Entries tagged with “Chicago bands”.

And the rest is history…

In 2013, I was hosting an Open Stage on Monday nights at the short-lived Frankenstone Art Center on Foster in North Park.

Dedicated to the motto “Universal Liberation Through Creative Self-Actualization” it was an open stage that welcomed all types of performer (particularly first time performers) and encouraged everyone to expand their boundaries and horizons as an Artist.

That very first show someone who had just come to spectate felt comfortable enough to read their own words in public for the first time ever- and I knew I was on to something.

A couple shows later, one of the poets told me about a space right around the corner on Kimball. It was called the Roots Room and was run by a veteran Chicago musician and artist who was dedicated to the same principles of fostering creative development in all people.

I finally got up the gumption to head over there a few months later and go inside. That was the night I first met Stann Champion.

It was Variety Open Mic night, so I did some stand-up, poetry, and storytelling in a Combo Platter set; then Stann and I did a few tunes with me accompanying him on harmonica.

We hit it off immediately, and I began co-hosting Variety Night every 2nd Friday of the month for the next several years. Stann and I also got together with the amazing rhythm section of his Reggae/Calypso band (Roots Rock Society) and formed a new Blues/Rock/Roots band called the Propaganda Machine.

After the demise of the Roots Room in 2018, we both took a break from open mic hosting for a while.

In February of 2019 we were offered the opportunity to take over FretKnot Fridays at the Independence Tap. We started slow but soon built things up to where our old Roots Room crowd had reconstituted.

Then the magic kicked into high gear and we kept adding regulars to the mix who were just as committed to the principles of Creativity and Community as we were.

One year later we have a beautiful thing going on!!!

Stann and I still love to rock the duo thing!
(photo by Greg Morelli)
Festive Love Is In The Air!

Friday, December 13 7:30PM
Independence Tap
3932 W Irving Park Rd

The Holidays Are Upon Us, And The Only Proper Response Is To Have A Rollicking Hootenanny Filled With Love And Joy To All!!!

No Matter Your Race, Religion (Or Lack Thereof), Ethnicity, Gender, Sexual Preference— And Most Importantly, Your Genre Of Performance— We Will Welcome You Into Our Hearts And On To Our Stage.

Stann Champion Will Bring His Musical Genius, Michael Hollywood Will Bring His Special Blend Of Insanity, And You Will Bring Whatever It Is You Have To Give.

We’re Gonna Rock The Halls!!!

This Is How We Roll!!!

The Independence Tap is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When we host Open Stages we create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

Our greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem…

The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul—


Be Your Best Self!


The Roots Room Shall Be Doing A Takeover Night At The Independence Tap!!!

Mark Your Calendars For November 11, This Is Going To Be Epic!!!




We’ve Been Having So Much Fun At The Roots Room That We Decided To Take It On The Road!!!

The night will start with a Solo Music Set by Chicago Music Award Lifetime Achievement Honoree Stann Champion.

Then I (in my Comedy Persona) will host a Variety Open Mic. All Genres of Performer Welcome.

And then the night will close with a SMOKING HOT set by Stann’s newest band, The Propaganda Machine, featuring Yours Truly (in Musician Persona) on Harmonica.

This shall be a Wing Ding of Epic Proportions!!!

Come on down and check it out!


Come On Down And Do Some Performing Yourself!!!

The Propaganda Machine at their first official gig at The Roots Room on 5/20/2016.

The Propaganda Machine Rockin’ The Roots Room!!! Stann Champion- Guitar, Vocals, Michael Hollywood- Harmonica, Vocals, David Bernstein- Bass, Dave Smith- Drums.

Here is the new video from my friend Nathan Xander and his band, Witchouse:

Aside from the fact that it is a kick-ass tune (a real “drive around the city at night with the volume way up” kind of song), I really enjoyed the video itself; particularly the footage in Graceland Cemetery and the shot with the camera careening towards the weathered-faced angel on the Kimball monument (yes, the piano Kimballs-very apropos).

Nate plays around town rather often, both solo and with Witchouse. Definitely check him out if you get the chance. He’s a powerful live performer.