WBEZ | pitchfork http://www.wbez.org/tags/pitchfork Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 Das Racist on the four elements of hip-hop, white wine and how they'd like to be described http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-07-15/das-racist-four-elements-hip-hop-white-wine-and-how-theyd-be-described-89 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-15/dasracist_flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>With Pitchfork this weekend, a lot of the attention has been been on shock rappers&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oddfuture.com/en/">Odd Future</a> performing, but <a href="http://dasracist.net/">Das Racist</a> is the fest's rap group that would be on my must-see list (they perform tonight at 6:30 p.m.) if I didn't have to spend the evening saying, "No, you can't have/do that" to my 6-year-old son.</p><p>The threesome, which first gained attention with the song "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" and has since released two mix-tapes (that is, free albums), are smart and funny and also physically strong and very good-looking. If I could use one word to describe Das Racist, it'd be rippling.</p><p>The group, which has its first CD, <em>Relax</em>, coming out sometime soon, performed and talked on <em>The Interview Show</em> when we recently did the show at <a href="http://www.unionhallny.com/home.php">Union Hall</a> in Brooklyn. Here for the first time is the video of their appearance.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/jVsgDnKMWmA" width="560"></iframe></p><h3 style="color: red;">IN OTHER NEWS . . .&nbsp;</h3><p>I'll be reading/performing at <a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/">The Paper Machete</a> tomorrow (Saturday). It's at 3 p.m. at The Horseshoe (4115 N Lincoln Ave.). It is FREE.</p></p> Fri, 15 Jul 2011 13:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-07-15/das-racist-four-elements-hip-hop-white-wine-and-how-theyd-be-described-89 Lollapalooza: 'No concerns' about Eminem’s hate http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-14/lollapalooza-no-concerns-about-eminem%E2%80%99s-hate-89123 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-13/eminem-hatesigns.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-13/lolla logo.jpg" title="" width="197" height="175"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-13/emhatesigns-320x232.jpg" title="" width="320" height="232"></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>UPDATED WITH (NON-)COMMENT FROM THE PARK DISTRICT, 9:15 a.m. Thursday</strong></p><p>Confronted by a coalition of domestic violence groups, rape victim advocates, and gay rights organizations, the promoters of the Pitchfork Music Festival belatedly invited those activists into this weekend’s festival in Union Park to present a counterpoint to the hate-filled lyrics of Odd Future, the most controversial booking in the fest’s six-year history.</p><p>More than five times as large and set in Chicago’s prestigious front yard of Grant Park, Lollapalooza has no plans to do anything similar to balance the anti-woman, anti-gay views frequently espoused by Eminem, one of the six key headliners in that event’s seventh year as a reinvented destination festival.</p><p>Though Eminem has been working hard in recent years to seem more cute and cuddly—and he now is safe enough to preside at the Grammys and provide the soundtrack for Detroit car commercials—he once was pop music’s reigning bad boy of shock, outrage, and venomous spew, before Odd Future and after Marilyn Manson, and part of a long line of acts that includes Alice Cooper, the Geto Boys, Slayer, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the Meatmen, and many, many others.</p><p>The man born Marshall Mathers is infamous for his particularly nimble flow of invective about gays and women, especially the mother who done him wrong and the ex-wife he is forever fantasizing murdering. He also is, no surprise, one of the few influences and musical heroes that the devoted button-pushers in Odd Future happily acknowledge and celebrate.</p><p>Between Friends and Rape Victim Advocates are two of several groups attending Pitchfork in an effort to raise awareness about violence against women and gays in counterpoint to Odd Future. Asked if those or similar groups will be represented on the Lollapalooza midway—which usually hosts a wide array of activists, from environmental and voter registration groups to the non-profit Parkways Foundation, which applies for all of the concert’s licenses—Lollapalooza spokeswoman Brittany Pearce responded via email.</p><p>&nbsp;“We have not received any concerns from our ticketgoers regarding Eminem performing at Lollapalooza,” Pearce wrote. “We always address questions, concerns that come to our website accordingly.”</p><p>Since that didn’t answer the question, I repeated it in a second exchange. “We did not receive applications from any such groups,” Pearce wrote, echoing the excuse Pitchfork originally gave. “We do, however, support domestic violence shelters and human rights organizations through our charitable donations.”</p><p>Asked if Rape Victim Advocates and Between Friends are considering an attempt to raise awareness at Lollapalooza similar to what they are doing at Pitchfork, Sharmili Majmudar, executive director of the former, wrote, “We’ve been focused on Pitchfork, as you know, and so haven’t discussed Lolla yet, though I was very aware Eminem would be performing. As I had mentioned to you before, we are also planning to have at least one if not more follow-up events to continue the conversation about music, culture, violence, misogyny, homophobia, and responsibility…</p><p>“We are trying to promote having the larger, more nuanced conversation rather than targeting single artists/groups, especially since general critique around violent lyrics is disproportionately targeted towards hip-hop artists of color.”</p><p>Hip-hop artists may indeed get more flak for their homophobia and misogyny than, say, death metal bands or witch house groups. But then this critic would argue that Eminem and Odd Future both have made this kind of hate an emphatic and disproportionate part of their oeuvres, if not their key selling points, in contrast to Cannibal Corpse or Salem or, hey, the Rolling Stones of “Brown Sugar” and “Black and Blue.” We shouldn’t let any of them off the hook, either. But they aren’t playing a festival in a public park.</p><p><a href="../../blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-02/pitchfork-odd-future-endorsing-rape-or-showcasing-art-85888">As noted when I first wrote about this issue in May</a>, thanks to the Eminem and Odd Future bookings, this summer is a banner season for lyrics full of hateful fantasies about women and gays issuing from the big festival stages in Chicago’s parks—a fact that is all the more disturbing given the city’s statistics for sexual assaults (the Chicago Police crime index listed 1,359 cases in 2010) and the recent increase in violent crimes in Boystown. The Park District, however, does not seem any more concerned about the issue than Lollapalooza’s promoters are.</p><p>I’ve been chasing Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner for comment on this issue for weeks, and I finally told her that my deadline was 6 p.m. yesterday. If or when she or anyone else from the city responds, those comments will be posted.</p><p><strong>UPDATED: </strong>"I am unable to comment at this time, as we have not been able to discuss the matter with Lollapalooza organizers," Maxey-Faulkner wrote on Thursday morning.</p><p>To be clear, only a fool would contend that hateful lyrics about women, gays, or anyone else directly prompt hateful actions; we aren’t yet such a nation of zombies that free will no longer exists. And only an idiot or a fascist would argue that these artists do not have the right to freely say anything they want to say; free speech does and needs to reign supreme.</p><p>But free speech does not mean that promoters <em>have </em>to book an act whose lyrics offend many of their concertgoers, and with which they themselves may disagree. They have <em>chosen</em>, for whatever reasons, to do so. And it’s the critic’s job to question that decision and to say whether or not that speech is <em>art.</em></p><p>This critic believes that both Eminem and Tyler the Creator, the driving force behind Odd Future, are betraying their considerable talents as rappers and lyricists by dwelling on hateful, violent fantasies, which are, sadly, clichéd, redundant, intentionally disturbing, and ultimately pathetic for their transparent attempts to shock us. Nothing in popular culture ages or gets tiring more quickly than contrived shock. But that is not to say that, whatever the intention, the substance of those words should not be addressed. Words matter, and arguably in no genre more than in hip-hop, where the true measure of an artist remains the ability to thrill us with nothing more than a microphone and freestyle lyrical skills.</p><p>As someone who has covered both Lollapalooza and Pitchfork since their inceptions, both festivals originated as true alternatives to the kind of prejudices prevalent in too much mainstream culture. While they have never exactly been Woodstock, Lilith Fair, or a Gay Pride parade, they did once stand for exactly the opposite of the kind of hate and exclusion that Odd Future and Eminem proudly flaunt.</p><p>Yes, I remember the controversy that the original Lollapalooza faced in the early ’90s for the shortage of women on its bills, something it addressed by adding L7 and the Breeders to the lineup in 1994. And sure, the old Lollapalooza booked Ice-T’s Body Count, complete with its “Cop Killer” and home invasion fantasies. But the overall vibe of the old festival overwhelmingly was anti-hate and pro-inclusion, in large part due to that significant social activism component on the festival’s midway, which invariably spilled onto the stage.</p><p>Is the Grant Park Lollapalooza paying any more than lip service to social activism? Does it stand for anything other than booking the acts that will sell the most tickets, beer, and souvenir crap that weekend in the park? And will Lollapalooza reconsider, as Pitchfork did, the need to present the other side of the hatred heard onstage by inviting activists to provide the counterpoint at the concert?</p><p>At the moment, the answer to all of those questions seems to be “no.”</p><p><strong><u>EARLIER REPORTS IN THIS BLOG ON PITCHFORK AND ODD FUTURE</u></strong></p><p>July 13: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-13/linksomania-more-pitchfork-odd-future-and-advocacy-groups-89062">Linksomania: More on Pitchfork, Odd Future and the advocacy groups</a></p><p>July 7: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-07/better-late-never-pitchfork-invites-advocates-balance-odd-future-88852">Better late than never: Pitchfork invites advocates to balance Odd Future</a></p><p>June 30: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-06-30/pitchfork-promoters-meet-rape-and-domestic-violence-groups-88609">Pitchfork promoters to meet with rape and domestic violence groups</a></p><p>June 29: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-06-29/domestic-violence-groups-protest-odd-future-pitchfork-88478">Domestic violence groups to protest Odd Future at Pitchfork</a></p><p>May 8: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-09/linksomania-new-cultural-czarina-trouble-park-district-odd-futurepitch">Odd Future/Pitchfork fallout</a></p><p>May 2: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-02/pitchfork-odd-future-endorsing-rape-or-showcasing-art-85888">Pitchfork &amp; Odd Future: Endorsing rape or showcasing art?</a></p><p><strong><u>SOME OF THIS BLOGGER’S EARLIER CRITICISM OF AND REPORTING ABOUT EMINEM:</u></strong></p><p>2009: <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2009/05/eminem_relapse_shadyaftermathi.html">Album review: Eminem, “Relapse”</a></p><p>2002: <a href="http://jimdero.com/News2002/May26Eminem.htm">Eminem’s big mouth just melts</a></p><p>2001: <a href="http://www.jimdero.com/News2001/NewsFeb18EminemRoundtable.htm">Teens ‘stand up’ on Eminem</a></p></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 10:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-14/lollapalooza-no-concerns-about-eminem%E2%80%99s-hate-89123