Prepare Thineself, Mortal, For It Is Star Wars Season

 

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Rey’s light saber is super big now Photo courtesy of imdb.com

Call me a plebeian. Call me a shameless consumer. Call me just another small cog in the corporate machine. I’ll take all of it, really. I don’t care. What am I referring to? The only thing worth referring too of course; this year’s new addition to the Star Wars film catalog, The Last Jedi.  

I don’t hide my shamelessness. When Disney announced a few years back that it would be releasing Star Wars films until the end of time itself, I was as happy as Luke Sky-walker during that one scene in Empire Strikes Back where he unknowingly makes out with his sister.

While some had concerns that Disney, the franchise’s new owner, would strip the property of all of its cool stuff and replace it with musical numbers and cars voiced by Owen Wilson, I had faith that the extra galactic spider people that secretly ran the company would handle this most sacred of franchises with the care and finesse of a sloth climbing down from a tree.  

And for the most part, they really have. The company’s first two entries; The Force Awakens, and Rogue One, were both for the most part both very well made and well received films, and judging by the trailers, it looks like The Last Jedi is going to maintain that same level of quality.

Continue reading “Prepare Thineself, Mortal, For It Is Star Wars Season”

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Noteworthy’s Best Albums of 2017 Show

Ivan of Noteworthy back here again. If you haven’t already heard the news, I’ll be counting down my top albums of 2017 on tonight’s show (6PM-8PM at uicradio.org  and on the Radio FX app). Assuming that you’ve been a steady listener of the show, you should be able to guess a few of the albums that’ll make an appearance, but there will be some surprises in there as well. This is usually one of the best shows of the year, and even if you haven’t been following Noteworthy, this is the perfect time to jump in.

While I won’t reveal what my picks are until tonight’s show, here’s what placed at #1 for me over the previous five years: Continue reading “Noteworthy’s Best Albums of 2017 Show”

Fact Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Part Two

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Mistakes can and do happen, in all fields and by all people. As you may have read in the previous “Fact Check Yourself,” many times these mistakes can be made due to pure miscommunication. Occasionally, this does happen, and while it could be something that’s easily correctable, it could also potentially change the public’s viewpoint in a possibly disastrous way. This counts for both stories and current events, and guests who appear on programs.

Take, for instance, the appearance of Guy Goma on BBC News.

Goma was at the BBC for a job interview in their IT department, but due to a mix-up in a waiting room, a producer who was tasked with finding a “Guy Kewney” who was scheduled to appear for a live interview accidentally found Guy Goma instead, and the rest is history.

But what happens when guests who are scheduled to appear aren’t who they even claimed to be to station staff?

Continue reading “Fact Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Part Two”

The Daily Blend’s November Top Ten

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Hey all! Wow, has it been a busy month. I’ve been SO busy with homework, my job, this (my other, unofficial, job), and every possible other thing you could think of. BUT I have found time to get some new artists, songs, and albums into my music library. I’m going to be honest though, there definitely are a couple people that I listened to A TON in October that I continued to listen to in November. And that’s okay! We all have those artists that we always go back to no matter what. Continue reading “The Daily Blend’s November Top Ten”

My Top 10 Electronic/Dance tracks of 2017

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Like most of the UIC Radio DJs and music lovers in general, I’ve been compiling my end of year lists. Because my interest is mainly in electronic and dance music,  I’ve decided to focus my list on the best tracks of 2017. The past year has been huge for electronic music. Techno continued it’s current wave of popularity, with new voices both refining and warping the genre into new directions. Lo-Fi house died and then came back, club music got deconstructed and rebuilt into a noisy mess, and push for more representation from female, queer, and POC DJ’s helped bring new voices to the table. Here’s what I took away as the best of the year:

10. DJ Boring-Goodbye Michael

This little wonder of a remix is only number 10 because it’s technically a release from the the late hours of 2016. Created in the wake of George Michael’s passing last December, DJ Boring takes the late singer-songwriter’s 2003 track “Amazing” and downgrades it for the lo-fi house generation. The result is a remix that improves upon its source materiel by letting Michael’s melodic genius shine through the distorted bass and tape hiss.

Continue reading “My Top 10 Electronic/Dance tracks of 2017”

I Should Really Talk About This Radio Show I’ve Had For Like Two Weeks

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Photo courtesy of The Telegraph

This may surprise some of you, but these blogs aren’t my only means of dispensing garbage throughout the campus.

