WBEZ | pitchfork http://www.wbez.org/tags/pitchfork Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Forget about Porta Potties and bad sound: Weather is the real problem http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-07/forget-about-porta-potties-and-bad-sound-weather-real-problem-112431 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" longdesc="https://www.flickr.com/photos/robertloerzel/sets/72157655646333189/show" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4k rain 1.jpg" title="Violent weather at Pitchfork 2015. (Copyright Robert Loerzel)" /></div></div><p>In 2008, when the tornado sirens went off in Chicago on the Monday after Lollapalooza, I wondered what would have happened if that severe thunderstorm had hit a day or two earlier, when 100,000 people were getting high on groovy tunes and other pleasures in Grant Park.</p><p>As the pop music critic at <em>The Chicago Sun-Times</em>, I was frustrated at the time in my efforts to get an answer from the Police Department or the city&rsquo;s Office of Emergency Management &amp; Communications. <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/08/on_tornadoes_and_the_cops_new.html">Oh, there&rsquo;s an evacuation plan for every major music festival, city officials assured me; they just couldn&rsquo;t publicize it in advance &ldquo;for security reasons.&rdquo;</a></p><p>In 2012, city officials still wouldn&rsquo;t answer the question when it was raised anew by <em>Chicago Tribune </em>investigative reporter Heather Gillers, who&rsquo;d won nationwide acclaim for her coverage of the bad-weather stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in 2011. <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-01/news/ct-met-lolla-emergency-plan-20120801_1_indiana-state-fair-emergency-management-plan-evacuation">Here&rsquo;s the link to her piece</a>, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-08/tribune-if-severe-weather-hits-fans-lollapalooza-are-screwed-101374">here&rsquo;s a link to the follow-up that I wrote at that time</a>.</p><p>Ironically, not long after those pieces were published, we found out what the Lollapalooza evacuation plan was when violent weather descended on Lollapalooza 2012: Kick everybody out of the park and let them fend for themselves in a chaotic rush onto Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road.</p><p>The ensuing mess resulted in a fair amount of criticism, but city planners apparently haven&rsquo;t come up with any better option in the years since. On Saturday, when severe weather blew over the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park, promoters cleared the site&mdash;kicking everybody out of the park and letting them fend for themselves in a chaotic rush onto Ashland Avenue and Lake Street.</p><p><em>Chicago Tribune </em>freelancer Bob Gendron, covering the festival as rock critic Greg Kot&rsquo;s wingman, gave us the breaking Tweets:</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">It seems clear <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pitchforkfest?src=hash">#Pitchforkfest</a> evacuating plan is same as Lolla a few years ago. In short: None.</p>&mdash; Bob Gendron (@BobGendron25) <a href="https://twitter.com/BobGendron25/status/622509595974586368">July 18, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">People told to go to businesses on Ashland and Lake. Too bad they don&#39;t exist. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pitchforkfest?src=hash">#Pitchforkfest</a></p>&mdash; Bob Gendron (@BobGendron25) <a href="https://twitter.com/BobGendron25/status/622509756754825216">July 18, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Watching people nearly get hit by cars fleeing the park in downpour not a pretty sight. This was very poorly handled. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pitchforkfest?src=hash">#Pitchforkfest</a></p>&mdash; Bob Gendron (@BobGendron25) <a href="https://twitter.com/BobGendron25/status/622510869554069504">July 18, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><hr /><p>For his part, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/kot/ct-behind-pitchfork-decision-to-evacuate-the-festival-20150719-column.html">Kot followed up with a longer news story later in the weekend</a>, noting that the crowd of 18,500 was rushed out of the park as the rain cut short a set by Ex Hex. The gates were opened again 70 minutes later, and Kot wrote that police reported no injuries. &ldquo;We got lucky,&rdquo; festival director Mike Reed told him. &ldquo;It totally could have gone the other way.&rdquo;</p><p>The troubling ramifications of that quote are that the city and concert promoters seem content to rely on luck as the best way to deal with massive crowds in weather emergencies&mdash;which, let&rsquo;s face it, will inevitably happen again in Chicago in the summer.</p><p>It now seems obvious that there <em>is </em>no way to safely and quickly evacuate large crowds from city parks, which is why no one in the city has come up with a workable emergency plan. So what is the solution?</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/riot-fest-moves-another-park-112060">As I noted a few weeks ago when writing about Riot Fest being kicked out of Humboldt Park</a>&mdash;the weather last year resulted in epic damage to that site, but didn&rsquo;t cause an evacuation&mdash;it&rsquo;s high time the mayor and City Council consider whether Chicago needs a permanent, safe, and secure festival site for all of these events to share, based on the model of the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park, home to Milwaukee Summerfest.</p><p>To be certain, money is tight in Chicago for civic improvements, and music festivals have to rank far down the list behind other priorities like the city schools and paying workers the pensions they&rsquo;ve earned. But as I reported in that piece, Milwaukee&rsquo;s festival site has been an economic boon to our sister city for decades. Amusement taxes on the big music festivals could fund the construction of such a site, without taxpayer money, and with the added bonus of people getting back their neighborhood parks during the summer months.