Genius without Borders: A Symposium in Honor of the Genius of Michael Jackson
Registration for the symposium is now closed, but tickets for the Friday evening panel will be available at the door.
Registration, check-in, and all sessions on September 24 and 25 will be held on the Columbia College Chicago campus at 1104 South Wabash Avenue, Film Row Cinema, 8th floor.
The September 24 evening event, for which separate tickets must be purchased ($20) at the door, will be held in the Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street. For more information about the event, please call the Center for Black Music Research at 312.369.7559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Film Row Cinema, 8th floor
- Gregory Tate, presenter
- Stephanie Shonekan, presenter
- Daphne Brooks, presenter
- Bonnie Brooks and Raquel Monroe, presenters
Bonnie Brooks chairs the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, where she is a tenured associate professor. She oversees the department's academic program as well as the Dance Center's contemporary dance presenting series, which she co-curates with executive director Phil Reynolds. A native of Washington DC, she has held numerous administrative posts in the dance field, including executive directorships at Dance/USA and the Minnesota Dance Alliance, and managing director of the David Gordon/Pick Up Co. She began her work in arts administration at the National Endowment for the Arts. She was a visiting assistant professor in UCLA's World Arts and Cultures Department during 1996–99. Brooks studied theater and English at Wheaton College (IL), and earned a master's degree, also in English, from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Raquel L. Monroe is a scholar, activist, and artist whose work explores the dynamic interplay between the performative and socio-political constructions of black female corporeality, black social mobility, and activism within African American communities. Her current manuscript blends feminist ethnography and performance analysis to explore how class informs the performance of sexuality within African American communities, and in turn, how the performance of sexuality and black social mobility impacts social activism in these communities. Monroe is an assistant professor in dance at Columbia College Chicago.
- Mark Anthony Neal, presenter
Harold Washington Library Center
400 South State Street, Chicago
Ed Eckstein, host and moderator
The son of legendary vocalist, bandleader, and matinee idol Billy Eckstine, Ed Eckstein has had a varied and extensive career in the music business. He joined Quincy Jones's budding media operation in 1974 and spent nearly eleven years as a key executive member of Jones's production empire, serving in a variety of positions on projects by the Brothers Johnson, Michael Jackson, George Benson, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Patti Austin, James Ingram, the soundtracks to Roots and the film adaptation of The Wiz, and Quincy's classic recordings. In 1985, Eckstein joined Clive Davis's Arista Records as vice president of A&R, where he contributed creatively to projects by Whitney Houston, Kenny G., Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Expose, and Jermaine Stewart. In 1986, he began a decade-plus-long tenure with Polygram Records. His initial signings there included Vanessa Williams; Tony, Toni, Toné; Robin Harris; and Brian McKnight. In 1990, Eckstein became the first African American to be appointed president of a major non-black-owned recording company. He is currently co-producing with Moon Dog Films an eight-hour documentary television series, tentatively titled The Rhythm & Blues Project, on the history of R&B and soul music from post World War II.
Siedah Garrett, panelist
Siedah Garrett, a singer, songwriter, and performer, has written for a diverse selection of recording artists from Aretha Franklin to Al Jarreau, from The Korrs to Vanessa Williams, and from Barry White to Amy Grant. Garrett's songs are featured on hit albums such as Quincy Jones's Back On The Block and Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl. She is probably best known for co-writing Michael Jackson's worldwide hit, “Man In The Mirror.” She was the featured duet vocalist with Jackson on the hit single “I Just Can't Stop Loving You” and has sung with a wide array of acts including Johnnie Mathis, Patti Austin, Quincy Jones, The Pointer Sisters, The Commodores, Kenny Loggins, Chaka Kahn, and others. As a member of London's acclaimed neo-funk band Brand New Heavies, Garrett co-wrote over half of the group's album Shelter, which sold over a million copies in the United Kingdom. Her most recent work has been focused on writing, producing, and performing her new self-titled album Siedah.
Ricky Lawson, panelist
Ricky Lawson is best known as the drummer for such artists as Michael Jackson, Steely Dan, Phil Collins, Babyface, The Yellow Jackets, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, George Benson, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, and many others. Lawson is also one of the most respected songwriters, producers, and arrangers in the music industry. A founding member of the Yellow Jackets, Ricky received two Grammy nominations and a Grammy award in 1986 for writing the hit song “And You Know That” on the album Shades. Ricky performed on Whitney Houston's multi-million seller “I Will Always Love You” from The Bodyguard soundtrack (which was recently labeled the number-one-selling soundtrack of all time), Anita Baker's “Sweet Love,” James Ingrams's “I Don't Have The Heart,” and Lionel Richie's “Dancing On The Ceiling.” Ricky co-wrote and co-produced the Pointer Sisters' hit “Uh-Uh” and the Fat Burger hit “Good News.” Other writing and/or co-producing credits include tracks for Only You, Star Trek 5, Barney's Great Adventure—The Movie, as well as Helen Baylor's “There's No Greater Love” and “When You Believe” performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey for the soundtrack to The Prince of Egypt. Lawson is a highly versatile drummer, having developed expertise in jazz, country and western, pop, R&B, funk, and Latin rhythms—a versatility that allows him to perform with a wide spectrum of artists.
