WBEZ | Arts & Culture http://www.wbez.org/news/culture Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The State Of The Zika Virus In El Salvador http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-02-10/state-zika-virus-el-salvador-114801 <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/Zika2.jpg" title="In this Jan. 29, 2016 photo, Guadalupe Urquilla, who's pregnant, looks at her daughter Alejandra, 2, in their home in San Salvador, El Salvador. As the Zika virus spreads through the hemisphere, authorities in El Salvador have urged women to put off pregnancy for two years. In the meantime, Urquilla has traded her dresses for long pants and closed shoes, scrubs out the family's concrete water tank every three days, and writes her city officials ceaselessly, demanding that they fumigate the trash- and debris-strewn public housing complex where she lives with her husband and daughter. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/246432362&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Zika Virus and El Salvador&rsquo;s National Healthcare System</span></p><p>El Salvador, to date, has had one of the most significant public policy reactions to the Zika virus. Its government told women to avoid getting pregnant until 2018. There were an estimated 6,000 cases of Zika in El Salvador last year. One hundred pregnant women have tested positive for Zika, but unlike countries such as Brazil, El Salvador has no declared cases of microcephaly, a birth defect linked to Zika.</p><p>We&rsquo;ll talk about how Zika is affecting lives in Chicago as well in El Salvador, with Don Lassus, a Chicago physician with the group, Doctors for Global Health. He and his wife, a physician, volunteer in El Salvador. Debra Gittler is one of our Global Activists. Her literacy NGO, ConTextos, is based in El Salvador, but she recently left the country after she discovered she was pregnant. We&rsquo;ll also get a Salvadoran perspective from Dr. Silvia Lorena Martinez Guzman, an emergency room physician in San Salvador.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Guests:</strong> Don Lassus is a Chicago physician with the group Doctors for Global Health.</p><p dir="ltr">Debra Gittler is the founder and executive of ConTextos, a literary NGO based in El Salvador.</p><p dir="ltr">Dr. Silvia Lorena Martinez Guzman is an emergency room physician in San Salvador.</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/Ukraine.jpg" title="A piece from photographer Wil Sand’s new exhibit “Waiting for Mother Russia.” The exhibition runs through March 26th, 2016 at ART WORKS Projects for Human Rights gallery in River North." /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/246432361&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Exhibit Looks at War in Ukraine</span></p><p>The war in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 9,000 people. Protests by pro-Russian citizens started in March of 2014 after Maidan protests brought a new pro-Europe government to power. &nbsp;Photographer Wil Sands documented the tensions between the two intertwined communities in Eastern Ukraine. His exhibit is called, &ldquo;Waiting for Mother Russia.&rdquo; It opens tomorrow at the ART WORKS Projects for Human Rights gallery in River North and runs through March 26th, 2016. He joins us to talk about what he witnessed in Ukraine.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Guests:</strong> Wil Sanders is a documentary photographer and co-founder of Fractures Photo Collective</p><p dir="ltr">Leslie Thomas is the founding executive and creative director of ART WORKS Projects for Human Rights.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-02-10/state-zika-virus-el-salvador-114801 Reclaimed Soul: Soundtrack To Unity http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-10/reclaimed-soul-soundtrack-unity-114790 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Reclaimed-Soul_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Vocalo&#39;s Ayana Contreras, host of Reclaimed Soul, brings us a preview to this week&#39;s soundtrack to unity - music that creates a mood of brother and sisterhood.</p></p> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-10/reclaimed-soul-soundtrack-unity-114790 You're Wrong About Reagan http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-09/youre-wrong-about-reagan-114785 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Reagan_Flickr_Opus Penguin.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Ronald Reagan&rsquo;s presidential bid took a fateful turn in 1980 after his fiery &ldquo;Nashua Moment&rdquo; during a New Hampshire primary debate. As that state&rsquo;s voters head to the polls today, we look back at the 40th president&rsquo;s legacy with Jacob Weisberg, author of the biography, &#39;Ronald Reagan.