</p><p>True, Summerfest had its own weather problems this year, and Milwaukee officials report that attendance was down: A mere 772,652 people attended this year&rsquo;s event in late June and early July. But the jobs were as robust as ever, with 2,289 seasonal employees paid to work at the event.</p><p>A permanent festival site would still be subject to the weather, of course. But unlike the temporary facilities set up in the parks&mdash;and similar to permanent venues like Wrigley, Soldier Field, and Sox Park&mdash;bad weather planning would be part of the design, along with such niceties as permanent restroom, food, and drink facilities and better sound and sightline accommodations.</p><p>Now wouldn&rsquo;t all of that beat another soggy mess in the mud?</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" longdesc="https://www.flickr.com/photos/robertloerzel/sets/72157655646333189/show" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4k%20rain%202.jpg" title="Pitchfork's gates reopen after 70 minutes. (Copyright Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p><em>Follow me on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em>, join me on </em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em>, and podcast or stream </em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em>.</em></p></p> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 16:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-07/forget-about-porta-potties-and-bad-sound-weather-real-problem-112431 Morning Shift: How many schools does Chicago need? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-05-22/morning-shift-how-many-schools-does-chicago-need-112074 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tncountryfan_0.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="Flickr/tncountryfan" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206724652&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">How many schools does Chicago need?</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Several public charter schools want to relocate and some of their proposals are drumming up a lot of controversy. Principals, parents, and aldermen from the north side showed up at a public hearing Thursday at Chicago Public Schools headquarters to oppose a new high school that wants to relocate to a building at Irving Park road and Lakeshore drive. Others were concerned about charters moving into the closed schools from 2013. WBEZ education reporter Becky Vevea has the latest.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/beckyvevea">Becky Vevea</a> is WBEZ&#39;s <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">education</a> reporter.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206724648&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">American Theater Company&rsquo;s PJ Paparelli</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">One of Chicago&rsquo;s notable theater directors has died. Forty-year old PJ Paparelli of American Theater Company was vacationing in Scotland, and was involved in a car accident earlier this week. He passed away yesterday. Paparelli&rsquo;s most recent work at ATC was The Project(s), which we talked to him about in April. We take a closer look at Mr. Paparelli&rsquo;s career in Chicago with Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones. Read his <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/news/ct-pj-paparelli-american-theater-dies-column.html#page=1">tribute</a> here.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisJonesTrib">Chris Jones</a> is </em>The Chicago Tribune&#39;s<em> theater critic.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206724643&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">A look at the house flipping scene</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Remember those reality TV shows about house flipping? They slowed down when the housing crash occurred, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean people stopped buying homes to renovate and quickly sell for a profit. According to RealtyTrac, it&rsquo;s still a small percentage of purchased single family homes that are being flipped. We talk with Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business housing reporter Dennis Rodkin about the practice and whether house flipping will ever make a strong comeback.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/Dennis_Rodkin">Dennis Rodkin</a> is <a href="https://twitter.com/CrainsChicago">Crains Chicago Business</a>&#39; housing reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206724641&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">The life of a female rock critic</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Jessica Hopper is an award-winning music writer who&rsquo;s been plying her craft for well over a two decades and in that span of time she&rsquo;s written about everything from a stinging critique of the male dominated world of emo rock to a night at a mud wrestling match. her new book is a collection of her work over the years and although it&rsquo;s tilted, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, she&rsquo;ll be the first to say that&rsquo;s not quite accurate. Hopper is currently on a <a href="http://featherproof-books.myshopify.com/blogs/news/19040803-jessica-hoppers-first-collection-book-tour">book tour</a> and stops by to share some of her favorite stories of her career.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/jesshopp">Jessica Hopper</a> is <a href="https://twitter.com/pitchfork">Pitchfork</a>&#39;s Senior Editor and author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Collection-Criticism-Living-Female-Critic/dp/0983186332">&quot;The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic.&quot;</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206724637&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">British Muslim female Hip Hop duo bring consciousness raising rhymes</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Poetic Pilgrimage is a British Muslim hip hop duo founded in 2002. Sukina Douglas and Muneera Williams express themselves through the art of rhyme, covering personal and social issues and themes with an emphasis on their Islamic faith. The duo is in town to play a show tomorrow at The Old Town School of Folk Music, but stop by Morning Shift first to give us a taste of their art.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/PoeticPilgrim">Poetic Pilgrimage</a> is a London-based rap duo.</em></p></p> Fri, 22 May 2015 08:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-05-22/morning-shift-how-many-schools-does-chicago-need-112074 Morning Shift: Patronage, films and end-of-life care http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-19/morning-shift-patronage-films-and-end-life-care <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Elder Care-Flickr-Adams County Manor.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today we&#39;ll find out if patronage is alive and well in Chicago, then immerse ourselves in the sound of Third Coast&#39;s ShortDocs festival. And we speak with experts about what the best way to deal with a loved one&#39;s death is.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-26.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-26" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Patronage, films and Lil B " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Fri, 19 Jul 2013 08:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-19/morning-shift-patronage-films-and-end-life-care Pitchfork 2013 survival guide http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-07/pitchfork-2013-survival-guide-108088 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Flickr%3AKate%20Gardiner.jpg" title="(Flickr/Kate Gardiner)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">This year&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com" target="_blank">Pitchfork Music Festival</a> kicks off tomorrow, meaning your chance to see your favorite indie artists perform in the flesh is just around the grassy, sun-drenched corner.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But before you allow thoughts of the Breeders playing &quot;Last Splash&quot; or Björk wearing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bjork.fr/15-06-2013-Bonnaroo-Festival" target="_blank">Koosh ball headgear</a>&nbsp;to completely occupy your mind for the next three days, remember that personal safety, sanity and some serious festival prep should always come first.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Whether this is your debut venture, or what seems the billionth time you have attended the annual hipster mecca in Chicago&#39;s Union Park, here&#39;s what you need to know:&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Drink water.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">With temperatures expected to peak at 80 and 90 degrees this weekend, remember that H2O is your friend. Bring a sealed, refillable water bottle with you to the park; and when Pitchfork staffers hand out free bottles around midday, know that pouring them over your head and lightly dousing others upon request is perfectly acceptable in a heat wave. Just make sure to recycle your empties.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><strong>Wear sunscreen.</strong></p><p>At the risk of sounding like your mother, slather on the SPF <em>before</em> you arrive and reapply every couple hours. This bothersome ritual may feel uncool, but you know what&#39;s even more uncool? Looking like a very sad and achy lobster the next day.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Dress light.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>If you can avoid wearing black, the color that the sun loves the most, then please do. Also, Pitchfork is your chance to wear the teeny crop tops and high-waisted shorts that can be a tad too hipster-casual for the office, family gatherings and jaunts down Michigan Avenue. No worries: you&#39;ll fit right in here.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Rock the fannypack. Seriously.</strong></p><p>The fannypack has fallen out of favor since the 1980s, but in these circumstances, it couldn&#39;t be more appropriate. If you can fit your phone, keys, wallet, tiny packable rain poncho and mini-sunblock into a &quot;vintage&quot; bag directly strapped to your body, then the possibility of your personal items getting lost or stolen will go down significantly. And while we&#39;re on the subject... &nbsp;</p><p><b>Keep your phone on lockdown.</b></p><p>If you take your phone out on the festival grounds, odds are good that you will:&nbsp;</p><ul><li>Lose it.</li><li>Drop it in the mud.</li><li>Drop it under a stampede of moshing feet.</li><li>Have a band member of Yo La Tengo give you the stink eye for taking photos during their set.&nbsp;</li></ul><p>The last possibility may sound exciting, but in order to keep all of the above from happening to you, keep your phone safely tucked away and out of sight.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Use discretion when moshing.</strong></p><p>Last year at Pitchfork, I was punched in the face during an impromptu mosh to AraabMuzik. The incident was purely accidental&mdash;too many fists and pointy elbows flying through the air. But since then, I have vowed to keep my skinny, fragile-boned body away from direct line of fire. The moral of the story: if you want to jostle around in the park with complete strangers who may weigh twice as much as you, be prepared to take a hit.&nbsp;</p><p><b>Expect to come across these kinds of people:</b></p><ul><li>The gaggle of friends pushing their way to the front of the crowd, who will provoke extreme annoyance and often vocal outrage from everyone around them &ndash; especially those who have been staked out stageside for more than three hours and do not appreciate these freeloaders one bit.&nbsp;</li><li>The fence jumpers, who will eventually get tackled and dragged out in front of everyone.</li><li>The drunk/stoned/sexually liberated college kids, who will remove all of the clothes that they can legally get away with by mid-afternoon.