Thursday, August 16, 2012

Leo Rising

And I’m back! Physically, mentally, metaphysically, metaphorically, metabolically… For this post, I’ll use bullet points. Because I can. I’ll also say because today’s my last day of being 24. Which means within 24 hours I’ll be able to… rent a car? (As if I weren’t already reluctant about this whole propelling myself forward through time thing, there’s no better way to make a young person feel prematurely and unreasonably old than marking an alleged milestone with the lamest legal liberty possible.) Amurrica!

  • I’ve been invited to be a Featured Artist for Art Depth, part of Chicago Artists Month. Save the date: October 6!

  • I recently wrote an article for Sixty Inches From Center in which I chatted with the Q4 Tribe, an independent art collective with a focus on social activism. Now. Allow me to quote myself. (Because I’ve lived for a quarter of a century, damnit!)

It’s hard to interview nomads when you’re trying to squeeze through dancing multitudes and libations are streaming forth and a fusion of hip hop and world music is blasting and you’re in the middle of an atmospherically lit space covered wall-to-wall in colorful murals with slogans ready to rouse revolution within you. Then again, the thought of interviewing the Quennect 4 gang didn’t really occur to me then, almost a year ago when I first stumbled upon MultiKulti. All I knew was that they were a great group of people to party with.
Since that time, however, I’ve found that if you’re even at least slightly active in Chicago’s underground art scene—particularly the scene that is, refreshingly, dominated by people of color—you’ve most likely come across someone or something with ties to Q4.
An independent art collaborative, Quennect 4 is a grassroots force to be reckoned with. Everything from organizing alternative festivals that help community organizations (their last Block Party, held this past weekend, benefited Street-Level Youth) to providing myriad platforms for artists and musicians to showcase their talents and passions (such as hosting an Open Mic series every last Thursday of the month), the Q4 Tribe dedicates itself to supporting local artists, activists, and educators and focuses on all things creative and socially conscious.
On one of those hot end-of-July days when the air itself seemed to cling to your skin and you broke into a sweat just strolling down a shaded Milwaukee, I sat with Amara Betty Martin in the backyard of RGB Lounge, the sounds of construction down the block and the L rumbling past overhead providing periodic moments of respite, allowing us to collect our thoughts and contemplate each other’s words as if sipping on cold beers—the quintessential Chicago summer afternoon.

Read the full interview here and revel in some wonderful nuggets of wisdom from Amara, like “Through art, everybody can find a universal connection.” And while you’ve got SIFC on your mind: the organization is looking for more writers, photographers, and filmmakers.

  • If you’ve been keeping up with my art travels, you’re probably expecting the post about Hong Kong / art and social class that I hyped up (oops). I had a really, really lengthy (like, pages and pages on MS Word), really, really personal (like, more so than the 3rd culture kid post) piece that I’d typed out en route from Zürich to Basel, rolling through the scenic Swiss countryside, but I ultimately decided against hitting “publish” because… of the two characteristics I just mentioned. I will, however, probably release a revised version. I’ll also be sharing insights about the European leg of my adventures, e.g. comparing Art Basel with ART HK.

Basel, baby.

  • Check the side bar for a list of social networking sites I use, my most active account being Twitter (followed by Google+ and LinkedIn), which I update daily. (Well, really, I’m the most active on Facebook, but if we don’t know each other in real life / are not likely to meet each other in real life, I tend to curate* which friend requests I accept, and it’s nothing personal. Anyone and everyone, however, can feel free to subscribe to my public updates.)

*Kidding. Please don’t use the word “curate” like that. Ever.

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