&#39;</p></p> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-09/youre-wrong-about-reagan-114785 Black Restaurant Week Kicks Off http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/black-restaurant-week-kicks-114770 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/B R Week_chicagoblackrestaurantweek.com_.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>For the last two weeks Chicagoans have been hearing about Chicago Restaurant Week and all the eateries participating. That list has always mostly been devoid of African-American owned restaurants, prompting the creation of Chicago Black Restaurant Week. &#39;</p><p>It just kicked off and we talk to Lauran Smith, a designer of the week, along with Chef Cliff Rome of Rome&#39;s Joy Catering. He&#39;s the owner of the Parkway Ballroom, and H-Dogs and Peach&rsquo;s restaurants in Bronzeville.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 23:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/black-restaurant-week-kicks-114770 Working Shift: Streets and Sanitation http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/working-shift-streets-and-sanitation-114767 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Streets &amp; San_Flickr_Chicago Man.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last week, we kicked off our Working Shift series with a bang. From hairdressers to a funeral director, we pulled back the curtain on 5 different jobs thanks to your questions and curiosity.&nbsp;</p><p>Today, Josie Cruz from the city&rsquo;s Department of Streets &amp; Sanitation take us through a day in the life of the men and women who pick up our garbage, inspect our dumpsters, remove dead animals, and control Chicago&rsquo;s rat population.</p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/working-shift-streets-and-sanitation-114767 Folklore For Hipsters: Fairy Tales Before They Were Cool http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/folklore-hipsters-fairy-tales-they-were-cool-114760 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cover_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Reading&nbsp;<em>The Tale of Tales,</em>&nbsp;Giambattisa Basile&#39;s 17th-century book of fairy stories, is both exhilarating and exhausting. If that sounds like a warning, it is. If that sounds like a promise, well, good news.</p><p>Perhaps most importantly, the book&#39;s an erstwhile history course, and for those who enjoy a sense of research alongside their Cinderella, this edition, translated by Nancy L. Canepa, is invaluable. Basile wrote for the courtiers who patronized him &mdash; a savvy and demanding audience &mdash; and in the Neapolitan dialect rather than &#39;modern&#39; Italian. It&#39;s no surprise, then, that the writing has the manic, crowd-pleasing energy of a work meant to be read aloud, with every Baroque flourish imaginable. Every declaration of love reads like&nbsp;Singin&#39; in the Rain&#39;s period-piece love scene, and as far as Basile&#39;s concerned, if one insult&#39;s funny, a string of ten is better. It&#39;s the kind of writing that threatens, at times, to leave you behind.</p><p>Luckily, Canepa&#39;s footnotes are at hand, explaining everything from Aarne-Thompson story types to historical trivia about Spanish swords. But they&#39;re at their most interesting when they reveal the intricacies and occasional impossibilities of translation from Basile&#39;s slangy, inventive use of an obscure dialect. A mourner&#39;s grief is described in the story itself as &quot;ranting and raving,&quot; but the footnote breaks down the Neapolitan punning involved; it provides a much sharper sense of disdain for his laments, and reminds us about the strange combination of archaeology and poetry that goes into such an intricate translation. Some are even wry asides that give personality to the research: when noting the first appearance of an overblown celestial metaphor, Canepa wryly warns us it&#39;s &quot;the first of hundreds.&quot; She is not wrong.</p><p>This sense of history leaches into the tales themselves, as the footnotes illuminate contemporary customs and attitudes. Occasionally, it&#39;s noteworthy trivia: glass balls rolled across the forehead as an anti-wrinkle device, wolf-hilted Spanish swords and Turkish customs from international trade. Occasionally, you run across the usual unfortunate prejudices one girds oneself to encounter when tackling folklore &mdash; anti-Semitism and sexism among them &mdash; all given suitable context in the footnotes. Fair warning: Even given the attitudes of the day, the frame story that surrounds the storytelling contest in&nbsp;<em>The Tale of Tales</em>&nbsp;is pointedly, almost exuberantly racist &mdash; replacing the husband-stealing troll of the &quot;supplanted bride&quot; story with a caricature of a vindictive &quot;Moorish slave&quot; who wrangles the prince out from under our heroine and plays the villain of the piece.