Fest shines a light on local African-American rock bands

Fest shines a light on local African-American rock bands

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Jerome Holloway (Photo by Tom Gallagher, courtesy of the artist)

Lead story: With cooler weather and the start of fall, Chicago’s outdoor festival season is drawing to a close. But to give up on outdoor music until 2013 would be to overlook the criminally under-reported Black Dot Music Festival. The fest, happening this Saturday night September 29 at Elastic Arts (2830 N. Milwaukee Avenue), aims to shine the spotlight on local African-American rock music and culture. Bands on the bill include outstanding singer-songwriter Jerome Holloway, the self-described “ballroom rockers” Blah Blah Blah, and folkster LeAnna Eden. It’s the first such festival here in Chicago, though similar such events, like the annual AfroPunk Fest and events thrown by the Black Rock Coalition, have dotted the New York music landscape.

Keidra Chaney, a local music blogger and black musician, said “the potential of this festival to connect such a diverse musical community is incredibly exciting. I hope it’s the first of many and that it gets enough traction that the larger music scene here actually takes note.” It’s a subset of the city’s local rock scene that’s often overlooked and deserves more attention. Hopefully the fest will be just the first of many such events.

Also: The members of Chicago’s Occupy Wall Street movement scored a legal win yesterday when a judge tossed out the arrests of 92 protesters from demonstrations a year ago. The arrests were made in Grant Park after the protesters refused to take down tents and leave the park after the city’s enforced curfew. But Associate Judge Thomas Donnelly ruled the arrests unconstitutional and cited other events, such as the 2008 Election Night rally for President Obama, as examples when the curfew was broken but no arrests were made. The arrests, which occurred over two weekends last October, totaled more than 300 but over 200 of those protesters took court-supervision offers as to keep any convictions off their records.

And then: There’s trash talking and then there’s just straight-up being horrible. A bench trial is underway in Joliet pitting that city against the Department of Justice; at stake is the rights to a Section 8 apartment complex that the City of Joliet wants to buy from its owners under eminent domain, and, according to the DOJ, bulldoze, unfairly displacing the residents. During proceedings yesterday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Elengold alleged that one Joliet councilman called residents of the complex “rats from the Robert Taylor homes” and that another city leader referred to residents as “whores” and “prostitutes.” The DOJ also points to $5 million in federally-funded improvements and a dramatic drop in crime at the complex as a result of those improvements as proof that the city’s desire to gain control of the complex is racially motivated.

RIP: Actor Herbert Lom, most noted for his role as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies, at the age of 95. Lom also had roles in films such as Spartacus, The Ladykillers (1955), and War and Peace (1956). Among dozens of other roles, he also wrote two novels of historical fiction.


  • The man behind the controversial film Innocence of Muslims has been ordered to jail by a judge for apparently violating his probation.
  • After a set of controversial pro-Israel ads ran in the New York City subway, the M.T.A. has announced changes to their rules about what ads are allowed.
  • So Todd Akin’s senatorial campaign is still a thing.
  • After the police chief in a small New Mexico town was forced to resign, the only certified member of the police force is a drug-sniffing dog.
  • The Hubble Telescope has now given us the deepest view of the universe ever recorded.

Looking Ahead:


  • Sox Watch: The Tigers won yet again over the Royals and the Pale Hose lost yet another crucial game, this time to Tampa, sending the Sox two games below Detroit as the collapse on the South Side continues.
  • One of the lone 2012 bright spots for the Cubs has been Darwin Barney’s defense at second base. Barney has now tied the record for consecutive games without an error.
  • As the NHL lockout continues, the league has now canceled the rest of the preseason games.
  • Pairings for the beginning of this weekend’s Ryder Cup were announced yesterday.
  • The NFL’s regular referees returned to the field last night and received what is probably one of the few standing ovations officials have ever received.


With the NFL refs back on the field, here’s a tribute to their leader, Ed Hochuli and his muscular arms. [via]