WBEZ | Pitchfork Music Festival http://www.wbez.org/tags/pitchfork-music-festival Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Kelly Conversations: Charmaine Jake-Matthews, professor of psychology http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-charmaine-jake-matthews-professor-psychology-107968 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Tile3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hxoXLxHvtdY?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>From the perspective of the psychologist, why do older men seek younger women for illegal sexual relationships? Why would someone videotape such an act? What is the impact on the young woman? And how can fans appreciate the music of someone accused of such acts without thinking about those crimes?</p><p><strong>Charmaine Jake-Matthews</strong> is a professor of psychology who teaches professional counseling at a university in Arizona. She attended Kenwood Academy in Hyde Park with R. Kelly and the two shared a mentor in the legendary gospel choir teacher Lena McLin. She previously worked as a therapist in Chicago and taught psychology at several local colleges, in addition to counseling troubled teens.</p><p><strong>Here are some of the highlights of Jake-Matthews&rsquo; interview:</strong></p><p>[On the prevalence of older men preying on younger women] &quot;In my work as a counselor I&rsquo;ve seen many young ladies who have been in that situation at some point in their lives&hellip;. I&rsquo;ve seen many young ladies who have been, I&rsquo;m going to use the word &ldquo;victim,&rdquo; a victim of these situations. It seems to happen pretty frequently from my experience, both professional and personal.&quot;</p><p>&quot;The impact in my experience is devastating. I&rsquo;ve seen young ladies as recently as a year or so after something like this has happened, 18 or 19-year-old girls, and I&rsquo;ve seen women decades after this has happened, women old enough to be my mother decades after this sort of thing has happened, and what I see is that there is this lasting effect on things like self-esteem, self-worth, but also sometimes some serious diagnoses, things like depression, various anxiety disorders, even post-traumatic stress disorder.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Many of us kind of saw Robert even in high school [as someone] who would be successful in the music industry&hellip; and then to see this kind of negative outcome for someone like himself definitely tarnishes the hero, tarnishes the image that I think many of us saw in R. Kelly before that.&quot;</p><p>[On Pitchfork&rsquo;s embrace of R. Kelly] &quot;For me, I think what we have to realize is that as long as there is a consumer for a product, then someone will continue to create that product. So if promoting this stereotype of an oversexed black man makes him money, then he will continue to do it. I think this white hipster crowd really needs to ask themselves is this what I want to promote by putting my money there.&quot;</p><p>&quot;There&rsquo;s something about celebrity privilege, particularly having been acquitted of these crimes, that it&rsquo;s kind of like we forget so quickly. Of course we know being acquitted doesn&rsquo;t mean something didn&rsquo;t happen. But being acquitted of these crimes people forget so quickly the accusations and forget the victims, and particularly when the victims are people you don&rsquo;t necessarily identify with. So if this crowd or this population of young white women can&rsquo;t identify with or don&rsquo;t identify with the population of what were his victims, it would be easy for them to forget that these sort of things happened and focus on the music or the image that he&rsquo;s portraying today without any sort of regard for those things.&quot;</p><p><em>Ahead of R. Kelly headlining Pitchfork Music Festival, WBEZ&rsquo;s Jim DeRogatis <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining">conducts a series of conversations</a> with smart, passionate cultural critics. Videos have been edited for length and clarity.</em></p></p> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-charmaine-jake-matthews-professor-psychology-107968 The Kelly Conversations: More questions than answers about R. Kelly headlining Pitchfork Music Festival http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining <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/DeRoSketch.jpg" style="float: right; height: 212px; width: 300px;" title="The statement DeRogatis read in court along with a sketch of him on the stand." /></div><p>Through nearly a quarter of a century as a professional music journalist and critic, I have spent more time listening to, thinking about, and wrestling with the music of R. Kelly than with any other artist&mdash;and not only because he is the most important voice in R&amp;B of his generation and one of the most successful artists Chicago ever has produced.</p><p>My role in Kelly&rsquo;s story is well-known: After a series of investigative reports about what <em>The</em>&nbsp;<em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> called Kelly&rsquo;s pattern of abusing his wealth and fame to pursue illegal sexual relationships with underage women, an anonymous source left a nearly 30-minute videotape in my mailbox that resulted in Kelly being indicted on charges of making child pornography.</p><p>Kelly ultimately was acquitted of those charges. But the <em>Sun-Times</em>&rsquo; reporting never was challenged, and it detailed accusations from numerous victims, some of whom filed civil lawsuits against the star that he silenced with cash settlements.</p><p>(<strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/timeline-r-kelly-107973" target="_blank">The story of Kelly&rsquo;s life and music career is detailed in this timeline.</a></strong>)</p><p>Despite my familiarity with the artist and his music, and contrary to what some might think, I am left with more questions than answers, the biggest of which resonate beyond the specifics of this musician and his work, striking at the very nature of the relationship between art and admirer:</p><ul><li>When an artist has been accused in their personal life of crimes that caused serious harm to others, is it possible to separate the artist and those acts from the art? And should we?</li></ul><ul><li>What is the responsibility of the listener, the viewer, the fan?</li></ul><ul><li>In other words:&nbsp;<strong>What if the crimes are part of the appeal of the art?</strong></li></ul><ul><li>Most people would scoff at the notion of holding an artist up to some moral standard before consuming the art. On the other hand, is the person who collects the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/05/13/serial.killer.art/index.html" target="_blank">jailhouse art</a>&nbsp;of John Wayne Gacy undeserving of scorn, or is he somehow complicit in the crimes of that creator?</li></ul><ul><li>Finally, and most pressingly, what does it say when an artist who&rsquo;s been accused of hurting numerous young women is celebrated by IFC, the Independent Film Channel, and music festivals such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Pitchfork? Over the last eight years, the Pitchfork Music Festival has been recognized worldwide as one of the best-curated annual showcases of cutting-edge music, as well as an undeniable celebration of Chicago&rsquo;s independent music scene. Kelly will close the festival a week from Sunday, on July 21, performing on the main stage in Union Park a mile or two away from where some of his alleged victims lived.</li></ul><ul><li>Will this fact cross the minds of music lovers during Kelly&rsquo;s performance? And again: Should it?</li></ul><p>As noted earlier, I don&rsquo;t have the answers to these questions. But I know that they need to be addressed.</p><p>To that end, and with the help of my WBEZ colleagues Andrew Gill, Tricia Bobeda, Tim Akimoff, and Alyssa Edes, I set out to conduct a series of interviews with passionate thinkers about music and culture representing a variety of viewpoints, personal and professional. These include:</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/kelly-conversations-mark-anthony-neal-professor-black-popular-culture-107967" target="_blank">Mark Anthony Neal</a>,&nbsp;a professor of African-American studies with a specialty in black popular culture.</li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/kelly-conversations-gen-x-rock-critics-lorraine-ali-and-bill-wyman-107970" target="_blank">Lorriane Ali and Bill Wyman</a>, two of my favorite rock-critic peers.</li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/kelly-conversations-charmaine-jake-matthews-professor-psychology-107968" target="_blank">Charmaine Jake-Matthews</a>,&nbsp;a professor of psychology who has counseled troubled teens and who attended Kenwood Academy with Kelly.</li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/kelly-conversations-gen-y-music-critics-simon-vozick-levinson-and-david-greenwald" target="_blank">Simon Vozick-Levinson and David Greenwald</a>, two of my favorite &ldquo;Pitchfork Generation&rdquo; rock critics.</li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/kelly-conversations-annmarie-van-altena-sociologist-and-rape-victims-advocate-107971" target="_blank">Annmarie van Altena</a>, a professor of sociology, a former riot grrrl, and a volunteer with Rape Victim Advocates.</li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/kelly-conversations-kelly-fans-jenny-benevento-and-jake-austen-107972" target="_blank">Jenny Benevento and Jake Austen</a>, two of the smartest and most articulate Kelly fans I know.</li></ul><p>After all of these chats, Bobeda and Gill still had questions of their own about my role in the Kelly story, so I submitted to the same sort of video interview with them.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/QNw3E_CzEVw?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Unfortunately, Pitchfork Webzine founder and owner Ryan Schreiber and Pitchfork Music Festival promoter Mike Reed have declined to grant an interview, or to issue any comment on why the festival has booked Kelly.</p><p>The invitation to Pitchfork&rsquo;s powers that be to join this conversation remains an open one.</p><p>And what&rsquo;s more, we want to extend it to you: What do you think about the questions posed above and about R. Kelly headlining the Pitchfork Music Festival?</p><p><em>Join the conversation by leaving comments here and listen to an on-air conversation with Jim DeRogatis on The Morning Shift on July 16 and The Afternoon Shift on July 18. WBEZ will host a live Google Hangout with Jim DeRogatis immediately following The Afternoon Shift conversation that you can join too.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining Timeline: The life and career of R. Kelly http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/timeline-life-and-career-r-kelly-107973 <p><p>This timeline chronicles important events in Chicago native R. Kelly&rsquo;s life, including a musical career that has sold 54 million albums worldwide and a pattern of behavior that led to his trial in May 2008 on charges of making child pornography.</p><p>Ahead of R. Kelly headlining Pitchfork Music Festival, WBEZ&rsquo;s Jim DeRogatis <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining">conducts a series of conversations</a> with smart, passionate cultural critics.</p><h2><strong>Jan. 8, 1967: Robert Kelly is born</strong></h2><p>Robert Sylvester Kelly is born as the third of four children raised on the South Side of Chicago by a single mother, Joann, a school teacher and a devout Baptist. Little is known about his father, who was missing through most of his childhood. The family lives at various times in the projects on 63rd Street, a small house at <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?q=40th+and+Martin+Luther+King+Drive&amp;hl=en&amp;sll=41.806125,-87.658539&amp;sspn=0.405368,0.617294&amp;hnear=Martin+Luther+King+Dr+%26+E+40th+Ave,+Gary,+Lake,+Indiana+46409&amp;t=m&amp;z=17&amp;iwloc=A" target="_blank">40th and Martin Luther King Drive</a>, and a small house at <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?q=107th+and+Parnell&amp;hl=en&amp;sll=41.545678,-87.318233&amp;sspn=0.00636,0.009645&amp;hnear=W+107th+St+%26+S+Parnell+Ave,+Chicago,+Cook,+Illinois+60628&amp;t=m&amp;z=17" target="_blank">107th and Parnell</a>, which the singer revisits 25 years later as the setting for the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8CXUzepL6k" target="_blank">video of &ldquo;I Wish.&rdquo;</a></p><p>Joann and her mother do their best for the children, but they are joined at various times by other women living in the same house or nearby: &ldquo;Cousins, aunties, friends of my aunties, all older women,&rdquo; Kelly writes in his 2012 autobiography <em><a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-book-excerpt-r-kellys-soulacoaster-the-diary-of-me-20120626" target="_blank">Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me</a></em>. &ldquo;When my mother wasn&rsquo;t around, the women ran a little freer. &hellip; As I crept up in age&hellip; I found myself more curious and sometimes aroused, and I was ashamed of being aroused.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>1975: Sexual abuse of Kelly begins</strong></h2><p><a name="two"></a>In his autobiography, Kelly writes that starting at age 8, he sometimes watched older men and women having sex; that he once was given a Polaroid camera, instructed to photograph a couple having sex, and found that &ldquo;the photographic technology impressed me more than the sex&rdquo;; that at age 8 he was raped by an older woman,&nbsp; ordered to keep it a secret, and that &ldquo;she did it repeatedly for years,&rdquo; and that as a preteen he was approached sexually by an older man in the neighborhood. Friends and associates later tell <em>The Chicago Sun-Times</em> that Kelly said he was sexually abused by the man.</p><h2><strong>1980: Kelly shot at age 13</strong></h2><p>After he becomes a star, Kelly often tells the press that he was shot at age 13 when some thugs tried to steal his Huffy bicycle. In Soulacoaster, he describes the shooting as a stray bullet that does not cost him his bike. But a close Kelly associate later tells the <em>Sun-Times</em> that his mother Joann said on her deathbed that Robert invented the story of the shooting to cover a suicide attempt. He reportedly still carries the bullet in his shoulder.</p><h2><strong>September 1980: Kelly enters Kenwood Academy High School</strong></h2><p>The troubled youth enters Hyde Park&rsquo;s prestigious <a href="http://www.kenwoodacademy.org/" target="_blank">Kenwood Academy High School</a>. He does not graduate, and years later, he admits that he has difficulty reading and doing math. Through legendary music teacher <a href="http://www.pbs.org/thisfarbyfaith/witnesses/lena_mclin.html" target="_blank">Lena McLin</a>, he discovers his true calling when she persuades him to sing Stevie Wonder&rsquo;s 1982 hit &ldquo;Ribbon in the Sky&rdquo; at a high-school talent show.</p><p>&ldquo;That night it was like Spiderman being bit,&rdquo; Kelly later tells Dave Hoekstra of the <em>Sun-Times</em>. &ldquo;I discovered this power. I knew I had something then.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>Summer 1990: Jive executive discovers Kelly</strong></h2><p>Kelly attracts the attention of Chicago-based <a href="http://betawards.rcarecords.com/" target="_blank">Jive Records</a> executive Wayne Williams, who overhears him singing at a backyard barbecue on the South Side. Obsessed with music for as long as he can remember, Kelly had started performing for other people by busking in the subway.</p><h2><strong>1991: Kelly signs with Jive Records</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9249526690_d431992552_n.jpg" style="height: 220px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Barry Hankerson, Stuart Dobbie, and R. Kelly looking over construction of stage set for Kelly's new tour. (Steve Kagan//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)" /><a name="four"></a>Kelly, 24, signs to Jive a few years before the label becomes one of the biggest in the world as the home to Britney Spears and *NSync. The label decides to introduce him to fans as part of a vocal group, <a href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/public-announcement-mn0000307049" target="_blank">Public Announcement</a>, since acts such as Boyz II Men still are a significant presence on the R&amp;B charts.</p><p>Kelly&rsquo;s rise to the top is overseen by manager <a href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/barry-hankerson-mn0000783460" target="_blank">Barry Hankerson</a>, a legend in the music world who was married to Gladys Knight, worked with Toni Braxton and the Winans, and dabbled in television, movie, and Broadway productions. The politically active Hankerson, a native of Detroit, also served as an aide in that city to Mayor Coleman Young.