</p><p>The good news is that most of the 50 tales themselves are slightly safer territory, and both formally and in their narratives, they offer some bawdy, pointed spin on the classics. Basile&#39;s more-is-more atittude bursts from every page, from biting social commentary to endless fart jokes, but there&#39;s also a sort of narrative ruthlessness that cuts through these stories. Kings and their grotesques live side by side (as with the king who fed a flea until it grew as big as he was), and the romances share a certain sense of wickedness (the young girl who dislikes her evil stepmother conspires to kill her rather than wait for a handsome prince), enchanted snakes turn into handsome men and then doves (naturally), and the body count is so high that it&#39;s lucky our dimwitted heroes and goodhearted fairies always seem to have convenient potions on hand to paste everyone&#39;s heads back on. There&#39;s even a sense of psychological weight amid the absurdities; one of the benefits of Baroque description is that sooner or later a list becomes a portrait.</p><p><em>The Tale of Tales</em>, with this direct-from-the-Neapolitan translation,&nbsp;makes a unique entry amid the recent crop of new-to-English fairy tale translations that have made a welcome return to the folktale canon. It&#39;s not a quick read (as with last year&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Turnip Princess&nbsp;</em>by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth), nor is it a poetic one (as with&nbsp;<em>Tales of the</em> <em>Marvellous&nbsp;</em>translated by Malcolm C. Lyons). It&#39;s something more manic, more subversive &mdash; and at times, the casual prejudice is more unsettling than any fantastic beasts. But though these tales demand a painstaking journey, for those with a historical appetite, it&#39;s a vivid and fascinating one.</p><p><em>Genevieve Valentine&#39;s latest novel is&nbsp;Persona.</em></p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/02/07/463861692/folklore-for-hipsters-fairy-tales-before-they-were-cool?ft=nprml&amp;f=463861692"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/folklore-hipsters-fairy-tales-they-were-cool-114760 StoryCorps Chicago: Search for Estranged Father Helps Heal Old Wounds http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-search-estranged-father-helps-heal-old-wounds-114740 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 160205 Anastasia Bill bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Anastasia Page is a twenty-five-year-old <a href="http://www.anastasiapage.com/">documentary photographer </a>in Chicago. As a kid, she met her biological father only once, when she was four years old. Five years ago she started a <a href="http://www.discoveringzalmon.com/">documentary project to help process her feelings about her father</a>. She recently came to the StoryCorps booth to talk with WBEZ&#39;s Bill Healy about a turning point in that project. Page says when her mom remarried, her step-dad wanted to adopt her. But they couldn&#39;t make it official until her biological dad signed off on the paperwork.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>StoryCorps&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-search-estranged-father-helps-heal-old-wounds-114740 StoryCorps Chicago: Search for Estranged Father Helps Heal Old Wounds http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-search-estranged-father-helps-heal-old-wounds-114741 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 160205 Anastasia Bill bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Anastasia Page is a twenty-five-year-old <a href="http://www.anastasiapage.com/">documentary photographer </a>in Chicago. As a kid, she met her biological father only once, when she was four years old. Five years ago she started a <a href="http://www.discoveringzalmon.com/">documentary project to help process her feelings about her father</a>. She recently came to the StoryCorps booth to talk with WBEZ&#39;s Bill Healy about a turning point in that project. Page says when her mom remarried, her step-dad wanted to adopt her. But they couldn&#39;t make it official until her biological dad signed off on the paperwork.