Archive for October, 2009
The 28th annual Queer Film Festival in Chicago, Reeling 2009, is set to go from November 5th -15th and I’m happy to say the roster includes two movies made by folks who have been getting TPR support for years. Fish Out of Water, the documentary by Ky Dickens about the bible and homosexuality, will have its Chicago premiere on Sunday November 8th at 5pm at the Music Box Theater, with post-film reception hosted and sponsored by In Fine Spirits (5420 N. Clark St.). On Wednesday November 11th at 7pm, The Landmark will screen the world premiere of Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance, a documentary about trans musicians by Chicago’s very own Actor Slash Model. I’m busy combing through the other entries to see what else I’m excited about, but I’m SO HAPPY about these two that I had to post. Stay tuned, will have ticket giveaways soon!
Girls, the band, has quite a back story — no actual girls in the band, cult life, shitty parents, drugs, etc. The record is really good — early Elvis Costello CHANNELED. I had always wondered about the first line from the first song “Oh, I wish I had a boyfriend, I wish I had a loving man in my life. I wish I had a father, and maybe then I would have turned out right.” Seems a dramatic intro to a first record, but there’s real autobiography in there. Leave it to timing (see previous post about Hunx and His Punx) to have a new NSFW music video for said song premiere today. “Lust for Life” features Hunx and his erect junk being used as a microphone to lip synch by a twinky bed mate. Of course, Pitchfork features the video and talks about the boobs and the “schlong” but doesn’t mention that it’s Hunx’s. This is the link to the video, remember: NSFW!
The third album by Katastrophe, “The Worst Amazing,” is out now on 307 Knox Records, and it’s nice to see Rocco Kayiatos expanding his range and palette. He’s always been pretty self-sufficient, with few special guests, self-produced beats, mixing and mastering his own releases. It’s always cool to see the purity of a body of work when it’s done like that: you get an unfiltered view of an artist’s vision. And when you are a fan, that can be ideal. When you are not, it could all the sound the same. “The Worst Amazing” still has only one song with a guest rap (two less than his last record and one more than his first) but the difference is in the sonics. There is a track built on acoustic guitar, dubstep hints, strips of Deltron 3030′s cinematic sweeps and frequent vocal contributions by feminine voices singing hooks (what uP Jenna Riot). The last track is even an electro remix by Sonsfoxy, a welcome 4×4 exit to an otherwise eclectic album. All this and he’s finally enlisted some production help in Shaggy Manatee and easily, this is the best Katastrophe album yet; the big reveal is that collaboration has shown us more of Rocco’s taste: a deceptive oxymoron in the face of singular creative mission. Liz Armstrong once described Katastrophe as “touchy feely,” and yeah he’s still on the expressive side. Recent interviews have him stating that he sometimes considers marketing himself as stealth–it’s the age old question about being an artist first and queer second and the desire to reach people outside of our inner circles. Still, Katas is one of the people behind new trans-masculine print magazine Original Plumbing and is touring, publicizing, facebooking and tweeting about it. That inner conflict, the capital IT for art-making, is right there front and center and that’s what keeps us listening. The exclamation point is that “The Worst Amazing” has found new sounds to keep us dancing, I’m sure Katastrophe wants it like that.
Stream and download a sample track here:
In our post-Gravy Train!!!! world, there are two solo off-shoots that I’ve been closely watching. Hunx And His Punx seem to get a lot of attention and The Younger Lovers (headed by Brontez, formerly known as Junx) tends to be the other side project. On the surface, they are both doing similar things: whiny, charged classic punk with nods to girl groups and the Ramones. However, a quick glance at the Hype Machine shows 10 Hunx posts and 2 for the Younger Lovers (and just to be clear, those hard numbers low low low for The Hype Machine, TPR is NICHE AUDIENCE, I love you). It’s a shame, really–where Hunx has perfect style, a delish set of limited 7″ singles and is fascinatingly slutty (see: twitter), Brontez writes his own songs, plays all the instruments and he makes his own print zine (Hunx’s songs are written by No Bunny). You could say Hunx is like Kim Zolciak, and Brontez is like Kandi Burruss…J/K. I’m not knocking Hunx – he is delivering the punk rock goods, but their paths split when you take a look at their agendas. Whereas Hunx is looking to get laid and party, Brontez is looking to find community (you don’t make Fag School, his zine, unless you are looking to meet people). Both fit into the spirit of Rock ‘N Roll, but you can’t forget that as a black queer punk Brontez has higher stakes. His hysterical essay in BUTT Magazine #26 was just as horny as Hunx, but there was considerable longing for other black punks in his large U.S. city and there weren’t any. Struggle makes the hustle, being wronged makes better songs and you can hear it. Yes, some of you might want to look past race, but if you count brown folks at indie shows you’ll be done really quickly–the only recent time I’ve seen a direct racial line between artists and fans is when I noticed all the MINI-MY-A’s at the last M.I.A. show I went to. Not even TV on the Radio brings out the black folks. There are cultural barriers between being brown and being punk, and to think otherwise is to be more post-racial than current reality allows. On The Younger Lovers’ “Newest Romantic” LP, casual fly-aways and runaway hooks co-mingle in deeper ways than just appropriation of punk’s historical sounds. He’s got some real angst in there and considering the swing of the hate-pendulum every time queers get a little more on the books, the authentic thrash of an underdog is raw power. Stream and download my fave track from the record below and keep up with Brontez at his blog, Newest Romantic.
