Posted inMusic

Percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang return to in-person performance for their annual solstice concerts

Six years ago, I characterized Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang’s winter solstice concert series as “an anchor, a beacon, and a seasonal tradition in its own right.” The two drummers began performing as a duo at Links Hall in 1990; surrounded by percussion instruments from around the world, they would begin by candlelight, then play […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Are neon signs really enough?

There’s a young person smiling, posing—hand on their hip—in front of a lit-up sign that reads: “EMPOWER WOMEN.” It intermittently flashes to include ED, making it “EMPOWERED.” The photo is snapped, the couple walks on. I’ve just entered Andrea Bowers’s retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.  Since the 90s, Bowers has been making […]

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Queer nightlife fixture Cae Monāe opens for her synergistic collaborators in darkwave trio Pixel Grip

Cae Monāe’s existence is her art. Whether she’s taking over an Instagram square with her face abstracted by embellishments and makeup or adorning herself in a custom outfit and commanding a stage with iPhone beats, she demands consideration. And why shouldn’t she? She’s a Black trans woman, so invisibility isn’t an option for her. It’d […]

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Neo: where misfits fit in

In summer 1979, Suzanne Shelton hatched a dream to open a punk dance club. She had two priorities: it had to play lots of new wave, and it needed clean bathrooms. Shelton had been DJing at a failing Lincoln Park disco called Hoots, but she spent all her free nights at O’Banion’s, a run-down gay […]

Posted inMusic

Powerhouse punk-pop rapper Rico Nasty brings her innovative energy to Radius

On her 2020 debut album, Nightmare Vacation (Atlantic), punk-pop rapper Rico Nasty introduced her versatility to new listeners while showing longtime fans that signing to a major label wouldn’t jeopardize the playful mix of genres and vocal approaches she’s flaunted since she hit the music scene in 2014. Songs such as 2016’s nursery-rhyme-like “Hey Arnold” […]