WBEZ | The Chosen Few http://www.wbez.org/tags/chosen-few Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en House music and culture at The Chosen Few festival http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-07/house-music-and-culture-chosen-few-festival-100728 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5994_Chosen%20Few%201-scr.jpg" style="width: 600px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; height: 448px;" title="The Chosen Few Old School Reunion and Picnic 2012 (Alison Cuddy)" /></div><p>Chicago&#39;s summer calendar is jam-packed with high-profile music festivals, from Lollapalooza to this weekend&#39;s Pitchfork. But The Chosen Few, one of the city&#39;s bigger and longer-running music events, is still little known outside house music circles and the city&#39;s South Side.<br /><br />&quot;We were here at 3:30 and by five o&#39;clock the line was about a block long,&quot; Taft Parsons said.</p><p>That would be 5 a.m., by the way. Parsons and his wife, Sherida, have been coming to The Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic for 12 years - since they were both medical students.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>The day-long house music festival takes place every 4th of July weekend in Jackson Park. Most attendees bring food and supplies and camp out for the whole day.</p><p>This year the Parsons have brought a posse with them - 14 of their friends from Detroit, Mich. - four tents in all.</p><p>&quot;Yeah, we had to walk it in so we strategized and had our men do all the heavy lifting,&quot; Sherida Parsons said. &quot;And the women, we just carried light bags. It worked out.&quot;</p><p>Her husband said they come for the music - after all, Chicago is the home of house.</p><p>&quot;Chicago-style house music is very unique,&quot; Taft Parsons said. &quot;It&#39;s different from what you hear in New York or Detroit. It has heavy disco undertones. So that&#39;s one of the things that makes it unique as a music festival itself.&quot;</p><p>The picnic was started in 1990 by The Chosen Few, a DJ collective founded by brothers Wayne Williams and Jesse Saunders - the same guys who are known for bringing house music out of the gay clubs and into the South Side club scene.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5993_Alan%20King-scr.jpg" style="width: 250px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left; height: 204px;" title="Chosen Few DJ Alan King (Alison Cuddy)" /></div><p>Alan King is an original member - he says the picnic was their way to reconnect with friends and family.</p><p>&quot;You know we started literally with 40 or 50 people in the park, and to see what it has grown into makes it very special,&quot; King said.</p><p>About 50,000 were in attendance this year. But King said they try to keep the original vibe in place.</p><p>&quot;It really has a family reunion atmosphere to it, which we work very hard to preserve,&quot; he said. &quot;You get to see people you haven&#39;t seen since high school or college, your fraternity brothers and sorority sisters. It really is the most enjoyable event I get involved with.&quot;</p><p>These days the fest has corporate sponsors and celebrity hosts.&nbsp; But most people are still there to dance. When Alan King spins, he gets the crowd going.&nbsp; Thousands of people danced in front of the stage, and as he brought the music level up and down, chanted in unison.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5996_Deleasha%20Carter%20and%20Marcus-scr.jpg" style="height: 187px; width: 250px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="Deleshea Carter and Marcus, The Chosen Few 2012 (Alison Cuddy)" /></div><p>But not everyone in Jackson Park is feeling the love. Deleshea Carter is from California.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m not used to the culture, so all of this is new to me,&quot; she said.</p><p>When asked what&#39;s different Carter says &quot;The music! It&#39;s that constant same beat that makes you want to beat your head into the ground,&quot; adding that she&#39;s there mainly for her boyfriend, Marcus.</p><p>But he thinks she&#39;s missing the point: &quot;It&#39;s not about what I want you to do &#39;cuz I&#39;m not the music. The music is telling you what to do,&quot; Marcus said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5998_Kalehsa%20Byrd%20and%20Nathan%20Leonard-scr.jpg" style="height: 268px; width: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="Kalesha Byrd and Nathan Leonard, The Chosen Few 2012 (Alison Cuddy)" /></div><p>Palatine residents Kalesha Byrd and Nathan Leonard grew up around house, so they&#39;re familiar with its beat. But they think it&#39;s the sense of community that makes the festival such a great time.</p><p>&quot;I see people of all shapes, sizes, forms and colors just having a great time,&quot; Leonard said. &quot;And you really don&#39;t get to see that anymore.&quot;</p><p>And even though this is their first time at the Chosen Few, from the sounds of it, they&#39;re hooked.