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Gallery Guichard and New Bronzeville Artists Lofts Grand Opening Aims to Revitalize Bronzeville, Chicago Art and Culture Scene Gallery Guichard and New Bronzeville Artists Lofts Grand Opening Aims to Revitalize Bronzeville, Chicago Art and Culture Scene(1)

By: See Brown

On Tuesday, June 24, City of Chicago officials including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Pat Dowell cut the ribbon on the brand new Bronzeville Artist Lofts and new home of Fine Art Gallery Guichard located at 436 E. 47th St., in Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

The opening of the Bronzeville artists lofts and The Gallery Guichard aims to revitalize 47th street’s culture and art scene.

The new Bronzeville Artist Lofts, 33,614 square foot mixed-use building with 12,233 square feet of commercial space on the first floor with 16-unit residential apartments on the upper floors and a 3,000-square-foot artist incubator.

The Bronzeville Artist Lofts will be a new stop on the Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour that begins in July.

The Mayor called Bronzeville “a city within a city” with the artists lofts at the center of the revitalization of the community.



The Bronzeville Artist Lofts (BAL) are a live/work rental space open to working artists and their families. Artists must submit an application that include income requirements and questionnaire about their needs. Apartment rental prices and unit sizes for BAL are:

  • Studio $592 – $699 (600sq. feet -625sq feet)
  • 1-Bedroom $621 – $804 (780 sq. feet – 975sq feet)
  • 2-Bedroom $748 – $1,175(979sq. feet -1128 sq feet)

#BVNews walked through the Bronzeville Artists Lofts prior to residents moving in. Watch the video walkthrough of the living spaces.



Gallery Guichard will hold its own ribbon cutting ceremony to open its first exhibit in the new space called “Genesis.” The exhibit features paintings, sculptures, and mixed media art works from black artists from around the world.

Gallery Guichard “Genesis” opens June 27, 2014 from 6pm to 10pm. The event is open to the public. “Genesis” exhibit runs thru August 5, 2014.

#BVNews spoke to owners Andre and Frances Guichard about their new location. Watch the interview below.

 

Artists living in the Bronzeville Artists Lofts are featured in Gallery Guichard’s “Genesis” exhibit. Roger Carter, an artist and BAL resident paintings are featured throughout the exhibit.


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The development of the Bronzeville Artist Lofts was well supported by Alderman Pat Dowell. During a townhall meeting Alsderman Dowell discussed the inspiration behind the Bronzeville Artist Lofts. Watch #BVNews video of Alderman Dowell townhall.

Renovated from an historic building, the former Jones Brothers Ben Franklin Store at 436-442 East 47th Street, the development of the Bronzeville Artists Lofts construction began in 2013. It final cost $7 million was made possible by Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds from The 47th/King Drive TIF District, Gallery Guichard, and the federal Neighbhorhood Stabilization Program, which focuses on revitalizing communities on the South and West sides of Chicago. The building’s development is a joint venture between Revere Properties, LLC and Three Corners, LLC. These two teams each are led by Lee Reid, Jr. and Rob Ferrino.

 

 

Chicago Hosts World Cup Viewing Party in Soldier Field to Accommodate Thousands of Soccer Fans Chicago Hosts World Cup Viewing Party in Soldier Field to Accommodate Thousands of Soccer Fans(0)

By: See Brown

If you ever thought soccer was not well supported by Americans, think again. On June 16, Chicago hosted its first World Cup 2014 Viewing Party in Grant Park, Chicago.  Approximately 8,000 soccer fans dressed in red, white, and blue attended the free event sponsored by U.S. Soccer Association at Arvey Field at Columbus Drive and Roosevelt Road.

Following the huge success of the first Chicago World Cup Viewing Party, City of Chicago hosted three events in Grant Park attended by as many as 20, 000 soccer fans. Team USA moved succeeded to World Cup Quarter Finals after beating Portugal.

On July 1, Chicago World Cup viewing party will be held at Soldier Field. Team USA vs. Belgium in the Quarter Final World Cup match will begin at 3pm. Soldier Field capacity is 61,00 and fans will be able to enter the stadium beginning at 1:30pm. Admission will be free.