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>StoryCorps&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-search-estranged-father-helps-heal-old-wounds-114741 Here's What People are Saying About Barbie's Diversity Makeover http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/heres-what-people-are-saying-about-barbies-diversity-makeover-114739 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/barbie.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="The latest Mattel Barbie dolls created to increase representation and diversity." class="img" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/02/04/showimage-dcba5ca0711a65fdb56c1d308ff0470d707434c2-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The latest Mattel Barbie dolls created to increase representation and diversity. (Courtesy of Mattel)" /></p><p>Last week, Mattel announced that Barbie is getting a makeover. A whole bunch of them, in fact. As last week,&nbsp;33 new Barbie dolls are available for purchase through the website, in three new body types &mdash; petite, tall, and curvy &mdash; and seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, and 14 &quot;face sculpts.&quot; We rounded up some sharp thoughts on this news, ranging from what this means for Mattel&#39;s bottom line to whether an widely hyped debut of Barbie&#39;s new looks is really a step forward.</p><p>Over at&nbsp;<em>The Atlantic, </em>Megan Garber&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/01/barbies-hips-dont-lie/432741/">says</a>&nbsp;the move is smart business strategy on Mattel&#39;s part, given its past&nbsp;<a href="http://nypost.com/2016/02/01/barbie-sales-strong-for-toymaker-mattel/">four years of sales declines</a>. Given that the company&#39;s 2015 line of racially diverse dolls, called the Fashionistas,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/news/dow-jones/TDJNDN_2016020112545/mattel-revenue-grows-as-barbie-sales-increase.html">seemed to help</a>, this latest move seems like a good bet. Here&#39;s Garber:</p><blockquote><div><p>Mattel&#39;s expansion of Barbie&#39;s look...represents the basic, hopeful idea that diversity is valuable not just for diversity&#39;s sake (or,&nbsp;<a data-omni-click="r'article',r'link',r'14',r'432741'" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/magazine/has-diversity-lost-its-meaning.html?_r=0">as Anna Holmes recently put it</a>, as a kind of grudging obligation). Diversity is&mdash;much more pragmatically, much more transformatively &mdash; good business. If consumers can see themselves in their dolls, Mattel has calculated, they will be more likely to purchase those dolls.</p></div></blockquote><p>As essay by Bene Viera of&nbsp;Fusion&nbsp;suggests that for a lot of families, the politics of playtime are real, and deserve to be taken seriously. She&nbsp;<a href="http://fusion.net/story/262148/new-barbie-curvy-curly-hair/">recalls</a>&nbsp;the lengths her mother went through to pick out her toys:</p><blockquote><div><p>Although the original waifish, blonde hair blue-eyed Barbie reigned supreme on toy store shelves, I only had black Barbies. This was very important to my mother, so important that if a store didn&#39;t have any black Barbies she would drive to another that did. She never explained why &mdash; and I never asked &mdash; but as an adult I understand that she knew it was crucial for me, a black girl coming of age in the 90s, to own dolls that looked like me. I am thankful she was proactive in making sure I saw myself reflected in the dolls I played with. Because whether people want to admit it or not, toys do shape how children view themselves.</p></div></blockquote><p>Over at Jezebel, Kelly Faircloth&nbsp;<a href="http://jezebel.com/mattel-cant-update-barbie-without-running-into-updated-1755665384">brings up</a>&nbsp;an interesting point: what if giving a curvy Barbie to a chubby child ends up doing more harm than good?</p><blockquote><div><p>It&#39;s unquestionably positive for girls to see a wider array of skin colors and body types represented positively. A more diverse Barbie is a good thing. But it&#39;s impossible to separate my personal response to this development from the fact that I was a Barbie-loving chubby child, and &mdash; as&nbsp;<em>Time&nbsp;</em>alludes to &mdash; my reaction to being singled out with a gift of the &quot;curvy&quot; Barbie might very well have been absolute devastation.</p></div></blockquote><p>Following Eliana Docketerman&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://time.com/barbie-new-body-cover-story/">exclusive interview</a>&nbsp;with Mattel in&nbsp;<em>Time&nbsp;</em>on the new Barbies,&nbsp;Jill Filipovic, also at&nbsp;<em>Time</em>, steps back to&nbsp;<a href="http://time.com/4196777/barbie-feminist-filipovic/">ask</a>&nbsp;a bigger picture question &mdash; whether the dolls are skinny or curvy, white or brown, are we really okay with what the Barbie brand represents?