Throwback Thursday: Da Bears Play First NFL Game As Decatur Staley’s

The organization that well all know today as the Chicago Bears first starts out as one of the first official teams of the NFL. However neither the NFL or the Bears were known as such at the time. The team was originally conceived by the A. E. Staley food starch company in Decatur, Illinois as a company team. The company hired George Halas and Edward “Dutch” Sternaman in 1920 to run the team, turning over full control to them in 1921.

On September 17, 1920, representatives from 13 teams, including Halas team reps, met in Canton, Ohio to create a new football league. The intention was to “raise the standard of professional football in every way possible.” In regards to ticket sales, crowning a yearly champion, scheduling and eliminating bidding of players between rival teams, they decided to form the American Professional Football Association. Consisting of 14 teams, the Decatur Staleys (now Chicago Bears) and the Chicago Cardinals (now Arizona Cardinals) are the only remaining original teams from the APFA.

On October 3, 1920 the Decatur Staley’s begin to play for their first official league game, taking on the Moline Univeral Tractors followed by the Kewanee Walworths. However since these first two teams were non APFA, the Staley’s first league game is attributed to their win against the Rock Island Independants, an official APFA team, on Oct. 17. In 1921, A. E. Staley recognized the potential of the Staley’s and moved them to Chicago to play in Wrigley Field for larger audiences. At the end of the 1921-22 season, the team decided to change their names. Since playing in the same field as the Cubs they argued, tongue in cheek, that football players were much larger and appropriately named the team Chicago Bears. On June 24, 1922 the APFA changed its name to the National Football Association.

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Isabel Bravo

Imagine that Salvador Dali and Frida Khalo have a brain child and the personification of that image is a Chicago native, Isabel Bravo. Currently a student at Harold Washington College, Isabel is a multifaceted artist with experience in animation, photography, performing and visual arts. If you can name it, she’s probably done it. At age 20, she has already been director of art festivals and has had her art exhibited in the Flatiron Art Center in Wicker Park. The majority of her visual arts work has been by commission, however as of recent months she’s been taking those first steps, to present her own unique ideas and style to the masses. 

Although she started creating art as a child, her pursuit of a degree in art therapy and her art career both began at the same time. Isabel self discovered the positive effects of art therapy as a method of coping with her depression, which she also attributes to her start as a serious artist. It was during a month long stay in a hospital during her 16th year. What started as a way to combat the boredom that comes prepackaged with hospital stays, became a therapeutic yet challenging leap into a world, where she was forced to confront her self and her perception of herself through art. It was this month that helped produce the expressive surrealism that is heavily present in Isabel’s personal artwork.

With self portraits making up the majority of her non-commissioned art, it makes sense that the main influences on her style comes from Peter Paul Ruben, a renowned portrait artist of his time. The goal of her art is to present and share an idea, message or story that draws the viewer into the visuals and cause them to ponder; who they are, what they’re here for, even where they’ve been? Hers is an increasingly successful attempt to represent those hidden emotions we often dismiss, through artistic mediums. Are you up to the challenge her artwork presents?

Isabel Bravo | Instagram | Facebook

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Throwback Thursday: Radcliff Music’s Drops Get Around

June 25th 2018, Anthony Radcliff aka Radcliff Music, dropped the visual to his single GET AROUND. This is a significant project from Radcliff because it’s good to see the veteran free styler spit bars in Central Park! The string of rhymes that stand out the most is, “You n***as phony, finesse the system looking like a fraud, and I’m just in there, we ain’t sipping tea like the frog, no kermit, you could play the bench like McDermott!” If you’re not familiar with Radcliff Music, start with this visual and then go through his catalog! He has quite a lot of work with over seven tapes of music fully distributed and much performance footage and music videos to be found on his YouTube channel.

Radcliff | Soundcloud Facebook | Twitter 

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Throwback Thursday: Great Chicago Fire Destroys Emancipation Proclamation & 4 Square Miles

It was a pivotal event in Chicago’s history. One of our more destructive events bearing a silver lining. A fire that burned down nearly a whole city, paving the way to produce one of Americas greatest modern day metropolises. This month on October in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire burns through 4 square miles for 3 days straight, marking the beginning of a city reborn.

