Coodie and Chike take us behind the scenes of ‘jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy’

Filmmakers Clarence Simmons and Chike Ozah — better known as Coodie and Chike — have worked with Kanye West on music videos like Through the Wire, Two Words and Jesus Walks. But their latest collaboration was much longer than a four-minute song and took a bit more time to make. jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy is … Continue reading “Coodie and Chike take us behind the scenes of ‘jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy’”

Is Kanye redefining contemporary Christian music?

Ye’s Donda Listening Party in Chicago was controversial, anticipated, and legendary.  This means it checked off all the boxes that one would come to expect from a Kanye West show. While many gave the artist (also expected) heat for his artistic concept and for including controversial performer Da Baby and accused abuser Marylin Mason in … Continue reading “Is Kanye redefining contemporary Christian music?”

Kanye West comes home for DONDA debut at Soldiers Field 8 26 21

The long wait could be over. In an announcement today, Kanye West may actually debut DONDA in his hometown. Kanye has announced a third DONDA listening session. This one is taking place in his hometown of Chicago, at Soldier Field, on August 26. West uploaded a text post to his Instagram page this afternoon, reading “DONDA SOLDIER FIELD 8 … Continue reading “Kanye West comes home for DONDA debut at Soldiers Field 8 26 21”

Kanye’s mother, Donda West, is celebrated in new book

On the week of the Kanye West ‘DONDA’ album release comes a new book, Donda’s Rules: The Scholarly Documents of Dr. Donda West (Mother of Kanye West). The book delivers Dr. West’s philosophy as a professor, writer, world traveler, and mother of Kanye West.  Edited by Chicago State University professor Garrard McClendon, Donda’s Rules highlights 70 tips on how to write creatively. Donda West said … Continue reading “Kanye’s mother, Donda West, is celebrated in new book”

Kanye West & Gap will bring YEEZY apparel to the people

Bold Partnership will Bring YEEZY apparel to the people with the new YEEZY Gap Line. The Kanye West and Gap relationship comes full circle as the visionary creative and cultural icon returns to disrupt fashion retail. Kanye West, a multi-industry creative entrepreneur, is poised to disrupt retail by bringing his YEEZY brand to millions of customers around … Continue reading “Kanye West & Gap will bring YEEZY apparel to the people”

Kanye West joins Chicago demonstrations for Floyd

Controversial rapper and Chicago native, Kanye West has joined the public outcry for police reform and justice for George Floyd and other African Americans killed by police brutality. The performer appeared in Chicago Thursday night at a “Justice for George Floyd/CPD out of CPS” rally on the city’s South Side. Alycia Kamil, 19, and Jalen Kobayashi, 19, … Continue reading “Kanye West joins Chicago demonstrations for Floyd”

Kanye West buys childhood South Shore home

Yeezy is coming back to his South Shore neighborhood. Or at least he has his old house. Kanye West, also known as the Louis Vuitton Don, has recently purchased his childhood home in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood for $225,000. West’s mother, Donda West, purchased the 1,600 square foot home located at 7815 S. South Shore … Continue reading “Kanye West buys childhood South Shore home”

Ye barred from Grammy Awards due to his concerning online behavior

Grammy Award winner and billionaire formally known as Kanye West, now legally known as Ye, has been barred from performing at the upcoming Grammy Awards due to his concerning online behavior. A rep for the artist confirmed to the Blast that the artist’s team received a phone call Friday night informing him he had been … Continue reading “Ye barred from Grammy Awards due to his concerning online behavior”

South Shore’s Regal Mile Studios receives city approval

The Regal Mile Studios, a proposed $60 million film studio planned for Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood received preliminary approval from a Chicago commission. The Plan Commission unanimously approved a proposal for a “state-of-the-art media campus” with 220,000 square feet of studio space on a 6.5-acre plot in the far southwest corner of South Shore. A … Continue reading “South Shore’s Regal Mile Studios receives city approval”

NY-based Nice Shoes expands into Chicago

“Since making our way to Chicago in 2014, we have really enjoyed being a part of the creative community.” —Tara Holmes NYC-based creative studio Nice Shoes has expanded its Midwest presence by opening a stand-alone space in Chicago’s vibrant River North district. The studio will be led by Senior Colorist Ron Sudul and Color Assistant … Continue reading “NY-based Nice Shoes expands into Chicago”

Slang signs Grammy-winning producer Anthony Kilhoffer

Vince Lawrence cuts a deal with his longtime friend, the legendary trackmaster Slang Music Group, the company founded by Chicago House Pioneer Vince Lawrence, has signed four-time Grammy-winning producer Anthony Kilhoffer for commercial representation. The move elevates the studio to a level of expertise, talent, and wisdom that is matched by few, if any, in … Continue reading “Slang signs Grammy-winning producer Anthony Kilhoffer”

