Michael Cox, a Chicago native, is an artist of the heart. Being surrounded by art most of his life, this self-trained artist took hold and harnessed his creative force. Although he studied at Clark-Atlanta University with a focus in radio/television broadcasting, it is in the artistic world where his presence dominates.

Through an intricate layering and blending of colors and mediums, Michael is able to create visually stimulating 3-dimensional works of art. The dynamic attention to detail in each art piece captures the essence of the human spirit. Michael believes that the eyes are the windows to one’s soul, and thru the eyes, true character is illuminated. This belief is reflected in the portraits of their creator.

Although Michael is best known for the creation of one-of-a-kind, hand-painted, works of wearable art; his unique 3-dimensional style is also captured on canvas. Michael’s work graces the walls of several private art collectors worldwide, and has been showcased in several art galleries in Chicago and Atlanta. Michael’s “ABSOLUTE BEST in wearable art” is available in several Chicago retail boutiques. BORN VAIN ART by Michael Cox has cultivated an underground following consisting of local and national celebrities, and those in a variety of industries including entertainment, sports, and fashion/ beauty.

Michael Cox is best known for the creation of one-of-a-kind, hand-painted works of wearable art. His unique 3-dimensional style is also captured on canvas and other mediums. Michael’s work graces the walls of several private art collectors worldwide, and has been showcased in several art galleries. Born Vain Art by Michael Cox has cultivated an underground following consisting of local, national and international celebrities and fashion/beauty stars (Oprah Winfrey, Verdine White, Fred Hammond, Eric Monte, Mike Epps, Gary Owen, Common, D’Wayne Wiggins, Bobby Brown, Steve Hurley) and athletes, including the late Ernie Banks.

Through many layers of love, paint, and deep seated fury in the innermost core of my spirit left there to manifest, over and over in a different form each time. But, each time you are overwhelmed with being…#BORNVAIN

GO BANG! Magazine:  How did you get started in artwork?

Michael Cox:  As a child, I was always interested in art, and that interest was deepened by watching my father’s talent as an artist. Throughout my teen years, I watched and attempted to emulate such artists as Ernie Barnes and Kevin Williams.

GO BANG! Magazine:  What type of art do you create?

Michael Cox:  I create a style of artwork known as BORN VAIN. A 3-dimensional abstract montage of color and layers.

GO BANG! Magazine:  What makes your artwork stand out from other artwork?

Michael Cox:  To me, it’s the texture and the 3D appearance that make my artwork different from others. My customers say it’s the incredible likeness to their image.

GO BANG! Magazine:  How did you come up with the idea of placing artwork on T-shirts?

Michael Cox:  The concept of wearable art has been around for a while, however, I loved the idea as not only an affordable way for people to have my artwork who wouldn’t normally buy canvas work, but also a great promotion tool…a walking art gallery.

GO BANG! Magazine:  Besides artwork, do you have any other hidden talents?

Michael Cox:  Basically, I am BORN VAIN!

GO BANG! Magazine:  You’ve designed artwork for several celebrities.  Are there any celebrities that you would like to create artwork for, that you haven’t?

Michael Cox:  Everyone is a celebrity when you have on a BORN VAIN!

GO BANG! Magazine:  Are you active in any type of community services events?

Michael Cox:  Yes, I have lectured on college campuses to inspire young Black creatives.

GO BANG! Magazine:  In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off-guard.  How are you dealing with it?

Michael Cox:  Social distancing is definitely key, as well as boosting my immune system with healthy eating and exercise.




Instagram @mrbornvain


Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.comNDigo.comChicagoDefender.comEmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine.  Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.



GoFundMe Link:

Pierre Andre’ Evans & Go Bang! Magazine (www.GoBangMagazine.co ) asks for YOU to support:

C.H.I.C.A.G.O. H.E.L.P. (Chicago’s House Inspired Campaign Always Giving Others Help & Emergency Love Project)

Please donate what you can, to help your fellow man!

The COVID-19 Pandemic has hit the world with deadly force. Millions of people worldwide have been infected and affected by the Coronavirus. Chicago has been devastated as well, particularly the African American population. Our loved ones, both young and old, have been infected. Many have lost their jobs, lost their homes, or even more horrible, lost their lives.