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On Thursday, June 26 approximately 20,000 soccer fans attended the USA vs. Germany World Cup Viewing Party in at the southeast corner of Balbo and Columbus drive.
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The Chicago World Cup viewing party in Grant Park featured large 19×33 foot high definition screen at the south end of Grant Park, near Columbus Drive and Roosevelt Rd. The viewing party featured, ESPN’s live video feed that showed other American soccer fans watching the game including, Rio De Janiero in Brazil, Boston, and U.S. Army members in Afghanistan.

Watch Unieros video footage from fans cheering as Team USA scored its victorious goal against Ghana.


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Enthusiastic soccer fans watched the giant screen and cheered “USA USA USA!”

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Chicago will host more World Cup free viewing parties in Grant Park that will coincide with Team USA games during the World Cup tourdnament which ends July 13, 2014.

Dates for the Chicago world cup viewing parties in Grant Park are June 16, 22, 26, 2014

 

The Family Blues of Willie Dixon Who Changed the Style of the Blues in Chicago The Family Blues of Willie Dixon Who Changed the Style of the Blues in Chicago(0)

By Raquel Harris : Chicago Staff Writer


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The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals. During three days on five stages, more than 500,000 blues fans prove that Chicago is the “Blues Capital of the World.” Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and the late Koko Taylor.

With an average of 500,000 in attendance each year, it stands stagnant in being the largest Blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s music festivals according to cityofchicago.org. Some of the festival’s past performers have been greats like Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Muddy Waters.

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Along with food and music, there are also Blues vendors that sell souvenirs like clothing, mugs, and gift sets to fans. Some of the vendors are even family to some of the late greats. Willie Dixon’s grandson Willie Dixon the second is one of those vendors.


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For those who may not know, Willie Dixon senior was a songwriter, singer/ bassist/ producer as well as contributed hundreds of song compositions to the Chicago Blues industry. Throughout Dixon’s career, he became a Grammy- award winning artist, and grew to be one of the most prolific songwriters of his time. Dixon is best known for shaping the post-World War II sound of Chicago Blues and was even portrayed in the 2008 feature film Cadillac Records.


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Dixon the second said that the light that sheds from his grandfather’s legacy is a positive one. “It’s a very positive light because of the positive impact that he had on people and the Blues community, and also the ethnicity of African American culture, said Dixon the second.


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In his later years, Dixon senior became a relentless ambassador for Blues and his local practitioners leading him to found the Blues Heaven Foundation, a non-profit organization in Chicago which works to continue the Blues’ legacy and to secure copyrights and royalties for blues musicians who were exploited in the past. The Dixon family promotes the corporation while at the festival. People like my grandfather and the people he worked with were innovators of their time and that’s pretty great,” said Dixon the second.

Southside Chicago Volunteer (ChicagoCares.org) Event Happens Less Than 12 Hours After Violent Shootout Which Ask Us All The Question : Does Chicago Care? Southside Chicago Volunteer (ChicagoCares.org) Event Happens Less Than 12 Hours After Violent Shootout Which Ask Us All The Question : Does Chicago Care?(0)

 

By: Vince Wallace

With all due respect to the brothers & sisters who are out there trying to lift the South Side from the despair of the #Chiraq label, on Friday night about 11:30 pm the area around 93rd and Wallace Ave. sounded like a war zone. That’s the only way to describe it.

I live in the area, Washington Heights. It’s a bedroom community with neighborhoods marked by rows of 40-50 year old bungalow houses, tree-lined streets that teachers, city workers, even a few cops call home. Hearing gunshots is, unfortunately, a fairly common occurrence. But the level of firepower that announced itself half a mile in every direction on Friday night was far from ordinary. It was terrifying and I took to social media to describe what was going on and hopefully hear some information back from others about what was happening.

Later I found out I was wrong about the number of shots fired. Saturday morning, crime scene investigators marked close to 70 rounds spent at the scene. That wasn’t the only information that needed adjustment. The original story was of a traffic stop gone wrong. That characterization would come into question as well.

