Throwback Thursday: The Punk Poet Laureate, Patti Smith

In a time where men dominated the rock music industry there was Patti Smith pioneering her own sound in the 70’s. Born in Chicago in 1946, she started being influenced by music at an early age. She would first start listening to artists like Patience and Prudence, Harry Belefonte and Bob Dylan. Moving from Chicago to Philadelphia, then New Jersey before finally leaving Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) and moving to Manhattan, New York on her own. This is where things start to take off!

In Manhattan Patti Smith met photographer Robert Mapplethorpe while working at a bookshop with American poet Janet Hamill. Becoming romantic with Mapplethorpe, in a book she later wrote called Just Kids, she considers him one of the most important people in her world and “artist of her life”. In ’69 she would go to Paris to perform in the street and in theater, later returning to live with Mapplethorpe at Hotel Chelsea. Getting more deeper into creativity this time around.

The same year Patti Smith would provide a spoken word soundtrack to ROBERT HAVING HIS NIPPLE PIERCED, an art film by Sandy Daley starring Mapplethorpe. She starred in FEMME FATALE, a play by Jackie Curtis with Wayne County and also Tony Ingrassia‘s play, ISLAND. Smith would be spending much of early 1970 painting, writing and performing as part of St. Mark’s Poetry Project. In ’71 for one night she performed in COWBOY MOUTH, a play she co-wrote with Sam Sheppard, who she wrote a few poems about.

Getting into more music, Patti was briefly considered to be the vocalist for Blue Oyster Cult, who she wrote several songs for like, DEBBIE DENISE, BABY ICE DOG, CAREER OF EVIL, THE REVENGE OF VERA GEMINI and more. She would also be romantically involved with on the the bands members as well. In the midst of all this she also wrote rock journalism pieces for Rolling Stone and Creem. By 1974 Patti Smith would become a rock star in her own right.

In 1974, Patti Smith would form Patti Smith Group originally with Lenny Kaye, Ivan Kral, Jay Dee Daugherty and Richard Sohl. Financed by Sam Wagstaff, the band recorded their first singles HEY JOE and PISS FACTORY , which included a spoken word piece about fugitive heiress Patty Hearst for the A-Side and time in a factory on the B-Side. Signed by the Clive Davis of Arista Records, the Pattie Smith Group recorded their first album HORSES, fusing poetry, spoken word and punk rock. While touring, on January 23, 1977 as she was dancing on stage, Patti Smith fell 15 feet into a concrete orchestra pit, breaking several neck vertebrae. They would produce a few more albums before the 70’s end, including RADIO ETHIOPIA, their most famous EASTER and WAVE.

Patti Smith would return to music in 1995 briefly touring with Bob Dylan. The next year she would work on a Kurt Cobain tribute record GONE AGAIN, following up with two albums, PEACE AND NOISE and GUNG HO, that would receive Grammy nominations for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. After TRAMPIN, another album release, in 2005 Patti Smith would be named Commander of Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. After closing out the legendary CBGB music venue in a tour de force, 3 & 1/2 hour set, in 2007 Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She continues to be a force in the music industry to this day!

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Brittney Carter

First introduced to Brittney Carter at one of Ever Evolved’s first networking events in 2017, she was attention capturing indeed. There standing in the space formerly known as BLSD Boutique in uptown Chicago, DJ Scend turns down the music for Brittney to express her truth acapella. No one expected the explosive lyricism that this short seemingly quiet, comfortably dressed girl has come to bring. Completely taking over the vibe of the room with what she had to say from her heart and mind.

Fast forward today Carter has grown as an artist, filling in her shoes, gaining respect from her peers and establishing a fan base. Racking up quite a number of releases and collaborations, she recently added to her playlist with a couple of new tracks! Over two laid back beats produced by Nascent, Brittney expressed her nostalgia over a significant other and the growth from the experience. What is most impressive is how smoothly & quickly she a can articulate and express herself through so many words, she is a very composed artist with a lot on her mind! Click on the cover art by Cookie Kwan to listen to and purchase BACK THEN and THE SIGNS.

Cookie Kwan Cover Art

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Säge the 64th Wonder Never Left, You Weren’t Paying Attention

When ge The 64th Wonder aka Seji,aka Shintendo is seemingly quiet in the rap/hip hop scene in terms of music, in actuality he never stopped releasing, producing and creating content. Namely his commissions of his unique animated art style that the Chicago scene and beyond cannot quite get enough of. It feels as though when ge gets bored or anxious, as all genius multi talented artists do, he jumps back into the rap arena and shows why he is been a staple of Chicago hip hop since 2012. But he was making waves even two years prior to that because of his skill and technicality off the jump and having a team of emcees and artists surrounding him, if you remember The Terra Godz.