As a result, financial devastation is the end result for many. The ripple-effects of Covid-19 have left people UNABLE to buy food, pay rent, get much needed medicine, or even purchase other basic necessities.

In the SPIRIT OF THE HOUSE MUSIC COMMUNITY (which is to LOVE & SUPPORT ALL, regardless of race, religion, sexuality, political affiliation or financial status,) I am asking for your financial donation to help our brothers and sisters…our FAMILY.

Your donation, however small or large, will be added with other donations to help the DEVASTATED families and victims of COVID-19 get the help that they so badly need.

Those affected would submit a request letter, via email, which would include documentation and supporting evidence, explaining their COVID-19 experience and financial need.

After careful review, examination, investigation and confirmation, a one-time financial “gift check” would be issued to those most severely affected by COVID-19 in the amount of $100 to $1000, based on the severity of their case.

We are living in extraordinary times, going through an extraordinary event, which requires extraordinary LOVE & SUPPORT.

Please donate what you can, to help your fellow man!


About Me:
I am a 53 year old, lifetime Chicagoan. I am a creative person and a businessman that cares about the well-being of community and society as a whole. This is my part to help make the world a better place.

GoFundMe Link:

Robbi Promoter
23-44a 93rd st
Queens, NY 11369


April 24, 2020

We regrettably want to share with you all that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are canceling the in-person Chosen Few Picnic & House Music Festival scheduled for July 4, 2020 in Chicago’s Jackson Park. In its place, we will put on the VIRTUAL Chosen Few In-House Picnic & Festival on Saturday, July 4th, featuring live-streamed performances and DJ sets from the Chosen Few DJs, and more.

The decision to transition our beloved “Woodstock of House Music” from a mass in-person gathering to a virtual one this year was not an easy one. Like many of you, we want nothing more than to get together with our fellow House Music lovers in person, just as we have done for the past 29 Julys. However, given the extraordinary time we are in, and the critical health dangers associated with large gatherings, we know this is the safest course of action for our Picnic attendees, guest performers, vendors, and neighbors. We will hold off on celebrating our official 30th Chosen Few Picnic Anniversary celebration until we convene again in person in 2021!

If you purchased a $25 Early Bird ticket(s) for 2020, you may either hold on to your ticket for the 2021 Picnic, or request a full refund from our ticketing partner, See Tickets. All ticket holders will be receiving an email from See Tickets today concerning the refund process. You may also click here to access the refund form. Please note that to be eligible for a refund, all refund requests must be submitted to See Tickets by May 22, 2020 at 11:59 pm (CDT). If you have any questions concerning any hotel reservations you may have made for the Picnic, please contact our Hospitality Director Toy Foster at Toy@fsgtravel.net.

The VIRTUAL Chosen Few In-House Picnic & Festival coming on Saturday, July 4, 2020 will be a free event, although we will accept donations and will be contributing a portion of any donations to charity. We will be in touch over the coming weeks with more concrete details about this event. In the meantime, we pray that you and your loved ones are taking good care of yourselves and each other, following public health directives and advice, and keeping music close to your heart.

Yours in the music,

The Chosen Few DJs – Wayne, Jesse, Tony, Alan, Andre, Kim, Terry, and Mike


All large gatherings planned for summertime in Illinois may need to be canceled, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday.

When asked during his daily coronavirus briefing if organizers of major summer events should plan on limiting crowds or making adjustments, Pritzker said he thinks “everybody needs to think seriously about canceling large summer events.”

“Until we have a vaccine, which is months and months away, I would not risk having large groups of people getting together anywhere,” Pritzker said. “And I think that’s hard for everybody to hear, but that’s just a fact. They’re just, you know, even with testing and tracing and treating, it’s necessary for us to begin to make changes. It isn’t enough for me to say that it’s okay to have a big festival with a whole bunch of people gathering together.”

Thursday marked one calendar month since the start of Illinois’ stay-at-home order and many residents hoped summer would bring about a change from the isolated life the coronavirus crisis brought. The Chicago area is home to several major summer events and large festivals like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, the Taste of Chicago and more – all of which generate thousands of attendees.

Earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Lollapalooza remained “on schedule,” but organizers have delayed their lineup announcement for the four-day music festival, which usually releases its headliners this time of year and opens ticket sales.

On March 24, Lollapalooza organizers tweeted “While we stay in close contact with local officials, we are well underway with planning for Lolla to take place as soon as it’s safe for us all to be together in Grant Park.”

Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the state climbed over 16,000 Thursday, with 528 deaths, health officials announced.

Cases have been reported in more than 80 of Illinois’ 102 counties.

But despite their continual rise, officials said the numbers showed a “glimmer of hope.”

“The rate at which they’re increasing is less and that is a good sign,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said Wednesday. “We’re not seeing the exponential growth we were seeing before.”

Health experts have stressed that it remains unclear when Illinois will reach its peak number of cases, though a recent projection estimated the peak could arrive this weekend. Still, Illinois’ stay-at-home order is set to continue until April 30, unless otherwise extended, and Pritzker said he doesn’t believe it will be lifted sooner.

“Look, you know, we talk a lot about peaking and we talk a lot about how we’re bending the curve, the curve is still upward trajectory,” Pritzker said. “And so just because we’re bending the curve does not mean it’s bending down yet. And so people need to understand that, that it is unlikely that that we will be able to lift this stay at home before April 30. And indeed, as we approach April 30, we will be thinking about what are the restrictions or rules that we need to set going forward after April 30? Because it isn’t going to be unlike what some have said, you know, at the federal level. It isn’t going to be that all of a sudden you’re going to drop the you know, stay-at-home and every other restriction.”

Illinois has been working to bring once-shuttered hospitals back online and has transformed Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center into an alternate care facility for hundreds of patients with mild symptoms should hospital capacity be overwhelmed.

Across Illinois and the country, Americans are being encouraged to wear masks or face coverings if they have to head outside.

“I am worried about people throwing caution to the wind and seeing a nice day outside,” Pritzker said. “And thinking that we’re they’re not in danger. You heard Dr. Ezike talking about how some young people think that they’re invincible, that this virus won’t affect them. So everybody needs to know that if we are improving – and it’s still up in the air – but if we are improving here in the state, it is because people are staying at home. That is something to keep in mind.”

Peter Andersen is a theatre artist originally from Wisconsin who is based out of Chicago.  He is a graduate of Emerson College where he obtained his BFA in Acting.  

Peter is currently finishing his season as a teaching artist for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre Company, and Writers Theatre.

This summer he will be assisting Bill Brown at American Players Theatre.

His passions include Shakespeare, Photography, Museums, and Laughter.

GO BANG! Magazine: How and when did you get an interest in Theatre?

Peter Andersen: I have had an interest in Theatre almost my entire life. I started performing in my home town of Milwaukee with several of the local repertory companies, and then pursued my BFA in Acting in Boston. I’ve also always held an interest in Arts Education. I personally believe it is the job of the artist to give back to the community they practice in, and teaching alongside acting has been my way of doing that.

GO BANG! Magazine: What about it attracts you?

Peter Andersen: Theatre is so fascinating to me because of its ability to bring people together and ask difficult questions about our collective humanity. It is one of the few spaces that people from a wide array of backgrounds can come together in this way. It encourages people to develop empathy for stories that are radically different than their own. This is why I think it is so important to expose young people to theatre. They are in a place where they are eager to ask these difficult questions and theatre is space where they can be challenged to do so.

GO BANG! Magazine: How did you get involved with Writers Theatre and what is your role?

Peter Andersen: I first started working with Writers as both an assistant director and a teaching artist. Now I am the Education Manager where my primary responsibility is managing The MLK PROJECT, our touring educational production.

GO BANG! Magazine: Are you also an actor or a staff member only?

Peter Andersen: I am a freelance actor around the city when I have the time! Most of my time is spent working in the Education Department at Writers.

GO BANG! Magazine: What is The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights and when did it begin?

Peter Andersen: The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Right started 14 years ago as a conversation between playwright Yolanda Androzzo and Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. It is a one-woman show that follows a Chicago student’s personal transformation through studying the Civil Rights Movement. Alaya uses her fists as an outlet for anger, but after interviewing local heroes of the Movement she discovers she can put “anger into action” and that her power is in her voice and her hip hop, not violence. Weaving together real interviews, poetry, hip-hop, history and multimedia projections the performance features stories of both celebrated and unsung Chicago-based Civil Rights Activists.

GO BANG! Magazine: How do you make your choices each year?