More than two thirds of the structures in Chicago were made entirely of wood. Even the side walks and roads were made of wood. To top it off Chicago only received 1 inch of rain that summer, causing a severe drought beforehand. Southwest winds help carry burning embers throughout. The Chicago Fire Department only had 185 firefighters and 17 horse drawn steam engines to protect the city. In the aftermath after the fires were extinguished on Oct. 10, 120 bodies were recovered, 300 total estimated fatalities and $222 million in property was destroyed: a third of the cities worth in that year. One in 3 residents were left homeless. Even the original manuscript of President Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation was destroyed.

There are many theories speculating the start of the great fire however no official suspect or arrest to a conclusion was made. Four of the most popular theories would be that one: pieces of Biela’s comet broke up over the Midwest, sparking fires not only in Chicago but in Michigan and Wisconsin, marking the nations most deadly fire in the same week of Chicago’s. People reported seeing blue flames and other fire from the sky, however unlikely as comets do not start fires normally.

A second and most plausible theory would come through a confession. Businessman and gambler Louis M. Cohn, 18 at the time of the blaze, admitted to accidentally starting the fire after playing craps in Mrs. O’Leary’s barn with her son and friends. When Mrs. O’Leary finds and chases them all out, they knockover the lantern which started the blaze. Cohn states to have paused long enough during their flight to grab money he dropped on the floor.

Of course the most popular theory suggests the fire started in Mrs. O’Leary’s barn as she milked her cow and it knocked over a lantern igniting the blaze. This story spread faster than the flames it seemed as it circulated around the city before the fire ever even burnt out. Mrs. O’Leary denies the allegation, stating she was sleeping before the fire started. But the story was too popular that even when Michael Ahern, the reporter that published the theory in Chicago Tribune, confessed to fabricating the story. Mrs. O’Leary still faced scrutiny.

Another theory claims Daniel “Pegleg” Sullivan, who first reported the fire, may have ignited the flames while he was trying to steal some milk. In his report he claimed to have seen fire coming from the side of the barn and he ran across Dekoven street, where the fire first started, to free the animals inside. Despite inconsistencies in the claim, Mrs. O’Leary was exonerated of the allegations in 1997 and the actions of Sullivan now take the scrutiny instead.

Following the fire monetary donations were flowing into Chicago from the rest of the country and abroad. New York, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Buffalo, Scotland and even the Common Council of London donated funds along with surrounding cities with basic needs and essentials. With the city under need for new development, industrialization flourishes and the city expands rapidly. New expansion efforts gives opportunity for Chicago to be home to the worlds first skyscrapers, the nations first non-exhibition rapid transit system powered by electric traction motors and the Worlds Columbian Exposition and Worlds Fair. Today the only surviving buildings from the fire includes St. Michaels Church in Old Town, Chicago’s Water Tower, Chicago Avenue Pumping Station, Police Constable Bellinger’s cottage at 2121 N. Hudson and a house on Fullerton and Cleveland.

Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station
Panorama View of Chicago Fire Aftermath

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Purple Palooza at Refuge Chicago

Music always gets people together, there is no better catalyst to use to get people to support good causes and ideas. For the third year in a row Stand Up For Kids hosts its Purple Palooza event to raise funds for homeless youth services. Through their guidance, homeless youth have the chance to get experience and counsel on independence and leadership. Essentially building a strong foundation of knowledge and leading them to great opportunities. With the help of artists and mentors, donating their time and talent, they put together and get people together for a wonderful event dedicated to Chicago’s youth.

Stand Up For Kids volunteers traditionally wear purple colored uniforms so the title begins to make sense. Based in Lakeview, at first SUFK volunteers primarily served sandwiches to homeless youth, eventually becoming known among them with their familiar purple uniform. Now running a drop center almost fully operated by volunteer work, they service up to 100 at-risk youth a month. They provide them with hot meals, access to clothes and personal items, tutoring, counseling and emotional support. At least once a year they would come together, celebrate and raise funds through music at their annual Purple Palooza.

