imaginary frend Thu, 18 Oct 2018 16:41:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lake Effect: Joffrey’s Beautiful “Swan Lake” Thu, 18 Oct 2018 16:41:29 +0000 The Joffrey Ballet_Photo by Cheryl Mann copy

Like most ballets, the story of “Swan Lake” is a heart-breaking one. Thankfully, in the hands of the consistently excellent Joffrey Ballet company, the waves of “Swan Lake” are navigated and danced with gorgeous emotion and mind-blowing skill, which takes the audience on a beautiful journey of levity and tragedy, light and dark.

The artistic direction and vision of choreography Christopher Wheeldon, as well as the rest of the Joffrey’s impressive directors and designers, make this 2018 performance transportive; at times, the audience is inside the grand, fluidity of the swan’s habitat—in other acts, it feels like we’re inside the Paris Red Light district of Toulouse Lautrec. But, the larger brush stroke for this performance’s vibe comes from the dreamy and moody imagery of Degas.

Valeria Chaykina_Nicole Ciapponi_Lucia Connolly_Chloe Sherman_Photo by Cheryl Mann copy

The Joffrey Ballet is amazing to watch. The level of which this company continues to perform is truly impressive. They have an ability to tackle both contemporary and classical ballet, and it’s always exciting to see these stories come to life in a Joffrey performance — the Joffrey’s performances are intimate and grand simultaneously.

Lucky for us opening night goers, we got to watch Victoria Jaiani in the principal role of “Odette/Odile”. Having seen (and been stunned) by Jaiani is last year’s “Giselle,” I knew we’d be in for some more magic. Jaiani is technically amazing (pretty sure I’ve never seen another human with that much ability to extend her body)—but she also dances with emotion and joy. It’s a true gift to watch her talents sparkle across the stage.

Dylan Gutierrez, as Prince Siegfried, was a great balance to Jaiani with his strong and emotional performance, as was the whole company, who all together created a beautiful new world out of this classic tale. A must-see.

Dylan Gutierrez_Victoria Jaiani_Photo by Cheryl Mann copy

“Swan Lake” runs until October 28th, at Auditorium Theatre. Tickets are available here.

All photos by: Cheryl Mann/ courtesy of the Joffrey Ballet.

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Behind the Scenes: The Joffrey Ballet’s Giselle Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:15:17 +0000 Giselle Victoria Jaiani Temur Suluashvili(2) Photo by Herbert Migdoll (002)

[Feeling meta as I type this…]

Tomorrow is the much-anticipated opening night of The Joffrey Ballet’s magical interpretation of the classic Lola de Ávila’s ballet “Giselle.” My parents named me after this ballet and I’ve seen it performed by the Bolshoi and ABT, both amazing.

9/29/17 12:42:23 PM  Joffrey Ballet  Giselle Rehearsal with Dylan Gutierrez and Christine Rocas © Todd Rosenberg

9/29/17 12:42:23 PM
Joffrey Ballet
Giselle Rehearsal with Dylan Gutierrez and Christine Rocas
© Todd Rosenberg

But being a Chicagoan, and a big Joffrey fan, I’m super excited to see what they do with mesmerizing, charming, and heart-breaking love story. See a behind-the-scenes preview of the lead dancers in rehearsal above— tender, passionate, intense.

Giselle copy

“Giselle” runs October 18-29th at Auditorium Theatre. Tickets and more information can be found here.

For extra fun, check out this beautiful video from our friend Glossed & Found, intro-ing the new Joffrey dancers:

“Giselle” show image by Herbert Migdoll/ Rehearsal image by Todd Rosenberg – courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet

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Day 2: Got me spinning Thu, 07 Sep 2017 19:33:06 +0000 Day 2: Let’s do this!

Crowd by Roger Ho

Crowd by Roger Ho

Above photo: Roger Ho/ Lollapalooza 2017

Day 2 served up good vibes only with acts like Crystal Castles, Little Dragon, and Majid Jordan stealing the show, and my heart.

The duo of Crystal Castles is always grimey, fierce and full of bass + mystery:

Crystal Castles photographed by Candice Lawler

Crystal Castles photographed by Candice Lawler

Swedish frontwoman, Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon is rhythmic and ethereal:

Little Dragon by Sydney Gawlik

Little Dragon by Sydney Gawlik

Smooth + sultry Drake collaborators Majid Jordan are ones-to-watch:

Majid Jordan by Greg Noire

Majid Jordan by Greg Noire

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Lollapalooza Day 1: Bad + Boujee Thu, 07 Sep 2017 19:05:49 +0000 c1yETuqQhoQSrnqvzECesNZzOIM74fyLQ8wN6STqqJA
Photo: Katrina Barber/ Lollapalooza 2017

Skin was in today at the Lollapalooza’s kick off, from the crowd above to artists Lil Uzi Vert taking it off, the scene was wild (and later wet, the main acts got cut short due to stormy weather.)

Favorite act of the day was the Migos. Their sound is so current, it’s like listening to 2017 as trap rap. Withstanding a couple of technical difficulties, the Mangos pulled off an exciting set that was raw and real.

Crowds + clouds gathering:

Handsome + Wealthy:

A-trak’s set was also hot, the mixing and the messages:

Lil Uzi Vert laid it bare before the storm:


Above photo: Greg Noire/Lollapalooza 2017

The crowd at Wiz:


Above photo:

Charles ReaganHackleman/Lollapalooza 2017

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Lollapalooza Preview : See you today at Grant Park! Thu, 03 Aug 2017 19:52:23 +0000 Lollapalooza2

The legendary Lollapalooza is popping off as I type this. I’ve been attending Lolla as a journalist for 10+ years, watching it grow from 1 day to 4, and I can tell you the best part of the festival (which is well-planned, well-organized, and well-executed) is still, The Music.

