Immigration | Interviews | La Vida de La Villita | Little Village

Jimena Martinez

A health advocate talks about growing up in Little Village and her memories of crossing the border as a child

Natalie Gonzalez

Jimena migrated to the United States with her parents and two siblings when she was five years old. For a long time, she tried to suppress her memory of crossing the border. It wasn’t until she was a lot older that she was able say that it wasn’t a dream.

Interviews | Music | Radio

Melkbelly: Living the Yard Sale

The Pilsen-based band on the success of their 2017 release Nothing Valley, touring with The Breeders, and the origins of the name Melkbelly.

Daniel Topete

Melkbelly—comprised of Miranda Winters (guitar and vocals), Bart Winters (also guitar, and Miranda’s husband), Liam Winters (a bassist and Bart’s brother), and James Wetzel (drums)—recently sat down with SSW Radio in its cozy practice space in East Garfield Park. Amongst Christmas lights, a number of effects pedals, and jamming from adjacent practice rooms, Melkbelly’s members shared their feelings about their recent tours—headlining in Europe and supporting bigger names like Protomartyr and The Breeders—and provided a new meaning to the term yard sale. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Interviews | Music | Radio

Singing Since She Can Remember

Jazz singer Tracye Eileen on her unusual career path

Senhyo

Tracye Eileen is living her dream. At eight years old, too shy to act in the school play, her teacher asked her to perform one of the play’s songs. From there, she caught the singing bug. Fast forward to today: Tracye has a label, Honey Crystal Records, and a residency at Buddy Guy’s Legends in the Loop, where she performs monthly jazz and blues sets. And last Sunday, she celebrated the release of her newest album, WHY DID I SAY YES. The Weekly sat down with Tracye Eileen to talk about her new music and career. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Interviews | Music | Radio

Know Me More

For artist-abolitionist Ric Wilson, Black art need not be bad or sad

Olivia Obineme

Before you heard Ric Wilson, you might have retweeted him. Last year, the twenty-two-year-old rapper, artist, and prison abolitionist posted a mash-up of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and Migos’s “Bad and Boujee,” set to footage from an old Soul Train performance. The result broke 2.8 million views on Twitter.

Arts Issue 2018 | Interviews | Stage & Screen | Woodlawn

Looking In From the Outside

Diana Quiñones Rivera on encounters and filmmaking in Woodlawn and beyond

Part of a mural in Woodlawn by Bryant Jones, whom Diana Quiñones Rivera interviews in "D on the South Side"

Diana Quiñones Rivera is a filmmaker from Puerto Rico who moved to Chicago in November 2015. While she was a 2016 fellow in Kartemquin Films’ Diverse Voices in Docs program, she lived in Woodlawn for a year before moving to Avondale. Her new short film “D on the South Side,” which was screened in January and February as part of Collaboraction Theatre’s winter festival, deals with her time living in Woodlawn. “It was tough living in Woodlawn,” Rivera said. “I guess I didn’t expect it to be as segregated. I knew it was segregated but I didn’t think it was going to be a place where I would feel uncomfortable, and it [was].” Invited to make the film by the organizers of long-running weekly performance series Salonathon, Rivera’s experience with Woodlawn’s racial dynamics were a good fit with the Collaboration festival, which was titled “Encounter.” Its focus was on “racism and racial healing in Chicago.”

Arts Issue 2018 | Interviews | Music

State of Nature

Mother Nature is raising “the collective conscience of damn-near the world through hip-hop”

Kiran Misra

As the old cliché goes, artists must “find their voices.” The rap duo Mother Nature, on the other hand, already know what they want to say. The two will waste no time telling you what they stand for: they’re a “badass group of MCs, coming to conquer the world through Black girl genius.”

Arts Issue 2018 | Interviews | Visual Arts

A Little Unity

A Washington Heights artist uses her studio to imagine the community area’s future and past

Diana Delgado Pineda

In the past few years, H.L. Anderson has exhibited work at several galleries throughout the South Side and beyond, from the Bridgeport Art Center to Rootwork in Pilsen to the Chicago Cultural Center. But, her latest endeavor is closer to home—her own H.L. Anderson Arts & Culture Studio in her home base, Washington Heights. She opened the studio in September 2017 with the exhibition “An Angel Called Junebug,” and with the studio, she’s also started conversations about what an arts community in Washington Heights can look like. One of those conversations has resulted in vision boards that she’s set up around the studio.

Arts Issue 2018 | Interviews | Little Village | Politics | Visual Arts

Painting Politics

Alexander Tadlock uses art to encourage Mexican immigrants living in Chicago to vote in Mexico’s general election

Diana Delgado Pineda

Alexander Tadlock, an artist born in California and raised in Tijuana,  Mexico, was commissioned by the Mexican National Electoral Institute (INE) to paint a mural in Little Village. Located on 26th Street and Troy Street near the iconic Little Village Arch, Tadlock’s mural serves to persuade Mexican immigrants living in Chicago that if they register as voters in Mexico, their votes will be crucial in Mexico’s general elections that begin this July.