The 7th annual Battle of the Advertising Bands

This year’s juried competition of agency bands will rock the Cubby Bear on May 17 The 7th annual Battle of the Advertising Bands, the Battle For Hope, returns to the Cubby Bear on May 17. A juried music competition with rock, rap, disco, and soul overtones, the Battle for Hope raises money for Off The … Continue reading “The 7th annual Battle of the Advertising Bands”

Reel Black List: Kwame Amoaku, Cinematic Samurai

Multi-faceted film pro who has collaborated with Russel Simmons and Spike Lee “would love to talk and build with Steve McQueen.” Kwame Amoaku’s vast experience as a writer / director / camera operator brings a unique vision to the cinematic experience. Combine that with years as a production manager / locations and assistant director and … Continue reading “Reel Black List: Kwame Amoaku, Cinematic Samurai”

Slang Music Group launches a Vault of licensable tunes

Legendary composer Vince Lawrence and his “comrades around the world” tap a motherlode of music for advertising and film   Slang Music Group packed thousands of leasable songs into a digital layout that operates like a record store to create the Slang Music Vault, a moderately priced collection of customized tracks officially launching this week. … Continue reading “Slang Music Group launches a Vault of licensable tunes”

Cutters Studios welcomes editor Livio Sanchez

Virtual reality storytelling pioneer and internationally-acclaimed editor Livio Sanchez joins Cutters Studios New York location   (New York — 20 July 2018) – Cutters Studios is very proud to announce the addition of internationally-acclaimed editor Livio Sanchez to its New York staff, effective immediately. The announcement was made by New York Executive Producer Elizabeth Krajewski. … Continue reading “Cutters Studios welcomes editor Livio Sanchez”

Global Mixx Forum announces 2018 lineup

“The World is Yours” — the 12th annual Global Mixx Music & Film Forum Presented by ComEd — announces music, film and keynote speaker lineup (Chicago — 17 July 2018) Global Mixx Media Group announces that Emmy award-winning television and film producer Rushion McDonald and Grammy-nominated producer and international DJ The Twilite Tone will be … Continue reading “Global Mixx Forum announces 2018 lineup”

Battle for Hope announces 2018 lineup

Today, the sixth annual Battle for Hope announced the lineup of advertising bands that will compete in this year’s concert fundraiser for Off The Street Club at the Cubby Bear on May 18. The five-act bill includes a pair of top finishers from last year’s competition, a pair of veterans returning for another go, and … Continue reading “Battle for Hope announces 2018 lineup”

The Reel Black List: Jim Glover, Creative Director/Writer

Jim Glover has worked for general market and black agencies and his work has always been on the cutting edge, which many believe is why he has won so many accolades in the biz. Jim has had commercials on the Super Bowl, introduced McDonald’s breakfast to America, and convinced conservative Dockers that their khakis were … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Jim Glover, Creative Director/Writer”

The Reel Black List: Harold Dennis, Actor

Harold Dennis is an American actor with twenty years in the business and over one hundred and fifty film credits. Dennis enjoys playing complex characters with a myriad of conflicts and realizes how fortunate he is to do it. Here are five films you can watch right now on YouTube: Hellraiser: What’s Your Pleasure, The … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Harold Dennis, Actor”

Barbour to lead Camp + King Chicago

Former DDBer Kristin Barbour will have a homecoming of sorts as she has been named managing director of Camp + King’s new Chicago satellite office, created in part to serve client Energizer. An advertising veteran, Barbour has worked with some of the nation’s most prestigious brands, including McDonald’s, Mars, Kraft and Chevrolet. The San Francisco-based … Continue reading “Barbour to lead Camp + King Chicago”

AT band “Hard to Swallow” wins 2017 Battle for Hope

Fierce vocals, tight chops and explosive energy helped the AbelsonTaylor band Hard To Swallow win the 5th annual Battle for Hope competition at the Cubby Bear on Thursday night.

The Battle for Hope is a live music competition between bands formed exclusively within the ranks of individual advertising agencies. Proceeds are donated to Chicago’s Off The Street Club, an organization dedicated to helping youths in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.

Filmmaker Harris takes a risk with Englewood Film Fest

Filmmaker Mark Harris of 1555 Filmworks is doing something bold and brave, without any sponsorship support to speak of, for the love and hope of his neighborhood, which happens to be the most stricken in the city.

Harris is hosting the Englewood Film Festival, the first held inside Chicago’s African American community on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28-29 at Kennedy King College at 63rd and Halsted, in the heart of the beleaguered South Side Englewood neighborhood.