</p><blockquote><div><p>One pointy-toed step forward, though, is hardly a giant leap for womankind. Barbie is a literally objectified woman, not a superhero or an action figure but a plastic lady notable because she&#39;s pretty. And she remains a quintessential &#39;girls&#39; toy,&#39; Patient Zero in the pinkification pandemic that has infected toy stores for two generations and now prominently segregates &#39;girls&#39; toys&#39; (Dolls, Arts &amp; Crafts and Bath, Beauty &amp; Accessories on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.toysrus.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=2255956">ToysRUs.com</a>, for example) from &#39;boys&#39; toys&#39; (Action Figures, Video Games, Bikes &amp; Ride-ons).</p></div></blockquote><p>Speaking of representation and toys, Lego also took steps towards increased diversity last week, unveiling a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/jan/27/lego-unveils-disabled-minifigure-promobricks-nuremberg-toy-fair">new figurine that uses a wheelchair</a>. Unlike the hoopla around Barbie&#39;s new look, Lego was pretty low-key about its new toy, and Morwenna Jones at<em>The&nbsp;Independent</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/with-their-new-disabled-figure-lego-has-approached-diversity-issues-in-a-very-different-way-to-a6848846.html">compares</a>&nbsp;the two approaches:</p><blockquote><div><p>But unlike Barbie&#39;s new range, unveiled with an exclusive in&nbsp;<em>TIME&nbsp;</em>magazine and more press embargoes than Barbie has convertibles, Lego&#39;s latest character was simply placed in the middle of a busy park scene, sitting in his wheelchair as if it were the most natural thing in the world.</p><p>As other companies make grand, sweeping gestures towards their commitment to diversity, it&#39;s this that might just be the biggest step forwards.</p></div></blockquote><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/02/05/465317939/roundup-heres-what-people-are-saying-about-barbies-diversity-makeover?ft=nprml&amp;f=465317939"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/heres-what-people-are-saying-about-barbies-diversity-makeover-114739 A Group of Writers Listening to Kanye, Awaiting SWISH http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/group-writers-listening-kanye-awaiting-swish-114732 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/495178202_wide-94564255585b0c0051bcae7b8cafeef65a768652-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463714006" previewtitle="Kanye West at LAX in October, looking like us."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Kanye West at LAX in October, looking like us." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/20/495178202_wide-94564255585b0c0051bcae7b8cafeef65a768652-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Kanye West at LAX in October, looking like us. (GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Maybe we have jumped the gun. We very badly want G.O.O.D. Fridays back (<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/microphonecheck/2015/12/22/460643218/pusha-t-this-is-what-i-like-to-make" target="_blank">we&#39;re not alone</a>). Surprise releases are fun and everything, but the build of a month(s)-long stretch is better. We would like to talk about music together, and not only by collectively spazzing out and crashing Livemixtapes. We would like to Monday morning quarterback the art and announcement punctuation and where we heard it over the weekend and the context and the song itself. We&#39;d like to compare this week&#39;s offering to the last couple and use all that to debate the emotional state and practical concerns of Kanye and us and try to divine, somehow, where all this is going. The Internet wasn&#39;t quite what it is now the last time this happened, and we&#39;re thinking about how that changes our coverage. So here we are, weighing in, doing our best to do our part as listeners and readers and thinkers, even though it&#39;s not real clear if #EveryFriday means G.O.O.D. Fridays Part Deux or not.</p></div></div></div><p>Definitely we are not dealing with the clockwork delivery and full team effort of the fourth quarter of 2010. Sample email from my inbox: &quot;Hope you&#39;ve had an enjoyable weekend! It seems Kanye is still enjoying his since there&#39;s still not a new track.&quot; And Kanye talking that &quot;<a href="https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/688973542524719104" target="_blank">very very extremely soon</a>&quot; business but not really being done for another six hours, tweeting only &quot;It&#39;s up&quot; when the full version of &quot;No More Parties in L.A.