Invited by President of the Board of Stand Up Kids Chicago branch, Felice Schlessinger of Determine Radio, we jumped aboard the opportunity after getting familiar with their message. Pitched near the heart of Chicago, they chose Refuge lounge at 416 S Clark St. for the festivities. In a dim lit setting, guests are greeted at the door with a light up wrist band branding Stand Up For Kids. As many dressed to impressed, a photo booth is setup for people to capture their night in physical memory. To top it off they offer free food and drinks for the gormandizers.

The room is a mix of night life industry patrons to radio personalities, hosts, organizers and big pockets! Host Wild Bill @smashcashent keeps the audience entertained and on their feet, setting the atmosphere and catching B-day celebrations with the help of @djmh2da. The music is a mix of hip hop artists and funk bands from Hot Planet, Ahmyo, Boi Floyd, Earth Radio, Nate Gramz and Pyure Water. Towards the end the whole of the crew that setup the event, the artists and the homeless youth, those surviving till the end, took a picture together. With 100% of proceeds of the event going towards they SUFK foundation, it appeared to be a successful night. Much thanks and appreciation to Felice Schlessinger for inviting us to and putting together the event!

Stand Up For Kids | Facebook
Determine Radio

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Gold Symbolizes Divine Protection and Enlightenment: Tweak’G Releases New Single

You might have seen Tweak’G rocking killer live sets at one of Ever Evolved Empower HerStory events. She has a mean flow, hard attitude, strong lyrical structure. Her cuts on a record make Young M.A. seem like literal Child’s Play. Comparing her like that does not even do her sound or image justice.

This new single and visual she just dropped for GOLD is H-O-T! Sporting cut off jean shorts, a white tank and timberlands, Tweak’G flows effortlessly about her upbringing, lifestyle and how nothing she has experienced in her past will affect her spirit or mind. She is strong and persevering. A lot of the music video shows off Tweak’G and her people making ice slushies for sale on the street corner and ripping blunts with her crew around their vehicles. The culture she is portraying definitely comes off authentic and through her flow and energy, you feel what it means to be a Chicago thoroughbred.

Tweak’G philosophizes about the idea of GOLD. By the end of the visual there is a cinematic rating label that resembles a G, PG or PG-13 type of film. It reads, “TWEAK’G, GOLD, GOLD: SYMBOLIZES DIVINE PROTECTION AND ENLIGHTENMENT“. This music video may be the start of her brand’s gold rush. She has solid professional production quality throughout, a seasoned flow and a composition style that might see a lot of biters. If so, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Should be exciting to see where she takes her career and her unique concepts.

Tweak’G | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Neha Chawla

Neha Chawla speaks softly in conversation, yet her creations are viscerally expressive. Despite her slight frame she looks tough, adorned in her trademark gothic face paint and a neck full of chains, swimming in a large black hoodie. Bleach spots draw the eye to her low-top Vans, sleeves and hair, all of which bear her fledgling fashion brand 2000zero’s distorted aesthetic. A lifelong painter with a keen sense of hustle, Chawla began customizing clothes for friends and acquaintances to fund the materials for the brand’s initial wave of releases not long ago. Though she will still take commissions personally (act fast, the price is only going up), she keeps the brand separate from her other endeavors, maintaining its lean, organized chaos, stylistic identity.

We meet on DePaul’s campus where Chawla studies psychology, which makes increasing sense as we talk; her mind is as analytical as it is creative. Along with her business partner Lupe, with whom she splits executive responsibility for 2000zero, Chawla has built the brand from a nostalgia-evoking concept.  Curating a collection of unique, hand-treated garments, that are sold more like art pieces than like typical apparel. In addition to creating 2000zero pieces, Chawla handles social media for the company and sources models for visual campaigns.

She is often appearing in them as well. The first two drops so far have featured a limited selection of one-off t-shirts, each designed using bleach as a primary medium. Through a proprietary and somewhat impulsive creative process, about which Chawla is careful not to say too much, every shirt has a completely irreplicable look. With distinct lines, shapes, shades and splatters they create a variety of striking visual effects.