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen my long dormant Twitter suddenly reawaken with weirdly incoherent and rambling tweets about something called “The Longplay”. Well don’t worry folks, those aren’t the ramblings of a madman; they’re poor attempts at plugs for my now three week old radio show “The Longplay”.

“But Jonah,” you say, your wide, infantile eyes locked with mine; “your blog is bad enough, so why on earth would I use the finite amount of precious seconds I am allowed in this life to subject my ears to whatever dribble may come cascading out of the airwaves?”

First of all, thank you.

Second, let me talk about the show a bit here, and then you can decide if you want to commit or not. Does that sound fair?

Continue reading “I Should Really Talk About This Radio Show I’ve Had For Like Two Weeks”

The Revolution in Music Consumption: What Does It Mean for the Indie Artist?

What is the future of traditional music labels? We are currently seeing a significant change in how music is produced, released, and consumed. Once upon a time, people shopped at record stores to buy LP’s, cassettes, and CDs. Now, you have instant access to music with Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Napster, etc. While music accessibility is easier than ever before, how does this impact the business model for traditional music labels? Moreover, how does this impact the independent artists who are not signed to a music label?

When I think about artists like Chance, who offer their music for free, it makes me wonder if traditional music labels are still relevant. Chance offers his music for free and makes money from performances and merchandise sales. He is an example of how most independent artists hope to achieve success. Never in a million years, would I imagine that someone not associated with a major record label, would win 5 Grammy Awards.

As an independent Blues artist, I still sell traditional CDs (I cannot believe I am referring to a CD as traditional, but that’s another topic for another day), in addition to offering my music on various streaming websites like Spotify. For those of you familiar with free streaming services like Spotify, you may know that artists do not make a lot of money from streaming services. Artists generally make a few cents per stream, which can make things difficult for your average unknown independent artist. I recorded my first project, with the hope of getting more gigs (which I did before I entered grad school) and possibly gaining enough attention to join a record label.

I, like many aspiring artists, have dreamt about securing a recording contract. It would be so nice to have a record company to record, produce, and promote my music. However, record labels are struggling to stay in business these days. For years, they have depended heavily on record or CD sales. Now, they are depending on online music sales, which has proven to be less profitable than selling physical copies of music.  Part of me wonders if I should continue to release my own music or even if I should release it for free?

While some people would agree that I should make my music free to all, I am not sure if I could sustain on making music from shows and merchandise (which I currently don’t have). For those of us who have copyrighted and published our music, then it is possible to earn money from royalties, too. I was very excited to get my little check from BMI Music.  It seems logical to focus on making money from performances, but as history has shown us, every artist is not able to perform until their last day. Yet, you have artists who are 6 feet under, that are still generating revenue and royalties from their music.

What kind of advice would you like to offer to me and artists like me? Moreover, how do you think this transformation in music consumption will impact the way artists make a living off of their music?

Best,

Brother Jacob

Host of Blues and News with Brother Jacob, Every Sunday from 6 pm to 8 pm

Trash Talk: Bring In The Trash

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Feeling Trashy? 

Welcome to Trash Talk with Miki and Mikey! Trash Talk is your weekly venting session. Miki, Mikey and some occasional guests will let out their thoughts and frustrations on that week’s topic. We like to explore different interesting topics that anyone can relate to. Our teaser episode was an introduction for listeners to get a glimpse of who we are. Mikey brings all the bad puns and dad jokes and Miki is here to call out the bullsh*t.

Continue reading “Trash Talk: Bring In The Trash”

The Loneliness of Being a Gay Man in 2017

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Learning to Fly with Broken Wings and Learning to Love with a Broken Heart


I’ve oft discussed this phenomenon on my radio program (‘Trev,’ Wednesdays from 8:30 – 10:30 PM CT on uicradio.org and the mobile app Radio FX, also soundcloud.com/trevshow), one in which LGBTQ+ youth in particular struggle to fit in with a group that truly meshes with their identity and damaged sense of self. You see, the one thing that truly unites queer people is a certain level of damage. This damage can arise from a variety of sources and circumstance.

Paradoxically, gay men in particular find very little difficulty attaching themselves to individuals physically, sexually or romantically. What results is a very isolated and unstable foundation of support. Placing all bets on a single, extremely flawed individual is a sure fire way to return not only to the loneliness with which one was accustomed to before, but in fact an even deeper, darker sense of isolation. One fraught with the always-difficult transition from companionship back to solitude. The transition in and of itself is not one containing smooth or stable components.