Peter Andersen: The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights has been touring Chicago for the last 14 years. To make sure the script stays relevant we make small changes each summer. This year was the 50th anniversary of the death of Fred Hampton, and our playwright Yolanda wanted to ensure that students knew that and understood the depth of his impact in Chicago. As such, we added a small section about Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party.

GO BANG! Magazine: What other educational programs does the Writers Theatre offer?

Peter Andersen: Writers Theatre has a number of educational programs. Our flagship program is The Novel Series, which is a theatre and literary arts curriculum designed to allow students to explore literature and the artistry of bringing text to life. Students engage in a layered investigation of text and enter a rigorous artistic process that includes deep academic enrichment and meaningful text-to-self and text-to-world connections.

The Novel Series was developed by Writers Theatre in collaboration with teachers and administrators in Chicago schools. It takes the best practices of literature programs like Writers Workshop, Guided Reading, and Literature Circles and blends them into a student-driven, arts-integrated program. The program fosters a love of reading, appreciation of how themes and events in literature relate to real life, and stretches students’ creative potential.

We also invite schools to matinees of our productions and offer workshops and curriculum based on each production, and we have a teen Youth Council that meets biweekly at the theatre to see plays, participate in workshops with industry professionals and contribute their perspective to the long-term vision of Writers Theatre.

GO BANG! Magazine: What is the Writers Theatre working on now, that our readers can be on the lookout for, after this COVID-19 is over?

Peter Andersen: With the recommendation of Governor J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Writers Theatre has suspended performances of The Last Match. Writers is currently looking into many options when it comes to presenting the remainder of our 2019/20 Season as well as looking ahead at announcing our 2020/21 Season.

While we wait, WT is sharing many different forms of art and enrichment on our social channels, including resources and study guides from our WT Education, counting down our 10 most successful YouTube videos of all time and sharing never before seen footage of some of WT’s favorite artists!

Those interested in keeping up with Writers Theatre’s programming affected by COVID-19 should visit our official page for updates: https://www.writerstheatre.org/response

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Peter Andersen: Right now, our Education Department is planning on moving a lot of our programming to online platforms. We want to ensure that we can continue to program resources and curriculum to young people during this difficult time. Follow our social media links below to learn more!

FOLLOW WRITERS THEATRE:  https://www.writerstheatre.org/

WT Education Facebook: www.facebook.com/WTEducation
WT Education Instagram: @wt_education

WT Main Facebook: www.facebook.com/WritersTheatre
WT Main Instagram: @writers_theatre
WT Main Twitter: @writerstheatre

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

For over 25 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.

Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called the top regional theatre in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues.

In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company’s first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.

Writers Theatre opened its 14th annual tour of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights, written by Yolanda Androzzo, directed by Sophiyaa Nayar and featured Adhana Reid. A special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day public performance took place at 10:30am on January 20, 2020 at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark Street in Chicago. The kickoff event also included a post-show community discussion. The event was free and open to the public, and audience members also received free museum admission for the remainder of the day. The closing performance was also free and open to the public, at 7pm on February 28, 2020 at DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 East 56th Place in Chicago. Tickets were free and were reserved in advance by calling 773-947-0600. Visit dusablemuseum.org/events for more information.

Weaving together poetry, hip hop and history, The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights is a one-woman show that follows Chicago student Alaya’s personal transformation through studying the Civil Rights Movement. Alaya used her fists as an outlet for anger. After interviewing local heroes of the Movement, she discovers she can put “anger into action” and that her power is in her voice and her hip hop, not violence.

Seen by more than 83,000 students, this dynamic, cross-cultural, multi-media performance interlaces personal interviews of Chicago-based Civil Rights activists, featuring both celebrated and unsung heroes of the Movement, such as Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles, spoken word artist and activist Sista Yo, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Puerto Rican poet and activist David Hernandez, among others. 

The 2020 production toured to more than 35 venues during its 6-week run, including:  

Chicago Public Schools, community centers, and juvenile detention centers.  All performances on the tour included a post-show discussion and a study guide with wrap-around curriculum.

The 2020 tour of The MLK Project is made possible in part by support from Allstate, Major Corporate Sponsor.  Additional supporters of The MLK Project and Writers Theatre’s education programs in 2020 include: The Crown Family, Polk Bros. Foundation, Dr. Scholl Foundation, and The Seabury Foundation.