Mastery of technique allows different styles to emerge with logically-assigned titles like THE GRID; criss-crossed by thick, industrial lines and washed out in the middle, resembling a decaying chain link fence. Somewhere between patterned and fully abstract, all the shirts in 2000zero’s current collection offer free-form explorations of texture grounded in (roughly) symmetry-minded sensibility. From the psychedelic, tie dye-inspired rifts of THE SUNSET to the bold pools and streaks of THE BLEEDER. The longer you look at one, the more detail you inevitably find yourself appreciating, not unlike staring at clouds.

Chawla believes the openness of her art to interpretation directly contributes to its impact, since more people can identify with less specificity. Intrigued by 2000zero’s product line and Chawla’s own artwork, I wanted to learn more straight from the triple threat artist, model and COO herself. This interview has been edited for style and clarity.

“How did you get involved in art and fashion design?”

“I’ve been doing art all my life but I just started this designing shit like five months ago. I’m from Maryland and no one really has their own style there They’re all kind of wearing the same things. Then I moved to Chicago and all of a sudden everyone is dressing different, so I was influenced by all the streetwear here. Growing up in the suburbs it’s hard to see a lot of individuality there. It’s easier in the city to stand out and be unique, especially when you know how to dress yourself.”

“Describe your personal style.”

“I try to have everything color-coordinated but not like I’m trying too hard, does that make sense? It really depends on how I’m feeling, but most of the time it’s pretty gothic; I like heavy chains, I like wearing black. I don’t necessarily want to label myself but I would say my style is mostly dark. Art is an expression of an emotion, so the way I dress and the way I make my art are the same.”

“Is there a different process to produce each design?”

“There is, but I can’t talk about it too much (laughs). My business partner and I both come up with ideas, but sometimes he’ll just throw the bleach and see what happens while I kind of have a little more planning to it. I really value having unique pieces because when something’s handmade and you can get it from the creators, themselves, it’s very personal. Like ‘here’s your pink shirt, you’re not gonna get that ever again,’ you know? We’re really all about being one-on-one.”

“So it’s not only a totally individual piece someone gets to own but also an individual connection to you guys as people, that’s awesome. Going back to the beginning, where did the 2000zero brand identity come from?”

“My business partner and I wanted to re-imagine the shitty style sense of the early 2000s by making clothes that would have been really cool back then. The early 2000s were such a mess bro, oh my God.”

“What does the immediate future of the brand look like?”

“We’re not gonna be bleaching anymore after the third drop. It’s gonna be completely different; A lot more eccentric, a lot of bright colors. You can expect that around December most likely. I eventually want to expand out of Chicago and grow national, still have each style be unique but have them in multiple sizes instead of literally just the one.”

“What else are you working on artistically right now?”

A lot of abstract painting, a lot of ink drawings and tattoo designs for people. I’m also doing some merch for an artist friend of mine. Lately it’s been explosions of emotion, a little bit all-over-the-place. I use different colors based on how I’m feeling and hopefully people will be able to see and feel those differences. I never have a plan for when I’m painting but when I do ink drawings, sometimes those are figures I see in my head. For example I did one drawing of a woman fading away and kind of unravelling into thread. I feel like a lot of my inspirations come from dreams.

“Thanks so much for your time, Neha.”

Neha Chawla | 2000zero

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K.E.N Rocks the YAS! Fest Crowd at Millennium Park

It was a cloudy Chicago day, early Saturday morning brings in the early birds gettin the worm. Downtown Chicago was bustling with traffic, both car and foot, heading on over to Millennium Park as the city comes alive for a day of music. Chicago Park District Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events YAS! Fest takes off for a growing youth music movement within the city. This year gives platform to artists like Luna Monet, the Ambi/\nce, popular headliner TINK and one ambitious artist making his rounds across the city.

Earlier in the month, K.E.N made his return to Midnight Marauders Open Mic hosted by us here at Ever Evolved. He did it once and he did it again, gaining top performance recognition, so here we are intrigued and following his next moves. Last time he made an appearance at Midnight Marauders at Innjoy he won, taking away prizes like an event performance and studio time. Taking consistency to another level he is keeping true to his name, Killin Every Note, in every aspect. Attending local events, supporting his local artists and peers and consistently winning, getting himself in headlines.