</p><h2><strong>Jan. 14, 1992: Public Announcement&#39;s first release</strong></h2><p>Kelly and Public Announcement&#39;s first releases the album <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Born-Into-Kelly-Public-Announcement/dp/B0000004YF" target="_blank">Born Into the &rsquo;90s</a></em>.The disc is moderately successful, but Kelly yearns to make his name as a solo act, and he soon strikes out on his own, leaving the group to continue without him.</p><h2><strong>Nov. 9, 1993: Kelly releases solo album</strong></h2><p><a name="five"></a>Kelly releases his first solo album <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/12-Play-R-Kelly/dp/B00000050T" target="_blank">12 Play</a></em>, so titled because he claims that while other lovers might give you foreplay, he gives you three times more. Powered by hot and horny jams such as &ldquo;Bump N&rsquo; Grind,&rdquo; &ldquo;Sex Me,&rdquo; and &ldquo;I Like the Crotch On You,&rdquo; it tops the R&amp;B charts for nine weeks.</p><p>Critics are not as accepting; writes Robert Christgau of <em>The Village Voice</em>: &ldquo;In a year when the big rappers have either repeated tired outrages or outgrown them, Kelly&rsquo;s crude, chartwise new jack swing is black pop&rsquo;s most depressing development.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>May 24, 1994: Aaliyah releases debut album</strong></h2><p><a name="six"></a><a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004691/bio" target="_blank">Aaliyah Dana Haughton</a>&mdash;the 15-year-old niece of Kelly&rsquo;s manager Hankerson&mdash;releases her debut album, largely written and produced by Kelly. The producer titles the album <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Age-Aint-Nothing-But-Number/dp/B007V4QKMA" target="_blank">Age Ain&rsquo;t Nothing But A Number</a></em>. From the beginning of his solo career, rumors have swirled throughout the music industry about Kelly&rsquo;s attraction to underage girls, and many in the music business assume the title is a comment on that, as well as on the youthful exuberance of his protégé.</p><h2><strong>Aug. 31, 1994: Kelly marries 15-year-old Aaliyah</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9249526610_ebba0b5eb2_n.jpg" style="height: 332px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Aaliyah and Robert. (WBEZ/File)" /></p><p><a name="seven"></a>Kelly and Aaliyah are married at the Sheraton Gateway Suites, a hotel in Rosemont, by the Rev. Nathan J. Edmond of Chicago. Kelly is 27 and Aaliyah is 15, though a <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagopublicradio/9249526590/" target="_blank">falsified Cook County marriage certificate</a> lists her age at 18. Her family, including a furious Hankerson, quickly learns of the match and separates the couple. The two never speak again, according to her family. Kelly never mentions Aaliyah in his autobiography.</p><p>&ldquo;In telling my story, certain episodes could not be included for complicated reasons,&rdquo; he writes in an author&rsquo;s note.</p><p>The manager who brought him to stardom, Aaliyah&rsquo;s uncle, Hankerson, is mentioned only briefly and in passing, though Kelly several times refers to unnamed former associates who tried to blackmail him or who spread false stories about him seeking to damage his career.</p><p>Several months after the hasty wedding in Rosemont, <em>Vibe</em> magazine publishes the falsified marriage certificate, though without much comment or additional reporting. Through the end of her life, until she is killed in a plane crash in August 2001, Aaliyah dodges questions about her relationship with Kelly.</p><p>&ldquo;When people ask me, I tell them, &lsquo;Hey, don&rsquo;t believe all that mess. We&rsquo;re close and people took it the wrong way,&rsquo;&rdquo; she tells Jim DeRogatis in the <em>Sun-Times</em> in December 1994.</p><p>Years later, the singer&rsquo;s mother tells the <em>Sun-Times</em>: &ldquo;Everything that went wrong in her life began then [with the relationship with Kelly].&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>September 1994: Aaliyah goes platinum</strong></h2><p><em>Age Ain&rsquo;t Nothing But A Number</em> is certified platinum with a million copies sold.</p><h2><strong>October 1994: Marriage with Aaliyah annulled&nbsp;</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9249526590_55381e14a8_n.jpg" style="height: 215px; width: 250px; float: right;" title="(WBEZ/File)" /><a name="eight"></a>Kelly&rsquo;s marriage to Aaliyah is annulled in Detroit, and the singers&rsquo; lawyers reach a settlement that involves their clients signing agreements that neither will ever speak of the marriage or relationship. The records in Wayne County Circuit Court are sealed, though the<em> Sun-Times</em> later obtains a copy.</p><p>In the settlement, which provides a nominal payment of $100 from Kelly to Aaliyah, Aaliyah promises not to pursue further legal action because of &ldquo;emotional distress caused by any aspect of her business or personal relationship with Robert&rdquo; or for &ldquo;physical injury or emotional pain and suffering arising from any assault or battery perpetrated by Robert against her person.&rdquo;</p><p>Later, in 1997, Aaliyah files a motion to expunge the falsified marriage certificate from Cook County court records.</p><h2><strong>September 1995: &ldquo;You Are Not Alone&rdquo; tops charts</strong></h2><p>Michael Jackson&rsquo;s Kelly-produced and co-written single &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAyKJAtDNCw" target="_blank">You Are Not Alone</a>&rdquo; becomes the King of Pop&rsquo;s first No. 1 hit since he was accused of having sex with an underage boy.</p><h2><strong>Nov. 14, 1995: &lsquo;R. Kelly&rsquo; album spawns 3 No. 1 singles</strong></h2><p><a name="nine"></a>Kelly releases his second solo album <em>R. Kelly</em>. It spawns three No. 1 R&amp;B singles: &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj_BwSUusbs" target="_blank">You Remind Me of Something</a>&rdquo; (featuring the memorable lyric, &ldquo;You remind me of my Jeep/I wanna ride it&rdquo;), &ldquo;Down Low (Nobody Has to Know),&rdquo; and &ldquo;I Can&rsquo;t Sleep Baby (If I).&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/r-kelly-19980202" target="_blank">DeRogatis reviews the album</a> for <em>Rolling Stone</em>:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Kelly has grown out of his unthinking misogyny to the point where he makes a plea in &lsquo;As I Look Into My Life&rsquo; to &lsquo;brothers in the ghetto&rsquo; to &lsquo;love and respect that woman and bring her happiness.&rsquo; Make love not war is an old message, but Kelly delivers it with sincerity. By spreading it in the hood in these violent times, he believes he&rsquo;s doing God&rsquo;s work, and who&rsquo;s to say he is wrong? Predecessors like Marvin Gaye and Prince have shown that great sex is spiritual, and Kelly&rsquo;s make-out music ranks with the best.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9249526474_683b65dc88_n.jpg" style="float: left; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="Robert and Andrea. (WBEZ/File)" /><strong>1996: Kelly marries Andrea Lee</strong></h2><p>Kelly marries <a href="https://twitter.com/DreaKelly" target="_blank">Andrea Lee</a>, a choreographer and dancer from his stage show whose nickname within his inner circle is &ldquo;Puppydog.&rdquo; The couple will have three children&mdash;two daughters born in 1998 and 2000 and a son born in 2002&mdash;but the couple rarely is <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagopublicradio/9249526474/" target="_blank">photographed together </a>in public. Kelly associates tell the Sun-Times that Andrea is expected to knock before entering any room in their house when her husband is at home. In 2003, Andrea&rsquo;s mother, grandfather, and aunt <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989257/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">tell <em>Sun-Times</em> columnist Mary Mitchell</a> that they are upset because they are not allowed to visit her at Kelly&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagopublicradio/9254056659/" target="_blank">Olympia Fields</a> home, or even to speak to her on the phone.</p><h2><strong>July 1996: Kelly booked for battery</strong></h2><p><a name="ten"></a>Kelly is booked on battery charges in Lafayette, La., after a fight between him, members of his entourage, and three Louisiana men on the basketball court at a local health club. Kelly associates tell the <em>Sun-Times</em> that he was terrified during his brief time behind bars and vowed never to be incarcerated again.</p><h2><strong>December 1996: Kelly included on Space Jam soundtrack</strong></h2><p>The Kelly single &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3As5kjtdrM" target="_blank">I Believe I Can Fly</a>,&rdquo; is included on the soundtrack of <em>Space Jam</em> at the request of the movie&rsquo;s star Michael Jordan and it peaks at No. 2 on the <em>Billboard</em> singles chart.</p><h2><strong>Dec. 24, 1996: Tiffany Hawkins sues Kelly</strong></h2><p><a name="eleven"></a>Kelly is sued for $10 million by Chicago woman Tiffany &ldquo;Tia&rdquo; Hawkins, an aspiring singer who claims she met the star when he came back to Kenwood Academy to see his old mentor McLin. According to the lawsuit, Hawkins began having sex with Kelly in 1991, when she was 15 and he was 24. The relationship ended in December 1994, when she was 18, the court documents state; distraught, she slit her wrists in an attempt to kill herself. The charges in the suit are not reported until years later in <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989248/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">the first major investigative story</a> by the S<em>un-Times</em>.</p><h2><strong>March 1997: Kelly&rsquo;s mother dies</strong></h2><p><a name="twelve"></a>Kelly, who has always called himself &ldquo;a devoted mama&rsquo;s boy,&rdquo; suffers the loss of his mother Joann to cancer. Days later, he joins gospel performer Kirk Franklin onstage to announce that he has found Jesus and is devoting himself to the Lord.</p><h2><strong>June 1997: Kelly misses hearing in battery case</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9249526510_afb82fe6bc_m_0.jpg" style="height: 188px; width: 250px; float: right;" title="Kelly in court in Louisiana. (WBEZ/File)" />Kelly is led in handcuffs before a federal judge in Lafayette, La. after missing a hearing on the lawsuit filed by the men involved in the 1996 fight.</p><h2><strong>July 1997: Kelly settles battery case</strong></h2><p>Kelly settles the lawsuit with the men from Lafayette by paying an undisclosed sum.</p><h2><strong>Jan. 23, 1998: &lsquo;We were ugly little girls&rsquo;</strong></h2><p><a name="thirteen"></a>Kelly settles the lawsuit with Hawkins just four days after she gives what some who were present called a &ldquo;hair-raising&rdquo; seven-hour deposition. Terms of the settlement prohibit Hawkins from talking about the suit or the amount of the settlement, though sources tell the <em>Sun-Times</em> it was $250,000.</p><p>Joavante Cunningham, who worked as one of Kelly&rsquo;s dancers, later tells the <em>Sun-Times</em> that everything started going downhill for Kelly when he settled with Hawkins: &ldquo;The brother&rsquo;s got problems,&rdquo; Cunningham said. &ldquo;He definitely has something going on psychologically. He should have learned from the Hawkins case and got some help.&rdquo;</p><p>Another woman, a friend of Hawkins&rsquo; who was prepared to testify in the case to being involved in a threesome with Kelly and the plaintiff, tells the paper: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not trying to down him, because I honestly think it has to be a sickness. Looking at pictures of me and Tiffany when we were freshmen&mdash;boy, we were ugly little girls compared to what he could have had, so I didn&rsquo;t understand why he did what he did.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>February 1998: &ldquo;I Believe I Can Fly&rdquo; wins big</strong></h2><p><a name="fourteen"></a>Kelly wins three Grammys for &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3As5kjtdrM" target="_blank">I Believe I Can Fly</a>&rdquo;: Best R&amp;B song, Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, and Best Male R&amp;B Performance.</p><h2><strong>April 1998: Kelly arrested in Chicago</strong></h2><p>Kelly is arrested in Chicago for disorderly conduct and a noise violation after allegedly becoming verbally abusive when asked to turn down the stereo in his 1998 Lincoln. The charges are dropped a month later.</p><h2><strong>Nov. 10, 1998: Kelly releases <em>R</em></strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/51rK7FvJhXL.jpg" style="height: 259px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="(WBEZ/File)" />Kelly releases the album simply titled R. It climbs to No. 2 on the <em>Billboard</em> albums chart, spawning a No. 1 R&amp;B hit with the two-year-old &ldquo;I Believe I Can Fly&rdquo; and a No. 1 pop hit with &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPCwPe4Tk-4" target="_blank">I&rsquo;m Your Angel</a>,&rdquo; a duet with Celine Dion.</p><p>&ldquo;Kelly&rsquo;s ambitions have never been as nakedly up-front as they are on R., two discs of new material on which he all but crowns himself the new King of Pop,&rdquo; critic David Browne writes in <em>Entertainment Weekly</em>. But, noting that &ldquo;the grooves that accompany these songs aren&rsquo;t nearly as striking as Kelly&rsquo;s often bizarre musings,&rdquo; he grades the set as only a B-.</p><h2><strong>1999: &lsquo;He likes the babies, and that&rsquo;s the sickness&rsquo;</strong></h2><p><a name="fifteen"></a><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989248/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">Speaking to the <em>Sun-Times</em></a>&nbsp;several years later, a Los Angeles woman says she met Kelly in 1999 during the video shoot for &ldquo;If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time.&rdquo; She was 17 at the time, though says she did not have sex with the star until she turned 18 in 2000. Kelly never told her that he was married, and they began fighting as soon as she found out. &ldquo;I do believe he does have a problem,&rdquo; she tells the newspaper.</p><p>Former Kelly protege Stephanie &ldquo;Sparkle&rdquo; Edwards tells DeRogatis that during this same period, the backstage area at the star&rsquo;s concerts often is filled with underage girls: &ldquo;He likes the babies, and that&rsquo;s the sickness,&rdquo; the assistant said. &ldquo;He can control her and she don&rsquo;t know no better.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>Early 2000: Hankerson&rsquo;s letter</strong></h2><p><a name="sixteen"></a>More than five years after the affair with his niece Aaliyah, Hankerson resigns as Kelly&rsquo;s manager. He writes a letter to the star&rsquo;s attorney that says he believes Kelly needs psychiatric help for his compulsion to pursue underage girls. Hankerson has never spoken publicly about Kelly, but his attorney confirmed the substance of the letter <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152996629/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-TImes-Coverage" target="_blank">in an interview with the <em>Sun-Times</em></a>.</p><h2><strong>October 2000: Kelly at CPS</strong></h2><p>Kelly participates in the Chicago Public Schools&rsquo; Principal for a Day program.</p><h2><strong>Nov. 7, 2000: Anonymous fax sent to <em>Sun-Times</em></strong></h2><p><a name="seventeen"></a>Kelly releases <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00004WIZA" target="_blank"><em>TP2.com</em></a>, which debuts at No. 1 on the <em>Billboard</em> albums chart. DeRogatis reviews the album for the <em>Sun-Times</em> and is struck again by the contrast between the sacred and the profane:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;One minute, he&rsquo;s grabbing his privates and bragging of being &lsquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW7uBj0B_NI" target="_blank">Like A Real Freak</a>&rsquo;; the next, he&rsquo;s drawing on his gospel roots and once again paying homage to his dear departed mom on the lush and touching single &lsquo;I Wish.&rsquo; Prince, Marvin Gaye, and Al Green all showed that, in the right circumstances, sex and prayer can be the same thing. Kelly has yet to combine the two in one song, so he has yet to make the transcendent record he&rsquo;s been promising throughout his career. His lyrical shifts from church to street corner are still so jarring that they can give you whiplash.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>The review prompts an anonymous fax to the newspaper, which reporters later confirm came from a Kelly assistant.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;You wrote about R. Kelly and compared him to Marvin Gaye,&rdquo; the fax states. &ldquo;Well, I guess Marvin Gaye had problems too, but I don&rsquo;t think they were like Robert&rsquo;s&hellip; Robert&rsquo;s problem is young girls&hellip; I&rsquo;ve known Robert for many years and I&rsquo;ve tried to get him to get help, but he just won&rsquo;t do it. So I&rsquo;m telling you about it hoping that you or someone at your newspaper will write an article about it and then Robert will have no choice but to get help and stop hurting the people he&rsquo;s hurting.