#49: Miscellaneous Chicago Things

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Happy New Year!

Before I get started, I'd like to welcome all the new subscribers who've signed up since the last newsletter. I'd also like to thank everyone who's sent an email/text/tweet on my behalf, as well as everyone I've met so far who loves this little experiment. I would be a liar if I said that the 500+ of you who read these words hadn't brought me much-needed confidence at moments where things seemed terrible.

Now that I have some time on my hands, I'm coming to terms with the realization that I can't sit still. So, while I search for a new job, I’m taking on a few projects. A few are still in the works — one in particular will be something fun for my fellow freelancers — but a few are live and ready. Let’s get to it!


You're going to hear me talk about soccer a lot this year. I've been fascinated by soccer culture for a very long time, especially how it plays into the marketing space.

I've partnered with DJ Step and Chicago Fire FC for Volume 2 of Can I Kick It, a celebration of Chicago soccer culture and all of the people that make up that beautiful community. If you're new to the game (or haven't played since AYSO) it's an opportunity for those who know less (or nothing) about soccer culture to meet some people, listen to great music, and enjoy some drinks. The goal long-term is to build a bigger and better soccer culture in the city and to potentially collaborate with other organizations at the intersection of soccer x culture to make a bigger and better community nationally. RSVP here!


If we've hung out in any capacity over the last decade, I've probably mentioned some Chicago music during our conversations. I believe that Chicago's musical legacy deserves to be celebrated on a larger scale. The city is the birthplace of house and gospel music and innovated urban blues and modern jazz. You could make the argument that Chicago was one of the most culturally influential cities of the 2010's — looking at you, Brooklyn, and UK drill — and today's music scene is as strong as ever.

Now, In support of Chicago's thriving music industry, Mayor Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have designated 2020 as the "Year of Chicago Music." I'm grateful because I've been allowed to serve as a co-chair on the project. In December, our team gave a presentation to the city for a big project that will allow for permanent recognition of some of the cities critical cultural locations as well as helping to spread the word about the cities music scene at events all year long. There is a LOT of cool stuff coming, trust me. 

In the meantime, if you're in Chicago and want to be a part of YOCM, I've prepared some quick notes of things to do. The city is sponsoring more cultural grants in 2020 than they've ever sponsored before and knowing the caliber of talent that reads this thing…if not you, then who?

  • The Year of Chicago Music Band Roster is currently accepting submissions! Chicago based ensemble musicians (18 and over) from a variety of genres are encouraged to apply by Friday, January 31, 2020. Click this link for eligibility requirements and upcoming info sessions. This roster is the roster that the city uses, so make sure you're on it!

  • Early 2020 Youth Music Program Share - YOCM has a robust youth music program schedule for this year. If you work in the field, are an educator or a youth music program provider, check this link to provide information about available youth performances or opportunities through March 2020! Speaking of the kids...

  • Citywide Youth Initiative - DCASE is supporting a new Mayor's Office-led initiative that is aiming to connect every Chicago youth with impactful out-of-school programming. The effort aims to launch summer 2020– and music will be one of the first featured program areas! If you represent a youth music program and would like to get more information, I can connect you, so email me.

  • 2020 CityArts Program - THIS IS THE BIG ONE. The 2020 CityArts Program will be offering grants to nonprofit arts and culture organizations of all sizes. This year's program will include opportunities to apply for general operating grants across all artistic disciplines, as well as project grants in alignment with the City of Chicago's Year of Chicago Music. Project grants will support initiatives that have the potential to impact the Chicago music sector at large. The application will open and guidelines will become available on January 20, 2020. The application deadline is February 28, 2020 at 5:00pm CST. All applicants are encouraged to attend an application assistance workshop. To RSVP for a workshop (I recommend you do one, there's a lot to learn about how things work), visit chicagoculturalgrants.org.

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Here’s a few of the better 2019 wrap-up playlists I’ve been into:




Office Hours is written by Ernest Wilkins. Seriously, he can use a job.