Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Pop Making Sense
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin

This article shared 11748 times since Tue Jan 21, 2014
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

One of the most anticipated albums of 2014 is Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me! The rock quartet took to the stage in Chicago at Riot Fest last year after lead singer Laura Jane Grace revealed she is transgender. Although the whole set is not a testimony to this, the theme and the band's punk sneer are present in the forefront. "True Trans Soul Rebel" captures Grace's feelings of misplacement, becoming a relatable anthem about alienation. The topic of gender identity is not new to the band. Grace writes about this on Against Me!'s previous cuts "Searching for a Former Clarity" and "The Ocean."

Against Me!'s latest still has a familiar blazing rock sensibility, as heard on the daydream-of-fitting-in "Drinking with the Jocks" and the morbid "Dead Friend." Transgender Dysphoria Blues is a brave, bold and insightful statement and is out now via Total Treble.

Canadian female rock duo The Pack A.D. returns with the excellent Do Not Engage, which will be out on Nettwerk on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The set is a superb progression from the remarkable Unpersons, courtesy of the strong tracks "Airborne," "Creepin' Jenny" and "Animal." Last year's teaser EP, Some Sssongs, contains "Battering Ram," which opens with Becky Black's fiery vocals. Stay tuned to the entire set, especially for the gorgeous closer "Needles." With its solid, badass female rock bite, Do Not Engage sets a high standard for the rest of the year's releases. The Pack A.D. comes to Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., on Thursday, March 6.

New York nightspot CBGB served as a launching pad for many influential artists, such as Blondie, Ramones, Patti Smith and Talking Heads. On Saturday, Feb. 15, Tribute to Punk: CBGBs to X-Ray Spex will take place at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4545 N. Lincoln Ave. For tickets and more information, please visit .

On Sunday, Feb. 9, CBS will air the special The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles. This marks 50 years to the day since the Fab Four appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Eurythmics, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Maroon 5, John Mayer and Keith Urban will be performing.

Many divas and LGBT artists have covered material by The Beatles, including The Breeders, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Bette Midler, The Runaways, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Tina Turner. My favorite remakes are Nina Simone's take on "Here Comes the Sun," Alison Mosshart's "Tomorrow Never Knows" and Natalie Cole's epic live rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

Tony and Grammy winner Jennifer Holliday makes a triumphant comeback with The Song Is You. Here, the vocal powerhouse puts her soulful stamp on the classics "At Last" and the title track. Having delved into gospel music, Holliday belts out the uplifting "Nobody Does It Better" and "Love Is on the Way." The set is a beautiful blend of jazz and R&B, showing the veteran's passion and emotion in her delivery. The Song Is You acts as a reminder why so many contestants on singing competition shows try to tackle Holliday's signature from Dreamgirls "And I'm Telling You, I'm Not Going."

In my year-in-review column, I gushed over James Arena's collection First Ladies of Disco. The New York-based writer has another superb anthology on the era with First Legends of Disco. Here, he expands the scope to get a fuller perspective on the influential time with input from producers, bands, DJs and of course divas behind multiple disco staples. This installment on the dance craze features commentary from Randy Jones of the Village People, Bonnie Pointer, as well as members of dance music hit-makers Lime, Machine, Sister Sledge and Taste of Honey. This year we celebrate the 40-year anniversary of disco and Arena's latest provides a valuable view to this period.

Potpourri of Pearls has the first must-see video of the year with "Nico." Here, an '80s gay porn about hair-metal bands is edited to a PG-13 rating to accompany the song. The end result is camp and hilarious. The track itself seems plucked from the Reagan-era too with apparent influences from Human League and Spandau Ballet thanks to its euphoric chorus and '80s-inspired keyboards. Potpourri of Pearls' sophomore outing, We Went to Heaven, is due out on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

I recently learned that Benjamin Curtis, from the independent bands Secret Machines and School of Seven Bells, lost his battle against cancer at age 35. School of Seven Bells started off as a trio with ethereal sounds and magical harmonies from sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. The magical vocals evoke the results of Dido and Sarah McLachlan being paired together. When I first saw the video to "Half Asleep," I did not realize the singers were twins; I thought it was an allusion to parallel lives or to reality versus a dream world. Ultimately becoming a duo, School of Seven Bells left us with three albums and an EP, highlighted by the celestial, left-of-center singles "My Cabal" and "I L U," as well as a clever cover of Siouxsie & the Banshees' "Kiss Them for Me." Scissor Sisters provided a remix to "Lafaye." I was lucky enough to see School of Seven Bells twice in concert.