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>The fax claims that the Chicago Police sex crimes unit has been investigating Kelly for some time, and it provides some previously unreported details of the Hawkins lawsuit. <em>Sun-Times</em> editors assign <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/jderogatis-0" target="_blank">DeRogatis</a> and reporter <a href="http://muckrack.com/cst_pallasch" target="_blank">Abdon M. Pallasch</a> to look into the facts. Confirming the existence of both the police investigation, which has been stymied by the lack of cooperative witnesses, and the Hawkins lawsuit, they continue reporting and uncover more details about Kelly&rsquo;s brief marriage to Aaliyah and his sexual relationships with other underage girls.</p><h2><strong>Dec. 21, 2000: <em>Sun-Times</em> publishes first Kelly sex crimes story</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ED%20story%201.jpg" style="height: 398px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="The first investigation, left on Page 1. (Chicago Sun-Times)" /><a name="eighteen"></a><em>The Chicago Sun-Times</em> publishes its <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989248/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">first major investigative story</a> about Kelly, portraying a sexual predator aided in his pursuits by his stardom. The lede: &ldquo;Chicago singer and songwriter R. Kelly used his position of fame and influence as a pop superstar to meet girls as young as 15 and have sex with them, according to court records and interviews.&rdquo;</p><p>Kelly attorneys and spokespeople decline to comment for the article, though they defend his innocence in the days that follow. The story quotes Kelly defender McLin: &ldquo;He comes back all the time&mdash;he considers me his mother and mentor,&rdquo; the then-retired music teacher tells the <em>Sun-Times</em>.</p><p>Asked about charges in the Hawkins lawsuit that Kelly had sexual relationships with some of the freshman and sophomore girls from McLin&rsquo;s choir, the teacher says: &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know what he did outside of school. But in the school, there was no hanky panky. If they were involved in that, the sad thing is, it takes two to tango.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>January 2001: Videotape sent to <em>Sun-Times</em></strong></h2><p><a name="nineteen"></a>A videotape is anonymously sent to the <em>Sun-Times</em> showing Kelly having sex with a young woman. Believing the tape could be evidence of a felony and possibly child pornography, editors turn it over to Chicago police, who cannot identify the woman or determine her age. This is not the videotape that leads to Kelly&rsquo;s indictment, but one of several that soon circulate via bootleg copies on the street.</p><h2><strong>August 2001: Tracy Sampson lawsuit</strong></h2><p><a name="twenty"></a>Kelly is sued by another Chicago woman, Tracy Sampson, an aspiring rapper, student at Columbia College, and intern at Epic Records who claims she lost her virginity to the star at age 17.</p><p>&ldquo;I was lied to by him,&rdquo; she claims in the lawsuit. &ldquo;I was coerced into receiving oral sex from a girl I did not want to have sex with. I was often treated as his personal sex object and cast aside. He would tell me to come to his studio and have sex with him, then tell me to go. He often tried to control every aspect of my life including who I would see and where I would go.&rdquo;</p><p>The case is eventually settled out of court when Kelly pays Sampson an undisclosed sum.</p><h2><strong>Feb. 8, 2002: Second videotape sent to DeRogatis</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ED%20story%202.jpg" style="height: 328px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="The second investigation. (Chicago Sun-Times)" /><a name="twentyone"></a><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989260/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">The Sun-Times reports</a> that police are investigating another video tape, a 26-minute,&nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ED%20story%202-2.jpg" style="height: 326px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="(Chicago Sun-Times)" />39-second clip that allegedly shows Kelly having sex with an underage girl. Left anonymously in DeRogatis&rsquo; mailbox, editors once again believed the tape could be evidence of a felony and possibly child pornography, and they turned it over to Chicago police within hours of its arrival.</p><p>In the video, a man resembling Kelly tells a young girl to call him &ldquo;daddy&rdquo;; they have sex; he directs her to strike various poses and assume different positions, and he urinates in her mouth. Before reporting the existence of the tape or the police investigation, the girl is identified for the <em>Sun-Times</em> by her aunt, who said that based on her appearance, her niece would have been about 14 at the time the tape was made. The man in the tape also can be heard referring to the girl by her name, which the newspaper never reports, believing she is a victim of rape.</p><p>Interviewed by WMAQ-Channel 5 the day the <em>Sun-Times</em> runs its story and shortly before performing for an audience of millions worldwide at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, Kelly says: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not true. All I know is this: I have a few people in the past that I&rsquo;ve fired&hellip; people that I&rsquo;ve thought were my friends that&rsquo;s not my friends&hellip; It&rsquo;s crap, and that&rsquo;s how we&#39;re going to treat it&hellip; The reason these things are happening I really do believe is because of the fact that I didn&rsquo;t fall back as far as blackmail was concerned. I didn&rsquo;t give them any money.&rdquo;</p><p>Asked why he was speaking out when he declined to comment for the <em>Sun-Times</em> story, Kelly said he felt he owed fans an explanation. &ldquo;The world is getting ready to watch me sing a song called &lsquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgcovIu3k9o" target="_blank">The World&rsquo;s Greatest</a>,&rsquo; and you&rsquo;ve got a tape out there trying to ruin my career.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>March, 2002: Tapes for sale</strong></h2><p><a name="twentytwo"></a>Bootleg copies of &ldquo;the R. Kelly sex tape,&rdquo; some including clips from the earlier tape as well as Kelly having sex with one of his legal-age dancers, are widely available for sale on street corners across the U.S.: $10 for VHS, $15 for DVD. Among those standing by the singer are executives at his long-time record label, which issues this statement: &ldquo;R. Kelly has been with Jive Records for 11 years, and we fully support him and his music.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>March 19, 2002: Kelly teams up with Jay-Z</strong></h2><p>Kelly releases his first collaboration with superstar rapper Jay-Z, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Best-Both-Worlds-Jay-Z/dp/B000063BPE" target="_blank"><em>The Best of Both Worlds</em></a>. Sales are disappointing&mdash;only a million copies&mdash;and Jay-Z seems to distance himself from Kelly when he cancels a proposed tour supporting the disc.</p><h2><strong>April 2002: Kelly sells Lakeview home</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9246742665_b13ba65079_n_0.jpg" style="height: 210px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="The basement of Kelly's Lakeview home; the alleged scene of the crime. (WBEZ/File)" /><a name="twentythree"></a>Kelly sells <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/the-scene/real-estate/R-Kelly-Notorious-Former-Home-Up-For-Sale-Again.html" target="_blank">his luxurious home</a> on George Street in Chicago&rsquo;s Lakeview neighborhood, the alleged scene of the child-porn tape, for $2.25 million. His main residence becomes a palatial home in the Southwest suburb of Olympia Fields.</p><h2><strong>April 29, 2002: Patrice Jones sues Kelly</strong></h2><p><a name="twentyfour"></a>Kelly is sued for the third time by Patrice Jones, a Chicago woman who claims he impregnated her when she was underage, and that one of his associates took her to have an abortion. The lawsuit claims the relationship began after Kelly met the girl in December 1998 at the Rock &#39;n&#39; Roll McDonald&rsquo;s in Chicago, which she visited with her date and another couple on her prom night.</p><p>The attorney in the case, <a href="http://www.logganslaw.com/about-us/" target="_blank">Susan E. Loggans</a>, is the same lawyer who represented Hawkins and Sampson. Loggans tells the <em>Sun-Times</em> that Kelly also settled with one other girl from Minneapolis before that lawsuit ever was filed.</p><p>Kelly attorney <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2008/sep/25/local/me-margolis25" target="_blank">Gerry Margolis</a> releases a statement saying the singer is innocent and accusing Loggans of making a career of filing false claims against him. &ldquo;The cash machine is closed,&rdquo; he announces. &ldquo;R. Kelly is no angel, but he is no monster, either. This latest suit is a collection of half-truths, distortions, and outright lies that we intend to fight and beat.&rdquo;</p><p>Kelly later settles the lawsuit out of court, paying Jones an undisclosed sum.</p><h2><strong>May 24, 2002: Montina Woods sues Kelly</strong></h2><p><a name="twentyfive"></a><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152997229/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">Kelly is sued by yet another woman</a>, Montina Woods, an adult dancer who toured with Kelly&rsquo;s friend, Ronald Isley. Woods claims she was unknowingly videotaped by Kelly during sex. Kelly eventually settles the lawsuit, paying Woods an undisclosed sum in return for a nondisclosure agreement.</p><p>In the months to come, Loggans tells the <em>Sun-Times</em> that the singer makes additional payments to an unspecified number of other women who threatened to file similar lawsuits. Terms of the settlements prohibit her from talking about the specifics.</p><h2><strong>June 5, 2002: Kelly indicted on child pornography charges</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ED%20indictment.jpg" style="height: 384px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="(Chicago Sun-Times)" /><a name="twentysix"></a><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/153002480/R-Kelly-Timeline-Indictment" target="_blank">Kelly is indicted on 21 counts</a> of making child pornography, each count based on a specific act depicted on the tape the<em> Sun-Times</em> turned over to police in February. At the press conference, State&rsquo;s Attorney Dick Devine says the tape was authenticated by the FBI Crime Lab in Quantico, Va., and experts there said it was not a forgery.</p><p>&ldquo;Sexual predators are a scourge on society,&rdquo; Devine adds. &ldquo;This indictment should send a clear message that illicit acts with minor children will not be tolerated in the community.&rdquo;</p><p>Hours later, Kelly is arrested at his vacation home in Florida. That state also will indict him on another 12 counts of making child pornography. These additional charges stem from images allegedly found in a camera that police seized during the arrest and which show the star having sex with yet another underage girl.</p><h2><strong>June 6, 2002: Kelly pleads not guilty</strong></h2><p><a name="twentyseven"></a>Kelly arrives back home in Chicago, pleads not guilty, and posts bail with 750 hundred-dollar bills. Upon leaving the courthouse, he goes to a South Side church with his spiritual adviser, the <a href="http://www.sbcoc.org/salem/rev-james-t-meeks/" target="_blank">Rev. James Meeks</a> (a politician and key power broker in the <a href="http://www.rainbowpush.org/" target="_blank">Rainbow/PUSH Coalition</a>), and sings at a kindergarten graduation ceremony, violating a court order to avoid contact with any children outside his family.</p><h2><strong>July 2002: Kelly releases &quot;Heaven, I Need a Hug&quot;</strong></h2><p>Kelly rush-releases the single &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjCYs-tDscQ" target="_blank">Heaven, I Need a Hug</a>,&rdquo; which maintains his innocence and attacks the media, members of his inner circle who have betrayed him, and women who are out to claim his money:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Dear mama, you wouldn&rsquo;t believe what I&rsquo;m goin&rsquo; through/But still I got my head up just like I promised you/Every since you left your baby, boy&rsquo;s been dealin&rsquo; with/Problem after problem, tell me what am I supposed to do&hellip; And as for Robert, here&rsquo;s what I need to do/Get rid of them clowns and get myself a whole &rsquo;nother crew/Media, do your job/But please just don&rsquo;t make my job so hard/Somebody please pray what I&rsquo;m talkin&rsquo; &rsquo;bout/I&rsquo;m still young tryin&rsquo; to figure it all out/Heaven, I need a hug/Is there anybody out there willin&rsquo; to embrace a thug?&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>Dec. 1, 2003: Kim Dulaney publishes <em>Star Struck</em></strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/51NJV8GFN6L_edited-1.jpg" style="height: 361px; width: 250px; float: right;" title="(WBEZ/File)" />Kim Dulaney, a 39-year-old South Side woman who was one of Kelly&rsquo;s closest confidants, publishes <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Star-Struck-An-American-Epidemic/dp/1891636138" target="_blank">Star Struck: An American Epidemic</a></em>, which she calls a &ldquo;thinly fictionalized account&rdquo; of her friendship with an R&amp;B superstar who loses control of his sexual impulses and whose morals become &ldquo;twisted&rdquo; by fame and money. <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989253/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">She tells the <em>Sun-Times</em></a> that she never witnessed Kelly engaging in sexual activities with minors, but she believes the charges against him are warranted, and that he needs help to stop what she calls his &ldquo;sexual addiction.&rdquo; Years earlier, she had published a children&rsquo;s book entitled <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Can-Fly-Kelly-Story-Fuzzy-Feeling/dp/1891636030" target="_blank">I Can Fly (The R. Kelly Story)</a></em>, which she wrote in 1997 with Kelly&rsquo;s blessing. &ldquo;His story is an amazing story, which is why this is so sad right now,&rdquo; she says.</p><h2><strong>Feb. 18, 2003: <em>Chocolate Factory</em> released</strong></h2><p><a name="twentyeight"></a>Kelly releases Chocolate Factory, spawning worldwide hits with &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9-B3XRCCN4" target="_blank">Snake</a>,&rdquo; &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj71KbE6ekg&amp;list=TLdCjKfbegFKk" target="_blank">Step in the Name of Love</a>,&rdquo; and &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6y_4_b6RS8" target="_blank">Ignition (Remix)</a>.&rdquo; Writing in <em>Vibe</em> magazine, critic Keith Murphy notes that,</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;R. Kelly is in the fight of his life&mdash;a full-blown and very personal struggle for his personal, artistic, and spiritual survival. After his second arrest on child pornography charges, this time in Polk County, Fla., the battle has intensified, but you wouldn&rsquo;t know it after hearing &lsquo;Ignition,&rsquo; the puzzling single from his unofficial comeback album, <em>Chocolate Factory</em>. &lsquo;Back that thing up so I can wax it, baby&hellip; have you ever driven a stick before?&rsquo; Kelly coos shamelessly. With its provocative lyricism, libidinous mojo, and sexed-up bass rhythms, &lsquo;Ignition&rsquo; isn&rsquo;t the ideal song for him today. Then there&rsquo;s the album&rsquo;s questionable title, which echoes Roald Dahl&rsquo;s children&rsquo;s book, <a href="http://www.roalddahl.com/" target="_blank"><em>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</em></a>.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p><em>Chocolate Factory</em> actually replaces an earlier album called <em><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsswf02Pp04" target="_blank">Loveland</a></em> that had leaked on the Internet. The <em>Los Angeles Times</em> quotes insiders in the singer&rsquo;s camp who said that the Loveland album was shelved because the sexual lyrics of songs such as &ldquo;Come to Daddy&rdquo; and &ldquo;Make You My Baby&rdquo; were too controversial in light of the singer&rsquo;s pending trial. But more remarkable was the centerpiece of the disc, a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSIsGJhJeSo" target="_blank">nearly 10-minute mini-opera</a> presaging the later epic, &ldquo;Trapped in the Closet.