</p><p>&quot;Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, good music!&quot; Leonard said.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I love it. I&#39;m coming back next year!&quot; Byrd said.</p><p>By the way WBEZ blogger Lee Bey took some great photos at The Chosen Few: check them out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-07/bey-takes-holiday-architecture-finds-house-100705">here.</a><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 09 Jul 2012 16:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-07/house-music-and-culture-chosen-few-festival-100728 Weekender: House music picnic and artful skyscrapers http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-07/weekender-house-music-picnic-and-artful-skyscrapers-100666 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Wayne%20William%20TCFP%202011.jpg" style="height: 427px; width: 640px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="DJ Wayne Williams (Chosen Few DJs)" /></div></div></div><p>Damn if R. Kelly doesn&rsquo;t love the drama. The Chicago R&amp;B artist&rsquo;s autobiography <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Soulacoaster-The-Diary-R-Kelly/dp/1401928358">S</a><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Soulacoaster-The-Diary-R-Kelly/dp/1401928358"><em>oulacoaster: The Diary of Me</em></a> comes out this weekend (although Kelly won&#39;t be making promotional appearances, citing a <a href="http://iamyardrock.com/r-kelly-cancels-all-new-york-appearances/">recurrence of the throat problems he had last year</a>). In the book, just like any teen girl scribbling away in her hearts-and flowers-covered journal, Kelly makes a true confession: Ryan &ldquo;Hey Girl&rdquo; Gosling&rsquo;s performance in the 2004 film <em>The Notebook</em> proved just the emotional wake-up call Kelly needed to recognize his marriage was over.</p><p>Kelly&rsquo;s description of breaking down in tears as the movie credits rolled comes as no surprise &ndash; not from the man who penned <em>I Believe I Can Fly</em> (not to mention <em>Real Talk</em>). The man who wrung a 22 chapter <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0491587/">&lsquo;hip hopera&rsquo;</a> out of the imagined consequences of a one-night stand (<a href="http://www.ifc.com/fix/2012/03/trapped-in-the-closet-announcement">with more to come</a>). The same guy whose lawyers posited an equally vast conspiracy of video alterations and AWOL moles to defend him against 14 counts of child pornography.</p><p>It was in the midst of the latter that Kelly put out some of his best musical work, including the double album <em>Happy People/U Saved Me</em>. The first record has some of my favorite Kelly songs - especially the title track &quot;Happy People,&quot; <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8Gmaurug0I">an anthem to the Chicago steppin&#39; scene.</a></p><p>At the beginning of the song Kelly says &ldquo;Ladies and gentlemen, this here&rsquo;s another one for all the steppers. DJ Wayne Williams, put the record on.&rdquo; The DJ complies &ndash; and throughout the video you see him dancing on a balcony overlooking the dance floor of the palatial club. It&rsquo;s a fitting image &ndash; a tribute of sorts &ndash; because Williams has played a huge role in Kelly&rsquo;s career and life.</p><p>Williams is a<a href="http://www.wintermusicconference.com/events/schedule/2011/panelist/85006/DJ+Wayne+Williams+-+Jive+Records.html"> legendary Chicago DJ</a> and music producer, the man who actually got R. Kelly signed to Jive Records. He&rsquo;s also credited with bringing the house music sound out of gay clubs and into the straight, South Side scene, from whence dancers everywhere eventually followed the edict to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2t0C50b9ik">Move Your Body.</a></p><p>When Williams came in this week to talk about <a href="http://chosenfewdjs.com/events/uncategorized/the-chosen-few-picnic-2012/">The Chosen Few</a>, his annual house music blow-out, I asked him for the story behind &quot;Happy People.&quot; At the time Kelly wrote it, Williams was in the hospital, suffering from what he thought was an asthma attack, but turned out to be something more serious. When he got out, Kelly told Williams about the song. Williams was nonplussed. &ldquo;Robert&rsquo;s a jokester, so I&rsquo;m half not believing him. I asked him what it was called. He said Happy People? I&rsquo;m like - Why?!&rdquo;</p><p>Kelly chalked the song up to William&rsquo;s positive spirit, which he claimed &ldquo;fulfilled him.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a claim well-earned. Williams still works with Kelly and supports his friend through thick and thin, saying, &ldquo;He&rsquo;s a genius and probably one of the nicest people I&rsquo;ve ever met in my life.