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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.  


The Shane Calvin Show

Nancy M. Abbate

The Shane Calvin Show 


Street-Level’s young people build their professional development skills through independent projects that explore their ideas and interests, while making a stamp on today’s cultural and media scene. We recently sat down with the charismatic, multifaceted 20 year old Shane Calvin, to learn more about his project The Shane Calvin Show.

What is the show about?

The Shane Calvin Show is about today's generation, my generation. Dope poetry, and other forms of expression. Basically it will be a lot of fun randomness. Some shows are going to be deep and serious, fluffy and soft, and other shows are going to be hardcore turned up. Things are about to get real. Every episode is going to be different. I want this to be a show that is fixed on real people, with real problems, and stuff that they are passionate about. I want this to be the place where people can come to get stuff off their chest. Ultimately, I want to do something that really educates people.

 The show will start off with a panel and there will be a discussion of multiple topics. I want to bring up topics that people might be too scared to talk about and push boundaries. Having the difficult and uncomfortable conversations will heal us. Some topics and questions I want to explore include:

·      Do you trust people?

·      Should you check your man's phone?

·      Finding acceptance and how to deal with problems without it scarring you for life.

·      Top 5 signs that you could be a bitter ex.

·      Food porn. I want to have a whole food porn segment. Food porn is basically this thing I found out about on Tumblr. Food porn is basically these Tumblr pages with these wonderful pictures of food. It's like chocolate waffles, etc. We are definitely going to feed you on this show.

·      The ups and downs of our generation.

·      What is the craziest thing you've ever done in the name of boredom? My brother and I knocked down a refrigerator. But then we put the fridge back up.

·      Why scary movies are racist against White people. Why are they always going into the danger, when black people are running away?

·      LGBT misconceptions. That it's a choice. Something happened that made you gay.

·      Are we confusing lust with love?

 I want the panel to get into deep conversation. I want to be the type of person who really listens to his audience, so I will be asking the guests what they want to talk about. We need to really be telling our stories. This show will be putting it all on the forefront. We are going to laugh, cry, definitely scream and holler. We are going to take our voices beyond a Vine video, beyond a selfie. I want to give a voice to people who wouldn't necessarily be heard in mainstream media. I want to bring things such as underground hip-hop, anime, and poetry into the mainstream. There are not enough outlets out there for underground hip-hop artists. I want to use this show to bring this back.

This is not a generation that is full of people who don't care. This is a generation that really cares. A generation that understands that love is love. I want this to be a show that breaks barriers, that breaks labels. We are going to break all the masks that we are hidden under and help people realize that we are all the same.

When does it start?

Season 1 will begin in July. Right now we are doing test shows. The test shows will then be compiled into a short documentary about what the show is about. We will be going out to youth media organizations to ask what they want to see the show talk about.

 Where will it be?

The Shane Calvin Show will tape at Street-Level Youth Media (SL) once a month. Eventually I want to tape the show once a week.  

What made you develop this show?

To really connect with people and give their voice a platform. James [Duke] and Manwah [Lee] suggested I do a talk show at Street-Level. I want to have a career as a talk show host.

Ricki Lake was a talk show host in the early 90s and connected with Generation X. She had the ability to go out there and discuss topics facing her generation. She is my inspiration because she really broke ground.

Do you have a direct website for your show?

People can go to to keep updated. I also have a Facebook page that people can go to for updates.

 How do you prepare for your talk show?

I like to do research on different talk shows to see how they interact with the guests. I try to get into the conversation myself mentally. I typically watch The Real and Bethenny.

 I also go to a lot of open mics. Young Chicago Authors have open mics every Tuesday, so I go to those.

 Who helps you develop and produce the show?

I am working with five people.

- Matthew Wrobel, a volunteer Scriptwriter

- Michael, a student in the multimedia workshop at SL. He will be in charge of the camera.

- Daniel, SL’s Production Manager

- Erica Street, a volunteer Producer

- Kristin Heinichen, a Digital Journalism instructor at SL

 Who will be your first guest?

The first guest is not yet determined but Lisa L.U.S.T., a Media Instructor at SL, will be making a rap appearance on The Shane Calvin Show.

 How long have you been a part of Street-Level?

Since the summer of 2012. I googled Youth Media Organizations. Six years ago I started going to YOUmedia. I tried to do a talk show back then but I was terrible. I forgot to turn off my phone during a show, and right in the middle of this conversation it went off. So this time I am turning my phone off!

 What do you want people to know about you?

I'm an introvert. But if I have the chance to connect with people, I love doing so. I want to be there to hear your story. I am black, gay, and a nerd and because of this I can speak from all different perspectives. I'm also the King of TMI [too much information].

 I'm a poet. Been writing since age 14, I am now 20 years old. Today's audience can't connect with just another talk show host. So, what is going to be this different about The Shane Calvin Show? What's going to make this different is that we are going to bring the dopeness, the realness, the fun and excitement, and it's all going to come out through young people expressing themselves and being able to tell the truth about who they are. Often times we push things down, and never really deal with it. We are going to get into debates on this show. My own audience might boo me, but this is how I feel. I want to be real and I want to have fun with this.

 What do you want to do after Street-Level?

I want to still be doing this show. I want to have a show that has done something for the community while having fun at the same time.

Click here to watch a teaser trailer for The Shane Calvin Show!  

The Shane Calvin Show is looking for volunteers and guests. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer or be a guest on the show, send an email to or send a Facebook message through the Shane Calvin Daytime page.

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