&rdquo;</p><p>The libretto finds a character named Robert appearing before St. Peter at the pearly gates; being denied entry; talking to his dead mother, and finally being absolved by Jesus:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;[Robert:] Here before you stands a broken man/And I need someone to take my hand/[St. Peter:] We don&rsquo;t welcome sinners in this place/[Robert:] I am ready to surrender all/So please open up and save me from my falls/I&rsquo;m sorry for all of the wrong I&rsquo;ve done/So can you please forgive me/And deliver me from my ways?...</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>&ldquo;[Mama:] Robert.../[Robert:] Mama is that you?/[Mama:] Yes, and I know what you&rsquo;re going through/Now son tell me do you believe the truth?/[Robert:] Yes!/[Mama:] Well you&rsquo;re half way there/[Robert:] But I&rsquo;ve got so much to lose!/[Mama:] But what it does profit a man to gain the whole world/Then lose his soul?...</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>&ldquo;[Robert:] Father/For I have sinned/And I kneel here before You/Asking You to forgive me/And take me up out of this storm I&rsquo;m in/Please!/[Jesus:] Robert, I have heard you cry/Saw you tossin&rsquo; and turnin&rsquo; all those sleepless nights/[Robert:] There is so much pain!/[Jesus:] I feel your pain/I see your darkness/But you are not alone/Nor are you heartless&hellip;</p><p>&ldquo;[Robert:] But Father I am weak/[Jesus:] Well I will be your strength/[Robert:] And in my heart there is no peace/[Jesus:] Well you&rsquo;ll find all that in me/[Robert:] I&rsquo;ve got the weight of the world/It feels like a million tons/[Jesus:]Well My hands are on you son.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>February 2004: 7 counts dropped, 14 remain</strong></h2><h2><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/predator%20or%20preacher.jpg" style="height: 373px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="(Chicago Sun-Times)" /></h2><p><a name="twentynine"></a>Seven of the 21 counts in the Illinois indictment against Kelly are dropped. He still faces 14 counts of making child pornography with a possible jail term of 15 years.</p><h2><strong>March 2004: Florida indictment dropped</strong></h2><p>The Florida indictment is dropped after Circuit Judge Dennis Maloney agrees with the argument by Kelly&rsquo;s defense team that sheriff&rsquo;s detectives in Polk County lacked sufficient evidence to justify a search of Kelly&rsquo;s home when they arrested him on the Illinois warrant in June 2002. The photos that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with an underage girl were said to be inside a digital camera that was wrapped in a towel inside a duffel bag.</p><h2><strong>Aug. 24, 2004: Kelly releases&nbsp;<em>Happy People/U Saved Me</em></strong></h2><p>Kelly releases the soul and gospel double album<em> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Happy-People-U-Saved-Me/dp/B0001VOHH0" target="_blank">Happy People/U Saved Me</a></em>. The two title tracks are both minor hits. Critic Robert Christgau awards the record a D+, writing,</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;His productivity isn&rsquo;t exuberance, it&rsquo;s greed; his PG rating isn&rsquo;t scruples, it&rsquo;s cowardice. Happy People only gets steppin&rsquo; when it flaunts his wealth, only achieves consciousness on a closing diptych that observes, &lsquo;We&rsquo;re so quick to say God bless America/But take away &lsquo;In God We Trust&rsquo;/Tell me what the hell is wrong with us?&rsquo; Nice segue, Mr. Accused, right into the gross God-pop of U Saved Me, which points out that if you believe in God you&rsquo;ll earn a law degree and play for the Bulls, reflects humbly on divine forgiveness as it pertains to R. Kelly, and goes out on an anti-war hymn that shouts out to many African nations. Blatant consumerist fantasy-mongering from the tunes on down, and I believe that somewhere there&rsquo;s a court that&rsquo;ll convict him for it.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>Sept. 10, 2004: Kelly performs at Congressional concert</strong></h2><p>Kelly performs as an invited guest at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation&rsquo;s Spouses Benefit Concert. U.S. Rep Bobby Rush (D-Ill) defends the singer&rsquo;s appearance in an interview with the <em>Sun-Times</em>: &ldquo;R. Kelly&rsquo;s performance is to increase the revenues in order to increase the scholarships, which I think is O.K.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>Sept. 29, 2004: <em>Best of Both Worlds</em> tour begins</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9248240741_afd3e3c179_n.jpg" style="height: 253px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="(WBEZ/File)" /><a name="thirty"></a>Kelly kicks off the soon-to-be controversial &ldquo;Best of Both Worlds&rdquo; tour with hip-hop superstar Jay-Z at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. The show includes a skit that features an email message displayed on the giant video screens in which Kelly seeks a female companion who &ldquo;MUST be down for anything.&rdquo; His other demand: &ldquo;She has to at least be 19 or over!&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>Oct. 26, 2004: Kelly and Jay-Z release collaboration</strong></h2><p>Kelly and Jay-Z release their second collaborative album <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Unfinished-Business-Jay-Z/dp/B00065GI3M/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1372800754&amp;sr=1-3&amp;keywords=Unfinished+Business." target="_blank">The Best of Both Worlds: Unfinished Business</a></em>.</p><h2><strong>Oct. 23, 2004: Kelly&#39;s screaming match, McDonalds trip</strong></h2><p>Kelly storms off the stage in St. Louis after a screaming match with lighting technicians. He leaves the Savvis Center, drives to a local McDonald&rsquo;s, and <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989261/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">spends several hours serving fast food</a> from the drive-thru window.</p><h2><strong>Oct. 29, 2004: <em>Both Worlds</em> tour falls apart</strong></h2><p>Kelly stops a performance at Madison Square Garden in New York when he claims to have been threatened by a fan brandishing a gun. An altercation follows backstage with a man he says is an associate of Jay-Z, and Kelly is doused with pepper spray and taken to a New York emergency room. The <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989256/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">tour falls apart</a> amid a flurry of lawsuits and countersuits.</p><h2><strong>July 5, 2005: Kelly releases TP.3: Reloaded</strong></h2><p><a name="thirtyone"></a>Kelly releases TP.3: Reloaded, which includes the first chapters of his soon to be notorious &ldquo;hip-hopera,&rdquo; &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFECE98856B07CD52" target="_blank">Trapped in the Closet</a>.&rdquo;</p><p>Writing for the Pitchfork Webzine, Rob Mitchum asks,</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Is R. Kelly a joke or a genius? Does he really expect us to forget his recent... unpleasantness, or does he just not care what we think? Given the charges against him, how is he still recruiting A-list guest stars? How many metaphors for sex can one man think up?&rdquo; The critic&rsquo;s rating of 7.8 answered his rhetorical queries: &ldquo;For all the absurdity of his &lsquo;Trapped in the Closet&rsquo; cycle and his endless stock of creative horniness, the man is an absolute master of his medium.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>July 21, 2005: Judge: &#39;Nobody wants to let a monster go free&#39;&nbsp;</strong></h2><p><a name="thirtytwo"></a>During a hearing before Judge Vincent Gaughan seeking to narrow the time frame in which the alleged R. Kelly sex video was made, a now 21-year-old <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989258/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">Oak Park woman testifies</a> that the girl on the tape, her best friend, was only 14 when the video was shot. &ldquo;It was the summer after eighth grade,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Frustrated that prosecutors cannot pinpoint exactly when the tape was made, Judge Gaughan threatens to throw out the case: &ldquo;Nobody wants to let a monster go free. But nobody wants to convict an innocent individual.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>September 2005: Andrea Kelly files for an order of protection</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9246742757_db3fb16d35_n.jpg" style="float: left; height: 451px; width: 300px;" title="Andrea Kelly. (WBEZ/File)" /><a name="thirtythree"></a>Andrea Kelly files for an order of protection, explaining to the court that when she told her husband she wanted a divorce, he became angry and hit her. She rescinds the order several weeks later as the couple reportedly reconciles, though she later says they live in separate residences.</p><h2><strong>Nov. 1, 2005: First <em>Trapped in the Closet</em> DVD released</strong></h2><p>The first 12 chapters of the now 33-chapter <em>Trapped in the Closet</em> video are released on DVD.</p><h2><strong>Jan. 18, 2006: Derrick Mosley convicted</strong></h2><p>Derrick Mosley, a Chicago man who tried to blackmail New York Yankees player Gary Sheffield and his wife by claiming to have a video showing her having sex with Kelly, is <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/yankees/2005-11-14-sheffield-blackmail_x.htm?csp=34" target="_blank">sentenced to more than two years in prison</a>. Prosecutors say Mosley asked for $20,000 in return for destroying a tape that he claimed showed gospel singer DeLeon Richards-Sheffield having sex with Kelly. Sheffield said in a statement at the time of Mosley&rsquo;s arrest that his wife &ldquo;had a long-term relationship with a well-known professional singer over 10 years ago.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>February 2006: Carey Kelly releases DVD</strong></h2><p><a name="thirtyfour"></a><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/rkelly/2008/05/is_kellys_brother_going_to_tes.html" target="_blank">Carey (alternately &ldquo;Kerry&rdquo;) &ldquo;Killa&rdquo; Kelly</a> releases a DVD making several scandalous charges about his brother, Robert. <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989250/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">Killa contends</a> that Robert was so proud of the video tape at the heart of the indictment that he constantly showed it to his friends; that once the tape became public, his brother offered him $50,000 in cash and a record deal to lie to police and say that he was the man on the tape; that Robert was emotionally and physically abusive towards his wife, and that he has &ldquo;a problem&rdquo; with underage girls.</p><h2><strong>July 2006: Judge delays trial&nbsp;</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slowmo.jpg" style="height: 379px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="(Chicago Sun-Times)" />The Kelly trial is delayed when Judge Gaughan suffers injuries after falling from a ladder while working in his home.</p><h2><strong>Oct. 4, 2006: Vaughn sues Kelly</strong></h2><p>Henry &ldquo;Love&rdquo; Vaughn, a Chicago man who says he has been a &ldquo;mentor and guide&rdquo; to Kelly since the singer was a teen, files a lawsuit alleging that Kelly attacked him during a party at the star&rsquo;s Olympia Fields home, and that Kelly reneged on an agreement to pay him for the idea for the song &ldquo;Step in the Name of Love.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152993395/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">In an interview with the <em>Sun-Times</em></a>, Vaughn says that on the night of the alleged attack, Kelly&rsquo;s daughter was dancing at the party:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;She was all dressed up with tight jeans and makeup on, a seven-year-old girl, dancing on top of the pool table. It was ridiculous. She told my lady, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m having a show next week; when you come, bring $100.&rsquo; Nobody would tell this, but I ain&rsquo;t scared to tell the truth. Shame the devil.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>Kelly spokesman Allen Mayer says, &ldquo;Vaughn&rsquo;s story is outrageous nonsense.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>May 1, 2007: &#39;I&rsquo;m the Ali of today&#39;</strong></h2><p><a name="thirtyfive"></a>Kelly rush-releases the single &ldquo;Rise Up&rdquo; to benefit the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. In an interview with <em>Hip-Hop Soul</em> magazine, the singer boasts, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m the Ali of today. I&rsquo;m the Marvin Gaye of today. I&rsquo;m the Bob Marley of today. I&rsquo;m the Martin Luther King, or all the other greats that have come before us. And a lot of people are starting to realize that now.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>May 29, 2007: <em>Double Up</em> released</strong></h2><p><a name="thirtysix"></a>The artist releases the album <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Double-Up-R-Kelly/dp/B000P29B3U" target="_blank">Double Up</a>.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;The two songs that got lots of attention were the lines where I once again messed with the metaphors,&rdquo; Kelly writes in <em>Soulacoaster</em>. &ldquo;&lsquo;The Zoo&rsquo; was my very own version of the film Jurassic Park: &lsquo;Girl, I got you so wet it&rsquo;s like a rain forest/Like <em>Jurassic Park</em> except I&rsquo;m your sex-a-sauraus&hellip;&rsquo; The other song was &lsquo;Sex Planet&rsquo;: &lsquo;Jupiter, Pluto, Venus, and Saturn/I&rsquo;m leaving earth to explore your galaxy/Ten to zero, blast off, here we go, We&rsquo;ll be climaxing until we reach Mercury.&rsquo; For reasons I can&rsquo;t explain, the song became a big hit with indie rockers and made a number of their Top 10 lists in 2007.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Pitchfork awards the album a 6.7 and <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/10293-double-up/" target="_blank">critic Ryan Dombal writes</a>, &ldquo;In a sense, it seems more apropos to judge <em>Double Up</em> as a comedy record than as a pop record.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>May 2007: Andrea Kelly talks</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" hollywood="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9249526556_b62cc27047_n.jpg" style="height: 177px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Andrea Kelly is now the host of VH1's &quot;Hollywood Exes.&quot; (WBEZ File)" wbez="" />Andrea Kelly gives a l<a href="http://www.essence.com/2007/05/02/r-kellys-wife-speak-out-notes-on-a-scand/" target="_blank">engthy interview to<em> Essence </em>magazine</a>. Asked about the charges against her husband, she responds: &ldquo;C&rsquo;mon, who would believe all that? That&rsquo;s why they call them allegations.&rdquo; She declines to say whether she saw the tape that got her husband indicted.</p><p>&ldquo;Why would you ask that question of a woman married with children? It&rsquo;s ludicrous to ask me a question like that. Really, would you want someone to ask you that? And if they did ask you, would you see the tape?&rdquo;</p><p>The writer notes that, &ldquo;Despite her vocal support of her husband, Andrea says she won&rsquo;t be accompanying him to his court appearances. All the media, all the mess. Besides, she&rsquo;s got to be with the children.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>June 5, 2007: Wait for trial continues</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/paid.jpg" style="height: 356px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="(Chicago Sun-Times)" /><a name="thirtyseven"></a>Five years to the day after Kelly&rsquo;s indictment, <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989251/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank">the <em>Sun-Times</em> quotes</a> several legal experts who say the trial has dragged on for an almost unprecedented amount of time. The American Bar Association says criminal cases should be resolved within a year. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s ridiculous that it has taken five years to get to trial,&rdquo; says New England School of Law Professor Wendy Murphy. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no excuse for it. But this is a tried-and-true tactic when it comes to sex-crimes cases: &lsquo;victory by delay.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Says Laurie Levenson, a law professor at Loyola University of Los Angeles: &ldquo;You see this in death penalty cases, a murder case, but a sex crimes case? This is a long time. It just seems both sides intend to take their time.