Chicago Pride Guide for the Gay Tourist

23 06 2011

Welcome to Dancing About Architecture. I see you’re in for pride. Your Melissa Etheride ’97 tour shirt tells me you may be here for music as well as getting your gay on. Glad to see you know that Pride is not only a great time to see a cross section of the Midwest gays or good lesbian spotting, but also a chance to see some great live music over the weekend.
Pride Weekend used to just be about the parade on Sunday, leaving the other days open for you to troll the bars. One year our pals at Northalsted Area Merchants Association decided a Pridefest, in the style of the successful Milwaukee one was just the thing. They were right. After a few shaky years, they seemed to have started to bring it. This year they’ll be bringing you stars like Ultra Nate and Deborah Cox on Friday night; Mya, Kim English, Crystal Waters and Kim English on Saturday. While a little 90’s diva heavy in my opinion, you can’t deny the star power and consistency, especially when there’s drag shows in between each act. If you need a break from all that weave, take a break and come with me and catch Chicago crowd pleasers 16 Candles and Rock Candy. So tasty.
A little drunk now on the music and warm Miller Lite? Let’s dance! You can hit some of boystown’s best clubs with the locals. Start at Scarlet where early is best and the DJ’s are always edgy and addicting. When Scarlet closes, you can go South for avant-guard craziness at Berlin, or more straightforward top-notch spinning at Hydrate. Don’t stay out too too late, the parade is the next day.

Post parade, I’ll give you two amazing options. You can follow me up North and avoid the bars and messiness for Pride North, a one night street party featuring live music by 16 Candles with opening DJ Voxbox and hosted by ME! If you’re not ready to pass out, join the legendary Circuit Mom as he presents Revolution, a new dawn in dance parties featuring DJ Brett Henderson and Matthew Harvat’s always stunning visuals. If you make it out of Chicago unstimulated by all this audio, don’t say I didn’t try! Thanks for coming, girl!


8 06 2011

As I write this I’m staring at a well-worn plastic beer stein (filled with water. Its only Noon) and dreaming of 6 hours from now when my official street-festival-mojo kicks in with Lincoln Square’s Maifest. You’d think with being known as one of the biggest music whores in this town, I’d be dreaming of Lollapalooza and Pitchfork, but believe it or not, those are just too much for my wallet, and I’m a sucker for great local acts served up by one of Chicago’s zillions of Summer street fests.

Last year Andersonville’s Midsommarfest eclipsed Boystown’s Pridefest and Market Days for me in terms of good music and hot men: two things that rule my world. This is year it’s looking to make both look positively gauche. MSF, as I’m calling it, kicks off at 11am on Saturday June 11th and just 2 hours after it starts I’ll be front and center for the rollicking alt country sounds of Devin & the Straights. Hang tight there because the acrobatics of the Chicago Spirit Brigade, always a crowd favorite, show off how they make cheerleading even gayer  followed by one of my favorite local acts, The Joans. Think The Cramps and the B-52’s opening for The Smiths in Joan Crawford drag. Then, 6pm gets tricky. You have figure out how you can see the amazing cover band, Rock Candy, featuring the sexiest frontwoman in Chicago, Molly Callinan (Cat Fight, Black Betty) then have time to squeeze in for the always sexy Chicago favorite 16 Candles and their crowd pleasing takes on John Hughes era rock. If you miss them, make sure you get to The Glenwood’s Pride North party with Mooseboxas the opener/host (PLUG!)

Molly Callinan

Some festival’s seem to load up all the top acts later in the day. Not Midsommarfest. Sunday kicks off with one of my favorite bands at 2pm. 7th Heaven, a cover band brimming with way to much talent and featuring a reality show winner, will blow your mind. If you leave right as the last riff comes from 7th Heaven, you may have time to get to hear the Brazilian rhythms of Chicago Samba at 3pm for a great change of pace. Personally after Chicago Samba I have to go home and walk the dog, but if you’re raging on, the funk & soul of Bumpus will chill you out like a cold beer.

Leave it to this fest to give us something for everyone for the finale. You probably already saw 16 Candles the night before, so skip them on Sunday, and check out the truly legendary alt country god, Robbie Fulks with Nora O’Connor. They’re most likely going to be doing some kids’ stuff too, but no worries. Robbie could sing NWA covers and still make you miss Hank Williams.