</li><li>The highschoolers, who will make you feel very old.</li></ul><p>What are your Pitchfork do&#39;s and dont&#39;s?&nbsp;</p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; ">Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer for WBEZ and co-host of&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D2" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px; " target="_blank">Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. Follow her on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px; " target="_blank">Twitter</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px; " target="_blank">Facebook</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px; " target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 18 Jul 2013 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-07/pitchfork-2013-survival-guide-108088 The Kelly Conversations: Kelly fans Jenny Benevento and Jake Austen http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-kelly-fans-jenny-benevento-and-jake-austen-107972 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Tile4.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/J1JErrHkli4?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>How does the true fan of R. Kelly&rsquo;s music balance the pleasure that music provides with the unpleasant knowledge of the acts he&rsquo;s been accused of? Should the private actions of an artist ever impact the appreciation of the art? And what is the responsibility of the fan who supports an artist whose misdeeds are hurting others?</p><p><a href="http://www.jennyjenny.org/"><strong>Jenny Benevento</strong></a> is a librarian, <a href="http://www.jennyjenny.org/">a blogger</a>, a cultural commentator, and co-host of the pop-culture podcast &ldquo;<a href="http://www.selloutpodcast.com/">Jenny &amp; Paul Sell Out</a>.&rdquo; Last October, she participated in an evening entitled &ldquo;R. Kelly 101: Trapped in the Closet&mdash;What, How, Why?&rdquo; sponsored by Homeroom at the Hungry Brain.</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/JAKEandRATSO"><strong>Jake Austen</strong></a>, who also sat on that panel, went to high school with Kelly at Kenwood Academy. He is the publisher of <a href="http://www.roctober.com/">Roctober</a>, the force behind the public access television show <em>Chic-A-Go-Go</em>, the singer in the Goblins, and the author of several books, including <em>Flying Saucers Rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; Roll: Conversations with Unjustly Obscure Rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; Soul Eccentrics</em> (Refiguring American Music) (Duke University Press) and <em>Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip-Hop</em> (W.W. Norton).</p><p><strong>Here are some of the highlights of the interview with Austen and Benevento:</strong></p><p><em>(Austen references the Pitchfork Music Festival&rsquo;s earlier booking of Odd Future several times during the chat; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-02/pitchfork-odd-future-endorsing-rape-or-showcasing-art-85888">here is the long interview I did with Pitchfork&rsquo;s top executives</a> about that in 2011.)</em></p><p><strong>Austen: </strong>The thing about him is that he&rsquo;s shameless and he uses it to his advantage. A lot of his writing is about shamelessness, a lot of his excess is about shamelessness, and he doesn&rsquo;t have any remorse</p><p><strong>Benevento:</strong> Is the intentionality of this &#39;this is a totally ironic act to bring to Pitchfork&#39;? I think it&rsquo;s a mix. I think that&rsquo;s why he&rsquo;s so successful. His music is so great, but hipsters can ironically enjoy these hilarious lyrical themes. The lyrical themes are alien to everyone&rsquo;s life; no one can really identify with R. Kelly&rsquo;s lyrics.</p><p><strong>Austen:</strong> It seems like R. Kelly&rsquo;s sex songs are just about him; they&rsquo;re not about a partner. They all take place in his mind. There&rsquo;s no other characters in these songs, really&hellip; It&rsquo;s not real, and I absolutely understand why it&rsquo;s hard to separate this fantasy thing from the actual sex that he&rsquo;s had, but it&rsquo;s hard to hear those songs and thing about human beings.</p><p><strong>Austen:</strong> Of course you are right to ask them [Pitchfork] those questions, but the reason they&rsquo;re right not to answer them is they don&rsquo;t want R. Kelly to not do the show&hellip; It seems like Pitchfork the website would want to talk about this; that&rsquo;s a good place to talk about it. But this festival thing is a separate thing in a way. Ideally, you are right. This is something that should be talked about. But you understand why they&rsquo;re not going to. When a journalist is also a promoter, it puts them in a bad position.</p><p><strong>Benevento:</strong> I think tourism is a great term for it. It&rsquo;s like, &ldquo;Oh, I&rsquo;m just watching this freak show&hellip;.&rdquo; Just because I paid money and am totally supporting this financially it doesn&rsquo;t mean that I really support this&hellip;.</p><p><strong>Benevento:</strong> I do think that bro, macho culture is there in indie rock just as much as it&rsquo;s there in every other kind of aspect of rock n&rsquo; roll. It&rsquo;s just maybe a little bit more underground. It&rsquo;s not separate water fountains now, it&rsquo;s just this casual racism. In the same way, I think there&rsquo;s a lot of casual sexism, where it&rsquo;s like, &#39;Come on, it&rsquo;s just fun to watch R. Kelly, why do you have to bring me down with this rape idea? It doesn&rsquo;t matter &rsquo;cause it&rsquo;s fun and it&rsquo;s really good music.&#39;</p><p><em>Ahead of R. Kelly headlining Pitchfork Music Festival, WBEZ&rsquo;s Jim DeRogatis <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining">conducts a series of conversations</a> with smart, passionate cultural critics. Videos have been edited for length and clarity.