&quot; went public on Soundcloud, resurrected all my old blown deadline, high school term paper overnighter, the news that Michael Jackson died hit at 5:20 pm ET stress like here, take it, I think it&#39;s done, who knows what it says. The only time I&#39;ve ever felt closer to Ye was when he tweeted about waking up on a plane and finding himself responsible for a water bottle he didn&#39;t even ask for.</p><p>The responses of the writers below have in common enthusiasm for the project ofSWISH&nbsp;and the artist that Kanye is. Frustration is often present. The relief at his recovery from &quot;FACTS&quot; is strong, strong enough to intensify the warmth of this group&#39;s embrace of &quot;No More Parties in L.A.&quot; In my opinion. This is a line of conversation we&#39;d like to have the opportunity to follow over the next few weeks: What are these songs on their own? What are these songs in relation to each other? As part of the lead up to an album? To this album? What are these songs because of Kim&#39;s Twitter life? What are they while Future and Drake and Metro and Esco and Kendrick and Cole and Travis and Adele and Soulection and Bieber and The Weeknd and Chris Stapleton are doing their thing?</p><p>We&#39;ll collect reactions as we proceed; we&#39;ll keep them all here. Everybody can change their mind. Everybody is free to be disappointed. Nobody is allowed to give up. We&#39;re at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/nprhiphop" target="_blank">@NPRHipHop</a>&nbsp;if you&#39;d like to get involved.</p><div><hr /></div><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>&quot;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/facts-explicit" target="_blank">FACTS</a>&quot;</strong></span></p><p>He should&#39;ve just titled this &quot;Jumpman 2.0,&quot; or called it a remix, because what else is it? If he had I don&#39;t think I would be this annoyed. West, boastfully and brashly, takes digs at Nike for the failed collaboration he shared with the corporation before heading to Adidas. He has a point, seeing that the President now rocks Yeezys, but it&#39;s almost too much. To calm my nerves, three weeks after its release, I imagine Ye and the usual suspects getting all excited when out, leaving &quot;Jumpman&quot; on repeat and deciding to throw something together in time for New Years. I refuse to take this seriously. &mdash;<em><a href="https://twitter.com/3rika" target="_blank">Erika Ramirez</a></em></p><p>On New Year&#39;s Eve before the ball dropped and Yeezy was preparing to drop this song I was racked with anticipation. New Kanye music, something we&#39;ve been waiting for ALL YEAR (remember we thought the album was coming last February). What I heard on first listen disappointed me. I listened a second time just to make sure my ears weren&#39;t deceiving me, but my initial reaction was spot on: Kanye was chasing Drake and Future&#39;s sound. I was heartbroken. Not Ye, not the innovator&#39;s innovator. If Kanye&#39;s new album is going to sound like this then we&#39;ve finally lost him. <em>&mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/nprhiphop" target="_blank">Cedric Shine</a></em></p><p>So ... no comment on &quot;Facts.&quot; (Mostly because I&#39;d rather not listen to it more than once, if I can help it.) <em>&mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/KianaFitz" target="_blank">Kiana Fitzgerald</a></em></p><p>&quot;Facts&quot; is real petty. The last song of 2015, it was appropriately dropped at the end of a year of fraudulence (&quot;Back to Back,&quot; the dress meme, Zola&#39;s story and Rachel Dolezal). On &quot;Facts&quot; Kanye canvases for the #clapback throne in his campaign for 2020 Presidency. Of course, Ye&#39;s Nike diss couldn&#39;t go without mentioning Drake. Lucky for Drizzy, Ye generously gave him a gentle slap on the wrist by mocking his Canadian cadence while simultaneously wishing him well on his venture with the company. Kanye reminds us that he stands on the backs of giants (and Kim&#39;s empire), while junior artists are left in his shadow. &mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/nellienooks" target="_blank">Chanelle Adams</a></p><p>The Internet all but had a public burial for Kanye West going into the new year when he dropped this obviously &quot;Jumpman&quot;-inspired song. It was a weird outcry considering that 1) people actually thought that&#39;d be his only musical identity going forward with&nbsp;SWISH&nbsp;and 2) that the track will even make the cut. <em>&mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/TrueLaurels" target="_blank">Lawrence Burney</a></em></p><p>I think it&#39;s really cute when toddlers