Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Hal Sparks: Man on the move
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

This article shared 5027 times since Wed Jan 4, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Actor, musician, comedian, radio host and Chicago native Hal Sparks recently talked with Windy City Times about his career, activism and what drives him as a performer.

Windy City Times: How did your Saturday radio show for WCPT come about?

Hal Sparks: I was doing a Ustream show every Saturday that was growing in popularity. WCPT approached me about doing a weekend show so I took my Ustream show and easily modified it for the radio. They wanted my show to be a lead in for a new show from the Center on Halsted. (That show is currently not on the air but still in the works. Spark's show is followed by Dick Kay's show at the moment.)

WCT: Tell me the genesis of the Sexy Liberal tour with Stephanie Miller and John Fugelsang?

HS: John and I talked about touring together since our material was similar in content (they performed together previously). Also, people wanted to see Stephanie live, so we had to make this tour happen. I agreed to it, John got the thing rolling and Stephanie jumped on board. We started booking locations and it became a phenomenon shortly after that.

WCT: How has the tour gone so far? What message do you hope to convey to your audiences as you travel around the country? Will the tour make its way back to Chicago?

HS: It's great to see the response from people as well as how successful it's been. People want their voices heard and our tour is a response to that because right-wing radio shows get more airplay than left-wing radio shows. At our shows people start looking around and realize there are a lot of people out there who think like them.

As for our message: We want to let liberals/progressives know that they are being heard and their voice matters.

Also, we will be coming back to Chicago on March 3 at the Chicago Theater.

WCT: What was it like to come back to Chicago last June for the Sexy Liberal tour and the Pride parade?

HS: It was amazing. Chicago is my favorite city in North America. There is the hustle and bustle of NYC and the relaxed open-mindedness of California fused together in a midwestern mash that is healthy and has a sensibility that I really like.

WCT: Tell me about the WCPT broadcast you did with Miller and Fuglesang during the Pride parade.

HS: It was hilarious because one of the floats broke down right in front of our booth so they probably got more press than any other float in the entire parade. That was the funny, silly upside of the parade but the downside was some floats were vandalized—but they got fixed and the parade still happened. What happened to the floats was a good example of how a few idiots can ruin something that took a lot of work, hope and heart to create.

The Tea Party is similar to the vandals that destroyed the floats. They aren't good at building things because it takes too much work. Their mission is to bring the government back to zero because they think that is the magic cure. It's the lazy, slacker way of doing something.

What I also find interesting is what catches the media's attention. Thirty Tea Partiers can be outside Congress saying, "Get your government hands off my Medicare" and that gets wall-to-wall coverage on CNN, but 800,000 people watching the Chicago Pride Parade this past June barely gets noticed by the national media.

WCT: You took a break from the Sexy Liberal tour in August [The Talk's Aisha Tyler filled in for him] to go to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. What was that like?

HS: It was the first time I've been in one city for a month straight in six years so that was a social experiment for me. On top of that you are in an incredibly old city with a lot of history. When there isn't a festival Edinburg is a quiet, genteel, highly cultured city and then once a year festival-goers roll in and the place is transformed into a party. Doing shows in the same city for a month was interesting because the same people came to see me over and over again.

Since I don't drink the festival didn't take a toll on me like it did to the other performers. Personally, I think there are enough crazy things in the world that can make you feel drunk like watching a Republican debate. ... Everything in alcohol that makes you feel sick seems to be in the Republican platform these days.

WCT: What drives your liberal/progressive activism?

HS: Politicians, corporations and individuals who want to take away people's rights. I want to find out what their motivations and political ideals are so I can stop them from doing what they are doing. It takes a lot of work especially if you want to do it in a non-hostile way.

WCT: You are a big supporter of the LGBT community. What do you think the next thing that the LGBT community should do to continue the march towards equality?

HS: Vote. No one in the LGBT community can afford to stay home on election day, ever. During the 2010 mid-terms some LGBT activists convinced liberal/progressive voters to stay home and what we got were legislators who want to reinstitute sodomy laws. People also stayed home because they felt President Obama was moving too slow on Don't Ask Don't Tell but they were proven wrong. The president got DADT ["Don't Ask, Don't Tell"] repealed in the right way through Congress so the next president can't just reverse it with an executive order. It's also important to vote in local and state elections to make sure that the republicans aren't sneaking anti-gay people onto the school boards, for example. ... If you don't vote you can't complain about anyone who gets elected that will work against you as an LGBT person.

WCT: Tell me about your new show, Lab Rats 2012. [He is currently shooting episodes for the first season, which will debut in early 2012 on Disney XD.]

HS: Lab Rats is lovely. As a new dad (his son is named Camden) it warms my heart to do programming aimed at kids that is healthy, smart, funny and silly that my son will be able to watch when he gets older. It's a science oriented series with jokes that make kids smarter in the process.

I play a motorcycle-riding billionaire inventor who is treated like a rock star. My new show is a really smart way to promote science with young people since our society doesn't celebrate scientists and science in general.

WCT: Technology is very important to you. Why?

HS: If there is a singular drive in the human soul it seems to be towards higher and more complex technological systems. ... Communications technology is shrinking the world and bringing people together in a way that was impossible even 10 years ago. These connections are healthy because ... it makes us realize that humans aren't that far apart in their thinking which is a good enough reason for technology to exist.

A platform like Ustream [where anybody can put on a TV show that looks good] was an impossibility four years ago. Technology has a democratizing effect on society and having the ability to do this all around the world is fantastic.

WCT: Explain what you mean by "happy ending."

HS: We talk about some tough stuff on the radio every week but it's important to give people good news. ... So at the end of my show I tell the listeners about positive developments in society, for example green technology. We do that so the listeners will have something to think about or look up online that isn't negative.