All of this took place right in front of a school, Rudyard Kipling Elementary School. Saturday morning the school eagerly expected a group of volunteers from local service group Chicago Cares to come and do some painting as part of a massive volunteer service weekend with projects all over Chicago. They arrived as scheduled Saturday morning – a small army in purple t-shirts. The buses that transported them were directed around the police barricades that surrounded the school on all sides. The volunteers stepped off the buses, gathered in the gymnasium, got a pep talk from their project coordinator, and Kipling Asst. Principal Dr. Regina Hampton. Then they got to work on improving the school grounds with no idea that the area around them had been ripped apart by a hail of gunfire less than 12 hours before they arrived.

A few hours before the shootout WTTW’s Chicago Tonight aired an illuminating week-in-review segment. The panelists from the Sun-Times, the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business discussed a proposed lighting initiative that supporters believe will transform Chicago into the “Paris of the Midwest”. Panelists were divided about whether such a move is really the right priority for Chicago at the moment. Mary Mitchell of the Sun-Times was quite adamant that it isn’t. John McCarron at the Tribune agreed and said:

“If you’re the mayor understand there’s two cities, I mean let’s admit it. And you got to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time. I mean you got to be able to deal with the fiscal problem, and the violence problem and so you’re absolutely right about that” (follow the link at the bottom of the page for a full review of the conversation).

“The solution to all this is not marching”.

There are some indications from the community that the first reports on the shooting incident may not be entirely accurate. Eyewitnesses and people close to the persons involved insisted that it was not a routine traffic stop. More than one person described a pair of Chicago Police Department gang unit SUVs boxing the suspect vehicle – the grey Buick pictured above – from the front and rear along Wallace Ave. That description is consistent with commonly observed police tactics used when suspect vehicles are considered dangerous. The car was believed to be connected with persons who fired shots at officers on Thursday night. Believing someone in the vehicle was armed police demanded they come out and drop any weapons. The man and woman inside the vehicle did not respond fast enough and the police fired one shot, probably a warning shot. The man in the passenger seat opened fire. “It sounded like he had a machine gun”, one witness said. The police rammed the car front and back and returned fire heavily.


One of the two police vehicles involved and the Buick police located and blocked in

There are some questions about the identities of those involved. While reporting says the suspects were recovering in the hospital some believe that the driver and gunman were killed, while those in police custody at Little Company of Mary Hospital were actually driving a second vehicle and took off running in opposite directions once the shooting started. This version of events should compel further investigation since it is one possible explanation for the pair of police helicopters that were surveying the area after the shooting.

Understandably, those with knowledge of the incident declined to be identified publicly.

Even with conflicting versions of events there was tell-tale evidence all around and the neighborhood was out and talking. One member of the community pointed to the place where a bullet ripped through the drain pipe, right below a bedroom window. Though the South side is known for sporadic violence, this was beyond the norm considerably. People were fed up. Asked about the actions of the police one person said, “They [gangs] come and ride around here all the time. And there wasn’t no [police] brutality. You can’t blame the police for all this. The solution to all this is not marching”. Another chimed in, “Gangs plant people in the CAPS meetings, in the block club meetings. Take down what you say. If you say something they don’t like you get a brick through your window”.

 

Friday night marked a significant escalation in the level of violence taking place in Chicago neighborhoods. The pattern spans multiple neighborhoods in multiple wards. No single community can successfully confront this epidemic alone. The South Side needs some backup.

“A volunteer experience”

Chicago Cares volunteers setting up garden boxes with CPD still on scene. Volunteers from Chicago Cares touching up Rudyard Kipling Elementary School the morning after a shootout injures 2 Chicago police officers. Joe Weiss, project coordinator for the trip to Kipling Painting & stenciling the hallway. The crime scene investigators were finished in the early afternoon, but the block remained roped off and police maintained their presence as the Chicago Cares group worked around the school grounds. A couple of the volunteers heard that something happened last night. Most thought it was just a traffic accident since the police SUV and the Buick they rammed were still there. They painted hallways, took care of weeds in the playground, painted a map of the world on the blacktop, and put together garden boxes for the biology classes to plant and learn. It was a real flurry of good-hearted activity.

