Friday, May 30, 2014

One On One With Aryk Crowder

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide recently sat down with a local artist who's not only raising funds in support of his next album but also giving back in charity to help feed needy families in the Chicagoland area. If you visit Aryk Crowder's web campaign site at to pre-order his new album, "2x4" while snagging some exclusive merch but will be helping spread his " into the world and into the ears that need to hear it..." Portions of the proceeds collected will be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository to which Aryk states " a great charity that I've had an opportunity to work with in the past and I'd love continue to use my gift of music to help others..." Besides this charitable campaign,  this reviewer also chatted with Aryk about his music career, life as a solo artist and the new album...
SouthSide: Could you give a brief history of musical career.
Ayk Crowder: "...I started playing guitar at 15 and expanded from there. Initially, I had a love of classic rock when it came to playing, but started gravitating towards soul and R&B songs in my early 20's. I found my voice shortly thereafter and started writing songs for myself within the few years. I made the move to Chicago around this time as well as for a stint at Columbia College. It was then I got immersed in the city's music scene and began building a network and cutting my teeth..."
SouthSide: Cutting your teeth? Explain.
Aryk: "...I feel that when we try to under new music we need an artist to compare them to so we have a grasp on what we're hearing..."
SouthSide: So, how would you describe your music to someone who wasn't familiar about it in five (5) words or less?
Aryk: "...A mix of Prince, Maxwell and John Mayer would be a comparable mix ...[in] 5 words or less ...Pop eats a Soul sandwich..."
SouthSide: How has life changed for you from being the front man of a band to solo artist within Chicago's local scene?
Aryk: "...It hasn't changed much other than [having] to wear more hats. Until I get to a place where I can have others working with me at helping me grow this music, I have to do the work myself..."
SouthSide: In your opinion, is it hard going from band mode to solo musician?
Aryk: "...Wearing all the hats can get pretty overwhelming at times..."
SouthSide: Will you ever put together another band like lo/fi pioneer again in the near future?
Aryk: "...I'm not against the idea of being in a band again but I simply had a hard time finding like-minded musicians that were willing to take the risks I was..."
SouthSide: Could you briefly explain your album project and how can music fans get involved.
Aryk: "...'2x4' is a collection of songs that I've written over the past few years. I've dealt with some heavy hearted issues and they needed to be put to paper and music. The songs will be released over 2 EP's with the first being released in July. In bring this album to life, I've asked my fans and music fans alike to join me on my Pledge Music campaign [] in helping me raise the capitol I need to get this album out into the world. In return I've got a bunch of swag I'm trading for the pledges from signed CDs to in-house listening parties where I'll be bringing the cocktails!"
SouthSide: What made you partner and donate a portion of the proceeds to the Greater Food Depository?
Aryk: "...regarding partnering with the Greater Food Depository, they're a charity I believe in and have donated to myself every year since I came to Chicago. I really like what they do for the community in that they believe wholeheartedly in what they do. It's a great benefit to the city of Chicago. When I decided to reach out to fans, I also wanted to take the opportunity to help others as well..."
SouthSide: When is the approximate date that you'll be releasing your new album?
Aryk: "...there's no set date for the release yet but I'm looking at late July.."
SouthSide: How does it compare to the other albums you have produced/recorded?
Aryk: "...In comparison to my last album, this one will be a lot more diverse. You can definitely tell that I've matured a bit as I've gotten more comfortable with calling myself a soul artist..."
SouthSide: Speaking of Chicago's local scene, how would you describe it? In your opinion is there a sense of "community" between other bands/artists i.e. supporting each other at shows?
Aryk: "...Chicago's music scene is very eclectic, yet very strong. There's a lot of talent in this city in every genre. We all definitely support one another in many ways..."
SouthSide: Now that summer is fast approaching, are you planning any upcoming live shows soon? If so, when and where can music fans come check out Aryk Crowder live and in person?
Aryk: "...I've got a few scattered performances before the album release, but once it drops, I'll have a number or Midwest tour dates up on my calendar at You can also find me on the BandsinTown [site]..."
SouthSide: If given the opportunity, which artist/band would you like to collaborate? And why?
Aryk: "...There's far too many to narrow it down to one ...I'm a huge Prince fans so he definitely ranks at the top of the list, but right now I'm really digging on Emily King. Allen Stone or Marc Broussard would be a killer collaboration too..."
SouthSide: Last question - is there anything you would like to fans to know about Aryk Crowder, his music and/or this fundraising campaign?
Aryk: "...just go to The video and info there will give fans a chance to get to know more about me, this album and why it means so much to me. I wouldn't be where I am or be able to get to where I'm without them [my fans]..."
SouthSide would like to personally thank Aryk Crowder for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts about his music and fundraising campaign with SouthSide. She highly recommends blogspot readers to check out the links and help donate to a worthy cause that feeds Chicago through some tough times.
Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Taste of Polonia

Hey, blogspot readers, did you know that Chicago has the largest Polish population outside of Poland? Yes, it's true ...and what better way to celebrate this rich heritage, music and food by attending the annual Taste of Polonia!
One of SouthSide's ethnic festivals rockin' Chicago during the summer, this four-day fest (occurring around Labor Day weekend) on Friday August 29 to Monday Sept 1 will feature nonstop live music, food, fun and more for the entire family. It boosts 4 stage with over 30 live bands performing a wide variety of musical acts besides polka. There will be jazz, rock, pop, dance, world and much more from such local acts like Tributosaurus as CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), American English, Rick Saucedo as Elvis, Wedding Banned, Ear Candy Band ...just to name a few, blogspot readers.
And what's a fest without food?! Sample the many varieties of polish food and beer in between the inside casino and bingo or arcade games. She hasn't forgotten about the kids - there's a kids stage and zone to keep them busy too. Plus there will be many interesting vendors and exhibits.
Admission is $7 (kids 12 and under - FREE) and ALL proceeds benefit the non-profit work of the Copernicus Foundation does, blogspot readers.
For more information about Taste of Polonia or the Copernicus Center, visit
SouthSide would like to acknowledge the pictures used for this article are from Taste of Polonia 2013 courtesy of Copernicus Center website.
Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, May 26, 2014

June 2014

There’s rockin’ music, delicious food, and lots of fun ...all under the sun, blogspot readers! Summer has finally arrived with a bang ...especially during the month of June. There’s plenty to see, do and rock around town and elsewhere. Hope you have plenty of sunblock and water because you’re about to get seriously busy...
Please note most events/shows listed are 21+ festivals are presumed ALL AGES.
Ongoing until June 15:
Collaboraction (Flat Iron Arts Building) – Sketchbook 2014 ...a mixed medium theatre festival of short new works.

Fuzzbox Chicago DJs M. Flavor, Emily, and JTRON will be rockin' the following venues in June at The Whistler (June 6), The Burlington (June 20) and Club Foot (1824 W. Augusta on June 30). June 13's destination is unknown. For more information, visit

May 31 & June 1:
Center On Halsted (3256 N Halsted) - it's CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Expo), a weekend long celebration and marketplace of independent comics featuring special guests Edie Fake, Anya Davidson, Ines Estrada, Lizz Hickey, Hellen Jon, Tony Millionaire and Nobrow. FREE / 11a to 6p
For more information visit,
June 1:
Cobra Lounge – celebrate Philly D’’s B-Day at this Thrash Party featuring Armored Assault, Hammerfight (from New Jersey), Anger and special guests TBA (you have to be there to find out, blogspot readers). $5 / 8p
Schubas Tavern – check out Dylan Lloyd sharing the stage with Tyler Ward
Szold Hall at Old Town School of Folk Music – Charming Axe will be celebrating the release of their newest CD “Gathering Days” at this family-friendly event. 4p
Chicago Theatre – Gipsy Kings will be celebrating 25 years and new album “Savor Flamenco” along with Ole Noys
Outfitters (State St location) - Comasoft will be performing a live version of their new album "Ropes On Fire" at an AA in-store set. AA / FREE

Chicago Theological Seminary (1407 E 60th St) - attend this special benefit performance featuring Maggie Brown who will be performing her one-woman show Legacy: Our Wealth of Music as part of the fundraiser for the BA Everywhere Campaign.
$20 adults / $5 youth - tickets are available at Revolution Books (1103 N. Ashland) or call (773) 489 - 0930 or email for more information.
June 3:
Red Line Tap – yeehaw, it’s the Barn Dance (presented by Ole Smoky Moonshine) featuring caller Jo Mortland of Chicago Barn Dance Company.
June 4:
Red Line Tap – it’s Wasted Wednesday (presented by Budweiser) featuring live performances by Concrete Roots, Fersher and Sneezy.
LiveWire Lounge – it’s The Devil’s Playground featuring a special burlesque night dedicated to video games, SciFi, comics and all things nerd/geek related with host David Bates spinning your favorite Metal, Rock, Industrial and local tunes. Burlesque performances by Misfit Dolls Jezzibel and Cherries Jubalie with special guests Miss Ammunition and Red Rum. FREE cover
Door No. 3 (Double Door) – it’s Creature Feature with host JoJo Baby and Peter Propaganda doing the movie soundtrack. FREE / 9p
June 5 – 8:
Kickapoo Stump Dodger Campground (Gay Mills, WI) – rock out at Grateful Friends Fest 2014

Mulberry Mountain, Arkansas - it's the Wakarusa featuring live performances by The Flaming Lips, Umphrey's McGee, Adventure Club, Wookiefoot, Papadosio, Boombox, ill.Gates, Manic Focus and many more. For more information and tickets, visit
June 5:
Constellation – it’s Julie Meckler and Sima Cunningham performing live here. 18+ / $10
Concord Music Hall – be dazzled and amazed when the Lucent Dossier Experience's "Light Of The World" Tour 2014 comes to Chicago.
Berlin Nightclub – LQQKS: The Ginger Ball featuring White Mystery, Adam Black, Ldy Prblms and [X]P. rsvp for FREE entry (before 11p) at

Location TBA - Activate will transform three iconic loop alleys into a pop-up urban experience.

The Hideout - it's Warm Ones with The Sleep Walkers and Mooner rockin' this stage. $8
June 6:
NiteCap – it’s Black Heart Heros and Psychopathic Daze rockin’ the stage here. $7
Manchester, TN – Skytown Riot will be headlining the Music Tree Festival 2014. It’s FREE to attend. Visit for full line-up and schedule.
Metro – rock out with Bambi Raptor, Upsin Hounds, S. Joel Norman and Thyme Machines at the Murley (formerly Murley Shertz) CD release show. 18+ / 7:30p
Concord Music Hall – Grammy nominated R&B singer Tamar Braxton will be performing her hits here. for tickets
Chicago Transitor – Matt Campbell will be performing a live in-store performance here.

Olympic Theatre (Cicero, IL) - Nora Velazquez and Sergio Corona in the funny comedy Los Pecados de Chabelita (Sins of a Chabelita). Text the word "REVENTON" to 313131 for VIP entrance. For reservations, call 847-877-3915 or visit

Boulevard Sports Lounge (2645 W. North AV) - attend the Benefit for Brandon "Weedian" Heiser featuring Kataplexy, Nucleus and Epitasis on stage. $10

Liar's Club - celebrate Germ T. Ripper's and Knuckles' birthday featuring Death & Memphis, Brickwall Vultures and Tracer Bullet live one stage.

The Muse (Milwaukee, WI) - check out the Bay View Gallery's "Pop Tag" Night which will feature live artists, music, works on display as well as pieces and merchandise available for purchase by Christopher Roze, Sherman Pitts, Brandon Nacke, Joel Richter and many more.
June 7 & 8:
Navy Pier – it’s the Chicago Cannabis Conference featuring keynote speakers, panels and over hundred exhibitors. $15 per day / $25 for the weekend
June 7:
Bobby McGee’s (Chicago Ridge, IL) – it’s Legions: Massacred by Queen IV. This event will have 13 bands rockin 2 stages at which each band has at least one female musician as a member with special burlesque performance by the Industrial Burlesque of Misfit Dolls performances by Hot Dang, Laced With Blood, Radio Creeps, Purge, Sinister Fate, Smells Like Sex, Psycho Sister and many more. AA til 11p (21+ after 11p) / $8 adv / $10 dos
Mayne Stage – WHO fans check out The Pinball Wizard Orchestra, the ULTIMATE WHO tribute show featuring Ellis Clark and Phil Angotti along with Carla Prather (of Poi Dog Pondering), Mars Williams (of The Psychedelic Furs), Charlie Short and Jordan Kozer (of The Webstirs). AA / 7:30p
Double Door – Shoeshine Boy Productions presents Seratonin Telegram sharing the stage with The Central Standard, Jonnie Bosh and MER (acoustic set). $8 adv / $10 dos / 8:30p show
Moe’s Tavern – Spence will be rockin’ the stage along with two other bands TBA. $7
Bottom Lounge – hang out with Super Happy Fun Club when they perform live here.

Mana Contemporary Art (2233 S. Throop) - check out Starwalker featuring live music by Helado Negro and DJ Earl.
$50 Friend ticket (includes limited light-up Starwalker pint glass and refreshments)
$25 Guest ticket (includes 2 drink tickets)
For more information, visit

Olympic Theatre - legendary Spanish singer brings his "50 Years Later" tour to the Chicago area. For ticket information, visit

The Burlington - rock out with Shapers, MT Coast and Handsome Tyrants
June 8:
J.W. Marriott (151 W Adams) – attend the Pride Month Tribute Reception featuring a champagne brunch and program with special guest speakers.

Wire (Berwyn, IL) - get your groove on with the Frank Russell Band featuring Third Coast Fuse opening.

June 9:
The 2040 - rock with SharkPact, DogeJaw, Poison Boys, Boots and XILLE XILLE XILLE (acoustic set). AA / $6 / 7p
June 11:
Door No. 3 (Double Door) – FABITAT: Groove featuring DJ Adam El and DJ Ldy Prblms FREE
Lincoln Park Zoo – see Disclosure with Joey Badass, Green Velvet and George Fitzgerald.
June 12 – 14:
Double Door – celebrate this venue’s 20 th Anniversary by attending the following shows rockin’ its legendary stage: Urge Overkill (Jun 12), Soul Summit DJs (Jun 13) and Smoking Popes and Braid (Jun 14). $20 each day.

Athenaeum Theatre - The Onion and AV Club presents Tig Notara and Kyle Kinane (Friday June 13) and Marc Maran (Saturday June 14) at the 1at Annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival. For more information and tickets, visit
June 12:
Martyrs’ – rock with Moon, District 97 and Chinese Professional. 8p

The Hideout - check out Quinn Tsan with Jones at this quaint "dive" bar venue.

June 13 & 14:
Constellation - Billy Hart and his Quartet will be performing live here.
June 13 – 15:
Grant and Millennium Parks – Blues Fest featuring Dr John, Aaron Neville and more. FREE
Soldier Field – Spring Awakening featuring performances by Tiesto, Diplo, Kaskade as well as local acts
Taste of Randolph featuring performances by Minus The Bear, Koiser Chiefs and a “DJ Dance Stage” hosted by the Mid
June 13:
The Mutiny – rock with Tok, We Killed The Lion, Cougar Island and Vidare Black
SPACE (Evanston, IL) – blues artist Larry McCray will be performing his first live performance at this venue. $15 GA / $27 Reserved seating
Fizz Bar & Grill – support the Razor & Die Fundraiser featuring Obligatory Response, Sneezy, Bushoong and Z2k Bowie Tribute with Jon Eric performing live on stage.

Empty Bottle - it's Rabble Rabble's CD release show featuring RedGrave and Blasted Diplomats

Elbo Room - The Real Jane Martin will be performing its last show here. $5

June 14 & 15:
Wells Street (between North Av and Division St) - it's the 40th Annual Wells St Art Festival featuring a $25 food and drink package. For more information, visit
June 14:
Penny Road Pub (Barrington, IL) – check out The Coop along with Thinner Teed, Miles Over Mountains (who will be performing a 4 hour show on the outdoor deck stage) and Invisible Cartoons rocking this venue.
Saint James Cathedral-Episcopal Church Center – attend the Chicago Forum on LGBTI Solidarity in Africa 2014. Learn about the current situation of LGBTI people in Africa and discover ways to provide advocacy, support and accompaniment featuring speakers from Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM) South Africa and CLASP (Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program). 2p to 5p
Harte’s Saloon (Evergreen Park, IL) – Digeometric rocks this venue all night long. 10p
Debonair Social Club – it’s the Return of Wax Trax featuring Cocksure and GOFIGHT. $10 / 8p
Rock House CafĂ© (Indianapolis, IN) – rock with First Jason, Sinister Fate and Coffinsville. 9p

The 5th Quarter Lounge (Indianapolis, IN) - it's Kevlar, Dirty, Conquest and Sinister Fate rockin' this venue. 9p / $5

June 15 & 16:
Moe's Tavern - Ray Tarantino brings his Americana music tour to this Avondale bar.
June 15:
Elbo Room – rock out with Attic Light and The New Sex Drugs
June 17:
Record Breakers (Reggie’s) – it’s a special Black Flagg performance at this FREE kids show

Martyrs' - CATL. and Nashville Pussy along with Yawpers will be rockin' the stage here.

House of Blues Chicago - Workout Music will be opening for The Presidents of the United States of America

Township - it's Bobgoblin, Stickfight! and Meds rockin' the stage here.

June 18:
Door No.3 (Double Door) - it's Shimmer with DJs Scary Lady Sarah and Philly Peroxide spinning your favorite Shoegaze/Dreampop tunes until closing. FREE / 10p
June 19:
Abbey Pub – Liquid Karma Production presents Brothers Rage sharing the stage with Art of Ill Fusion, Digeometric and Easy Riders. $5 adv / $10 dos
The Metal Grill (Cudahy, WI) – it’s the Days of the Doomed pre-show featuring Spyderbone, The Heavy Co and Sons of Ghidorah. $5

Lincoln Hall - check out Verona Red with Mighty Fox, AyOH and Farraday performing on stage. $10 adv / $12
June 20 – 22:
Willow Ranch (Grand Junction, MI) – it’s the 6 th Hoodilidoo Music Festival featuring Indigo Sun, Dead Larry, Digeometric, Chicago Funk Mafia, Rusty Gates, The Mainstays and many more.
June 20:
Moe’s Tavern – rock with Kirk Kamminga & Cold Creek Road at this Avondale neighborhood venue.

Goose Island (Wrigleyville) - check out Distant Brothers, Josh Catalano & The Dirty Thoughts, Collin McGee and Ryan Kramar (of PJ's My Cousin Too) at this Swizzlesteve presents show. $10

Martyrs' - check out Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Mana and Pseudo Slang on performing live on stage. $10/ 9p

The Mutiny - this venue will be celebrating Queer Pride featuring Z2K (David Bowie tribute) performing live on stage

St. Francis de Sales High School (10155 S. Ewing) - attend the 1st Annual Art & Music Awards Banquet/Fundraiser for Under The Bridge Art Studios (a non profit license and programs). 6p / For tickets, email
June 21 – 22:
Boystown - PRIDE Fest
Wicker Park – attend the Green Music Festival featuring performances by Guided By Voice, Features, Geronimo! and many more.

Hamilton Lakes (Itasca, IL) - Aye, it's the Scottish Festival and Highland Games! For more information, visit
June 21:
Brauerhouse (Lombard, IL) – it’s the Hearse 2014 TV horror host Svengoolie with classic movie showings – Mickey & Maude, Ghostbusters and the Hearse and live band performances by Avernus and The Devilocks (a tribute to Misfits). 2p
Bottom Lounge – My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult will be bringing their “Spooky Tricks” tour to Chicago.

The Little Red Schoolhouse - it's the Stonethrone Reunion Show featuring opening acts One Last Hope and Escape The Paradigm. FREE

American Legion Post 703 (Fox Lake, IL) - attend the Hope for Heather Benefit.
$10 (Kids 6-12 $5)

Metro - Celebrate and be fashionably seen at NOCTURNA's 26th Anniversary and Fashion Show ...there will be cool giveaways, vendors on hand and fashions by Hogan McLaughlin and Jody Krevens till dawn with hostess DJ Scary Lady Sarah! 18+ / $10

June 22:
Elbo Room - Scott Alexander brings his nonrepetitive Pop music and (FREE) vegan cookies to Chicago.

The Hideout - it's the 7th annual A Day in the Country, an one-day food and music fest featuring vendors like County BBQ, Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits and Lagunitas wetting your whistle while rockin' to music acts like Dogtown Ramblers, Honky Tonk Parade, Nora O'Connor, Kory Quinn, The Harrow, Sanctified Grumblers, and many more. Tickets $10
For more information, visit

June 24:
Reggie's - rock out with Black Cobra, Lo-Pan and Of Wolves. 17+ / $10 adv / $12 dos / 7:30p doors
June 25:
Door No. 3 (Double Door) – FABITAT: LIVE – It’s Pride, Not Prude! featuring a live show by the Peekaboos with DJ Adam El and DJ Ldy Prblms FREE
Red Line Tap – say “Amen” when Pastor Funkpleez & The Pulpit Players bring their “Mission Possible” tour to this Rogers Park venue,

June 26 - 29:
Crowne Plaza Hotel O'Hare - Socialism 2014, a four-day conference bringing together hundreds of socialists and radical-thinking activists from around the country to share lessons from their struggles as well as take part in discussions about Marxism, working-class history, debates and strategies for organizing today.
For more information and to register, visit
June 27 – 29:
Ellis Park (37th and Cottage Grove) – Gospel Fest featuring performances by Kurt Carr, Mississippi Mass Choir, Uncle Reece and more. FREE
June 27:
Fizz Bar & Grill – Villains, your presence is requested to attend a Masquerade Loft Party featuring live performances by V Is For Villains (with special Villains appearance by Veronica Jade!), Candy Town and Colonel Gunn’s Wild West Music Show with a Vourteque after party set. $10 adv / $15 dos / 8p
Reggie’s – Brickwall Vultures will be sharing the stage with The Meatmen, Springa Sonic Dogs and Johnny Vomit. 17+ / $15 adv / $18 dos / 8p
June 28:
The Throne Room (2831 N. Broadway) – it’s The Holy Alimonies rockin’ the stage along with Swearwords, Doubting Thomas Cruise Control and Jesse W Johnson of Jet W Lee. $7 / 9p show
Double Door – rock with Buffalo Killers and Killer Moon. $10 / 9p
June 29:
PRIDE Parade
Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, May 23, 2014

17 May 14 - LGBT Equality Institute

“...Being LGBT does not make you less human, and that's why gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights...”
former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

SouthSide is a proud parent and fully supports her children as well as friends and everyone else who is part of the LGBTQ community.

Recently, she spent a very informative Saturday at the Embassy Suites Downtown-Lakefront hotel attending the LGBT Equality Institute Program. This one-day event was designed to help parents, supporters as well as LGBT(Q) to connect, network, “...have ongoing conversations with....” others sitting at the tables and learn what’s happening within the LGBTQ community besides the passage of marriage equality. That alone is very important however as the saying goes “...we have a LONG way to go, baby...” It was designed to help everyone be better advocates ...improve our networking skills ...or learn about what’s available to older LGBT members as well as getting a quick overview of some of the historic events happening within LGBT Equality. Besides, the hour-long sessions (some should have been given more than an hour due to the information and discussions), there was a lunch panel  about the LGBT policy on the federal level featuring U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky (senior member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation), Quatam Raghavan, White House Public Engagement Advisor on LGBT Issues and Meg Gorecki, Midwest Director for the U.S. Department of Justice.

After a warm and friendly welcome by Patty and Michael of Equality Illinois, SouthSide attended her first session – Transgender 101 and came out of it wanting to learn as well as discuss more about what’s happening not only within the LGBT community but also the in-fighting within the Transgender community that her own son is experiencing (i.e. the sense of “entitlement” or “ don’t understand what I’m going through...” online). Session leader, Owen Daniel-McCarter (an attorney at Chicago House) had each one of us attending to say our name, a little something about ourselves and our “...preferred pronoun...” which was something this reviewer never thought before. Yet, later into the session, Owen told us we should ask the Transgender person what is their preferred pronoun or let them tell us. “...self identification the best way to go...” suggested Owen, “...let them identify themselves to you...” She learned how society sees that if you’re born female/male, you’re expected to have the characteristics and mannerisms of your respected gender. Yet, a Transgender person born female can identify more as a male and the same could be said for someone born male identifying as a female ...and then there are those who don’t fit in neither – I (or Questioning). Other topics discussed were “Transgender Umbrella” in which we labeled the proper and improper (those negative/offensive) words used to describe Transgenders like drag, FTM / MTF, tranny, GNC (gender non-conforming), lady boy, queens and so much more, the two important dates in a Transgender life (the one when they knew and/or the one when they trans into their “correct” sex/gender through surgery), the need to educate those within the LGBT community about discrimination against Transgender people, CIS sexism – the belief that Trans people don’t exist and the “action steps” that should be taken and how to be supportive like how it’s very important not to “out” a person who’s passing at Transgender, interrupting transphobia when it happens is a big help and being respective of a Transgender’s identity, And if you make a mistake, it’s very important that we as supporters acknowledge it right away. SouthSide can attest to that last statement as she adjusts to having a FTM transgender son and is constantly schooling herself on the proper pronouns (he, him, his) whenever talking with her son. So much information yet so little time to really go deeper with this subject. In this reviewer’s opinion, it should have been split into two sessions – Transgender 101 and 102 because there was some much left to discuss.

Other sessions during the first hour of the LGBT Equality Institute Program included – Youth Issues: Homelessness and Bullying (a session that also should have been given an afternoon time since SouthSide was interested in attending) – what can be done about the youth homelessness and bullying on LGBT youth and “I tolerated difference: Isn’t that enough?” – “...while tolerance of LGBTQ individuals in the state is an important step, it’s important that we move beyond tolerance to a place of welcoming acknowledgement and support...”. Throughout the day, there were 15 minute breaks in which you could browse at some of the booths set up in the hallway such as ALCC (AIDS Legal Council of Chicago), American Foundation For Suicide Prevention (SouthSide might sign-up to participate in their walk that’s happening on September 20 this year) and National Immigrant Justice Center as well as PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians) and The Alliance (Illinois Safe Schools Alliance). She checked out a few booths and resources to help be a better supporter for her own children and find them support groups and resources too. Before attending the lunch panel, sessions included The US Military: LGBT Issues in a Post-DADT(Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) World – Quatam Raghavan shared insight on the process of repealing the policy and ways the culture has changed in the US military; Networking 101 – how to work the room. make contacts that might boost your career and build relationships; and Thinking Strategically About Ally Development – learning how to be and build allies as well as how to develop educational and outreach initiatives.

The lunch panel discussions were based on participants’ questions to the three featured panelists ranging in subjects like Obama’s support going from here (especially at the repeal of DADT and support for marriage equality) which he’s looking into transgender people and military service to hate crime prevention and lifting the lifetime ban on Bi/Gay men donating blood (participants were told that will take some time but hopefully with health and medical research, we can move in the right direction to lift the ban). What most stood out during the panel was the call for worker’s equality especially for Transgender people and the caution that we will see more alliances that aren’t politically align where (for example) you might see Black Baptist ministers aligning with a political coalition to keep a band on marriage equality. There was some discussion about Article 3 of DOMA yet there still needs to be clarity on other things like Social Security and military benefits as Illinois prepares (statewide) to enact marriage equality on June 1st. Rousing applause could be heard throughout the room when participants were informed that it was the tenth anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts ...but we still have a long way to go with marriage equality. Other topics included cyber bullying (need to know the hate crime laws and how navigate through them (Meg Gorecki offered to send information to those who were interested), the international memorandum on LGBTQ rights on a global level, a continuing discussion about LGBTQ youth homelessness (especially in Chicago), and the 2014 mid-term elections (“...there are ways around the money ...people power can win ...let’s not use the billionaires and money as an excuse ...nothing is automatic’s about working our tails off...” ~ U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky).

Wow. Now that was a good lunch discussion, blogspot readers.

It was time to join an afternoon session during the LGBT Equality Institute Program which included Access to Health Care as a Civil Rights Issue – about unique service provision, cultural competence, access, education and public policy components; and Transgender Legal Advocacy – answers the question “what happens when non-discrimination legislation is not enough?”. SouthSide attended What can people of faith do to support LGBT equality? which featured guest panelists Stacy McGaskill (Reconciling Journey) and Pastor Vernice Thorn (Broadway Methodist Church) with Chris Prett acting as moderator. The institute did reach out to the Muslim and Jewish communities but there were scheduling problems that prevented the persons from attending. Pastor Thorn shared how Broadway is all about inclusion especially those who are LGBTQ. “’s important to welcome people...” and make them feel included even during church services. Also she said that Broadway has not only a mission statement but an inclusion statement that’s read during the service during Black History and Pride months – it’s about people working together not just Black History being about Black people and Pride being solely exclusive to the LGBTQ community. “..I’m angry when people are mistreated unfairly ministry is about healing those wounds...” On the other hand, Stacy McGaskill, who didn’t come out as lesbian until she was thirty, sees the church as a battleground between faith-based and LGBTQ faith-based to which each will have to face to end the fight of non-inclusivity. She saw many churches/faith-based people grouped into two positions – A: All inclusion ...God created me gay and on the flipside B: Yes, this may be genetic but I believe the Scriptures call me to live the life but as single (i.e. celibate). She also mentioned how faith communities do a huge service being LGBTQ allies yet are also the ones who work against the LGBTQ community (for example – marriage equality). “...sometimes we expect immediate acceptance but don’t work on patience...”

Pastor Thorn also commented on that statement by advising “ patient...” to the “envelope pushers” and keep building allies at the end of the session. Stacy suggested “ out [but] stay in a safe place and open ...stay true to what God’s calling you to do...” SouthSide was able to spend some time with Stacy McGaskill for some advice what’s happening in her own personal life with her family. Being in the middle supporting her children and having a faith-based father who’s still adjusting to having a FTM transgender grandson, it’s hard, blogspot readers, but she did appreciate Stacy’s advice about being there for both and be patient without shutting out unaccepting family members ..acceptance will take time. Other afternoon sessions include Addiction and the LGBTQI Community - a workshop that provide an in-depth look at addiction within the community whether it was alcohol/drugs or process addictions (sex, porn, gambling) with tips for treatment; LGBTQ Priorities for Immigration Reform - "...marriage recognition is only one step to reforming an immigration system that addresses the full needs of the LGBTQ community..."; LGBT Older Adults: Preparing for the Age Wave - as we age, there's a rapidly growing number of LGBT older adults in need of services; The State of the State - discover what else needs to be addressed and done  to secure and protect the rights of LGBT Illinoisans after a post marriage equality age; So you want to run for office? - learn how to make that bold step in making a change by running for a political office and how to make that dream a reality; and Bird's Eye View of LGBT Equality - what has happened over a course of a year for the community. The day ended with closing remarks.
After attending this day-long event, blogspot readers, this reviewer learned that the LGBTQ have made significant strides and gained considerable ground (besides marriage equality) with acceptance and equality however there's plenty left to accomplish. She recently received an email from Patty Dillion of Equality Illinois who echoes the same sentiment as SouthSide. " much [left] to do..." Patty went on to say in the email that one key priority now is improving the lives of the LGBT youth such as  " to pass a stronger anti-bullying bill that would  increase protections for all youth in schools.  It would require school districts to keep track of their bullying incidents..." as well as "...key federal issues of Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Student Non-Discrimination Act, and the blood ban on gay and bisexual men with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and officials from the White House and Department of Justice..." She then ended the email with the following statement - "...We have much more work to do to achieve full LGBT equality. And we look forward to working with our community to find ways to move forward on the issues that affect our daily lives including transgender rights, access to healthcare, faith inclusiveness, youth homelessness, immigration, and senior and housing issues..."

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

14 May 14

Two shows fun adventurous night on the town...
Hey, blogspot readers, it’s a music takeover within the heart of Rogers Park! Recently, at Mayne Stage, SouthSide’s good friend (and local icon) Michael Teach and his staff at CAU (Chicago Acoustic Underground) had full run of the entire venue – Act One Pub and Mayne Stage to showcase rising singer/songwriters and bands. The Mayne Stage lineup featured the touring duo Sister Speak (with its band) along with The Aldermaniacs and Barrett’s Hidden Agenda. This reviewer arrived in time to check out the middle performance of Barrett’s Hidden Agenda in which she liked the rockin’ vibe felt from this local band’s funky musical fusion of bluesy Americana with an urban sound. This group had soul ...had a swingin’ beat you could tap your toes to had a fantastic rhythmic floetry to make each song and its picturesque lyrics pop with life. She loved how his combined use of storytelling and contemporary music created a pleasant musical atmosphere for all to enjoy, blogspot readers, including the rockin’ Zydeco encore. However, there were a couple of things this reviewer didn’t enjoy during Barrett’s set. First, he could have engaged and/or interacted with the audience more in between songs (especially while tuning the guitar) instead of creating moments of “dead air” silence. Second, it would have been nice if he mentioned a few of the songs that either were performed or about to be performed for those (like SouthSide) who aren’t familiar with them. It would have been nice to include or at least mention one or two for inclusion in this review (for example, like the one song sung by the bassist). What SouthSide is suggesting – Barrett’s Hidden Agenda needs a little more work on its stage presence so everyone (including this reviewer) could feel “included” during the set like Barrett’s family and fans loudly sitting behind her.
Chicago is one of my favorite places in the world...” ~ Sister Speak
SouthSide highly recommends checking out the duo (with its touring band) known as Sister Speak for its emotional yet soulfully dynamic sound not only heard in the vocals but also within the music itself. It was like seeing two performances tucked inside one rockin’ set, blogspot readers, in which Sister performed a mixed of acoustic as well as alternative rock for its audience. However for SouthSide, it was Sherri Anne and her soulful vocals that got her hooked when opening with a very subtle yet lively toe-tappin’ acoustic sound featuring some sweet heat from the blues harmonica (by Graham). That’s when this reviewer knew she was in for a fun time, blogspot readers. Performing songs off the new album, Sister Speak had this calming music atmosphere even while rockin’ the stage with some of its livelier and up tempo songs such as “Mountain Song” and “Lose Control” where both feature Sherri wowing the audience with her vocal range of being soulful, sultry and energizing at the same time. Meanwhile during songs like “Lady Love” and “Say You Will (Be There)”, we got to hear the vocal power behind the emotions in her voice that not only lifted the lyrics but shook the roof a little. And to say she and the band had the entire audience captivated throughout Sister’s performance would be a gross understatement. Sister Speak had everyone spellbound (except those rudely ruining this reviewer’s music enjoyment, blogspot readers, with loud conversations). Though, sadly, this reviewer wasn’t able to stay until the end but she did enjoy what she heard from this touring band and highly recommends blogspot readers attending a Sister Speak performance. For more information, visit
After playing another round of “CTA Mad Dash” to travel from the far northside to the near westside of Chicago, SouthSide arrived in time to experience her first Danish invasion at Cobra Lounge for the Leaether Strip performance, blogspot readers. The electro-industrial duo were locally supported by opening bands JILT and Cyanotic which this reviewer extends her apologies for missing. But soon she felt right at home ...soaking up the intense industrial sound, heart-pounding electronica rhythms (by this silence synths/keyboardist partner) and Claus Larsen’s raw, venom spewing lyrics as well as the fans in motion moving to the beat of aggression and hate. You could literally feel the aggression/frustration dripping over the mic in lyrics like “...once you start, you can’t stop me...” or “...I’m dreaming what you’re not suppose to be dreaming...”  Plus definitely connected with this crowd when touching on other subjects like pain and being persecuted. From the first moment he stepped on stage to the last dying synth sound, this performance was everything this reviewer expected ...and then some. What she wasn’t expecting was Claus (during the middle one song) telling two (loudly) chatting females to move away from the stage, blogspot readers, because their conversation was seriously overshadowing his performance. Yeah they were shocked and pissed but Leaether Strip fans cheered him for doing that. After all, it’s his show and we all came to see him not hear them talking. Anyway, this reviewer enjoyed how he trapped the crowd within his “hate” or disdain for societal rules placed on us in which he speaks so eloquently well, blogspot readers. And his fans respond to by fist pumping or head banging to the incredibly fast-paced, hardcore industrial sound and lyrics. Believe, SouthSide when she says – there’s no standing still while amidst in Leaether Strip’s music. You either dance to the intense beat or head banging ...or a combination of both. It was, what else can SouthSide say about Leaether Strip without giving too much away in this review? Perhaps she’ll end with – it was a wild time and she highly recommends attending his next performance, blogspot readers. For more information, visit
Until next time, support your local scene,