notes from a journey through Chicago's cultural landscape...

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

...this is not about me, this is about my city - a living document of Chicago's art's scene, a memoir of concerts I've been to & performances I've seen, a jaded scribe's small sampling of the many offerings of this vibrant cosmopolitan city that I'm lucky enough to call home. I work the city as the city works me, all of us connected in varying degrees, here i pay tribute to our evolving soundtrack, I plug praiseworthy endeavors & try to give a little back... Together with my peers we paint this crossroads with every shade we can find, in your mediums & mine, i run with deep house deviants & wrinkled blues cats, youngun' b-boy crews & quirky circus brats, snobby eclectic DJs & electric painters laboring on projected displays, film makers armed with mini-DVs & picky chefs sculpting tricky masterpieces out of vegan grease... i kick it with slam poets & theater geeks, powerbook producers & fashionista freaks, photoshop fellowships & choreographer hips, while jazz cats blow digital epics through pursed bebop lips... i'm at the nexus of the next wave of Chicago sound - this is where i share the stories of all the beauty I've found...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Africa Hi-Fi @ Sonotheque

Another late Friday night spent at Sonotheque listening to the strains of Ron Trent's DJ selections while tabling for Sonia Hassan, my two favorite Afro-centric spirits in the city of Chi. Tonight Africa Hi-Fi featured guest DJ MKL, a Belize-born NYC cat who came armed with some incredible silk-screened shirts to sell, a fistful of vinyl to hustle, and a whole bunch of records to drop into what was a cohesive mix of old and new afrobeat. I had a real good time, flirted with a fine sister who was flattering enough to come talk to me while all the rest of the weekend warriors were busy getting sloshed to release themselves from what's been a long, stressful week. 4 hours spent in little room with a wall full of Six Degrees posters, a table full of CDs & flyers, and a listening station equipped with MKL's album "3 Generations walking." I had a good time, as always, met a bunch of cool folks, sold a decent amount of music... Africa Hi-Fi brings out the usual Friday night fiends looking for hook-ups and quick drunks but also draws a regular crowd of beautiful folks from Ron & Sonia's circle of friends, good people committed to the music and focused on the intentions underlying the concept of this monthly gathering. Since I was away from the speakers I couldn't really fully appreciate the mix, but Ron routinely drops a moving set of sounds that is both funky and conscious, which can be surprisingly hard to find in the hedonistic world of House music. But Ron is so much more than just another House DJ, and he's seriously altered my approach to spinning records since I met him last year. Hearing him throw down for a Friday-night crowd once a month has been really inspiring, and I'm definitely privileged to watch and learn from the best how to rock a crowd till they bounce... Ron's a respository for all things funky and 'fro-oriented, and he's a great foil for the serious & imposing beauty Sonia H. brings to the mix each month. They make quite a team, and I'm starting to really need the monthly fix of dub & plantains & dark refined love I receive each month at Africa Hi-Fi... If y'all aren't doing anything on Friday, May 20th, and are looking for a good place to get down, come check out Africa Hi-Fi's "Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa" evening, which features the sounds from the Afro Counter Culture of the 1970's...

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