Stay Home And Bump Lucky Iris

Lucky Iris welcomes you to sounds of electro-indie pop, debuting their music with their first EP, TURNS OUT WE SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME, with the help of Oliver Sekunda on production. A concept project based around a night on the town, and figuring it best to stay home sometimes! Coming from the Leeds music scene in England, they present a fresh perspective through their music. With influence from artists like Alt-J and Laura Mvula, Maeve & Jasper of Lucky Iris come with a unique sound.

At just four tracks, the project is short but full energy, starting out with GET READY WITH ME, an upbeat song about the curious energy of a young girl. Followed up with a more melancholic track over piano chords, TAKE 5 (WHY CAN’T YOU SEE ME) explores the feeling of being surrounded by people, yet being invisible to someone significant. GLITTER VISION is a favorite for its production, the track starts off like an electronic house beat, followed up with pop vocalization, and changes up tempo and ups the bass, flipping the energy around. Their debut gives us enough to see, Lucky Iris is dynamic and full of potential, and we cannot wait to see what they have for us in the future!

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Premiere: Eshé & Brad Kemp Never Take Days Off!

Still hot off his LISTEN IN HEADPHONES solo project, and his collaborative single, HAT/NO HAT, with Handsome Naked that premiered on NBC‘s Talent Show Livestream. The efforts lands him and proves his worth as an Artist of the Week in April. As a producer, Brad Kemp meets with a variety of artists, and on this occasion, Brad found vocal artist Eshé to work on a collaboration. They two worked together before on tracks produced for Chore Boy, now they got their own single flowin’, as apart of an album called LETTERS, filled with diverse artists.

Releasing a music video with each track individually and consecutively, until the album drops, the two the artists came up with a clever video for their latest track, WISH YOU WERE HERE. Eshé, who is currently residing in New York where she finished up a Masters Degree from NYU, worked on the writing and vocalizing while Brad, obviously, produced the music. The video illustrates the lyrics as they go with the song, highlighting each different line of a verse, with different colors. A very relaxing and upbeat track, using acoustic sounds over a hip hop beat. Very motivating from start to finish with lyrics like, “Hard work pays off, never thought I’d get days off, I remember being exhausted, workin 12 hour days days, stayin up makin demos on Halsted” and that is just to start!

LETTERS release date is scheduled for June 5th, with each track involving a different performing artist. Stay tuned for the live album premiere through their social medias linked below!

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Creative Spotlight: Film Maker and Photographer Maalik Falsetto.

Maalik Falsetto is a Chicago filmmaker, photographer and producer with his own production company, Maalik Falsetto Productions. He started this company in 2016 to cater to creatives and help them see their film and photography projects come to life. Maalik recently won the My World Is Yours competition for creatives hosted by Art After Dark. Maalik was picked after submitting a beautiful urban photo set.

Recent projects produced by Maalik Falsetto include MUSE, a short film about “Two college students meet at a party, realizing that they may need to rely on each other more than they know. THE OTHER FOOT, an alternative history piece about slavery, and AMBROSIAL a story about overcoming the grief of a brother slain by police. Congratulations to Maalik Falsetto on his recent contest win and continuing to help creatives produce quality visual content.

Maalik Falsetto

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Emily Blue

Emily Blue seems to be one of the more composed artists of Chicago. She got everything locked down, from the sound of her music, to her visual aesthetic and her live performances, presenting the unique character within herself. While that may be perfect enough for any audience, Emily doubles down with side band projects as Tara Terra and Moon Mouth. Music and creativity seems to just flow through her blood, as she creates sounds of Glitch and Synth Pop

Recently she uploaded her latest single APERTURE, which premiered on TheseDaysMag, along with an exclusive interview. She notes the song is a collaboration with friend and artist Uushky, and it was originally made for piano. Its lyrical origins would revolve around Emily passing through emotions she felt for someone significant, who was already spoken for. The song in itself is quite epic, as Emily sings and harmonizes dreamily over synth chords that hit heavenly climactic highs, alongside her vocalization. You can actually feel the wave of emotion as the song progresses in layers; a very atmospheric song that will get the hairs on the back of your neck standing!

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Chicago South Side Rapper FESSA, Lights Wick with Fireman.