Just past Michigan Ave and Monroe you can hear the sounds and crowd of YAS! Fest as soon as you come in range of the mist of the Crown Towers waterfall. K.E.N is not unfamiliar to the crowd and stage at Millenium Park, another consistency in his work, he has performed at this landmark area in Chicago through other events like Chicago Blues Festival. The God Level Goat has also worked with Chicago Park District and Teens In the Park consistently as well.

Coming up to the Chase Promenade South stage, just before K.E.Ns performance, the crowd enjoys a freestyle session by the Ambi/\nce as a dance choreographer goes solo in the middle of the audiences. A graffiti artists sprays a mural onto canvas as the Smurfit Stone Building and Prudential Towers overlooks the park. K.E.N enjoys a photoshoot with Windy Indie back stage just before they both go up to perform with each other.

Photo: IG @Itsjzhu

As Luna Monet and her dancers finish up their routine and performance K.E.N gets prepared for the crowd. Aced Spade accompanies K.E.N as his DJ on stage and the God Level Goat hides in the middle of the audience. He is notorious for heavily interacting with the crowd, getting in your face, you cannot stand still as his energy is contagious. Performing a few songs, introducing his new music to fans and dancing with the crowd, you can tell in the eyes of the immediate spectators that they are witnessing a memorable moment.

Of the songs he performed, his fans chanted along together to a familiar piece about his and our city Chicago. Spelling our city rhythmically as everyone bounces to the orchestral blues and funk influenced song, while Windy Indie’s violin adds to the atmosphere. K.E.N got extra hype for his set as well as he performed a new track from his upcoming EP THE PREVIEW. It is great to see artists like K.E.N and the other young aspiring creatives alike be apart of something so significant in helping the youth find their creative outlets and networks to help their future. Even more so to have such an exuberant and talented artist coming out of the Chicago music scene to inspire them!

Photo: IG @Itsjzhu

K.E.N | Spotify |Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Throwback Thursday: The Opening Of Wrigley Field

It is well known that Wrigley Field is one of the oldest stadiums in all of a American sports. However what is probably a little less known is that Wrigley Field was not originally intended for the Cubs. Wrigley Field first opened its doors in 1914 when it was called Weeghman Park.

The area occupied by the stadium was originally settled by the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary. Surrounding it was Eliza Hall, the presidents house, St. Marks Church and other buildings. Early as 1905 rumors of the minor league American Association planned to franchise in Chicago. With the Sox on the south side and the Cubs in the west at West Side Park, the Northside was ideal. After construction of the first elevated train lines leading to thr northside, the Lutheran seminary abandonned their expansion projects seeking quieter environments and sold their property to AA owners.

The presidents house (right) is near location to to the present day Wrigley Scoreboard and centerfield bleachers. Eliza Hall (center) locates todays left field bleachers.

As the AA owners failed to capitlize on their efforts to franchise, Charles Weeghman aquired a 90 year lease on the land. He built Weegham Park soon after for the Chicago Whales, the baseball team he owned. However the Federal Baseball League folded at the end of the 1915 season as well. The Chicago Cubs started playing at the stadium the very next season.

In 1920 the stadium was renamed to Cubs Park. A year later in 1921 William Wrigley Jr. took complete control of ownership of the Cubs. Soon after he would rename the field to its current namesake, Wrigley Field, in 1927.

During the stadium’s first season under the rebranding over 1 million fans flocked to Wrigley to watch the Cubs play. The franchise became the first National League team to ever achieve that feat. Making this fest all the more impressive was the fact that the upper deck was not even finished at that point. In 1929, the Cubs put together one of the best batting lineups in baseball history and attendance rose to over 1.5 million as a result. For the next 17 seasons, that stood as a record.

Many years and many renovations later Wrigley Field still stands loud and proud as the home of Chicago Cubs baseball. Though it does not have quite the same look as it did in the 20’s and 30’s, it indeed has never lost its charm as one of America’s most iconic sports venues. That it shall remain for many years to come.

