All posts tagged: Chicago DJs

The Art of DJing: Ariel Zetina

DJing is a curious art form and rarely discussed as one. It is rarely discussed at all, except by other DJs in industry publications; what is there to say that can’t be expressed more vigorously on the dancefloor? If you’re talking, you’re not dancing, and you’re probably standing in the way of people trying to dance. Is it art? It’s entertainment, it’s a trade, it’s a party. I hear André Leon Talley in the documentary “Catwalk” wrinkling his nose at a parallel question about that other commercial art form: “No, no, no. Is fashion art? No! Fashion is hard work, gritty; it’s not glamorous”—the question is an embarrassment to both art and fashion (or DJing). To consider the question at all means that the answer is at least “sometimes.” DJing is work in the realm of aesthetic experience; it is a discipline with a touch of wonder and mystery and creative talent. DJs hear what others don’t, they surprise us with a blend, they tell a story, they improvise, they observe the energy of a …

Free Write Arts & Literacy, and the Work of Justice Within (and Without) the Walls of Juvenile Justice

Author’s Note: This article makes brief mention of Roger Bonair-Agard, a nationally recognized poet and a former program director and teaching artist at Free Write Arts & Literacy. Since 2013, several people involved in poetry organizations that employed Bonair-Agard have come forward to say that Bonair-Agard manipulated his position of power, sexually assaulted, or raped them. In October 2020, Bonair-Agard was fired from Free Write due to, in Free Write’s words, being a “known abuser” and for publishing a poem in 2014 that details a rape he committed. I did not interact with Bonair-Agard during my writing residency with Free Write, and he is not the focus of the writing below. But with such a long history of institutional silence and whisper networks, I believe it important that this reality not be suppressed. I owe immense gratitude to Fatimah Asghar, Itunu Ebijimi, and Plus Sign for publicly addressing Bonair-Agard’s sexual violence and the failings of institutions that employed him, and I am including this note in solidarity with them and with survivors of sexual violence. …