&rdquo;</p><p>A trial date finally is set for September 2007. &ldquo;We have been ready for trial for a long time and continue to be ready for trial,&rdquo; Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Dick Devine says, while Kelly spokesman Allen Mayer adds, &ldquo;Rob is looking forward to his day in court and he&rsquo;s confident when all the facts come out he&#39;s going to be shown to have not been guilty of any crime.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>Aug. 21, 2007: More <em>Trapped</em> videos released</strong></h2><p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyBEAX_Zmlo" target="_blank">Chapters 13 to 22</a> of the video version of <em>Trapped in the Closet</em> are released on DVD.</p><p>With the trial date approaching, Judge Gaughan rules that jurors and the public will see the whole video tape in question in the child pornography case in court. The prosecution and the defense both had sought to limit viewings of the tape.</p><h2><strong>Sept. 4, 2007: Trial postponed</strong></h2><p>Without offering any explanation, Judge Gaughan postpones the trial until 2008. Sources tell the<em> Sun-Times</em> the latest delay is over wrangling between the prosecution and the defense about expert witnesses.</p><h2><strong>November 2007: Daniels cuts ties with Kelly</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9246742707_1881d8b8ed_n.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="George Daniels, his daughter Maxine, and R. Kelly. (WBEZ/File)" />Regina Daniels, another longtime Kelly spokesperson and wife of Chicago record store owner George Daniels, issues a press release saying that she has severed all ties with Kelly because &ldquo;a line has been crossed.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>Dec. 21, 2007: Gaughan scolds Kelly&#39;s tour</strong></h2><p>Although he is angry that Kelly has embarked on a national concert tour without obtaining the court&rsquo;s permission&mdash;and that his tour bus was stopped by police for going 101 mph in Utah&mdash;Judge Gaughan decides that he will not throw the singer in jail and revoke his bond. But the judge does warn Kelly: &ldquo;You are a role model, whether you like it or not. People pay attention to your conduct and emulate it. Be careful.&rdquo; He finally sets a date for the case to go to trial: May 9, 2008.</p><h2><strong>Jan. 2, 2008: Ne-Yo sues Kelly</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/neyo_02.jpg" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="" />Up-and-coming R&amp;B singer <a href="http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/1046942/ne-yo-sues-over-r-kelly-tour-dismissal" target="_blank">Ne-Yo sues Kelly</a>, claiming he was fired from the <em>Double Up</em> tour because he was better than Kelly.</p><p>During this period&mdash;late 2007 and early 2008&mdash;Kelly shelves an album of more lascivious material intended to be a sequel to his debut solo effort. <a href="http://www.reverbnation.com/rkelly12play4thquarter" target="_blank"><em>12 Play 4th Quarter</em></a>&nbsp;leaks in various versions on the Net but becomes the second officially unreleased album in his discography after <em>Loveland</em>.</p><h2><strong>Jan. 14, 2008: Judge rejects doctor testimony</strong></h2><p>Judge Gaughan again rejects the prosecution&rsquo;s request to have a doctor testify about why the girl in the case would deny that she was the victim.</p><h2><strong>Feb. 15, 2008: George Daniels interview</strong></h2><p>During an interview with a Los Angeles radio station, <a href="http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/george-daniels-41" target="_blank">George Daniels</a> explains the reasons that he and his wife, Kelly spokeswoman Regina, split from the star:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;He crossed the line with my daughter. It didn&rsquo;t get to the extreme of that [sex tape] video or else I wouldn&rsquo;t be here, if you know what I&rsquo;m talking about&hellip; The reason that I&rsquo;m talking about this, it&rsquo;s not just for me, it&rsquo;s not for my wife, it&rsquo;s not for my daughter, but it&rsquo;s for other fathers and mothers because it doesn&rsquo;t have to be a superstar, it could be the dude on the corner. There are guys who sit around and give your child a couple of bucks to go to school and then wait until they get a little older, then they set that trap.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>The other Kelly spokesman, Allen Mayer, says: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard to take seriously the moral outrage expressed by George and Regina Daniels over R. Kelly&rsquo;s relationship with Mr. Daniels&rsquo; adult daughter, Maxine. The fact is that they had no problem with the relationship&mdash;indeed, they encouraged it&mdash;while Ms. Daniels was on Mr. Kelly&rsquo;s payroll.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>March 12, 2008: Prosecution adds two witnesses</strong></h2><p>The prosecution tells the court it wants to add two new witnesses to its case. Judge Gaughan calls the request &ldquo;very extraordinary,&rdquo; but says he will allow the defense team to take the witness&rsquo; depositions.</p><h2><strong>April 11, 2008: Judge holds closed hearing</strong></h2><p>Judge Gaughan holds a closed hearing to deal with &ldquo;motions that were filed under seal.&rdquo; It is one of many sessions over the last six years that have taken place in chambers, away from public scrutiny and with the official record sealed.</p><h2><strong>April 22, 2008: Chicago press files suit</strong></h2><p><em>The Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Tribune</em>, the <em>Associated Press</em>, and <em>Chicago Public Media</em> petition Judge Gaughan to make all Kelly-related court records public, release transcripts of several secret hearings, and lift the gag order on the attorneys. The motion also is filed before the Illinois Supreme Court.</p><h2><strong>April 29, 2008: &quot;Hair Braider&quot; released</strong></h2><p>Kelly releases the new single &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjSUlYZhTNM" target="_blank">Hair Braider</a>&quot; with a video that shows several women tending to his hairdo while he sips on liquor and smokes a cigar.</p><h2><strong>May 4, 2008: Lisa Van Allen set to testify</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/new%20wittness.jpg" style="height: 350px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="(Chicago Sun-Times)" /><a name="thirtyeight"></a>The<em> Sun-Times </em>reports that a woman named Lisa Van Allen is set to testify in court that she had a <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/rkelly/2008/06/van_allen_we_had_threeway_sex.html" target="_blank">threeway</a>&nbsp;with Kelly and the allegedly underage girl seen in the video at the heart of the case. Given that the underage girl refuses to testify or cooperate, Van Allen will be the prosecution&rsquo;s star witness.</p><h2><strong>May 6, 2008: Illinois court denies media&#39;s request</strong></h2><p>In a terse two-sentence ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court denies Chicago news outlets&rsquo; motion for a supervisory order to unseal court documents and proceedings in the Kelly case. The court gives no explanation.</p><h2><strong>May 9, 2008: July selection begins</strong></h2><p><a name="thirtynine"></a>Jury selection for the trial finally begins, more than five years after news of the videotape broke. The trial will last a little more than a month, during which:</p><ul><li><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9255739785_116c59bbd8_n.jpg" style="float: right;" title="" />Immediately following opening arguments, the prosecution surprises the court by playing the controversial video tape.</li><li>The prosecution calls a dozen people close to the girl who identify her for the court, including family members, friends, friends&rsquo; parents, two basketball coaches, the girl&rsquo;s aunt and former Kelly protégé <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/rkelly/2008/05/genson_to_sparkle_im_not_your.html" target="_blank">Stephanie &ldquo;Sparkle&rdquo; Edwards</a>, and a former assistant of Kelly who testifies that she is &ldquo;110 percent certain&rdquo; that Kelly is the man in the tape.</li><li>A visibly pregnant Van Allen also identifies the girl in the tape and testifies that she had three sexual encounters with her and Kelly, two of which were videotaped. She claims she was offered $250,000 for the original copy of the tape.</li><li>An expert called by the prosecution testifies that there is &ldquo;no way&rdquo; the tape at the center of the trial could have been faked.</li><li>The prosecution rests on June 2 and the defense begins its case on June 4. <a name="forty"></a>It starts by <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/rkelly/2008/05/mole_defense_mirrors_oj_simpso.html" target="_blank">focusing on a distinctive mole</a> on Kelly&rsquo;s lower back, with an expert contending that it was a possible example of &ldquo;electronic noise&rdquo; on a faked video.</li><li><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/rkelly/2008/06/headless_bodies_copulate_on_sc.html" target="_blank">A defense expert testifies</a> that he made a version of the tape in which he put a background of the log-cabin room in Kelly&rsquo;s old George Street home on a loop, then placed the man and the girl on the tape in a superimposed layer, and then made their heads disappear while they were having sex. Still, he concedes, there would be evidence of fakery on such a tape, and he does not see any on the core video.</li><li>The defense suggests numerous people who wanted to set Kelly up, including Van Allen, Sparkle, former manager Hankerson&mdash;whom neither the defense nor the prosecution calls as a witness&mdash;and Sun-Times reporter DeRogatis.</li><li><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/rkelly/2008/06/derogatis_ordered_to_appear_in_1.html" target="_blank">The defense calls DeRogatis</a>, seeking testimony about how he received the tape and unnamed sources quoted in his stories. Lawyers for the paper fail to convince Judge Gaughan, the Illinois Court of Appeals, or the Illinois Supreme Court that the reporter is protected by the First Amendment and the Illinois State Shield Law.</li><li>Advised that testifying would set a damaging precedent in Illinois for any reporter in a similar position, and that admitting he watched the tape as part of his reporting would be admitting to the felony of viewing child pornography, DeRogatis gives the following answer 15 times in response to 15 questions from the defense team: &ldquo;I respectfully decline to answer the question on the advice of counsel, on the grounds that to do so would contravene the <a href="http://www.rcfp.org/illinois-privilege-compendium/i-introduction-history-background" target="_blank">reporter&rsquo;s privilege</a>, the special witness doctrine, my rights under the Illinois Constitution, and the First and Fifth amendments of the United States Constitution.&rdquo;</li><li>&ldquo;Thanks; that&rsquo;s exactly what we wanted you to do,&rdquo; defense attorney Ed Genson tells DeRogatis as both exit the courtroom.</li><li>To counter the dozen witnesses who identified the girl on the tape for the prosecution, the defense calls three relatives of the girl who deny she is the girl in the video.</li><li>The defense unexpectedly rests after just two days of testimony without ever calling Kelly or the girl who allegedly appears in the video. Closing arguments begin on June 12, and the jury begins deliberations on June 13.</li></ul><h2><strong>June 14, 2008: Kelly found not guilty</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9251021620_4e36c64ae0_n.jpg" style="float: left; height: 323px; width: 300px;" title=" (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" /><a name="fortyone"></a>After one day of deliberations,<a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/152989262/R-Kelly-Timeline-Chicago-Sun-Times-Coverage" target="_blank"> Kelly is found not guilty on all counts</a>. In interviews with the media outside the court, jurors say they were certain that Kelly was the man on the tape, but they could not be certain about the identity of the girl, hence they could not be sure about her age and whether the video really was child pornography.</p><p>In <em>Soulacoaster</em>, Kelly writes,</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;My lawyer broke it all down, explaining why the jury found me &lsquo;not guilty.&rsquo; The prosecution&rsquo;s &lsquo;star&rsquo; or &lsquo;surprise&rsquo; witnesses never took the stand, including the woman that the prosecution believed to be the woman in the tape, in spite of her deposition to the contrary. <em>The Chicago Sun-Times</em> reporter, Jim DeRogatis, who broke the story and was the first to receive the supposed sex tape, took the Fifth and refused to testify. Instead, jurors had to rely on testimonies of &lsquo;con men and hustlers&rsquo;&hellip; After the verdict was read, I went to the bathroom and broke down and cried. I had to share that moment with my mother in heaven.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>June 18, 2008: Judge throws a party</strong></h2><p>After years of vowing that he would not allow the Kelly trial to become &ldquo;a media circus,&rdquo; Judge Gaughan throws a post-trial party at a bar with invites going out to the defense, the prosecution, court personnel, and reporters who cover the trial: &ldquo;Dress is casual. Come and celebrate the trial&rsquo;s conclusion and everyone&rsquo;s hard work.&rdquo; Among those who attend: the judge, defense lawyer <a href="http://www.attysamadamjr.com/" target="_blank">Sam Adam Jr.</a> (who will go on to represent disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich), and prosecutor <a href="http://www.statesattorney.org/index2/press_management02.html" target="_blank">Shauna Boliker</a> (who will go on to become First Assistant State&rsquo;s Attorney ). &ldquo;It was a hoot,&rdquo; says one reporter who attended. &ldquo;Everyone was loose and relaxed.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>June 20, 2009: Kelly performs in Africa</strong></h2><p>Kelly performs in Africa for the first time, headlining the Arise African Fashion Awards in Johannesburg. His African tour will continue for several weeks.</p><h2><strong>July 2, 2009: <em>Southtown Star</em> reports on Kelly investigation</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9254056659_197cf1594e_n.jpg" style="float: right; height: 186px; width: 300px;" title="R. Kelly's Olympia Fields home. (WBEZ/File)" />Investigating rumors that Olympia Fields police raided R. Kelly&rsquo;s mansion shortly before he left for Africa, <em>Southtown Star</em> reporter Lauren Fitzpatrick quotes village Police Chief Jeff Chudwin: &ldquo;[We] were informed of a possible criminal matter. We investigated the issues, found there to be no crime, and the matters have been closed.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>July 5, 2009: Kelly officials release statement</strong></h2><p>Kelly&rsquo;s spokesman releases the following statement:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;A wildly exaggerated and inaccurate report has been circulating on the Internet that Olympia Fields police showed up at R. Kelly&rsquo;s house with a search warrant just before the singer left for his three-week concert tour in Africa last month and then searched the place looking for a missing 17-year-old girl. This is completely false. No police ever showed up at Kelly&rsquo;s house with a search warrant nor was his house ever searched. It is also not true, as the unsubstantiated report claimed, that any such girl ever stayed overnight in Kelly&rsquo;s house or that she had been there but left shortly before some mythical police search. Kelly&rsquo;s attorneys have informed the police that they will cooperate fully with any investigation.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>The <em>Southtown Star</em> reports that the barrage of media inquiries to the Olympia Fields Police Department has been causing chaos in the small office. It notes that Kelly is the largest taxpayer in the village of 4,700; that his more than 11,000-square-foot home paid $258,996 in taxes in 2007, higher than the median home price in the village and 10 times higher than the next biggest tax bill, and that the income represented one-tenth of the Olympia Fields police department&rsquo;s budget for 2008.</p><h2><strong>Nov. 30, 2009: Kelly releases first post-trial album</strong></h2><p>Kelly releases his first album after the trial, an untitled effort featuring tracks such as &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7A_UfuTkiU" target="_blank">Crazy Night</a>,&rdquo; &ldquo;Bangin&rsquo; the Headboard,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Whole Lotta Kisses.