You cannot cast Säge as just indie, hip hop, nerd core or anime rap. He is so much more than that considering he actually embodies a large part of the East Asian culture being a visual artist himself. He clearly studies and consumes the culture to a high degree. He is a fusion of a lot of things that really get fleshed out if you can actually go through his entire catalog. Säge has gone through numerous re-brandings and some classics that might not be available to listen to right now. Do not fret however since he is re-releasing some oldies quite soon as well as an album of brand new music in February.

Until then ponder, soak and absorb this. “Damn, will they ever play me for the masses?” Asks ge to an alternate version of himself, something like a conscience which in turn responds (using a higher shifted pitched voice) “Even if they don’t, I still feel you make the classics, still think you’re greater than the greatest in this rap shit, is that a question you’re asking? We’re passed this, Just pass this blunt.” Säge the 64th Wonder, the flagship leader of SlumpGang777, will have some amazing pieces to look forward to in 2020.

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Throwback Thursday: Essse’s Constellations Music Video

Essse Guey is Ever Evolved’s ace in the hole when it comes to recording artists. Not only having a dope unique sound and style, but also an image that is perfect for the contemporary hip hop climate. Which brings me to an underrated Essse visual produced by Brandon Holmes to the song “CONSTELLATIONS”. The lines would constantly repeat in your heard. “Dark side of the moon I’m sipping 3 Floyd’s, space station middle finger up for the polaroid!” This line has quite a few meanings that could be extrapolated but I just love the sly double reference to Pink Floyd and the staple Indy craft brewing beer that’s famously sold throughout the Midwest.

Essse Guey has been diligently working on a few projects that are on his horizons, until then become familiar with Essse’s CONSTELLATIONS. His Chicago recording artist and rapper is as explosive on wax, as he is on stage, as he is on screen. “99 problems we be rolling up a matrix!

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Nando Goes Against The Grain

Before anyone gets to who they are as a person or artist they must go through a transformation. It may be uncomfortable or even painful and other times you encounter no resistance at all. What that maybe for Nando in his latest work AGAINST THE GRAIN is up for discussion! In this 10 piece project Nando goes through some what of a transformation from start to finish. With the help of Little Lion, Kaneo Blak and Syl Messi, Nando gets his word out.

Starting off meloncholic in with SCARS and DISGUISE, Nando expresses grieve, discomfort and a need for change. He appears doubtful and confused, but he lets his mind free with ROSES and in THORNS he finds focus with his growth. It will ultimately be his growth to be known not his struggles, “they never see the thorns, because they just start at the rose“. Nando continues to carry himself confidently more and more as you move to the next track; he even gets bilingual speaking in Spanish tongue. Getting more smoother, quick witted and self aware as he goes one can assume that is where next releases will lead to; so add Nando to your playlist and follow!

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From the Ground Up: G-Sprout Blooms in West Town

Grassroots Chicago has a new home at 1430 W Chicago Ave inside the Movement Gallery in collaboration with MADE. Over the past month Grassroots curated a surprise DJ GRIZ visit, a grand store reopening utilizing the emcee talents of iiimpulsiveee and Wilhelm Duke and various graffiti art from Don Mega, Ekon, Fals, Haku, Jeesh, Kabz, Nerd, Urbl, Seoh, and ShokOne. Coming up on the 27th of September Grassroots Chicago will have their doors open from 5-10PM for the WEST TOWN ART WALK. They will be showcasing music from ROZAR, Glitch Gatsby, Bucknasty and Dub Repvblik with a “secret” special guest with MADE.

It is exciting to see this shop and lifestyle brand now operating in an even more central location. Even more so to witness the growth and adaptation of Grassroots Chicago. The surprise visit and show from GRIZ was a hit! There was quite the line out of the door and more than a hundred people waiting to see him. With his like-able personality coupled with the new shop and its ambiance the shadow meet and greet was a success! The GRAFFROOTS reopening show featuring two rappers, a plethora of graffiti art, wine and beer sponsored by Noble Grape and pizza from Dimo’s was quite the intimate soiree of an experience. Gallery type shows are rare and interactive and the new location is great to cater to that style of event!

Much of the success of Grassroots Chicago on the ground must be credited to Nicole Graham. She has been the manager of the shop for the last two years, so next time you are there give her some recognition! With the street fest coming up on September 27th I highly recommend any reader who is also a fan of some of the most exquisite street clothes ever seen to make it over to West Town for the WEST TOWN ART WALK and stop into Grassroots Chicago. They will have their doors open from 5-10PM. You will not regret spending the time and energy to give their unique pieces a chance!

