From music to tech, TV to books, these audio-visual teammates got it going on for GLBT and mainstream culture.
Pictured Chicago Gay Men's Chorus in Chicago's Pride Parade, 1988. Photo by Lisa Ebright. Artemis Singers, early 1980s. Photo by Vada Woods. A 1985 Dykes to Watch Out for comic by Alison Bechdel, in Windy City Times. Chicago has always been a key city on the map of women's music and culture. Hot Wire magazine was founded here (left article from 1987 Outlines), Mountain Moving, Artemis, and Women & Children First Books are part of that tradition.
Chicago Gay Men's Chorus
Twenty years ago, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus ( CGMC ) was in its third year of existence, and former president and current board member Mitchell Laks said that membership had reached little more than 100 members.
Laks said that in 1985, the group was more than just gay men singing. 'For some it was an opportunity to satisfy their creative energies, and for others it was being able to continue the thread of choral singing that had been part of their lives growing up,' he said. 'For some others it was an opportunity to be with other gay men in an environment outside the bar scene. And there were those for whom CGMC meant the place that they could come and be themselves-away from work and away from relatives and/or friends that didn't know about the 'secret life' they led. For in 1985, it was both a political and social statement to be on a stage and proclaim that you were part of a gay men's chorus.'
In 1985, the chorus saw the passing of the first of its members to the complications of AIDS.
Now, the group is more than 150 men and women. 'The music and love of performance has always been the common denominator,' Laks said. 'Yet the sense of family that the chorus represents to many of its members has only deepened.'
Now well received, Chicago lesbian-feminist chorus, the Artemis Singers, are celebrating 25 years and will soon release their first CD.
But in 1985, the group had only been around for five years, and had its fair share of struggles. With 'lesbian' in their title, they weren't always welcomed.
Even today, Michaeline Chvatal said that Artemis Singers will not sing in the suburbs unless they are invited. However, lesbian visibility over the past years has made things much easier.
But because of that heightened visibility, 'The interest isn't what it used to be,' she said.
At the same time, since it is a volunteer organization, Chvatal said she knows they can keep the group going. 'We have a lot of energy. We are our own little community, in a way.'
'We have to regroup and rethink our purpose,' she said. After the national choral festival, Artemis Singers will 'reinvent' themselves.
Mountain Moving Coffeehouse for Womyn
In 1985, this women-only, chem-free space was still going strong, with weekly Saturday performances at their old School Street location.
Today, MMCH is in its 31st and final season, with only three performances left. Over the years, MMCH switched from weekly to monthly performances because of a lack of participation. This organization serves as an affinity group, but is also a place the older generation of feminists and lesbians sought for a social network and safety. The changing politics and issues of younger generations do not bring young blood to the coffeehouse, members of the collective agreed. However, all feel that MMCH has served its purpose, and hope younger generations can learn from them and create new spaces.
[ See the Sept. 14 Windy City Times for the first of a two-part series on MMCH's closing this season; the second part will appear Sept. 28. ]
Top 20 Songs of 1985:
1. 'Careless Whisper' - Wham
2. 'Say You, Say Me' - Lionel Richie
3. 'Separate Lives' - Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin
4. 'I Want To Know What Love Is' - Foreigner
5. 'Money For Nothing' - Dire Straits
6. 'We Are the World' - USA for Africa
7. 'Broken Wings' - Mr. Mister
8. 'Everybody Wants to Rule the World' - Tears for Fears
9. 'The Power of Love' - Huey Lewis & The News
10. 'We Built This City' - Starship
11. 'St. Elmo's Fire' - John Parr
12. 'Can't Fight This Feeling' - REO Speedwagon
13. 'Crazy For You' - Madonna
14. 'Easy Lover' - Phillip Bailey & Phil Collins
15. 'Everytime You Go Away' - Paul Young
16. 'Don't You ( Forget About Me ) ' - Simple Minds
17. 'Take On Me' - a-ha
18. 'Party All The Time' - Eddie Murphy
19. 'Everything She Wants ' - Wham
20. 'Shout' - Tears For Fears
Grammy Winners of 1985:
— Record of the Year: 'We Are the World' - USA for Africa
— Song of the Year: 'We Are the World' - Michael Jackson & Lionel Richie
— Best Album: No Jacket Required - Phil Collins
— Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male: Phil Collins - No Jacket Required
— Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female: Whitney Houston - 'Saving All My Love For You'
— Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male: Don Henley - The Boys of Summer
— Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female: Tina Turner - One of the Living
— Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male: Stevie Wonder - In Square Circle
— Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female: Aretha Franklin - 'Freeway of Love'
— Best New Artist: Sade
Sources: Billboard; About.com
Top Books of 1985:
1. The Mammoth Hunters - Jean Auel
2. Texas - James Michener
3. Lake Wobegon Days - Garrison Keillor
4. If Tomorrow Comes - Sidney Sheldon
5. Skeleton Crew - Stephen King
1. Iacocca: An Autobiography - Lee Iacocca
2. Yeager: An Autobiography - Chuck Yeager
3. Elvis and Me - Priscilla Presley
4. Fit For Life - Harvey and Marilyn Diamond
5. The Be-Happy Attitudes - Robert Schuller
Top TV Shows of 1985:
1. The Cosby Show ( NBC )
2. Family Ties ( NBC )
3. Murder, She Wrote ( CBS )
4. 60 Minutes ( CBS )
5. Cheers ( NBC )
6. Dallas ( CBS )
7. Dynasty ( ABC )
8. The Golden Girls ( NBC )
9. Miami Vice ( NBC )
10. Who's the Boss? ( ABC )
Emmy Award Winners of 1985:
— Outstanding Lead Actor ( Drama ) : William Daniels - St. Elsewhere
— Outstanding Lead Actress ( Drama ) : Tyne Daly — Cagney & Lacey
— Outstanding Lead Actor ( Comedy ) : Robert Guillaume - Benson
— Outstanding Lead Actress ( Comedy ) : Jane Curtin - Kate & Allie
— Outstanding Drama Series: Cagney & Lacey
— Outstanding Comedy Series: The Cosby Show
Sources: HistoryCentral.com; Imdb.com
1985 Nobel Prizes:
— Chemistry: Herbert Hauptman, The Medical Foundation of Buffalo, and Jerome Karle, The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
— Economic Sciences: Franco Modigliani, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
— Literature: Claude Simon, France
— Peace: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Boston, Mass.
— Physiology or Medicine: Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein, The University of Texas Health Science Center
— Physics: Klaus von Klitzing, Max-Planck Institute for Solid State Research
The impact of computer technology, including artificial intelligence ( AI ) , became evident in the 1980s. No longer was computer technology just part of a select few researchers in laboratories. The personal computer made its debut along with many technological magazines.
Other fields of AI also made their way into the marketplace during the 1980s. One in particular was the machine vision field. The work by scientists became the foundation for the cameras and computers on assembly lines, performing quality control. Although crude, these systems could distinguish differences shapes in objects using black and white differences. By 1985 more than 100 companies offered machine vision systems in the United States.
Also in the world of technology, the Intel 386 processor made its debut in 1985. The $295 chip represented a major leap forward—and users did not have to get new software to use it. In addition, Microsoft Windows 1.0 was introduced in November,1985 and it initially sold for $100. Corel—the company best known for the CorelDraw and WordPerfect software packages—was founded.
For those who wanted to use technology for more recreational uses, the Nintendo game system debuted in 1985.
Sources: ThinkQuest.com; ComputerHope.com