Star Of Wonder

28 12 2010

The Wicker Park Choral Singers and our pal Matthew have kindly provided us with a recording of their December 4th concert (which I sadly missed, bad Moose). It’s a gorgeous and moving program focusing on the theme of looking to the heavens this time of year. Please enjoy and go check out more at

Preview their recording of The Three Kings:

Download the entire concert here

The Vault Returns: The Glee Club

4 09 2010

One of may favorite St. Louis concert memories was having the thrill of seeing The Glee Club, a one album band signed to the prestigious 4AD label back in 1994. It was in a small  venue in The Loop area of U City called Cicero’s Basement with all my great St. Louis pals. The intimacy and power of being that close to such a moving show left an indelible mark on all of us we still talk about today. I still have my signed CD by Joanne and her partner Hugh and still listen to it frequently, and it never ages.

My gift to you, as I start doing postings again for The Vault Series is the “single from their from their only real CD, Mine.  “Need” is easily the strongest track on the CD, and rivals the best tracks off The Cranberries’ debut.  The entire CD also rings a bit of Lush, Cocteau Twins, Curve,  and All About Eve at times. Worth tracking down if you can find it.

01 Need (right click to save)

Bonus links:

A rare track from Joanne and Hugh’s first band, Swinging Swine:

The demo version of Need:

Tom Goss, Scott Free, and More Tonight at Jackhammer

3 09 2010

The adorable and talented Tom Goss

After last night’s horrific Scissor Sisters’ show, of which we walked out, it will be nice to cleanse my music palette with some real talent. Especially the underrated singer/songwriter Tom Goss and queer music legend Scott Free with his new band Brown Lazer.

From Flesh Hungry Dog Show’s website

Tom Goss– “toe tapping and head bobbing…”Rise” is easily one of the best releases this year [in DC] and a great introduction to a man who has a lot to say and a wonderful way to say it.” – DC Acoustic Underground

– “Lot’s of energy and a diverse use of instrumentation, including horns and harmonica. Sometimes upbeat, other times dreamy and melodic.” – On Tap Magazine
– “craft draws comparisons to the Beatles ( A Thousand Times Before ) and Rufus Wainwright ( King of Something Right)” – Windy City Times

Heat Birds
The Heat Birds is an acoustic ensemble with an eclectic mix of vocal and musical styles. With instrumentation that is a hallmark of true Chicago Alt/Americana outfits, the Heat Birds incorporate clarinet, trombone, ukulele, accordion, and upright bass into their performances. Led by sultry jazz vocalist Stella, they seamlessly merge American musical styles of the past one hundred years and make them their own. They have performed at Scott Free’s ALT Q festival, and have opened for Ruthie Foster at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and Etta James and Melissa Ferrick at Milwaukee Pridefest.
Brown Lazer
Brown Lazer is a lyrical, post-post-modern punk band led by Marvin Astorga, a singer, songwriter and mixed media artist. They have performed twice at the Old Town School of Folk Music, first for the Folk & Roots festival, and then for Beatlefest 2010. Marvin recently had a gallery showing of his collage and mixed media work, entitled  “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” at No Coast Exhibitions and Editions in Pilsen. Marvin’s previous band was International Bread Company. Brown Lazer also features Scott Free on bass and Jenny Urban on drums.

Tickets $8 online or $10 at the door

Friday, September 3rd
at Jackhammer
6406 N. Clark St.

A True Chicago Music Experience

19 06 2010

A couple of truly unique events coming up at the Harold Washington Center and brought to you by an honest to goodness local CD store, The Music Experience: Jody Watley (who was fantastic last year at Market Days) and gorgeous voice that is Leela James.

Music Experience
1959 1/2 East 73rd Street
Chicago IL 60649

So Many Ways To Enjoy Your Robert Rodi

17 04 2010

The handsome jack-of-all-trades, Robert Rodi

This weekend I got to chat with one of the best selling gay novelists of the past 20 years, Robert Rodi (Fag Hag, Closet Case, Dogged Pursuit, and more) to talk about his books, comics, secret projects (shhh) and his new album with 7th Kind, Sea Monster and their upcoming live show at Martyrs. You can check out Roberts print work on his personal site, and listen to Sea Monster on their site.

Moose: Hello Robert, welcome.

Robert Rodi: Thanks Marc.