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Throwback Thursday: The Chicago 8 Trials

The sixties was a remarkable decade both in music and politics. It was the combination of the two that sparked the counter culture movement of that era. The youth took over the mainstream culture and no longer looked to their parents and older generation for dependence. They had a voice and they wanted to use it against the establishment, sparking many riots over social and political issues from the Vietnam War and its draft, to civil and human rights issues.

Things got particularly heated in Chicago during the August 1968 Democratic National Convention. Protests were taking place primarily against President Lyndon Johnson‘s policies for the Vietnam War. The city denied most permits for rallies and marches except one in Grant Park where the Police enforced an 11:00 pm curfew. Confrontations ensued as Police attempted to clear streets and marches towards the International Amphitheatre.

The Grant Park rally was attended by about 15,000 protesters. A few thousand attempted to march toward the International Amphitheatre but were stopped in front of Conrad Hilton Hotel where the presidential candidates were stationed. Using tear gas, mace, verbal and physical force and batons, protesters fought back with bottles and rocks for all the media to see. While dozens of protesters and journalists involved were injured and their equipment smashed, police continued to make numerous arrests over the next few nights. This event was later characterized as Police Riots.

September 8th 1968, following the convention, grand juries assembled to determine criminal charges. Eight defendants were charged under the anti riot provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Sixteen alleged co-conspirators avoided prosecution. The original 8 indicted were Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale.

The trials begain on September 24, 1968 and in the beginning of the trial Judge Hoffman clarifies “He is not my son“, to which Abbie Hoffman replies “Dad, dad, Have you forsaken me?“. Later in the trial Bobby Seale began disrupting the trial with loud outburst after being denied his request to bring in his own lawyer. He argued that the judges actions were not only illegal, but racist. October 29, Judge Hoffman ordered Seale to be bound gagged and chained to a chair and for several days. Eventually the contempt charges against Seale was overturned due to the Judges unconstitutional actions.

The trials became widely publicized and gave fuel to a growing number of protesters. The remaining seven defendants, mainly Hoffman and Rubin, continued to mock the courtroom and Judge Hoffman in particular yelling to his face, “you are a shande fur de Goyim (A disgrace in front of the gentiles)… You would have served Hitler better“. They are also cited yelling “Your idea of justice is the only obscenity in this room… This court is bullshit!“.

Hoffman and Rubin in judicial robes

One day Hoffman and Rubin appeared in courtroom in judges robes. When ordered to take them off they complied, only to reveal police uniforms underneath and they blew kisses to the jury. They created a circus of the courtroom, using the media attention to attack Nixon, the war, racism and oppression. The trials got big enough to even garner the support of celebrity artists and activists like Allens Ginsburg, Timothy Leary, Rev. Jesse Jackson. Singer Phil Ochs who was involved in planning for the demonstrations obtained a pig he presented to the court to nominate as a presidential candidate.

The judge cited all the defendants with numerous contempts of court, ranging from a couple months to four years. On February 18, 1970 the seven defendants were acquitted of conspiracy but five were convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot. They were fined $5,000 each and slapped with 5 years on February 20th. However On November 21, 1972 all of the convictions were reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit due to the judge being biased in his refusal to permit defense attorneys to screen prospective jurors for cultural and racial bias.

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Throwback Thursday: Martin Luther King Jr. Stoned During Chicago March.

On August 5th 1966 Martin Luther King Jr., during the fair housing protests in Marquette Park, is met with 700 angry white protesters and gets struck by a brick.

MLK was in Chicago that day advocating with his demonstrators that this leasing office on 63rd Street in the South Side sell properties on a non-discriminatory basis in the mostly white Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Bricks and bottles thrown, racial slurs hurled, pushing, shoving, cops in-between King, his demonstrators and the large white crowd from Chicago’s local south side. At least 30 people were injured and 40 were arrested. Apparently after this whole ordeal King was unafraid and un-shaken stating, “All in a day’s work“.

MLK Jr. ducks as he is struck by a brick as aids rush to prevent another attack.

Post 1964 America with the signing of the Civil Rights Act was hopeful for the future of its minority citizens. However the ghettoes in northern cities were still quite affected and mandated by Jim Crow laws. King even promoted this issue by moving into a Chicago apartment in 1966 infested with rats and roaches. This was ideally to expose the segregated housing and redlining issues that were designed against blacks and minorities largely prevalent in major American cities, especially Chicago.

