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By EMAY | Published: October 11, 2014
Sunday October 26th, 6PM
at Roots & Culture 1034 N Milwaukee Ave.
From 5th Century Rome to late 90’s New Jersey, the Piranhas have been on a bit of Italian kick in 2014. With the recent announcement that Tony Soprano is still alive, we’d argue that this legendary show has never left our collective imagination. And how could you not crave the manigot, rigatone, or any one of the ubiquitous cheese smothered Italian American casseroles that seem to be paraded around in just about every other scene. Join us on October 26th to tuck into Carmella’s baked ziti and Artie Bucco’s brajol for a Soprano’s Sunday dinner!
$30 family style dinner with wine and dessert.
Buy tickets HERE
By EMAY | Published: September 28, 2014
Al Trunko was a hoot! I’d like to thank everybody that joined us on a beautiful Indian Summer’s afternoon and braved the gastronomical oddities that I curated for our tour. Big thanks to Trunk Show, Raven and Jesse for creating this opportunity, its a wonderful project that literally takes the art to the streets, how could I not be thrilled and flattered to participate! Mostly I was just stoked to show off the southwest side of Chicago, which was unchartered territory for many of the guests. Not only did we sample the native culinaria, but the culture/ history/ architecture/ signage of this part of the city offered a lot more to chew on.
By EMAY | Published: September 17, 2014
““Man is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art: the artistic power of the whole of nature reveals itself to the supreme gratification of the primal Oneness amidst the paroxysms of intoxication”
I left my making comfort zone a little bit this summer. For the past two years, for Shannon Stratton’s “Party as Form” class, I’ve been invited to lecture about the Friday night costume parties at Ox-Bow and I’ve taken the opportunity to unpack my history with partying (raving, costuming, general raging) in these talks. I’ve felt that as an artist working with social strategies that partying is one of the most inclusive, participatory acts of social interaction and could be a perfect form for this type of work. Also, I feel that pleasure is central to my work and what is more pleasurable than partying? As boy Nietzsche so succinctly puts it above, partying is a selfless, collective activity. So partying might have a hard time jiving with the authorship-obsessed endeavor that is art making. Social practitioners might be too hung up on trying to prove that their work is productive and functional and making an argument, when maybe, the form of sociability is organic and messy and based in desire. Dionysian rather than Apollinarian.
So I made a shrine to my own party world, which you could say is a rather insular exercise. Though Ox-Bow, as a tiny community, has the inherent nature of being inclusive and collective. And much of the population enjoys the Friday night parties, so I felt like I had a captive, party literate audience that would recognize my signifiers. I wanted to make a ritualized space for people to party in, a shrine to the Dionysiac at Ox-Bow. I started to see elements of costumes as objects embedded with activity, a living record of their very active history. This piece (documented here in video) is a jumping off spot, an investigation into shared experience, fetishized activity, an attempt to find party as form.
By EMAY | Published: September 17, 2014
20 years ago today I went to my first rave, the flyer for that party + flyers for (nearly all) of the parties I ever went to are below:
We’d been collecting these trippy digitally designed flyers at our favorite record shops. With proper conditions– driver’s licenses and the perfect alibi of sleeping over at each other’s houses on Saturday nights before our 9 am Early College Program ceramics class at the School of the Art Institute– we were able to make this a reality. We called the hotline on the back of the flyer, which I believe led us to Wax Trax on Damen to buy tickets and get the address for a second checkpoint where we’d pick up a map to the actual location of the party. I cannot tell you where this party was– (though a post on this message board recounts it being a suburban location and that it got busted, neither details I recall) we pulled up on a desolated stretch of an industrial corridor and were hurriedly waved down a dark alley by a shadowy figure, the telltale thump, thump, thump signaling to us that we were headed on the right course and not about to get jumped.
Once inside the warehouse, there was some familiar ambiance from our already-growing-up-too-fast-in-the-suburbs lifestyle– nitrous oxide tanks hissing, inflating giant punchy balloons and Lawnmower Man being projected onto a white sheet. The deeper we penetrated the thick crowd, things got considerably more exotic– club kids in three foot tall platform shoes, naked flesh, chill out rooms dripping with sex and out-in-the-open drug use. The main dance floor was a wall to wall throb of too loud bass and jacking bodies. This was an urban crowd and there were all kinds of people losing themselves in the orgiastic rhythm. I remember not being intimidated, not like my first industrial concert a few years before, but feeling exhilarated and a little bit jittery. This was a safe space to get freaky. We let ourselves go and joined the pulsating hive.
Unfortunately, the subsequent 20 or so raves we attended were not quite as idyllic. At our second party, who did we run into within a half hour of stepping foot into the warehouse, but the same assholes who were pushing us down the stairs at school a few years earlier. The same kids that were copping our Ministry and Red Hot Chili Pepper t-shirts, co-opting all of the subcultural expressions that we had to work so hard to discover and establish ourselves as different from them and proud of it. Those were the times– Lollpalooza, alternative rock radio, recreational drugs– it was cool to be weird. At least we really were weird, and onto cool stuff a year or two before those jocks. There was a sea change in the rave scene. We’d been the first wave of suburban kids gentrifying a vital urban culture and it just kept going that way come 1995. The parties even moved to the suburbs, I remember one in a parking lot of a trucking company like a mile from my high school. I’m stoked we got to see a party like Ladybug– to have a taste of the halcyon era of the early 90s that seemed to be the natural progression of the utopia of House. Sure there were other good nights– the right concoction of a good buzz, cute looks, and communal vibes focused on the dance. But for the most part, when these parties weren’t getting shut down by the cops, they looked like open air drug markets with zombified suburban kids, dressing the part with the oversized polos and visors, becoming prey to dope peddlers (perhaps connected with the promoters) who scammed their parent’s cash in exchange for god-knows-what (the ecstasy was also very expensive, we could never afford designer drugs after shelling out $20– $25 at the door. My only cash flow at the time was selling Fimo beads at school). This was not PLUR, kids.