M: Very happy to have some time with you as one of thousands of Chicago gay boys who loved your novels over the past 20 years. Can you believe it’s been that long?

R: No I can’t. I still feel like I’m 28 or something.

M: Well you look 28 and that’s what’s important. We’ve loved your work as a novelist over the years, but this last book you put out was a non-fiction tale of agility training with your dog. At what point did you decide to go non-fiction for a change?

R: My last novel didn’t sell as well as the others; in fact, fiction in general doesn’t sell the way it used to. My agent nudged me towards nonfiction (nudged me with a crowbar, really). So I decided to give it a shot. The first book is a dog book, ’cause that’s a bestselling genre…

…the next one will be about Italy, for the same reason.

M: Way to follow the money. But love the idea.

R: Oh, I’m ALL about following the money. But damn if that money ain’t got moves.

M: You’ve got quite a few irons in the fire. Besides fiction and non-fiction, you’ve also done comics, right? Is this something you’ll continue to pursue as well?

R: Yeah, I’ve got a big series from Marvel coming out later this year. I can’t really talk much about it now or my editor will beat my ass. But I have a lot of fun handling that kind of thing — big, widescreen heroic fantasy. It feeds my inner geek.

M: Have your past ones been optioned at all for film yet? That seems to be hot lately.

R: One of my novels is optioned right now. And I’ve currently in very early talks about a TV series on Syfy but, again, I shouldn’t even mention that yet. It could go either way.

M: Well then lets move one before we get sued!

R: Anyone who sues me is in for a bitter disappointment. I got a couple Prada shirts, that’s it.

M: Your band, 7th Kind has a new CD out. How on earth did you get into a band?

R: I get restless, I like to try new things. Chicago’s a great music town, at a certain point I decided I wanted to be on the other side of the audience-stage divide. Originally I concentrated on jazz, which I still do, but I hooked up with 7th Kind because even though they’re an alt-rock band, there’s a strong jazz influence. What with a five-man horn section and all.

M: So were they an existing instrumental band and you approached them about collaborating?

R: Yeah, they’ve been around a while. But just recently there’s been a real horn-band renaissance in Chicago. You’ve got Mucca Pazza, Balkano, Liquid Soul, Lowdown Brass Band, Origin of Animal… it’s pretty exciting to be part of that. And 7th Kind is an amazing band. Our songwriter, Bill Ashby… I don’t know anyone who writes songs like he does. Completely original.

M: But you’ve been doing the lyrics too as the lead vocalist?

R: I’ve done the lyrics to two 7th Kind tunes and may do more. It’s at Bill’s discretion. He’s pretty generous, which is part of being a great bandleader.

M: Well the albums pretty great. Not too jazzy for the alt rock fans, just a bit of ska in parts, really a melding of lots of great sounds. A little for everyone. Definitely hear a lot of Morphine in there. Who do you guys get compared to the most?

R: That’s hard to say, because anytime we get compared to someone, at least one guy in the band will be like, “WTF?” I like to think we do a different kind of fusion than anyone else. The songs, man…I just love these tunes.

M: Well that’s why I asked really, because its so original. Writers like me love to compare. Very lazy, but when someone like 7th Kind comes along, makes me have to think a bit. Grrrrrr. But wonderful CD. Especially the sorta sullen Epilogue with Coda and modern jazzy Eternal Regrets. Two standouts for me personally.

In the end was there one or two you were most proud of?

R: Thanks. Yeah, those two cuts certainly show the range we’ve got. My personal favorite is the CD opener, “Falling On a Door Knob,” because it was my idea to add the kind of Indian-style raga flavor to the vocals. First time I contributed anything to a 7th Kind tune beyond just singing it.

M: So since the album’s new, have you done much live to support it?

R: We’ve done a couple shows, but we haven’t scheduled the official CD release gig yet. That’ll be on our website, when it’s decided. Our next gig is on April 29, a “Brass Inferno” night along with The Drastics and Origin of Animal. Should be a kick.

We’ll be selling the CD there. And t-shirts and, y’know. Swag.

M: Love the swag.

R: You’re a swag hag.

M: New novel!

M: Well thanks for taking the time today Robert!

R: Thanks, Marc, great talking to you.

M: See you, and all your fans, on the 29th.

R: It’s at Martyrs, 3855 North Lincoln. I’ll be looking for you.