Segregated cities are still an issue today, albeit laws and ordinances against such civil illnesses. Today let us remember that MLK Jr. was working tirelessly to improve the equity and lifestyles of black Americans and all those that shared in his vision of peace and unity.

Martin Luther King during a rally in Chicagos Soldier Field July 10, 1966, kicking off the Chicago Freedom Movement.

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Throwback Thursday: The World’s First Skyscraper

Chicago has long been well known for its stunning skylines and innovative take on architecture. However what few people know is that Chicago is actually the birthplace of the modern day skyscraper.

Designed by architect William Le Baron Jenney in 1884, The Home Insurance Building opened its doors a year later at the intersection of LaSalle and Adams. Consisting of 10 stories and standing at 138 feet in height, The Home Insurance Building has come to be known as the world’s first skyscraper. It was the first building of its kind whose frame held structural steel, though the majority of it consisted of wrought iron and cast.

Historians attribute the construction of The Home Insurance Building to the architectural boom that took place in Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871. As a result of the aforementioned fire, 3.3 square miles of the cityscape was left destroyed, and since the majority of its buildings back then were made of wood, nearly all of them burned down in the flames. With the majority of the city rotting in rubble, Chicago underwent one of the most famous architectural booms in history; one that would spur its economy as well as reshape the cities’ architectural outlook.

Replacing the wood structures that stood on Chicago’s grounds before the fire, the newer buildings were made out of stone, steel and iron. Building in this manner was considered to be ahead of its time and The Home Insurance Building served as a prime example of this new style of architecture. The Home Insurance Building became one of Jenney’s crowning architectural achievements, and it also spawned an entire generation of architects and engineers dubbed as “The Chicago School.”

This generation, which consisted of famous architects such as Daniel Burnham, continued to lay the groundwork for what the modern day skyscraper would eventually become. Though New York City eventually surpassed Chicago as the hub of architectural innovation, Chicago remains as the city that laid the groundwork for any and all innovation that followed. Chicago will forever remain the birthplace of the modern day skyscraper. Sadly, The Home Insurance Building was demolished in 1931 and the LaSalle Bank Building now stands in its place.

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Artist of the Week: Ayoo

Chicago is full of talented artist in every direction in every genre. One of Chicago’s most celebrated genres of course is house music; this city is its birthplace after all. It has come a long way since its start and today’s artist of the week Ayoo is a testament to that! Working heavily with bass house production, it is a more intense evolution from Chicago house and Detroit techno music, but the roots are all there and grounded. The two brothers popped into the scene a few years back and it has been non stop hard work, good music and memorable events; the Chicago electronic music duo plans to be on the radar for a while.

Not only some artists on the rise Ayoo also represent a whole bigger collective as well. Founded by Niick Niice the Be Nice Collective is a commnity of electronic house music DJ’s that has a good hold on the Chicago nightlife. Holding residencies at night clubs and bars like El Hefe, Soundbar, Tobacco Road Tap Room, Bottled Blonde and more, they present opportunities for locals to work, collaborate or just enjoy a night out. Ayoo’s ambitions alone backed with Be Nice network holds unlimited potential!

Photo credit: Izzy JPG

Aside from rockin’ Chicago’s night life dancer floors with their weekly residencies they duo have build a resume up on festivals and special guest events with popular artists. Notable shows include opening for artists like Taiki Nulight, Dogma, Dr. Fresch and Malaa; Tonight Ayoo adds Delta Heavy to the list opening at Chop Shop in Wicker Park. The duo also hit Spring Awakening Music Festival back to back the last couple years and for good reason! They guys not only have the network but they have the sound.

Coming up on more an more recognition as time goes on Ayoo hit yet another milestone this week after officially releasing their hit summer single TIMELINE, featuring RhymSter, under Artist Intelligence Agency. This again presents more opportunities for the duo as their music has the potential to reach more audiences and even more interested labels. Packing with a growing list of bass house originals the duo also make some bold remixes, improving on some timeless tracks like DOO WOP by Lauryn Hill, and LOW LIFE by Future and the Weeknd.

Debuting with their single ORIJINAL last summer they have come along way in their production, their latest release shows the most improvement in quality in their music thus far. This time picking out G4NJ4 by Groove Delight it sounds like Ayoo is really getting comfortable with where they are headed with their music. Time can only tell where these two are headed with their sound and collective. They has brought upon themselves really significant opportunities and They and hit a lot of milestones in a short period of time. I would recommend keeping an eye on this local titans!

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