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Blues and News: Kingston Mines Interview

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For my upcoming show on Sunday, May 21st, I will be airing an interview with Donna and Lisa Pellegrino from the Kingston Mines Blues Club. During our conversation, we discussed some of the club’s history and impact on the Chicago Blues Scene. Coincidentally, I interviewed them during the club’s 49th year anniversary.

Kingston Mines is owned by Dr. Lenin ‘Doc’ Pellegrino, who will be celebrating his 92nd birthday this August. The club originally was founded in 1968 by a group of individuals as a non-profit organization called the Kingston Mines Theatre Company located at 2356 North Lincoln Avenue. The theatre offered a variety of acts and entertainment, including musical productions, poetry readings, Blues music, Folk Music and more.  In fact, the original version of “Grease” the musical was premiered at the Kingston Mines Theatre.

The live Blues music proved to be the most successful at the Theatre. Eventually, the original founders parted ways with the theatre and pursued their interests through different routes. ‘Doc’ purchased the rights to the club in 1972. In the early 1980’s the Kingston Mines relocated to its new location at 2548 N. Halsted Street. Many Blues Legends have performed at the Kingston Mines, including but not limited to Koko Taylor, Magic Slim, Valerie Wellington, and Eddie Shaw just to name a few. I should also mention that a lot of rock stars tend to stop by the club. The Rolling Stones were frequent visitors and even would perform live on stage. If you go to the club today, some of the artists you will find include Billy Branch, Vance Kelly, Mike Wheeler, Joanna Connor, Nellie Travis, Nora Jean Bruso.

Kingston Mines Outside

Part of the Kingston Mines’ great success as a long-standing Blues Club is their ability to attract a diverse audience of all types.

Sunday – Thursdays, college students (and faculty) can get into the club for free. Fridays- Saturdays, college students(and faculty) can get a discounted rate. You need a valid ID for the discounted rates, and you must be 21 years or older to go to Kingston Mines.  They offer two bands on two different stages, every night.

Kingston Mines is open every day of the year (including holidays).  They are located at 2548 N. Halsted Street. For more information about the Kingston Mines, then you can visit their website at www.KingstonMines.com.

Doc Pellegrino is an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In February of 2004, Doc was awarded the “City Partner Award” from the University of Illinois Alumni Association for his “outstanding contribution to the vitality of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Chicago Metropolitan Area. His daughter Lisa Pellegrino and son, Frank Pellegrino are also UIC Alumni.

Make sure you tune into Blues and News with Brother Jacob this Sunday, May 21st from 6 pm – 8 pm (CST) for the full interview with Donna and Lisa Pellegrino.

Personal Space: PWR BTTM and How Online Mob Culture Hurts Both Accusers and the Accused

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Lena Dunham and Matthew Rhys, S6E3 of HBO’s GIRLS

Earlier this year, my favorite show GIRLS made waves with a bottle episode called “American Bitch,” in which the main character Hannah meets one of her literary idols, the fictional Chuck Palmer. Chuck’s had some allegations made against him- several women have come forward on the Internet with claims that he sexually assaulted them, specifically, that he forced several of them into oral sex on his book tour. Hannah, a burgeoning writer, publishes a piece on a “niche feminist website” expressing her rage and frustration at the accusations, stating “If one more male writer I love reveals himself to be a heinous sleazebag, I’m going to do a bunch of murders, create a new isle of Lesbos, and never look back.”

Continue reading Personal Space: PWR BTTM and How Online Mob Culture Hurts Both Accusers and the Accused

A Working Spring

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Courtesy of Lost TV.

Three jobs and twenty one credit hours have kept me off of UIC Radio’s front page this semester, much to the dismay of my twelve readers (I ❤ you guys & gals). A busy spring also kept Nick V, Cheech, and me from sitting down in the same room together for about two months. When we finally found overlapping free time, we spent the better part of two hours animatedly talking about Syria, Chicago’s water, and the prison system. But between catching up and conversations eventually bleeding into politics, I managed to ask a few questions and listen to some phenomenal answers.

I wanted to interview the FreeFAM founders for a second time. Last fall, they’d impressed me with their business-minded approach to their genre. Without sacrificing individuality and independence, they seek to create a brand to support all kinds of artists. Coming from a city with a music culture that’s very “out-for-yourself,” their message is refreshing. FAM is in the name.

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Courtesy of Lost TV.

 

An obligatory catch-up is needed first, as these guys have not sat still since the last time they visited UIC Radio’s studio. They’ve been playing gigs, traveling, and working with producers like CB Mix, credited on Chance’s Coloring BookThey’re working with LRG to create clothing and Pat Banahan of Lost TV to make videos. The group just released a music video for Bless the Bottles, (my personal favorite so far) featuring the same BMW I8 King Louie and Vonmar used in their own video. They even played a show at College of DuPage, which only sounds mildly impressive until you learn COD won’t back anyone without a tax ID and business number. They even have a website. FreeFAM is officially in business.

On Tuesday, I asked Nick V and Cheech about branding. I wanted to know what audience FreeFAM would draw as a full-blown music label complete with t-shirts and dispensaries. Both brothers said “local” immediately. They don’t want to limit themselves to Chicago, but their focus is building up a platform to support all members of music production. Their circle includes engineers and videographers, animators, and even a few family members for legal counsel. The want anyone who’s drawn to an image of family, brothers, positive moves, and a platform that’s there to serve their clients. Cheech commented that “non-threatening artists” are what resonate in Chicago today.

 

Nick said he wants people with energy. “Energy to party, to help, to create.” He’s got a vision of FreeFAM as a charity and force for good in Chicago. We inevitably broke into ranting about senators and bills, but Nick had a ton to say about water quality. It was endearing and inspiring and had me walking home thinking how one could add water filters to a music label…But that’s beside the point.

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Courtesy of Lost TV.

I asked about brands that could “make or break” an artist. Lil Wayne and Cash Money were brought up, as was Future, who got in a legal battle with his manager and was forced to release two albums ahead of time so he could start making his own money. Some artists get caught promoting BS; Cheech brought up the Fyre Festival flop. But Jay-Z’s own streaming website was mentioned as a positive. “It all depends on if a brand will encourage or control you,” Nick told me. A label obviously wants a return on investment and will have to control an artist’s image if money is lost. So who’s got their label working for them? Cheech laughed at this thought and brought up Kanye. “His label has been taking so much money from his music. Someone’s been making 50% off all of his songs.”

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Photo courtesy of Lost TV.

Controlling the artist is beyond the aims of the Freedom Family. Both brothers explained respect for their artist is the only reason they’d sign someone, and there’s no need to control someone they respect. They don’t intend to cultivate a brand that interferes with music production or limits the evolution and development of an artist.

“At the end of the day, music is the most important. But music won’t be heard without branding.” Other groups have PR people to handle web pages, social media, and scheduling. But for FreeFAM, “It’s just me and Cheech,” Nick says. The work is taking a toll; Nick V’s been off social media and left with what sounds like carpal tunnel in his hands and a prescription for range-of-motion exercises. “Shouldn’t be constantly posting, anyway,” he admitted. I told him not to worry about it. “It’s always nice to hear from family.”

 

Have a Scien-tastic Day!

American Rage and Suburban Malaise: A Study of the Urban Punk Underground

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Martha’s Got a Limp Wrist (Photo by Christian Contreras)

This piece has been censored for the UIC Radio blog.

It’s difficult to write about punk without draining it of its chaos.

The greatest punk shows are soaked in sweat and blown into the red. The best punk lyrics are incomprehensible, the best punk venues include a highly suspect dirty mattress in the corner, and the best punk showgoer is one who will sweat all over you, push you into other strangers, scream in your face, and then let you bum a cigarette at the end of the night. When writing about punk neglects to include that sense of disorder and entropy, you get sterile talk of what is, above all, the art of violent, cathartic release.

When I was a teenager, DIY punk shows in Chicago were my safe haven. Growing up gay, there are very few spaces in which you know that you’re not the only outcast- which isn’t to say that I was some sort of hunchbacked adolescent hermit, but when you come out of the closet early, there’s a very thin line you have to walk, knowing all the eyes that rest on you. Getting drunk, then moshing and screaming and sweating in trashed apartments on the weekends was just the sort of chaotic release I needed to keep from cracking under the pressure.

There’s an energy at every great punk show that finds its way up your spine and lets you know you aren’t the only one who just needs a f*cking break. There are systems in place working against all of us- some more complicated or institutionalized than others- but the fun of a punk show is sourced from the moment it allows for young, frustrated, bored, and fed up people to stop needing to think for a while.

Eventually though, you stop being seventeen years old and it’s no longer socially acceptable to struggle through an Aquafina bottle full of whiskey, sweat through your shirt and make out with a high schooler at the end of the night.

Continue reading American Rage and Suburban Malaise: A Study of the Urban Punk Underground

The Dr. Paula Show, Re-airing Interview with Dr. Mona Khanna

monaThe Dr. Paula Show will be re-airing our interview with Dr. Mona Khanna, M.D on Tuesday, May 16th at 11 AM. She will be sharing her thoughts on the delivery of health services and information to the incredibly diverse populations, the importance and challenges involved in providing the public with clear and accurate information and the challenges experienced while promoting health literacy in terms of patient care.

Dr. Mona is a triple board-certified medical doctor and an Emmy award-winning medical journalist who is committed to making a difference in the lives of others through raising health literacy and promoting healthy behaviors. Dr. Mona attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and then went on to medical school at the University of Illinois, where she is now a Visiting Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and Associate in the Center for Global Health. After completing medical school and three specialty residencies, she became one of the country’s youngest medical directors. She left executive medicine in 2002 with the goal of empowering patients through health education on television as a medical reporter. She travels annually on medical missions and is an acclaimed humanitarian and disaster volunteer for which she has been recognized with the 2013 American College of Physicians Volunteerism Award . At Ground Zero on September 11th , Dr. Mona became the first physician to report from the frontlines of a disaster site while providing care. She reported from New York after Superstorm Sandy, Port-au-Prince after the Haiti earthquake, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and Indonesia after the Indian Ocean tsunami. Dr. Mona has received more than 50 honors in the past decade, including five Emmy Award nominations, the Award of Valor from the National Association of Minority Media Executives and the Leadership Award from the American Medical Association Foundation. She has hosted and co-produced two award-winning ½-hour medical specials “Diagnosis: Cancer,” and “Cheap Medicine: Mexico’s Medications.” She has empowered people across the globe through television, radio, magazine, newspaper and online heath reports as well as her work as an emergency volunteer, and is a popular event speaker on health disparities, leadership, public health, emergency preparedness, humanitarianism, and medicine and the media.

Do you have an idea for a Dr. Paula Show topic? Is there someone you would like to hear interviewed on the topic of health literacy? Share you suggestions with us! Contact Brienne Lowry at bdavis7@uic.edu.

Note To Self

“this is an open diary. this gives my insides a voice through visuals and poetry; this is me spilled out on paper.”

Typically on this blog you’ll find album reviews and updates on everything new in the music scene, but for right now I would like to do something different and talk about a book.

Books and albums are pretty similar. They’re both a form of art, they both tell stories, and they both can be used as a mental crutch.

I’ve recently finished reading the new book, Note To Self, written by Connor Franta. Connor Franta is a YouTuber, New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur, and a LGBTQ+ philanthropist. This is Connor’s sophomore book following his memoir, A Work In Progress.

Note To Self is a collections of poems, memories, thoughts, and essays that come from a deep and vulnerable place. Connor Franta allows readers to see the world from his perceptive as he opens up about love, heartbreak, and dealing with mental illness. Note To Self gives us an interior look into Connor’s life that cannot be seen online.

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This book is real. A lot of these pages I read with a heavy heart and truly could empathize with Connor. I found myself reading a line and thinking, ouch, that really hits close to home.”

But then there were the pages that left me feeling hopeful and inspired. They were reminders that I’m not alone with my feelings, and to always keep an open heart and an open mind.

Connor Franta wrote this book for himself (hence the title) as a way to reflect on his past few years. Through this self-reflection, Connor has opened a gateway for readers to come in and find their own meanings and to find comfort. Through the highs and the lows, this book made me feel something; it was something I could relate to and something I could find a sense of ease in.

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I highly recommend everyone picks up a copy of this book. It’s a great read, and it offers a little something for everyone. You can buy a copy of Note To Self Here.

I also had the pleasure to meet Connor Franta at the Chicago stop of his book signing. I will also be attending the Note To Self Tour in Milwaukee, which includes visuals from the book created by Connor, and a Q&A and discussion session. You can buy tickets for the tour Here.

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Another Trick: Tracing the Pervasiveness of Teenage-Adult Sex in Gay Male Spaces

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Note: This blog does not reflect the views of all of UIC Radio

Scrolling Twitter the other day, I found myself confronted with a well-meaning rant from one of my younger straight male friends. In response to a since suspended account’s unveiling of the “new and improved Pedosexual flag and symbol!”, paired with some generic “love is love”-esque statement, he responded, “This s**t is so disgusting and invalidating. What the f**k!”

My initial instinct was to jump on board with him- I drafted a few versions of a tweet along the lines of “Just on behalf of the entire LGBT+ community, pedophiles have absolutely ZERO to do with us.” Upon more thorough consideration as my finger hovered above the Shout Into The Void button, I wasn’t sure that was entirely true.

Continue reading Another Trick: Tracing the Pervasiveness of Teenage-Adult Sex in Gay Male Spaces

Tips for Music Festival & Concert Goers

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A couple of useful tips to keep in mind when attending some of those awesome festivals and concerts I mentioned in my last blog post:

Stay hydrated

Don’t be that person that gets carried out from the crowd during the show 😦 it makes us sad and you don’t get to enjoy the show.
Whether it’s water you’re sharing with the people you’re with or water bottles some of the nice security guards offer – drink it, stay hydrated. No, beer doesn’t count as staying hydrated, neither does juice – H2O bro.
Also, if water is allowed during the entrance bring more than one bottle! If not, drink your 8 glasses before going to the concert / festival but also use the bathroom first – Porta potties suck.

Wear appropriate clothing

Don’t wear a jacket because it’s cold out — I made this mistake once. I wore my north face windbreaker to a concert and regretted it one song in because I was front row and everyone’s body heat almost made me pass out even though I was drinking water. When it’s hot, wear clothes you’ll be comfortable in (for example tank tops and sports bras).

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Wear comfy shoes

It’s hard figuring out what shoes are best. I’ve worn running shoes to concerts before but I made the mistake of wearing NEW running shoes…to riot fest…after it rained a whole day. Those new white running shoes are now brown. I also wore converse to some concerts and even before the headliner performed – my feet were killing me! I had waited hours standing.

Be nice

Don’t be the jerk to start a fight because someone accidently pushes you, I’ve made so many friends just by apologizing before and after a concert to the people around me if I was pushing them or if my hair gets in their way. Everyone is there to enjoy themselves and have a good time.

Purses

Always a purse with a zipper ladies you don’t want people being able to open your purse without you noticing and stealing your phone or wallet. Side purses are my go to because I don’t need to be bothered during a show holding my purse. Also a book bag!! Especially for music festivals, essentials: water !!
And…

Portable chargers

These are life savers. Make sure to fully charge them before a concert.

Lastly,

You don’t need that merch

The merch table is always exciting, and the merch guy is always charming but don’t spend your paycheck on merch like some people (I’m pointing at myself).

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Troye Sivan Takes On Coachella

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The incredibly talented Australian pop star, Troye Sivan, surprised his fans with a surprise performance at the 2017 Coachella music festival.

Sivan joined DJ Martin Garrix on the Sahara Stage during his set to drop their new song together, “There For You.

This is the first piece of new music that we have gotten from Sivan since his 2015 debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

Sivan has been hinting on his Twitter that a new album is in the works, and new music will be coming our way in the, hopefully, near future.

There For You” is a brilliant song with a beautiful message. It’s pop heavy and radio-ready, and while it may be a great song to bop to, the lyrics hold a lot in them.

“I got you, I promise

Let me be honest

Love is a road that goes both ways

When your tears roll down your pillow like a river

I’ll be there for you

But you gotta be there for me too”

Communication is the most important thing in any relationship. You cannot expect someone to always be there for you, if you cannot be there for them. Communication, and as stated in the song, love, goes both ways. One sided relationships are toxic and unfair and I cannot stress this enough.

There For You” is a song I feel like everyone can relate to at some point in life, and songs like this are perfect to find comfort in. Sweet and soft.

With that being said, I cannot wait to hear what Sivan has planned for his sophomore album.

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As a longtime fan of Troye Sivan (and a fan of music and talent in general,) it’s been an emotional ride watching Sivan go from posting quirky videos on YouTube, to preforming on the iconic Coachella stage.

It just goes to show that if you’re passionate about something, and you want your dream bad enough, hard work and dedication pays off, and living the life you’ve always dreamed of, is possible.

The Dr. Paula Show, Tuesday 05/02 At 11 AM: Dr. Susan Magasi

susanThe next Dr. Paula Show will feature Dr. Susan Magasi, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences. The show will air on Tuesday, May 2nd at 11 AM. She will be sharing her thoughts on her research project, the implications of her research in terms of Health Literacy and how her research methods are beneficial to people with disabilities.

Dr. Susan Magasi is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences. Her work focuses on qualitative methodology, knowledge translation and health care equity for people with disabilities. Her work is conducted in collaboration with renowned researchers and disability advocates, with the purpose of improving the lives of individuals with disabilities. She has developed a national and international reputation as a qualitative methodologist and health disparities expert, and was a recipient of the 2016 UIC Researcher and Scholar of the Year Rising Star award.

Do you have an idea for a Dr. Paula Show topic? Is there someone you would like to hear interviewed on the topic of health literacy? Share you suggestions with us! Contact Brienne Lowry at bdavis7@uic.edu.