Archive for April, 2009

LaSalle Power Company of Chicago


Justin French & The Levi Strauss & Co. Crew attended the unofficial first night at the LaSalle Power Company. The venue is very nice, three levels of quality. The first level contains both a bar and restaurant (which was not open), VIP area. The Second Level was also a bar/drinking area, while the third level served as a dance area/bar. Overall the venue has a mature, underground element to it that is sure to appeal to the Chicago scene and become a must see place to tourist and natives alike.

Justin French, Maria & Kelly @ LaSalle Power Company

Justin French, Maria & Kelly @ LaSalle Power Company

Jim Zimpel’s Western @ Hungry Man


Un Peintre de Chicago, Jim Zimpel showcases his new interdisciplinary collection, Western at the Hungry Man art gallery in Wicker Park. Zimpel’s Western is in the form of sculpture as well as video. He explores the long forgotten era of the American fontier culture through ficional media (Hollywood movies to folklore). “These are the products of assumptions and a mass media based understanding of the world. They function in the blurred realm of the seemingly authentic, the regulated imaginary, and the mundane grandiose”.
A part time professor at Columbia College, Zimpel received his Bachelors of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute and UIC in 2008.

Click Here for more information on Jim Zimpel


Afro-Cuban Jazz

Afro-Cuban Fantasy

Anyone that knows Justin French knows that he knows little of modern music but specialises in the excavation of musical gems long forgotten. I am most appreciative of the endless styles of Jazz music, especially Afro-Cuban. Filled with Guaguancó, Rumba, and often religious like chants, afro-cuban music is very rhythmic highly complex and caters towards specific dance styles. It is believed that all Cuban music has African influences. Below are artist who contributed to the genre.

Click Here to Listen to some amazing Afro-Cubonic rhythms (listen with an open mind and ear).

Cal Tjader

Cal Tjader

Cal Tjader made excellent contributions to Afro-Cuban jazz with albums such as Latino!, Latin Concert, Latin Kick, Cuban Fantasy and countless other albums. Tjader has an extensive collection that even I have not yet heard in it’s entirety. Definitely a legend in Afro-Cuban (Latin Jazz) history.

Nina Simone

Nina Simone

Nina Simone, American pianist, arranger, singer and songwriter was not formally an afro-cuban musician, nor restricted to any other particular genre. She explored just about every genre of her time, often in the course of a single album. She did explore Afro-Cuban rhythms, as heard on tracks: Return Home (from Nina Simone Live at Town Hall), Near to You (from Ne Me Quitte Pas, good luck finding it.)

Mongo Santamaria

Mongo Santamaria

Mongo Santamaria of Havana, Cuba was entirely an Afro-Cuban Jazz percussionist. His most exhalted work was the jazz standard Afro Blue. Mongo Santamaria explodes on racks such as Skins and Bembe Blue (from his album Skins). Santamaria is essential in any afro-cuban (latin jazz) listeners collection.

Biggest Mouth @ Columbia College of Chicago

Big MouthFrench Review – I attended Big Mouth, a monthly event showcasing various genres of musical talent. Students of Columbia College are given the opportunity to present their self in a supportive environment (which could also be a crutch. Perhaps too supportive at times). There were many audio problems throughout the night, and there was a 20-minute window of technical difficulty (every microphone went mute). Overall the event seemed ill planned, and unorganised. Now this was my first time attending and it just seems like the event was very unconventional, but on a positive note there was  great diversity in the acts (Jazz, Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop).


Many of the performers were drowned out by the music, but managed to keep the crowd entertained.


I would definitely have liked to see different bands. It seems as though the same band played for almost every act that required live instrumentation. I know that these students have talent, I just think they should definitely utilise their educational opportunities to improve their performance abilities.

16 April 2009

Justin French @ Biggest Mouth

Remise des Diplômes (Matriculation to Convocation)

Monsieur Français' traveling office. (Roosevelt University)

Monsieur Français' traveling office.

During my Environmental Biology lecture I realised that in one month (May 16, 2009) I will no longer have obligations. The daily schedule that consisted of lectures, seminars and revisions will cease. My plans for after graduation are a bit jangled up. Being accepted into a choice law school would be ideal, however my examination scores have somewhat marred the possibilities of that happening. I would love to apply to several of the Graduate Economic programmes with institutions like the London School of Economics & Political Science, London Metropolitan University, and University College London. So as you can see I’ve got London on the brain. I truly enjoyed it and look forward to studying and residing there.

What do you think?


Any post graduate suggestions are welcome?

Tell me what to do.

Joyeux Anniversaire à vous Justin French

I have now reached the age of twenty-one.  Two years ago this was a day I couldn’t wait to see, now I just feel like an old fool. But in all my old foolishness every so often someone does something that makes me feel the way I did before I hit my teenage years. Lindsey, Thanks for the birthday present. It is the first and (probably my) only present. Presents are not a necessity for a good birthday. But your present actually means something to me.

Marvel back pack from Camden Town

Marvel back pack from Camden Town

Thank You Lindsey,


Justin French

Terri Stevens @ Brooklyn Fashion Week 2009

Brooklyn Fashion Week

Brooklyn Fashion Week

Exclusive pictures from Brooklyn Fashion Week designer Terri Stevens. Showcasing both her Michael Joseph and Funkin’ Beautiful Design labels.

Watch Terri’s runway show @ Brooklyn Week-End

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Terri delivered an amazing collection. Mrs. Stevens never seizes to amaze me with her hard, edgy and classy creativity. So very hardcore. One question for the urban seamstress…. Where is the Michael Joseph Men’s Collection?

Terri Stevens modeling her own design

Terri Stevens modeling her own design