</em></p></p> Thu, 18 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-kelly-fans-jenny-benevento-and-jake-austen-107972 The Kelly Conversations: Annmarie Van Altena, sociologist and rape victims' advocate http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-annmarie-van-altena-sociologist-and-rape-victims <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Tile7.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ODxybi7A0JM?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>How does the prevalence of rape myths affect society and our appreciation of art? Why is statutory rape&mdash;sex with a partner who is not of the age of consent&mdash;viewed differently than other kinds of sexual assault? And what does it say when society champions the work of an artist whose personal deeds most would condemn when confronted with them?</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/AnnVanAlt"><strong>Annmarie van Altena</strong></a> is a sociologist who teaches at Loyola University Chicago and specializes in issues of gender, work, media, consumption, and subcultures. A former riot grrrl, she also volunteers with <a href="http://www.rapevictimadvocates.org/" target="_blank">Rape Victim Advocates</a>.</p><p><strong>Here are some of the highlights of van Altena&rsquo;s interview:</strong></p><p>&quot;That he was acquitted we seem to believe means that he was innocent&hellip; Only three percent of rapes actually result in a prison sentence.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a responsibility of us as a society to know the truth, and if people are being victimized, it&rsquo;s up to us to raise that awareness.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Music is an extension of a lot of our core beliefs, really, and it reflects our culture and how we think... Music is never just music.&quot;</p><p>&quot;As far as the artist goes, everybody is human. Everybody has their flaws. But if their flaws include horrible crimes, we have to think about that.&quot;</p><p>&quot;If you like something, often you don&rsquo;t want to know bad things about it. You want to overlook the problems&mdash;that what you like could be problematic&mdash;and you want to not think about it. But if we&rsquo;re responsible and we want to be a responsible member of society, we need to. If you like the music, you like the music, right? Does that mean that you have to support him? I don&rsquo;t think so. I think as a responsible person you need to get informed about what&rsquo;s going on and act according to your own morals and values. And examine how much of the way you&rsquo;re judging this is about things like accepting things like rape myths. How much do you really know about what&rsquo;s going on, and how much of the way you&rsquo;re judging the situation is based on misinformation about what rape is?&quot;</p><p><em>Ahead of R. Kelly headlining Pitchfork Music Festival, WBEZ&rsquo;s Jim DeRogatis <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining">conducts a series of conversations</a> with smart, passionate cultural critics. Videos have been edited for length and clarity.</em></p></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-annmarie-van-altena-sociologist-and-rape-victims The Kelly Conversations: Gen Y music critics Simon Vozick-Levinson and David Greenwald http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-gen-y-music-critics-simon-vozick-levinson-and-david <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Tile5.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PKSmpzUR6nY?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Does R. Kelly&rsquo;s music mean something different to younger music critics and self-proclaimed &ldquo;pop omnivores?&rdquo; How do they balance discussion of his art and his actions? And why do they think their peers in the Pitchfork audience have embraced this musician?</p><p><a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/contributor/simon-vozick-levinson"><strong>Simon Vozick-Levinson</strong></a> is an associate editor at <em>Rolling Stone</em> whose work also has appeared in <em>Entertainment Weekly</em> and <em>The Boston Phoenix</em>. In March, he participated in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/shout-out-out-out-out-and-more-few-other-things-106131">a panel discussion at South by Southwest</a> on the state of pop fandom entitled &ldquo;Guiltless Pleasures: Imagining a Post-Snob World.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://davidgreenwald.net/"><strong>David Greenwald</strong></a> led that panel. He is a contributing editor for Billboard.com who also has been published in <em>The Atlantic, GQ,</em> and <em>The Los Angeles Times</em>, and he is the founder of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/more-rock-reading-kraftwerk-publikation-definitive-bio-107340">the new music magazine <em>UNCOOL</em></a>.</p><p><strong>Here are some of the highlights of the interview with Greenwald and Vozick-Levinson:</strong></p><p><em>(Both reference the Pitchfork Music Festival&rsquo;s earlier booking of Odd Future during the interview; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-02/pitchfork-odd-future-endorsing-rape-or-showcasing-art-85888">here is a link to the long interview I did with Pitchfork&rsquo;s top executives</a> about that in 2011.)</em></p><p><strong>Greenwald: </strong>[On Kelly playing Pitchfork] I think there&rsquo;s a lot going on where someone like R. Kelly, who&rsquo;s been in the business long enough, can look and see this is the trend, this is where the new audiences are, and go after that.</p><p><strong>Vozick-Levinson: </strong>I think most young people are definitely aware of the controversy on some level. There&rsquo;s the [Dave] Chappelle skit&hellip; But I think you&rsquo;re right that for a lot of people it&rsquo;s just sort of a joke or a punch line and a lot of young people aren&rsquo;t aware of the depth of the story.