I used to want to be a fireman, till I found out, they don’t get a lot of bands.” This line sticks more than the GOAT himself, Lil Wayne, and his song of the same name. The project FIREMAN by FESSA is impeccable sonically, visually and lyrically. Fireman is a great show of growth and grit, from the veteran WeWiNNiN collective emcee.

This music video is full of symbolism, so many different objects are being set ablaze by FESSA himself; including pairs of Air Force Ones. For those that need a little history lesson, FESSA used to be Professor Mic, and this re-branding is really starting to catch fire, pardon the pun. Through out his rap personas, he has never ditched the opportunity to teach through his music, hence being called the professor. If you listen closely, many lines in FIREMAN have to do with specific financial situations; “Had to knuckle up on my sonic shit, get a couple rings just for acknowledgement.”

Ever Evolved is gearing up for more hot bars, videos, and firestorms from FESSA of WeWiNNiN.

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MOECYRUS Brings Legendary Smack Talk with BOOTLEG

With an absurdly long but perfect intro, MOECYRUS has some things to get off his chest with this dusty boom bap record produced by greensllime. Visuals were done by the consistent and hard working Darko Visuals aka Mikal Bae. The song is called BOOTLEG and the video has the 90’s hand held camcorder aesthetic. Thematically speaking, this is a well thought out project for specifically following all of these themes visually.

MOECYRUS starts out with, “This ain’t even rap, it’s a game of popularity. All these people too close in my vicinity. They show me love its a front, they really envy me.” This demonstrates his thoughts and feelings on the local scene and how people disingenuously navigate the rap game. He ends the music video leaving the listener with this powerful statement, “That ain’t no MOECYRUS shit, that’s a bootleg!” Safe to say if you want the real rap and not the copy cat, bump MOECYRUS records just to be sure!

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Throwback Thursday: Chicago Premieres America’s First Horror Film

Each generation has changed and adapted to what we would consider a film scary, but where and when did it all start? Audiences of today dare to laugh at director William Peter Blattys the Exorcist, with Linda Blair, but in its day it would have caused spectators to suffer heart attacks in theater seats! While contemporary films, the Conjuring and Insidious, take reign in supernatural horrors, many people today take notice to horror films that highlight cultural, social-political differences through metaphors in insidious manners, like director Jordan Peeles’ films GET OUT & US.

While its true the topic can be very subjective, it brings up many debates on what we generally consider scary, and which methods and ideas that produce horror is best? Many would consider blood, gore and violence, with films like Final Destination, Thirteen Ghosts and Resident Evil, to be the ultimate scare; but to others it is just gross at worst. Slasher flicks like Jeepers Creepers, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street tend to procure more startling and suspenseful, paranoia responses from people, and critics would say its too violent. Then we have narrative horror classics like the Shining, or American Psycho, that appeal to the mind but, you guessed it, they can be boring to some viewers. Even fantasy flicks like Pans Labrynth and Eraserhead can be pegged for being too far fetched or disturbing.

Regardless of what you find scary in a horror film, or what you think makes a horror film good, there is a flavor for everyone; and it generally seems to change generationally. For contemporary horror fans, the culture thriller sends shivers down our spines to the nature of our reality, and the people among us. Generations in the midst of Y2K scares, and the rise of psycho serial killers, are confronted with doomsday and slasher flicks. But the older generations, closer to when it all started, have an appeal to more spiritual antagonists.

While magicians and deities are easily disproven and overlooked, older generations did not have access to the information we hold today. Religion, magic, folklore and tradition has long been the center and foundation of many house holds and belief systems. Up until the counter culture movement, adults, religious traditions and law dominated the mainstream. Well up until the 70’s there have been countless horror flicks with the main antagonist being some evil monster, alien or super natural being; and looking at the very first horror films can attest to that.

Today the first horrors to be produced can be attributed as more art pieces of history for its genre, but in their day horror films were pivitol; especially to the thrill seekers and gothic idealogues. Back when tradition and religion kept people fearfully moral, saving their souls in the after life from judgement, to be damned to hell, was their main concern. The first film, as evident in its title, played on this fear, and put in out on display. The House of the Devil, aka the Haunted Castle (US), aka the Devil’s Castle (UK), made its premiere in 1896 as the first horror film in the world.

