Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chi-Town Memories

Whew. It's been a long while since I last posted. Seemed like it was only yesterday, but the weeks have kinda breezed by without any warning or care. That No Woman, No Womb business that I wrote about two posts ago seems to have come and gone-- but not without its drama, of course. I wrote about its first three weeks, trying to stick to a journalistic tone in this post for Examiner.com. I was contemplating for the longest about whether I was going to write a follow-up blog piece here on this blog, further elaborating on my position, but I thought against it. I decided that its best not feed into what I had long suspected was an attempt for media attention with very little substance behind. When the organizer of the campaign, Christylen Karazin, publicly admitted that she has very little background in policies regarding black families and children and quotes Daniel Patrick Moniyhan to make points about what black women should be doing regarding having children, then I realized that it would be a waste of breath trying to speak the language of rational when referencing this so-called campaign. Also, intelligent women who I've admired for some time as writers and thinkers-- like Tichoana Chinyelu, Kimberly Ellis and others on Twitter-- have been more than holding it down-- they have been schooling folk while they combat the foolishness through the #NWNW hashtag. So, I gave that a rest-- albeit for an occasional RT of something that I found witty in regards to NWNW in my timeline. I had other things in the forefront of my mind, particularly my trip to Chicago.

Chi-Town Vacay

So, by now, if you follow this blog at all, you know by now that I usually vacation or take family field trips to places I'm slated to perform. Last week, I went to Chicago, and it was one of those two-for-ones that I tend to do so often. This time, however, I didn't take my family.

I performed this past weekend in Chicago at the Little Black Pearl on Friday and on Saturday at the Black Age of Comics Convention that was founded by visual artist Turtel Onli. I had a blast. I don't think I intended to have so much fun.

On Friday, I performed at Little Black Pearl, an artsy cafe in the Bronzeville community of Chicago. I performed while tours of Bronzeville were taking place. The tours were stopping at about five art galleries in the area and my performance was the only one taking place during the tour. I did about three sets before running off to catch the tour myself. In case you didn't know, Chicago has 77 neighborhoods! I was mouth-wide-open surprised when I learned that. And each neighborhood has a level of distinction that makes it special in its own way. I stayed in the Hyde Park community while I was in Chicago, staying with an art collector who was friends with Turtel Onli who allowed many of the illustrators and performers for the event stay with her for the entire duration of our stay. Her place was incredible. Overlooking Lake Eerie, you were always able to see one of the most beautiful landscapes I had ever laid eyes on.

Hyde Park is also Barack Obama's old neighborhood. When Turtel took me by Obama's house one night, we were forced to keep it moving instead of slowing down when lights started flashing furiously as we slowed down by the house. It was so scary that I told Turtel that I will recount this story to anyone who would listen.

Here are some of the people and sights I saw and met while in Chicago:

sunset on lake erie

turtel onli in his studio

One of Turtel Onili's creations

Me and my business partner and buddy Maceo Thomas


me and illustrators and performers of the Black Age

Author LA Banks

Illustrator Arie Monroe. Bought stuff from her for my daughter. Arie and I were roommates.

Read more about our Chicago adventures HERE

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