L.A. Bucks Boys set up shop in Chicago

The timing of Bucks Boys Productions’ big shoot in Chicago for Silk soy milk/Leo Burnett, will be remembered for its timing.  “We started the shoot in January and wrapped Feb. 2, the day of the blizzard,” says Jonathan Becker.

Despite the weather, the Chicago native was happy working on home turf. 

Becker’s partner, Josh Greenberg directed the Silk campaign and they flew in their L.A. editor and Burnett favorite, Nick Gartner, to edit here.

CMAs honor 45 at rockin’ awards ceremony

Awards went to Chicago’s most talented entertainers in 45 categories at the recent star-studded 30th Annual Chicago Music Awards (CMA) that celebrated the city’s vibrant music scene.

“Chicago is a city to be reckoned with in the music industry,” says CMA founder/president Ephraim Martin. “As we continue to work together, Chicago will continue to grow as the center of new music.”

Art, technology collide at MGFest through Saturday

Networking flashmob “Meeting Massive” opened the cutting edge Chicago Motion Graphics Festival, running through Saturday, which has expanded mightily over the past five years to become the premiere industry event for motion and sound design, visual effects and interface technology.

A thousand attendees are expected over five days “to experience an unprecedented degree of event integration,” says graphic designer/MGFest founder Mason Dixon.

C-K creative duo win Optimus contest

The Cramer-Krasselt duo of copywriter Andrei Chahine and art director Ryan Stotts are the winners of Optimus’ second annual “One Shot” contest.

The script’s subject, non-profit ShelterBox, which provides emergency aid for victims of natural disasters, will be produced in October by Optimus’ production arm, ONE, and air as a 30-second PSA.

3in1 produces saucy Hecky’s BBQ spot

Despite having recently cut back staff and office space, 3to1 studio’s Josh Reichlin claims that a philosophy of cheerleading on behalf of their clients is keeping them busier than ever.

Their “saucy” new 15-second spot for Hecky’s Barbecue, to air in July, is characteristic of the cheeky animations that have gained the studio repeat clients for print, web design and visual production.

“Hollywood Jerome” wins $100,000 IFP/Chicago Production Fund for adaptation of Yusef poem

Frey Hoffman’s “The Untimely Demise of Hollywood Jerome,” the 2007 winner of the IFP/Chicago Production Fund, is a departure in both content and style from past winners of the fund.

An adaptation of Malik Yusef’s poem “Hollywood Jerome,” it will be the first Production Fund winner to address urban themes, and the first to operate outside the conventions of straight narrative.

Hoffman was awarded $100,000 in in-kind goods and services for the production of a short film.

Optimus “spots” air on Comcast

THIRTY OPTIMUS “SPOTS”?not about the post house, but 30-second creative confections by all Optimus employees and not just editors?have been airing as commercials on Comcast.

Staffers were told they could work as individuals or in teams. The only rules were the length, conform to TV standards and end with the distinctive Optimus logo.

There was no overall name or theme for the exercise, said client services director Doug Manley, who with assistant editor Dustin LaForce, whipped out their “spot” in a couple of hours.

Roundup of Indie Production, Screenings

JOHN MALKOVICH stars in the indie production “Drunkboat” that shoots May 23-June 25. Writer/director is Chicago native and theatre director Bob Meyer who, like his old friend Malkovich from early, early Steppenwolf days, makes his home in France.

The story, based on Meyer’s life in Chicago, is about a teen boy conspiring with his uncle (Malkovich), who likes the sauce a lot and hence the title, to buy a boat.

Producers giving local rappers to chance to be next big stars in two hip-hip docs

Chicago is going to be the next place for hip-hop, predicted director Yusef Hood, whose hip-hop DVD documentary “State2daLake” was just released and his South Side Hood Films is working on a follow-up doc for a September release.

Released in late July, “State2daLake” features live performances and music videos by local artists including Cap 1, Lloyd Banks of G Unit, Pistol Pete, Big Blast and Global Gangsters.

“The talent of these guys will just blow people away,” said director Yusef Hood.

Screenwriter Mark Harris’ directing debut due for November video release

It’s a big summer for Mark Harris. After writing several unproduced scripts for hire, his directing debut “Why Men Cheat” is in post-production at Day For Night Film in Virginia, on its way to a November video release. And his script “Hard Knock Life” is slated for production in Los Angeles this August.

Harris made “Why Men Cheat” over a rapid-fire week in May in his South Side Englewood neighborhood on an under-$50,000 budget. Don Winter (“13 Days in April”) shot on 24P DV.