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1637 N. Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622


Street-Level Youth Media is a non-profit, media arts literacy organization serving Chicago's youth.  We teach audio engineering, mixing, video production, digital photography, online journalism, and more.  If you are between the ages of 12 through 24, all of our programs and services are free.

If you live in Chicago and are between 12 - 24 years old, come take part in one or all of our media arts programs, book a private studio session, use our computer lab or join one of our clubs.  We also host an open-mic on the first Friday of each month.  


What Does Your Burger Represent?

Andrew Rywak

Jacqueline Vaughn Occupational High School has been bringing students to Street-Level’s multimedia center for Music and Video Production since we opened it in 2011. We had previously sent instructors to Vaughn to lead arts integration classes, but the field trip model, where groups come to us, provides access to state-of the art production facilities, and gives the students a non-traditional classroom environment that stimulates a fresher energy within the group.

“These Field Trips to Street-Level have given our students from Vaughn the opportunity to express themselves through the arts of video recordings and music productions. Learning the ins and outs of both arts has helped them become more aware of themselves and their creative talents. The insight shared with our students by the instructors at Street-Level has ignited a desire in them to learn and to produce more and better material every visit.” – Angel Perez, Vaughn Occupational High School

In the most recent semester of weekly field trips to Street-Level, the group produced a music video that is already a legend in our studio. “Burger on My Bun”, is a track that began with one of the students testing the microphone in the vocal booth, rapping about cheeseburgers for fun (and since it was lunchtime) while other youth were manning the levels in the audio control room. The students just went with it, and then the discussion grew into the burger being a metaphor for something that you deserve and work towards. For some, that “burger” may represent education, financial freedom, or equal rights. The question the song asks the viewer, “What does your burger represent?”

I want a burger on my bun
They say I eat too much
I think I had enough
I’ll just add it up
Count this money up
Call Terry’s up
And order me summa eat
Tell him I’m on my way
Speeding in my car
Tryna get to the place
Gotta hurry up
Call my girl up
Tell her get dressed
We’re going out today
No she ain’t gotta put makeup on her face
We eatin’ good
No ramen noodles, $1.94
I done lost weight
People gone hate
I can see it in their face

Do you mind if I explain
A burger’s just another word for guap
A metaphor sung by a crew of have nots
Though you know we’re not into playin’ the victim
We’re cookin’ up as good as anyone in this kitchen
Execs lost sight of the bigger picture
Limited views concerned with being the victor
Can you dig it, let’s work against the division
Come on with it, and co-sign this petition

Hard to keep my boat afloat
In these hard economic times
Late on all my bills, check to check
I’ma always grind
No retirement plan
Can only try to advance
Lower to upper class
And give my peoples a chance
To pursue their dreams
Show them things they never seen
Sounds like an easy scheme
It ain’t always what it seems
Up early with my team
Steady working on it son
I guess for now, I’ma settle for a burger on my bun

“During our weekly trips to Street-Level, students have the opportunities to express themselves creatively. They have developed their voice and utilized this ability to advocate for themselves and others. Students who have participated in this program have performed publicly at the Disability Pride Parade, Access Living and The Mikva Challenge Civics Fair. I am extremely proud of the work they have done.” -Kelly Fischer, Teacher Vaughn Occupational High School

The team members of Vaughn Occupational High School provide a specialized education for high school students with cognitive, developmental and multiple disabilities. Vaughn’s mission is to teach its students individualized, functional academics, emphasizing occupational development and independence. A focus on social and emotional growth is a key part of Vaughn’s philosophy. Vaughn is one of a few schools recognized for its excellence in providing integrated programs that include students with non-disabled peers from other schools. Students are also integrated through strong community and business partnerships. Vaughn students are expected to stay a minimum of five years to complete the program. Many of Vaughn’s students take advantage of additional services for speech/language, visual impairment, hearing impairment, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and individual/group counseling.