Writers Theatre Education Programs are aimed at exploring text, nurturing the creativity of young people and instilling appreciation of the arts for future generations. Through comprehensive programming in schools, on-site and through community-based initiatives, WT Education’s curriculum is designed to emphasize collaboration, cultivate self-expression, encourage imaginative inquiry and promote civic responsibility.

Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at Facebook.com/WritersTheatre, follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter or @Writers_Theatre on Instagram. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.


Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.comNDigo.comChicagoDefender.comEmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine.  Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

A Taste of Theatre is a 501(c) organization dedicated to supporting self-producing playwrights by providing them a platform to showcase one scene of their play.

2012 – The very first festival occurred at the Portage Theatre. At the event, Shelly Garrett, the American Association of Community Theatre, Actors Equity, Mike Oquindo, IATW Rep, Dramatist Guild rep and the marketing director from Writers theatre provided insight on how participants can improve the marketing, performance and technical aspect of their shows. Monique Lisa won the Shelly Garrett award.

2013 – A Taste Of Theatre TV show was created to provide theatre professionals opportunities to showcase their work on cable access tv stations around the world. Cape Town South Africa, Phillidelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Boston, and 50 other cities.

2014 – A Taste of Theatre started a radio show on WGSJBC’s called – Playwright Tuesday’s Playwrights were given a free platform to talk about their shows. . A Taste of Theatre Festival continued at Carver Military Academy featuring Shelly Garrett. In addition ATOT started a new platform, Acting With The Stars. This is where up and coming actors perform a reading from a Hollywood movie with the actor who was in the movie. Cynda Williams and Cedric Young gave personal feedback to up and coming actors to help them improve their acting skills. Sabrina Perrin won the Shelly Garrett. Devin Banks won the Acting with the Stars competition.

2015- A Taste of Theatre festival occurred at Gwendolyn Brooks College prep with Phillip Van Lear, Lydia Diamond, Antoine McKay, Tommy Ford and special performance by Black Ice and Muzic Fusion. Playwrights showcased one scene of their play. The acting with the Stars winner Joy Steele Harris. Jackie Chambers won the ATOT Festival award.

2016 – A Taste of Theatre Festival occurred at Gwendolyn Brooks College prep. Featuring Jerome Benton from the time, Illunga Adel, Eric Lane, Drew Sidora, Cynda Williams and Harold Dennis. Roy Sherriff won the Playwright Award. Domonique Glover won the Acting with the stars competition.

2017 – A Taste of Theatre festival occurred at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep again. This year acting workshops were taught by Runako Jahi. Drew Sidora, DeEtta West, Thea Camera and Eric Lane, The winner of the festival was Loretta Haskins. Mel Yarbrough won the Acting with the stars competition. A Taste Of Theater Team was started to serve as a support group for playwrights to share with one another what works and what doesn’t work. In addition, various members have not only volunteered to assist with other plays but have provided props and other support as well.

2018 – A Taste of Theatre completed their app Myupstage.com. This app modernizes the management of theatrical shows. THen the public can use it as a search tool to find any play within 50 miles of their phone.

2019 – A Taste of Theatre Festival returned featuring Robert Townsend and Leon Robinson from the five heartbeats. Robert taught Directing by the stars. The winner of the event was Jarren Hampton.

You can follow A TASTE OF THEATRE at http://www.atasteoftheatre.org/ and ALL social media platforms.


Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.comNDigo.comChicagoDefender.comEmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine.  Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.


Joseph “Joel” Hall was born in Chicago, Illinois, on April 20, 1949. Hall began his dancing career in 1968 under the tutelage of Ed Parrish, and the following year, he moved to New York City, where he studied under Denise Jefferson. Returning to Chicago, he earned his B.A. degree in sociology from Northeastern Illinois University in 1972.

In 1974, Hall and Joseph Ehrenberg co-founded the Chicago City Theatre Company, which later became the Joel Hall Dance Center. Hall now serves as the artistic director and principal choreographer for the Joel Hall Dancers, and director and chief instructor of the training studio. Over the years, the Joel Hall Dancers have gained an international reputation and Hall has been widely acclaimed as a choreographer. His company has performed three seasons at the prestigious Joyce Theater in New York, and he has led the company on nine international tours, beginning with the Glasgow May Fest in 1985. Hall has created ballets for the Chicago City Ballet, the Zenon Dance Company in Minneapolis and Ballet Tennessee in Chattanooga, as well as choreographing the opera The Pearl Fishers at the Chicago Opera Theatre and Goldie Hawn’s film, Wildcats. In 1991, Hall choreographed the 50th Anniversary presentation of Duke Ellington’s musical Jump for Joy. In addition to these productions, he has created more than forty ballets for his own company.