The House of the Devil is a French short by Georges Méliès, only about 4 minutes in length (a generous length for that era), and filmed outside on his property with painted scenery. It was released as a silent film, and during it would be accompanied by a music score. The two actors would be settling in a castle, while super natural occurrences would startle them, all brought on by the Devil himself. While the film contained many horror movie elements in such a short period of time like ghosts, transformations, moving objects and magic, it would be mostly presented for comedic purposes.

A few years later in 1908 on March 7th, the first American horror film would be produced, and it would be presented right here in Chicago, where culture was cultivating on theatre plays, music and opera houses. The Selig Polyscope Company of Chicago produced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and is widely accepted as the first version of the story. It is an adaptation on George F. Fish and Luella Forepaugh‘s 1897 four-act play, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Or a Mis-Spent Life. That play is its own sense is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson 1886 novel, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

1912 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Its plot would be split into 4 scenes; a Dr. Jekyll would seduce a Ministers daughter, killing her and the Minister after transforming into Mr. Hyde, because of a potion he is addicted to. Middle scenes would entail Dr. Jekyll revealing his transformation, surprising his friend, and in the final scene Dr. Jekyll kills himself, after running out of his potion, and struggling with grief. The 16 minute film would be hailed for its production feats for its time, as Dr. Jekyll’s transformation was done in one take, pulling it off by hunching over in agony, and pulling the wig over his forehead. The good vs evil duality of the play made it very popular, unfortunately it is considered to be a lost film and no copy of it exists today, and no film scholar ever reported seeing it.

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Dat Bizness Delves Deep with Blunt Ducks

An authentic Chicago sound with a flow as complex as the lyrics, BLUNT DUCKS by Dat Bizness is peppered with social commentary. His style reminiscent of Lupe Fiasco, Common, and Tupac; Dat Bizness channels everything dope about the old school into fresh new flavor. Not sparing a moment when it comes to explaining something realistic and unfortunate. “East side streets turned me to a monster… Man we was born in the drama, now we immune to the trauma, crooked cops got the streets bubbling, sauna.” Those lines speak about Chicago conditions on the South Side, which is why his music might remind one of Common.

The distinction in how Dat Bizness jumps from phrase to phrase or bar to bar in the style of Lupe Fiasco is evident in these few lines: “Too a unique, mystique, I peep the creeps in the street, you weak, I’m too deep for us to even speak, no sleep, just me and my mic, two deep, my words on beat, you heard like a few sheep!” That run of rhymes can reminds one of songs off of TETSUO AND YOUTH, or even early Lupe. The video compliments the lyrics in an upbeat, socially conscious and fashionable way.

Dat Bizness is shown getting a line up from a barber, (everyone will need one after this is all over) while performing with and without the mask, that is symbolic of the current times dealing with COVID-19. Pairing this with the lyrics, and you have an electrifying social statement and critique of modern times. Dat Bizness once again drops a classic, in the making, hip hop track representative of Chicago.

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Scoochie Boochie, The Satirical Rap Extraordinaire

Scoochie Boochie, a legend born from the magma of a volcano in the Lost City of Atlantis. His sexual humor is as hilarious as his rap inflection. But Michael Ribbens aka Scoochie Boochie hits the nail on the head when it comes to developing hilariously lude rap punchlines that almost burn the image into your mind. Influenced by the likes of the Lonely Island and Danny Brown, add some Prof of Rhyme Sayers Ent, Palmer Squares, Hoodie Allen, Childish Gambino and Watsky, you might come out with a Scoochie Boochie.

Regardless of those you could compare him to, his style is unique, memorable and definitely comedic. Notable lines that stood out in HI for their satirical impact: “If you need a frame of reference, meet the smiling face your lady pressed her breast against... Booty like everest, treacherous, many men have tried and failed to scale it, but I bested it; yes I did.” Schoochie Boochie has two previous releases out, DIPPIN SAUCE’ and BUTTER MONEY. If you enjoy stand up, sex jokes, rap and fat breasts– I mean fat BEATS, you will love Scoochie Boochie. He also rocks the tight fitted sailor outfit in HI sure to get your girlfriend wet.

