Saturday 15 Mar 2014

Songs from an Unmade Bed

Pride Films and Plays continues its 2013-14 season with Songs from an Unmade Bed, a theatrical song cycle with lyrics by Mark Campbell. Directed by PFP Artistic Associate Derek Van Barham with music direction by ensemble member Robert Ollis. The production will run March 27 - April 27 (7:30 p.m.) at The Apollo Theater Studio, 2540 N Lincoln Ave. 

Songs from an Unmade Bed explores the experiences (romantic, sexual and otherwise) of gay men living in the city. Lyricist Mark Campbell worked with eighteen composers (one per song) to create a unique musical revue, accompanied by piano and cello, with gorgeous songs that range from funny, poignant, melancholy and ultimately hopeful about life and love. Songs from an Unmade Bed has previously been presented in New York City (Off-Broadway), Los Angeles and elsewhere; this will be its premiere professional production in Chicago.

“There’s something so beautiful about the simplicity of this show,” said Barham. “Having one lyricist work with 18 different composers is ingenious. What emerges is a very personal, articulate voice. Each composer finds a different color and nuance of the character. The lyrics are so universal, and the music is just a delight. We’re lucky to be working in such an intimate space at The Apollo, so that we can allow the audience to feel up close and personal with the performers. The evening should have the feel of being invited over by a few handsome, young gentlemen on a cold winter’s night. Who doesn’t love that?”

Tickets: Previews $15. Opening $30. Regular Run: Thursdays $25; Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays $30. Students and seniors: $5 off all performances. Industry: $10 during previews. Tickets are at Ticketmaster. Or by calling the Apollo Theater at 773 935 6100.

Friday 14 Mar 2014

DJ Cindel spins Neverland

Chicago native DJ Cindel headlines the first Neverland of the new year tonight (Friday, March 14), kicking off his residency at Hydrate Nightclub.

DJ Cindel, known by some as the "King of Drums," got his first major break performing at Chicago's Skybar, a gig that led him to a residency at Spin in Boystown. The stints in the Windy City were followed by time at Club Ibiza in North Carolina, Palace on Ocean Drive in South Beach and a slew of clubs in Miami. His residencies include Action (After Hours) New York City, Reflex (After Hours) West Hollywood and resident DJ for Matinee North America.

Most recently DJ Cindel was named the winner of Matinee Las Vegas 2013 and Circuit Barcelona Festival 2013, among other credits on his long list of accomplishments.'s Andy Ambrosius spoke to DJ Cindel in February as the newly-renovated Hydrate was about to open. Here is a portion of that interview. 

CP: ( You're a Chicago native! Are you happy to return?

DC: (DJ Cindel) Chicago will always be home no matter where I go, moving to Miami was great but I am definitely excited and happy to be back.

CP: How does Chicago compare to other cities you've worked in?

DC: Well, Chicago is known for house music. One of my big inspirations is also from Chicago Dj Ralphi Rosario. My followers here give me the support and energy I need to keep following my dreams of becoming a well-known Dj/Producer.

CP: What's your style musically?

DC: I'm what you call a true house-head. Tech/deep house are my everyday dose when it comes to music. However when I play, I transform into a circuit queen, my beats are pure tribal high energy (cunty) non-commercial guaranteed to keep you dancing all night long.

CP: How do Boystown boys differ from the guys at other gay clubs you've played?

DC: Boystown boys are very committed to the area, their surroundings, they support all of the bars and they stick together. I know I will always have a crowed whenever I play.

Catch DJ Cindel tonight at (Friday, March 14) at Hydrate Nightclub, 3458 N. Halsted in Boystown. 

Wednesday 12 Mar 2014

Fans continue to back Chicago's Steve Grand

Fans Make Gay Indy Artist Steve Grand’s Kickstarter One of Top 10 Most Funded Music Projects in Kickstarter’s History

Fans have catapulted openly gay singer/songwriter Steve Grand’s Kickstarter campaign to one of the top 10 most funded music projects in Kickstarter’s history. This milestone was reached on March 6, just 9 days after launching the campaign to fund Steve’s first album. The campaign is now two weeks old, with 17 days left.