dab. &mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/people/184760074/frannie-kelley" target="_blank">Frannie Kelley</a></em></p><div><hr /></div><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>&quot;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/real-friends-no-more-parties-in-la-snipped" target="_blank">REAL FRIENDS</a>&quot;</strong></span></p><p>&quot;Real Friends&quot; is reminiscent of the vulnerable, introspective&nbsp;Graduation&nbsp;verses that secured my love for Kanye forever. An artist that has always struggled with being misunderstood, Kanye opens up yet again to share his more intimate sentiments. For the first time Kanye sounds tired. As he croons about his struggle to find genuine friendship amidst success and fame, he shares a level of loneliness and work ethic that can only be described as that of a mad scientist or lonely suburban dad. &quot;Real Friends&quot; is a confessional phone call at 3AM, a more sophisticated &quot;Hotline Bling.&quot; As he starts his own family, he makes us aware of how far he&#39;s come from the days of&nbsp;College Dropout, a time when he would have never been called a &quot;deadbeat cousin.&quot; On the grind for decades now, Ye&#39;s put work before all else and now it&#39;s catching up to him. <em>&mdash;Chanelle Adams</em></p><p>This one had me scrambling to find a surviving link after its convoluted rollout. On the second release in the second coming of G.O.O.D. Friday, Ye and Ty Dolla $ign vent and advise on the most effective and least affective ways to address soured relationships, low-key two-stepping through a space that reminds me of the gently introspective &quot;Heard &#39;Em Say.&quot; As he categorizes loved ones into silos of family, foe or frenemy, Mr. West reminds us yet again of the hard-knock life of a rap supernova. &mdash;<em>Kiana Fitzgerald</em></p><p>You know what that is that you feel when you listen to &quot;Real Friends&quot;? Hope. With this song Kanye West rekindles our longing for the portion of his work in which he rapped honestly, sugar free, over lush production laced with soul samples. Think of &quot;Wedding Dress,&quot; &quot;Gorgeous&quot; (the majority of&nbsp;My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, really) and, of course,&nbsp;College Dropout. &quot;Real Friends&quot; is just that, on which Ye, alongside the harmonious Ty Dolla $ign, check the loyalty of their real to so-called friends and tell it how it is. This is the Kanye West I love: brutally straightforward, heavy and true to life. It almost makes me forget &quot;Facts&quot; exists. Almost. &mdash;<em>Erika Ramirez</em></p><p>Kanye West doesn&#39;t care about us; he never has&mdash;at least not past our ability to magnify his own sense of purpose. We, the audience, have always been surrogates for his sometimes righteous rage, lenses through which he can see and project himself. It&#39;s great that he comes close to admitting as much in &quot;Real Friends.&quot; He cares enough to take pictures with your sister, but not enough to engage us about this series, instead empowering Kim Kardashian West to speak on his behalf, as if anyone ever wants to hear her talk about &quot;bars,&quot; ever. It&#39;s the civil distance through which we engage our exes once we&#39;re done with them, because, as KKW tweeted, he&#39;s focused on dealing with Adidas in Italy. &quot;I can&#39;t be bothered,&quot; he raps. &quot;I&#39;m just doin&#39; my thing / Hope you&#39;re doin&#39; your thing, too.&quot; We get it, bruh. You can keep the toothbrush and the T-shirt. &mdash;<em><a href="https://twitter.com/fullmetallotus" target="_blank">kris ex</a></em></p><p>I think I admire Kanye&#39;s heart the most. Next to Ty his voice is thin, but he&#39;s always saying more. He has more skin in the game. The tone of this song is closest to the weather I&#39;ve been in recently&mdash;ignorantly cold, then artlessly warm, damp everywhere&mdash;kind of paranoid, probably should be regretful but can&#39;t summon it, fine being destabilized, gotta get up and go to work anyway type of vibe. This is the Kanye mood music that I needed. &mdash;<em>Frannie Kelley</em></p><div><hr /></div><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>&quot;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/nomorepartiesinla" target="_blank">NO MORE PARTIES IN L.A.