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Midnight Marauders Open Mic at Innjoy Wicker Park

It attracts all types of creatives from any and every corner of the streets. If you have the need to express yourself vocally or even instrumentally, there is an open mic waiting for you to grace the stage. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there in front of an audience, open to criticism for the first time. For some, however, this is where creative minds learn to grow as artists.

From A Tribe Called Quest LP, one of hip-hop and MC’s most influential group of all time, Midnight Marauders claims the name of our Ever Evolved open mic series. Peppered monthly around the city of Chicago, Midnight Marauders finds a home at Innjoy in Wicker Park on Monday nights. In the house with Lucrative Records, we invite Chicago’s most talented MC’s you may have never even heard of. This is not your average open mic, Midnight Marauders brings artists from all walks of life.

Many times if not most you will see open mics packed with hip-hop emcees ready to get their word out. Midnight Marauders encourages all types of artists from all types of styles to bless the audience and the stage with their hard work and expression. Not just for a one night stand either, we incentivise the best of these dedicated artists with rewards ranging from hours of studio time, photoshoots, artwork, review articles and even a performance spot at a local or out of state event. This motivates the artists to bring their best out and their fans follow with them to support.

These incentives not only bring the young up and coming artists but also seasoned veterans to take advantage of clear and easy opportunity! Veterans than bring fans, meaning more audience for all artists involved. From hip hop emcees to spoken word poets, singers, instrumentalists and even stand up comedians, Midnight Marauders brings them all in numbers. The energy was evident at the our 14th event of our open mic series on Sept 9th.

Starting out as any regular monday night, it would end with not one but two talented individuals to share the prize incentives. William Bolanos on the mic hosting, inviting curious artists to the stage to sign up and get on the mic. One by one the room starts filling up with artists, supporters and onlookers waiting to see who will bring out the best performance. A room full of creatives strangers, connected by music, looking to find out who is worthy and who to connect and work with.

As DJ Hunt sets the energy for the room with some throwback tunes and what ever is hot right now, the room prepares themselves for the first call; first come first serve, one song each. The host calls upon the first names to no response and an eager crowd demand to move on. Its dog eat dog and the ones in the room are ready to eat. One of the first to hit the stage would be a hip hop artists by the name of ST. BLVD, with high energy and composure, what seemed to be some ordinary man explodes with smooth rhythm and lyricism to the audiences pleasure. He follows _Larcin_ with a flow like the late Mac Miller, setting the bar high for the following perfomers!

As the finishes the crowd cheers in approval and the mic is passed to the host for the next act. The man following, looking more for a space for his minds content rather than the incentives, bringing to the stage a different talent. For the next few minutes our audience ready’s their ears for a stand up act by an man named Christopher.a.f. Not showing any mercy, he confidently picks up a few giggles from the shy audience seemingly in tune with his dark humor.

The next few acts would bring on hip hop artists like Stank_Nasty_, CVOJAYEM, TLean, Jah.Damm and Apache. Of course Ever Evolved artists had to show had to show the open mic contestants how to rock a crowd for real. ESSSE and JoSan take to the stage as featured artists with music perfected in our very own Ever Evolved studio. Even Rhymster, Eric Wilhelm, Cmac and Beatrix Kiddo rock the mic for a song to really set things off and solidify the energy for the night.

But the real rewards go to two artists, who not only showed up to perform with their best intent, they stayed till the very end and supported each artist. One artist in particular, comes back to claim a winning prize for a second time. The outstanding K.E.N. with energy on the mic so intoxicating, there is no doubt that he is born to entertain, takes a win for the second time showing us what consistency can do. And Finally Case Move, bringing to the mic his brand of super smooth R&B music. Both not only brought captivating performances, but their patronage as well.

As an artist it is not only necessary to support other performers but it is critical in proving your dedication to the music culture. From crowd control and reaction, to handling the mic, these two did not just bring their best selves on stage but they stayed throughout from beginning to end. They show support to not only Ever Evolved, but to the local artists putting themselves out there. It may be a game of endurance, or straight up motivation to get the prize but these two show what it takes to get what they want. This game only feeds the hungry.

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