Page 1

HALFSTACK agents of change[ FALL ISSUE 2016


MUSIC MUSTS The Dead Head Journey

IN EVERY ISSUE Editors Letter 4

Meet the Team 6


The Ultimate Lolla Afterparty 61

10 Fall Concerts



10 Fall Albums 66

Leche Libre on the Rise


Dance Style


North Coast Music Fest

Off the Street Club

A Look at Pitchfork


112 119

Fall Looks for Less



Meet Marina Alyse

Meet Dean

Youtube Makeovers

Meet Frank Waln


Beercade HQ




140 146

Sara Bareil es on Broadway 96

Meghan Trainor in Chicago 102

Finances for a Rockstar 108

The Culture Spotlight 110



Style with Emily 148

WTF?! Star Style 150

Plus Size Style 154



FEATURES Skonie Island 156

Spreading Havoc 162

Wil Love Spark Change? 168

Behind the Lens 194

A Letter to My Daughter 206

Grooming Guide 212

Beauty Central 214

Lumination Salon 216

ART & CULTURE Dzine Rolon 220

Halfstack Bookshelf 226

EDITORS LAST LOOK N’Spired Thoughts 228


Hello Readers –

Welcome to the Fall 2016 issue of Halfstack Magazine. Thank you for reading and thank you for joining us on this journey! This issue is an amazing collaboration of so many creative minds. We took a different approach this fall and focused on the question of, “will love bring change?” For the last year I have been working hard to push Halfstack to grow and develop beyond just a magazine with pretty pictures and interesting features. I have worked tirelessly with the team to create beauty with substance. I don’t want to be scared or afraid


of talking about the hard things. We have written about poverty, the refugee crisis, the dark side of addiction and loss.

I don’t want to shy away from the realities we face, but I also want us to find beauty in the hardships and see a new perspective of the world around us. Ultimately, though, I want us to think about how we can move forward to create change. This issue is truly an inspiration that is needed during a time of flux in our nation. I am writing this letter on the tail of 9/11 and only a couple of months out before our next presidential election in November.

During the time that this issue was under construction, Chicago was facing one of its deadliest summers ever. We bore witness to atrocities all over the world. From the attacks in Istanbul, Bangladesh and Orlando to the continuing issues in Kabul, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Turkey. We are witnessing unrest amongst our very own Nation. Political and social movements are pushing for change. Just this past week, Native American tribes showcased the most diverse tribal action in the last 100 years as they worked to block and delay an oil pipeline they are protesting in North Dakota.


We watch the news and see political debates happening on social media as campaign season continues to forge forward and I wonder, is this the world I want my children to grow up in? The reality is that I have no choice, but I do have the ability to decide to teach my children differently. I have the ability to instill in my daughters tolerance,


kindness and appreciation for diversity and different cultures. We

see unrest between peace officers, civil servants and

a moving speech. His words were a simple, buts striking thought

communities nationwide. I see the pain and hurt on

to live by. “We know that our diversity, our patchwork heritage,

both sides of the line. I feel it closer to home as my

is not a weakness. It is still and always will be one of our greatest

younger brother is on the front line in a police force.

strengths. This is the America that was attacked that September

I worry for his safety constantly as he goes out daily

morning. This is the America we must remain true to.” We are a

to protect strangers and ensure his community is safe

country that has marked tragedies in our past, but we also have an

even if he is not safe doing so. Yet, I understand the

opportunity to move and grow from those hardships. During a time

unrest that is evident throughout some of the most

when our country is facing turmoil, we must do what we always do

underserved communities. It is evident that we are

best. We must learn from our past and evolve to do better.

continuing to face systemic oppression. The beauty is that in America I have the opportunity to disagree re-

This issue we share stories of inspiration and interviews with

spectfully with the decisions of our government. I can

change makers all mixed in with an abundance of music-focused

speak my mind because of the rights I have. I under-

features. Yet, the undertone remains true to our initial question,

stand the privileges I have as an American and I don’t

“will love bring change?” I had the wonderful opportunity to

take those for granted – even if I am still at a slight

interview Frank Waln, an award winning Sicangu Lakota Hip Hop

disadvantage in my rights as a woman. I can honor

artist, producer, and performer from the Rosebud Reservation in

the men and women who fight in our armed forces,

South Dakota. Nicole interviewed Chicago based artist on the rise:

but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with what they

Skonie. Teresa has a recap of the hottest Lolla after party and Jen

are being sent to fight for. Despite the difficulties I see

shares her Deadhead experience at Alpine Valley. Pearl has a round

America facing right now, I still see the beauty of what

up of galleries showcasing North Coast Music Fest and Pitchfork

our Nation can be. I believe that my generation has an

Music Fest. Our cover story features stories of individuals who

opportunity to create immense change. The question

have been touched, affected and moved by the times in which we

is how do we get through that? How do we change?

are living and how they are overcoming and attempting to be the

How can we empower one another to overcome? As

change they want to see in the world. We shot on location in River

a minority I am all too aware of the issues that I face in

North. Laura also had the opportunity to interview Chicago based

this world, but I know I have the power to change my

photographer: Danny Cantu for her latest installment of Behind the

destiny. I have the ability to make and create change

Lens. You’ll also find your fill of fashion, beauty and fun throughout

within myself first and then inspire others. I know we

this issue.

can do better. I hope this issue inspires, motivates and moves you. Margaret We see politicians pitting the haves and the have-nots

Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,

against one another. They use scare tactics to push

committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only

people apart and to play the blame game. Let’s not

thing that ever has.”

play into their games. Let’s continue to love because UNITED we stand, DIVIDED we fall. When President Obama joined the nation during a 9/11 remembrance this past weekend from the Pentagon – he shared





jennifer lezan creative director @halfstackmag

LAURA LOPEZ lead photographer


melinda myers

staff photographer @ melindajanemyersphoto

perry fish

staff photographer @alluringchicago

SHIRIN KORIL lead photographer @pickaposephotograpy

pearl shin staff photographer @bigdipper4


meet the

teresa cutrera fashion editor

team 6

& blogger

yaritza ramocki set stylist

carolyn portner west coast correspondant

jennie velasco set stylist/editor

thom olson blogger & online digital editor



Creative & Graphics Designer


Creative & Graphics Designer



Creative & Graphics Designer

Creative & Graphics Designer


Creative & Graphics Designer



Creative & Graphics Intern

STELLA QUIMBY Sr. Fashion Editor


DENISE GUEVARA Staff Blogger/Youtuber


OLIVIA LEMLEY Staff Writer/Blogger


TRACI CICARELLI Staff Blogger/Youtuber




Digital Blogger

Digital Blogger

Staff Writer/Blogger

Catie Coscino Staff Writer/Blogger

JENNIFER OQUENDO Staff Writer/Blogger


Andre Thompson Staff Blogger

KARLI BUTLER Staff Writer/Blogger

JENNIFER GORDON Staff Writer/Blogger

Louis Vasseur Staff Blogger

DWIGHT BEJEC Social Media Director

MICHELLE LANDRIAULT Staff Blogger/Youtuber

DREW POWERS Staff Blogger


EMILY EHARDT Staff Blogger

OLGA IVANIDI Staff Blogger/Youtuber

















Advanced Mineral Makeup C A M E R A - R E A D Y


Created by Annie Mayo TV and Film Makeup Artist


8 0 0 . 4 3 9 . 9 9 3 6

W W W . A D V A N C E D M I N E R A L M A K E U P. C O M






Harn to cre


Visit www.imth Purchase Jen’s

Life is a canvas … Paint your masterpiece!™ Jen Gordon is a life coach that can help you get a clear vision and repaint your life to be more desirable and satisfying. It is never too early or too late to become the conscious creator of your life. Are you ready, to? • Recreate your world to live more fully

• Let go of negative thoughts and experiences • Ignite your passion and hearts desire • Get healthy inside and out Jen begins right where you are to help you make the life changes that you so desire, don’t wait another minute to get your life moving in the right direction.

ness your personal power eate.


ut r o b a ut creato o d n Fi cious AT ns E o R c T e E th R N A II A W AY A W H A T GE ROW!! G AND for more information; sign up for a free discovery session! s book at 19

























for bookings visit us online:











accessories 32

handcrafted leather LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

True Partners In Craft recycled bicycle jewelry & accessories


A Decade of Elegance









Creating a Safe Haven for Kids in Chicago

Interview & Written By: Jennifer Oquendo Images by: Pearl Shin



has recently been spiraling out of control with the constant violence in the neighborhoods. Every day there is something horrific that occurs in our backyard and unfortunately a lot of it involves Chicago’s youth. It’s no longer safe for children to play outside or in their yards. It’s sad to know that kids can’t be kids anymore. With all the negative news we hear on a daily basis about our city, many organizations have been stepping up to the plate to help out and make a difference. Some organizations have been involved with the community for many years, but now are being looked at as safe zones because our neighborhoods have become war zones. One organization that is known as a safe haven for many young kids the Off The Street Club. The Club serves kids from ages 4 to 18 and helps them with their education as well as gives them a place where they can be free to be kids. Off The Street Club is Chicago’s oldest boys and girls club. They currently serve more than 3,000 kids in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country, West Garfield Park. Halfstack had the opportunity to get in contact with the Executive Director, Ralph Campagna for more information on Off The Street Club. Keep reading for the full interview.


Halfstack Magazine:

Can you give some history about the Off The Street Club and the vision behind the organization?

Ralph Campagna:

Since Off The Street Club opened its doors in 1900, countless at-risk youth have found a haven from the streets

and the poverty and violence that have claimed too many boys and girls. For all these years, the Club has welcomed young people of every race, creed, and color. Growing steadily through the decades, the Club completed a one million dollar-plus renovation of its facilities in 1991. In June of 2000 to celebrate its century of service, the Club cut the ribbon on a superb new Activity Center. The Club owns a 30-acre residential camp in Wheaton, Illinois that features all-weather buildings. Today, at its expanded inner-city Clubhouse and year-round camping facilities, Off The Street Club serves several thousand children a year and hundreds of boys and girls each day who benefit from the social, recreational and educational programs that provide a bridge from a disadvantaged beginning to good citizenship and the opportunity for a positive future. Off The Street Club does not seek nor accept city, state or federal funding.

Halfstack Magazine:

What caused Off The Street Club to be created?

Ralph Campagna:

Off The Street Club’s founder, John McMurry, had intended to make a brief stop in Chicago on his way from Pennsylvania farmlands in 1900; however, when he encountered the poverty-plagued lives of the children of Chicago’s early west side, his journey went no further. With all the money to his name, $8, he rented a small storefront on Congress Boulevard, giving birth to Chicago’s first boys and girls club. McMurry’s struggle to obtain support for his fledgling organization was finally rewarded when the recently-formed Advertising Club of Chicago in 1901 adopted McMurry’s organization as its official charity. And the Chicago advertising community’s support of OTSC continues to this day.

Halfstack Magazine:

What are some things kids do at Off The Street Club?

Ralph Campagna:

At our inner-city Clubhouse in the West Garfield Park area of Chicago’s west side, a youngster finds a world of play and learning to grow on: Arts & Crafts, Woodshop, our huge Gymnasium, Dance, Drama, Chorus, Tutoring, a Library, a complete Games Room, stateof-the-art Computer Lab, a wonderful Girls’ Center and a Roller Skating Arena. The Club also offers a popular Soap Box Derby Program, Music Lessons, great holiday parties and a Teen Leadership Training Club.


Halfstack Magazine:

How do you think Off the Street Club has changed kid’s lives?

Ralph Campagna:

Off The Street Club was founded on a simple premise: Give these kids a place where, for at least a few hours, they can escape the turmoil of the streets and just be kids. If the Club itself is a shelter from the hard side of life, then the Club’s programs provide a doorway through which these kids can begin to reach out for a better tomorrow. Countless young lives have been uplifted and set on a path to good citizenship through the values and discipline instilled through Off The Street Club and its programs.

Halfstack Magazine:

What makes Off The Street Club different from other boys and girls club?

Ralph Campagna:

Over the decades, this inspirational story of Chicago’s oldest Club for boys and girls has been miraculous. For more than a century, Off The Street Club has been an indelible part of the lives of thousands of boys and girls who have found those essential ingredients of the critical years of childhood: help for today and hope for tomorrow. That help and hope have always been served with strong doses of love, discipline and everyday joy. Character building has always been and will remain the essential ingredient of every program of Off The Street Club. As Off The Street Club marks 116 years of service to Chicago’s children, it stands as a beacon for youth, with the centurylong panorama of uplifted children of every race, creed and color illuminating its inspiring past. Today’s Off The Street Club remains a retreat and a reward for all the youngsters who bravely and unequivocally say no to the gangs, drugs and violence that permeate their troubled West Garfield neighborhood. Off The Street Club will not concede, not even one child to gangs! We have engaged in the battle for the hearts and minds of the children of today and tomorrow. We are armed with old values for a new millennium and with a time-tested, unyielding belief that every boy and girl is of inestimable value.


Halfstack Magazine:

Can you explain what is required to be the boy and girl of the year?

Ralph Campagna:

This is Off The Street Club’s highest honor for any member to achieve at the Club. All kids, big and small, have

the opportunity to become Boy and/or Girl of the Year. As a candidate for the honor, a Club Member must display a good and positive attitude; be willing to volunteer at the Club without being asked; participate in multiple programs at the Club throughout the year; display good conduct at Off The Street Club and at school; demonstrate leadership skills; and be a caring young person, overall. In November, all of the members and the staff vote for Boy and Girl of the Year. The winners have always been popular, well-rounded and positive representatives of Off The Street Club throughout their one-year reign as Boy or Girl of the Year. Off The Street Club’s 2016 Boy and Girl of the year are Javontae Essie and Dakyla Thomas. They are bright, kind and loving youngsters. Off The Street has played a big role in both of their lives. For instance, Dakyla Thomas explains that Off The Street Club is the best place for a girl to grow up on Chicago’s troubled west side. She finds hope, childhood joy and safety inside its doors. Javontae Essie is a very articulate and impressive young man. He credits the Club with providing him with the skills and confidence to be a young leader even at age twelve. He is an outstanding example of so many deserving children truly worthy of our support at Off The Street Club.

Halfstack Magazine:

Any exciting things coming up that you would like Halfstack readers to know about?

Ralph Campagna:

As the summer winds down, Off The Street Club is already looking forward to its Fall Third Thursday Volunteer and Mentoring Programs. These programs engage the Club’s dedicated volunteers in a myriad of activities that directly impact the lives of so many youngsters on Chicago’s west side. For more information, please email Off The Street Club at On September 12, 2016, Off The Street Club will hold its Sixteenth Annual Swing For the Kids Women’s Golf Classic at Twin Orchards Country Club in Long Grove, Illinois. This event supports Girls’ programming at Off The Street Club. For information call Mid-America Sports at (847-7249901). On December 1, 2016, Off The Street Club will hold its 116th Annual Holiday Luncheon. This is the Club’s largest and most critical fundraiser of the year. It is always a moving and inspirational afternoon. For more information, contact Mary Day at Energy BBDO 312-595-2608. Off The Street Club would like to thank all of the Halfstack readers for their interest in Chicago’s oldest Club for boys and girls, serving at-risk kids since 1900. Off The Street Club is a place Where Hope Has A Home!




I am there to help them feel like they’ are not alone. Marina Alyse is an upcoming performer on the rise out of Illinois, who is eager to shed some light on personal strife. “I just want to write songs people are able to connect and relate to. In many situations you can feel like this is only happening to you, you’re the only one. But that’s not true.” Her ambitious attempts to gain recognition began with a YouTube channel where she covered popular music. She attended college studying Music Business and has since been maintaining a career in music. Her training is not that much different from others whom have created names for themselves. She says, “I have been singing basically since I could talk.” From her origins in musical theatre, she has been given opportunities to perform with bands and leading worship in her local church.


Her sweet character and ability to create an empathic performance is evident in her videos as well as her versatility. “I have been trained in all different styles of music, but I would

say my sound is more pop.” From here, her time has been committed to building this career and connecting with a particular audience, “I want to write songs where people going through similar situations I’ve been through can say ‘hey, I’ve been there,’ or ‘I am there’ and help them feel like they’re not alone.” Whether these kinds of situations are heartache or loss, we won’t know until Marina Alyse surprises us with her debut single “Could Have Been” to be released later this month. She has been working with 4 time Emmy nominated producer, Roger Adler; whom she credits greatly to challenging her talent and helping her “take her songs to the next level.” An EP has also been promised without a release date, but it seems that her focus remains unfazed. “My biggest sacrifice has been my time. There’s always something that I need to do, so I’ve had a huge decrease in the amount of time I get,” she continues, “It has taken a lot of


time, effort, and emotional energy to create my single and upcoming EP. My family and friends have also been very supportive during this whole process. I can’t thank them enough for their love and support.” At 24 years old she will join a legendary list of musicians who achieved success in their 20’s. From Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, James Taylor and Aretha Franklin just to name a few. We often hear of pop artists emerging into stardom as wee teenagers, and who’ve barely tasted real life. Yet ‘love and support’ are indeed what molds artists in to successful human in beings. And as the old saying of “it takes a village” can certainly be relatable for any emerging artist stomping through trenches of teen voices to stand above the rest in album production. Marina continues to pursue the dream with a large vision and with great support.


