Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



MUSIC Janis Ian: An icon speaks of life, music
by Blair Mishleau

This article shared 3040 times since Wed Sep 30, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Emmy Award-winning artist Janis Ian has recently released a compilation of her work so far, entitled The Essential Janis Ian. Janis chatted with Windy City Times about her music, her life and how they intersect.

Windy City Times: How would you describe your music?

Janis Ian: Social music is how I think of it: not political, not folk, not rock but social.

WCT: Who has had the greatest inspiration on your music?

JANIS IAN: Leonard Cohen and the Beatles would be two huge ones, Leonard was just one of the great lyricists of my time. Leonard and Dylan, were if you were a songwriter in my community, those were the two you'd try to beat.

WCT: What inspired you to come out?

JANIS IAN: Well, I was out, for all intents and purposes. Everyone I worked with knew. Then I fell in love with a guy. After that relationship ended … I realized that I coasted towards women. I fell in love with my partner, Pat, 20 years ago.

Urvashi Vaid from [ the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force ] thought it would be good for kids who were living in unsupportive environments to hear that the singer of at 17 was gay, so I came out.

WCT: Do you have any advice for gay and lesbian kids coming of age today?

JANIS IAN: It's a whole other world now; you can't be locked up just for being gay now. Live your life like a normal person. The sooner we start seeing and regarding ourselves as normal the sooner the world will have to view us as normal. I think we've seen that over and over now.

WCT: What is your favorite song?

JANIS IAN: I really don't have a favorite. I'm gratified when "At Seventeen" reaches people where it should reach. You hope that your work will go where it will do the most good.

WCT: Could you tell us a bit about your autobiography?

JANIS IAN: It's a really good beach read, that's what people keep telling me. They all said they picked it up and couldn't put it down. You write a book just like you write a song, and you hope that people will enjoy it. I say that if you read the first few pages and you don't like it, then put it down.

WCT: How has your music changed through the years?

JANIS IAN: As you get older, you develop confidence of a different sort. You don't sweat the small stuff so much. You get more patience with any luck. Now I know that there's going to be another show—so if my voice cracks or I can't hit the right note—I know there's another show.

I've gotten a new appreciation for live shows as I've gotten older. When I was younger there were a lot more live shows in smaller venues. Now everything is more of a hassle. There are so many live shows. It's just harder to get bang for your buck, I think.

WCT: Your music tends to be more solemn. Why is this?

JANIS IAN: I think that's just what I do well. Just like some people write funny well—I write funny very rarely. I write about things that make people uncomfortable and give them a safe space to think about such things.

WCT: What is your favorite instrument to play?

JANIS IAN: I'd say bass, but I'm terrible. I do love playing it, though.

WCT: Do you have a close second?

JANIS IAN: I love playing guitar, that's what I do.

WCT: The movie Mean Girls features your song "At Seventeen," and also features a character named Janis Ian, who is dealing with teen angst similar to the song. How does it feel to have such a homage paid to you?

I think it's great. I think it's absolutely great. I think Tina Fey did a wonderful job. When I met her after the movie she was nervous that I'd be pissed off. But I thought it was great. I mean, how often does someone get a character in a movie named after them? It's pretty rare.

WCT: Your music varies so much. Why is this?

JANIS IAN: That's just an accident of talent. I guess I just grew up listening to a lot of different music, and that comes through. It gets boring doing the same thing all the time.

WCT: So, you've even written science fiction. Why?

JANIS IAN: I've just always been a huge science fiction fan. I know a lot of science fiction authors. It's just an area of interest. If I had more time, I'd get more done, but I don't have a lot of time to get to writing these days.

I would start with the best of set- with The Essentials; I think it's a pretty good career overview. They can also go to my Web site, there's a lot of free stuff on there.

WCT: Will you be coming back to Chicago soon?

JANIS IAN: Yes, some time this year. I suggest that people come to my website and check out my tour schedule.

WCT: How do you like Chicago?

JANIS IAN: I think Chicago is great, it's the first place I got to do a stage performance, so I'm very fond of it. Then you have old town school, which is one of the best folk venues I know of.

