For Jane Brody, life’s a stage

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This article originally appeared in The DePaulia, 10-22-12.

Jane Brody 10-22

Although she was raised in a non-religious household, Jane Brody recalls being captivated by church windows as a child.

“When I was 10, I would go to empty places in Milwaukee with beautiful glass windows. I was drawn to grand gestures and the beauty of light and the awesomeness of it. I think that is the thing that keeps me in the theatre, just the awe of life.”

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Interview: DePaul alum Colin Sphar in ‘Luna Gale’ at Goodman Theatre

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This article was originally published in The DePaulia, 1-27-2014.

Luna Gale

To some, “bureaucracy” is a dirty word. It conjures up images of stacks of meaningless forms, wasteful spending, undue government oversight. It is easy to forget that the services the federal government provides go beyond the Post Office and the DMV, and the stereotypically negative connotations associated with these services only add to the frustration. The Department of Human Services, or DHS, is one office that, for many Americans, remains out of sight and out of mind. This is probably for the best, as it provides an essential and grueling resource – the protection of children born into disadvantaged families.

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The origins of Chicago’s ‘drill’ sound

via rapbasement.com

via rapbasement.com

This article originally appeared in The DePaulia, 1-14-2013

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Phill Roche, then a DePaul senior finishing his degree in Marketing and Business Management, was sitting in class on May 1, 2012 when he got a call from an unfamiliar number. Working as a press representative for rising Chicago rapper King Louie and affiliated video producer Duan Gaines, Roche had been trying for months to get major publications interested in his clients, but to no avail.

Upon calling the number back, he discovered it was MTV, suddenly curious about Louie after hearing him name-dropped by Kanye West on his latest star-studded remix. The original, Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like,” had been something of a local sensation since March, racking up views on Youtube thanks to a video shot and produced by Gaines. The 16-year-old Keef, his sound a more abrasive example of the burgeoning drill scene that Louie also represents, became heavily hyped by the music press at large, despite having been familiar to Chicago-focused hip-hop blogs for some time.

“The media missed them,” said Roche, when contacted by phone. “And the record companies played catch up.”

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Club sneaks in musical theatre amidst busy schedules

Photo by Andrew Morrell

Photo by Andrew Morrell

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This article was originally published in The DePaulia, 4-22-2013.

The life of a typical DePaul Theater School student is hectic, to say the least. Those in the program typically juggle five classes per quarter, along with nightly rehearsals and hours spent preparing lines or perfecting scenes. Attending shows, whether they be student productions or part of the thriving theater community in Chicago, is almost mandatory – an essential adjunct to the curriculum and their evolving knowledge of their profession. All this leaves little time to pursue more personal artistic endeavors like, say, creating a student-run group that puts on showcase performances once every quarter featuring meticulously rehearsed and choreographed songs from eight Broadway musicals.

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Who is alt lit?

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This article was originally published in The DePaulia, 6-2-2014.

On a cloudy Wednesday afternoon, Heiko Julien sits on the floor of Rachel “Pattycake” Bell’s Chicago apartment, iPhone to mouth, face to laptop. He is recording readings of several original poems — stream of consciousness prose about imagined conversations with Maury, banter with a date, or simply a list of actions.

“Communicates with Devil. Fills bowl with milk. Rides bike through rough neighborhood. Makes offering of one’s self. Escalates tension.”
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Review: Immortal Technique and Brother Ali at the Metro – Chicago 9-22-14

This review was originally published on GoWhereHiphop.com.

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Renowned independent rappers Immortal Technique and Brother Ali played to a respectable crowd at Metro on September 22.  They were accompanied by openers I Self Divine of Minneapolis and Poison Pen of Brooklyn, all part of Technique and Ali’s “War and Peace Tour.”

The banner that hung behind the stage featured both headlining artists, with Immortal Technique on the left (“War”) side, and Ali on the right (“Peace”).  I assume this placement was no accident, and not only because Technique seemed to be holding an assault rifle in his picture, and Ali looked like a hip-hop monk, per usual.  Continue reading

Colin Cordell of Red Lion Pub mixes skill with history

Image courtesy PMonaghan/Flickr

Image courtesy PMonaghan/Flickr

This was originally published in The DePaulia, 10-20-14

It’s quite common for people to take up a hobby at an early age that they will carry into their professional lives. For Colin Cordell, owner of The Red Lion Pub in Lincoln Park, that hobby was bartending.

“I’ve been making drinks since I was 7,” he said over a bowl of soup. “I grew up during the golden age of using grammar school children for bartenders.”

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Jazz giant Billy Cobham talks past, present and future

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10-7FINALISSUE (dragged)

This article originally appeared in The DePaulia, 10-7-2013.

Billy Cobham is widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time.  He is especially influential in the realm of jazz fusion, a genre that combines the improvisational focus and chord structures of “classic” jazz with the rhythms and instrumentation of rock and funk.  In his career that spans nearly 50 years, he has played alongside legends such as Miles Davis, Horace Silver, George Benson, the Brecker Brothers, Stanley Clarke, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and many more.  He is currently touring in celebration of the 40th anniversary of his debut solo album, “Spectrum,” and played at SPACE in Evanston on Oct. 3 and 4.  I spoke with Cobham over the phone about working with jazz giants and the language of music.
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