Greg Phillinganes, panelist
Greg Phillinganes is one of the world's most prolific keyboard artists. A Detroit native and music veteran for over 30 years, he began his career in 1975 with Stevie Wonder as part of his band, Wonderlove. Since leaving Stevie in 1979, Phillinganes went on to record, perform, tour, and/or write with a staggering array of GRAMMY Award winning artists, including Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, Smokey Robinson, Eric Clapton, Ne-Yo, Barbra Streisand, Rod Stewart, Anita Baker, Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, George Harrison, Ray Charles, Mick Jagger, Babyface, Andrea Bocelli, Natalie Cole, John Legend, Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, David Foster, Ruben Studdard, Charlie Wilson, Richie Sambora, Mary J. Blige, Boz Scaggs, Whitney Houston, John Mayer, Usher, Santana, Diana Ross, Burt Bacharach, Fantasia, Elton John, and the late Michael Jackson. Greg is an ASCAP Pop Award Winner for the song “Love Will Conquer All,” which he co-wrote with Lionel Richie. In addition to being music director for Richie's and Jackson's first solo tours, Greg served as music director for Michael Jackson's 30th Anniversary special at Madison Square Garden, Quincy Jones's “VIBE” television show, The 60th EMMY Awards, and the first Annual GRAMMY Nominations Live Concert, along with a wide range of special events including the 1999 Super Bowl Halftime show and MUSICARES's “Person of the Year event”—both honoring Stevie Wonder. A GRAMMY nominee himself, Greg has been a cornerstone in hundreds of GRAMMY Award winning albums, including Stevie Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life and Michael Jackson's Thriller. Phillinganes was also a member of the GRAMMY Award winning supergroup Toto from 2003 to the band's farewell in 2008 and is featured on their final album Falling In Between. As an event producer, Phillingane's credits include the Society of Singers' Tributes to Elton John and Natalie Cole, The Michael Jordan Classic Golf Invitational, the US Doctors For Africa “Leadership For Health” Gala featuring 16 First Ladies of African Nations and Quincy Jones's 75th Birthday Celebration filmed live in Montreux, Switzerland. Phillinganes is now Touring with Herbie Hancock as part of the “Imagine Project” Tour with stops in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Harry Weinger, panelist
Harry Weinger, an entertainment industry veteran of over thirty years, is a two-time Grammy-winning reissue producer, writer, and educator who is currently Vice President of A&R for Universal Music Enterprises, the catalog reissue arm of Universal Music Group. Weinger has produced, mixed, written, and edited liner notes for hundreds of reissues, compilations, and music DVDs, notably the Motown family of classic recordings, the James Brown catalog, the Verve Music catalog, and prominent artists in the world of Funk, Soul, and Jazz. His definitive overview of the music of Mr. Brown, the 4-CD box set Star Time, was not only a Grammy® Award winner, but was named by The New York Times “one of the Top 25 recordings of the 20th Century.” He produced the expanded editions of Marvin Gaye's “What's Going On,” “Let's Get It On,” “I Want You,” and “Here My Dear” packages. His many current projects include the final volumes in the massive documentation of every Motown single released during the company's heyday; an overview of every James Brown single; box sets on Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, Clifford Brown, and Stan Getz, and the unreleased Jackson 5 album Live At The Forum, chronicling the group's historic appearances at the famed Los Angeles venue; and many others. Weinger has written for Rolling Stone and Vibe magazine, where he was one of its original contributing writers, as well as the trade magazines Billboard, Cash Box, and Hits. He has also been a contributing author to several books and, as a consultant for feature films, he has helped develop the soundtracks for such diverse films as Four Brothers, Liberty Heights, and Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, the acclaimed documentary about Motown's Funk Brothers band. A cum laude graduate of Ithaca College with a BS in communications, Weinger was Music Director of the school's nationally recognized FM radio station. He is an honorary Temptation, an honor bestowed upon him by original members Otis Williams and the late Melvin Franklin.
Film Row Cinema, 8th floor
- Jake Austen (host and moderator)
- Gordon Keith – As owner of Steeltown Records, Keith helped manage the Jackson Five and released the group's first single, “Big Boy,” in 1967.
- Clinton Ghent – Best known for hosting the local version of Soul Train (1970–1976), Ghent was also a choreographer who developed some of the Jackson Five's earliest dance routines.