&rdquo;</p><p>Pitchfork <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/13790-untitled/" target="_blank">rates the album 4.8</a>. Writes critic Sean Fennessey:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Of all the things that could undermine&mdash;and perhaps torpedo&mdash;R. Kelly&rsquo;s career, laziness has rarely been considered. What a decade it&rsquo;s been for Kelly&mdash;he&rsquo;s thrived in a curious way, morphing from true blue 1990s R&amp;B icon into an increasingly strange and beguiling pop culture oddball. He is known by more people now than ever, though not always for the best reasons... He had sex in the kitchen, sex in the jungle, sex with your girlfriend. And on June 13, 2008, Kelly battled and beat child pornography charges. Which, to many, is all that matters now. But Untitled isn&rsquo;t sunk by the vestiges of scandal&mdash;this just isn&rsquo;t Kelly at his best. He has survived for so many years in a ravenously young genre&mdash;R&amp;B pop&mdash;by innovating. But too often here he trips over trends.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>June 11, 2010: Kelly opens World Cup</strong></h2><p>Kelly performs one of his inspirational anthems, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr5N6Tk_5ls" target="_blank">Sign of a Victory</a>,&rdquo; at the opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup.</p><h2><strong>Dec. 14, 2010: Kelly releases <em>Love Letter</em></strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/r-kelly-love-letter-cover.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="" />Kelly releases <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Love-Letter-R-Kelly/dp/B0048LDTKK" target="_blank"><em>Love Letter</em></a>, an album that takes a turn toward more traditional soul music. Pitchfork <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/14967-love-letter/" target="_blank">gives the album a rating of 8.2</a>. Writes reviewer Jess Harvell:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Kelly&rsquo;s a real-deal eccentric, in his art as in his life. If Kelly&rsquo;s seemed to court a geek-show level of appreciation lately, it&rsquo;s sad but understandable. Because embracing those eccentricities, cranking up the outlandishness&mdash;often at the expense of everything else&mdash;has resulted in some really bad records over the past few years. For some Kelly fans, his excesses of personality are the crux of his appeal. For others, they&rsquo;re something you have to listen past (or suffer through) to enjoy the more everyday pleasures like, oh, killer hooks, effortless funk, some of the best singing in R&amp;B. Love Letter is different in almost every way than the Kelly we&rsquo;ve gotten to know over the last decade, good news for those who prefer solid soul records to train wrecks.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>February 12, 2011: Kelly performs at Grammy Gala</strong></h2><p>Kelly performs a career-spanning medley of his hits at the glitzy Grammy Gala thrown by Clive Davis in Los Angeles. &ldquo;Kelly is a single-bound kind of leaper who dips into everything from soft porn to opera in his music,&rdquo; writes then-Los Angeles Times rock critic <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2011/06/21/136203968/irresponsible-listening-a-fans-confession" target="_blank">Ann Powers</a>. She continues,</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;His supreme chutzpah, a quality he shares with [Barbra] Streisand, allows him to feel secure within pop&rsquo;s traditions while taking them wherever he pleases. He made Davis&#39; musical program, which at times got lost amid the chatter of the A-list crowd, come alive. It was all so simple then: an instant when one of pop&rsquo;s key traditional elements, that determination to wow, took on new dimension in the hands of an expert.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>March, 2011: <em>Billboard</em> honors Kelly</strong></h2><p><a href="http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-juice/950681/the-top-50-rb-hip-hop-artists-of-the-past-25-years" target="_blank"><em>Billboard</em> names Kelly</a> the No. 1 R&amp;B artist of the last 25 years.</p><h2><strong>July 19, 2011: Kelly has throat surgery</strong></h2><p>Kelly is rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to undergo emergency throat surgery.</p><h2><strong>November 10, 2011: Kelly recovers from surgery, releases &quot;Shut Up&quot;</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-07-11%20at%2012.53.21%20PM.png" style="height: 229px; width: 400px; float: right;" title="" />Kelly <a href="https://twitter.com/rkelly/status/134576245764669440" target="_blank">tweets</a>: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a long time coming but I finally feel a lot better about my throat since the surgery and this is the first song I wrote.&rdquo;</p><p>He links to &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjEG6DZzcB0" target="_blank">Shut Up</a>,&rdquo; which responds to critics who say &ldquo;he&rsquo;s washed up, he&rsquo;s lost it.&rdquo; Says the singer: &ldquo;My future ain&rsquo;t my past/It&rsquo;s not the end of the hour glass/Who said it would not last/I&rsquo;m sick of their ass.&rdquo;</p><p>Like his future releases, the tune will appear via RCA, since the parent company has disbanded Jive Records, Kelly&rsquo;s home throughout his career.</p><h2><strong>December 21, 2011: Kelly performs on<em> The X Factor</em></strong></h2><p>Singing &ldquo;I Believe I Can Fly,&rdquo; Kelly makes a live appearance on <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJNDhXlzbvY" target="_blank"><em>The X Factor</em></a>.</p><h2><strong>February 18, 2012: Kelly performs at memorial</strong></h2><p>Kelly <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLvDN07O5M8" target="_blank">performs at Whitney Houston&rsquo;s memorial service</a>, singing &ldquo;I Look to You,&rdquo; which he wrote for the diva&rsquo;s last studio album in 2009.</p><h2><strong>June 25, 2012: Kelly releases <em>Write Me Back</em></strong></h2><p>Kelly releases <a href="http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-juice/482596/r-kelly-write-me-back-track-by-track-review" target="_blank"><em>Write Me Back</em></a>, a sequel to <em>Love Letter</em>.</p><p>Rating the album 6.5, Pitchfork&#39;s Jess Harvell <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16797-write-me-back/" target="_blank">reviews it</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;The problem with Write Me Back is that it doesn&rsquo;t go far enough. By that, I don&rsquo;t mean he should have returned to the maniacal story-songs he drove into the ground after &lsquo;Trapped in the Closet,&rsquo; cranked up the sex metaphors to an even more deranged degree, or gone cherry-picking the hottest new sounds. A more restrained, classicist, and focused R. Kelly was a good look, especially since enough of his irrepressible weirdness is always going to shine through and keep things from feeling too buttoned-up. But the care, craft and subtlety of <em>Love Letter</em> is audible only in flashes on <em>Write Me Back</em>.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>June 28, 2012: <em>Soulacoaster </em>published</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kelly.jpg" style="height: 186px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="(Jeremy Rall)" />Smiley Books, the publishing arm of the media empire run by Tavis Smiley, publishes Kelly&rsquo;s impressionistic autobiography <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/r-kelly-soulacoaster-the-_n_1635036.html" target="_blank"><em>Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me</em></a>. Co-written with as-told-to celebrity biographer <a href="http://www.ritzwrites.com/" target="_blank">David Ritz</a>, it has been delayed numerous times since it first was announced in late 2009, reportedly because of legal wrangling over its more controversial passages.</p><h2><strong>September 13, 2012: Kelly collaborates with Kanye</strong></h2><p>Chicago superstar Kanye West releases &ldquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oox24rczatw" target="_blank">To the World featuring R. Kelly</a>,&rdquo; a collaborative track from West&rsquo;s Cruel Summer compilation.</p><h2><strong>November 2012: Andrea announces book</strong></h2><p>Kelly&rsquo;s ex-wife Andrea announces that she is writing a book of her own. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m finishing up my book Under the <em>Red Carpet: My Life as R. Kelly&rsquo;s Wife</em>, and it&rsquo;s not juice and grease. It&rsquo;s not a tell-all,&rdquo; she tells <a href="http://HipHollywood.com" target="_blank">HipHollywood.com</a>. To date, it remains unpublished.</p><h2><strong>Nov. 23, 2012: Trapped airs on cable&nbsp;</strong></h2><p>The Independent Film Channel (IFC) debuts Chapters 23 to 33 of <em>Trapped in the Closet</em> as a television movie. The cable channel has funded the film and announces it will do the same for future installments, while <a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/48655-r-kellys-trapped-in-the-closet-new-chapters-premiere-promises-bright-crazy-future-for-the-series/" target="_blank">Kelly says </a>he will be taking a theatrical production of his epic hop-hopera to Broadway.</p><h2><strong>March 2013: Kelly&#39;s mansion sold at foreclosure auction</strong></h2><p>Once valued at more than $5 million, Kelly&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/R-Kellys-Foreclosed-Home-Hits-the-Auction-Block-198820911.html" target="_blank">Olympia Fields mansion is sold</a> at a foreclosure auction for $950,000 to the only bidder, the bank that already holds the mortgage.</p><p>In <em>Soulacoaster</em>, Kelly writes,</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve begun yet another chapter in my life. I&rsquo;ve come out of my suburban cocoon, moving out of my Olympia Fields home and up into a &lsquo;de-luxe apartment in the sky.&rsquo; Every night I gaze down on Chicago&mdash;the beautiful city that raised and fed me, and the skyscrapers that have helped me hit some of my highest notes.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><h2><strong>April 13, 2013: Kelly performs at Coachella</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/_DOR4335-thumb-400x266-61204.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/File)" />Headlining on Saturday night at the <a href="http://www.coachella.com/" target="_blank">Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival</a>, the French dance-pop band Phoenix is joined onstage by Kelly for a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBunEiniJf4" target="_blank">live mash-up</a> of the band&rsquo;s hit &ldquo;1901&rdquo; and the R&amp;B star&rsquo;s &ldquo;Ignition (Remix).&rdquo; Ironically, earlier in the day, R&amp;B star <a href="http://www.solangemusic.com/#/" target="_blank">Solange Knowles</a> appears on stage with indie-rockers The xx to perform <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLICczeF_ns" target="_blank">a mash-up</a> of Solange&rsquo;s &ldquo;Locked in Closets&rdquo; and &ldquo;Hot Like Fire&rdquo; by Aaliyah.</p><h2><strong>June 1, 2013: Kelly prepares for release of 12th solo album</strong></h2><p>Kelly, now 46, prepares for the release of <em>Black Panties</em>, his 12th studio solo album. <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/tour-nears-r-kelly-promises-return-raunch" target="_blank">Talking about the record</a> to the <em>Associated Press</em> in advance of its release, he promises a return to hotter and hornier material after the more sedate <em>Love Letter</em> and <em>Write Me Back</em>.</p><p>&ldquo;Make no mistake about it, R. Kelly is not going anywhere, it&rsquo;s just that R. Kelly has such a unique talent, and I&rsquo;ve been blessed to be able to do all type of genres of music,&rdquo; the singer says. &ldquo;When you&rsquo;ve done twenty-something years, man, of giving people what they want, and satisfying people&mdash;people like to say they&rsquo;re making babies off your music, they&rsquo;re doing all this&mdash;it makes me feel good, but at the same time, it makes me say, &lsquo;O.K., now it&rsquo;s time to go and do something that&rsquo;s in me that I want to do and get out.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>June 15, 2013: Kelly plays Bonnaroo</strong></h2><p>Kelly <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkIDS8edmMM" target="_blank">performs</a> at the <a href="http://www.bonnaroo.com/" target="_blank">Bonnaroo Music &amp; Arts Festival</a>,&nbsp; June 15 in Manchester, Tenn.</p><h2><strong>July 21, 2013: Kelly to headline Pitchfork</strong></h2><p>Kelly will headline and close out the eighth annual <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/" target="_blank">Pitchfork Music Festival </a>in Chicago&rsquo;s Union Park.</p></p> Thu, 11 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/timeline-life-and-career-r-kelly-107973 Constellation: A new venue for music and other performing arts http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/constellation-new-venue-music-and-other-performing-arts-106402 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/links hall.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Wrigleyville has dedicated itself to nurturing the pursuits and expressions of &quot;&#39;bro culture&quot; like no other neighborhood in Chicago.</p><p>Wandering along Clark Street between Belmont and Addison Avenues on a weekend (or during a Cubs home stand) is like entering their personal pleasure dome, a place where men sporting backwards baseball caps and pastel golf shirts stage elaborate performances: Alienated sports fan, existential beer chugger, street fighter.</p><p>So I&#39;ve always found it pleasing that the neighborhood has proven a shelter for two very different communities: the practitioners of women&#39;s health, and performing artists.</p><p>No more though. After 35 years sharing the second story of the Link&#39;s-Hall Building at the corners of Sheffield, Clark and Newport, both the <a href="http://chicagowomenshealthcenter.org/">Women&#39;s Health Center </a>and performance venue <a href="http://www.members.linkshall.org/Default.aspx">Links Hall</a> are <a href="http://www.linkshall.org/Space/GoodbyeOldLinks/tabid/200/Default.aspx">relocating</a>.</p><p>Though it has been raising money and looking for a new space for some time, Women&#39;s Health Center hasn&#39;t yet made an announcement about new digs. But Links Hall has not only landed, in many ways it has found a new lease on life.</p><p>Their new home is the former Viaduct Theatre at Belmont and Western, now known as <a href="http://www.constellation-chicago.com/event/247849-source-family-chicago/">Constellation</a>.</p><p>There Links Hall, under the direction of Roell Schmidt, will be both the primary tenant and partner in a <a href="http://linkshall.org/Space/NewHomeForLinks/tabid/197/Default.aspx">&quot;collaborative arts venue&quot;</a> with jazz musician and music presenter <a href="http://www.mikereedmusic.com/thinkingoutloud.cfm">Mike Reed.</a></p><p>In fact tonight Links will kick Constellation into existence with its show&nbsp;<a href="http://members.linkshall.org/Performances/April/tabid/174/Default.aspx#aprilfraction"><em>Fraction: Dance in Progress</em>.</a></p><p><em>Fraction,</em> in keeping with Link&#39;s mission to present established and emerging performers, is kind of a dance &quot;open house&quot;. The program features a&nbsp;series of works-in-progress by an array of performers, including 7th and 8th grade Near North Montessori School students, a couple of flamenco artists, and Philip Elson, a member of local dance troupe The Seldoms. There&#39;ll also be opportunity for audiences to talk with the artists and provide feedback on their work.</p><p>But <em>Fraction </em>also represents what&#39;s exciting about Constellation overall.</p><p>Though many of the venue&#39;s shows will reflect Reed&#39;s experiences in the world of improvised music (he performs in a seemingly endless number of &nbsp;ensembles and leads two jazz groups of his own),&nbsp;this is also a space for all kinds of performers, including dancers, filmmakers, and pop musicians.</p><p>Variety has truly been the hallmark of Reed&#39;s presenting style, whether at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Pitchfork Music Festival or, for the past two years, the Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusement, a curious but satisfying mix of music performers, circus acts and stand-up comedians. That he&#39;s hired <a href="http://michaelslaboch.com/home.html">Michael Slaboch</a>, former talent buyer at The Hideout, to program Constellation, signals a continuing commitment to eclecticism.</p><p>Already there is an emphasis on collaboration across performing arts.&nbsp;This coming Sunday, Links Hall dancers will improvise alongside Dutch experimental musician Hans Bennink and other members of ICP (Instant Composers Pool). On April 18th CIMM (the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival) will host an evening with works from both musician Van Dyke Parks and his son filmmaker Richard Parks.</p><p>Constellation is also forging into less familiar musical territory with a weekly series showcasing Chicago&#39;s burgeoning new or contemporary classical music scene.