To follow are my must-sees over this 4-day throw down and yes, it might read like a WGCI playlist, but believe me, they are all gems.

Capital Cities 4pm
Liam Gallager 4:30pm
Migos (photo above) 5pm* Bad and Boujee, Handsome And Wealthy, Be there or be none of these things!
A-Trak 5:45pm
Wiz Khalifa 7pm
Lil Uzi Vert 9pm

Majid Jordan (above) 6:30pm* Drake collaborators keeping R&B fresh and smooth
Run the Jewels 6:45pm
Little Dragon 7:45pm
Crystal Castles 9pm

Warpaint (above) 2:15pm* Literally one of my favorite bands making music today. Worth the early entrance!
Jai Wolf 6:30pm
21 Savage 7:15pm
Chance The Rapper 8:30pm
The xx 8:45pm

Lil Yachty 6pm
Sampha 6:30pm
The Shins 6:30pm
Joey Bada$$ 7:45pm
Rae Sremmurd (above) 9pm* Want to see the tens of thousands of people do the Mannequin Challenge? Of course you do. Close the festival out with a lifetime memory.

Call in dead to work.

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Here Comes Lollapalooza 2017! Tue, 04 Jul 2017 00:40:15 +0000 Day2-1024x692

And the lineup is sooooo good. Lollapalooza is better than ever and back at it with one extra day again to soak up all those Lolla vibes. Not for the faint festival goers at heart, but don’t sleep and catch FOMO. We’re currently charging up to full battery for August 3rd lift off and hope to see you there!


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Lollapalooza 2016 launches a 4-Day Fiesta-val Tue, 04 Jul 2017 00:20:36 +0000 Marketing-Beauty by Maclay Heriot_17317
Photo by Maclay Heriot/Lollapalooza 2016

Lollapalooza went ALL IN this year, launching a 4-Day festival in celebration of its 25th anniversary and giving music fans one-day extra to get, well, hella extra. It was worth the stamina to see downtown Chicago come alive to the sounds of 2016 and commune with fellow festival ‘heads.

To follow is a round-up in photos, videos, and awesome Lolla memories…













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Lollapalooza 2015 : Day 1 : The Weeknd Sat, 01 Aug 2015 18:57:11 +0000

Guess you can be late to the party if you’re the one actually bringing it. And while the majority of the crowd swam downstream for Sir Paul McCartney’s classics, a mostly-under-30 crowd packed together to modern dance to Toronto’s very own Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, who showed up over 15 minutes to bust out with “High For This” as he grooved around the stage in some Yeezy Boosts.

Unlike the confusion he spread in 2012 when he addressed the Lollapalooza as “Coachella” (eek!), the next hour had The Weeknd firmly planted and present in Chicago (which he called out over and over again) while spanning his dance-inducing/urban-feeling/sexy-raunchy set of songs like “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls,” “Often,” “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face,””Earned It,” and “Love Me Harder” …more like a party than a concert.

Tesfaye also tempted the crowd with his awesome features on Drake’s “Crew Love” and the Ty Dolla $ign’s “Or Nah”. Telling the crowd he never does encores, The Weeknd ended his Lollapalooza with a sing-along of “Wicked Games” owning the main stage with his original mix of soul, street, and style.

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Not going to Drake? Not to worry, Stefan Poncé’s got what you need Mon, 25 May 2015 22:35:44 +0000

“Stefan Poncé has given Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa and Childish Gambino their biggest hits,” says THE FADER. The Grammys agreed in 2015, granting Poncé, only 24 years old, double-nominations for the Warner Chappell signee’s production skills.

Poncé most recently lent his magic touch to producing the new, cinematic, larger-than-life Kanye West / Vic Mensa track “U Mad,” (listen here) which West and Mensa debuted this spring at a surprise show in London, breaking the Internet with its sonic fury.

Now, the native Chicagoan is stepping out from behind the boards and into the spotlight with his debut solo show “Stefan Poncé & Friends Live” happening Friday, May 29th at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago.

Poncé, known for drawing talent and tastemakers like Vashtie, Hannibal Buress and Chance the Rapper to his popular residency at East Room, will be turning up the volume at the Bottom Lounge, and, for the first time, giving a chance for the 17+ crowd to participate in the action.

“I love the New York party scene and I love how very popular DJs have their own parties and I wanted to bring that atmosphere to Chicago,” says Poncé. “I feel like I cater to kids who are nerds deep inside and don’t want to admit to it.”

Catch Poncé before at this intimate venue before the secret’s out.

w/ OG Webbie, Monte Booker & Elias Abid
May 29th Doors at 7pm/Show 8pm : 17+ / $10

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New Works Joffrey Ballet Fri, 01 May 2015 19:53:36 +0000

In Creases, The Joffrey Ballet. Photo by: Cheryl Mann

This weekend, the legendary Joffrey wraps up a melody of modern ballet performances known collectively as “New Works,” a title befitting and as understated, earnest and open-ended as the dancing itself.

The major standout is In Creases, choreographed by much-buzzed-about 27-year-old New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck. With music composed by Philip Glass, In Creases (pictured above) uses fluid and sharp geometric lines and patterns to play out a dance puzzle that is truly transcendent, fresh and unpredictable.

Some may know Peck as the dancer who’s collaborated masterfully with Sufjan Stevens (see our writeup on that here) on two pieces, Year Of the Rabbit and Everywhere We Go.

Other performances in “New Works” are Liturgy by Christopher Wheeldon, Evenfall by Nicolas Blanc, and the finale Incantations by Val Caniparoli (pictured below), which ends in a graceful, powerful, twisting duet of dance and desire.

Incantations, The Joffrey Ballet. Photo by: Cheryl Mann

You can purchase tickets to see “New Works” here.

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