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams has moved many, many more with his positive, generous spirit. Every July he, his brother Jesse Saunders and the other Chosen Few DJs (it&rsquo;s a select group, not everyone gets to join!), throw a house and disco party in Jackson Park. Over the past 22 years it&#39;s grown from a small gathering of friends to one of the biggest house music events in the world.</p><p>Their main gig is all day Saturday, but Williams and Saunders will host other events and even sneak in a trip to see their &ldquo;favorite team,&rdquo; the Chicago White Sox. Williams also has a new task this year: building in a little extra hang time with his son Jordan &ndash; who was born last picnic weekend.</p><p>The Chosen Few is just one of Weekender&rsquo;s picks &ndash; the rest are below. Get out there, and move your body!</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Friends.png" style="height: 154px; width: 241px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><a href="http://nightingaletheatre.org/">1. Untrained Explorations: Youth Film Festival</a></strong></span></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Friday 7 p.m.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />The award-winning, 17-year-old filmmaker Emma Coleman curates a program of other young directors.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://nightingaletheatre.org/">The Nightingale Cinema</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">1084 N. Milwaukee Ave</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/houlihan%202.jpg" style="height: 161px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /></div></div><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><a href="http://event.uchicago.edu/maincampus/detail.php?guid=CAL-402882f8-361191ef-0136-2780dcf7-0000025ceventscalendar@uchicago.edu&amp;recurrenceId=20120707T003000Z">2. Louis Vierne Marathon performed by Christopher Houlihan</a></strong></span></p><p>Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m.</p><p>The chapel will resound with symphonic work by Vierne.</p><p><a href="http://rockefeller.uchicago.edu/">Rockefeller Memorial Chapel</a></p><p>5850 S. Woodlawn Ave</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/picnic_0.jpg" style="height: 180px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /><a href="http://chosenfewdjs.com/the-picnic/"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>3. The Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Saturday 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">House music at its finest: outdoors and outrageous!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/neighborhoods/jackson_park__msi.html">Jackson Park</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">63rd Street and Hayes Drive</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/skyscraper.jpg" style="height: 164px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /></div></div><p><a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/exhibitions/next/all/291"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>4. Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity</strong></span></a></p><p>Friday - Sunday</p><p>Contemporary art work exploring our fascination with tall buildings.</p><p><a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/">MCA Chicago</a></p><p>220 E. Chicago Ave</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/young-magic-020-MJE7849.jpg" style="height: 160px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /><a href="http://youngmagic.bandcamp.com/"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>5. Young Magic</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Sunday 8 p.m.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Some very dreamy, slightly creepy sounds from the Brooklyn-based &quot;collective.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://schubas.com/Shows/07-08-2012+Young+Magic+and+Quilt">Schubas</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">3159 N. Southport Ave</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px none; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; -moz-font-feature-settings: inherit; -moz-font-language-override: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial,sans-serif; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 22px; "><strong style="font-weight: bold; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; ">Click&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/weekender/id469524810" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); " target="_blank">here</a>&nbsp;to subscribe to the&nbsp;<em style="font-style: italic; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; ">Weekender</em>&nbsp;podcast.</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 22px; "><strong style="font-weight: bold; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; ">What&#39;re you up to this weekend? Let us know in the comments below or email weekender@wbez.org</strong></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 06 Jul 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-07/weekender-house-music-picnic-and-artful-skyscrapers-100666