Noteworthy new releases:

A Great Big World—Is Anybody out There?, Jan. 21

Above & Beyond—Acoustic, Jan. 28

Against Me!—Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Jan. 21

Amy Ray—Goodnight Tender —1/21

Cowboy Junkies—The Kennedy Suite, Jan. 21

Jennifer Holliday—The Song Is You, Jan. 21

Lisa Stansfield—Seven, Feb. 4

Marissa Nadler—July, Feb. 4

Potpourri of Pearls—We Went to Heaven, Feb. 11

Sophie Ellis-Bextor—Wanderlust, Jan. 21

The Pack A.D.—Do Not Engage, Jan. 28

Toni Braxton & Babyface—Love, Marriage & Divorce, Feb. 4

This article shared 11748 times since Tue Jan 21, 2014
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Romance films, Megan Thee Stallion, Keith Haring, Cher, George Maharis 2023-06-02
Video below - Instinct published an article on five gay romance films that the writers feel are especially emotional. They include the 2022 British film In From the Side, about two gay rugby players; the 2019 production Monsoon, starring ...

Gay News

Artemis Singers' summer performance urges listeners to be 'defiantly optimistic' 2023-06-02
- The longstanding lesbian chorus Artemis Singers will use their annual summer concert to implore listeners to consciously choose hope in the face of hardship. The performance, "Better Times Will Come," takes place at the Irish American ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Warhol, Sarah Paulson, upcoming books, Rufus Wainwright, Elliot Page 2023-05-26
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled seven to two that the late artist Andy Warhol wasn't allowed to use a photographer's portrait of Prince for a series of pop-art images, per The Hollywood Reporter. Associate Justice Sonia ...

Gay News

Hair coming to Skokie Theater June 23 - July 30 2023-05-20
- Madkap Productions has announced the cast and creative team for the inaugural show of their 2023-24 season, the rock musical HAIR, with book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, and music by Gail MacDermot. ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Cynthia Erivo, 'Next Level' winner, 'All Out,' Madonna, Omar Ayuso 2023-05-19
- LGBTQ+ actor Cynthia Erivo will star in a film adaptation of the theater sensation Prime Facie, Variety noted. Oscar nominee Erivo will take on the role originated on the West End (and, currently, on Broadway) by ...

Gay News

WORLD Spain, South Korea festival, Eurovision, marriage items, Sri Lanka 2023-05-19
- Spain became the latest country to join a U.S. initiative that seeks to promote LGBTQI+ rights around the world, The Washington Blade reported. "Promoting and protecting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Chicago cultural and music advocate, poet, educator Diane Gomez 2023-05-18
- Chicago cultural and music advocate, poet and educator Diane Gomez died May 5 due to complications from cancer. She was 70. Gomez was born September 28, 1952, on the South Side of Chicago to a very ...

Gay News

Belting for Life returns for an 8th edition 2023-05-18
- On May 15, Jeff Award-winning director and activist Christopher Pazdernik celebrated his birthday with the eighth edition of Belting for Life, his annual Chicago-style theatrical concert and fundraiser for AIDS ...

Gay News

Foo Fighters, The Cure, and Tegan and Sara to perform at Riot Fest 2023-05-16
- Foo Fighters, The Cure and Death Cab for Cutie are among the headliners at this year's Riot Fest, taking place Sept. 15-17 in Douglass Park. Some of the other acts include queer twins Tegan and Sara, ...

Gay News

MUSIC Billy Porter talks 'Mona Lisa,' authenticity and activism 2023-05-15
- Billy Porter certainly seems to have it all. The actor/singer/director received numerous awards—including two Tonys (for his role in Kinky Boots and as a producer of A Strange Loop), a Grammy (for Kinky Boots as well) ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Alabama protest, antibiotic, bi politician, high-school musicals, Key West 2023-05-12
- Alabama LGBTQ Action is urging the LGBTQ+ community and allies to join the group at a march on the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery on Tuesday, May 16, to demand equal rights for all state residents, ...

Gay News

WORLD Turkish president, former congressman dies, Polish case, Uganda, sports 2023-05-12
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again attacked the country's LGBTQ+ community in a bid to rally his conservative voters before the May 14 election, noted. Polls showed Erdogan—whose campaign is dealing with an economic crisis ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Nathan Lane, Marvel, 'Guardians,' Deborah Cox, Provincetown film fest 2023-05-12
Wanda Sykes' 'I'm an Entertainer' trailer below - GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics named Nathan Lane its Timeless Star for 2022-23, per a press release. "Nathan Lane is an icon of stage and screen, a master of both drama and comedy, and ...

Gay News

Lyric Opera of Chicago introduces first-ever Artist-in-Residence program with soprano Whitney Morrison 2023-05-11
--From a press release - CHICAGO (5/11/23) — Anthony Freud, General Director, President & CEO of Lyric Opera of Chicago, announced the launch of a new Artist-in-Residence program. Developed by Lyric Unlimited, the company's learning ...

Gay News

South Chicago Dance Theatre to debut 'Memoirs of Jazz' on June 10 2023-05-09
--From a press release - (May 8, 2023) Through the 1960s and '70s, Jazz in the Alley on Chicago's South Side was a hotbed for jazz and a meeting place for some of the country's prominent musicians, visual artists, poets, activists, ...


Copyright © 2023 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.