Some could be cynical about why a bunch of folks from downtown and the North Side would take an interest in a school all the way across the city. But for the people who made the trip, and brought along friends and family to lend a hand during this massive citywide volunteer event cynicism be damned. They believe in making a difference. They believe in stepping up to be instruments of change. In essence, they want to bring the two Chicagos together through service to prevent us being brought together by the daily repetition of collective tragedy.

The mission statement on the Chicago Cares Twitter profile reads, “Chicago Cares builds volunteer experiences that mobilize and inspire people to make Chicago a stronger community.” You can see how that “volunteer experience” translates to action in the Serve-a-thon pictures posted on their feed and the photo album in this article. The man (and woman) power, along with the funding for materials all came from Northwestern Memorial Hospital – an institution that is no stranger to the effects of Chicago gun violence. 3 (or 4) busloads of people came to the South side with swimming pools worth of paint and enough rollers for every hand to demonstrate the transformative power of volunteerism. Lead coordinator Joe Weiss brims with pride talking about the project and his crew which included his son.

Chicago cannot, and will not stay separated from itself forever. We have a choice whether we will come together in service or through tragedy. One side of town cannot stem the tide of violence alone. The people at Northwestern Memorial, one of the dwindling number of level one trauma centers in the city, know that it can’t. The Chicago Cares bi-annual Serve-a-Thon can be a memorable afternoon or the beginning of something more. Chicago needs it to be something more. Groups like Ceasefire/Cure Violence, church groups and others have the desire to take ownership of their communities and build a more peaceful city. But they’re often isolated and exhausted facing summer after summer of an ever-intensifying uphill battle without much help from an Emanuel administration that either treats them like part of the problem, or manipulates crime statistics to justify disregarding the problem altogether.

Through their efforts the people of Northwestern Memorial Hospital could change the destinies of hundreds or even thousands of Chicagoans. The opportunity is real. Instead of one day wheeling a man who used to be a Kipling student into surgery, the day could come when they quietly staff an empty emergency room on a hot, summer Friday night. That kind of impact is a volunteer experience worth building.

 

So on behalf of Washington Heights, I’d like to thank Chicago Cares for coming by to see us. Please, don’t be a stranger.

 

The full Chicago Tonight Panel video

 http://southchirepublic.tumblr.com/post/88145861543/chicago-tonight-panel-finally-discusses-the-vibrance

About ChicagoCares.org

Since 1991, Chicago Cares volunteers have completed more than 1.4 million hours of service through over 30,000 group volunteer projects.Chicago Cares builds volunteer experiences that mobilize and inspire people to make Chicago a stronger community.

We work closely with community leaders to identify and research critical needs and develop targeted programs which mobilize thousands of volunteers to address those needs. Our programs make Chicago a better place to live for everyone. We inspire people to give of their time and energy, creating a real sense of community and shared responsibility.

Southside Chicago Perspectives Charter Schools Students March For Peace Jam Fest To Combat The Violence in Chicago Southside Chicago Perspectives Charter Schools Students March For Peace Jam Fest To Combat The Violence in Chicago(0)

By Raquel Harris – Bronzeville – Chicago, IL

Earlier this morning, hundreds of students and teachers from two Perspectives Charter School campuses marched through the streets of Chicago to fight for peace, and the very cause that they were fighting for brought some participants to tears.

I Am for Peace: A Student Documentary For Change

 

 

Perspectives Charter Schools students are leading a campaign to promote peace in Chicago—”I’m for Peace.” Through the A Disciplined Life education model they are developing strategies and actions to curb violence and promote peace. These same students are creating a documentary video to showcase their efforts.

“It was very powerful to walk with my students holding the peace sign, it was pretty moving actually,” said Samantha Mondro.
The march was titled “I Am Peace,” and started around 9:30 a.m. at South State Street and West Cermak Road. The march ended on East 36th Street and South Wabash where the open “Peace Jam Fest” was being held. The Peace Jam Fest was the resting stop for the marchers where they were able to enjoy music and other activities.