Hall has also gained attention as an instructor of jazz dance. He has taught at Wayne State University, New York State University, Northern Illinois University, and Western Michigan University. He has also taught internationally, conducting classes in Liverpool, Glasgow, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Belfast, and the United Kingdom. At the time of the interview, the Joel Hall Dance Center in Chicago offeredA2004.170 more than 150 classes a week to students ranging from age three to adults.
During the past 40 years, Hall has achieved an international reputation for his Dance Company and acclaim as a choreographer whose work; in his own unique dance style based in jazz, expresses a rich vocabulary embracing both the classical and modern dance idioms. Mr. Hall also served as one of Mayor Harold Washington’s international ambassadors for the arts. “Jazz dance at it’s best” says Dance Magazine.
Mr. Hall has studied both in Chicago at the Chicago Dance Center with Nana Shineflug , Al Gossan, Harry Laird, Ed Parish, Denise Jefferson, Sarah Singleton, Tom Baker and in New York with Thelma Hill, Pepsi Bethel, Lynn Simonson, Nat Horn, Robert Christopher, Michelle Murray, June Lewis and Finis Jung.
Over the years, Joel Hall has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades.
Since the 70’s, Joel Hall has created more than seventy ballets for his own company and is notedin two major books on the contemporary dance arts; Black Dance by Edward Thorpe, dance critic for The London Standard, and The Black Tradition in American Dance by Richard Long.
“I started my own dance company because I have a personal dance statement to make. I can work in other mediums, such as ballet, but my message has to be conveyed according to my own personality. Audiences can relate to that.” Joel Hall, Chicago Sun-Times, December 11, 1974.

GO BANG! Magazine:  How did you get started in Dance?

Joel Hall:  Pierre, I started dance in formal training, later in the western dance training, at the age of 17. I was always a great street dancer, but once I saw dancers on TV that could do lifts and partnering, I wanted to learn more.

GO BANG! Magazine:  Where did you receive training?


Joel Hall:  I received my initial training here in Chicago with a ballet teacher by the name of Ed Parrish. I began to study what was then called modern dance with Miss Denise Jefferson and Nana Shineflug. I studied with many teachers here, mainly downtown and north side teachers, because all of the people I grew up with that took class were from Cabrini Green.

GO BANG! Magazine:  Who were your dance inspirations?


Joel Hall:  This list is long but here we go: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Keith McDaniels, Mel Tomlinson, Judith Jamison, Pearl Primus, Eleo Pomare, Dianne McIntyre, Lynn Simonson, Al Gossan, and Harry Laird, to mention just a few.

GO BANG! Magazine:  When did you decide to open your own dance company, JOEL HALL DANCERS?

 Joel Hall:  The Joel Hall Dancers began out of a group of dancers that I was working with as a dancer and choreographer, started at Northeastern Illinois University around 1970. This was my initial company, which they named the Joel Hall Dancers as I was doing a lot of their choreography.


GO BANG! Magazine:  As a choreographer, you have trained dancers internationally.  Please describe a few of those international experiences.

Joel Hall:  Most of my international teaching has been done in Europe, mainly UK, Holland, Norway and Germany. It’s always interesting for me teaching internationally because they pay attention to your expertise and do not question your credentials or your teaching method because they wanted what I had to share with them as an instructor. RESPECT! Whereas in our country, I constantly have to share my values with, not all, but a lot of dancers, choreographers and audiences, to prove my value repeatedly.

GO BANG! Magazine:  You have been recognized for your choreography talents over the years.  Which moments of recognition stands out the most, and why?


Joel Hall:  Of course any recognition as an artist is always humbling for me. To be recognized and appreciated by my peers, audiences, students, and government is the most that any person can hope for. More important than the recognition is the importance I place upon my work myself, which can be more critical than most would realize. That is when I am creating what I’ll refer to as GREAT ART. Recognition is sometimes misleading the ego.  I’d like to stay WOKE, humble and receptive to ideas other than my own, to guide my recognition of myself.