The “top 10” milestone is just the latest example of the determination fans have shown right from the start:

     + Just 17 hours after the Feb. 26 launch, fans busted through Steve’s $81,000 goal.

     + Within 24 hours, the project had been shared roughly 9,000 times on Facebook, and more than 1,600 private consumers had stepped up to fund his dream.

     + In under 2 days, the project became one of only 32 out of 27,000+ total music projects in Kickstarter’s history to be successfully funded at $100,000 or more.

     + Within 5 days, fans had pledged double Steve’s original funding goal.

     + Within 9 days, on March 6, the project became one of the top 10 most funded music projects in Kickstarter’s history – and counting.

Now, with 17 days left, fans are unstoppable in what has become a full-blown movement in support of an openly gay independent artist. Today, more than 2,700+ backers have pledged $182,000+ -- and counting.

Support Steve Grand's Kickstarter: 

“I am blown away by what my fans are doing,” Grand said. “This is no longer just an album. It’s a grassroots movement. Most of the contributions are from gifts of $10, $15 or $25. My fans aren’t satisfied with giving just enough to get this record produced. They seem determined to put this album on the playing field with artists who are backed by major labels. Their message is clear: ‘The sky is the limit. Let’s see how far we can go!’ Every dollar now means we can market and promote this album to an even wider audience – and make our voices heard on an international scale.”

Read's interview with Steve Grand

View "Back to California," Steve Grand's third original release. The full-length album is expected in May with a launch party in Chicago

Related: Steve Grand announced as headliner for PrideFest Milwaukee 
Wednesday 5 Mar 2014

Today is... 'Discover What Your Name Means Day'

Do you know the true origins and meaning of your name? We have a great website that gives you all the details behind your name.

We decided to find the detail on's Bill Pritchard.

Bill: Short form of WILLIAM. This spelling was first used in the 19th century. William: Became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England.

Here are some fun name facts:

Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy

Nipper is the name of the dog on the RCA logo (the logo shows a dog [Nipper] listening to a gramophone).

Prior to the name "The Beatles," the band had the names: the Quarrymen, Johnny and the Moondogs, the Moonshiners, and Long John and the Silver Beatles.

New York's famous "Broadway" was originally named the Wiechquaekeck Trail.

Octotorpe is the name of the "#" symbol on a telephone -- or the symbol used on hashtags.  

Happy 'Discover What Your Name Means Day'!
Tuesday 18 Aug 2009

Domestic Abuse and the Chicago Police

Letter to the Editor

A Real Call for Real Change: Domestic Abuse and the Chicago Police

As an anthropologist studying Boystown for the past 3 years, I have followed many articles and discussions regarding LGBT community and the Chicago police. With the recent muggings in the Boystown and Lincoln Park area, interactions with the police have taken center stage; particularly at last week’s CAPS meeting where many Boystown residents and patrons raised their concerns and shared their disheartening experiences with the police. While conversations between the LGBT community and the police have definitely led to commendable improvements in policing, Boystown has been the focus of these issues. However, as more gay men and lesbians move into neighborhoods north of Boystown, there needs to be more discussion about how police throughout the city of Chicago are prepared to deal with the needs of Chicago’s LGBT citizens.

I write this in response to an incident that happened at 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 11, 2009. A friend who was in an abusive relationship called me crying, saying that she needed my address for the police to escort her to. She arrived 15 minutes later with a bloody nose and knot on her head from where her now ex-girlfriend slammed her into a wall and head-butted her face. As I watched from my window above, the police seemed courteous and waited for her to get into the building before they drove off. As she explained her story to me and our mutual friend, she told me the police did not allow her to take her belongings, her cellular phone, or her dogs. As she continued to tell us about the abuse, the ex-girlfriend sent our mutual friend threatening text messages that she was going to hurt both my friend and her dogs.