</p><p><strong>Vozick-Levinson: </strong>The things that R. Kelly has been accused of are pretty horrific. There&rsquo;s this added layer of complexity where the allegations themselves are incredibly disturbing and something that should really give any fan pause. At the same time, he did stand trial and was acquitted. That doesn&rsquo;t excuse it or mean that those things didn&rsquo;t happen necessarily, but it makes it a more complicated question. But sure, it should definitely matter. It&rsquo;s obviously important to separate the work from the artist who creates it, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean that you shouldn&rsquo;t be considering both things. They&rsquo;re both important things.</p><p><strong>Greenwald: </strong>You can&rsquo;t be super-informed on every single thing you support. But certainly whenever you open your wallet and spend money on something you are making a political choice on some level. And if you&rsquo;re choosing to support the music of R. Kelly, you should be aware that this is [his] history, these are the actions he&rsquo;s accused of, and that is true for any artist.</p><p><strong>Greenwald: </strong>One thing we saw at Pitchfork last year [in 2011] with the protest against Odd Future being booked&mdash;and Odd Future is a group who had not actually gone out and done any of these things, they were just rapping about them&mdash;but I think having those protestors there sparks a conversation and Pitchfork had to respond to it, and then it just became something that people were aware of. One thing that can be done is creating the conversation and having it humming through Twitter and Tumblr and all of these outlets and having people be aware that these are the stakes of having this happen.</p><p><strong>Vozick-Levinson:</strong> I think this is an example where knowledge of the artist&rsquo;s actual life can give us a sort of deeper and more nuanced understanding of the work. It&rsquo;s easy to listen to something like &ldquo;Sex in the Kitchen&rdquo; and think it&rsquo;s a cartoon, but it&rsquo;s not, there&rsquo;s actually a darker subtext to it, and I think it&rsquo;s worth exploring that. And I think it actually makes the work more interesting, not less.</p><p><em>Ahead of R. Kelly headlining Pitchfork Music Festival, WBEZ&rsquo;s Jim DeRogatis <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining">conducts a series of conversations</a> with smart, passionate cultural critics. Videos have been edited for length and clarity.</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-gen-y-music-critics-simon-vozick-levinson-and-david The Kelly Conversations: Gen X rock critics Lorraine Ali and Bill Wyman http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-gen-x-rock-critics-lorraine-ali-and-bill-wyman <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Tile2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ef1ok_6D6X4?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>How do rock critics balance the discussion of R. Kelly&rsquo;s music with that of his actions? What is the perspective of critics who&rsquo;ve followed him from his earliest days as a solo artist, through his rise to the most important voice in R&amp;B of his generation, and from his trial on charges of making child pornography, through his embrace by a largely white audience of independent rock fans?</p><p><a href="http://lorraineali.com/"><strong>Lorraine Ali</strong></a> is the pop music editor of <em>The Los Angeles Times</em>. She also has worked as a critic and journalist at <em>Newsweek</em>, and has freelanced for <em>Mademoiselle, GQ, The New York Times</em>, and other publications. She has covered Kelly throughout his career.</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hitsville"><strong>Bill Wyman</strong></a> wrote about Kelly early in his tenure as the rock critic for&nbsp;<em>The Chicago Reader</em>.&nbsp;He is the former arts editor of Salon.com and National Public Radio, and his work has appeared in <em>The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal</em>, and <em>New York</em> magazine. His essay on&nbsp;Michael Jackson and &ldquo;the ick factor&rdquo; appeared in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/12/24/121224crbo_books_wyman" target="_blank"><em>The New Yorker</em>&nbsp;last December</a>, and he blogs at <a href="http://hitsville.net/">hitsville.net</a>.</p><p><strong>Here are some of the highlights of the interview with Ali and Wyman:&nbsp;</strong></p><p><strong>Ali: </strong>What&rsquo;s interesting is that idea of when people are discussing him, especially when other critics are writing about him, of not just forgetting this, but just not even mentioning it. Any time Chris Brown comes up, the first line is, &ldquo;The guy who beat Rhianna.&rdquo; Somehow, R. Kelly has gotten this pass. And not only has he gotten this pass, he&rsquo;s actually become more famous for it.</p><p><strong>Ali: </strong>There&rsquo;s something fundamentally wrong with that kind of hipster idea that we&rsquo;re gonna give this guy a pass, and not only are we gonna give him a pass, there&rsquo;s gonna be some kind of fun inside joke about it. I find that incredibly offensive also as a woman. Because what we&rsquo;re talking about with R. Kelly was largely perpetrated against women, and somehow, that seems to be less offensive to the hipster crowd and to others than other things. I don&rsquo;t understand why this isn&rsquo;t taken more seriously, what he&rsquo;s done in his past.</p><p><strong>Wyman:</strong> It has nothing to do with him, though, frankly. It has to do with Pitchfork. It&rsquo;s outrageous for Pitchfork to have someone like that who&rsquo;s created such crimes in Chicago against young Chicago people. What if he&rsquo;d been raping underage hipster guys with wispy beards? Would they be upset about that?</p><p><strong>Wyman: </strong>I have a theory I call &ldquo;the ick factor.&rdquo; Some people are so gross, and they do things that are so gross, that you just can&rsquo;t repeat [them]. I&rsquo;m reluctant even now to say what was on that video. You don&rsquo;t want to bum everyone out.