The word “peace” can have a variety of different meanings, but for the city of Chicago peace is ironically a war that Chicagoans are fighting daily to win.

Chicago is known for its festivals, music, and culture, but what some may not know is that it also a haven for gun violence, gang activity, and high death rates. The city became so infamous for these traits that citizens nicknamed the city “Chiraq” because of the war-like similarities to the War on Terror in Iraq.

Scimone Williams is an 11th grade student at Perspective Charter School, Math and Science Academy, and talked about the violence in her community.

 

I’m For Peace—Perspectives Charter Schools from Perspectives Charter Schools on Vimeo.

 

“Things are really getting crazy, you can’t go out with friends or family without even worrying about your house getting broken into, or getting killed, you know? It’s not fair that students can’t go out and have fun,” said Williams.

Mondro, is an 11th grade English and Composition teacher and said that she participated in this march because her students are important to her. “We think of each other as a family, and whatever affects my students affects me so I think it’s really important that we take responsibility for each other because that’s all that we have,” Mondro said.

Tears began to fill Mondro’s eyes as she expressed what the march meant to her emotionally. “This is why I became a teacher to see them [the students] doing something that’s real. It made me proud to be a charter school teacher and an educator; these kids are definitely a part of my family.” Mondro said.

 

 

Chicago Loop Alliance second ACTIVATE series event for summer 2014 features art in its natural habitat Chicago Loop Alliance second ACTIVATE series event for summer 2014 features art in its natural habitat(0)

By: Vince Wallace

The other day I read a magnificent article by writer, reporter and well-reputed “St. Louis commenter” Sarah Kendzior on the dangers of using art as a tool to cover over so-called urban blight. Her recent work has included a lot of incisive commentary on the cultural fallout of economic inequality. About a North Philadelphia art installation which proports to tackle the dilapidated area’s aesthetic by essentially covering it over she writes:

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“People” are those who can afford to view poverty through the lens of aesthetics as they pass it by. Urban decay becomes a set piece to be remodeled or romanticized.

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She offers a lot to think about in terms of how modernizes often fail to build inclusiveness into the mix as they conceptualize urban spaces and design a city’s future. In this case, art is being used – probably unwittingly, but used nonetheless – to assist the nefarious project of gentrification. It’s being used to cover over the process of pushing out people who have resided there for generations to make room for a new, but strangely familiar brand of hipster appropriators and colonizers.

In other words, it’s a pretty bad rap for art.

Taking up Sarah’s challenge to abandon this kind of superficiality and think about how art can, and should be used to bring people together instead of rip neighborhoods apart, I can’t help but think about the work of the Chicago Loop Alliance and their ACTIVATE series of downtown events. Tonight they will transform a downtown alley into a space for artists from around Chicago. Some of the artists are established, some lesser-known. Some are artists of color and those representing various minority communities around town. Not enough, but some. And that representation is growing as the event series becomes more popular.

 

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The last ACTIVATE party (that’s really all it is, just a party y’all) took an alley section on Monroe between State and Wabash that Chicagoan have passed by perhaps thousands of times in our daily ramblings and made it into a space inviting all Chicagoans to enjoy some interesting (and sometimes a bit oddball) diverse multimedia sculptures, a few drinks, a DJ who could go from playing one track of ambient beats facilitating conversations between people who rarely get the chance to stop and talk to one another to spreading the gospel of Phantogram the next. It was a good show. It was art, and music, and business-people chatting with baristas, Occupy protesters having a cold one with non-profit pros. It wasn’t quite the North side hugging it out with the South side or the Gold Coast discovering the city west of Ashland. Not yet. But it’s getting there.

And now I still pass by that alley a couple times a week as I have for years. But instead of looking past it, it’s that place where they had that party that time and I met some very interesting people. Because why should cultural memory necessarily be connected places built for the purpose like Millennium Park or Wrigley? They can happen anywhere really.