So, I called 3-1-1 who said that we could get a police escort to get her dogs and the rest of her belongings if we call 9-1-1 once we are 2 blocks away. We got in the car and drove over and called 9-1-1, who told us that we had to wait in front of the apartment for them to arrive and that the police would not call when they arrived. The same officers who escorted my friend replied to the call and immediately scolded her, the victim of domestic abuse, like a child. Already a nervous wreck, the officer’s indifferent and deferent behavior further traumatized a victim of domestic violence. They said that they were not going to escort my friend into her apartment to get her things, that she already took a bag of her stuff out, and that she had to come back at a “reasonable hour.” Showing them the welt on her head and telling them that her ex-girlfriend has been arrested multiple times for battery, they called their supervisor.

The three of us had to talk the supervisor into escorting her into the apartment. When in the apartment, they rushed my friend to get what she needed and allowed the ex-girlfriend to verbally abuse her the entire time she anxiously tried to collect her belongings. Leaving with her two dogs and only a bag-full of her items (not including her credits cards, social security card, birth certificate, and passport), she was rushed outside of the house. I asked the police if they could file a report so we could have a record of the incident and they refused to do so, saying, “make a report of what?” Then they said to come back to get the remainder of her things at a “decent hour” with a group of friends.

The problems with this situation were numbered. First of all, when the police originally arrived on the scene, they made no report of domestic violence even though my friend sat in the back seat of their squad car for 15 minutes with obvious head trauma and a bloody nose. Secondly, they were completely belligerent to my friend during the entire endeavor, causing her even more emotional trauma. No wonder why victims of domestic abuse do not want to call the police! How can someone who is both emotionally and physically traumatized muster the strength to persuade someone who is supposed to be there to serve and protect, to do just that? Third, is it that wise to tell a victim of domestic violence to wait for a police escort in front of the domicile where the abuse just happened? Fourth, how can a supervisor refuse to write a report when asked for one? Fifth, what police officer would suggest that a victim of abuse go back to the home with a group of friends to get the remainder of her belongings where the abuser resides with a knife collection? That just sounds like trouble waiting to happen.

I would like to think that the issue was not an LGBT one, but I cannot help but wonder if it would have been taken more seriously if she was being beaten by her husband?

I was disappointed the most by the reactions of the female officer who originally came to the scene. I choose to single her out for multiple reasons: (1) she was the one who was most vocal about refusing to assist my friend; (2) she explained the situation to the supervisor in such a biased way, as if she were trying to influence him not to help my friend; and (3) she had the most inappropriate, unprofessional behavior. She threw her hands up in the air when the supervisor decided to escort my friend into the home and walked with her hands on her head as she followed her supervisor into the apartment during the police escort that her and her partner just refused to do themselves.

The other reason why I choose to single-out this officer is because I had the stereotypical expectation for a female cop to have more compassion and understanding; especially when another woman is the victim, even if she happens to be a lesbian. However, I now realize the multiple ways in which gender and sexuality can affect performance in work that is highly gendered itself; a real danger when that work has to do with public safety. This situation shows how important it is to recognize issues of gender and sexuality and how they operate in the “real world.” Issues of gender and sexuality do matter, in that they are directly related to policing and the physical safety of all citizens everywhere.

It is because of police experiences like these that the cycle of domestic violence is able to continue. Women are unable to leave abusive relationships because they are physically unable to do it without risking physical harm, which is exactly what my friend has to do when we go to retrieve the rest of her belongings. The drama that the police created, from child-like bickering to the unnecessary and intimidating arrival of 3 police cars, is completely unacceptable for someone trying to escape the trauma of domestic abuse. Luckily my friend had somewhere to go and money she had hidden just in case of a situation like this. But what about people who do not?

I write this because this situation can easily be remedied. Officers can easily be trained to handle situations like these, to be sensitive to issues of domestic violence, and understanding LGBT issues. This is a call for awareness and better police training, especially at a time when same-sex domestic abuse is on a rise. The way the police handled this situation was completely unacceptable.

On a positive note, I called the Anti-Violence Project at the Center on Halsted, which turned out to be a great resource for information. If anyone LGBT or otherwise is having an issues with violence or with the police, I suggest you contact them.

-Zachary Blair welcomes your views and encourages lively and civil discussions. Comments are unedited, but submissions reported as abusive may be removed. Any submission to may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms. Please thoroughly read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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