</p><p>Curated by <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ArticleArchives?author=847392">Peter Margasak of The Chicago Reader</a> (and a regular contributor to&nbsp;WBEZ&#39;s Friday night music show <em>Radio M</em>), the series will focus mainly on local ensembles. Already in the works are performances from members of <a href="http://www.eighthblackbird.org/">Eighth Blackbird</a>, <a href="http://iceorg.org/">International Contemporary Ensemble</a>, and <a href="http://dalniente.com/">Ensemble Dal Niente</a>.</p><p>Though it&#39;s possible to see contemporary classical music on a fairly regular basis in the city, until now, said Margasak, they &quot;haven&#39;t had a center of action.&quot; He&#39;s also hoping the series will provide them with some much-needed &quot;infrastructure&quot;.</p><p>&quot;Normally these groups have to rent spaces and equipment to perform,&quot; said Margasak. &quot;This basically gets rid of a lot of their overhead. Constellation has a real piano, a real sound system, a screen if they want to do multimedia stuff.&quot;</p><p>Long term, Margasak&#39;s ambition is to increase the profile of Chicago&#39;s new music performers and composers on their home turf. As with many local jazz artists, contemporary classical musicians have frequently found more acclaim the further they get from Chicago.</p><p>And though certain groups, like ICE, Fulcrum Point and Fifth House Ensemble have been music stalwarts in the city for some time now, performing in venues from the Adler Planetarium to small art galleries, Margasak thinks featuring them at Constellation, with its cross-section of performance genres and styles, will help &quot;demystify&quot; or make the music come across as &quot;less hoity-toity&quot;.</p><p>Chicago&#39;s music venues have long learned to find space for other performing talents, from poets and writers to talk show hosts and spelling bee contestants. Still, Constellation seems like a different effort to present a whole array of cutting edge events, in a space and manner audiences will still find accessible.</p><p>You can judge for yourself when the venue opens its doors tonight. Meanwhile, Margasak will launch his new music series, known as &quot;Frequency&quot;, with a free open house on April 27th. He&#39;s featuring groups that represent both the composed (Ensemble Dal Niente) and improvised (modular synth group <a href="http://www.brianlabycz.com/thegreenpasturehappiness.html">The Green Pasture Happiness</a> led by Brian Labycz) sides of the new music scene.</p><p><em>Constellation is located at 3111 N. Western Avenue.</em></p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&#39;s Arts and Culture reporter. You can follow her on twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy">@wbezacuddy</a>, <a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport">Instagram</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn">Facebook</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 01 Apr 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/constellation-new-venue-music-and-other-performing-arts-106402 Video: Jon Wurster explores the Flatstock Poster Convention http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-07-21/video-jon-wurster-explores-flatstock-poster-convention-89480 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-21/wurster2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/26692775?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" width="500" frameborder="0" height="281"></iframe></p><p>While filming at the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-07-19/video-touring-pitchfork-fest-superchunks-jon-wurster-89365">Pitchfork Music Festival with Superchunk's Jon Wurster</a> we spent a lot of time in <a href="http://www.americanposterinstitute.com/flatstock/">Flatstock</a>, the rock poster show. Wurster's long career as a rock drummer made browsing screen prints a walk down memory lane. He shared stories about posters for The Mountain Goats, Superchunk and A.C. Newman. Chicago poster artists <a href="http://www.crosshairchicago.com/">Dan MacAdam</a> and <a href="http://www.dangrzeca.com/">Dan Grzeca</a> explain a little bit of their craft to Wurster and <a href="http://www.dkngstudios.com/">Dan Kuhlken</a> of California and <a href="http://crashamerica.com/">Mike King</a> of Oregon help him reminisce.</p></p> Thu, 21 Jul 2011 17:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-07-21/video-jon-wurster-explores-flatstock-poster-convention-89480 Video: Touring Pitchfork Fest with Superchunk's Jon Wurster http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-07-19/video-touring-pitchfork-fest-superchunks-jon-wurster-89365 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-19/wurster.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/26640685?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" width="500" frameborder="0" height="281"></iframe></p><p>As we wrap up our coverage of the 2011 Pitchfork Festival in Union Park, we leave the best for last.</p><p>This was the first year (in a few) that I haven't gone down to the festival. I usually go down there and try to get musicians and other popular people to do interviews. We've done some of our best work at Pitchfork, including Wikipedia Files with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/agill/2010/08/wikipedia-files-the-flaming-lips-part-1/4868">Wayne Coyne</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/video-big-boi-fact-checks-his-wikipedia-file">Big Boi</a>.</p><p>But really, I'm not the right guy for Pitchfork. I don't know most of the acts and frankly, I'm not that funny. So this year, I skipped the fest.</p><p>But instead of throwing in the towel, we brought in a ringer. Quick, who's the funniest drummer in indie rock? That's right, Superchunk's <a href="http://www.scharplingandwurster.com/?page_id=2">Jon Wurster</a>.</p><p>Wurster is not only a prolific musician with bands like Superchunk and The Mountain Goats, but he also plays a major role on <a href="http://friendsoftom.com/">The Best Show on WFMU</a>, hosted by Tom Scharpling. He's also written for Adult Swim.</p><p>We met Jon when he sat down for his own <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/wikipedia-files-superchunks-jon-wurster">Wikipedia fact-check session</a>.</p><p>Producer Andrew Gill reached out to him and worked up this little segment backstage at Pitchfork.</p></p> Tue, 19 Jul 2011 19:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-07-19/video-touring-pitchfork-fest-superchunks-jon-wurster-89365 Pitchfork Music Festival 2011 Day 3: Recap http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-17/p4k-2011-day-3-recap-89279 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-18/IMG_6740.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="281" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/26561439?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=cc0422" width="500"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The Fresh &amp; Onlys. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_4874.JPG" title="The Fresh &amp; Onlys. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Kicking off the third and final day of the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival with a welcome burst of energy made all the more impressive for defying the sweltering heat, San Francisco’s Fresh &amp; Onlys mixed upbeat power-pop rhythms and weirder, more moody guitars and vocals for a set that, while it wasn’t particularly original, at least had an inspiring pulse.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The Fresh &amp; Onlys. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="750" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_5109.JPG" title="The Fresh &amp; Onlys. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>The quartet also flashed a laconic wit. “Stick around and you’re gonna hear some other bands,” they cracked at one point, their lack of enthusiasm for that idea made obvious.</p><p><strong>Rating for the Fresh &amp; Onlys: 6.8</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Yuck. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_5279.JPG" title="Yuck. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Far more impressive, the English group Yuck was no more original, but they do more interesting things with their wide-ranging thievery. As my editor Andrew Gill noted, for rock fans with roots in a certain era, say 1985 to 1995, the fun lies in identifying from whom the group is borrowing and how they’re mixing and matching those elements: “Hey, that’s like a Lush vibe paired with a Pavement guitar solo and a little Dinosaur Jr. thrown in!”</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Yuck. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_5468.JPG" title="Yuck. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>But you don’t have to know or appreciate any of that to be swept away by the band’s noisy swells, on its recent self-titled album or, even better, onstage.</p><p><strong>Rating for Yuck: 8.7.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Kurt Vile. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_5729.JPG" title="Kurt Vile. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Though he can be notoriously shy and withdrawn at times—not for nothing do critics often invoke Nick Drake—Kurt Vile came out of his shell during a heat-of-the-afternoon main-stage set, stressing the second half of a sound that, at its roots, essentially is folk-rock.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Kurt Vile. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="750" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_5985.JPG" title="Kurt Vile. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Maybe he knew he’d have to up the energy to carry the dusty, sweaty ball field. Or maybe he decided to try to roll right over the crowd of several hundred Odd Future fans staked out at the opposite stage, rowdily chanting “F*ck Steve Harvey!” and “Swag!” and “Kill people, burn sh*t, f*ck school!” before, during, and after Yuck’s set and into his. Either way, a few mellower moments aside, set number two of the day kept the momentum going.</p><p><strong>Rating for Kurt Vile and the Violators: 8.1.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Odd Future. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_6345.JPG" title="Odd Future. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>So, in the end, Odd Future, the most controversial booking in the seven-year history of the Pitchfork Music Festival, turned out to be a thoroughly unexceptional live hip-hop act, no better or worse than a hundred other mediocre ones you’ve seen before, albeit even more than usually foul-mouthed.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Odd Future. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_6667.JPG" title="Odd Future. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Yes, they indulged in a bit of stage-diving—including crew leader Tyler the Creator, who did it with the cast still on his broken foot. Big deal; so what? It was nothing we haven’t seen Courtney Love do. Or Justin Bieber.</p><p>The bottom line: Music’s current antichrists are true showbiz professionals, and that might be the most disturbing thing about them. Here is the current new low in lyrical homophobia and misogyny, brought to you by the Chicago-based Windish booking agency, Life or Death PR, Sony Music and XL Recordings (also home to Beck, Radiohead, and Vampire Weekend), and, of course, the Pitchfork Webzine and festival.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Odd Future. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="750" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_7186.JPG" title="Odd Future. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p><em>What are you getting so excited about? It’s just entertainment!</em></p><p>And to underscore that, shortly before performing under the blazing sun in Union Park, the crew visited the booth where Rape Victim Advocates and Between Friends and LGBTQ groups and others were handing out their hand fans and literature and… the rappers dropped off a bunch of cupcakes. “They didn’t say anything, they just smiled,” said Colleen Norton, Between Friends’ Prevention and Education manager, though others overhead the musicians saying, “We love you.”</p><p>They were accompanied by their publicist, Heathcliff Berru, of course—he later could be seen taking a running dive off the stage into the crowd, the better to be part of the fun—and Tyler, needless to say, Tweeted about it: “Went And Gave The People Who Don’t Like Us Some Cupcakes.” He even posted a photo on yfrog.</p><p align="center"><img alt="Photo by Tyler the Creator." class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/cupcakes.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" title="Photo by Tyler the Creator."></p><p>A short time later, the gang took the stage. After blasting Bob Marley’s “One Love,” they proceeded to intersperse a 45-minute sampling of the tracks fans have come to love via their prolific mixtapes in between alternating shouts of “World peace!” and “F*ckin’ bitches!” (with many more of the latter than the former) and "Kill people, burn sh*t, f*ck school."</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Odd Future. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_7313.JPG" title="Odd Future. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>“F*ckyour contradiction/Here’s my composition,” they rapped to kick things off. Truth in advertising, sure enough.</p><p>Oh, and then, shortly before closing the set, Tyler addressed the fact that some in the Chicago music community question what it means to be entertained by the lyrics he intentionally crafted to be as foul, vile, shocking, hateful, and enraging as possible.</p><p>“I dedicate this beautiful song to everyone who doesn’t like me… every protestor… every organization… everyone who’s gonna write a faggot-ass review.”</p><p>He started to get a bit more specific—“This one’s for the fat guy”—but reconsidered, cutting himself off, and finishing the show.</p><p>He is, as noted, a true professional.</p><p><strong>Rating for Odd Future: Why bother? It’s just entertainment.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_7443.JPG" title="Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Busy writing up Odd Future’s performance, I missed the act that immediately followed it on the main stages, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, with its odd mix of glam rock, psychedelic pop, and plain old surrealism. But a half dozen fans told me they were disappointed that front man Ariel Rosenberg, seemingly aggrieved with sound problems and/or his band mates, threw a minor hissy fit two-thirds of the way through and stormed off the stage, cutting the set short by at least 15 minutes.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Ariel Pink. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="750" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_7364.JPG" title="Ariel Pink. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>He could learn a thing or two about showbiz professionalism from Tyler the Creator. Then again, it’s probably good if he doesn’t.</p><p>The next two acts in the center of Union Park did their best to redeem the day, if not the weekend.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Superchunk. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="750" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_7770.JPG" title="Superchunk. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Unlike many of the ’80s and ’90s indie-rock heroes who’ve come back to the Pitchfork fest for a celebratory victory lap, often in front of a majority of fans who never saw them in their heyday, Superchunk hardly is living in the past. Last year’s “Majesty Shredding” was as good as the band’s very best releases in the past, and the band has lost none of its effervescent enthusiasm and seemingly boundless energy in concert.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Superchunk. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_7851.JPG" title="Superchunk. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Indeed, guitarist-vocalist Mac McCaughan is rock’s never-aging Dorian Gray, though without the negative character traits of Oscar Wilde’s protagonist. And while mixing new material with old favorites, the group schooled many musicians this weekend half their age on how to play it like you mean it. The only downside was that more than a few fans who’d set their digital video recorders were bummed when Mac ruined the surprise about the Women’s Soccer World Cup.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Superchunk. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="750" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_7877.JPG" title="Superchunk. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p><strong>Rating for Superchunk: 9.4.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Deerhunter. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="750" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_8196.JPG" title="Deerhunter. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Similarly, though Deerhunter and front man Bradford Cox have played the festival before, lessening the likelihood of surprising anyone, they never fail to impress with a stunning wall of psychedelic sound, indelible melodies, and Cox’s utterly unique and ultimately winning stage presence. Sounds, songs, personality—the band has the full mix, all in the right proportions, and on stage as on record (including last year’s “Halcyon Digest”), it just keeps getting better and better.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Deerhunter. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-17/IMG_8299.JPG" title="Deerhunter. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p><strong>Rating for Deerhunter: 9.4.</strong></p><p>Then, at last, we were down to the final two main-stage bands of the weekend.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cut Copy. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="365" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-18/cut-copy-8741.JPG" title="Cut Copy. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Cut Copy fared better with its light show than DJ Shadow did the night before while holding down the same slot; after a painful day with temperatures in the mid-90s, boy, was it a relief when the sun finally set. But the group’s music was nowhere near as interesting.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cut Copy. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="712" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-18/cut-copy-8859.JPG" title="Cut Copy. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>The Melbourne, Australia-based quartet opened with several fairly straightforward power-pop tunes; think of Crowded House remade as modern indie-rockers. Then the drum machine kicked in, and suddenly we were transported to Brooklyn, hipster dance-rock center of the universe.</p><p>The grooves were a sort of aural Red Bull to help keep anyone who was fading on their feet through the home stretch. But the band certainly wasn’t anything to get excited about, making for my second perfectly-right-down-the-middle, not abysmal but certainly not great rating of the fest.</p><p><strong>Rating for Cut Copy: 5.5.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="TV on the Radio. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-18/TV-on-the-Radio-9699.JPG" title="TV on the Radio. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>In welcome contrast, not only to its predecessors but to an awful lot of what we heard over the last three days, ultimate headliner TV on the Radio was transcendent. The genre-defying art-rockers came out swinging with a strong opening salvo of several of their hardest-hitting anthems before calming things down for the more bedroom-oriented jams from their latest album “Nine Types of Light.”</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="TV on the Radio. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" height="456" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-18/TV-on-the-Radio-9676.JPG" title="TV on the Radio. Photo by Robert Loerzel." width="500"></p><p>Tunde Adebimpe’s stunning vocals shone as brightly as the full moon throughout, but the middle of the set made you long to hug the one you love (sweat and all). Finally, the group closed things out in high-energy mode once more, including a well-chosen cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.”</p><p><strong>Rating for TV on the Radio: 9.3.</strong></p><p>Thus it ended, and overall it was a more confusing jumble of music great (OFF!, Superchunk, Deerhunter, tUnE-yArDs), horrible (Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance, Thurston Moore), and overwhelmingly bland, mediocre, or just O.K. than in any year past. As always, hundreds of the familiar faces that make the Chicago music community such a vital and vibrant place worked hard as volunteers or staffers to make the festival happen, peopled the booths representing their organizations or businesses on the midway, or just shared the grooves and said a friendly hello. But then the corporate sponsors with their beer-preference surveys and foul-smelling blasts of body spray were more obnoxious and ubiquitous than in any of the previous six years, too. And, of course, there was Odd Future.</p><p>Maybe the last word and final verdict should come down to the numbers, as it does with the Pitchfork Webzine. Over the last 72 hours, I saw 23 acts with a combined total rating of 147.2 averaging out to… 6.4. And make of that what you will.</p><p><strong><u>HERE IS MY COLLEAGUE ALTHEA LEGASPI ON THE SECOND-STAGE ACTS</u></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-17/p4k-day-3-darkstar-how-dress-well-twin-sister-89276">Dark Star, How to Dress Well, Twin Sister</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-17/p4k-day-3-shabazz-palaces-baths-kylesa-89281">Shabazz Palaces, Baths, Kylesa</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-17/p4k-day-3-toro-y-moi-and-health-89283">Toro y Moi and HEALTH</a></p></p> Mon, 18 Jul 2011 02:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-17/p4k-2011-day-3-recap-89279 P4k 2011 Day 2: Julianna Barwick, Woods and Cold Cave http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-16/p4k-2011-day-2-julianna-barwick-woods-and-cold-cave-89252 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-16/IMG_0668.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Photo by Andrew Gill." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-16/HeinAxe.JPG" style="width: 450px; height: 336px;" title="Photo by Robert Loerzel."></p><p>The second day of the seventh annual Pitchfork Music Festival began under gray skies in a thick, hot, and humid funk as publicists disseminated their emergency heat plan via email—“We have a CTA cooling bus station at the end of Flatstock [the poster exhibition] and another if needed on Ashland and Washington [and] we will give away one bottle of water to the first 6,000 people through the gate for both today and tomorrow”—though my favorite source for weather wisdom, <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/on-air/about-us/Ginger_Zee.html">Ginger Zee</a>, said this morning that Saturday is supposed to be positively pleasant compared to the final day of the fest tomorrow.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Julianna Barwick. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-16/IMG_0630.JPG" title="Julianna Barwick. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="750" width="500"></p><p>The music on the main stages kicked off at 1 p.m. with Brooklyn vocalist and loop mistress Julianna Barwick, who electronically layered multi-part harmony vocals to create a one-woman female choir not unlike an army of Enya’s, though without the annoying New Age wispiness.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Julianna Barwick. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-16/IMG_0668.JPG" title="Julianna Barwick. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="333" width="500"></p><p>Unfortunately, the first half of Barwick’s gorgeous and lulling set had to compete at near-equal volume with Chrissy Murderbot and MC Zulu over on the second stage; the volume there only subsided midway through, by which point the sun came out, the temperature started to soar, and now it was the weather ruining the intended bliss.</p><p>Nevertheless, Barwick’s recent album “The Magic Place” has shot to the top of my list for further listening.</p><p><strong>Rating for Julianna Barwick (when she could be heard without distractions): 7.1.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Woods. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-16/IMG_0993.JPG" title="Woods. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="333" width="500"></p><p>Next up, New York indie-rockers Woods veered between two poles throughout their set, one annoying and one sublime. In more conventional folk-rock mode, the group was sabotaged by band leader Jeremy Earl’s wispy, wimpy, and just plain weak vocals, to say nothing of the uninspired songwriting.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Woods. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-16/IMG_1226.JPG" title="Woods. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="750" width="500"></p><p>But for the other half of the set, when the band would lock into a trance-inducing groove (my colleague Greg Kot rightly invoked the mighty krautrock legends Can) and stretch out into noisy psychedelic jams that were everything that Animal Collective’s should have been last night but weren’t, the group was nothing short of brilliant. Which means I’m just gonna have to split the difference with my final grade.</p><p><strong>Rating for Woods: 5.5.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cold Cave. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-16/IMG_1663.JPG" title="Cold Cave. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="333" width="500"></p><p>Imagine a slightly sunnier, marginally less threatening Nick Cave fronting a groovy if unholy merger of the Bad Seeds and the Human League and you’re sort of closing in on what New York-based writer, musician, and <a href="http://www.theheartworm.com/news.php">publisher</a> Wesley Eisold is doing with Cold Cave, which recently released the impressive “Cherish the Light Years” on Matador Records.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cold Cave. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-16/IMG_1624.JPG" title="Cold Cave. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="333" width="500"></p><p>It’s always somewhat painful to see someone who so clearly thrives in the dark and would never be seen not wearing black struggling to create his vibe in the brutal summer sun, but Eisold did his best, and Cold Cave, like the good half of Woods, was a welcome surprise.</p><p><strong>Rating for Cold Cave: 7.3.</strong></p><p>As for the non-musical doings in Union Park today, I had my third (third!) encounter with a young woman hired by this year’s corporate beer vendor asking to survey me about my hops preferences and collect the data on her iPad (third time I’ve declined, too).</p><p>But, at the other end of the spectrum, the activists from Between Friends, Rape Victim Advocates, and several gay rights groups have been a much bigger presence today, handing out their hand fans and anti-violence literature as the crowds enter the front gate, as well as staffing their booth on the midway.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Photo by Andrew Gill." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-16/Hein Dome.JPG" style="width: 450px; height: 336px;" title="Photo by Robert Loerzel."></p></p> Sat, 16 Jul 2011 20:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-16/p4k-2011-day-2-julianna-barwick-woods-and-cold-cave-89252 P4k Day 1: Guided By Voices, Neko Case, and Animal Collective http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-15/p4k-day-1-guided-voices-neko-case-and-animal-collective-89240 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-15/IMG_9474.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Guided by Voices. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-15/GBV.JPG" title="Guided by Voices. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="333" width="500"></p><p>Though, from the start, you had to applaud all of the ingredients in Guided By Voices’ effervescent mix—from short, sharp, smart art-punk a la Wire to the best first-wave Britpop like the Creation and the Kinks—<a href="http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1997-06-05/music/recordings/">I never was a major fan of the group in its heyday</a>, mostly because it was too damn prolific. Yes, there might have been 10 exquisite gems on an album. But there were 30 songs, often on two albums a year, and the other 40 tunes, truth be told, kinda sucked.</p><p>Then, too, there was the uncertainty of the band’s live shows, which were famously dependent upon bandleader Robert Pollard’s, um, <em>state of mind</em> at the time.</p><p>The GBV that took the stage at Pitchfork, however, was the band at its very best—a reunion of most fans’ favorite lineup, with Pollard, guitarists Tobin Sprout and Charles Mitchell, bassist Greg Demos, and drummer Kevin Fennel, playing songs from “Bee Thousand,” “Alien Lanes,” and other favorites from 1992 to 1996.</p><p>Opening with a delightful guest turn by Neko Case on “Echos Myron,” through the end of a stellar set 45 minutes later, Pollard and his bandmates rode a rollicking sugar buzz—and thankfully that was the they only substance abused—delivering one insanely catchy mini-anthem after another in a blur of ringing chords, rousing choruses, and propulsive rhythms.</p><p>Yeah, it was an oldies show. But it was a pretty great one, and a nice lift after Thurston’s lull.</p><p><strong>Rating for GBV: 7.6.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Neko Case. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-15/Neko.JPG" title="Neko Case. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="750" width="500"></p><p>Next up, Neko calmed things down again during her headlining set, but in the gorgeous, heartfelt, and sultry way that is her specialty, and perfectly timed to the setting sun and the day’s first hint of a welcome breeze.</p><p>A few weeks ago, a Twitter sniper gave me crap for calling Neko “a chanteuse,” noting that critics can’t ever come up with another word for this massive talent and notorious wandering soul. I’ve always intended it as the highest compliment: For the word to fit, you <em>really</em> have to be able to sing. That incredible vocal instrument is what sets Neko apart, on top of her evermore impressive abilities as a songwriter, and it held the large crowd in the park spellbound in a way that nothing else during day one did, through a set of favorites and two new songs from an album we probably can expect next year.</p><p><strong>Rating for Neko Case: 7.8.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Animal Collective. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-16/IMG_0447.JPG" title="Animal Collective. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="333" width="500"></p><p>Finally, Animal Collective closed things out on the main stages. The set started strong, with the group delivering focused, concise, and entrancing versions of its trippy psychedelic pop songs.</p><p>Alas, midway through its performance, the band shifted into its dreadful imitations of the Grateful Dead’s “Drums and Space,” jamming out its electronic grooves with a bit of space-swirl vamp, and causing painful and unpleasant flashbacks to last year’s abysmal set by the absurdly overrated Panda Bear (Noah Lennox). And thus day one petered out in a most uninspiring way.</p><p><strong>Rating for Animal Collective: 2.4.</strong></p><p><u><strong>PITCHFORK 2011 IN THIS BLOG:</strong></u></p><p>July 15: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-15/p4k-day-1-gatekeeper-battles-and-curreny-89237">Gatekeeper, Battles and Curren$y, by Althea Legaspi</a></p><p>July 15: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-15/p4k-day-1-ema-tune-yards-and-thurston-moore-89234">EMA, tUnE-yArDs and Thurston Moore</a></p><p>July 15: <a href="blogs/jim-derogatis">Here we are now, entertain us.</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 16 Jul 2011 03:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-15/p4k-day-1-guided-voices-neko-case-and-animal-collective-89240 Battles axe man Dave Konopka provides a Pitchfork preview http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-15/battles-axe-man-dave-konopka-provides-pitchfork-preview-89197 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-15/Battles.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/" target="_blank">Pitchfork Music Festival</a> began Friday afternoon and as always, some of the bands performing carry a bit of local DNA. Take the group <a href="http://bttls.com/" target="_blank">Battles</a>: Two members – Dave Konopka and Ian Williams - used to live in Chicago, while members of the bands Lynx and Don Caballero. They formed Battles in New York and had big success with their debut release <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/10225-mirrored/" target="_blank"><em>Mirrored</em></a>.</p><p>Last year vocalist and cofounder Tyondai Braxton left the band in the middle of making its second album. But Williams, Konopka and third member John Stanier regrouped and released <em><a href="http://battles.sandbag.uk.com/Store/DII-529-5-mirrored+cd.html">Gloss Drop</a>.</em> Before the band headed to Pitchfork, <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy got the chance to speak with Konopka.</p></p> Fri, 15 Jul 2011 13:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-15/battles-axe-man-dave-konopka-provides-pitchfork-preview-89197