But I’m glad I was there. I took pride in pulling together outrageous outfits– the oversized plastic wallet chains, GIANT pants, tiny tops repurposed from stuffed animals, all sorts of home made jewelry. Inclusivity and individuality were high priority values for me throughout my teens and early twenties and I constantly desired supportive scenes. These ideals were certainly a major appeal of Ox-Bow for me. There’s something pragmatic about the utopia of the rave– for one night, no matter who you were, you could dress up, get high, and dance and everyone around you was a part of this whole. In the morning, you’d drive home, go to bed, wake up and go back to work or school. The one nighter.
And of course, the music. After many years of living in the city, I’ve come to savor the impersonal, sometimes harsh quality of electronic music, it reflects the landscape. Herein lies the other dystopic/utopic flip of rave– an embrace of the urban situation. Redirecting the isolating hostility of city life and making a party of it.
Back then it was nearly impossible to figure out what we were dancing to. I was too shy to approach the DJ booth (and back then in the white label era, DJs guarded their tracks) so mixtapes were the only access to taking the jams home. In my two years raving, the music changed a lot as well. At Ladybug and my other favorite parties, the DJs were playing hard, minimal house sounds and sometimes nudging into faster European techno. If you look at the flyers and know these DJ names, it will make sense as you scroll, I preferred the Chicago vets like Derrick Carter and Mystic Bill. Terry Mullen and Hyperactive were the two we followed most closely and they were very prolific at the time. I collected all of the Hyperactive mixes, which were a mix of old school Chicago acid house and more contemporary hardcore. By 95 everything was getting faster and harder and there were more and more European DJs flying in from the Dutch, Belgian, and German hardcore scenes. And then jungle happened which seemed to divide the scene further by 96. I like a lot these styles, but the old school Chicago will always be close to my heart. I could listen to Acid Tracks everyday and it would sound different every time– cold and alien, yet seductively organic. We are Phuture you can’t defeat us.
Seemingly a lifelong quest, I am still hunting down the unidentified ear worms that are fossilized deep in my memory banks. I started DJing about 10 years ago and have collected a lot of old school Chicago stuff by digging through everything I can find on labels like Trax, Dancemania, and Relief/ Cajual. Also, fortunately, on websites like ravearchive.com you can download many of these classic mix tapes and with the handy technology of Shazam, I’ve been able to track down a bunch of the classic dance floor bangers of the era. Here’s a list of my favorite rave jams:
And of course the flyer art. If you scroll up and down this blog, you will see the lasting impression bad old digital design will always have on my work.
By EMAY | Published: September 9, 2014
Saturday September 27th, 12pm– 3pm
Meet at Eckhart Park on Noble St., just north of Chicago. Tour will depart from there. Carpooling is encouraged. Please bring $15– $20 for chow.
To dine “Al Trunko” simply means to dine off the trunk (or hood) of one’s car. Typically this is a means of necessity when dining at establishments that do not provide appropriate accommodations (though nothing is stopping you from eating off your car if its a sunny day or you are just not in the mood to pay gratuity). The term “Al Trunko” was coined sometime in the mid-2000s– likely over styrofoam trays of South Side BBQ– by the community of Chicago– based food chat site, LTHForum.com, of which Eric (screen name “Jefe”) is an active member.
Join us on Saturday, September 27th for a tour of native South Side delicacies, enjoyed Al Trunko in their natural habitat. The tour will meet on the near northwest side and head down panoramic S Western Ave. to kick off the day right with a Mother-in-law at Fat Johnnies (as seen on “Anthony Bordain’s” No Reservations). We will then head to the picturesque Mount Greenwood neighborhood on the city’s far southwest side for a taste of Eric’s favorite childhood Italian Beef at Pop’s. The tour will conclude overlooking scenic Marquette Park for a sample of the fabled Jim Shoe from the neighborhood’s fine Super Sub establishment.
Please note: it is highly advised to pack an Al Trunko Survival Kit as detailed in the schematic above.
By EMAY | Published: August 25, 2014
WHAT: Eric’s Germany Kitchen presents: OKTOBERFEST
WHEN: Saturday September 20th, 5– 8 PM
WHERE: Roots & Culture 1034 N Milwaukee Ave.
WHY: Chef Eric needs an occasion to address his cultural heritage. Also, you will be partying all weekend because of the art fair anyway and will need some cheap, greasy food + more drinks. ALSO, it happens to be real OKTOBERFEST weekend.
WHAT ELSE: $10 gets you: bratwurst, German potato salad, homemade pretzel, kraut, + 1 beer. $20 gets you dinner + a limited edition stein with free refills.