Monday, September 28, 2015

DARE TO IMAGINE- Emissaries from the Future

"Art is Business", Alpha Bruton
Hello!  I just signed up to take part in this amazing and creative action called #DareToImagine that the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (not an official government agency) is organizing this October and I would like you to join me! Are you ready to spark some radical imagination as an Emissary from the Future?

And here is an Email you can send to your friends, or just copy and paste the email below.

Copy and paste this email to friends to spread the word:
Subject: Join me and #DareToImagine

Visit to sign up and receive a free toolkit full of creative activities and tips, access to online training and 1-1 assistance, and the opportunity to put your Imagination Station (and all that it yields) on the map, connecting local visions to a national dialogue. You can sign up to host an Imagination Station as an individual or as a group/organization.

From October 10-18, 2015, Emissaries from the Future will create Imagination Stations nationwide—popping up in parks, classrooms, galleries, conferences, farmer's markets and beyond for this large-scale act of collective imagination. Using creative tactics, Emissaries will engage people in envisioning the world they hope to inhabit and—looking back from the future—celebrating the work they did to get there. The resulting texts, images, videos, and more will be uploaded to an online platform, yielding a crowd-sourced vision of the future, inspiring art, policy, and community action.

If you've been wanting to get more involved with creatively shaping our future, now's a perfect opportunity. If you’re eager to spark change or you work with an organization seeking to engage the public in exciting new ways, sign up as an Emissary from the Future today! When we have the audacity to dream in public, when we begin to unleash imagination and turn it into action, we can move the world.

Indeed, the future belongs to those who #DareToImagine.

Head to to join me!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Art is Business" Reposted for Laura Weathered,  Executive Director NNWAC


On behalf of The Community Builders, we would like to introduce you to 613 and 637 at Cornerstone! Cornerstone is a collection of apartments in Bronzeville’s North Washington Park neighborhood which includes 14 new apartments designed to support working artist households. At 613 and 637, our mission is to provide high quality housing that supports the needs of artists and their families, as well as the surrounding community’s continuing commitment to the arts by attracting individuals from diverse artistic and cultural backgrounds.

Cornerstone Apartments offers a high quality amenity package including a minimum of 10' ceilings, large windows, utility sinks, and flexible open space, as well as in-unit washers and dryers, luxury vinyl plank floors, and back porches, as well as, common space available exclusively to residents. This includes an 18’ x 30’ performing arts and flex practice space with 13’ ceilings, wood sprung floors, natural light, a sound isolation room for small groups or individuals, and a small communal meeting space with free Wi-Fi. Cornerstone Apartments is intentionally affordable and will remain that way for the long term, as will its leasing preferences for working artists.

As an artist stakeholder in the Bronzeville community, we encourage you to disseminate this information to individuals, families, and organizations who would be interested in this new development. Check out our flyer below and CLICK HERE to be directed to our website!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Independent Lens | Brothers Hypnotic | The Principle of Simplicity | PBS

"Art is Business" by Lavon N. Pettis

To continue to move the 10 bands members around the world, plus 1 project manager, 1 intern, & produce our independent showcases we are asking you to support our endeavors by purchasing a ticket to this showcase even if you are unable to make it!  YOUR SUPPORT IS CRITICAL for us to CONTINUE:

I am writing to ask for your support for a show I am co-producing with the band Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.   On Monday, September 28th the band will make a stop in Evanston, Illinois the heels of their world tour and being named Ambassadors of Jazz by the US Embassy to Mexico!
 Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne's comments on Hypnotic Brass's Diplomatic Mission/ Concert in Mexico

Musically and Artistically yours,
Lavon N. Pettis
Project Manager
Southside Music Series featuring Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Clip of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble PBS Independent Lens documentary:

Jazz / Film / Music / Post No Bills The progeny of Phil Cohran mesmerize in Brothers Hypnotic

Posted By on 04.04.14 at 02:00 PM

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble performing at the Shrine
  • Reuben Atlas
  • Hypnotic Brass Ensemble performing at the Shrine
On Monday night at 10 PM, WTTW will screen Reuben Atlas's Brothers Hypnotic, a lively, music-soaked documentary about the Chicago-bred Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The group, which moved to New York in 2006, consists of eight sons fathered by trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and visionary Phil Cohran—an early member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, a cofounder of the AACM, and the man behind the Affro-Arts Theater. The music his Artistic Heritage Ensemble created in the late 60s exerted a huge influence on Chicago musicians, including the Pharaohs, Kahil El'Zabar, and Earth, Wind & Fire's Maurice White. In 2003 I profiled the ensemble, whose members learned to play brass instruments during rigorous group lessons conducted by their father every morning before they headed to school. There's some incredible footage of his sons performing with him when they were part of the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble.
Some of the Cohran sons eventually turned their back on his teachings and started making hip-hop, but eventually their training pulled them all back together, and they developed a rich sound borrowing from New Orleans funeral music, funk, jazz, and hip-hop. There's not much of a story line in Brothers Hypnotic, but it does nicely draw out the philosophical conflicts between Cohran and his sons, who struggle throughout to define their music and to reconcile their interests with the lessons and aesthetics imparted by their fiercely independent, highly principled dad. Atlas shot the movie over a number of years, capturing an offer from Atlantic Records to sign the band and moving through a decision to work with the British independent Honest Jons.

The documentary follows the group on a couple of European tours, and films them playing both on the streets of New York and back at Cohran's Rogers Park garden apartment. There are interviews with Cohran and their mothers, Aquilla Sadallah and Maia Hubert. There is also live footage of the group performing with Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) and Prince, and there's a stark contrast between those euphoric moments, stoked by the charge of playing for huge audiences, and the group exercise of playing serene long tones that occurs at the start of the documentary (which you can check out below). At the conclusion of the film it remains unclear which way the group will go.

Last year Hypnotic Brass Ensemble released Fly: The Customs Prelude (Pheelco), where its music seems to remain in something of a holding pattern, stuck between commercial funk and more experimental directions. In the middle of the documentary there's a telling remark from Cohran as he warns his sons about the fickleness of the music industry: "The mistake that everybody makes is that they think they're gonna be hot forever. It ain't going to happen like that. The main thing is that you're doing well now, you're going before the world. Everybody has that period, that cycle where you expand. A few people stay out there a long time, but most people only go out there for about three years and then they implode." He laughs, but his sons don't look very amused. He tells them it's important to have a strong home base and says Chicago is perfect for that, but they've already decided that New York is the place for them.

Still, the final part of the film features footage shot at the recording session for the 2012 record Cohran and his sons made together—arguably the finest work yet from the Hypnotics—where they both do their best to bridge the generational and stylistic gaps that exist. The version of the documentary screening next week as part of the PBS series Independent Lens is 53 minutes long, about a half hour shorter than the theatrical version of the film that's been showing at film festivals over the last year, and while the arc of the narrative and its techniques are pretty conventional, the charisma of the subjects, especially Cohran, is compelling enough to eclipse that lack of verve.