Oct. 29, 2013
Oct. 27, 2013
Oct. 25, 2013
October is LGBTQ History Month – a time to honor gay rights pioneers of the past and celebrate the monumental progress that has been made.
But prejudice against the "B" in LGBTQ, bisexuality, still holds a tremendous amount of power, as its legitimacy continues to be called into question in straight and queer communities alike.
People who identify as bisexual – that is, having an attraction to both genders, although not always simultaneously or equally – are often called liars, branded as promiscuous, or shamed into invisibility by those who don't understand how bisexuality could be anything more than a "phase" or a "coverup."
A groundbreaking report from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission has defined the bisexual “erasure” problem this way:
"Bisexuals experience high rates of being ignored, discriminated against, demonized, or rendered invisible by both the heterosexual world and the lesbian and gay communities.
Oct. 25, 2013
The above clip is of track-and-field hero Jesse Owens appearing as a mystery guest on an August 1960 episode of the game show What's My Line?
It's good to see this, particularly in light of the Chicago Public School's decision this week to reinstate Owens' name at a West Pullman neighborhood school. His daughters led the fight that forced the system to restore the school's name.
In a century of heroes, Owens was one of the top. Not only for his athletic powess, but for the meaning of those four gold medals he won at the 1936 Berlin Olympics—something What's My Line?'s exceedingly erudite host John Daly summed up nicely: "...he did it in 1936 and rammed each one of them down the throat of Adolf Hitler."
Owens is about 47 here. I got a kick out of seeing him speak and nailing the show's trademark post-game repartee with the panelists. And the suit is pretty sharp too. Almost a quarter century after his victories in Berlin, he was still a pretty big deal.
When Daly references Owens "back home" that, of course, would be Chicago. He moved here in 1949 and remained until his death in 1980. He's buried in a beautiful spot by one of the lakes at Oak Woods Cemetery on the city's South Side.
Oct. 24, 2013
I won’t say that the only reason why I first tuned into "Scandal" was because there was a character – the lead character – that looked like me, but that was certainly a major factor. Television, despite its fluctuating ratings and successes from network to network, has become a larger medium. Its influence and storytelling capabilities have become more influential and more important than films.
In fact, as the film industry moves closer and closer to a formula that avoids "risk" (whether risk means original storytelling, romantic comedies, or stories featuring women), television – with its abundance of channels and numerous options available at any given moment – has become more experimental in its presentation.
On the surface, it is ridiculous to say “adding diversity” is a risk. With ensemble casts, it is easy to throw in a black or East Asian face and call it a day. Whether or not the character is interesting or relevant to the show’s structure as a whole matters little.
Oct. 24, 2013
From Halloweekend to Día de los Muertos, Chicagoland is brimming with eerie events, spellbinding shows, and wickedly fun Halloween-themed parties that give a whole new meaning to the phrase "ghost town."
But first, a few protips:
1. Explore the suburbs.
2. Embrace the power of the costume, but don't abuse it.
Halloween is the only time of year that you can walk around dressed like Wolverine or Obi-Wan Kenobi and receive little to no judgment from passersby, so why not seize the opportunity and geek out to your heart's content?
Oct. 24, 2013
Regardless of any missteps they made later in their careers, any true fan of power-pop will forever harbor a place in their heart for Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, if only for the former’s one perfect album, Girlfriend (1991), and the latter’s effervescent early work with the Bangles on their first self-titled EP and the debut album All Over the Place (1982 and 1984). Collaborating as Sid and Susie in 2006 and again in 2009 to produce the first two volumes of Under the Covers, the first concentrating on favorite songs from the ’60s and the second focusing on the ’70s, the results were pleasant but not revelatory examples of the tribute genre—unlike, say, the unforgettable Paisley Underground set Rainy Day (1984), on which Hoffs played a key role.
Oct. 23, 2013
The West Coast production team PANTyRAiD always has been a bit of a throwback to early ’90s electronica—not in terms of its sonic palette, which is an absolutely au courant mix of dubstep, French house music, and the more luxurious end of underground hip-hop—but via an enduring devotion to song structure, taking the listener on a journey that doesn’t just begin and end on the dance floor, and a devotion to crafting albums that stand as albums, not just a collection of singles and a filler.