GO BANG! Magazine:  Currently, you’ve reduced your involvement in the day-to-day business and serve as the Artistic Director of Joel Hall Dancers.  Where do you see the company going in the next 20 years?


Joel Hall: I am still involved in the day to day business, but in a different capacity.  More as a founder, advising when asked, and sometimes when not. The most important part for me, in being a leader, is learning when not to. I’ve learned also to lead by teaching others to become leaders in whatever area of concentration, within or outside of the arts, they choose to become involved in. I am considered to be a taskmaster.  As I am, my teacher’s and mentors were.


(It’s great to know) when it’s time to let go and trust that you have taught others through your mission as a leader to take on the work involved. I can stand by their side comfortably and say GO, GO, GO and keep going. I am fortunate to have worked with some of the same people for over 30 years, so it wasn’t a hard task. As an organization, we have a 200 year vision for the elevation of the organization, beyond Mars or Jupiter for that matter. The Joel Hall Dancers & Center will evolve with the times following in the footsteps of Master Miles Davis, who to me was the master of evolution with the times. Let’s keep it movin!

GO BANG! Magazine:  How would you describe Chicago’s “House Music” dance community?


Joel Hall:  House is my passion in music and is the evolution of BLACK MUSIC.  I love what many of the new DJ’s are doing, in learning from the old school and evolving into new school, but keeping what is need from OL G’s. Of course, I came out of the Frankie Knuckles period, but now listening to House, I see how it has evolved all over the world and morphed according to the culture of the country. I can go anywhere in the world and hear House in every culture I have visited. Everything we create is global, everything! We are the most creative entity on earth as we were created first and always will be FIRST in everything we do. THE CHOSEN CHILDREN IS TRUE AND REAL. We must continue letting our youth know how chosen they are.  NEGUS brothers would stop the madness and love each treasure trove that we are.

GO BANG! Magazine:  What is the next chapter for Joel Hall?


Joel Hall:  That remains unsure at this time, as the pandemic is in full swing. I can tell you that if I’m still around, we will see so much GREATNESS.  It will be stunningly blinding. I am over 70, so I am a perfect candidate for the virus, as we all are. Create GREAT ART is in this chapter.  There are more stories, especially now.  Let the OL G’s artists continue the mission of HOUSE MUSIC through teaching what it is we know, and how we hear that beat. I’m planning much more reading, writing, creating and gardening for Joel Hall.

GO BANG! Magazine:  In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off-guard.  How are you dealing with it?

Joel Hall:  The world has been expecting this since 1918, so it was a question of when it would recur. I am hopeful and optimistic that we will make it through this daunting, scary period.  I must keep hope that we vote this November, so we get someone that knows how to LEAD this country. I am holding a vision that the orange messmess is no longer trying to be king. Only we have that power to make that happen, by all means necessary. I am in the process of switching all of my studio classes to virtual classes. My first one was a couple of days ago with more success than anticipated because I had done television interviews and performances so it was not as difficult to do as I had imagined. We will continue to operate our classes virtually even after the lockdown. We had students attending my class from as far as Rwanda to Hawaii. There is more to come and all I can say without knowing where we are is be kind to each other, call and check on the ELDERS and GO, GO, GO and keep going and remember the ceiling only exists in other people’s thinking not yours. Thank you for letting me learn more and vent. Concentrate on what we can do for others, especially youth and we’re all good. Keep calling on our ancestors for guidance. Amen


YOU CAN FOLLOW JOEL HALL:  Visit http://www.joelhall.org


Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.comNDigo.comChicagoDefender.comEmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine.  Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.




Blaq Ice is an American poet, international spoken word artist, entertainer, lecturer, promoter, producer, host, published author, mentor and activist. The contributions of this amazing artist to American spoken word poetry, is truly monumental. Not only has he left an imprint in arts and entertainment, but he has also left his footprint in communities all across America with an artist/activist movement, inspiring thousands of ordinary people to use their gifts to do extraordinary work in their communities.

GO BANG! Magazine: What inspires you?