- Larry Blasingaine – As a teenage guitarist, Blasingaine and his band the Young Folks shared stages and rehearsal space with the Jackson Five. Blasingaine also played with (and coached) the Jackson brothers on their first known studio recording session. He would later play guitar with the Emotions and Jackie Wilson.
- Wilton Crump – With his vocal group, Crump competed with the Jackson Five at Roosevelt High talent shows. He later did arrangements on the group's second Steeltown single, “We Don't Have to Be Over 21 (To Fall in Love).” He later managed doo wop legends the Spaniels and is currently that group's lead singer.
Jacob Austen is a music journalist and author of TV-a-Go-Go: Rock on TV from American Bandstand to American Idol. He is currently working on a book about Michael Jackson in Chicago 1965–1968.
Amansu Eason began performing at age four with Morning Bishop Theatre Playhouse in Gary, Indiana. At age ten he began studying ballet, jazz, tap, and modern at Merson School for the Visual and Performing Arts. During the next six years, he began creating his own style that fuses those disciplines, including extensive training in Afro-Caribbean movements and rhythms. He has performed throughout the United States and in Mexico and Brazil. For eight years, he has taught African and hip-hop throughout the Chicago area, northwest Indiana, and Ohio. A dance minor at Bowling Green State University and a major in Africana Studies, he received extensive training in a variety of dance styles, including the Dunham technique. He has performed with Ben Harper, opened for artists such as Omarion, Marcus Houston, Mary Mary, and Arrested Development, and performed a solo for Michael Jackson. He is currently a principal dancer with Muntu African Dance Theater of Chicago.
1306 S. Michigan Avenue
- The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306-Ten Years Later
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Althea Legaspi is a Chicago-based writer/journalist. She's a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, and her work has been featured in USA Today, Independent UK, Paste Magazine, Time Out, and Relix Magazine, among others. She is NPR-affiliate WBEZ's “Eight Forty-Eight” on-air music critic, and her features also air on “All Things Considered.” She teaches Music Journalism, Writing for Radio, and Radio Interviewing at Columbia College Chicago and has also served as an on-camera correspondent for Rollingstone.com, HOB.com, and the TV version of “Sound Opinions.”
Ronnie Reese is a lifelong Chicagoan and candidate for a master of science degree in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University. A 2003 graduate of Loyola University Chicago, he previously worked on staff at the Chicago Tribune and RollingStone.com, as well as a freelance contributor to Anthem, Mass Appeal, Stop Smiling, and Vapors magazines, and alternative weeklies the Dallas Observer, East Bay Express, and San Francisco Weekly. Reese served as editor-in-chief of the Medill School's Academy for Alternative Journalism publication Who-Ville, and wrote Keeping Granny Alive, the definitive biography of famed African-American cartoonist Robert “Buck” Brown. In 2008, as a copywriter for Blue Note Records, he penned liner notes for reissued albums by Eddie Henderson, Bobbi Humphrey, and Reuben Wilson. Reese is a contributing editor for Wax Poetics magazine, where, in 2009, for the Wax Poetics Michael Jackson tribute issue, he wrote extensive features on the Jackson family's roots and legacy in their Gary, Indiana, hometown (“Goin' Back to Indiana”) and a history of the Corporation (“Well-Oiled Machine”), the group of Motown Records songwriters responsible for some of the Jackson 5's biggest hits.
Make a bid for this single-issue original photograph of Michael Jackson. Other professional photographers working the same event may have taken similar photographs, but this particular image by Columbia College alumnus Vandell Cobb, in whose private collection the negative will remain, is unique and has never been published.
SOLD! for $500
Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Columbia College Photography Department scholarship funds.
After graduating from Columbia College Chicago in 1975, Vandell Cobb worked for thirty-one years for Johnson Publishing Company as a staff photographer for Ebony and Jet magazines. His photographs have been used on numerous magazine covers and in feature stories; his subjects have included U.S. presidents from Reagan to Obama, world leaders such as South Africa President Nelson Mandela and Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, haute couture collections in Paris and Rome, and sports and entertainment figures such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Earth, Wind and Fire, Oprah Winfrey, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson.
Bids will be accepted by telephone only, beginning 9 a.m. on Monday, August 16, 2010, and closing 5 p.m. on Friday, September 24, 2010. Symposium attendees will be able to offer live bids immediately prior to the announcement of the winning bidder at 12 noon on Saturday, September 25, 2010. You do not need to be present to win. If you have the winning bid but are not present, you will be notified by telephone.
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At the close of each business day (Monday through Friday), the highest bid to date will be posted on this page. Once you have provided your name and Bidder ID Number, you may increase your bid as often as you wish by calling the number above.