeza. Bayeza’s newest play The Ballad of Emmet Till premiered at the Goodman Theater and Shange best known for her award-winning play turned book turned movie For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Together they co-wrote the book Some Sing Some Cry. Both amazing in their own right but together they are even more amazing. They are sisters and it shows.

The DuSable Museum put on “a unique evening of words and music by celebrated authors and real-life sisters” But the part that stuck out the most for me was the sisterly displays of affection. Shange, not in the best of health walked out to the stage leaning on Bayeza for support.  Throughout the performance Bayeza could be seen glancing over to Shange to check on her.  At one point Shange had taken a seat and lost her place in the script this led to Bayeza looking over and softly  saying, “pss that’s your line.” Shange rustling through the pages found her spot and began to read only to be interrupted by Bayeza’s teasing shout of, “hey that’s my line!” This evoked fun-loving laughter from the audience. During the moments when Maggie Brown took center stage to sing, Ifa could be seen wrapping her arms lovingly around Shange and checking to see if she was holding up alright.

Seeing these two celebrated authors take the stage together was amazing but to see these two real-life sisters onstage was inspiring.

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The Audience Angle

I had the opportunity to attend a forum held by the Arts Engagement Exchange entitled, The Beautiful Struggle: Art & Commerce. It featured acclaimed storyteller Mike Daisey as the guest speaker.

In his speech, he brought up some amazing points, one of them being that art allows for a place to tell the truth.  A seemingly obvious statement until he pointed out that in many areas of our life we don’t tell the truth. Being apart of something that examines life and speaks truth without fear of who hears is a rather bold action.

The forum itself examined art from a marketing/ administrative perspective. The role of the administration is to support and promote the arts. That’s all fine and dandy, but as Daisey pointed out, we are using business strategies that are most often used in the promotion of a tangible product to promote something as abstract as art. So at the end of the day when we are tallying numbers and ticket sales we are truly doing ourselves a disservice because we are reducing a nuanced emotional experience to that of an everyday product, his example was bologna.

His goal and his challenge to the people in the room was to focus on the connection between the audience and the art. To promote the experience that brings these groups of people together. Of course the artist gets it but we have to relay that idea to the audience as well. As administrators our challenge is to spread this message but instead of taking the easy way out and looking for simple connections we must go deeper and look to answer the hard questions, such as the “why”.  I can assume that people in the 18-25 demographic would enjoy this production but why? Why is there a connection between older people and classical music? Once we answer the why then it becomes clear on how to move forward in sharing this experience with the proper audience.

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New Girl Talk

Finally got a chance to check out the mix and it’s pretty good as expected.  But one lingering thought popped in my head around 5:55…..what’s Jay-Z doing in a Target commercial?

Clearly Girl Talk possesses two very necessary attributes needed to make this mix good, the first one being serious amounts of patience. Because of course half the fun of a Girl Talk mix is seeing how many songs you can identify and it takes skill and serious attention to detail to use random samples and make them cohesive and aurally pleasing.

The other essential quality is a sense of humor.  From the sample of Color Me Badd‘s “I Wanna Sex You Up”  to the Ying Yang Twins rapping “Salt Shaker” over Simon and Garfunkel‘s “Cecilia” this mix definitely brings some surprisingly entertaining mash-ups.

Haven’t downloaded it yet? Check it out here.

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Night of (Halloween) Burlesque

Thanks to the good folks at Nobody Dances Here, I had the opportunity to see a Halloween burlesque show performed by the Vaudezilla.

I had some idea of what to expect but my idea was strippers who don’t take it all off.

According to, burlesque can be described as a humorous and provocative stage show featuring slapstick humor, comic skits, bawdy songs, striptease acts, and a scantily clad female chorus.

So with a friend in tow, I headed over to the Greenhouse Theater on Lincoln ave. We arrived just in time to see Viva La Muerte. For a little person, she can definitely shake it.

The rest of the show was filled with equally interesting, shock and awe filled moments. A few of note..