WCT: What are your other professional plans for the future?

HS: I have two Chinese movies that will be shot in China next year [an action movie and a romantic comedy]. Richard Hunter and I are working on a show and I'm working on a book.

WCT: You are very passionate about your sponsors. Why is that?

HS: I chose the companies I wanted to promote. With Threadless, I like their positive business model which gives independent artists a way to pay their rent by selling their designs to the store so they can be made into tee-shirts. I support Steaz, the energy drink company, because it is vegan, fair-trade organic and a low CO2 output company. As for Honda, I went to their safety classes [Sparks drives a Honda motorcycle] and saw the great things they are doing including greening their vehicles. Contrary to what Republicans say about liberal/progressives, I don't have a problem with businesses doing well—but I want them to do well in an ecological and ethical way.

Sparks will be back in Chicago to perform with his band, ZERO 1, at the Mayne Stage ( ) in early 2012. To buy tickets for the Sexy Liberal March 3, visit . For more information on all of Sparks' activities and to connect with him via social networking, visit .

This article shared 5027 times since Wed Jan 4, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

TELEVISION 'Drag Race,' 'Queer Eye,' 'Pose' among Creative Emmy winners 2021-09-13
- Three 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies took place Sept. 11-12—and Netflix's The Queen's Gambit led the way with nine wins going into next weekend's Primetime Emmys, Deadline reported. LGBTQ+ individuals and shows also scored se ...

Gay News

MUSIC Lil Nas X wins top award at MTV VMAs 2021-09-13
- The MTV VMA Awards took place Sept. 12—and an LGBTQ+ artist took home one of the night's top awards. Lil Nas X won Video of the Year for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," besting Cardi ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Boy Meets Boy,' Jennifer Hudson, 'SVU,' tennis honor, ABBA 2021-09-12
- Ariztical Entertainment is releasing the German movie Boy Meets Boy on DVD and VOD on Oct. 26. According to a press release, the plot of the 70-minute movie is as follows: "Harry has been partying for ...

Gay News

TV Rory O'Malley lands his second gay cartoon role with 'Chicago Party Aunt' 2021-09-11
- Inspired by a popular Twitter account, Netflix's latest adult cartoon, Chicago Party Aunt, takes the Windy City to a whole new level. Superstore star and Second City alumna Lauren Ash plays the titular character, Diane Dunbrowski. ...

Gay News

Constand breaks silence about Bill Cosby 2021-09-07
- Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand is breaking her silence to NBC News about the comic/actor's release from prison two months ago, Deadline noted. In a brief clip, Constand tells Kate Snow she "was really shocked — ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Idol' alums, Zendaya, Gaga, 'Queer As Folk,' women rappers 2021-09-05
- American Idol alum David Archuleta said that God urged him to come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, NBC News noted. The Nashville resident told he wasn't sure if the community would embrace ...

Gay News

Hacks, I May Destroy You, Pose rule LGBTQ Critics' Dorian TV Awards 2021-08-30
--From a press release - AUGUST 29, 2021—HOLLYWOOD, CA—Venerable actress Jean Smart; Saturday Night Live wit Bowen Yang; rising satirist Ziwe; Pose co-creator Steven Canals; teen heartthrob Michael Cimino, of Hulu's Love, Victor; and revered ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Billy Porter, 'Death Drop,' Brandi Carlile, vintage films, Gaga 2021-08-29
- Billy Porter will direct a queer teen comedy feature titled To Be Real for Amazon Studios, which is being helmed by Gabrielle Union's I'll Have Another Productions, noted. Porter, who is currently working on his ...

Gay News

EVENTS Celebrity attendees named for Wizard World Chicago 2021-08-28
- William Shatner (Star Trek; TV's Boston Legal), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, TV's The Walking Dead), Matthew Lewis (All Creatures Great and Small), James Marsters (TV series Buffy the ...

Gay News

TV Netflix animated series 'Chicago Party Aunt' debuts Sept. 17 2021-08-27
- The LGBTQ-inclusive series Chicago Party Aunt will debut on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 17. Inspired by the popular Twitter account Chicago Party Aunt, this eight-episode adult animated comedy follows Diane Dunbrowski and nephew Daniel as they ...

Gay News

TV 'Dancing with the Stars' to feature first same-sex partnership 2021-08-27
- ABC's Dancing With the Stars will be breaking new ground in the upcoming 30th season—with its first same-sex partnership. According to Deadline, on Aug. 26, host Tyra Banks and executive producer Andrew Llinares revealed that the ...

Gay News

SPORTS Red Stars teaming with Univision for Sept. 25 game 2021-08-23
- The Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and Univision Chicago—part of Univision Communications Inc., the leading Spanish-language media and content company in the country—announced a first-time ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ RuPaul, GALECA toast, Elliot Page, 'Chippendales,' bi model 2021-08-22
- RuPaul revealed a new wax figure at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, a press release noted. The all-new Rainbow Runway experience invites guests to "meet" and take cues from the most commercially successful drag queen of all ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Ben Platt, Billie Jean King, Megan Thee Stallion, 'Horror Stories' series 2021-08-15
- Queer Grammy, Tony and Emmy-winning artist Ben Platt has dropped his new album, Reverie, via Atlantic Records, per a press release. Platt will mark the arrival of Reverie with his biggest North American headline tour to ...

Gay News

Chenoweth and Menzel to co-host 'Wicked in Concert' PBS special 2021-08-06
- PBS's Wicked in Concert special on Aug. 29 will be co-hosted by the musical's original Broadway stars, Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, Deadline reported. The event is slated to feature performances by Mario Cantone, Gavin Creel, ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.