The underlying issue is that, by their nature, gay men are, frequently, incredibly damaged. Indeed the basis of a romantic, male, homosexual relationship is one between two parties who haven’t been shown much love in life and yet are expected to somehow know how to do it. The results speak for themselves. I do not think it is a stretch to say that the extremely high rates of suicide among queer youth can be directly traced to this sort of all-or-nothing level of support.

See, when a heterosexual goes through a breakup, there is an entire community of support waiting for them in the wings. Mom, dad, sister uncle, all universally relate and empathize with the heartbroken straight boy. Conversely, homosexuality, even now, is something that at the very least isn’t spoken of among even the inner-most core of a family structure, even if it isn’t vocally opposed. Adding to this is the media’s frequent portrayal of happy, fulfilled gay couples (primarily white and male in nature).

The overused cliche of puberty is one of a caterpillar turning into a beautiful, transformed butterfly, which older butterfly creepily comment and make advances towards, but that’s besides the point. (These are the butterflies who could end up violently splattered on the grille of a car without even a modicum of remorse on behalf of literally everyone. Good riddance, you pervy rainbow moth). Gay puberty features significantly more bumps along the way.

Imagine, instead, of a caterpillar in its cocoon being ripped from the branch, stomped on repeatedly, and somehow managing to emerge, broken, but alive nonetheless. This damaged larva begins its post-transformation existence with broken wings, attempting to the best of its ability to assimilate into the life and culture of its peers. Often failing to do so, a fellow damaged monarch approaches it and offers, at once, a sense of familiarity, unity and aid. Finally, someone who gets it.

Instead of insects, imagine that damage lies within the heart of a human being. A heart that has faced dogma and violent opposition of its own kind. Mothers, grandparents and “friends” alike. The heart of a young, gay man is one that has been stomped and bruised since its inception. While it continues to beat, through lens of judgment and basic survival, it fails to empathize with those even within its own community. Infidelity, internalized homophobia, and all sorts of destructive behaviors are fueled by an overwhelming sense of self-hatred and guilt. Things that are not intrinsically or naturally a product of its lifestyle, but rather the environment with which it so inefficaciously tries to perform. A gay man is a butterfly with broken wings trying its best to fly. A gay man is a human with a broken heart, trying its best to love.


Trev Richards is host of the weekly talk program Trev on UIC Radio; Live, Wednesdays 8:30 – 10:30 PM Central Time. Follow/listen on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, iTunes and SoundCloud

A Millionaire On Campus

Today there was a millionaire on UIC’s campus. Now if you try to think of who it might be, you would probably think of someone who made their money academically. Someone like a big scientist, inventor, computer innovator, business man, etc., but that isn’t the case.

Today on campus was the Chicago rapper known as Saba. If you don’t know who Saba is, I’ll educate you. Saba, like I said before, is a Chicago Rapper. He is a part of Pivot Gang along with rappers Mfn Melo, Joseph Chilliams, and the late John Walt. He has collabed with other artists which include Vic Mensa, Joey Purp, Taylor Bennett, and Chance the Rapper. Earlier this year he dropped his debut album Bucket List Project and has grown in fame because of it. So with all these accolades, why would he come to UIC??

On November 25th there is a concert called John Walt Day. It is a concert featuring all the members of Pivot Gang + special guests–Chance is a possibility according to Saba–in memory of John Walt. Walt was one of the founders of Pivot Gang but was stabbed to death last year, sadly. In his memory the John Walt Foundation was started to help the youth of today. All of the proceeds of John Walt Day are going to the foundation.

In these weeks leading up to John Walt Day, Saba and Mfn Melo have been going around Chicago hand delivering tickets to fans wherever the fans are. There were about 20 people who wanted tickets or just wanted to meet Saba; I was one of those 20 people of course. I had to miss part of my anatomy lab but it was worth it to meet Saba, get my hat signed–Mamby on the Beach is where I first saw Saba in concert–and get my hand delivered ticket. Oh and I got a retweet from Saba and there’s a video of him signing my hat on his Instagram story.

If you’re jealous of me getting to meet Saba then you can be mad, be more active on Twitter so you can know about these things orrrr just check out my pictures of today.