</a>&quot;</strong></span></p><p>This is the closest to what Ye-purists have been begging for over the majority of this decade: Kanye getting back to his sonic roots. He&#39;s still unapologetically black, concerned with his family life (dressing Nori like Cam) and existing on his own terms. &mdash;<em>Lawrence Burney</em></p><p>Was this the official soundtrack to the iconic 2012 moment when Kanye threw out most of Kim&#39;s wardrobe on&nbsp;Keeping Up With The Kardashians? I really hope so. It was Kim, acting like she&#39;s in some capacity A&amp;Ring the album, who assured fans that &quot;Noah&quot; was flown out to Italy to finish the track with Ye. Ever since Kendrick revealed his questionable racial politics and came out with an exaggerated voice production on &quot;Alright&quot; that made him sound like a rapping Bob Dylan, I&#39;m not really a fan of Kendrick. Madlib&#39;s beat from 2010 leads me to believe this album will hold fewer radical &quot;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuhl6Ji5zHM" target="_blank">Black Skinhead</a>s&quot; and more&nbsp;808s and Heartbreaks, with the added ingredients of love and fatherhood. &mdash;<em>Chanelle Adams</em></p><p>Something unusual here: Kanye actually shows K. Dot up. (Still, they sound so damn good next to each other.) Admittedly, some of that has nothing to do with Kendrick&mdash;it&#39;s the circumstances. His brief appearance versus Ye&#39;s #90bars; Ye&#39;s penetrating voice versus his overworked one. Also, this beat was just made for Kanye, and he owns it: &quot;I know some fans thought I wouldn&#39;t rap like this again / But the writer&#39;s block is over, emcees cancel your plans.&quot; There you are, Yeezy. <em>&mdash;Kiana Fitzgerald</em></p><p>I forgive Kanye West for &quot;FACTS.&quot; What is &quot;FACTS&quot; even? I forgive him for still not releasing an official CDQ of &quot;Wolves.&quot; I forgive everything now that I have &quot;No More Parties in L.A.&quot; The third song from the second installment of G.O.O.D. Fridays is Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar&#39;s first collaboration ever, and it&#39;s one for the books. It&#39;s luscious. The song is produced by Madlib (who flips Junie Morrison&#39;s &quot;Suzie Thundertussy&quot; and Ghostface Killah&#39;s &quot;Mighty Healthy&quot;), and features a few lines that Ye&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/kanye-west-talks-dilla-creating-wrong-music-in-stones-throw-doc-20140528" target="_blank">debuted in a Stones Throw documentary</a>. Perhaps the beat is one from the stash that Madlib produced for Ye during the&nbsp;MBDTF&nbsp;days, none of which made the cut. On &quot;No More Parties in L.A.,&quot; Ye is hungry and aware, and it&#39;s palpable. As I currently listen to &quot;No More Parties in LA,&quot; I&#39;m not even thinking about the Kardashians. I&#39;m trying to figure out which of Ye&#39;s cousins stole his laptop. <em>&mdash;Erika Ramirez</em></p><p>Real rap signifiers everywhere, including an unnecessary percentage of all those bars devoted to women at fault. Kendrick and Kanye feel far away from each other, reminding me of their dynamic in that&nbsp;New York Times Magazine&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/magazine/kendrick-lamar-hip-hops-newest-old-school-star.html?_r=0" target="_blank">profile</a>&nbsp;from the Yeezus tour, and then the 38-year-old 8-year-old comes out on top. I wish Ye saying he&#39;s got a psychiatrist would destigmatize therapy. I really loved&nbsp;Yeezus, so I&#39;m not rooting for a return to form. If he&#39;s gonna do this&mdash;be the anxiety-baring Ye on record, represent himself as the moody father of very young children who&#39;s got car troubles and distractions&mdash;I need him to give me more than I can get from KUWTK or&nbsp;Late Registration. <em>&mdash;Frannie Kelley</em></p><p>This is the climax of anti-climax. The vocal mix makes it sound like a radio freestyle&mdash;and it would be great were it a radio freestyle. Kendrick&#39;s bars are astounding acts of rhyme that poke fun of lyrical/spiritual/miracle tropes with a side of Cap&#39;n Crunch cereal and a Nichiren Buddhist mantra. Next to them Kanye sounds labored and trying too hard. But over-effort has always been intrinsic to his appeal, and here he&#39;s urgently dropping lines only he can: shouting out E!, forgiving his cousin that stole his laptop, expressing understandable concern for the safety of his camera-famous family. It&#39;s the Kanye we haven&#39;t heard in a minute, but this isn&#39;t on par with the end of the weeks that brought us the &quot;Power&quot; remix, &quot;Monster&quot; and &quot;So Appalled.&quot; It&#39;s exciting by diminished expectations. Facts, only. <em>&mdash;kris ex</em></p><p>I liked &quot;No More Parties&quot; better when we just had the snippet.&nbsp;<em>&mdash;Cedric Shine</em></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2016/01/20/463708964/a-group-of-writers-listening-to-kanye-awaiting-swish?ft=nprml&amp;f=463708964"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/group-writers-listening-kanye-awaiting-swish-114732