This article shared 3040 times since Wed Sep 30, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

THEATER Kokandy's 'Sweeney Todd' running Sept. 8-Nov. 6 2022-08-12
- Kokandy Productions will continue its 10th-anniversary season with a revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street that will run Sept. 8-Nov. 6. The production will feature music and lyrics by Sondheim, ...

Gay News

Market Days marks 40 years 2022-08-09
- The Northalsted Market Days street festival returned to the Halsted Street area for its 40th anniversary on Aug. 6 -7. Running from Belmont Avenue to Addison Street, a $15 suggested donation greeted attendees as they entered ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Singer/actress Olivia Newton-John dead at 73 2022-08-08
- Olivia Newton-John—the Australian singer who charmed generations of viewers in the 1978 blockbuster movie Grease and had such music hits as "Physical," with both garnering many LGBTQ+ fans—died Aug. 8 at age 73, according to media ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jane Lynch, Dwayne Johnson, 'Star Trek,' Beyonce, Shea Coulee 2022-08-07
- NBC has renewed the Jane Lynch-hosted game show Weakest Link for a third season, Variety noted. Season three will run for 20 episodes. The series is based on a British format distributed by BBC Studios that ...

Gay News

Lollapalooza lit up with LGBTQ+ acts in 2022 2022-08-02
- The annual outdoor festival Lollapalooza ran July 28-31 in Chicago, displaying a wide spectrum of talent—including many LGBTQ+ acts—this year on nine stages. The music carnival began as an eclectic ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Cabaret' coming to Metropolis Arts on Sept. 15 2022-08-02
- Musical Broadway classic and hit film Cabaret re-creates the decadent and complicated world of 1929 Berlin at the Arlington Heights venue Metropolis Performing Arts Centre on Sept. 15-Oct. 22. Cabaret is Kander and Ebb's legendary musical ...

Gay News

Lollapalooza to be in Chicago for at least the next 10 years 2022-08-01
- Get ready to see a lot more musical acts, crop tops and (mostly younger) people in Grant Park for at least the next decade of summers. Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced July 31 that the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Comic Con, WNBA player, Timothee Chalamet, Kate McKinnon 2022-07-31
- Out Magazine listed at least seven LGBTQ+-related characters and projects that were unveiled at San Diego Comic Con. Some of them include Michaela Coel (from TV's I May Destroy You) as a queer character in the ...

Gay News

Chicago announces lineups for Marquee Fall Music Festivals 2022-07-30
-- From a press release - CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced today music lineups and expanded date information for three of the City of Chicago's most ...

Gay News

Northalsted Market Days to take place Aug. 6-7 2022-07-30
- The 40th Northalsted Market Days—a live music street festival celebrating community in Chicago's Northalsted/Lakeview district—will take place Aug. 6-7. The half-mile long summer festival features all-day lineups of live music ...

Gay News

21st annual Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest taking place Aug. 19-21 2022-07-27
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (July 26, 2022)—The popular Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest (GAAF) announces complete music lineup for the three-day festival, headlined by Chicago rapper Psalm One, Rock n Roll band from New ...

Gay News

Live music returns to Touche starting July 30 with 'Bear All' 2022-07-24
- After a nearly three-year hiatus due to COVID-related interruptions, Touche, 6412 N. Clark St., is reviving the bar's live music series "Bear All" at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. Begun in 2011 and produced by ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Broadway, 'Game of Thrones' prequel, Dexter Mayfield, Shania Twain 2022-07-24
- The Broadway League announced that theaters will continue their recently adopted mask-optional policy for audiences at least through August, Deadline reported. The mask-optional policy—in which audiences are encouraged but not ...

Gay News

Local queer icon DJ's event 2022-07-23
- Darrell Gordon was the guest presenter for the Lunch Bunch at Third Space at Lakeview Presbyterian on June 1 and 30—the beginning and end of both Pride Month and Black Music Month. ...

Gay News

Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra performing historic concert on Aug. 6 2022-07-20
- The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture announced a once-in-a-lifetime concert event featuring the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra to be held Saturday, Aug. 6, at Chicago's Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. The performance, ...


Copyright © 2022 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
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     
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.