BLAQ ICE: Starting at a very young age, I have had a passion for arts and entertainment. I fell in love with music and the R&B groups of the 70’s and 80’s. I loved the lyrics, the poetry and the way the sound made me feel. Later, as a teenager, I was heavily influenced by Hip Hop. I discovered my own ability to create and write. It’s 30 years later, and I’ve been writing every since. Today, life and real life issues inspire me. I love telling stories of my experiences and my personal journey in life.

GO BANG! Magazine: What is the difference between poetry and spoken word?

BLAQ ICE: Poetry is the literary form of the art and Spoken Word is the performance form of the art. Every Spoken Word artist is a poet, but every poet is not a Spoken Word artist. There are those who read and recite their poetry, then there are those who perform and entertain with their poetry. The performers and entertainers are the Spoken Word artist.

GO BANG! Magazine: How would you describe your style of humor?

BLAQ ICE: As a writer, I pride myself on being versatile and as a performer, I push myself to fit in any genre. This is my personal challenge. I have poems about having a vasectomy. baby mama drama, the side chick, and going to the doctor (in my Kool Moe Dee voice), if you know what I mean. These are issues that everyone can relate to. At the time I was going through these things, it wasn’t funny, but now I can look back and laugh at myself, while creating a beautiful work of art.

GO BANG! Magazine: Before you started spoken word, you were a lyricist in hip hop. How did hip hop prepare you for spoken word?

BLAQ ICE: Hip Hop made me bold and competitive. It taught me how to move a crowd. It was my mentor/manager, Sax Preacher, who at the time, provided several stages for me to perform on as a teenage artist. I still use the skills that he taught me and the experiences from being a Hip Hop artist.

GO BANG! Magazine: There is an entrepreneur in you as well. You have started several businesses over the years. Please describe.

BLAQ ICE: I opened my first business at the age of 21. It was a jewelry store called New Jack Jewelry. Thereafter, I opened record shops, rim shops, beauty salons and clothing stores. I have always had a hustle mentality in everything I had a part in. Once I understood the game, it wasn’t hard for me to be successful in it. Although today the stores are closed, I have several other businesses, from Mentor programs in the Chicago Public Schools, to promoting concerts. I also have over 27 Albums, six books and three DVDs to my credit. These are the products that I am currently selling today.

GO BANG! Magazine: I see that you actively give back to the community. Please describe your community involvement, and why it’s important to you.

BLAQ ICE: I am the President and founder of the P.O.E.T (People Of Extraordinary Talent) organization and the Creator and Co-Founder of the Legends Of Chicago Hip Hop. These 2 movements feed the hungry, clothe the poor, mentor in schools and visit prisons. With great power comes great responsibility. I have been anointed with the gift of words, knowledge to speak life, and a passion to serve. It’s important to me to serve my purpose while I still have breath in my body.

GO BANG! Magazine: What does the future hold for Blaq Ice?

BLAQ ICE: My mission is to build brands. These brands are for the benefit of others. From my radio station P.O.E.T RADIO, to my BREAKTHROUGH program in the schools and prisons, THE NATIONAL SPOKEN WORDS, the THE LEGENDS OF CHICAGO HIP HOP cookout, THE NATIONAL POETRY FEST and the several concerts I put on throughout the year, what God has blessed me to build, it can continue even after I am gone.

GO BANG! Magazine: What words of advice can you offer an aspiring spoken word artist?

BLAQ ICE: Listen to your spirit. Remove your ego and pride. Remember, when you have a gift, it is meant to be given away. Write with your reader in mind. Spit with the listener in mind. Perform with your audience in mind. Market your brand. No one will do it better than you. When it is time to talk money and do business, remove the artist hat off your head.

GO BANG! Magazine: Are you currently doing any gigs?

BLAQ ICE: Currently I am not. I have had 10 events cancelled due to the Coronavirus. However, I am looking forward to getting back on stage.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

BLAQ ICE: I work at a Hospital in Chicago. I just celebrated my 27 year anniversary on March 3, 2020. We have several patients here who are infected by the virus. I pray that God covers me, my family and that he keeps us safe. It is a very serious time in the world today. It has affected all of our lives in every way. I have faith and I am optimistic that just as we have overcome other pandemics, we will overcome this one as well. I encourage everyone to keep the faith. FAITH AND FEAR CANNOT OCCUPY THE SAME SPACE AT THE SAME TIME.

You can follow BLAQ ICE on Facebook, IG and Twitter.

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram.