WBEZ | song http://www.wbez.org/tags/song Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Hmmm ... If only our curiosity had an anthem http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/hmmm-if-only-our-curiosity-had-anthem-105512 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79295587&amp;color=00a8ff&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">What&rsquo;s the best breeding ground for curiosity? We can think of none better than a laundromat, in particular the one in Albany Park called &ldquo;Rags to Riches.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s where we met Chicago newcomer Brenda Guzman. Here&rsquo;s what she asked us after we asked her to ignore her laundry chores:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;What can you get in Chicago that you can&rsquo;t from any other place?&rdquo;</em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/brenda%20guzman.jpg" style="height: 274px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Do you recognize Brenda? Let her know about this article and song! We weren't able to get a hold of her after this chance encounter. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" />That question sang with possibilities; after all, what did she mean? Unique objects? Unique experiences? Maybe ... unique people? Brenda told us something like &ldquo;anything goes&rdquo; &mdash; she&rsquo;d be open to whatever we could find.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Given that, we asked for help immediately, since &mdash; let&rsquo;s face it &mdash; the public radio braintrust might not be up to the job. We asked you for help (via Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and, man, you delivered some great answers. But, there was a problem. Each answer begged the same followup question: Can you <em>not </em>find this _____ anywhere else? <em>Really?</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Some ground rules</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Here&rsquo;s how we decided what made the cut. If you can answer &ldquo;yes&rdquo; to any of the following, then your answer didn&rsquo;t make it:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><ul><li class="image-insert-image ">Is this &ldquo;unique thing&rdquo; available online? (e.g., Malort, a wormwood liquor)</li><li>Can it be shipped outside Chicago? (e.g., <a href="http://www.tastesofchicago.com/category/Lou_Malnatis_Pizza">Lou Malnati&rsquo;s pizza</a>)</li><li>Does this &ldquo;thing&rdquo; somehow travel or perform in other cities? (e.g., The Chicago Bears, Kanye West)</li><li>Are there other stores or places where you can get this &ldquo;thing&rdquo; outside of Chicago? (e.g., Garrett&rsquo;s popcorn, which is <a href="http://www.garrettpopcorn.com/las-vegas-locations/">sold in Las Vegas</a> and other locales)</li><li>Did it make our editor groan because it&rsquo;s inappropriate or too easy? (Ask editor Shawn Allee about this when you next bump into him.)</li></ul><p>We collected your offerings and vetted them (with an admittedly light touch at times). You can see our thoughts at the bottom of this article, or <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/125324576/Only-in-Chicago">here</a>. It&rsquo;s a great list &mdash; some 150 suggestions strong &mdash; but we&rsquo;ll admit there&rsquo;s little sex factor in a spreadsheet. Chicago (and you) deserved better.</p><p><strong>A song? No! An <em>anthem</em>.</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Nick%20Gage%20newneonunion.jpg" style="height: 213px; width: 325px; float: left;" title="Chicago musician Nick Gage. (Flickr/newneonunion)" />We tapped Chicago musician <a href="http://fuckyeahnickgage.tumblr.com/">Nick Gage</a> to set your suggestions to music. We had heard of his lyric-writing prowess at <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2KuydtUbkM">Second City shows</a> and <a href="http://www.teamstarkid.com/">Star Kids</a> productions (consider <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Musical_B@man%21">Holy Musical B@tman!</a>).</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">To see more about his creative process and how he tackled the assignment, check out our <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#%21/archive/question/271">reporter&rsquo;s notebook</a>. But the finished product, called &quot;Only in Chicago,&quot; awaits your listen.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Lyrics can be found <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/125384700/Only-in-Chicago-Lyrics">here</a>.</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79104633&amp;color=00bdff&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong>A serious note</strong></p><p>Our quick vetting process did make us wonder if we&rsquo;d missed a huge point, however. If our Curious Citizens are having a tough time coming up with stuff that&rsquo;s actually unique to Chicago, is this difficult for everyone? And, are globalization and instant, mobile media constraining our experience of what&rsquo;s unique?</p><p>CUNY Sociology Professor <a href="http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/academics/faculty/faculty_profile.jsp?faculty=420">Sharon Zukin</a> has insight on this, as her most recent book, <a href="http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Sociology/Regional/%7E%7E/dmlldz11c2EmY2k9OTc4MDE5NTM4Mjg1Mw==">Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places</a>, details how trends have driven out the authentic places, experiences and products specific to a locale.</p><p>Zukin believes that over time, we&rsquo;ll experience fewer and fewer unique experiences and handle fewer unique products but, she says, &ldquo;On the other hand, people want to believe in the local. They want to believe in the specialness of their experience and the uniqueness of the place they come from. So people will keep saying things are unique to their locality, unique to their city because they want to be proud of those things.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Endangered species</strong></p><p>Zukin explains there are long-time processes contributing to this depletion of the unique. Globalization is one factor. Zukin says &ldquo;There is always a give and take between the local and the global. New things are introduced - like in ancient days when camels brought caravans of spices through the desert. But those new things were brought into a place and became local when they were used - they were re-territorialized.&rdquo;</p><p>She points to an example in Chicago: bratwurst and beer. The city&rsquo;s become famous for those cultural products, despite the fact they both originated in Germany.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/brian%20boyer%20flickr%20hot%20dougs.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 400px; float: left;" title="While the traditional bratwurst may be an import, Chicago's Hot Doug's restaurant does unique sausages you can't find elsewhere. (Flickr/Brian Boyer)" />Zukin says forces such as gentrification also endanger &ldquo;uniqueness,&rdquo; as longtime communities are pushed out and chain businesses replace mom-and-pop places. Zukin says now is the time to search for means and strategies to keep the local alive and preserve a city&rsquo;s unique identity.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re really in danger of losing local identities with displacement of people, mobility, with social media, chain stores expanding all over the world,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;We have to find some means &mdash; whether that&rsquo;s laws or customs or communities that keep the &lsquo;local&rsquo; local.&rdquo;</div><p>So what does &lsquo;local&rsquo; need to thrive? According to Zukin, it helps for communities to establish little areas of their own.</p><p>&ldquo;In order to keep these authentic experiences, you have to preserve the differences,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;You have to keep small stores, artisanal businesses and not have them leveled by stores or businesses that make everything look alike.&rdquo;</p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/125324576/Only-in-Chicago" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Only in Chicago on Scribd">Only in Chicago</a> by</p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_4569" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/125324576/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 14:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/hmmm-if-only-our-curiosity-had-anthem-105512 There should be only one 'Santa Baby' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/there-should-be-only-one-santa-baby-104291 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Eartha Kitt Christmas.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.037238676351806776">One of my favorite TV shows is </span><em>Community </em>and one of my favorite episodes of that show was last year&rsquo;s Christmas musical special, and one of my favorite songs from that particular episode was &ldquo;Teach Me How to Understand Christmas&rdquo;:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/45558604?badge=0" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601"></iframe></p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.037238676351806776">Clearly the whole sexy dummy Christmas baby bit is a parody of the holiday standby &ldquo;Santa Baby,&rdquo; wherein the lady singing takes on a disturbing persona of a whorish infant who sexily begs for expensive toys. For a nice example of how weird this is see Madonna&rsquo;s version of the song, mostly because the concept of Madonna being cute or asking for something (instead of demanding it) or even condescending to celebrate something so pedestrian and suburban as Christmas is completely alien:</span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/5ycWObpi73Y?rel=0" width="601"></iframe></p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.037238676351806776">What&rsquo;s worth noting, however, is that the original recording of the song isn&rsquo;t nearly as disconcerting. Sure, it still focuses on materialism and an imbalance of gender, but that&rsquo;s really not as much at play when Eartha Kitt purrs the song:</span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/DeNhjPaP53I?rel=0" width="601"></iframe></p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.037238676351806776">Notice how there is a complete absence of babyishness in her voice? Instead, we hear an actual woman singing, and the &ldquo;Santa&rdquo; in question sounds a lot like an actual man she knows and has a relationship with instead of some indistinct daddy figure. The singer in the original &ldquo;Santa Baby&rdquo; sounds like she can probably take care of herself and doesn&rsquo;t really need Santa cutie to get her all those things she asks for (even though she&rsquo;d really like them).</span><br /><br />It&rsquo;s just a novelty Christmas song, obviously, and not that deep, but it&rsquo;s worth noting that &ldquo;Santa Baby&rdquo; is one of very few Christmas hits written by a woman (Joan Javits), so it&#39;s interesting how the song, depending on the singer, can either be tongue-in-cheek or needy and vaguely depressing. &ldquo;Teach Me How to Understand Christmas&rdquo; is only a few hops away from the sophisticated Kitt song, which is disturbing, so basically what I&rsquo;m saying is, please, ladies, stop covering &ldquo;Santa Baby,&rdquo; and while we&rsquo;re at it, let&rsquo;s just eliminate all the non-Kitt versions of the song, so there&#39;s only the one. And really, that&#39;s not a lot.</p></p> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 09:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/there-should-be-only-one-santa-baby-104291