Clive Davis turned up on Katie Couric‘s daytime talk show last month to drop his bisexual bombshell and field softball questions about his new memoir and the death of protégé Whitney Houston. Pretty standard promotional fare, but our ears perked up when the music mogul started judging – “American Idol”-style – three young hopefuls, including former Evergreen Park resident and 2000 Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School graduate Katie Quick. (Further proof there’s more to the all-girls Catholic institution than Jenny McCarthy.) Davis called Quick “a natural performer” after her rousing rendition of CCR classic “Fortunate Son” and lauded her Fingertips program. “That interaction, I love that it’s now recorded for infinity,” Quick beams. The country singer and former CPS teacher describes the national, girl-and-her-guitar education effort as “an inspirational school assembly that combines live music and motivational speaking and it’s all about talking to the kids about finding their passion and following their dreams.” When she’s not at home in Nashville writing songs or taking Fingertips out on the road, Quick’s working on securing corporate sponsorship to help move the program into inner-city schools. Education-minded execs can find more info at fingertipsprogram.com and katiequick.com.
Aspiring club DJs and scratch masters alike felt right at home at last month’s open house for the Scratch DJ Academy’s newest location on Chicago’s Near North side. Founded by the late Jam Master Jay, the Scratch DJ Academy boasts a student base of 50,000 annually worldwide; with the academy’s fourth location opening inside the School of Audio Engineering (SAE), they hope to keep ushering in the next generation of DJ talent from every genre. “We want to keep the art form alive,” says Scratch instructor and Chicago’s own DJ Zebo, who emphasized the community aspect of the academy during a panel discussion. Through once-a-week classes, the students will get hands-on instruction on how to mix, scratch, and, ultimately, construct a useable DJ set. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a vinyl traditionalist or a Serato-using digital DJ – all are welcome. National Brand Director DJ Hapa told prospective students: “What we’re here to do is teach the skill set to be a good DJ.” Those who complete the six-course curriculum will receive certification, but also assistance to transition from the classroom to the club. “We’re gonna help you get gigs,” Zebo offered. Class is in session beginning April 2. Visit scratch.com/scratch-chicago for more info. – Max Herman
Those wacky Smithe brothers managed to do the seemingly impossible – convince Billy Corgan to take himself a little less seriously . . . for about 30 seconds. The Smashing Pumpkins frontman appears in the latest campy commercial pushing Walter E. Smithe furniture. Corgan sics his Resistance Pro wrestlers (in full spandex regalia) on the brothers in a sound effects-laden rumble after one of the interchangeable Smithes gets a little pushy in a simple game of musical chairs. But, just as one of Corgan’s shirtless brutes hoists a chair to decimate the competition, he interjects from the sidelines (did you think he was going to break a sweat in all of this?) with a plea. “Wait! That’s a Walter E. Smithe chair,” he exclaims. Both sides come together to protect the artistry of the company’s goods. But the real winners are our furry four-legged friends. The Smithes donated $50,000 to PAWS Chicago for Corgan’s participation.
Texas Or Bust
We’re not bitter at all about not making the annual migration south to the SXSW Music Festival. Nope. Not us. Not one bit. We can’t even dream why someone would want to travel that distance to see a countless bands and scarf down barbecue so rich a messenger bag full of Handi-Wipes wouldn’t do the trick. And the summer-like temps? We’d much rather spend our St. Patrick’s Day week shoveling snow. When we’re not oozing sarcasm, you’ll find us shouting “Bon Voyage!” to the fresh-faced adventurers. Tradition dictates the Hideout’s SXSW Send Off Party will exhaust the most staunch marathon listener. Twin Peaks emerge first from the starting line at 3 p.m. on March 9 followed by Judson Claiborne, The Congregation, Scott Lucas & The Married Men, The Waco Brothers, Frontier, Summer Girlfriends, Mahogany, Outer Minds, and The Hood Internet. All that for 10 bucks. Try ordering a slab of ribs for a comparable amount. NYC rag Impose Magazine and the Empty Bottle also have SXSW fever and bring together Cult Of Youth, The So So Glos, Lazy, and Big Ups on the same night to wish everyone safe travels. Quenchers gets into the act on March 2 with Future Laureates, River Rising, Big Deep, and Kate Quinby.
— Janine Schaults