The Younger Lovers–Danny
And just to make sure you know I love them both:
Hunx and His Punx–Dontcha Want Me Back (Teenage Fantasy Rip NRG mix)
I was over at my favorite northside indie book shop, Chicago Comics, when I came upon Keith Stern‘s freshly printed encyclopedia, Queers in History. DUH, I needed a copy. With over 900 mini-biographies of people, this guide goes all the way back to 2450 BC. There is a handy index which arranges the entries by date of birth, country of birth and profession, and its first time in print, Stern first published this as a CD-ROM in 1991 (remember those?). So happy that he is still doing this kind of work! The contemporary bios, maybe because we live in such out times, were the least revelatory but maybe that’s also because I’ve been obsessed with outness since I was a grungy kid. There are a few questionable inclusions – the sincere attempt at being comprehensive possibly made room for celebrity mongering. Among those that I shrugged off: Madonna, River Phoenix, Angelina Jolie, and Marylin Monroe. That said, there are hundreds of authors, artists, choreographers and painters that need more queer documentation. For instance, this past year I went to see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s anniversary tour and it started with this retrospective film about Ailey’s life and work. In the 25 minute film, not once did they mention he was gay or that he died of AIDS. As a life-long student of queer life and history, this book is essential as a jumping off point. Sweet!
There is a new support group for people partnered with someone with is in the midst of a gender transition. From the press release: Is your partner considering or in the process of gender transition? Would you like a space to talk about what this means for you? Renegotiating the terms and context of a relationship can be difficult. This 6-week group is open to women whose partners are transitioning and identify along a male spectrum The group will offer support for those who are coping with the changing identity of their partner and their relationship. Topics will include identity, communication, gender, sexuality, culture and social support systems. This is a queer-friendly space and affirming of all sexual orientations, race and ability. Transfolks are most definitely welcome as are ciswomen. While the group isn’t open to cismen this time, if we hear from the community that there is a need and an interest they can/will do it in the future.
This group is offered in conjunction with Chicago Women’s Health Center and Center on Halsted (COH). For more information or to register, call COH at 773-472-6469 x279. There is a $5 suggested donation for each session.
Dates: Thursday Evenings, November 5th, 12th, 19th and December 3rd, 10th, and 17th.
Location: Center on Halsted, 3656 North Halsted
I was most intrigued by Bradford Cox when I starting hearing his solo songs – his blog really demonstrates how prolific he is and before he officially released anything under the name “Atlas Sound” he was constantly posting free, downloadable solo demos (he has a nice back story about that name and how he picked it as a budding youth). His love of washy, breezy girl group changes and folky abstractions, along with the sheer AMOUNT of songs made want to know more and I asked to interview him. We met at the Empty Bottle and he was a little distracted at first, it seemed like it might be a difficult conversation. It turned out to be one of the best interviews of TPR’s history. We wound up talking about his music, being a homo with congenital medical issues, and sometimes he would trail off in thought. He was KING in Deerhunter land and it was clear he’d made a lot of big decisions about what he wanted to get out of life. In the middle of the interview, a fan that also had a heart condition (they had met at a previous show and bonded) came in and gave him a scarf she knitted. He immediately put it on and was SO HAPPY. We talked for about 30-40 minutes, his friends started filtering in and soon enough it was a post-show party. Cox was surrounded by people he knew and loved and I always think of that scarf when I listen to his music.
The new Atlas Sound record, “Logos,” sounds like autumn. A slow entry, pretty colors, highs that don’t get too high, and an aggressive exit. At the center is his pretty voice–thin layers like filo dough sometimes expressing a longing I haven’t felt since Julee Cruise’s soundtracks for Twin Peaks. Thankfully, he does this all the time.
Everyone keeps calling them bears, but aren’t they more otterish?