May 31st 2019

Please join us on Friday, May 31st for the second annual Elastic Arts Benefit! Last year’s benefit brought the entire Elastic community together, and this year’s benefit promises to be even better.

The night will consist of a series of performances representing Elastic’s varied and adventurous programming followed by a DJ set from DJ Bonita Appleblunt_. Our new visual arts exhibition, a solo feature for artist and musician Cameron Pfiffner, will be on display.

Food will be provided from 7-9 along with refreshments from sponsors Maplewood Brewery & Distillery and Leatherbee Distillery. This year there will also be a silent auction, and pop-up record shop with items from Astral Spirits, Aerophonic Records, Delmark Records, Hausu Mountain, International Anthem Recording Co., Numero Group, Pleasure of the Text, PNL, Relative Pitch Records, Relay Records, Homeroom and others!


Musical performances:

William Parker and Hamid Drake Duo

Two of the most legendary improvisers working today reconnect for this special performance.

William Parker is a bassist, improviser, composer, writer, and educator from New York City, heralded by The Village Voice as “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time.” In addition to recording over 150 albums, he has published six books and taught and mentored hundreds of young musicians and artists.

For nearly five decades percussionist Hamid Drake has been one of the most vital, creative, and spiritual musicians to call Chicago home. The Louisiana native was a founding member of the influential Mandingo Griot Society, where he forged a long-term relationship with trumpeter Don Cherry. Over the years Drake has maintained prolific and deep partnerships with musicians such as Peter Brötzmann, Michael Zerang, Fred Anderson and, of course, William Parker.


Elastic Arts Foundation will proudly present Travis Travis Travis with the 2019 Elastic Achievement Award. Travis is a multi-disciplinary artist and half of the duo that founded the prolific noise group ONO in the 1980s. Since then his work has challenged the boundaries between noise and music, ferociously exploding the possibilities of sound and visual identity. He has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights in the military, and he has worked to bring awareness to the struggle that many thousands of Vietnam War veterans have faced.

A.J. McClenon

Originally from Washington D.C, AJ McClenon grew up in “D.C. proper,” Baltimore and New York during the administrations of Reagan, Clinton, and Bush. A.J.’s work sets personal narratives alongside empirical data, leveling the hierarchies of truth. AJ holds a Masters in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in creative writing from the University of Maryland College Park. AJ has also studied at Eugene Lang College. AJ has performed and shown work throughout the US, at institutions including Steppenwolf, The Promontory, Woman Made Gallery, Echo Park Film Center, Chicago Filmmakers, Fine Art Complex 1101, and Longwood Arts Center. AJ is currently a co-organizer of Beauty Breaks, an intergenerational beauty and wellness workshop series for black people along the spectrum of femininity. AJ is also a co-founder of F4F, a domestic venue that cultivates a femme community, centers blackness, and expands upon understandings of what domestic space can be.

Bonita Appleblunt_

Bonita Appleblunt is a DJ and sound engineer, originally from Ohio, currently working and making soundwaves in Chicago. She was the resident DJ for AMFM, where she got her start DJing with their monthly music and art showcase The Jazz Series. She is the sound engineer for Black Girl in Om, and the DJ for Afrobang Radio. She has played at numerous locations around Chicago including The Promontory, SOHO House, Subterranean, Virgin Hotels, East Room, The Dojo, AMFM, and recently took her sounds out to Portland with YGB Portland and Kboo Radio. She specializes in blending modern and underground music genres with her African roots with an Afrobeat flair.

Visual art: Cameron Pfiffner

Cameron Pfiffner, the renowned local musician who plays tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, and piccolo in a wide variety of jazz and improvised music contexts, will be displaying works from his visual arts practice. More details on Pfiffner’s upcoming exhibition to follow.

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