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Throwback Thursday: Crosby Opera House, Chicago’s Cultural Awakening

A big talking point when it comes to art and entrepreneurship in Chicago. The short yet prominent life of the Crosby Opera House is a fine early example of Chicago’s ambitious spirit. An enormous building, housing numerous paintings and businesses past a large arched entrance and the buildings architect. One of the only one of its kind at the time before it perished in the Great Chicago Fire, the Crosby Opera House helped set the foundation of art culture in a post civil war Chicago.

Uranus H. Crosby of Massachusetts moved to Chicago on recommendation of his brother Albert, insisting that Chicago was well cultured. Albert Crosby was in Chicago previously to establish liquor and tea trading business, and together the brothers became large wholesale distributors by 1851. However U. H. Crosby felt Chicago lacked any culture his brother promised, only offering brothels, saloons and gambling houses for entertainment. The only theater house around was built by John Blake Rice, burned down shortly after, and rebuilt in 1851; who even then did not favor the opera.

U. H. Crosby’s neighbor had built a playhouse, the McVicker Theater, later becoming a cultural center after Rice Theater retired. Crosby still yearning for a grand scale cultural opera house commisioned William W. Boyington with architect John W. Roberts for the creation of the Crosby Opera House. Being 5 stories, it was occupied by music publishing businesses, piano store, a restaurant, corporate offices, art studio and gallery, and finally the 3,000 seat opera house. The ceiling dome had paintings of Beethoven, Mozart, Auber, Weber, Verdi, and Wagner, the walls with frescoes, 40 ft painting at front of stage, unique carpentry. The whole building would cost 600,000 (9.8 million in 2020) financially devastating Crosby.

Scheduled to open on April 17th, 1865, then grand opening was postponed due the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, forcing a three day delay. Opening with plays like Lucia di LammermoorIl Poliuto, Martha, Norma, Faust, Linda di Chamounix and many more, most performances were assessed by George Upton, a critic for Chicago Tribune. After its brief successes, its activity started to slow down; the demand in opera being over estimated by Crosby, and by May 1866 had devised a lottery.

Having made little profit, the Crosby Opera House Art Association hatched a scheme to raise money and dispose the property through a lottery. Encouraging people they were promoting culture in the city, for $5 a ticket people would receive a chance to win belongings & paintings in the opera house, including the Crosby Opera House itself. Of 210,000 tickets sold, Crosby bought around 25 thousand to secure his ownership of the house. The event was so large most businesses in the city closed to attend the lottery, people from all over the country were rolling in on train. Originally scheduled for Oct. 10 1866, the high ticket demand delayed it to Jan. 21 1867.

A total of 112 paintings were given away, the most expensive ranging from three to twenty thousand dollars ($48k-$325k in 2020), the public bought over one million dollars ($16.2 million in 2020) in chances. U. H. Crosby got to keep two paintings, and the opera house was sold back to him after the ticket winner decided to care for his sick wife in the East; Crosby shortly after returned to Massachusetts. After the lottery, theater activity revived with more opera plays, concerts, receptions, burlesque and even a Republican Nation Convention. By 1871 reconstruction was due and $80,000 was raised to redecorate the venue, with its reopening to be scheduled on Oct. 8th, 1871, with a performance by Theodore Thomas. Unfortunately this was interrupted, as the Great Chicago Fire tore through the city, killing hundreds and leaving thousands homeless. Crosby returned to salvage some paintings but the opera house was never rebuilt.

There would not be a permanent venue for opera until the Chicago Opera House opened 1885, the Auditorium Theatre would follow in 1889. The Crosby Opera House undoubtedly played a role in the awareness of the fine arts in Chicago. The selfless act to face such financial uncertainty for the sake of the art in itself is inspiring. The Temple of Art that was the Crosby Opera House, inspired an art academy that would later establish the Art Institute of Chicago. Eventually Chicago would see the opening of the Civic Opera House in 1929 that towers Wacker Dr. Home to the Lyric Opera of Chicago founded in 1954, one of the leading opera companies in the United States, most definitely shares history in its roots with the Crosby Opera House. Its significance etched in our city’s cultural history.

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