If you live around campus, you might be familiar with Mr. Greek Gyros, which shines like a yellow beacon of greasy fast food right on the corner of Jackson and Halsted. This is a place I only end up at anywhere from 12-3 a.m., and being that it is open 24 hours, these are some of its peak hours (hunger has no curfew??). So, on Friday evening, sometime around 2 a.m., I began my walk home from Mr. Greek Gyros, root beer in one hand, gyro in the other. I was enjoying the cool night air while doing primal, savage things to the gyro when I tripped and fell hard, my left arm catching my weight, tragically sacrificing my root beer as I clutched the gyro close to my heart, much like a championship winning quarterback. Picking myself and my dignity from the dirty sidewalk, I wiped the blood from my elbow with a napkin and retired the gyro into my bag. My root beer laid crushed and broken in front of me. I hung my head and continued my walk home.

paint version of gyros

Losing my root beer and a somewhat significant portion of my elbow skin was not enough to dampen my evening, however, as earlier I had hosted my first radio show in UIC’s fabulous radio studio. Mommy, What’s a Funkadelic? airs on Friday nights, 6-8 p.m. and showcases funk, blues, ragtime, Latin jazz, R&B, and all of the areas that those genres intersect. Some of the artists I played last Friday include Dr. John, Funkadelic, Marvin Gaye, The Budos Band, and Brownout/Brown Sabbath.

After my show, I stuck around for the 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. show and experienced the hilarious and energetic madness that is Warden’s Midwest. The opening conversation about the people of the CTA, and some scarier stories about stuff like naked men with clown wigs, led us into the free styling from 13lacula’s guests. I made some nice acquaintances and left the studio feeling very excited for what is to come as a new member of UIC radio.

listen to da funk

Which is why I hit up the Subterranean, or better known as the Sub T on Saturday night in Wicker Park for my first Verbal Warfare experience. I was super impressed by Naihal [E.D.H. Wednesdays 8a.m.-10:30a.m.] who used her outgoing spirit to sell raffle tickets on behalf of the club, as well as someone I had met in the studio the night before named Christian, who seemed timid during Warden’s Midwest, but took the stage with great confidence on Saturday night and ended up winning a cypher (and getting my friend’s phone number).

Before all of the free style madness, the crowd was warmed up by Warden’s Midwest. Terry’s guitar playing  and Joaquin’s electronic-piano experimenting was really cool, and I appreciated the way Terry opened up and screamed into the mic, all whilst jumping up from his chair and dancing across the stage in a way that was reminiscent of old James Brown videos.

It felt like a very honest performance and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future. There was also this one guy, whose name escapes me now, who free styled in the most aggressive and manic way I have ever heard. It was like John Frusciante’s guitar soloing, but vocalized and with words that I would never think to combine. As an English major and someone who spends a great deal of their time looking at and manipulating words, being in an environment where each individual word that is chosen (on the spot) determines what will come next and what emotion is evoked from the crowd is fascinatingly beautiful, and more honest than any pretentious or awkward poetry reading I’ve ever been to.

All this and I got to see my favorite bartender/liquid therapist, my cross-fit-expert-gold-chain-wearing friend Becky, as well as get to know some really great new people.

I meditate on all of this, this fine Monday afternoon as another week of procrastination falls over me (I woke up early to study and ended up watching Dave Chappelle stand up routines), but despite another weekend passing of eating crappy food, saying things that I will regret later, and closing shifts that drag on forever…the music is still funky, the trees aren’t dead yet and life is still grand.

Tune in this upcoming Friday to hear some Ondatrópica, the Meters, and some Sly and the Family Stone on Mommy, What’s a Funkadelic? hosted by yours truly.

-Flora Monacelli/F. Scott Funkgerald.

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