My personal favorite was the goth chick with the music from the 20’s and two skulls in front of her tassels.

Another scene showcased a woman with rainbow-colored hair proving that big girls can get down too.

All in all it was a good time and a great way to enjoy Halloween.  I highly recommend if you have a chance to enjoy a night with Vaudezilla you definitely should.

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Post #3

Seriously, who gets writers block after two blog posts? I do! I do! I do! I guess it makes sense because, in my day job all I do is media stuff. It’s like the porn star who has to do “it” all day and then go home and do “it” some more. No matter how fun the actual activity is it can still get tiring.

But let’s see what’s been kickin’ around in my head since I was last here.

Kanye West‘s Spaceship : There are a lot of things that I would like to express but given my apprehension with putting information out on the internet I will let Kanye do the talking on this one. Suffice it to say I’m putting up with the nonsense these khakis are creating in my life just until I get out of this moment.

Thanks to MTV’s VMAs, I’m digging Florence + The Machine and have managed to rediscover The XX remix of Florence + The Machine’s “You’ve Got the Love”.

“Runaway Love Remix” with Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan is a very enjoyable song. I have made peace with this statement because liking a song that Justin Drew Bieber is featured on is not the same as  being  a “fan” of The Bieb.

During a discussion of amazing books someone mentioned the The Alchemist so I had to go and search for this thing to see what it was all about, and of course I got the wrong book. But this book looks interesting too.

Speaking of books, I hope to finally read House of Leaves this October. It’s a bit of a spooky read and I’ve had it for years, however I’ve only managed to get through the first hundred or so pages every time I sit down to read it, so I’m hoping 2010 will be the year I read a book.

And a website: Friend of mine showed me this site and I will say it is quite amusing. Unfortunately, the masses (Facebook commenters) have begun to say that it is becoming rather mainstream, so time will tell how much longer Hipster Hitler will be with us.

And of course Glee. Sunshine Corazon is looking to be my new favorite fictional character.

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#FollowFriday.. or Something Else Entirely

Well, I was going to write a post about Twitter. I was going to hit on such points as “it’s everywhere!” and “it’s a waste of time”.  I was planning on going into the reasons of why I hate it, such as, speaking in 140 characters or less is causing the English language to disintegrate to that of Ebonics or text speak and not to mention, not everyone needs to be speaking for themselves- God invented PR professionals for a reason.

And then in the next breath I was going to explain the reasons why I love Twitter. Knowledge of Twitter has become a valuable job skill, celebrities such as my personal fave Kanye West are on there, and it allows you to keep up-to-date on news that is relevant to your field while at the same time giving you easy access to keep in touch with multiple individuals in your overlapping networks.

And then I was going to tell you about English50Cent – he has taken the tweets of 50Cent and translated them into the Queen’s English and as a result brought me great joy.  But it seems Fifty has gotten wind of this masked twitterer and has cut out the middle man and  has begun to put his own tweets in English, which has thus killed the point of this whole post.

So instead, I will tell you about this rug. I like it and it’s pretty. It comes from Henzel Studio and is apart of their Second Session rug collection. Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Henzel Studio sees their primary goal is, “to design and manufacture individual pieces of great originality, transcending the borders of the often separated worlds of art and design.”

Oh those Swedes are always bringing their A-game, yeah I’m looking at you Ikea and H&M.

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Happy Friday!

Let’s talk about the new Arcade Fire video

I really enjoy seasonally appropriate videos and I think this one is a great way to bring in fall. The music was nice but the video – in short,  a techie’s dream. Youtube joins forces with Google earth in this interactive video and has made your childhood home the star of the show. Score!

Just as you are blown away by the google earth and the pop-up windows, they go in for the kill. Type a message to your younger self, it asks.  Talk about an emotional clincher! What did you write? In my own message I tried to find a gentle balance between emo and one of those achievement posters you find in business offices.

But seriously, this video is everything our short attention spans need these days. Perhaps if we can get more creative videos like this maybe it will lead MTV to put the “music”  back in MTV ?

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