For more information on Marina Alyse and her upcoming single, EP, and for bookings; listen, follow and like her through her social media channels! Twitter: @MarinaAlyse Instagram: @MarinaAlyse Facebook: Website: YouTube:


A Re-Education with Frank Waln


Exploring The Native American Journey through History & Music As a Latina of or both both Puerto Puerto Rican Rican and and Mexican Mexican dedescent, I’ve always been exposed to a different scent, I’ve always been exposed to a different kind of kind of American history than what was taught in American history than what was taught in my Chicamy Chicago and suburban public schools. I grew go and suburban public schools. I grew up learning up learning about my and Puerto Rican about my Mexican andMexican Puerto Rican ancestry from ancestry from my family. Within that personal hismy family. Within that personal history, I learned tory, I the learned about realities and of colonialism and about realities of the colonialism about the indigabout the indigenous cultures that were so often enous cultures that were so often overlooked in the overlookedI had in the I had to read in school. textbooks to textbooks read in school. The first time I was exposed to the term indigenous was when my abuelita shared a story about the Taíno Indians – a people she said were ancestors to our family. The Taíno were an Arawak people who were indigenous of the Caribbean and Florida. At the time of European contact in the late 15th century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. The stories my abuela shared with me weren’t the positive themes shared in my classes about Columbus or the other Spaniard explorers who arrived in the Bahamas and North America. Rather, they were dark and exposed the realities of the fate of our people, the culture and were reflective of the realities that other indigenous cultures faced throughout North America. Despite the negative connotations associated with these themes, there was one thing that my family instilled in me – we were not victims. Although we did, in fact, face hardships, the beauty about the life my family pursued in America was one that allowed me opportunity. Even if those opportunities were difficult to pursue, I still had them within reach. I battled with these opposing ideas often in my youth. On one hand, I was so proud of my background and it angered me that so many didn’t know or understand the full story of our history. Yet, at the same time I also understood the opportunities my family pursued in America. I could appreciate the freedoms we had in the States that weren’t available to women in other parts of the world. I even honored the idea that we have the ability to share our thoughts, have different religions and oppose our government in a respectful and lawful manner. Pursuing opportunities was never easy, but the ability was there for me. Growing up on the West Side of Chicago exposed my younger brother and

Written By: Jennifer M. Lezan-Veguilla

Photography by: Melinda Meyers

me to violence, gangs and drugs at a young age. Money was always hard to come by with a young single mom and living in section 8 didn’t afford us the luxuries that other kids had. Yet, there was this inner drive that helped us see beyond the hardships, beyond our history of baggage and keep going. We weren’t victims of our circumstance and the most amazing thing we could do was learn from that dark history and change it. Many textbooks will say that the Taíno are extinct, but to my abuela the blood of the Taíno runs strong throughout many of the people who descend from the Caribbean including our family. Although, our women were raped and our men enslaved and many of our people were killed by disease and genocide, she always believed in her heart that the blood of the Taíno continued to live on and that we could change our futures. Due to this she shared many of the myths, spirituality and traditions with our family so that the stories could live on. Never shying away from the fact that the so-called settlers didn’t truly settle a land that was already inhabited by people with a rich culture. In Middle School I can recall my first encounter with a teacher who for the first time, shared a history that I was familiar with. I remember it as if it was yesterday; he called me out during a lecture on Native Americans, Columbus and the New World. He asked me if as a Puerto Rican girl, I was excited for an upcoming “Columbus Day” off from school. I’ll never forget that feeling in the pit of my stomach. The excitement and fear I felt to share some knowledge that I believed people had a right to know. Once again, battling with conflicting emotions - proud to be an American, but also understanding the realities of history and the need to be informed. I looked at my teacher and I explained, while it was great to get a day off of school – there’s more to the story. His smirk and energy amplified the room as he began to share the real story about Christopher Columbus in 1492, the story of the Taínos and many other indigenous cultures throughout America. I could see my classmates look at him with confused looks on their faces, I could sense the concern and for the first time an individual inspired me. I had my first encounter with an educator, who wasn’t just teaching, but also inspiring his stu-


dents through activism and challenging the status quo. Much of the American history we are taught in school leaves out emphasis, viewpoints and experiences of Native Americans, African Americans, and other marginalized groups. The textbooks I learned from didn’t truly expose the plight of the Native Americans who were forced off their lands and pushed further and further west with so many unfulfilled promises by the European “settlers” who took control of America. The reality is that so many people within the indigenous communities all over North and Central America including places such as Mexico and the Caribbean are still facing harsh difficulties. Columbus in his quest for riches and power decimated the Native Arawaks and later on the United States Federal Government would essentially do the same to the Native Americans all over the USA. With an attitude that Native Americans were subhuman, the federal government, Army, and many white settlers forced Native Americans off their lands. They pushed them away from ancient hunting grounds and onto reservations and even massacred countless men, women and children. The U.S. Civil Rights Commission in a report titled “A Quiet Crisis” states: In exchange for land and in compensation for forced removal from their original homelands, the government promised through laws, treaties, and pledges to support and protect Native Americans. However, funding for programs associated with those promises has fallen short, and Native peoples continue to suffer the consequences of a discriminatory history. Native Americans still suffer higher rates of poverty, poor educational achievement, substandard housing, and higher rates of disease and illness. Native Americans continue to rank at or near the bottom of nearly every social, health, and economic indicator. Native Americans living on tribal lands do not have access to the same services and programs available to other Americans, even though the government has a binding trust obligation to provide them. It is obviously apparent that we are a country that has marked tragedies in our past, but we don’t have to allow those bad decisions and hardships to define who we want to be as a country. Rather, we can be honest about our bloody history and learn from those mistakes. We can use these moments as lessons to move and grow from. During a time when our country is facing turmoil, we must learn from our past. Yet, we


must do so as a community united and start from the inside out. The issues that so many marginalized communities face are systemic oppression that we need to work together to overcome. There is a pattern that is evident in the plights of not only the Native Americans, but also so many other minorities throughout the United States. Yet, in spite of the hardships, there are many individuals who are working through love and because they care about the future generations to push forward a movement of change. Whether they are working as community activists or through their respective industries – they are taking a stand and making a difference. One inspiring individual, Frank Walk, an award winning Sicangu Lakota Hip Hop artist, producer, and performer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota – is using his talent to inspire, educate and empower future generations. Frank graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Audio Arts and Acoustics and although he considers Chicago his second home, he travels the world spreading hope and inspiration through his workshops and music. When he initially moved to Chicago he started his workshops in the inner city schools of Chicago and he witnessed the parallels between his journey and the journeys of many of the youth he connected with. His work is a culmination of his music and outreach that creates a powerful message. He is a role model for youth struggling to find a place, but he hopes to be a role model for Native youth in particular due to the knowing what they go through and hoping to make an impact. He recently released the album, Tokiya, an exploration of how he’s trying to heal from the historical trauma he was dealt through story telling. I was moved by Franks work as I connected with his need to work through his trauma. I often battled internal conflicts about my identity as both an American and a Latina and the history that came with that. I wanted to learn more about Frank, his journey and his outreach work. He took some time to shoot with staff Photographer: Melinda Myers for this story and answered some questions for me. Keep reading for the full interview. 1. Frank, can you share a bit about yourself, your background/career and what led you to pursuing a career in music? FRANK: I am a Sicangu Lakota Hip Hop artist/


producer from the Rosebud Reservation in SD. I’ve been making music my whole life. I started playing piano when I was 7, started writing poetry at 12, started playing drums at 15 and started writing, producing and recording music when I was 15. Fortunately, now I get to help create change and make a living doing what I love. I make music because it’s like breathing to me. If I don’t work on music weekly, my life feels like something is missing. I was born to make music and I’ll be making music until the day I die. Music is my passion. 2. You are not just a musician, but you are a social activist – can you share a bit about how you are trying to inspire and guide the youth you work with? FRANK: I don’t consider myself an activist at all. That’s a term I get labeled with because I care about people, I care about the earth and I want my community to be healthy. What a lot of people fail to realize is that I care about people, the environment, my community, etc… because I am Lakota and those are values that our people have held for thousands of years. Indigenous people cared about the earth, each other and health long before America or the term activist. If wanting health, happiness and respect for the people you love and the earth you live on makes one an activist, what are we saying about the society we live in? I am simply trying to live my life as a Sicangu Lakota artist. Speaking to, performing for and doing workshops with Native youth are a big part of my career and vision as an artist. I want to use my gifts, platform and voice to help my family, my community, and all Indigenous people live happy, healthy lives that will be valued and respected. I’m going to always use my gifts and success to inspire other Native kids to follow their hearts and find healing. It’s how I was raised. Halfstack Magazine: Where do you draw your inspiration for the music you create – how do you go about exploring the themes your share in your lyrics? FRANK:I draw inspiration from my life experiences, love I experience and my environment. I’ve always used music as a healing tool to help me cope with whatever I was going through, whether good, bad or ugly. My environment also influences my sound. I’m from a reservation on the plains so I rap, produce and mix like I’m from a reserva-


tion on the plains. Because I’m Lakota, my music also has influences from my culture. Sometimes it comes out in sounds, rhythms, lyrics, song structure or themes. For example, storytelling is a big element of Lakota culture. We have some of the best storytellers in the world. Of course I aim to tell a story in every song I write but that storytelling element will even go down to the beat. I produce and arrange most of my beats to tell a story too. I like a lot of transitions and dynamics in my music. It reflects life more accurately that way and helps me paint a more dynamic picture. I’ve been doing that a lot on my new album Tokiya; each song feels like a movie. Halfstack Magazine: Why don’t people know about or hear of more Native American rappers and musicians? How are you hoping to change that? FRANK: People don’t know or hear about Native artists of any genre because Native Americans have been systemically and intentionally erased from the conscience of American people by a government and system that is built on the genocide of the Natives it erases. The United States of America is a settler colony that we all now live in and it’s easier to maintain the lie that America is this free place that was earned through hard work than it is to face the consequences of settler colonialism. Colonization has been hidden in the plain sight of the American people since this country began so it’s hard for many people to understand how Indigenous people are erased. I just hope people realize that Natives are alive, intelligent, creative and diverse. There are over 500 unique nations in the US alone. There are tons of talented, professional Indigenous artists in this country telling our stories. We’re not one culture, one language or one type of people; I think our artists reflect that beautifully. Halfstack Magazine: You truly embody the ideals of an innovator – your message of empowerment and political activism is a bit contradictory to a lot of the music that is popular today – It almost feels reminiscent of the NWA and Nas style lyrical works of the past – how do you hope to bring this style to the mainstream today? What are your thoughts of mainstream music today and how it potentially influences the people that listen to it? FRANK: I listen to any and all types of music. I don’t discredit an artist’s music because they’re

not talking about social injustices. With that being said, I think putting profit over art has led the music industry to this cookie cutter, non-innovative formula of music making that results in mainstream music sounding very one dimensional. I don’t listen to the radio or mainstream music a lot. I use the internet to find new music. However, I still listen to some mainsteam music. It just depends on my mood. Music is like food to me. What I choose will depend on the season, mood I’m in and weather. Sometimes I just want to listen to some hard ass, ignorant shit because there’s something I can relate to in that song that day. I don’t judge what artists choose to talk about but I gravitate towards art I can relate to or art that makes me feel something. My message is that of a young Sicangu Lakota man from a rez who hopes to find healing and love. I have definitely been getting some mainstream looks over the last few years. It would be dope if my music reaches a wider mainstream audience as long as my creativity and message are intact. If people aren’t ready for all that yet, that’s cool too. I’ll still find a way to do what I love. I don’t need the mainstream to survive or succeed as an Indigenous artist. As long as Indigenous communities support my art, I’ll be able to last.

Halfstack Magazine: As a Native American Halfstack As a Native – – many ofMagazine: your ancestors wereAmerican victims of many of your wereAmericans victims of genogenocide andancestors many Native still cide and many Native Americans faceidea harsh face harsh difficulties every daystill – the of difficulties every – therings idea of outinofso sight out out of sight out day of mind true many of mind rings true are in soyou many instances how are instances – how utilizing your– pasyou utilizing your passions and talent shed light sions and talent to shed light on thetoissues on the issues facing Native the modern Native Amerifacing the modern Americans today cansto today toyou alsomove help you movefrom forward and alsoand help forward the from the darkDo past? youparallels draw parallels to is dark past? you Do draw to what what is happening throughout America it happening throughout America whenwhen it comes comes to movements like Black Matter to movements like Black LivesLives Matter and and the the current racial divide seemtotosee seethroughthroughcurrent racial divide wewe seem out this out thiscountry? country? Editors Note – Frank’s concern with how this question was framed brought up an interesting linguistic conversation. The below was his frame of thought – I did end up responding to let him know I was asking from a generational perspective. In particular, looking at and exploring issues that a Native American may face today versus in the past – not just from a youth experience. For example – I consider myself a modern Latina – while many of my values come from my cultural roots – my experiences and values as a feminist and working mother are quite different than those of my abuelita. I decided to leave his comments in as I felt that they opened up the conversation on how people may view Native American culture.


“ 52

I think anyone can create change or plant a seed that will spark change.

FRANK: * The term “modern Native Americans” seems a bit off to me. It frames us within the colonial framework that Natives and our cultures are relics of the past. It would be like me asking how your writing sheds light on issues modern whites face. It just seems like a strange adjective to use there is all. “..issues facing young Native Americans today…” may be more fitting? All Indigenous people on this continent, including the ones in the US, are victims of genocide and ongoing settler colonialism. Because of this, we have deep wounds and colonial traumas that influence our daily lives. I am no exception to this. Because of historical trauma and personal traumas (cause by that historical trauma) inflicted on me by people I love, I’ve been struggling with depression most of my life. I’ve been talking about this depression, these traumas and my wounds a lot in the new music I’m making for my album Tokiya. I hope to show other Indigenous kids that it’s ok to feel everything we feel as a result of being survivors of genocide living in a country build on the genocide of our people. I want to also show those kids that it’s ok to talk about it and heal, in whatever ways they see fit for themselves. I write songs about my life, love, wounds, and pain. These songs have helped other people understand themselves and their struggles better. That’s healing for everyone involved. I fully support Black Lives Matter and any Black or brown people who are fighting for justice and the right to live in this country. The United States of America is built on stolen land and slave money. The lie is that it is anything but that. Even though there are differences in our struggles and communities, Black folks and Indigenous folks have been exploited, murdered and oppressed by the same system. Our histories and therefore liberation are inextricably tried to each other in this country. This is why I support movements like Black Lives Matter. I also support Black Lives Matter because there are many people who are both Black and Native, including people in my own family. No one will be free unless we’re all free. I believe the more Native folks and Black folks unify and dialogue about our complex histories and fights for justice, the stronger we will be against this system that wants our communities dead. Halfstack Magazine: Our underlying theme for this issue is asking the question, “Will love bring change?” – what are your thoughts on this subject and how do you think we can spark change beginning in our communities to better the world for our future generations? FRANK: I do believe love will help bring about change. Can love alone bring about change? Probably not but I do know that if you aren’t operating from a place of

love, you will misstep in your pursuit of change. Sometimes the love we need isn’t always easy, pretty or painless but love is a key element of real change. Love drives everything I do. Love is the reason my people survived and continue to survive genocide. Love is the reason I’m alive I think anyone can create change or plant a seed that will spark change. In order for real change to happen, systems will need to be challenged and people in positions of privilege and power will need to be made uncomfortable in order to challenge the system that they benefit from. Settler colonialism hurts everyone involved and we all need to heal to create change. I always try to work on myself and my wounds twice as much as I speak about creating change. I can’t create change without working on my own personal wounds first. Halfstack Magazine: Have you faced any obstacles on your journey and throughout your career and if so what and how did you overcome? FRANK: Frank: I’ve faced many obstacles along my path and

most, if not all of them, stem from growing up in a country that is built on the erasure and genocide of my people. Imagine growing up in a single parent household in one of the poorest, most rural places in the US and trying to make music and be heard in a country that has systemically erased and silenced your people since it came into existence. This is a little perspective on how far I’ve come in my career as an artist. I’ve also personally struggled with depression, anxiety, hella insecurities and lack of self-esteem throughout my life. It’s like colonial emotional baggage. I see it in a lot of people who come from communities that were impacted by colonization. Halfstack Magazine: Are there any musicians, mentors or people that truly impacted your life and if so how?

FRANK: Frank: Oh yes. Too many to name to be honest. I

wouldn’t be where I am without mentors and elders. A Black woman named Claudette Roper taught a class at Columbia College Chicago called Culture, Race and Media that changed my life forever. Over the course of our friendship, she also showed me that my voice and story matter, which really helped with the insecurities and self-esteem issues I face. She’ll always be one of my favorite people. An older Native musician named Keith Secola took me under his wing when I was in college and he taught me a lot about songwriting and performing. The late, great Native poet John Trudell made an impact on my life and art that will last forever. My grandmother is a brilliant artist in my eyes. Her art is cooking. I look at the way she handles the art of cooking and apply some of that to what I do. She puts a lot of love into her cooking. It’s inspiring. My mother


is my greatest mentor and teacher. I am the person/artist I am because of incredible mentors and elders. I can go on for days about all the people who have helped me along the way. Halfstack Magazine: What kind of advice would you give a young person who might be facing difficulties, following a dream or looking for a purpose in their life when it comes to pursuing their goals?

In order for real change to happen, systems will need to be challenged and people in positions of privilege and power will need to be made uncomfortable in order to challenge the system that they benefit from.

FRANK: Follow your heart. Listen to your heart. No one knows what your calling or passion is but you and it’s ok if you haven’t figured all that out yet. Just keep being honest with yourself and follow your heart and your path will find you. Practice and hard work are also integral to success in any field. I didn’t get where I am overnight or by slacking off. I work on music every single day. I work on my craft and try to get better every single day. There were several years where I was investing my own time, energy and money into my music before I saw any sort of national attention or success. Understand these things take a lot of hard work and patience sometimes. Halfstack Magazine: How has staying in Chicago affected your career and what do think of the growing creative and music community in the Midwest? FRANK: I consider Chicago my second home. I’ve lived here for about 5 years now and have grown a lot in this city, both artistically and personally. Staying in Chicago has definitely made my career as a traveling artist possible because the reservation I come from is 3 hours away from an airport and it’s small airport that costs a lot of money to fly into. I fly multiple times every month so it’s easier being close to an airport. I think the Midwest has some of the most talented and unique artists in the country. Geographically, we’re in the middle of the country so we’ve always gotten influences from the east coast, west coast and south to varying degrees and flavors. This makes for some very interesting and creative music coming out of the Midwest no matter which genre you’re listening to. I love it. I’m glad the internet has given us a powerful tool to get our music out to the world on our own terms. Halfstack Magazine: Finally, where can we learn more about you, your activism and your music? FRANK: I’m pretty active on social media. It’s allowed me to garner a pretty good following without needing to sign to a label or compromise my message. I can be found on twitter (@FrankWaln), Instagram (@frankwaln) or on my FB artist page (Frank Waln). My music is on iTunes, Spotify and most online music stores. I have music video on youtube. My website,, has links to everything.



The Dead & Company inspires new paths to creativity. 56

By: Jennifer Gordon

The legacy comes to life with renewed energy and spirit! As we drove up the dirt road leading to the hilly areas of the Alpine Valley Music Theater, there was excitement in the air. The cars filed in one-by-one with anticipating fans ready to revisit or for the first time experience the legacy of the Grateful Dead. There were young and old alike and you couldn’t help but feel as if you were about to become a part of history. What would the newly formed band of the existing Grateful Dead members and the new front man John Mayer have in store for us? The anticipation in the air was thick. Would they capture and compel the hearts of the many hopeful Dead Heads that span the generations? They were members of a community driven by a passion for creativity and soul, and by music that was meant to transcend the boundaries of traditional cultural norms. The Grateful Dead was much more than a band that toured the country drawing in hippies and druggies that found solace in their music. They were actually at the forefront of legendary bands that were creating a family.

It went well beyond the music, they built an actual creative community with its own values and economy. Would these lost community members come back home after losing Jerry Garcia (their original lead singer, songwriter, and figure head), regain and experience the creative movement that they longed for? I would have to say, the answer was a resounding, YES! The Dead and Company led by singer and songwriter John Mayer and veteran, original band member Bob Weir totally killed it. Everyone in the audience was experiencing the high vibrational classics that have become anthems in many Grateful Dead inspired homes. The Grateful Dead and now Dead & Company were the pioneers of building an artistic community led by a peer-to-peer distribution of bootleg tapes. They filmed every show and encouraged the taping and distribution of their music amongst fans. Thus, creating a generous spirit among the community members who were completely immersed



in the inventiveness and spirit of the sounds. Because of this type of “free music sharing”, their music has lived on and was shared generously through the homes of Grateful Dead fans to their children, who now refer to a particular song by the bootleg. The show set, the city, the year and where the band was in terms of sound. Their songs are cherished by fans like anthems to the generations. The Dead did not rely on huge record companies or record sales, they focused relentlessly on touring, which eventually created the community and economy that surrounded the band. Because the Dead embraced creative risk, they experimented with elements of blues, jazz, country, funk and disco, and the music never got old or stale. The Dead and Company show at Alpine Valley this summer was a testament to a band that created and experimented with music relentlessly. And as quoted by Grateful Dead expert, Scott McDowell, “They were constantly seeking new paths.” We can learn from this relentless pursuit of new paths in our current creative work, by not censoring or hiding from ourselves. And by boldly taking risks and trying new approaches in our business or work. If you haven’t listened to the new Dead and Company or the Grateful Dead - Take the time to get your hands on some of their bootlegs and you will undoubtedly find new inspiration. When it comes to generosity and the arts, I believe they work hand in hand. We as a younger generation need to focus our creative endeavors on change and pushing the envelope of cultural norms like the Dead did. Grass roots sharing and community building can benefit our culture and live at the forefront of how and what we choose to create.



Come on the journey to find the new faces of the Chicago Fashion Industry...the “next� fashion designers, stylists, make-up artists, and much more will be featured along with events, and even the new fashions on the streets!! In Estrella Modas, we keep an eye out for the stars of fashion of tomorrow! READ THE LATEST > 60


is the Lolla ‘After party’ WRITTEN BY: Teresa Cutrera

Over 300,000 people descended upon Grant Park this year to celebrate Lollapalooza’s 25th anniversary. Like years past, there were surprises and special moments that festivalgoers will not soon forget. However, the most special moment of the 4-day packed festival was Thursday night’s performance by Chicago’s own trap/EDM duo of Josh Young and Curt Cameruci, better known as Flosstradamus. The epic performance had the audience entranced and it got even crazier when they introduced fellow Chicagoan Chance the rapper, Chicago Bull Dwayne Wade and former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams. It was the highlight of the night without a doubt. With this standout performance in the books, was it possible they could top the energy of their Lolla set the following night? I found out first hand when Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom hosted a welcome home to their homebred duo, Flosstradamus. Unless you’ve been to one of their shows, you can never really understand the level of energy that reverberates through their crowds when these guys perform. The mash up of EDM and Trap is a sound solely unique to the duo. A sound that started in Chicago’s underground party scene, Flosstradamus has become one of the most influential duos for the evolution of trap mu-

sic and EDM to date; Hence their cult like following of HDYGRLZ and HDYBYZ. You’ll notice them right away in a crowd, head to toe black and white with their famous signature caution symbol on grand display. Their fans are amazing and they came out in full force this night to celebrate a homecoming for the ages; all of this for two guys who came straight out of Chicago. The Aragon Ballroom completely sold out the house for their official Lolla After party featuring the hometown boys of Flosstradamus. The show opened up to a pumped up crowd with insane DJ sets by Party Favor and Valentino Khan. Yet, as the night fell, all the anticipation built up to an apex of performance by Flosstradamus. The crowd was packed with the HDYNATION, as their loyal followers call themselves, black and white caution slogans and flags filled every inch of the famous Aragon Ballroom. There was an aura in the air that this show was special for everyone lucky enough to score a ticket. Including this lucky writer. They were every bit the Chicago legend’s everyone recognizes them as. Their set was filled with familiar music from the crowd favorite “Moshpit” to their bass hitting “Soundclash”. However, it was mixed up with mash up’s of old school music like Ghosttown


DJ’s “My Boo”, hip-hop mash ups of Rick Ross and Rihanna tracks and even a memorable ode to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”. This is perhaps one of the most special parts of Floss; the ability to mix so many different genres of music from Trap, EDM, Drill and Hip-Hop to effortlessly fit their style. There was even a Macarena mash-up…yes, you read that right, and their crowd was eating it up.


The epic set ended with the cheers of a huge crowd chanting “One more song, One more song”. This show was hands down the most high-energy and memorable show I have been to in a long while. But of course that’s just the norm for this duo. A duo that clearly has a deep respect for the heavy roots in the city they call home



UPCOMING CONCERTS by: pearl shin

Riot Fest – Douglas Park – Sept. 16-18 What better way to start off the fall concert series than with one of Chicago’s last music festivals of the year – Riot Fest! Check out Chicago’s three-day music fest from September 16 through 18 at Douglas Park. This year’s lineup includes Morrissey, Death Cab For Cutie, Jimmy Eat World, The Flaming Lips, Pierce The Veil, The Original Misfits, Sleater-Kinney, and more!

Wild Child – Lincoln Hall – Sept. 17 After having performed at Lollapalooza this past July, Wild Child is coming back for their headlining show at one of my favorite venues – Lincoln Hall. Make sure to check out the band Wild Child when they drop by Chicago again on September 17. The band Susto will support wild Child.

Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day – U.S. Cellular Field – Sept. 24 Chicago’s local musical treasure, Chance the Rapper, will be hosting and performing at the one-day music extravaganza Magnificent Coloring Day at the U.S. Cellular Field on September 24. The Magnificent Coloring Day lineup includes many notable acts, such as Skrillex, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, and more. Check out the all-star lineup set to perform next weekend!

Sigur Rós– Chicago Theatre – Sept. 30 If you want to check out a concert where you can sit back and enjoy a calmer, ambient environment, then you’ll definitely want to give Sigur Rós a chance. The Icelandic band Sigur Rós will be performing at the Chicago Theatre as a part of their autumn North American tour. Join them on September 30 right here in Chicago!


EDEN – Lincoln Hall – Oct. 1 Looking for something a little different from rock and hip-hop? Then you might want to check out EDEN. Formerly known as The Eden Project, EDEN is a 19 year-old Irish singer-songwriter and electronic music producer who will be performing in Chicago as a part of his FUTUREBOUND tour. Be sure to see him perform at Lincoln Hall on October 1!

UPCOMING CONCERTS by: pearl shin

Eliot Sumner – Lincoln Hall – Oct. 5 Despite being the daughter of the famous singer and musician Sting, Eliot Sumner has been able to pave her own path in the music industry. Having released her second album Information earlier this year, she will be coming to Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on to perform on October 5. If you’re a fan of dark, indie synth-pop, check out Eliot Sumner in October!

Sia + Miguel + AlunaGeorge – United Center – Oct. 16 The talented vocalist and overall queen of pop, Sia, will be performing at United Center on October 16! Best known for her creativity and theatricality, she is sure to put on a one-of-a-kind show filled with raw emotion and artistry. In addition to Sia, concert musical guests include: Miguel and AlunaGeorge. This is a show that you do not want to miss!

Sunflower Bean – Lincoln Hall – Oct. 21 The psychedelic rock trio from Brooklyn, New York consisting of model and front woman Julia Cumming, Jacob Faber, and Nick Kivlen returns to Chicago following their performance at Lollapalooza this past summer. Check out Sunflower Bean when they perform at Lincoln Hall on October 21.

Oh Wonder – Metro – Oct. 27 Amongst the other amazing acts that are returning to Chicago following their visit during Lollapalooza this fall, Oh Wonder – a duo consisting of musicians Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West – will also return to Chicago for their own headlining show this October. Be sure to purchase your tickets to see Oh Wonder perform at the Metro on October 27.

The Pretty Reckless – House of Blues – Nov. 11 It’s been quite a while since the band stopped by the Windy City, but The Pretty Reckless is coming back to rock the stage at the House of Blues Chicago this fall. The band, which is fronted by former actress Taylor Momsen, is renowned for their authentic rock sound and powerful stage presence. Join The Pretty Reckless when they play at the House of Blues November 11 and see what they’re all about.


UPCOMING ALBUMS by: pearl shin

Dreamers – This Album Does Not Exist – Aug. 26 Between recording their music and nonstop touring, it’s been an exhausting year for the band Dreamers, but the alternative rock trio is finally out with their debut album titled This Album Does Not Exist. After a summer full of performing shows at both smaller venues and music festivals, the band gets to finally share their first studio album, which features their hits “DRUGS”, “Sweet Disaster”, and “Wolves”, with the world. Check out This Album Does Not Exist today!

Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being – Aug. 26 The English indie quartet Glass Animals is back with their sophomore album, which follows their widely successful debut Zaba. In How To Be A Human Being, the band explores sounds much different from the psychedelic style that they first introduced in Zaba. In it, the band shows their growth as musicians and ability to explore and bend genres. Check out the album that is out now.

Ingrid Michaelson – It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense – Aug. 26 Ingrid Michaelson returns with her newest album, It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense that was released last month. The singer-songwriter, who is known for her light-hearted, but emotional tunes, continues her soulful style of pop songs and indie ballads in her latest album with songs like “Light Me Up” and “Another Life”. As we transition into colder months, we can leave it to her album It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense to keep our hearts warm.

Grouplove – Big Mess – Sept. 9 If there’s one group that isn’t ready for summer to end, it’s Grouplove. The band grasps onto the last remnants of summer in their album “Big Mess” which is jam-packed with energetic and anthem-like songs which makes you feel nostalgic for the summer season. Their album features powerful indie-pop tracks like their singles “Welcome To Your Life” and “Do You Love Someone”. Check out the rest of their album 66 when you’re feeling the summer blues – it’s out now.

Wilco – Schmilco – Sept. 9 Whenever I think of local bands or the Chicago music, Wilco is always one of the first bands to come to mind. And this is no surprise, considering that the band has been around for over two decades and made their mark on the Chicago music scene. It’s been a little over a year since the band released their album Star Wars, but Jeff Tweedy and co. are making a comeback with their tenth studio album titled “Schmilco”. Check out Wilco’s Schmilco, which is available now!

UPCOMING ALBUMS by: pearl shin

Bon Iver – 22, A Million – Sept. 30 In 2012, Justin Vernon, lead singer and songwriter of Bon Iver, announced his indefinite leave of the project in 2012. However, after a good four years the band is finally back together to release their third studio album. This upcoming album is the first album that the band is releasing since the 2011 hit Bon Iver, Bon Iver. 22, A Million shows the band experimenting with more electronic sounds, contrary to their heavily folk tunes from their previous albums. The band’s album will be released later this month.

Norah Jones – Day Breaks – Oct. 7 The singer-songwriter is coming out with her sixth studio album titled “Day Breaks” following her 2013 album, Foreverly. The album will feature many jazz and pop influenced, soul-soothing tracks, including the single “Carry On” which was released earlier this month. Norah Jones’ album Day Breaks is due to be released next month on October 7, so be sure to keep an eye out for it!

Two Door Cinema Club – Gameshow – Oct. 14 If you need some fun indie jams to get you through the fall, then Two Door Cinema Club is the band for you. The Irish indie rock band is back with their third album titled: Gameshow which features their singles “Are We Ready (Wreck)” and “Bad Decisions” – both songs that are reminiscent of poppy game show and video game tunes. Check out their album Gameshow when it releases on October 14.

Empire of the Sun – Two Vines – Oct. 28 Tove Lo – Lady Wood – Oct. 28 Though the singer’s been getting a lot of attention for her features on songs with notable artists such as Nick Jonas and for her co-songwriting work with singers Hilary Duff and Ellie Goulding, Tove Lo brings the focus back to herself for her second album Lady Wood. Following her 2014 debut album Queen Of The Clouds which featured her hit “Habits (Stay High)”, Tove Lo is returning with her second album which she states is “darker and dreamier” than the first. Look out for Lady Wood on October 28.

The eclectic duo Empire of the Sun, which is a collaborative project between Luke Steele of The Sleepy Jackson and Nick Littlemore of the Australian electronic music-dance duo Pnau, will be making a comeback with their third album next month! Their album Two Vines will be released on October 28 and will feature their singles “High And Low” and the title track “Two Vines”. Check out the album on October 28.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY: PEARL SHIN North Coast Music Festival is a collaboration of independent promoters in Chicago. The event is a culmination of React Presents, Silver Wrapper, Cold Grums Productions and Metronome Chicago. With a collective 50 years producing events, the team has presented everything from small shows to selling out large scale concerts. With the North Coast Music Festival, they’ve come together to celebrate the merging of all music and walks of life that enjoy it as much as they do. This weekend festival hit Chicago’s Union Park early September. It was an energetic and eclectic event filled with amazing music and great people. Halfstacker, Pearl Shin had the opportunity to explore the event, catch some of the hottest acts in town and bring you the following photo gallery that is sure to leave a lasting impression. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a millions words.”











PHOTOGRAPHY BY: PEARL SHIN Celebrating 11 years in 2016, the internationally recognized Pitchfork Music Festival presents over 40 bands throughout the course of three days each summer in Chicago’s Union Park. The festival highlights the best in new and emerging music. Since 2006, this independently run festival has consistently proven to be one of the most welcoming, reasonably priced, and rewarding weekends of music around. Hosting attendees of all ages from across the U.S. and 26 countries, the festival offers a wide array of activities beyond the music. With 50 individual vendors, as well as specialty fairs, the fest supports local businesses, and promotes the Chicago arts community as a whole. Pearl adventured throughout the fest catching the best and most exciting acts to photograph for this issue!















Spreading the


What sets DEAN apart from other Korean pop artists is his earnestness, ambition, and fearless attitude when creating his songs.



“K-pop” is probably one of the first things to come to mind when people think about South Korea. Especially within the past decade, K-pop, or “Korean pop music”, has really found a place for itself in the global music scene. Groups such as Big Bang, 2NE1, Girls Generation, 4Minute, EXO, and Sistar are some of the mainstream Korean pop groups that really brought attention to the genre. In more recent years, even Korean indie bands, like Hyukoh, have been surfacing onto the mainstream music scene as well. However, that isn’t to say that K-pop hasn’t had its share of controversy over the years. K-pop has been subjected to mixed reviews by many people. While many listeners think of the genre as unique and catchy, others have also countlessly criticized it for being generic, inauthentic, and “factory produced”. These criticisms are referring to the fact that many Korean pop artists and their music are manufactured like brands that are carefully constructed by a record company. But despite many Korean artists falling under the general mold of being “artificial”, like with most things, there are exceptions. South Korean R&B singer DEAN breaks the cycle of “manufactured” Korean music, bringing authenticity, originality, and heart back into popular Korean music. DEAN is the stage name of the Korean singer, songwriter, and music producer Kwon Hyuk. Being heavily influenced by the actor James Dean and the actor’s rebellious image portrayed in his classic films, Kwon took on DEAN as his stage name. At only 23-years old, the singer has already accomplished many feats, having toured many countries in Asia, performing solo concerts in the United States, and even taking the stage at the acclaimed music festival South By Southwest. Originally starting out as a lyricist and producer for K-pop groups such as VIXX, Block B, EXO, and more, DEAN finally made his debut as a solo artist last year when he released his


singles “I’m Not Sorry” featuring Eric Bellinger and “Put My Hands On You” featuring Anderson Paak, both songs that were first released in the US. The singer states that he draws inspiration from artists like Kanye West and Miguel and is influenced by their music. Earlier this year, he released his first mini-album titled 130 Mood : TRBL back in March. In his singles and mini-album, DEAN demonstrates his talents as a singer, producer, and lyricist through his gritty melodies and emotional, relatable lyrics about love and relationships. His musical versatility can also be heard throughout the album, such as in his delicate ballads “What 2 Do” and “D (Half Moon)” and in the more energetic tracks “21”. What sets DEAN apart from other Korean pop artists is his earnestness, ambition, and fearless attitude when creating his songs. Despite having come a long way, Korea is still overall a very conservative society. Many topics such as casual relationships, alcohol, and sex are still an unspoken, but widely accepted taboo. Staying true to his motto “raw, rebel, root”, DEAN defies these cultural taboos, choosing to be genuine and open about himself and his more progressive views in his music. This attitude is demonstrated in his tracks “Pour Up”, “I Love It”, and “Bonnie & Clyde” which express his liberal view on relationships and romance. Following the release of his mini-album and the end of his tours, DEAN continues to keep himself busy, travelling between the US and South Korea to work on his music. On occasion, he also takes time to feature as a guest on songs of popular Korean artists, such as rappers Dok2 and Heize, as well as singers Taeyeon from the group Girl’s Generation and Lee Hi. By staying true to himself and his beliefs, DEAN is overcoming the stigma cast on K-pop, continuing to bridge the gap between Korean and international listeners and reinventing the perception of Korean music.

By staying true to himself and his beliefs, DEAN is overcoming the stigma cast on K-pop.



Sara Bareilles’ Broadway Dreams Come True Even popstars have dreams. Ever since she was a little girl, the popular singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles has been in love with musical theater and shows like The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, Evita, A Chorus Line, Chess, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, and The Phantom of the Opera. WRITTEN BY: LOUIS VASSEUR

“I grew up listening to musical theater and performing in musical theater and Community Theater. I remember performing all these musical theater songs on the fireplace hearth for my family. One of my earliest goals was to perform on a Broadway stage.” However, her career path took her in a different direction. The Eureka, CA native has sold millions of albums worldwide and received five Grammy nominations, including Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Bareilles has written chart topping about heartbreak (Gravity), defiance (Love Song), and triumph (Brave) developing a large and loyal fan base across the globe. Her book, Sara Bareilles: Sounds Like Me, My Life (so far) in Song, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2015.


Images Courtesy of:

Over time, the stress and pressure of writing, recording, touring, and filming the TV show, The Sing-Off, began to weigh on Bareilles. She felt exhausted and overwhelmed, uninspired, and too comfortable. ” I wasn’t unhappy, but I just felt unalive,” she explains. Bareilles broke up with her longtime boyfriend and her long-term band, and moved to New York City after 13 years in LA. During this transition, she told her agents that musical theater was something she would like to explore. This led to a lunch meeting with Diane Paulus, the Tony Award-winning Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (ART) located at Harvard University and one of the foremost incubators for ground breaking theater projects. “I was so naive that I had no idea who she was. I just thought it was a lunch to discuss a show. Here I was having lunch with this award winning director and I was expecting to be wooed.” But Paulus, who had been working on Waitress for several years knew about

Bareilles. Several previous sets of creative teams for the project had not worked out. Always a creative thinker, Paulus put together a short list of potential composers from outside of the Broadway community to bring in to the project. Bareilles was the top name on her list. She recognized something special in Bareilles’s music, both a range and a storyteller’s craft. Paulus explains, “Gravity” brings a personal, deeply soaring heartache of a song while ”King of Anything” was ‘spunky with lyrical twists.” After meeting Bareilles, Paulus decided she didn’t need to talk with anyone else on the list. Bareilles had never seen the movie Waitress, so immediately after meeting with Paulus she rented it and watched it in her one-bedroom West Village apartment. She was moved. The quirkiness of the movie and the untraditional love story at its heart, appealed to her. “It’s actually about a woman’s seeking to feel like she’s worthwhile in the world,” said Bareilles. “So her being seen, truly seen by her love interest, is more about her feeling she matters


I grew up listening to musical theater and performing in musical theater and Community Theater. - Sara Bareilles



to the world than just hearing, ’I love you and want to run away with you.” Waitress is not your typical love story. Based on the 2007 indie film by the late Arianne Shelly, Waitress follows Jenna, a pregnant waitress trapped in an abusive marriage and looking for a happy ending. She finds relief -and potentially happy ending-by making creatively titled pies and forming a romance with an unlikely newcomer. Bareilles had to make a few adjustments as she transitioned from pop star to Broadway composer. During the four years she worked on the project, she learned to approach her songwriting differently. ”One of the greatest differences between writing for Sara Bareilles and the show is the liberation in terms of stylistically what I’m trying to achieve, ”says Bareilles. ”I get to sort of play in a way that I don’t always feel is available on my own records. I grew up listening to musical theater, so getting to

finally write musical theater songs, and songs that sound that way, the emphasis being on the storytelling but the arrangements and the orchestrations can be really varied. I found that to be, actually, a real joyful discovery.” Another major adjustment Bareilles had to make was working as part of a larger creative team. A self-described control freak, collaboration, and trusting outside opinions, has not come easy for Bareilles, partly because of some unfortunate experiences with record companies. ”As a writer, I tend to be very protective of my work until its completely finished, fleshed out, until I’m ready and willing to go to battle for it,” said Bareilles. “This is less helpful in this process because the show depends on the music serving the book, the book serving the music, and the music serving the actors. Everything has its mirror image.”

Waitress is the first Broadway musical with an all female creative team with Bareilles’ music and lyrics served with Jessica Nelson’s book, Loren Latarre’s choreography, and Paulus’ direction.


Waitress is the first Broadway musical with an all female creative team with Bareilles’ music and lyrics served with Jessica Nelson’s book, Loren Latarre’s choreography, and Paulus’ direction. Their impact is reflected in the show’s tone and humor. Bareilles acknowledges this as an important Broadway landmark but also hopes “that the gender thing sort of stops being the selling point. We’re just people making art. That’s how this process has felt to me.” In addition to her amazing songwriting talents, Bareilles brought something else to the Waitress project, a large and loyal fan base. Mounting a Broadway musical is a risky and expensive enterprise. The show’s producers knew they needed to draw audiences from outside the typical Broadway theater-going community if the show was to be a financial success. Bareilles recorded and released Jenna’s poignant theme song, “She Used to be Mine”, and released the song as a digital single. Within days, the song rose to the top of the iTune charts. Bareilles also incorporated the song into her set when she performed live across the country. After the show’s sold out preview run at ART and before its Broadway debut at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Bareilles released her fifth studio album, What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress through Epic. “It was an act of self-indulgence,” Bareilles says of the album. “I couldn’t quite pass on the show without getting a chance to sing the songs myself.” Waitress has broken box office records and received four Tony nominations, including Bareilles for Best Original Score. Broadway history is sprinkled with stories about behind the scenes incidents that occurred as a show makes it to the Great White Way. Waitress and Bareilles have added to the Broadway lore. During one of the previews, a series of technical malfunctions took place, one after another, until the show had to be brought to a halt. Bareilles, who was in the back of the theater taking notes along with the rest of the creative team, climbed on stage and began to entertain the audience while the crew worked to correct the problems. To the audience’s great delight, she performed a song that had been cut from the show as well as “Part of Your

World” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. “It was a slightly cheap trick on my part,” said Bareilles afterwards. “If something goes wrong in one of my shows, I have found that singing The Little Mermaid is a go-to to get everyone onboard and keep them entertained. You hope the technical difficulties are resolved by the time you’re done. It wasn’t my first time doing it but it was definitely my favorite time.” Working on the show, Bareilles learned something about herself. She discovered she enjoyed being behind the stage, out of the spotlight. “There was a part of me that was wondering if I could feel really jealous- like if my little songbird would want to come out and play. But I found so much joy and so much pride in contributing and being a team member, and then stepping back and watching someone else get the applause. That has been so satisfying in a way that I would never have imagined. My proudest moment in my career was opening night in Cambridge and watching the cast take their curtain calls. No one was looking at me and I was floating off the ground. It was just euphoric. It’s been a true gift, a really, really special time in my life.” With Waitress well into a successful Broadway run and a national tour planned for 2017, Bareilles has clearly achieved her dreams of coming to Broadway. Recently, she has contributed some original songs to The Sponge Bob Musical. Broadway and her fans can’t wait to see what dream Bareilles takes on next. To learn about Sara Bareilles’ music and Waitress, check out and





ROSEMONT THEATRE WRITTEN BY: JENNIE VELASCO -- PHOTOGRAPHY: PERRY FISH Meghan Trainor made her way to the Rosemont Theater in August on her Untouchable Tour. The tour was to promote the album Thank You. She brought with her a band from Orange County called Common Kings and Hailee Steinfeld of Pitch Perfect 2 fame. Hailey is also set to be in a new film about teen struggles, The Edge of Seventeen. This will be Meghan’s third tour from the two albums she has on her repertoire. As I made my way into the venue it was evident the impact she has had on young girls. Many girls donning bright colors, stylish outfits, hair garlands, and flash tattoos were accompanied by excited moms to take their litter of girls to see a fun show. Lines were long at the merch tables and the bathrooms were selfie ready thanks to Lip Smacker decals all over the mirrors (A+ on sponsor representation!). After seeing the demographic of the audience, I


assumed there would be a more G-rated show. Not knowing Common Kings, however, changed the demeanor with an amped up rock performance of various covers of popular songs. The most notable that was surely meant for the adults was a Jay-Z cover of “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” The high-energy performance was unexpected, but surely gave the crowd the ability to dust off the days work. Hailee Steinfeld showcased a more familiar dance performance singing her new single “Starving” followed with some simple dance numbers and power ballads. To no surprise she brought back the favorite from Pitch Perfect 2 “Flashlight” and a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” which she proclaimed as one of her favorite songs. She also gave an empowering speech about not conforming to the attitudes and behaviors of those around you. Hailee went into a personal story about spend-

ing time with friends and how she ended up leaving a party having felt unable to partake in what was going on. Her final song was her first single off the EP Haiz called, “Love Myself ” that brought the entire theater to their feet and jumping and lit up every young girl. The main event began while the stage was still black featuring a DJ Khaled and Meghan Trainor song, a party anthem called “Demons.” Just as the song ended, the stage lit up behind a scrim to a pop feminism power anthem as Meghan Trainor strutted out from behind a video screen. The scrim lifted to reveal both her and the beginning lyrics to “Woman Up.” By this time all the girls had already begun screaming their heads off, and moms as well as clearly obligated dads have all stood up to partake in some happy dancing in the aisles. Meghan sported a sparkly blue a-line dress with a matching bolero jacket and her corset





featured lights that complimented her fiery red hair. Although she doesn’t come off as much of a dancer, she does enough to keep the fixation high to show off that she has a bit of swag and dance style. “Watch Me Do” is a fun and soulful type dance song with a great pop funk beat. A brief pause 3 songs in transforms the stage to something a little more familiar. It becomes a bit old timey and bright with neon lights shown on the screen and she evolves into “Dear Future Husband.” Essentially this song was what I came here for; to witness girls (among myself) singing at the top of our lungs to our future forever men who basically don’t know what’s going to hit them cause we all know the lyrics to this song. Sorry future hubby! Meghan managed a quick change into a form fitting black midi dress to accompany the retro feel of the atmosphere and went straight into the radio hit, “Me Too” and the classic from the album Title, “Lips Are Moving” to appropriately keep up with the tone. Two songs I hadn’t heard before called “Mom” and “Dance Like Yo Daddy” ooze sweetness and appropriately showcase her adorable relationship with her parents to lead into the pop hit that introduced us to Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass.” When she switched out to an elegant gown it was time for all

the power ballads like “Hopeless Romantic” and a sweet love tune she performed on her ukulele. Of course she did not forget her successful duet she had performed with RnB singer John Legend, “Like I’m Going To Lose You.” (Tear jerker. So many tears. And even more lovely live.) To accompany her she brought out the lead singer from her opening act, Common Kings who did the heartache justice. Again, tears. One more wardrobe change led us closer to the finale with a surprising Drake cover of “One Dance.” I felt myself, alongside her loving attitude and confidence, that she displayed throughout the show and how it rightfully impacts her fans. She showed a lot of gratefulness to them with a candid video to “Better” and “Thank You” that gave some intimate looks at the people she treasures equal to her family: her fans. Bringing a few of them onstage to sing and dance with her brought a mild conclusion, closing the show with her most recent chart-topper, “No.” I found myself so taken aback by all the hits she has managed to produce in just two albums. Both have produced Billboard hits with successful radio play. And really, I was surprised by how many Meghan Trainor songs I personally knew and equally enjoyed with 1,000 other girls of many ages. Her songs are catchy and maybe

simple. But there are complexities as to why they resonate so well. Her capacity to attract women with body positive messages and self-love is clear in her performance. From her fabulous wardrobe, her confidence onstage, to her lyrics; Meghan Trainor has created pop music for the whole family and created a connection by happily showing off her close relationships with her own. It’s difficult to sum up that much fabulosity and YAAAS QUEENness (as she proclaimed throughout the show). However, I have been to several concerts of legendary bands that definitely don’t bring the kind of commitment that Meghan Trainor brought without overkill of pomp and circumstance. It’s likely because she brought a special kind of intimate relationship she shares with her fans. And although she is a fresh face to a younger generation, it is clearly what young girls need at this time; someone with impact and positive messages and confidence to back it all up. This kind of message was supported throughout the show with help from her opening act, Hailee Steinfeld. Being flashy is one thing, but being you is what is most valued, and that is precisely the genuine nature that is Meghan Trainor.


Financial Strategies for Rock Stars Written By: Drew Powers Layout By: Kandace McVickar As this is the annual Halfstack Music Issue, I thought it would be appropriate to touch on some of the basic financial strategies specific to the Entertainment Industry for all you budding rock stars out there. Whether you are the on-stage talent, or someone behind the scenes, there are both risks and opportunities that typically do not exist for the 9-to-5 crowds that exist for you.

Protection Against Risk As an Entertainer, you have a specific set of skills and attributes that are responsible for earning your income, and these are a much different skill set than 99% of the working world. As such, the traditional insurance world typically finds the Entertainment Industry too risky. Some insurance carriers are uncomfortable with the inevitable months of “unemployment” between contracts or accounting for royalty income that could continue beyond death or disability. Entertainers may have 7-, 8-, or even 9-figure incomes that require a level of benefits traditional carriers simply will not provide. Being in the public eye also presents an additional layer of risk that most other professions never face. There are a many mainstream life insurance carriers that will cover an Entertainer at a level commensurate with their earnings. However, as the death benefit increases, so do the underwriting requirements. A comprehensive physical examination, a thorough medical history review, and additional financial disclosure should be expected. It will not be a fast process. Disability Insurance is widely available for most occupations, but there are only a few specialized policies that will cover an Entertainer’s “own occupation,” (defined as the occupation(s) in which you are gainfully employed for the majority of the previous 12 months). It is important to have a definition of disability that allows for a disabled Entertainer to continue to receive benefits and simultaneously be employed in another occupation, as crossover is more common in entertainment. As a part of the disability coverage, or as a stand-alone policy, an Entertainer may also be covered for a disfigurement, a condition that is not typically covered under traditional policies. While your derriere may not warrant its own $20 million dollar policy like one reportedly owned by Jennifer Lopez, it is very likely that your income is dependent on your appearance. Disability policies also exist to cover specific contracts, tours, and appearances.


International travel poses its own risks. International medical insurance coverage is a must, as medical services vary widely from country to country. Your visibility also requires you obtain Kidnapping and Ransom insurance. These are very specialized policies that not only reimburse ransom paid, but also provide access to highly-trained crisis response teams that are imbedded in and familiar with the location where the Entertainer becomes abducted. Aside from a highly-armed security detail or military escort, “K&R” is the best protection money can buy. Just as your visibility makes you a target for violent crime, it also makes you a target for lawsuits. An Umbrella policy, insurance that covers your personal liability in a number of situations, is the first line ofdefense. As your assets grow, additional asset protection may be found in advanced insurance and annuity planning, trust and estate planning, and corporate structures. These products, documents, and structures will also assist in the efficiency of wealth accumulation and distribution.

Wealth Accumulation and Distribution Wealth accumulation is what everyone wants to talk about, right? It’s how to make the money grow. But also important is how that money gets distributed for current spending, retirement income, and inter-generational transfer. Wealth accumulation for Entertainers may look much different than it might for others due to a highly-compressed earnings window—the Paul McCartneys and Helen Mirrens of the world are few and far between. Most Entertainers will need to make a few prime earnings years last a lifetime. Budgeting, a term not usually associated with Hollywood, is vital lest you become the next MC Hammer horror story. One key area of concern, especially as the Entertainer’s earnings grow, will be the tax treatment of income and investment accounts. Depending on the corporate structure used for the Entertainer’s services, one may have the usual defined contribution plans available, such as 401k and profit sharing plans. Changes in tax law within the last decade or so also allow for adding a defined benefit plan for further pre-tax contributions. For the highest of earners, the creation and management of a 501(c) private foundation may create an immediate deduction for future charitable giving, as well as a source of future income for the Entertainer as the name and face of the foundation. In addition to the possible creditor protection mentioned above, cash value life insurance and annuities provide for tax-deferred cash value growth and may provide for tax preferential treatment of distributions from the policy or contract. Coordination between the individual members of your Advisory team is very important to ensure that one piece of planning is not undone by another. At the core of your plans will be legal documents prepared by a qualified Attorney, including wills, irrevocable trusts, and charitable trusts. Your Financial Advisor will assist with managing and distributing the assets and policies inside these entities, while your CPA will help manage taxation. Don’t skip the Estate Planning step. While Prince may be the most recent name in the news to pass away without the proper planning, The Artist is by no means alone. For all of these situations, it is vital to work with competent financial advisors, as well as specialized accountants and attorneys. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but rather a few key points specific to Entertainers. Look for more specifics to follow on the blog. Disclosures: All securities products and services of this Representative are offered through AOS, Inc. doing business as MoneyBlock member FINRA/ Disclosures: All securities products services of this Representative are offered through AOS, doing business SIPC, and a Registered Investment Advisor, Information provided by AOS, Inc. or theirInc. Representatives shouldasnot be considMoneyBlock member and a Investment Advisor, ered tax or legal advice. FINRA/SIPC, Should you require taxRegistered or legal information, please consult your tax advisor or attorney. Information provided by AOS, Inc. or their Representatives should not be considered tax or legal advice. Should you require tax





CUDDLE + KIND written by: stella quimby Buy something, give something to someone in need; sound familiar? It is a new selling technique that many companies are now using to appeal to the millennial generation. You see it everywhere and it might compel you to shop, or not. One company that stood out to me is Cuddle + Kind. What is Cuddle + Kind? It is a company that sells hand-knit dolls. For every doll that is sold, 10 meals are given to children in need. Sound appealing? As a mother, it is incredibly interesting to see that simply made dolls will make such an impact to children in need. I was even more interested in learning more about this unique company and perhaps making a purchase from them.

DO GOOD FEEL GOOD So, before I went on a shopping spree for knitted dolls, I researched this company. I was surprised to learn it is a family-run company; created by a husband and wife team. They were exposed to the devastating impact that hunger has on children from around the world. “On that day, we decided to start a company whose purpose is to help improve the lives of children and to make a difference.” That is when Cuddle + Kind was created. Not only do they provide 10 meals for each doll sold, but each dolls is handcrafted by women in Peru and they provide the women with a sustainable and fair trade income. Running since 2015, this new company is truly making an impact! Take a look at the stats in the picture above! In addition to their mission, their goal is to provide 1 million meals!! How do they provide these meals? The organization works to provide meals through their partnership with the World Food Program USA (WFP). The WFP provides nutrition to 18.2 million children in 65 countries. Plus they also work with the Children’s Hunger Fund, which provides meals in the USA and Haiti!! Helping the future of our world is definitely a priority, therefore companies such as this one appeal to me as a conscious consumer.

We know what this company does, but what about the products? The dolls are made with natural, high-quality cotton and they also sell inspirational prints. The dolls, are a little pricey, but that is what you might expect with it providing a livable salary for women in Peru and meals to children in need. The little dolls (13’) are $45 and the larger dolls (20’) are $65. The inspirational prints, which are not framed (you have to frame) are $20 and provide 5 meals to children in need. The Inspirational prints are printed on Forestry Stewardship Council certified stock, contain 30% postconsumer waste and each print is chlorine-free. Both products are great quality and are adorable for the little minions in your life. Interested in joining the Cuddle + Kind movement? Make sure to check out their website at and see what they provide and how they are making an impact around the world. From the United States, to Central/South America, to India, to Africa and many many more countries, children have benefitted from a purchase of a doll or inspirational quote print. I am about to get on the website and purchase a doll or two and help them reach their goal of 1 million meals given to children in need around the world!!!




THE ZIPPER TUNIC This signature look of the edgy Leche Libre aesthetic allows you to represent badass womanhood in all its beautiful dichotomy: powerful and nurturing.



EMPOWERING BREASTFEEDING MOMMAS Leche Libre empowers women to confidently breastfeed in public shame free whenever they want, wherever they go in effortless style. Leche Libre represents modern motherhood in a fresh, dynamic way, promoting the vitality and freedom that comes from breastfeeding on the go and looking cool while doing it. Instead of thinking, ‘I just had a baby, my social life is over,’ I want women to say, ‘I just had a baby, now let’s go have some fun!’

eche Libre is the brainchild of Chicagoan and kickass momma: Andrea Newberry. She launched Leche Libre not too long after she had her own Children. She found it was hard to find cool clothing for breastfeeding. Clothes she feel comfortable nursing in were unflattering. She found that it was hard to look professional and pump easily at work. Dressing up for a wedding while nursing is nearly impossible and stylish clothes rarely offer discrete access. She wanted to figure out a solution to this problem. Leche Libre was born. Leche Libre clothing is constructed to give you confidence as a woman, as a mother and as a consumer. At Leche Libre, they want to celebrate strong women and strong individual style. I love the fact that are working on finding a way to create clothing that empowers women to breastfeed without having to deal with the stigma and the hardships. They’re for the bad ass mommas that want to breastfeed without having to give up killer style. One of the key issues modern moms face when breastfeeding, especially in public, is the stigma surrounding breasts. An excerpt from The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding highlights, “ In American culture, breasts have often been regarded primarily as sexual objects, while their nurturing function has been downplayed. Although focusing on the sexuality of female breasts is common in the mass media, visual images of breastfeeding are rare, and a mother may never have seen a woman breastfeeding. As shown in both quantitative and qualitative studies, the perception of breasts as sexual objects may lead women to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. As a result, women may feel the need to conceal breastfeeding, but they have difficulty finding comfortable and accessible breastfeeding facilities in public places.” The Leche Libre line is zeroing in on this key issue and has designed garments that allow a mom to discreetly breastfeed in public. The zippers on the front of the dresses and tops allow mom to quickly unzip and have her little one latch on. Andrea Newberry also highlights that instead of sexualizing breasts, she really wants to inform women that breastfeeding is a natural habit as old as time and that women should embrace their opportunity to connect and nourish their child. Leche Libre is a steadily evolving local Chicago one woman brand. In order to get to the next level, Andrea launched an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign. I wanted to get the rundown about her journey - so she took the time to answer some questions. Keep reading for the full interview.




THE NURSING SWEATSHIRT This sweatshirt was designed to be your go-to nursing wear for everyday use. A sweatshirt is the ultimate in versatility.

Andrea, can you share a bit about yourself, your background and career history and what led you to launch Leche Libre? If you had told me 5 years ago, I would have my own fashion line, I would have laughed in your face. I went to art school and studied photography as well as book and paper arts. After college I worked doing art restoration at a small firm in Chicago which specializes in book and paper. In 2009, the economy was tanking and I found myself pregnant and without a job. I tried finding another job, but no one was hiring at all let alone a pregnant woman, so I decided I would embrace being a stay at home Mom. Skip to two years later, and I had a 2 year old daughter and newborn son and I sort of felt myself disappearing into motherhood. I felt resentful that not only had my life completely changed but my personal style had to change as well to breastfeed easily. Other women I knew were having the same issues and I knew something had to change. I was learning to sew at the time and so I took a vintage pattern and altered it to put in zippers along the bust. I wore that dress everywhere from then on. Wherever I would go, women would ask me about it and really loved the concept. I decided I needed to pursue this idea. I was suffering from postpartum depression at the time, and I knew I needed a creative project that was just mine, that would help me regain a sense of myself, so I sort of jokingly said, I’m going to start a fashion line. I thought I might


start an etsy shop and sell dresses I made by hand one by one. I threw myself into the process of learning fashion design from watching project runway and youtube videos. I took an online draping course from Skillshare and it yielded my design for my zipper tunic which has become the signature Leche Libre look. I started researching the business end and realized it would be more efficient and worth my time to have the dresses manufactured then to sew them by hand. I got some samples together, took a few photos and launched online with presales. I needed to sell $1000 in presales to make my first run. I made about $1200 in two weeks, went ahead with my first small run of about 25 dresses. It took 6 months for that first run because I kept running into problems. Once I got the dresses though, I sold out in a few months. I got feedback, adjusted the patterns and made 25 more. I did this a few more times, making small runs, getting feedback, adjusting. I’ve just sort of felt my way through each stage of this process. There are times when I have no real idea of what I’m doing but I just keep an eye on my goal and keep putting one foot in front of the other. There have been a few stumbles along the way, but I just keep getting up and learning and moving forward. It’s slow going, especially since I don’t have any childcare support for my kiddos, but I’m so proud of what I’ve built Leche Libre into and I plan to keep going!.

Can you give us the rundown on Leche Libre, the ethos behind your work and what to expect this upcoming year?

How are you hoping to stand out in such a competitive field and how are you hoping to innovate when it comes to the designs you showcase in your brand?

Leche Libre empowers women to confidently breastfeed in public shame free whenever they want, wherever they go in effortless style. Leche Libre represents modern motherhood in a fresh, dynamic way, promoting the vitality and freedom that comes from breastfeeding on the go and looking cool while doing it. Instead of thinking, ‘I just had a baby, my social life is over,’ I want women to say, ‘I just had a baby, now let’s go have some fun!’

Garments targeted toward moms are often overly feminized, with a very soft and frilly sort of aesthetic targeting a “mommy” clientele. Leche Libre is about defining a new modern motherhood. It is targeting women who are moms but who identify as women who are more than just “mommy”. Leche Libre is creating edgy fashion forward apparel for women who want to integrate motherhood into their dynamic lives, breastfeeding on the go and looking totally rad while doing it.

Clothing designed for moms always appears so soft and delicate. Why is that? New Moms are doing the most powerful thing a human being can do: to give birth and sustain life through the strength of our bodies. I want to make clothing for women which helps us reconnect with that power and allows us to represent our personal strength through the transformative power of fashion.

I have so many ideas of innovating designs, continuing with my zipper access concept but also expanding out to other forms of closures and access to make full collections of versatile and kickass clothing for badass women who want to take care of themselves and their babies at the same time.

I am just coming out of a successful Kickstarter campaign. This past August, I raised $43K, 216% of my original $20K goal. So now I’m moving into production mode for the Kickstarter collection which I hope to have made and shipped by the end of 2016. After that, I will start working on getting Leche Libre into select boutiques to test out the wholesale market and see how that works for my brand, while I continue to grow my online eboutique

When you initially embarked on this journey, were you prepared to take on all the work that came along with it? Did you face any obstacles and if so, how did you overcome? Uhm yes, soooooo sooooo many obstacles. Because I had no experience in the fashion industry, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I have a tendency of diving into things head first. There have been moments, dark moments, where I said, if I knew who hard it was going to be, I would have run screaming the other way. Ha ha. But I’m in too deep to turn around, so I carry on my wayward Andrea. There will be peace when I am done…. Ok, sorry. Let’s turn Kasas off now.


THE LBBD True to the original intention of the Little Black Dress, I’ve designed my LBBD to be long-lasting, versatile, affordable, and accessible.

But yes, so many obstacles. When you don’t know what you’re doing, it involves a lot of trial and error. When I first started, every mistake was hard and seemed like proof that I was going to fail. So I guess the hardest part was getting into the the mindset of having it be OK to make a lot of mistakes. I had to really take my ego out of the equation and just look at the whole thing like a game. Ok, this didn’t work, why? Ok I’ll do this instead. Oh, that didn’t work either. Now I know these things don’t work. Ok, let’s try this. People would give me advice about not doing things they thought were mistakes, sometimes I took their advice, but there were times, where I felt I had to ignore their advice, do the thing, watch it fail and then dissect it to see why it failed. So, instead of going to school and paying people to teach me, I just went out there and made mistake after mistake until I figured out on my own what works and doesn’t. Maintaining ethical practices while keeping my prices accessible has also been a huge obstacle, and often feels like walking the edge of a blade. But I just hold on tight to my mission of empowering women without exploiting them while making my clothing as accessible as possible and keep moving forward.


Are there any people or mentors that have made an impact on your life and that inspired you on your current journey? I’ve been pretty much on my own in terms of the fashion side of things. I worked with Stitch Method when I was just getting started, and they helped to coach me to get my first production run up and going. I was on a SUPER STRING budget. I came to them saying, hey I have this idea but not much money. THey were like, that’s cool, we can make this work, we’ll just coach you through this and we can make it work. I was like the new kid on the block with no idea where the fashion people live. And they sort of grabbed my hand and pointed out the way to the neighborhood and how to navigate through it. Coaching with them was great, because I still was navigating through it myself and learning my own lessons, but they were always there to sort of keep pointing me in the right general direction. A huge part of my journey has been the psychological part, getting my mind wrapped around being Ok to make mistakes, embracing my own self worth and avoiding self sabotaging behaviors like workaholism and perfectionism which were getting in the way of my embracing success. If I had a true mentor, it would be every single one of Brene Brown books. I love that woman. WHat would Brene Brown do? I ask myself that all the time. She’s the shit and I just can’t get enough, I just can’t get enough. (More songs coming through, i’m so musical today).

Can you share some insight on your creative process and how you develop a collection?

What has been your proudest moment thus far when it comes to the development of your company?

I always have a million ideas running around in my head all the time. I see people on the street wearing something cool which I like and I see how I could adjust the design for breastfeeding. I ask if I can take their picture, or I keep pics from magazines. Sometimes when I get an idea, I will get this sort of panic which comes with it, this feeling, like OH SHIT, I should have had this done yesterday. I have to get on this NOW. When I have those feelings, I realize that panic is excitement and it represents something I need to do. I generally always have to take whatever my idea is and simplify and simplify until I get something that I can make, since I’m still in my beginning stages of designership. I’m good at making new words. Add that to my resume. Anyway, and then the trial and error pattern making process begins until I have a design which works. I then make a bunch of samples, have people test them and tweak as I go.

I’m so proud that I was able to launch a clothing line my own way. I am doing this with my own self taught experience, all the while being a full time mom to two kiddos. It’s been so hard, it has pushed me so hard, that I needed to do a lot of soul searching to become a better person to handle it all. I feel like Leche Libre has created the road for me to become a more actualized me and I’m loving it. I had this crazy idea of starting Leche Libre as a way to pull myself out of the deep self loathing and post partum depression I was feeling after the birth of my son and it worked better than I could ever imagine. Leche Libre has helped to be able to look in the mirror and love myself.

In terms of the aesthetic, I have this test. It’s hard to explain, but I want all my stuff, be it the designs, my branding imagery or what have you to make me feel this gut punch. I want to look at it and say, Oh yeah, that’s fucking rad. If it can pass the rad test, then it’s good. If it doesn’t pass the rad test, then it still needs some work or to just be scrapped all together.

Finally, where can our readers learn more about you, Leche Libre and keep up with you on social media? You can visit my online boutique at, or get more of my tomfoolery via my facebook page: LecheLibreWear, or through my instagram: Leche_Libre and twitter accounts:

What are your goals for Leche Libre in the next 3-5 years? What other agendas do you hope to impact when it comes to womens rights/breastfeeding etc. In the next 3-5 years, I’d like to build Leche Libre into a successful and sustainable business. I’m still at the point (should i be telling you all this??) where I’m not getting paid. All money goes back into the business. The IRONY is that I’m trying to make an ethical business but I only have one employee and I make her work in slave like conditions. I don’t pay her, I can be verbally abusive to her and I make her work long into the night. MWA HA HA! Anyway, by diversifying my sales into wholesale and direct from my website, I hope to increase my revenue stream which will allow for business growth and (dare I say it…) a salary for me. Once I get there, I’ll add a few more people to my staff and we’ll really get things cooking. I want to expand into multiple collections for breastfeeding women, including casual streetwear, biz-profesh, formal, nightwear, intimates, activewear. You name it. I’d like to do baby/kids wear eventually and maybe expand out to do mom products as well like baby carriers. We’ll have to see how things go, but the overview is that I’d like to build Leche Libre into a full Mom lifestyle brand. In terms of my activism work, I want Leche Libre to keep pushing for a feminist agenda of empowering women to own our bodies and make our own decision about what we do with it. I want Leche Libre to be conduit which women can tap into to recenter themselves in their own inner power. We all have it inside of us, we just need help seeing it. I’d like to keep active in supporting breastfeeding in the groups which need it most. It is the low income moms and teen moms which have the lowest success rates. I hope to partner with organizations in the city to help support these women to successfully breastfeed if they want to. Empowering women is not a sales pitch or marketing tactic for Leche Libre. It is it’s life blood. Without that, what is the point?




Written By: Kali Koller Photography By: Sam Meinders 119


hen I think of art, I don’t necessarily think of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I often think of musicians, street performers, theater, and dance. Art does not always have to involve acrylic paints or pottery clay. It can also shine through words, sounds, and movements. I think that what I enjoy most about dance is it involves other mediums of art, besides its own creativity through choreography. Dance is rhythmically moving to music, listening to the lyrics, and using your body to evoke the emotion of a song. Music and dance are so closely linked together. You might be wondering what this has to do with


minimalism, sustainability, or the environment – my main writing focus here at Halfstack, but I can tell you that art matters to all. When you care about living a simplistic lifestyle, you are choosing to value your life experiences over objects. In an effort to highlight that mentality, I was inspired to creatively direct a photo series showcasing how the body is used as an art form, and also, took the opportunity to highlight that women are warriors. In this interview I feature my younger sister, Trinity. Her fierce ability to pursue her passion with dance is a defining part of who she has become. We discuss her experiences, what dancing means to her, and how it has impacted her life.





What got you into dance and how long have you been dancing? My mom and older sisters got me into dance and I have been doing it for over half of my life. Tell us a little bit about your dance studio and what style of dance you compete in. I dance at the Academy of Ballet Wauconda. I love it there! The teachers and other dancers are very nice and extremely talented. I dance many different styles of dance, but I mainly compete in the lyrical genre. What is your favorite style of dance and why? My favorite style of dance is lyrical because I love being able to emote to a song that I can connect to and perform it with every bit of passion I have in me. What dancers inspire you? I have a lot of dance inspirations! Some of them include Maddie Ziegler, Autumn Miller, Sophia Lucia, Kalani Hilliker, and many others! Do you have hopes of becoming a professional dancer? I would love to take my dancing and make it into a career. I know that it is very difficult to do so, but hopefully I could!

How do you feel when performing? Performing is absolutely incredible. I love every second of it. No words can describe how I feel when I step out onto the stage. It’s an extraordinary feeling that I will never forget! Do you think dance is a creative outlet? If so, how/why? Dance is definitely creative in many ways! You get to take a song and make it ten times more meaningful by adding choreography and more passion to it. I love how for every second of a dance, there are hundreds and thousands of different moves, skills, or combinations that you can put there. So yes, I’d say it’s very creative! What has dance taught you? Dance has taught me to trust myself and others. It has also taught me how to put everything inside of me and every ounce of love and passion into something that I love, and for that I am forever grateful. How often and for how long do you practice? Each week is a different amount of practice or classes, but I would say I dance at least 14 hours every week. Sometimes even more than that!



Do you think the media (such as dance movies and T.V shows) portrays an accurate representation of dance? I think social media and traditional definitely does a good job of portraying dance accurately. From Dance Moms to Step Up, TV shows and movies are spot on. Some moms really are insane when it comes to dance, and the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that some dancers have in movies and shows is definitely accurate!

What advice would you give a young person who wants to begin dancing? I’d say just go for it! Find a good studio near your home and start by taking a few different types of classes. You’ll eventually figure out which ones you like best and stick to those. You’ll excel and improve as time goes on!


Looks for Less Jacket, boot and sweater season is here! Fall Fashion is hands down the most exciting fashion season of the year. It’s a time to embrace the change and take the second half of the year on with full force. While in the summer season you’re peeling away the layers to keep cool, during the fall it’s all about layering. I’ve always found a comfort in the fall season and the fashion it brings. Call it a breath of fresh air. The Fall 2016 season brings a heavy emphasis on the 90’s trend of layered slip dresses and rich velvets. Oversized denim jackets are everywhere this fall and lend themselves to the street style we’ve seen the last couple of seasons. The appropriately named ‘naked shoe’ makes my list of trends this fall with clear detailing that is much more chic than you would think. On the guys front there’s a big push in military inspiration styles from bombers to double breasted jackets and even camouflage. Khaki is the go to color in menswear this fall while plaid becomes the go to print. Before heading to shop for a whole new fall wardrobe, make sure to take a look at the biggest trends off the runway that you can steal for a fraction of the price.


Written by: Teresa Cutrera , Fashion & Style Editor Art Direction/Layout: Kali Koller


Oversized Denim Jackets This is probably one of the biggest trends for fall. I guarantee you’ll be seeing it everywhere. If you want the perfect denim jacket, go for one that has a vintage wash and looks slightly worn in. I pair mine with everything from mini dresses to black skinnies. Denim perfection!



Booming Bombers Bomber jackets have been around for the last few seasons. Yet, the fall is undeniably bomber season. Turn the cool factor way up with a bomber jacket. There are tons of variations of the bomber jacket out there right now. If you want a more casual bomber opt for one in a comfy jersey. Want to make a fashion statement? Go for one in the bold color you’ll be seeing tons of, pink! Because after all, real men wear pink!



SLIPPIN Slip dresses are ultra flirty and this fall season they are the go to dress silhouette. They were introduced during the spring season, but have become big focus this fall. Layer your slip dress with a basic tee underneath for a perfect touch of 90’s casual style.



V elvet Queen Luxe fabrics such as velvet go hand in hand with the fall/ winter seasons. Velvet was seen on everything from boots to skirts, jackets to dresses on the runways. My favorite piece is the Zara velvet dress. Slip a basic tee underneath for the day, and then lose the tee for a night out on the town!



The Pinafore Dress This dress is super feminine and can be very chic when worn in the right combo. Pinafore dresses come in just about every material you can think of from leather to denim. My favorite is basic black. Pair it with a crisp white shirt and some black booties for a sleek fashion forward look.



CLEAR AS GLASS You can thank an array of designers for this shoe trend, but the much-anticipated YEEZY ‘Lucite’ heel made this the ultimate “it” shoe for fall. We know what you’re thinking, clear heels? Really? Yes, Really! With these shoes, it’s all about simplicity and less is more.



OVERSIZED SWEATER It’s sweater weather! When shopping for sweaters for fall opt for one that’s oversized. They are great to pair with just about any outfit during the day. However, keep the oversized sweaters and cardigans for day. They definitely read more casual and easy.



MILITARY INSPIRED Fashion trends have always been influenced by military styles. Everything from double-breasted navy jackets to camo stems from military roots. The selling point on this trend is that it never really goes out of style. Jackets are always the best way to wear this trend.



Khaki Street Past seasons have had khaki’s tones in menswear, but this fall it’s become a head to toe look. Pair different tones of khaki in one look for an ultra cool and chic vibe. Neutral khaki tones lend themselves well for the office, which is definitely a bonus.



MAD FOR PLAID Does plaid ever really go out of style? Not really. Plaid is one of those styles that look great on just about everyone. It can look super sharp or super cool depending on how you wear it. Again, we can thank the heavy 90’s influence for this trend.


Style and fashion


#halfstacksummermakeover A FAN GIVEAWAY

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: DWIGHT BEJEC This summer the Halfstack team had the opportunity to organize an amazing Makeover Giveaway! 3 winners were pampered by our Makeup team and the Solo Salon team for a morning of hair, makeup and goodies. Each winner also received a prize pack that included a hot tool from BioIonic, a $50 Macy's Gift Card, merchandise from The Mane Choice Haircare, Claire's Accessories, Gold & Gray Jewelry, beauty products from Sinful Colors & Kylie Jenner, makeup from Advanced Mineral Makeup, Samples from Arbonne and makeup from Hernan Rivera Beauty! Our three winners: Sandra, Justice and Jenni enjoyed a styling session with our Digital Fashion Editor Jennie Velasco and talked about all the hot trends and classic looks they can find at Macy’s. Jennie worked with Senior Fashion Editor: Teresa Cutrera to coordinate style inspiration boards for the winners that kept in mind functionality, comfort and style. Each had some time with our resident Beauty Editors & Certified Makeup Artists: Danielle Hazekamp and Michelle Landriault. Meet the winners: Sandra, Jenni and Justice. Each winner enjoyed a morning of pampering, style and a little empowerment. Selfies in the photobooth added to the fun and created an environment of positivity. Check out the photos from the event.



lucky winners left to right: justice - jenni - sandra CHECK OUT OUR BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO ON OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL 141

Your success. Made simple. The Apparel Agency is a solution based development and production management firm offering an extensive range of services, plans and products to the apparel industry. Address: 2023 W. Carroll Ave, Suite 305A, Chicago IL 60612 Website: Telephone: 312-265-0900 Email:





The Fall issue cover story for Halfstack was shot at iconic Chicago hotspot Headquarters Beercade. Headquarters flips the common bar experience on its head. With classic arcade and pinball games to in-house infused cocktails and an unmatched rotating craft beer menu, HQ Beercade attracts gaming novices and beer enthusiasts alike! The locale offered us beautiful backdrops, scenary and a laid back vibe despite the heavy content we were focusing on. HQ is known for their funloving atmosphere and community focus. Not only do they offer patrons a good time,but they give back to the community through an ongoing partnership with Chicago’s Afterschool Matters Program.




fall fashion with emily ehardt We All Want, We All Need Fashion Lyric from “Fashion” by Jon Bellion

Hello, Halfstackers! In this edition of the magazine, I took inspiration from current trends and from music, since this issue is focused on both aspects. To write this article, I looked at a variety of artists that I listen to and chose ones that I saw were both unique and up-and-coming. As you read, you will see a variety of music genres and my interpretation of the genre, artist, and his or her songs to create wearable ensembles for the fall.

Jon Bellion – Indie Rock


Take inspiration from a truly inspired artist and the bohemian trend to create a unique look this fall. Incorporate pieces from lace-up heels to denim culottes to circular motifs that help to make a look that’s ready for any music festival or concert. In fact, the title of this article is a lyric from his song “Fashion”.

Rap sometimes gets a bad reputation; however, this artist, G-Eazy, really digs deep to find his lyrics. He’s a bit edgy and definitely cool, so take inspiration from him for a fresh fall ensemble. A leather jacket is a total must and you can earn even more style points if you choose one that has interesting detail, such as fringe. From there, add other sleek and laid back extras like a basic tee or leather pants and bold accessories.

G-Eazy: Rap Raelynn – Country

Devvon Terrell – Pop This artist is very unique in terms of his style and his lyrics are always on point. Take a cue from his quirkiness, or what he calls being a “weirdo.” Bright and bold colors and prints are the perfect way to channel Terrell. Start with some fun bold pants, then add a printed blouse, and finish the look off with quirky accessories.

Raelynn’s style is all about feminine and flirty details, such as pastel colors and floral prints. Since pastel hues are “in” for the fall, take a cue from Raelynn and add them to your ensemble. Start with a pastel pink jacket and layer a vintage inspired floral print dress underneath. A pretty necklace incorporates some shine, while a pair of fringe booties add a country twist.

Take a cue from musicians, artists, and anything that inspires you to create outfits or any form of art this fall. Be sure to visit for weekly outfit inspiration! Stay Classy!

Emily Ehardt 149



By: Stella Quimby Layout: Kali Koller

FIRST COUNTRY: Australia or Southwest flight attendants parade?


I don’t mean to sound naïve, but I seriously was expecting the Australian Olympic team to come out in kangaroo gear with the smaller athletes such as gymnasts seated in the pouches! That would have been a notch up from whatever suits these were at the opening ceremony. Ugh, how the hell do those suits spell out AUSTRALIA? They all look like a stewardess who just got a promotion to first class. They are even thumb-upping it, ugh, that’s cool. Word of advice, these are top world-class athletes, please don’t make them look like the lady who asks if I want coffee or water in the air! I am still going to have nightmares about those thumbs up….ugh.


WTF?!? OLYMPICS SPECIAL The biggest threat to the United States is decked out in…Eggs? Seriously, is this country so obsessed with the famous breakfast dish that they had to pay homage to it at the Olympics? “Hey Simone Biles, watch out - the eggs are coming for you” or if they talk smack to you before an event, it is impossible to keep a straight face with them pimping out that “uniform” at the opening ceremony. Opening ceremonies are supposed to show what a big threat your country is at the Olympics, not how funny looking you can all possibly look! Stick with your red color, it honestly is more threatening looking! That’s the goal right?

SECOND VICTIM (A.K.A Competing Country): China, pretty in yellow!

When did Canada get all gangsta on us? Are they really trying to differentiate themselves from us so much so that they feel that oversized, loose fitted clothing will let everyone know, “Nope, not American?” Also, can’t forget the leaf! Why not make it super-sized and white? Hey, Super-sized is an American thing, stop copying us! The selfie sticks really add to their overall aesthetics of being top notch athletes! Nothing showcases competitive athletes like a selfie stick!

THIRD COUNTRY: Our Friendly Neighbor Up North! Canada, duh!



You would imagine a nation that started World Wars would have better taste in gear when going into an athletic war! Like, OMG! The scary thing is that I don’t think they know how bad they look. Are the men wearing kilts? Those Scottish men are allowed to wear kilts with those sexy legs, I wouldn’t say the same here. Leggings, under skirts, with folded in shirts and rain coats? Yep, they look very intimidating; I’ll be running from them since they are clearly suffering from a style fracture!

FOURTH COUNTRY: Germany….. hipsters on parade?

Checkers have never ever been cool, so why now Croatia? I know the pattern is part of your flag, but why not opt for a cool blue jump suit? Or, if worse comes to worse, an outline of that pineapple thing on your flag? Nope, they went with the checkers since the bulls eye would be to obvious. Is the one with glasses doing the polka in the back? They can’t dress, but at least they are happy? Definitely the team to win partying in Gold!

FIFTH COUNTRY: Croatia-Ending on a happy note!



all Fashion is in full swing, can’t you smell it in the air? The Pumpkin Spice, NY Fashion week, it all goes hand in hand! The fashions of Yona New York are unlike anything I’ve worn before, and I’m grateful that there is a brand out there where I can buy some truly fashionable pieces. I felt so regal and fashionable in some new items I purchased, but one in-particular had me swooning.

This amazing product/textured-wrap-shawl/ Textured Wrap Shall had me in some serious Couture Plus size fashions, and to be honest, I’ve never found anything like this before. I’m obsessed with the looks I’m able to create with it as well as the look and feel of the wrap. It is sturdy and different from anything I have in my closet.

PLUS FASHION Fall Style Alert


The Textured Wrap Shall is $129 dollars and can be found on Yona New York’s online store. I got mine in a 3xl which I think is pretty true to size. I didn’t feel like it was too big or too small, and with the nature of the wrap you can make it as small as you need depending on your waist. I have a small waist and a large butt and hip range, so I tied mine a little tighter. I think it showed off my curves in all the right places, and made me look overall slimmer. I dolled mine up with some black leggings and a plain black long sleeve top, but the possibilities are endless here. I could even see myself wearing this with some skinny jeans and a body suit with this over! I think Yona New York is going to be a trendsetter in the plus size community. They have timeless pieces with a couture vibe to them, you really can’t find anywhere else. Cheers to you Yona!



o t e welcom




NICOLE STYLES “Be the Best” is what inspires Drey Skonie to get through each day. He is always striving the be the best that he can be. Grinding since day one, Drey Skonie is determined to put his name on the map in more ways than one. He is a singer, music producer, and even a father. Oh, did I mention that he is an activist and fashion stylist? In fact, the longer you talk to him the more you become engrossed in his island. As curious as I am, I wanted to meet, and introduce to you, the man on Skonie Island. Tell me about yourself?


I was born and raised in Detroit. I dropped out of high school when I was 17. Then, I came to Chicago for a good 5

years. Then in 2006, I had my daughter. Not long after her arrival, I went back into music again. 2 months after her birth I auditioned for Making the Band and left in February to join Kwiet Storm [a Chicago based Boy Band]. Not long after that I moved to Atlanta. The Band and I put on a little tour of 90 cities. We ended up going to 120 cities, and also living in some of those cites because we were pressing our own CDs in order to travel. Whats your plan for the Chi? After Making the Band, I felt that my fan base didn’t really know that I was from Detroit because I left when I was 17. Since then I didn’t really look back. So, about 10 years later, I went back with a plan. I decided that was gonna take over my city, build my name, and leave



I want to live in a world where I don’t have to hate somebody. I want to choose to love.


Wristband in memory of Dre Skonie’s cousin, Nature.

again. I didn’t know where I was going; I planned to go to California, but that didn’t happen. I ended up taking over the city, I’m the man in Detroit now, when it comes to a R&B singer. With that being said, there’s only so far you can go in Detroit. So, I checked out The Illinois Institute of Art here. I felt like it was destiny because I’m closer to my daughter again and now here trying to do the same thing I did in Detroit. Musically, who’s your inspiration? I feel like I pull from a lot places. In the beginning I pulled from gospel, because I’m a son and the grandson of a pastor. At the same time, I was pulling from Micheal Jackson. MJ inspired me in many ways, like my style, dancing and performance. However, I don’t want to be known as a dancer. I feel like every R&B singer is dancer. I would rather be known for my voice. Then, when I perform I am going to

show you that I can dance. Once I got older, during my teenage years, I started listening to more rap and hip hop artists, like Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Jay Z. The genre you tend to stick to is…? I don’t know. I believe R&B is a great foundation because I feel like a lot things can fit into that pot. There’s a lot of love and sorrow in this genre. But I’m really into techno and electronic music, since techno started in Detroit. So, it is hard for me to steer away from that. All that Dubstep or Triphop, and all that type of stuff - I love it. I’m a big fan of trap music too because of the techno side of me - not really the hood side.


Word of advice to other artists? I feel that you should make yourself available to your fans, to a degree. You should always be ready for that autograph, that hug, or that picture because that means the world to them, your fans. How many times will they really get a chance to see you in person? Who inspired you, personally? There’s not a lot of famous people I can name, but Malcolm X is one. My grandfather, as well. The most recent influence I have had was my cousin, Nature, who passed away. He wasn’t that much older than me, but he was my partner in crime. He was the reason why I work in retail and why I dress the way I dress. and, I guess, losing him kind of put everything into perspective for me. I mean, he just had a daughter, she’s not even one yet, and a son. I saw how hard he was trying to keep his family together. Hence, why I’m trying as hard to keep mine together. Despite having many new friends, please don’t take offense to this, I still feel alone. However, I feel there’s a lot of bad examples. Bad examples are just as important as good examples because you will be able to decipher right from wrong. I have some friends in the industry that are farther ahead, that are making mistakes. Their mistakes are prepping me for my come up. I want to be remembered for being a cool-assnigga. Knowing that you are activist, in your own right, I must ask you. Do Black Lives Matter and why? Yes, Black lives matter. But I think its a shame that we have to tell people why.


Yet, I’m not super radical about it; I just feel like no one should have to ask to live. No one should have to worrying about living because of their color or being treated a certain way because of their color. We all should be color blind. I think the Black Lives Matter movement is good and bad because they have people who want to make a difference and are there for that reason, but they are surrounded by radicals. But people are emotional now. As a nation, we are over being treated like animals. Or having animals being treated better than us. So, the fact that the movement even had to be started says a lot about the state of America. I understand why people might feel some sort of animosity towards us. In my experience, working in retail, we are sometimes the worst people to serve - because y’all expect everything. Sometimes y’all make it known that y’all there. So, I do believe theres a part to play on both sides. I mean, I know you haven’t been getting everything you deserve, but at the same time no one really deserves anything. So, you can’t go inside of a place expecting people to treat you a certain way because you feel you deserve that. You have to earn that. You have to earn respect; you have to earn money etc. Unfortunately, you have to prove yourself. I mean, growing up, I wanted to be a police officer. Not even 6/7 years ago I was gonna be a police officer. However, all these police reporting and controversy started to come up. Even me, I’ve been pulled over and sent to jail because I was black. Of course they made it up and put it together to make sure I had a reason to be going to jail.

But if I was somebody else, they would have let me go. I think it is unfair when we start categorizing people based on their race, religion, gender, etc.. Along with that same theme. A question our editor-in-chief that has been asking us all month and even the basis of this magazine issue. Will love spark change?

with love. They will correct themselves. I mean I don’t want to be an activist to extent of Malcolm X, like killing people and shit. But I want to be an activist for like the Creator. Treat people the way you want to be treated, like the commandments say. I want to live in a world where I were I don’t have to hate somebody. I want to choose to love.

Yes! I literally say that love is the key. Everybody knows from experience, if you approach people with love vs. hate they will treat you differently. Even when they come to you with aggression and you respond


Spreading Havoc Article and Layout By: Kandace McVickar The current lineup of Fatal Havoc is a band that exists due to the sheer audacity of its members, having almost willed itself into existence in the Chicago metal scene. A once side-project of guitarist Mykie, the band (that has focused mostly on touring and live shows) has grown to include core members Sean (vocalist), Smyff (drummer) and Dave (bassist) whom have comprised Fatal Havoc since 2012, although the band’s roots stretch as far back as 2005. During that time the band has established themselves in the Chicago metal community opening for the likes of Sevendust, Coal Chamber, Lacuna Coil, Smile Empty Soul, The Dreaming, Hurt, LA Guns, Motograter, Candle Light Red, Stardog Campion, Adema, and Psychostick. While no stranger to the stage, or to the road, 2016 is shaping up to be a defining year for Fatal Havoc. December will see Fatal Havoc release their debut album Gasping for Air, with a single and accompanying music video (shot by local filmmaking friends Cheevies Film Productions) for the title track being released in Septeber. Prior to the release we had the chance to sit down with the band and discuss a little bit about what brought them to where they are today.


Fatal Havoc from left to right Dave Houck (Bass), Sean Havoc (Vocals), Mykie (Guitar), Smyff (Drums) Images are Courtesy of Fatal Havoc

We are responsible for the fatal world we live in and the havoc we have created‌ -Fatal Havoc


Who was your biggest influencer in music and how have they inspired you? Smyff: There are so many musicians that have influenced me; so I’ll just give you my top three. Joey Jordison- his drumming methods of speed, rhythm, and show presence really inspire me as a drummer. Alex Dontre- I have had the chance to meet him and he is a real cool dude, his abilities to play in a humor core band along with his skills of adding different timings to his music is quite a skill. Last but not least is Les Claypool- he has a great stage presence and knows how to work a crowd, he inspires me to becoming a better musician. Sean: Mike Patton- he is the craziest vocalist that is in music, can amazingly work a crowd, has a unique voice, and can do anything with music. Mykie: A few of my influencers are 90’s music, early Nirvana, and Korn. What really influences me is how I feel when I am writing a song.


What inspired you to make music? Sean: When I was growing up my dad used to sing to me all of the time, which motivated me to start singing. Even at a young age I knew I wanted to reach out to people on a emotional level and share emotions with the world through music. Smyff: I really had no interest in music until I saw Sean Havoc’s band practice and was inspired by the drummer, then I started getting drum lessons from him. Mykie: I have been interested in music and art my whole life. Music is a universal language as well as an indicator of emotion. To me music is powerful and primal.

How does music affect you and the world around you? Mykie: Today music is too commercially used and it is just thrown around to make money. There is no emotion in it and that motivates me pour my heart out into my music. Smyff: It inspires me write for emotion and style; it is an inside look at what I am thinking and feeling. Sean: Music on every level affects me, no matter if it is the toughest or happiness of emotion, music connects everyone and everything on an emotional level. Music is a universal language that can be interpreted into any emotion.

If you had to choose a Fatal Havoc song to be your mantra what would it be and why? Sean: “Gasping for Air” It is the best collaboration we have created as a band and it sets the standard for our album Gasping for Air. Mykie: “Sickness of the Mind” It’s the first Fatal Havoc song that was ever written. We always end our shows with this song, I save up all my energy for this song and let loose. Smyff: “Skard” The song is brutal; it portrays a lot of emotion. It is heavy with drums and it is my favorite to play live.


Has Fatal Havoc worked on any special collaborations?

What radio stations are spreading the Havoc?

Fatal Havoc: Not yet, our next goal is to record an acoustic album, which we would like to collaborate on with other local artists.

Fatal Havoc: We are currently featured on a few radios stations. Flower gets airplay on 95 Wiil Rock (FM). Our entire EP is played on AiiRadio. Hallow is played all over the radio in Brazil.

Sean Havoc: My dream would be to collaborate with Jonathan Davis as well as Mike Patton.

How do you prepare for a show? Mykie: I do some stretches and a few hand warm ups. Smyff: I try to not over-think and just breathe along with a lot of air drumming.


Sean: I do different vocal exercises and warm ups.

Cheeives Film Productions has a few of your songs featured in their films, which films feature which songs? Fatal Havoc: Our music is currently featured in two of their films. Murder for Pleasure (2015) features Flower, Scarred and Serenity, and Agony of it All. Clown Dies at Midnight (2016) features Gasping for Air. We always have a blast working with Cheevies Film Productions. We look forward to working with them in the future and having more of our songs featured in their up and coming films.

Where does Fatal Havoc see themselves in 5 years? Fatal Havoc: Bringing the Havoc state by state until we take over. Having the ability to focus on music and not having to work a 9-5. Touring the world non-stop.

Gasping for Air is a 100% independently produced album by Fatal Havoc. Go check out and buy Gasping for Air on iTunes, Spotify, and other fine digital music retailers.

Behind the Scenes Shooting “Gasping for Air� Image Courtesy of Cheevies Film Productions


AN EXPLORATION OF HUMANITY Written by: Jennifer Lezan photography by: laura lopez location: headquarters beercade


We all have a story. Each of us walks a path in life that leaves us forever transformed. Moments of greatness, moments of sadness and moments of

pain all play into the person that we have become. We are in a time, where so many of us are questioning the world around us due to the violence, heart ache and hatred we are exposed to. Yet, there is so much more to see, so many people working to create change, so many people willing to love and create light in a very dark world.

That not to say, we can forget the past or events that have occurred that That’s could have broken us. Rather, it is important that we grow from our lowest

moments and that we take on experience with the mentality of evolution. Maya Angelou once said, “You may not control all the events that happen to

you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

These past months, we have bo bore witness to atrocities. From the attacks in Istanbul, Bangladesh and Orlando to the continuing issues in Kabul, Iraq,

Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Turkey. We see the ongoing battles for rights in the LGBTQ, Black and female communities. Politicians spew hateful, intolerant

and ignorant words about people of different cultures, beliefs and walks of life. They use scare tactics to push people apart and to play the blame game.

Many lives have been lost. Many families have been torn apart. There are many issues that our world is facing. We have a tendency to watch the news and in a way disassociate ourselves from the things we see. Due to this, many of us haven't truly connected the dots to the realities of the affects of the refugee crisis our world is facing. This summer has been one of the deadliest in Chicago’s history, according to the Chicago Police Department. Last year, Chicago had more homicides than New York and Los Angeles combined. We watch the news and see political debates happening on social media as campaign season continues to forge forward and we may wonder, is this the world we want our children to grow up in? The reality is that we have no choice, but we do have the ability to decide to teach our youth differently. We have the ability to instill in our youth tolerance, kindness an appreciation for diversity and different cultures. Let’s us not be reduced by the negative events that we are affected or touched by. Let us continue to love because UNITED we stand, DIVIDED we fall. Despite the hardships the world is facing, we see so many in the world coming together to find solutions, to make change in their own community to and help one another. We see so many people not afraid to love despite the heartaches or indignities they may have personally experienced. Even on the worst of days, the good can still outweigh the bad. No, we may not be perfect, but it is so important that we remember that we are not our mistakes. For every moment we fall is a moment to get back up again and to learn to do better the next time.

For the Fall 2016 cover story, Laura discussed doing something a little different. Rather than focus on a fashion story for this issue, everyday people inspired us for our cover. We connected with our community and worked to

feature a group of people from a diverse background. We asked each person and set of couples about their journey and a simple question in relation to the world we are experiencing, “Can love spark change?”. Despite the roadblocks some of our interviewees faced throughout their lives, their outlook on the world was incredibly optimistic. There was a resounding positive response to our question. So many believed that, yes love can spark change, but we need to do so much more than love. Change will only come through action. Read on to meet each of these beautiful souls and to learn more about their journey.


John and Leeanna are a young newlywed couple, whose love shines so brightly through humor and genuineness. Despite their differences in terms of upbringing and culture, their love is the glue that molds their hearts into one. They met on staff at a local hospital where Leeanna worked as a nurse and John was a paramedic student. Leeanna was teamed as John’s preceptor and they hit it off immediately. Their career choices are a direct reflection of how they immediatel connect with their community, working to make a difference in people’s lives. They fell in love and eventually married. They are a modern young family- a beautiful blend of backgrounds (John is Puerto Rican and Leeanna is Caucasian) and culture that come





together to create a nuanced family unit. As newlyweds, they are still maneuvering their way through sharing a space and getting used to their habits. Melted pot handles and ovens were mentioned over laughter about proper ways to store cooking utensils, but the conversation turned deeper when we discussed what was going on in the world and how they fit in. When we spoke with John and Leeanna about our concept, they had two different approaches. Personally, Leeanna has been so moved by the things she is witnessing. John takes the position that if he can’t make a direct impact, he can’t allow the circumstances to eat away at him. John explains, “Leeanna is always asking me how she can apologize for all the years of oppression that my people went through. I tell her the only time you oppress me is when I have to wash dishes, opp you don’t have to apologize!” Yet, there is something more to this approach than humor. It’s John’s ability to see beyond the hardship and make a connection that the past doesn’t dictate his circumstance. He will continue to forge forward. Leeanna sees the situation from a unique perspective as she understands the privilege that came with her upbringing and that feeds into her huge promote change and actively seek out heart that wants to p opportunities to implement that change. She explained that she believes love is putting someone else’s needs before your own, going outside of your family and friends and into your community to connect with and help others. They both shared a story of

recent experience John had while down South in Georgia- he was pulled over and had an unfortunately unfair experience with an officer, but despite this experience they haven’t been jaded. John mentions that this experience is something that is typical no matter where he goes, except when he is in uniform on duty as a

paramedic. Yet, they don’t fall into a victim mentality. Rather, Leeanna believes that love can bring change with action. That if we can do small things in our own communities to educate others on their rights, to actively promote peace and connect within our larger scale. neighborhoods then change can happen on a much la Leeanna recalls a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that she

believes is a firm reminder that we must be willing to be our own light that can lead to the love we want to promote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”




Jennie Jennie is an impeccably stylish, intimidatingly intelligent and incredibly proud Mexican Millennial woman. She has a corporate career in the fashion industry. As a single mother, she has worked hard

to embody the ideals that she wants her young daughter to look up to in a woman. As a mother of

a child, her perspective on the hardships the world is facing directly di correlate to her hopes for the future for her daughter. She sees love as an incredibly important thing, especially when attempting to raise children. The youth that are growing up in

2016 are constantly bombarded with confusing messages and it is up to us to open up the conversation. While Jennie believes that love can spark

change, there is so much fear among adults that it seems as if we are all losing our humanity. Jennie points out that while love is important, so is history and educating the youth on the realities of our past. She explains, “It wasn’t always all sunshine and rainbows” when this country was settled - her comments nodding towards the realities of the often skewed historical recap of how the US was “settled”. Much of the American history we are taught in school leaves out emphasis, viewpoints and experiences of Native Americans, African Americans, and other marginalized groups.


Jennie feels that there needs to be an expansion

of this concept of love to bring back our inherent humanity and our ability to respect and appreciate people of all walks of life. Whether it is caring for each other, standing up for one another or just connecting once again – we as a people need to

find some common ground. She also noted that, “while love can be a beneficial thing, it is important

to look at it from a perspective that is inclusive and not selfish.” So many people will do bad things because they feel it might benefit the ones they love, but don’t take into account how those things might affect the greater good.


During our talk, Jennie brought up how she often thinks about civil rights leaders of the past and how they fought to right injustices and how those movements may parallel the movements we are seeing today. Her initial response to the question about whether or not the movements we see today are effective was that it seems that everyone today is just reacting. She explains, “I am not surprised by the strong emotions that come out from both sides and it seems that many community leaders are just doing the best they can with the circumstances they’ve

been dealt.” It’s challenging to work throughout the communities that have been most impacted. Yet, Jennie explains that it is important that the outreach out not be one-sided, passive aggressive or aggressive. It’s hard and there isn’t a clear-cut answer to how to overcome the violence and oppression that we are witnessing, but the most important thing is to not give up. She’s most appreciative of the people working on the frontline that aren’t giving up, no matter how hard things might get.




Nicole Nicole is striking young black woman who is studying photography and fashion at the College of Dupage. Her exploration of her art goes more than skin deep. She often challenges the status quo with her photography and fashion art form. Nicole isn’t afraid to dig deeper into the meanings behind the imagery she shares and often explores activism within her themes. Her response to our initial theme conversation was that it was a little confusing to her because at its essence love can seem

incredibly selfish. She goes on to explain, “we can love people in all kinds of different ways, from platonic to romantically, but essentially it comes down to caring”. People can sometimes use the term love to put a Band-Aid over negative situations to appease one another. Nicole feels that we need to start

thinking outside of ourselves and once we can begin to do that, it will allow us to broaden our perspective of our fellow

humans. She believes love can spark change, but like many others – only alongside action. When asked what she thought might help push this movement of change forward, especially with youth, she explained that, “young people need to begin talking about the issues we are facing. Bernie he really began that conversation and I wonder if people were listening because it seems that nothing has

happened since he stopped.” It’s really about keeping that conversation going. Her way of ensuring that she can continue to spark change is by keeping the conversation


going and talking about it with anyone who will listen. She is hoping to spark interest in them, and that they will take the conversation to someone else and hopefully open their minds to new concepts and ideas. a less likely During this conversation, the topic of why young people are to vote came up. Nicole brought up an eye opening idea, that many young people aren’t sure how to vote and aren’t well versed on many

of the political concepts they should be. She mentioned she didn’t know how to register and had to look to her mother to guide her on the

process. She worries that the education she and many others experienced wasn’t nearly as strong as it could have been. When it comes to politics, Millennials feel out of place and like their voices are a not heard. It’s no surprise that there is also a lack of trust in the whole political process. Nicole feels that an emphasis on education will be important to overcome many of our issues, but the reality is that it has become such a burden that many young people are just trying to find their footing. So

many people her age are unsure about what is happening in their future and are looking to just find their way while they pursue their independence. It won’t be easy, but in her eyes it is possible as they’ve been able to come out of an already rocky experience thus far.


Her initial response to our topic was interesting. She explained, “I don’t

Aishalee Aishalee is a woman with a fierce strength and fortitude that is

look like, my gender, my sexual orientation or the color of my skin or

what religion I chose to believe in, just respect that. Because the reality is that people do kill for love and love can make people for some crazy things so it goes beyond just love.” That idea of respect can truly go a long way. She voiced concern about

evident the moment you meet her. Yet, her eyes tell a story of survival. They reveal hidden pains, but still show a spirit of kindness

what is going on in terms of the violence in Chicago and frustration she

ago wasn’t easy and she didn’t sugar coat it. Her experience growing up in a community that didn’t embrace her differences

reality is that it’s an issue that she has faced continuously throughout

and forgiveness. Her experience coming out to her family years

has made her stronger, but she doesn’t let it define her. Rather, charge of who she is, what inspires her and what she she is in cha

allows to affect her. Her experiences, while at times difficult, have helped shape her heart.


think it is necessarily just love, but I think it is more so just respect. Having respect for one another. Whether it be having respect for what I

feels with how people in the community across the board are treating one another. Respect is something she doesn’t see enough of and the her formative years. She shared her experience coming out in high school and how people judged her for it and how her sexual orientation has always been a difficult topic to navigate with her family, who come from a rather conservative background.

She mentioned a difficult conversation with her father that brought frustration after the Pulse Night Club shooting. While he focused on

some of the political parts of the situation, she was concerned with the humanity involved, the reality was each of these lost lives were more than a political statement. One could see the pain in her eyes as tears welled over her frustration with the world we live in today.

While yes, there are outreach programs in the community, she explained that the reality is that, “we still live in a racist America.” She don’t know how we can pull everyone together to further added, “I don be as one, but I realize that in order to make change I have to recognize and acknowledge what is happening right now.”

Although her parents may not have fully understood her lifestyle initially, there has always been love between them and a mutual

respect for one another. Over the last decade, her relatioship with her parents has evolved and her own experiences have led her on a personal journey of self love. She often questioned herself and jou wondered if being homosexual would define who she was. She wanted people to see her for the kind and giving person she is, and not the labels society puts on her. She explained that, “there were

some struggles along the way. I’ve been judged for the way I look, argued with when I correct people and tell that I am a woman. I’ve

even been jumped.” The experiences taught her caution, but she didn’t allow those hardships to weaken her. Although she still sees darkness in society, there are moments of light that shine through, especially within the gay community here in Chicago. The gay clubs, bars and communities in Chicago are a bright

and beautiful spot in the city of Chicago. The people are diverse, colorful, and positive and allow one another to embrace their differences. The community is a beacon of hope for everyone. When asked what kind of advice she could offer people who are on a similar journey or going through similar hardships as

she once did, Aishalee kept it simple, “Don’t let the negativity get you down. Don’t let the world change you. Change the world.”





Tim and Chris Chris and Tim wear their hearts on their sleeve. Their love and

Tim explains that he personally had fears when coming out. He

successful beauty brand: Haired by Harris focusing on wigs, apparel and nail sets. Tim has a background in fashion working for

he was different. Yet, when he finally did share that he was gay with his family, they were all incredibly accepting. He explains his

mutual respect for one another is evident the moment one meets them. Chris has a background in the beauty industry and runs a

major retailers. They have an amazing creative energy and find inspiration in the beautiful community they are surrounded by. When

asked if love could spark change, as two proud gay men, Chris and Tim offered a resounding yes. Chris explained, that just by dating one another their eyes were opened in terms of the different experiences each of them had. Chris explains, “That’s all we can try to do, inspire a perspective change in the world, one person at a time.” Tim’s perspective broadened a bit more to the struggles Chris had to endure as a gay minority as their relationship deepened.

Although, Tim explains he did grow up privileged, the reality was that the community he grew up in wasn’t very open and that re-

quired him to be cautious about coming to terms with his sexuality. He is constantly inspired by the activist mentality that Chris displays, his openness with his identity and that has sparked and renewed energy within him. Chris has an incredibly diverse background. He explains, “My mother is Czechoslovakian and Mexican while my father is black and we grew up in a very small town. So, not only was I exposed to things like the N-word, but also the F-word as I was coming of age.” That forced Chris to have a lot of internal conversations about who he was and why people judged him the way they did and why he felt the way he did. Luckily, his mother instilled in him a pride about who he was and that he was always destined for

greatness. This pushed forward his activism and his fearlessness in his self-identity. He was adopted later in his youth and his second family was always supportive of who he was and educated him on Black history and raised him to be a strong black man. He never allowed any of the hardships he may have encountered at the hands of other people to get to him. He moved to the big city to pursue his goals and never looked back. He has never been afraid to be vocal about embracing his journey and that has helped shaped his identity.

explains the notion was, “terrifying” and he didn’t officially come out until he was 24. For as long as he could remember, he knew

mom was just upset that he didn’t tell her first. His relationship with his father is still a bit strained over the situation, he is achasn fully committed to embraccepting of his lifestyle, but still hasn’t ing it. Tim mentions it’s hard dealing with the fact that, “at 32 years old, I want to bring my partner home with me to celebrate the holidays and I can’t.”

Despite this, they both look at the world with the perspective that although they can’t control how their relationship may affect others, they can focus on whether or not they let those other people affect their personal joy. They make the conscious deci-

sion to remain positive and surround themselves with a proactive and beautiful community.













Barrett Immediately, one can sense an intoxicatingly creative energy from Barrett Keithley. His presence invigorates and inspires. He’s

an artist with a vision that knows no bounds. His eyes tell a story of a deep soul, much older than his 28 years. He is known for his work and activism on the South Side of Chicago. His paintings are driven by an innate sense of community and the duality of life.

Barrett’s perspective on the theme of “can love spark change” Bar was unique due to his work as an artist. He explains that, “as an

artist you have to create from a place of love. That’s the only place you can truly optimize your greatness. The universe is love.

God is love. As a creator you are pulling from that and therefore, I believe love does have the power to change.” He continues on to explain that when he thinks about whenever there has been any type of war or hardship, there have always been artists narrating the story. That’s where he feels his position fits in the grand scheme of things. Yet, what is thought provoking is that, it is the artists creating and sharing these moments of darkness, but from a place of love and ultimately leading the way towards change. When asked where whe he draws inspiration for his personal work, Barrett explains that he considers himself more of a scientist, at times, than an artist. He is constantly experimenting with different styles, tools and techniques. His biggest inspiration comes from his internal curiosity to explore the world, people and his ability to push himself.

Barrett is seeing a lot of change, unrest and violence going on in his community: the South Side of Chicago. Yet, there is also a lot of love that goes unseen and it’s being drowned out by the violence that is so readily showcased through the media. Due to this he was inspired to create a 5-part docuseries called “#Artlife”. The focus is to feature the Southside of Chicago in a positive light. To explore the community and share the stories of the

people who a are doing good for their neighborhoods. It’s also ex-

ploring his personal journey into becoming a professional artist. It goes through his personal triumphs, tribulations and the artists’ community in the city that has embraced him. He is hoping to show the world that the Southside is so much

more than the hood that the media propagates it to be. Chicago has gone through an evolution over the years and gentrification has continued to be a hot button debate. While Barrett believes diversity is important and hopes to see all kinds of people throughout the many different neighborhoods of Chicago, he

notes that it needs to happen in a much more organic way as opposed to “forces “fo coming in that see the community as a real estate money maker and kicking everyone out and causing displacement.” He believes there has to be a better way.

But, for the time being, he is hoping that his work will shed light on the beauty that he sees in the Southside of Chicago. When asked to leave

readers with a final thought Barrett urges everyone, “to just keep going. There are going to be so many obstacles to come your way, especially as an artist. Stay the course and if you really want it, it will happen, but you have to keep going. Even though failure is inevitable, so is success if you don’t give up.”

Despite the heartache and madness, there is still light and goodness in this world. Each of these people is a true testament to that. They believe in the power of love, but they each realized that without action,

love alone couldn’t spark change. They also help each of us to realize that we must develop and push to maintain the capacity to forgive

others. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst


of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are a less prone to hate our enemies.” Love has the power to move moun-






nstagram has become a community for creative minds, to share their work, to inspire, to learn from, and connect one artist to another no matter their location in the world. A simple search of a hashtag can lead you to find some of the most raw talent and a quick FOLLOW can make you a witness to the growth of an artist. I was doing a search of #chicagostreetart when I came across Danny’s Instagram page. His collaborative work with artist JC Rivera, Bear Champ, and other Chicago street artists is what brought me to his account, but the evolution of his own work is what has kept me a supporter. He has a commitment to telling the story of a city, whether it be through its artists, or its people. He has searched the streets and given everyday people, an opportunity to feel important and to share a piece of who they are. This series is so necessary in a time when we are trying to find the humanity in a world filled with such hate and a city plagued by violence. His images are rich with the diversity and the culture that make up our city. Every portrait is a promise that while we are all unique beings with our


own stories, there will always be one thing that connects us all: we are human. How does Chicago inspire you? What about this city do you try to portray thru your work? Chicago inspires me on the daily. Mainly with our unpredictable weather. I love that we get all four seasons and extreme weather at times. From a photographers eye this can change a scene drastically. I love the diversity in the city. We have so many cultures and that allows me to appreciate other views and ways of living. When do you feel most inspired and by what? I feel most inspired when I walk outside and see clouds. Weather prior to a storm, or early morning fog, or rain and snow all help fuel my inspiration Was there one moment that made you fall in love with photography? I remember having an iPhone 3s and my Cousin Mike telling me about an iPhone only app that lets you share photos. It was a huge community of mobile photogra-


phers. I looked into it and saw Evidence and DJ Babu taking incredible pictures. I couldn’t believe this was from an iPhone and I wanted to create those images. Do you collaborate with other artists? It’s coming to the 2-year mark that I first collaborated with my good friend @jcrivera. We decided on a shot that I would print up and he would paint his iconic figure on the print for his Solo Exhibit at Galerie F. Another artist I’ve collaborated with is @ Sentrock. I shot a man feeding a group of pigeons and it was a perfect scene. He was able to take it to the next level by adding his illustrations over it to create a message and enhance the moment with his style What other artists are you inspired by? What other Chicago artists are you inspired by? @jasonmpeterson is probably, by far one, of the biggest inspirations to me. He shows consistency on a daily basis, which I admire. He is a photographer that specializes in Black and White photography and is a true master of his craft. @trashhand is another huge inspiration who has no boundaries. He is a versatile photographer and has the eye for visuals perspective. There are tons more I could name: @maxleitner, @transmental, @streetdreamsmag team, @artofvisuals team. There are so many people on Instagram that have talent. I’ve learned that the people who have a huge following, that share tips, and assist to help you become a better photographer are always the people that understand the


community. It’s about engaging people. What made you start this series and how has it changed you? ,,,I really enjoy portraits a lot. There are a few weaknesses I have in portraits and interactions. These street portraits have helped me build necessary confidence and an approach that comes along with the art of unplanned shooting. How do the subjects of your street portraits respond to you? At first, questions arise but after they see my camera and I engage with them and compliment them about what particularly caught my eye, their guard is usually destroyed. I know that not all people are going to be ok with photos and I’m ok with that. Was there any one of your series subjects that you found the most interesting and would like to photograph again? Earnest Huff is an older gentleman that had stories upon stories of his life that he was willing to share. I look at age as wisdom because you have been able to experience life longer than I have. So, he is a person I would enjoy shooting and talking with again. Does being an artist give you a different perspective on the tragic events of the world today? I’ve always been able to get the current events about what’s going on around the world. I naturally look for news locally first and then world news 2nd. I believe it’s important as an individual to know your surroundings and also be aware of what’s going on.

i know not all people are going to be ok with photos and i'm ok with that. - DANNY CANTU




we have so many cultures and that allows me to appreciate other views. - DANNY CANTU








From a Single Mother. To My Growing Beauty WRITTEN BY: JENNIE VELASCO The world is changing, and the things we face will make us uncomfortable and will likely hurt us. Know that my concern is your vivacious heart, your confidence, integrity, loyalty to people, and your view of the world. My goal is not to change the way you see things, rather to help you determine what deserves your time and attention and what is attempting to contain your joy to small matters.

we stand First, I want to tell you how important it is that we stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Bullying has taken on new forms since the development of social media. People now can vocalize hurtful words while hiding behind a screen without any filters to hold them back. Words can be damaging, and with so many people seeing it, words are difficult to erase on the conscience of whom they are about. For those that are hurting, I know your good heart can make an extraordinary difference for someone who feels alone. You may not know this, but I was often bullied throughout most of my school years. My shyness worked against me since I barely had a voice myself to reach out when I was depressed and feeling alone. Communicating my hurt was difficult with so few people that understood what I was going through. I know I have expressed it many times, but


you will find how communication is what bridges hurting hearts and creates understanding. No matter how uncomfortable it is to just say something, it is likely because you simply, must. That child that is different, who doesn’t have the cool gadgets, or new clothes, being blatantly picked on needs someone like you to reach out. It could be something simple: a handshake, a hug, a warm smile, a quick hello, or your sassy confidence to build them up or stand up to their bullies. Be brave, it shows your heart. You are a compassionate and loyal friend; we are blessed when we are able to give others what they cannot give themselves.

this is where I could get passionate We are visibly seeing the results of someone’s hate rhetoric. Men and women who carry a high regard in media, are using their platforms to turn the world over on its side. Politicians, terrorists, our neighbors, and even people of faith are passing off hate for fear. This might have you question someone’s integrity or what we represent being Christians, minorities, or a single parent fam-

ily. Our position as inhabitants of an earth that we are sharing with so many, could not possibly leave any kind of room for that kind of talk. We don’t cast judgment, even when there is judgment upon us. We forgive. Does this make things easier? Absolutely not. This is how we truly find ourselves, and our voice. We find it when we face opposition and we voice the values of humanity with love. We also benefit when we are able to forgive when we no longer

carry the burden of the injury that someone else left. You, my beauty are half Mexican. That half of you comes from a rich and gorgeous culture that is constantly being degraded from those that don’t know how to share their space. I know there are many that are not setting a right example. Every day I want to shake people up and tell them to walk the straight line, to not stoop to the level of those who want us there. Others may not know between right and wrong, but we need to be there to be right with love. We also need to help to right the wrongs and set the example, and this is where we stand again. We have come from kings and queens that built temples, foretold the future, and protected their families. We have come from colorful traditions and core values that have not escaped our family, even now. We know the exceptional life we live and it should not be shamed on others that they would want the same opportunity. Remember this when we see others facing the same degradation. Just like our friends, we stand up for them too. When they hurt, we stand with them.

You are important to love too Loving ourselves is sometimes tricky. I admit to have been terrible at watching my body change as I have aged. It doesn’t help that I pinch my rolls in the mirror, not

fitting into old clothes anymore, and your lovely uncle who’s increasingly called me fat in just the last few months. Really, I should take it all with a grain of salt. I have not fully embraced being “in love” with my new shape, but I’ve certainly been making efforts in working what I’ve got and being healthy. What you’ll never hear me say is that I don’t love myself. I know I shine in so many ways regardless of the tough critiques I may give myself or my image. And I always have you reminding me that I’m beautiful (and the way it instantly changes my attitude) and I am so grateful. Loving ourselves does not equate to beauty, it is how we are making ourselves better. If I’m not happy about it, I work my best to change it. We are active and we watch what we put in our bodies. We all have the capacity to create change…we just have to WANT it. Girls like you are constantly bombarded with glamorized and edited images, that it astounds me that it hasn’t jaded you in the slightest. I know that doesn’t mean that couldn’t change as you approach your teenage years, but I hope you remember this time in your life as a time when your favorite artists spoke out on true beauty, developed an environment of body positivity, and empowerment to women. It makes me happy that there are such active and vocal girls that are helping you realize your potential on the inside.


Our relationships shape us I often talk about the life I spent as a professional dancer. They will always be the greatest years of my life. And it was less because of the opportunities; it was because these people were like my family. We fought like family, we celebrated together like family, we cried joyful tears, and we cried tears of sadness. This was also a time that I had some struggles with the relationship with my parents. My dad was tough, my mom was distant, my brother didn’t understand. Sometimes we don’t see how much we invest in people and still see the other side of the coin when life happens and things have no choice BUT to change. After I left to give birth to you, I lost so many close friendships and I ended up completely reliant on my mother’s love and my dad’s protection. The situations may be different, but I know it happens to everyone. It takes a massive life change, when you need people the most that you could find yourself alone. As you and I go through life together, I find myself keeping my head above water with the encouraging relationship I still have with my mom. I still have some beautiful friendships that will certainly last forever, but as often as we have heard it, family is really there for you most in the end. My mom and I didn’t always have a great relationship, and I solely base this on the really difficult ways we communicated. What has changed is our circumstances and how similar we have had to make adjustments to our lives, that now my mom has a better grasp on who


I was and who I needed to become. I can’t say the same about my dad. As parents, we try our best to not repeat what our parents did. With a hurtful heart, I admit my dad did many things that ultimately led to my traumatized mental (and sometimes) physical capacities to love. My dad and I do have sweet memories of taking long drives in summers just to get out of the house, going swimming; he’d play tennis with me. He let me ride my bike very, very short distances while he worked in the garage. Sadly, we don’t stay kids. I was sheltered in the house and wasn’t allowed to do many things with friends. My attitude would change, but I followed his rules. I lived too fearfully of repercussions, but it didn’t stop him from chipping away from every ounce of confidence I had. Now, in his old age our relationship continues to be difficult and selfish on both sides, leading me to let you know that although family will be there, they can still be a hurtful presence. Your relationship with your dad is so important regardless of what that looks like. Even if it’s minimal, if it doesn’t allow for a lot of quality time, even if it’s just those few good morning kisses you manage to give him before he gets busy. Unfortunately in our situation, it may take effort on your part to make sure that happens. We do it because we don’t give up on it.

I need to thank you for your resilience Our life has been challenging. I’m often overwhelmed and I know that my imperfections are amplified when my anxiety is high. Most often, its because I so desperately want things to be perfect for you and I exhaust myself trying to make that happen. I have been able to healthily let go of many things in the several years that I have been raising you alone. Others still create such a frustration within me that I don’t understand how other single mothers do it. I know I sometimes ask too much of you, and that hardly makes it any easier for me. We have gone through so many job changes, moves, financial stresses, repossessions, school schedules, late homework assignments, visits to the ER, and just a constant fluctuation of disarray. Yet, you have managed to be strong for mommy, to hug me and wipe my tears when I’m defeated, and you tell me I’m the best mommy ever; you tell me things will get better. I honestly could not have been given a greater gift than you and your incredible strength. I remember the days leading up to your birth, stressing about how you would grow up to hate me, how I would not be able to fulfill your needs, and just quite plainly…how I would make it. Without a doubt you were purposed for me, and I was given the privilege of being your mother. I would never realize until those hard days, how I needed you.

God only knew you would grow up to be one of the greatest kids ever. I often wonder why I worry so much about you when you have been my greatest teacher. Part of me wants to selfishly protect your heart from the hurt you could endure, when your heart is exactly what the world needs. It needs your loyalty, your sass, your confidence, strength, resilience, and overall joyful heart. You have most certainly encountered disappointment when you may not have been able to spend as much quality time with your dad and I, but you continue loving us the same. I’ve seen you still love your friends even though they may have failed you in some way. The world will continue to fail you, but I am confident as your mother that you will hold the hand of the hurting, and you will confidently spark the change that is necessary, and you will move on from the things that don’t serve you no matter how much it hurts. I know this, because after all... I’m still standing.

You have managed to be strong for mommy, to hug me and wipe my tears when I’m defeated, and you tell me I’m the best mommy ever; you tell me things will get better.



HAIR . BARBER . Makeup WaxiNG . Facials . Nails 1O65 W Madison St. Chicago, IL




FALL MUSTHAVES FOR HIM By: Danielle Hazekamp

Shaving Cream Pacific Shaving Company Caffeinated Shaving Cream-Not only does this shaving cream contain caffeine, which reduces redness and soothes the skin, it also contains spearmint! That means it has a nice fresh and energizing smell. I am going to admit it, I used this to shave my legs and I loved it! It left my legs feeling nice and smooth, so I can only imagine how amazing this would feel on your face. If you shave your face often, I highly recommend using this shaving cream. By far it is one of the best I have ever tried // $7.99

After Shave

Pacific Shaving Company Caffeinated Aftershave- Just like the shaving cream this is a must have. It adds a nice refreshing feeling while reducing redness and soothing the skin. This aftershave also contains spearmint so it leaves your face with a refreshing tingle after application. // $7.99


FALL MUST-HAVES FOR HIM Nick Stick Pacific Shaving Company Nick Stick- Have you ever nicked yourself good while shaving? Well, the Pacific Shaving Company Nick stick is the solution to your problem. Containing aloe and vitamin E, this stick soothes the skin while also healing it. This product also stops the bleeding and contains a self-sterilizing applicator. // $5.99

Essentials Kit Tweezerman Online Only G.E.A.R Essential Grooming Kit-Every man needs an essential kit like this one. This kit is perfect for the guy on the go that needs all the necessities in one place. The kit comes in a small leather case, which fits, easily into your briefcase or backpack. This kit has everything you need including pointed tweezers, facial hair scissors, a multi-use nail tool (a combo of cuticle pusher, nail cleaner and file), and nail clippers. // $30.00




Restorative Hair Mask Color Fixation Restorative Hair Mask- I have been coloring my hair a lot recently. I went from blonde to purple to a dark cherry chocolate brown all in a span of months. Due to having such light blonde hair and then putting purple over it, my color faded quickly right after a coloring treatment! I used this mask and I definitely noticed it brightened up my color and it didn’t fade as much as it would if I were to just do my normal hair routine. It also made my hair feel silky and soft. Surya Brasil // $10.49

Sulfur Facial Mask


Aspara Sulfur Facial Mask- This mask is unlike any other that I have used. It actually comes in a powder form and you have to add water to it to activate it and turn it into a paste. I actually prefer the mask coming in this form since it will last longer as it won’t dry out. I would highly recommend mixing this mask in a bowl with the recommended amount of water since I did it in my hands and I don’t think it worked well. As for the mask - I like the cooling, tingling feeling it gave me while I was waiting for it to dry. This mask is made for oily and acne prone skin. Since my skin is neither, I cannot tell you how it would work for those skin types. I will say this, though, it left my skin feeling clean, supple and soft after using it. Aspara Skincare // $24.00

FALL BEAUTY PICKS FOR HER PRO Blowdryer PRO Beauty Tools 1875W Ionic AC Motor Dryer-When I first received this blow dryer, I couldn’t help but think of how professional looking it was. I love how quickly it can dry my hair especially since I loathe blow-drying my hair. If I were to blow dry my hair straight out of the shower it takes me 20 minutes. It can dry my hair must faster than my current blow dryer and still makes my hair feel soft and look shiny. Make sure to note, though, that this blow dryer is a little louder than some other blow dryers on the market, but it was not so loud that it bothered me. Target // $39.99

Lip Plumper Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion for Lips- I have been wanting to try lip plumpers for a while now! I had initially tried another brand, but the stinging sensation it produced was way over powering! It scared me to the point that I was nervous about kissing my baby because I was afraid it was going hurt. Thanks to an esthetician’s recommendation on this product, I can now have the fuller lip look without any of pain associated with most lip plumpers. Unlike other lip plumpers that contain allergens to irritate your lips to make them fuller, this product actually contains ingredients that help promote natural collagen. So, it makes your lips looks fuller, smoother and softer. Sephora // $24.00

Leave in Treatment Infusium 23 Repair + Renew Leave-In Treatment- My hair gets tangled really easily and it is long and thick. I pretty much dread brushing it when I get out of the shower since I know it is going to hurt. Thanks to this leave in treatment all of my tangles go away and I can actually comb my hair and not have to use my paddle brush which is a hair no no. Walgreens // $3.99


IN THE STYLIST CHAIR An Inte rview w it h Hair Styl ist: Ada m B o gu ck i I don’t know about you, but I love getting my hair done! It’s a great way to take care of myself and take personal time to decompress. What better way to give yourself some TLC? I also love the one on one time I get with my stylist! I actually get that personal one on one connection because my stylist is part of the SOLA Salon Studios where stylists have their own individual suites. Never heard of it? Well, Adam Bogucki is helping putting salon suites on the map. With 12 years in the industry, Adam has worked at most of Chicago’s top salons. He has now decided to take his career to the next level and work in a more private setting. I had the chance to ask Adam all types of questions including what is on trend for the fall as well as what is so great about working in an intimate private salon suite. Read on for the full interview!


HSM: What color(s)do you see become trendy with hair this fall? AB: I love fall because people become adventurous with their color choices. Hair colors tend to get richer and deeper. This fall we will see a lot of Auburn. From copper, rust and cinnamon, women will be testing out shades of this crimson hue. HSM: Color is always a big trend, what can one do to prevent their color from fading? AB: Choosing a color protective shampoo and conditioner will make a huge difference. My go-to is the Living Proof Timeless Shampoo and Conditioner. Also doing a pre-shampoo treatment will help too. Living Proof’s version prevents and corrects the signs of aging much like a retinol does for your skin while also protecting and enhancing your color


Extend your hair washes by not shampooing every day. If this is new to you, try going every other day and work your way up to every 2-3 days. Use dry shampoo in between washes and try out some fun up-styles for those transition periods. Use a deep conditioner more often. I advise using it once a week. Healthy hair holds moisture and prevents the color from looking dull. Finally, if you are going to be in the sun, always use product with SPF and/or wear a hat. The sun is the number one cause of fading hair. HSM: How often do you recommend someone get his or her hair colored?


AB: Overall, it depends on how long it takes for the hair to grow. I recommend that my clients get their hair colored every four to six weeks. HSM: What kind of hairstyle trends do you see up and coming for fall? AB: The Brazilian Shag is my favorite cut for fall 2016/winter 2017. It creates a look full of movement and free flowing layers. This cut is best for people with medium to long hair. HSM: If someone is trying to grow out his or her hair, how often do you recommend getting a trim?

AB: Again, this depends on the person’s hair growth cycle. The go-to is about 10 to 12 weeks. Remember, it is good to cut off the dead ends to help hair growth and keep it from looking ragged. HSM: I love that you are in a personal suite, what made you want to work in this environment vs. a standard salon setting? AB: I personally love connecting and working with my customers. In a big salon, I was constantly getting pulled away or interrupted. By opening a personal suite, I am able to fully devote my time to my customers and customize the experience accordingly.

AB: Do invest in your shampoo and conditioner. Also, make sure they are the correct formula for your hair type. Do make sure your hair is fully dry prior to applying hot tools such as a straightener or curling iron. Do get your hair cut every 4/6 weeks or 10/12 weeks depending on your haircut. Don’t aggressively brush your hair. Start at the ends and gently work your way up towards the roots to get rid of knots. Don’t rough your hair with a towel while wet. This technique can literally rip the hair cuticle open, leaving split and broken hair. Don’t wash your hair daily!

HSM: What are some dos and don’ts that you can advise people on when it comes to taking care of their hair?


MEET DZINE ROLÓN Carlos Rolón is a Chicago native with Puerto Rican roots that continue to inspire his breathtaking artwork. Internationally recognized for his elaborately crafted paintings, ornate sculptures and site-specific installations that incorporate social practice, Carlos Rolón/Dzine returned home for his first Chicago solo exhibition in 12 years this past summer at The Chicago Cultural Center. Upon entering his installation “Bonchiche” in the Claudia Cassidy Theatre this past July, I was immediately transported back in time to my late abuela’s Caribbean courtyard. The hanging macramé and shells, the iron sculptural work all brought me home for a moment. I was incredibly moved by the piece. Although simple in nature, it connected me to my roots. I had to take a moment to catch my breath and restrain my tears as the cultural artifacts that are so prominent in many Puerto Rican homes felt so personal to me. His work was a testament to the beauty of the social space before smart phones and social media took over our lives. Bonchinche created a re-imagined Caribbean courtyard and guests were invited to gossip amongst themselves while sitting on marble benches surrounded by wrought iron sculptural work, handmade shell macramé, as well as never-before-seen floral oil paintings and shattered tempered glass works evoking the night sky. This most recent installation highlights Carlos’ growth and continuing exploration of his artwork as an opportunity to engage with his audience and connect in a way that is tangible. Carlos attended Columbia College


Chicago with a concentration in painting and drawing. His studio practice incorporates pop culture, craft, ritual, beauty and its relationship to art history, subculture, appropriation and the institution. As a first-generation immigrant of Puerto Rican decent, both American and

POP CULTURE MEETS LATIN ROOTS Latino subcultures often influence his artwork. He has been known to pull inspiration from questioning the concept of luxury and craft making to further explore questions of identity, integration and aspiration as an artist. Some of Carlos’ most impactful work includes his installation pieces. These works ultimately produce a hybrid language of social practice, painting and sculpture inviting the viewer to engage in discourse and discussion. Unlike much of the artwork we see in galleries today, Carlos’ work is meant to be engaged with rather than just viewed and experienced. That is what truly takes his work to the next level. I wanted to get to know him a bit more so I reached out and Carlos

took some time to share his journey as well as share some upcoming exhibitions – keep reading for the full interview. 1. Carlos, can you introduce yourself and share a bit about your background/career and what led you to pursuing a professional career in the arts? CR: As a young boy, I remember my father had this very unique way of writing and making unique markings, which I always tried to copy. At the age of 15 I discovered galleries and museums on my own. I would pack a lunch, make the trek to a museum using public transportation, and spend the whole day in the institutions. I would find out where artists had produced public art or houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or buildings designed by Louis Sullivan. The city was my cultural playground. I was a young pre-teen exploring the city with a sponge for a brain. My explorations made me want to learn about new artis0ts, and when I found one that caught my interest, I’d write their name down, go to the public library and read about them. I began educated myself about art and art history at a very young age. 2. I personally feel your artwork and exhibitions/installations cross over from beautiful art meant to draw catch the attention into cultural statements – what are you exploring in your most recent pieces? CR: It’s a very personal thing. I want to challenge stereotypes. I love the discussion of identity and what it means, so the backstory of the work is crucial. It’s important to embrace

ART & CULTURE Images Courtesy of Carlos Rolรณn


Images Courtesy of Carlos Rolรณn


various types of mediums to assist in telling a story to the public at large. Regardless of age or gender. 3. Where do you draw your inspiration, what does the creation process look like for your? CR: I feel my work consistently appeals to both ordinary people and the educated elite. Melding painting, sculpture, and found objects. My studio practice explores the ways in which culture, both popular and historic, influences the public and private spaces that we inhabit. As a first-generation immigrant of Puerto Rican decent, I create work that questions the concepts of luxury and craft-making to explore issues of identity, integration and aspiration. 4. How has the art industry evolved for you over the years? Do you think technology has had an impact on the work you are doing as well as the work of other artists? CR: The art world has rules that are allowed to be broken. Technology has not had an effect on my work, but do feel it is the future of how artists will be able to communicate and sell work. The idea of only being able to see work within the confines of a brick and mortar space will eventually get overshadowed. 5. You really embody the ideals of an creative innovator – your messages of exploring cultural identity and conspicuous consumption is quite evident in the work that you do, how do you hope to engage your audiences and what kind of discussions are you trying to open up?

CR: When I’m preparing for any exhibition, I’m exploring the relationship between the space, culture, beauty, desire, commodity, and the cross-section of high art and its relationship to community. I try to introduce a fresh new language in

HOPE IS WHAT I BELIEVE IN the contemporary art discourse. I have learned that slow and steady wins the race. Popularity pageants come and go, but the work always remains. Keeping your train on schedule is what should keep people humble and focused. 6. What has been the hardest part of pursuing this career of pursuing your passions? What has been the best? CR: In channeling the tchotchkes, ornaments, mass produced faux objets d’art: vases, light fixtures, wallpapers and textiles all remembered from my childhood, in themselves are channeling a kind of luxury attainable only via mimetic, imitations of aristocratic decoration.

I’ve become a meticulous connoisseur of these taxonomic sub-genres. It is never a one-way street. Each time I customize an object there is an exchange whereby I try to possess the familiarity of any particular cultural experience. As such, I feel I’ve become a Kantian judge of what works in the realm of adaptation, assimilation and blending. I strive to adapt the capability of revamping any cultural imperative that draws my attention. 7. Our underlying theme for the upcoming issue of Halfstack is asking the question, “Will love bring change?” – What are your thoughts on this subject and how do you think we can spark change beginning in our communities to better the world for our future generations and how do you do so in your art? CR: Love is HOPE. Hope is what I believe in. Hope mixed with ambition, creativity and capitalizing on the chance the universe provides can create change. HOPE Websters dictionary; 1. to cherish a desire with anticipation <hopes for a promotion> 2. archaic : trust 3. transitive verb 4. to desire with expectation of obtainment 5. to expect with confidence : trust Wikipedia: Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.


8. Have you faced any obstacles on your journey and throughout your career and if so what and how did you overcome? CR: At the age of 21 I had a job working at Leo Burnett advertising and realized the power of the visual. However, I decided that I wanted to have the freedom to express myself in a way that was more personal and challenging. I wanted to investigate the possibility of being able to find a true voice inside of me and explore the idea to create objects with an honest feeling. When I made the decision to be an artist, I did it with intentions of doing so with no regrets.

to explore. For example, old world techniques of creating contemporary art are something I admire. These disciplines weave in and out and have impacted my studio practice. 10. What kind of advice would you give a young person who might be facing difficulties, following a dream or looking for a purpose in their life when it comes to pursuing their goals? “Try to begin to notice and explore obscure objects you walk by everyday. Stop to see the beauty and inspiration these objects. Even the mundane can inspire if looked at properly” Also, “Brilliant ideas don’t cost a cent.”

9. Are there any mentors or people that truly impacted your lives and if so how? CR: I’m very interested in the artist’s artist. For example Mike Kelley, Nancy Rubens, Kerry James Marshall and Jose Lerma evoke this spirit. Most recently, I saw an exhibition by the artist Jim Hodges. It was such a powerful statement on fragility, hope and desire. His use of ready-made and material is unparalleled. The work is so thoughtful and I just love that he takes every day objects and re-contextualizes them in really fascinating ways. I’m also a fan of traditional, self-taught artisans, These are some of my biggest inspiration, since craft making and technique is something I love


11. Finally, where can we learn more about you and your artwork and upcoming exhibitions? CR: Interview & Intro written by: Jennifer M. Veguilla-Lezan

Images Courtesy of Carlos Rolรณn




Love is an Agent of Change Written By: Reynisha Lindsay Layout By: Kandace McVickar

In 1 Corinthians 13:2â&#x20AC;&#x201C;8, 13 ESV, it states the following:

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.â&#x20AC;Ś13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 2


Everything we need to know about love is in 1 Corinthians 13. There is not a situation or feeling in the world today that is not touched upon in these verses. It is real, it is practical, it is inspiring, and it is truth. There is so much going on in the world today that is ugly and painful. At times, I am filled with empathy so much so that I cannot bear to hear or see anymore. I have to cut myself off from the news and the Internet because I feel too much. Yet, at the same time I am glad that I can still feel. As long as I can feel the hurt and the pain, I can take action for the better. It is once we become numb that we no longer have the ability to change. The way to ensure that we keep feeling is to care about one another. As the cliché’s go - we are our brother’s keeper and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Simply stated, we are to treat others as we would want to be treated. We should stop and put ourselves in the other person’s shoes before responding or passing judgment. Just think how you would want someone to respond to you if you were in the situation. When we close our eyes to individuals, we allow ignorance to creep in, which begets fear. Fear is false evidence appearing real. We have to understand one another in order to live with one another. However, understanding is not the same as condoning or accepting. In this context to understand is to be sympathetically or knowledgeably aware of a characteristic or nature. Understanding is a way for you to open your mind and realize that our differences are not a barrier, but an opportunity to learn about one another and share the love that is in each one of us. You do not have to be the same as someone in order to love them. Now, you may be saying I know that. However, do you believe it? When situations arise for you to show love to someone who is different or in the minority or who does not share the same views as you, do you spew hatred or kindness? If someone hurts you physically or emotionally, do you plot vengeance? If someone cuts you off when you are driving, do you scream obscenities out the window? There is a reason why the term “Road Rage” exists. When someone cuts me off or yells not so nice words at me, I always say, “You have a nice day.” At first I just said it to refrain from saying something bad, then I started believing it. I started saying, “I hope you have a blessed day” because I knew they needed it. Alternatively, if someone is speeding crazily, I may say, “God let them get to where they are going safely because they obviously need to get somewhere in a hurry”. Of course, this is after I have moved over 2 lanes away from them. My point is kindness can start as a choice, a state of mind. Eventually, it will become part of your behavior. When you have a kind nature, love is sure to follow.

I believe love acts as a conduit for change. Love comes from God and God is love. We should all strive to be more loving. Love can bring about a change in ourselves by guiding our thoughts and actions. More importantly, in order to make the world a better place we have to be happy within so we can display love outwardly. This practice of loving one another may not come naturally for some. Everyone has a unique set of experiences and influences which shape who we are as individuals. For example, growing up you may not have experienced a loving relationship between your parents or family. Therefore, you may find it difficult to express love to others. Moreover, you may struggle with making relationships last or finding that special someone to love. Nevertheless, if you have been shown love by anyone, you can reciprocate love. Love is complicated yet so simple. Children love without conditions or expectations. They love their parents because they are their parents. It does not matter if mommy or daddy makes mistakes sometimes. It doesn’t matter if mommy is not a size 2 or daddy is not a body builder. It does not matter what you look like or what you do, or what you possess, they just love you. No matter how many times you mess up they seem to forgive you. It is only when we become adults that we put requirements and expectations on love. However, love cannot be bridled. As 1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV states, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never fails.” Yet, some of us go through life never finding love because we lack the ability to love. One must be vulnerable to experience the love that surpasses all understanding. More importantly you must love yourself in order to give this kind of love to someone else. Simply put, without love we have nothing, we gain nothing. So, again I say love is a means for change. It transforms the hearts of men. There have been thousands of songs written about love. The word love appears hundreds of times in the Bible. Additionally, it has been the topic of thousands of poems, books and movies. Love has always been and always will be. No matter how much hate, greed, envy, selfishness or bigotry exists, love is still present. As long as we remember that we all are the same, wanting to be loved, together we can defeat the ills of the world through love.



One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to - steve jobs face the challenge of change.


â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Martin Luther King, Jr.







Agents of Change Fall 2016 Issue  

Our Fall 2016 Issue focuses asking the question, will love spark change? Amidst a time of turmoil, we must be the change we wish to see.

Agents of Change Fall 2016 Issue  

Our Fall 2016 Issue focuses asking the question, will love spark change? Amidst a time of turmoil, we must be the change we wish to see.