This Saturday, Oct. 23, grab a blanket and head to the Comfort Station’s lawn (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) for an evening of music, art and imagination. The event, Unbound Sound, brings four visual media artists and four musicians together for a twist on classic live-music-and-a-movie entertainment. Performers – spanning genres from glitch art to the gamelan – will explore radical futures through improvisation. Organizers said they hope the event will “inspire audiences to imagine a future that we can build and aspire to together.” You can get (free!) tickets here.
Full Spectrum Features organized the event. Raul Benitez (Full Spectrum Features and Comfort Station), Jill Perez (Full Spectrum Features), Jordan Martins (Comfort Station) and Bryan Wendorf (Chicago Underground Film Festival) curated it.
We reached out to Benitez and Perez to answer a few questions about the event. Check out our conversation below.
Answers have been revised for clarity.
LoganSquarist: First things first: logistics. What’s the COVID protocol for this event? Should guests bring blankets or chairs to sit on? Are guests encouraged to drop in and out or stay for the entire event?
Jill Perez: The event will be hosted outdoors on the lawn of Comfort Station. We highly recommend that attendees wear masks, but they are not required. Folks are welcome to drop in and out, grab a bite to eat at local restaurants, though of course we encourage everyone to experience the full lineup of performances! Guests can bring blankets and chairs, though we do expect the event to have high attendance and people may not have a ton of room to sprawl out.
LS: Who do you think would enjoy this event? Adults? Families?
JP: Truly, anyone who is excited by unique, artistic events! There is no age restriction here – this event can be fun for anyone who’s coming with an open mind and wants to support local musicians and the visual arts community.
LS: Can you talk a bit about how the event came together? Was there a specific catalyst for creating a new spin on the classic live-music-and-a-movie combo?
Raul Benitez: Eugene Park from Full Spectrum Features initiated the idea. He saw that there was a possibility of getting a grant from DCASE [the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events] for the Chicago Presents series for the event. He then asked Jordan Martin (Comfort Station’s artistic director) and I to see if we could do this at Comfort Station. We have done many outdoor music events on our lawn, so it sounded like a great partnership with Full Spectrum Features. Bryan Wendorf from the Chicago Underground Film Festival was added to the curators list and suggested some great artists and gave some great ideas. We wanted to pair some amazing local video artists with musicians. I think we have a great mix of both of those.
LS: The artists and musicians you all are bringing together span a ton of genres. What (besides the event’s theme) unites these artists?
JP: I think this question actually hits the nail on the head with my answer. We brought these artists together because they span many genres and mediums. Full Spectrum’s mission has always been to showcase an inclusive range of styles and identities, especially those that are underrepresented. Personally, as a curator, I’m always interested in putting together unlikely pairings and joining artists who perhaps haven’t worked together before. By doing this, folks can build fresh collaborations and expand their community connections.
LS: What are your visions for a radical future (personally or as a part of Full Spectrum Features or Comfort Station)? What does this theme look like to you as curators?
RB: This event is totally meshed with what we already do at Comfort Station, both musically and filmwise. We always have an eclectic mix of music at Comfort Station throughout the years, and this fits right in. We also have screened many video artists and filmmakers. As far as the overall theme of this event, it melds perfectly with our current curatorial mission here at Comfort Station. As an open community art space, we try to exhibit and promote local artists, filmmakers and musicians, and this amazing event we are putting together fits right in.
JP: As a company, Full Spectrum is pushing for a radical future where marginalized people are amplified and at the forefront of media. I also think we’re talking here about breaking out of normative structures, whether that’s Hollywood or big institutional status quo. For this program in particular, the curatorial team sought out artists who are using their mediums in imaginative ways to communicate bigger, maybe even unidentifiable ideas or reshaping known formats to say something new. For example, Dena Springer sources old vintage educational videos and illustrations to spark conversation about gender and identity. All of the audio and visual performances throughout the evening will be improvised, so audiences will be experiencing work that is unique, of the moment and will hopefully inspire them with new perspectives.
LS: Are there more upcoming events that readers should keep an eye out for?
JP: Yes! If you’re looking for more October events in the neighborhood, swing by Comfort Station on Oct. 30 between 3 and 8 p.m. to join in a Day of the Dead Celebration. We also have a few events coming up this November.
Full Spectrum Features will be presenting the 28th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival at the Logan Theatre from Nov. 5-7. This is the first year we’re partnering with CUFF to present the festival, and we’re really excited to share what we’ve been working on with them to re-envision their programming. Regular and individual screening tickets are available now online, and CUFF will also be tabling at Unbound Sound to [allow guests to] purchase tickets in person.
We also have a virtual Access Reframed event, Expanding Access with Captions, coming up on Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. The event is a three-part conversation for professionals who would like to develop more accessible media for their marketing and outreach campaigns. You can RSVP for free through Eventbrite.
Featured Image: “A Journey With Mae Jemison” by Amir George at Chicagoland Shorts: Expanded Cinema, 2015
This article was updated to note the upcoming events at Comfort Station.