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Tonight they’ll be doing it again on State St between Lake and Randolph, 5 pm til 10. 21 and over can RSVP for a complimentary drink ticket, or bottled water for those of us inclined to temperance in our off hours. Why not stop by? Everyone’s invited, yes even hipsters. That’s the point.

Two Chicago Loop Alliance street team volunteers who will be working ACTIVATE.

June 3, 2014 City of Chicago Hosts Tribute to Frankie Knuckles, Godfather of House Music in Millennium Park June 3, 2014 City of Chicago Hosts Tribute to Frankie Knuckles, Godfather of House Music in Millennium Park(0)

Is house music the genre that will unite the City of Chicago? If last night’s jam packed tribute to Frankie Knuckles, the “Godfather of House Music” was any indication, Chicago is on its way to being a truly multicultural city. Last night at the “Bean” thousands of Frankie Knuckles fans gathered for a dance party with djs spinning music below the city’s Bean sculpture in Millennium Park. People from every segment of society was present, black white, latinos, Asians, young old, gay, straight all danced to the beats of house music.

The Frankie Knuckles Tribute presented by The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events was held 6:00pm-9:00pm in Millennium Park Central Promenade the “Bean”.

The lineup for the Frankie Knuckles Tribute event featured house music djs from around the world

DJ’s include:

      • Mike Winston
      • Craig Loftis
      • Greg Gray
      • Elbert Phillips
      • Words by:
      • Robert Williams
      • Alan King

Watch #BVNews video as the diverse crowd of thousands dance to Frankie Knuckles “Whistle Song.”

 

Chicago is known to be a city of neighborhoods, each separated by borders of culture and class. Last night looked crowds at the Frankie Knuckles Tribute seems as if every part of the city was represented for a truly diverse melting pot.

#BVNews was live at the historic house music event. The “Bean” looked like colorful cornucopia with the variety of people mirrored in its reflection.

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Without too much lyrics, the mixed beats is driving force behind house music. Regardless of the language of culture one represent, the beats make the body move. Frankie Knuckles house music has been popular for thousands of “house heads” since 1980s.

Born Francis Nicholls, he was known for his stage name, Frankie Knuckles, he passed away suddenly at age 59 in Chicago. Some fans held up programs from the Frankie Knuckles memorial service.

 

Chicago Tribune Music Critic Greg Kot wrote an article April 1, 2014 about the death of Frankie Knuckles. Kot wrote: 

 

He championed house music that wasn’t just about rhythm, but that embraced humanism and dignified struggle. It was in keeping with his belief that the dancefloor was a safe haven for the gay, African-American and Hispanic communities that first embraced him.”

 “God has a place on the dancefloor,” he once told the Tribune. “We wouldn’t have all the things we have if it wasn’t for God. We wouldn’t have the one thing that keeps us sane – music. It’s the one thing that calms people down.”

Greg Kot, “Frankie Knuckles, house music ‘godfather,’ dead at 59” –  Chicago Tribune

One fan, told #BVNews about his moving to Chicago from Memphis and listening first to Frankie Knuckles music, which he now identifies with being a Chicagoan. Watch #BVNews interview below.

This is the second time the City of Chicago hosted a Frankie Knuckles tribute since his passing on March 31, 2014. Within days of his death The Chicago Cultural Center held a gathering that turned into a large dance party to honor the great house music dj. This second and bigger tribute shows the city know the importance Knuckles played in bringing Chicago on the international scene for house music.

ABOUT Frankie Knuckles

Knuckles was born January 18, 1955 in The Bronx, New York.  He later moved to Chicago where is developed his career as a dj in house music. He played an important role in developing and popularizing house music in Chicago during the 1980s, when the genre was in its infancy. Due to his importance in the development of the genre, Knuckles was often known as “The Godfather of House Music.” Chicago named a stretch of street and a day after Knuckles in 2004 for this role. His accomplishments earned him a Grammy Award in 1997. Knuckles was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005 as recognition for his achievements. Knuckles passed away March 31, 2014.

Are you a fan of Frankie Knuckles music? Share your comments below with #BVNews

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