</p><p><strong>Ali:</strong> If you were to walk up to any of the people on the field at Coachella or Pitchfork and say, &#39;I want you to name three R. Kelly songs,&#39; could they actually do it? Are they really there for the music, or are they there for the spectacle that is R. Kelly? If it&rsquo;s the spectacle that is R. Kelly, that&rsquo;s repulsive, because he is a spectacle for this very disgusting reason. If it&rsquo;s the music, it&rsquo;s sort of another thing. As a music writer, do I have a moral obligation to bring this up when I write about him? No. But as a good journalist, as a reporter, as somebody who needs to tell the whole story and that&rsquo;s what your job is, I think it&rsquo;s a given that that needs to be in whatever you&rsquo;re writing about him, because it&rsquo;s part of the story, it&rsquo;s part of what&rsquo;s made him who he is today, it&rsquo;s part of his public persona, and it&rsquo;s in his music.</p><p><strong>Wyman:</strong> If the audience don&rsquo;t know who he is, if he was introduced as a guy who&rsquo;s done this, and he&rsquo;s done this, and there was another 13-year-old girl who said this and this&mdash;you recite his actual greatest hits, if you introduced him that way&mdash;I don&rsquo;t think people would enjoy the show.</p><p><em>Ahead of R. Kelly headlining Pitchfork Music Festival, WBEZ&rsquo;s Jim DeRogatis <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining">conducts a series of conversations</a> with smart, passionate cultural critics. Videos have been edited for length and clarity.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Jul 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-gen-x-rock-critics-lorraine-ali-and-bill-wyman The Kelly Conversations: Mark Anthony Neal, professor of black popular culture http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-mark-anthony-neal-professor-black-popular-culture <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Tile6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NLid6uwTUTg?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Where does R. Kelly fit in the spectrum of black popular music? Can or should his music be separated from the acts that he&rsquo;s been accused of? Does he mean different things to different audiences&mdash;his African-American following vs. the young, mostly white fans who will see him live at the Pitchfork Music Festival after being struck by <em>Trapped in the Closet</em> on IFC?</p><p><strong>Mark Anthony Neal</strong> is a professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University. He has lectured far and wide, founded the blog <a href="http://newblackman.blogspot.com/">NewBlackMan</a>, and written extensively about Kelly, including a chapter in his latest book <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Looking-Leroy-Illegible-Masculinities-Postmillennial/dp/0814758363/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1370606499&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=mark+anthony+neal">Looking for Leroy: (Il)Legible Black Masculinities (Postmillennial Pop)</a></em> (NYU Press).</p><p><strong>Here are some of the highlights of Neal&rsquo;s interview:</strong></p><p>&quot;In some ways, R. Kelly is damaged goods. I don&rsquo;t think, particularly my generation of folks who have grown up listening to his music, there&rsquo;s no way to think about him and not think about these charges&hellip; It&rsquo;s really hard to disconnect R. Kelly the musical person from the R. Kelly that we know is so capable of this kind of problematic behavior.&quot;</p><p>[On <em>Trapped in the Closet</em>] &quot;I think there&rsquo;s an admission there. I think there are more than a few accusations. I think what he puts on the table is really how messy and funky black life can be.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Folks have very short cultural memories&hellip; R. Kelly might be [for my students] the creepy old guy, but they don&rsquo;t think about him as a sex offender. They might know him from the [Dave] Chappelle skit. But for a Pitchfork audience, who really doesn&rsquo;t have an investment in R. Kelly&rsquo;s meaning to the black community musically, but also in terms of his persona as this predator, they have no investment in that. For them, it&rsquo;s a headlining artist who&rsquo;s done some really interesting retro-soul music, that on the one hand makes them look good because it articulates a kind of diversity that they have in terms of genre and obviously in terms of race, but at the same time they don&rsquo;t have to be accountable to a black community that is still working through all these kinds of messy issues in which R. Kelly of course is a symbol. They don&rsquo;t have to make those kinds of choices. Who holds Pitchfork accountable?&quot;</p><p>&quot;I&rsquo;m sure R. Kelly is savvy enough as a performer and as a businessman at this point to know how to play up those antics for this particular audience. I won&rsquo;t say that it&rsquo;s almost on the level of cooning, the way that we would think about how folks talked about Louis Armstrong when he stopped playing the trumpet and it all became about the singing; I wouldn&rsquo;t quite describe it that way. But he clearly is playing up the affect of these certain kind of antics in terms of who he is, what we know of him, and what the audience wants to consume&hellip; I&rsquo;m sure the show that we see at Pitchfork is not the show that R. Kelly would do for a largely black audience in Chicago, or Detroit, or Atlanta.&quot;</p><p>[On the promoters&rsquo; responsibility] &quot;I think we always have to hold people accountable for the kinds of choices that they make. I&rsquo;m sure their official response would be that the truth of the matter was he was acquitted&hellip; Even though it&rsquo;s almost common knowledge, particularly around Chicago, what his pattern of behavior was for a 20-year period.&quot;</p><p><em>Ahead of R. Kelly headlining Pitchfork Music Festival, WBEZ&rsquo;s Jim DeRogatis <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining">conducts a series of conversations</a> with smart, passionate cultural critics. Videos have been edited for length and clarity.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Jul 2013 05:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-mark-anthony-neal-professor-black-popular-culture What you should know about Chicago festival season http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/what-you-should-know-about-chicago-festival-season-106591 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/PMF.jpg" title="So, this happened at Pitchfork in 2009. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, in a bubble. (Flickr/JC Behm)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">With the start of Chicago festival season less than one month away, Metromix has released their preliminary list of <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/stories/1839-2013-chicago-festival-guide" target="_blank">street fests</a> to whet our summer appetites.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Some focus on music (from block parties like Do-Division and Wicker Park Fest to festival giants like Pitchfork, Taste of Chicago and Lollapolooza) while others revolve around food or fine art, but all are guaranteed to bring crowds of joyful Chicagoans together for some long-awaited fun in the sun. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Since it&#39;s never too early to start planning your summer activities, here&#39;s what you can expect from the four-month long bombardment of festivals this year:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><strong>1. Day drinking&nbsp;</strong></p><p>And lots of it. Pace yourself (pounding Jägerbombs before 10 a.m. is <em>never </em>a good idea) and remember that obnoxious drunk people are slightly more tolerable if you have a buzz going yourself. Don&#39;t care for booze? You&#39;re in luck: there&#39;s a&nbsp;<a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-rockstar-energy-drink-mayhem-festival-event" target="_blank">Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival</a>&nbsp;too.&nbsp;</p><p><i>My favorites</i>: Chicago Craft Beer Festival, Pridefest, and Northalsted Market Days.</p><p><strong>2. Music (good and bad)</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/show-me-chicago/2013/04/chicagos-millennium-park-summer-2013-line-up-of-free-music-and-special-events/" target="_blank">Free Music Mondays</a> in Millenium Park can be hit or miss (although <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/04/02/city-announces-2013-lineups-for-downtown-sound-and-loops-and-variations" target="_blank">looking good</a> this year); and with many lineups still forthcoming, it&#39;s hard to know which music fests are worth braving the heat and sweaty crowds. But since Walmart on the Lake (aka Lollapalooza) is already <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/summer-music-festivals-coachella-lollapalooza_n_3053876.html" target="_blank">sold-out</a>, trying a smaller fest with more local acts could end up being the highlight of your summer.&nbsp;</p><p><i>My favorites</i>: Pitchfork Musical Festival, Wicker Park Fest, North Coast Music Fest, Blues Fest, Edge Fest, Riot&nbsp;Fest and Do-Division.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/34FLiV.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 400px; float: right; " title="The crowd at last year's Do-Divison Street Fest. (Do-DivisionStreetFest.com) " /></p><p><strong>3. Food (good and <em>really</em> good)</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/taste_of_chicago.html" target="_blank">Taste of Chicago</a> may be ridiculously overpriced, but the street-vendor style grub is dependably delicious every year. Other scrumptious destinations like<a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-6-corners-bbq-fest-event" target="_blank"> 6 Corners BBQ Fest</a> in Jefferson Park, <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-fiesta-del-sol-1-event" target="_blank">Fiesta Del Sol</a> in Pilsen and Lakeview&#39;s appropriately-named <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-sausagefest-chicago-1-event" target="_blank">SausageFest</a> deserve some foodie love as well&mdash;just don&#39;t overdo it on the red meat if your plans include walking around in the sun for the rest of the day.</p><p><em>My favorites<b>:&nbsp;</b></em>Roscoe Village Burger Fest, Ribfest Chicago and Taste of Randolph Street.</p><p><strong>4. Scantily-clad people</strong></p><p>By the time temperatures hit 90 degrees, festivals will be teeming with shirtless men and women flaunting the tiniest <a href="http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=27101708&amp;parentid=W_TOPS" target="_blank">bustiest</a>&nbsp;tops&nbsp;imaginable. Whether this sounds appealing to you or not, standing in close proximity to these people could turn <em>very</em> uncomfortable once bodies start sweating and sticking together like flypaper; so, make sure that you have a clear pathway to remove yourself from this situation if need be.</p><p><strong>5. Money saved</strong></p><p>While the exception of bigger music festivals like<a href="http://pitchfork.com" target="_blank"> Pitchfork</a>, most of the neighborhood block parties on <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/stories/1839-2013-chicago-festival-guide" target="_blank">this list</a> are free and open to the public. A small donation is often encourged to help support the community, but not required. Still, go ahead and pay the $5 to $10 (it&#39;s less than what you&#39;d spend at the movies these days) and enjoy some great live music/art/culture with your friends.</p><p>Walk around in the sunshine, explore different parts of the city and meet new people along the way. Summer festival season goes by quickly (beginning with the<a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-long-grove-chocolate-fest-event" target="_blank"> Long Grove Chocolate Fest</a> on May 3 and ending with the last day of <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-riot-fest-1-event" target="_blank">Riot Fest</a> on September 15) so make the most of it while you can!&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s your favorite fest? Leave a comment below, join the conversation on <a href="https://www.facebook.com" target="_blank">Facebook</a> or send me a tweet <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/what-you-should-know-about-chicago-festival-season-106591