Category Archives: Arts

Hyde Park Jazz Fest: a fest like no other

From the DuSable Museum of African-American History to the heart of the University of Chicago’s campus, all the performances are located throughout the neighborhood. Hyde Park is the fest’s playground and attendees will float from one historic location to the next to experience all that the community has to offer.

“It’s a way to bring people together and celebrate the community, the art and the spaces in Hyde Park,” said Olivia Junell the managing director of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. “It’s a huge draw, which is good for business and visibility on the South Side of Chicago.”

Though attendees will hear jazz icons such as Miguel Zenon and Matana Roberts, they will also get to know local Chicago musicians, some of whom are just breaking into the jazz scene. Continue reading Hyde Park Jazz Fest: a fest like no other

Following the music home

Music and the streets are all Robert Floyd Butler has ever known.

When he is not in the streets, he is rapping.

Music is a flight from the harsh realities that life has served him for over 20 years. He raps to provide a better future for his family and friends. He raps because it is all he has ever known. He raps because it is a way out.

But the more he raps, the more he realizes that getting out won’t be that easy. But what conviction that haunts him more? He doesn’t want to.

“I’ve been in the streets since I was a kid,” Butler, who is from the Chatham neighborhood in Chicago, said. “Every man I have been around has been in the streets. Once I got involved, it was fun. I was getting respect. I was seen.”

Continue reading Following the music home

The hashtag benefit isn’t enough

Soulful remnants of Shawnee Dez’s rifts devour the lofty art gallery as she slowly lets her guarded persona dissipate. For moments, her soulful music draws the room closer together in awe at the sophisticated voice that resonates from her 21-year-old chords.

But the intimate moment is not exclusive in today’s tech era.

Seconds into her performance, cell phones emerge from the masked audience and screen reflections dance off one another, competing with the stage lights that hold her up.

In a world where documenting everything has become trendy, the rise of social media has disrupted the industry, changing how artists perform, sell and brand their art.

Continue reading The hashtag benefit isn’t enough

The monopoly of black beauty

Beauty Supply products do not nourish the sea of curls that consume Jade Bryant’s head.

Weaves, braids or wigs do not safely conceal her brown natural tresses.

She prefers a more organic route.

Bryant doesn’t support the Korean owned beauty supply stores that conveniently flock every block in her neighborhood, anymore.

“I felt like they were watching me,” she said, recalling a time she stopped at her local beauty supply store to purchase razors. “When I asked for help, they pointed to the black clerk that sold the weave hair. I wasn’t even looking for weave.”

Continue reading The monopoly of black beauty

Illegal Downloading: The loss of music’s value

Originally published in the Daily Illini.

Here, in this enclosed space, the concept of illegally downloading music or streaming songs for free is obsolete. Here, the music consumes the intimate room and the pure simplicity of the art ignites fire within the audiences’ eyes. Here, the notes chase each other up and down the room’s walls and dance into the audience’s limbs, inspiring excitement and movement.

In this enclosed space, this art cannot be stolen. It is vibrant, it is electric — it is theirs.

Mansions on the Moon’s music brought magnetic vibes to The Canopy Club on Friday, and the three-year-old band’s members reflected on their progression as a band and how the transformation of the music industry has affected their music sales.

Continue reading Illegal Downloading: The loss of music’s value

Moholy-Nagy’s “Future Present” doesn’t quite satisfy

László Moholy-Nagy’s Future Present is a beautifully twisted concoction that explores the deeply tangled sockets of Moholy-Nagy’s artistic mind. From film, painting, writing and photography, there is no doubt that Moholy-Nagy (1895 – 1946) was an immensely passionate and talented artist of his time, as paintings like “Nuclear I” sing to the soul and kiss the brinks of curiosity that confine the artistic world. Yet Future Present only explores the tip of the iceberg into what the Hungarian artist could really do. Continue reading Moholy-Nagy’s “Future Present” doesn’t quite satisfy

“The Girl on the Train” depicts modern sisterhood

Dripping in suspenseful plot twists, “The Girl on the Train” by Tate Taylor (director of “The Help”) brings a harrowing sisterhood to life in Paula Hawkin’s adaption of her 2015 book.

A disturbingly addictive story, the characters’ performances and their spot-on depictions of the struggles modern women face are what make this movie a grappling nail biter.

Though notable differences from the book (the film is set in New York versus London and the lead character’s drastic physical differences), most of the film stays true to Hawkin’s work. Continue reading “The Girl on the Train” depicts modern sisterhood