Tag Archives: music

Nightcaps: A Late Night Cabaret RETURNS

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berlin nightclub, chicago, adam guerinoNightcaps is a late night variety show at Berlin nightclub that ran for two years and returns on Friday December 13th for a great cause.

Nightcaps is a late night variety show at Berlin nightclub that ran for two years and returns on Friday December 13th for a great cause. Hosted by Cody Melcher (Talk Hard, Just The FAQs) with headliner JC Brooks (JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound) featuring songs and sass from Vallery Dolls with guitar accompaniment from Manny Capozzi, spoken word from Winnifred Coombe, fierce drag realness from Darling Shear, comedy music stylings from Thunder Davis, hula hoop spectacle from Ana Hoops, special appearance from Kam “the queer one” Kardashian (www.kamkardashian.com) with more variety acts tba from curators Adam Guerino (Queer Comedy at Zanies) and Jane Beachy (Salonathon.)

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50% of door and 100% of silent auction items benefit The Night Ministry‘s queer homeless youth shelter The Crib.

Silent auction items include sex shop gift bags, bottle bar packages, boutique coffee and more. Show will be followed by photo wall and dance party.

Photos by A/S/L (www.asl-media.com) Followed by “Cosmix Friday” w/DJ Greg Haus electronica/indie alternative music + video til 4am. Friday December 13th, 10pm, $5 admission, 954 W Belmont.

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Bed, Bath and Beyonce: Outloud Chicago Turns 2!


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Bed, Bath and Beyonce: Outloud Chicago Turns 2 With A Beyonce Inspired Live Concert

Before The Story

JC Brooks

On Tuesday July 23rd 2013, Outloud Chicago turns two years old and is celebrating with a live concert at Revolution Brewery with proceeds benefiting its third year of shows.

Outloud Chicago is a production effort that installs queer and queer friendly entertainment in mainstream Chicago venues. In the last two years, from comedy to music and spoken word storytelling events, Outloud’s shows have given a stage to queer performers and has been received by both straight and queer audiences to critical acclaim.

The celebration includes some of Chicago’s most talented performers in a tribute to Beyonce affectionately called Bed, Bath and Beyonce. Performers include JC Brooks from JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound, Adam LeBlanc the lead vocals from 16 Candles, Jeff Award winning singer Bethany Thomas, Beyonce super fan Baron Clay and hosted by the dual drag sensations Xandra Fairlawn and Shea Coulee. bed, bath, beyonce

For its third year, Outloud Chicago will continue the stand-up comedy show Queer Comedy at Zanies’ third season including hosting Stand Out: The National Queer Comedy Search in September which partners with The Advocate Magazine, Absolut Vodka and Sidetrack The Video Bar. As well as a second season of the spoken word storytelling show co-presented by In Our Words Blog, Word Is Out this time hosted at The Hideout. presenting the first film festival I’ll Be A Homo For Xmas in December. Money raised at the concert will benefit performers and crew of productions. Each production budget can vary from as little as $150 to $500 depending upon if the event has photography, out of state talent, venue rental and promotion materials. The film festival I’ll Be A Homo For Xmas will feature Chicago queer and queer friendly films on the big screen. As you can imagine, big screen rentals run for closer to a thousand dollars.

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Bethany Thomas

We believe that Outloud Chicago brings invaluable exposure to Chicago’s queer talent as well as helps break down boundaries between the perception of queer and not queer venues. We’re hoping to raise enough money to cover the talent and crew budgets for Queer Comedy at Zanies and Word Is Out at The Hideout for the rest of 2013 to enable the profits of the shows to pay for the rent of I’ll Be A Homo For Xmas. It’s just a wonderful rainbow colored snowball effect of awesome culminating in a great third year of Outloud Chicago.

Don’t worry, we’ll all have a blast while raising the money. In addition to the amazing talent and fun theme, we’ll have 2 hours of free drafts of multiple beers and food from Revolution Brewery as well as a photo booth, games, raffles and music videos. Tickets are $30 in advance (limited availability on eventbrite.com) or $45 at the door. Season passes are also available for $75 and include admission to Bed, Bath and Beyonce as well as all Queer Comedy at Zanies and Word Is Out at The Hideout shows for the rest of 2013.


Upcoming Outloud Chicago shows:

queer, comedy, zaniesQueer Comedy at Zanies: Queer and queer friendly stand-up comedy at Zanies Comedy Club 1548 N wells on Tuesdays at 8:30pm.

September 24th–Stand Out: The National Queer Comedy Search which partners with  Advocate Magazine, Absolut Vodka and Sidetrack The Video Bar for a live contest for $2,000+ and a feature in Advocate magazine. October 22nd–Headliner Beth Stelling.

November 26th–Headliner Cameron Esposito.

 word is out, in our words blog, Word Is Out at The Hideout: Queer and queer friendly spoken word storytelling at The Hideout 1354 W Wabansia Ave on Tuesdays 7:00pm.

    August 13th–It Takes Two: Two person storytelling.

    September 10th–Dedications: Tributes, torches and tell-offs.

    October 8th–Are You Afraid Of The Dork part 2: Where Halloween and hilarity meet.


I’ll Be A Homo For Xmas: Location and time TBA.

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Before The Story: Jayson Brooks

Jayson Brooks is a man of ridiculous talent under many hats. A lifelong actor, he has been Jeff award nominated (the Chicago answer to Tony’s) for his leading role in Ragtime as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. He also lives a double life as rock star JC Brooks in the band JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound. The band has performed everywhere from SXSW to Lollapalooza and though based in Chicago is constantly touring both nationally and internationally. I was fortunate enough to sit down with the gent and hear about the band’s new album release and his new solo music show. Before The Story

1) So when teachers ask students what they want to be when they grow up, did you say rockstar and actor or is all this a bit of a surprise?
I think I always wanted to be a performer.  Back in kindergarten we were supposed to fill in life-sized cutouts of ourselves with our desired profession.  I (having been inspired by the stripper scene in ‘Wildcats’) drew nipples and a penis and a handful of bills… They made me flip it over and draw a doctor.  What I do now, while it can be healing for some, more closely resembles the former profession, ie: shaking my dick at strangers for money.
2) How did JC Brooks come to be?
I answered an ad on craigslist because I was just finishing up tech for Ragtime and I wanted to keep busy.  Ben and I met up with Billy (our guitarist) and we hung out and chatted about music and started working on some tunes.  I initially resisted having my name out in front of the band but we were doing a old soul-inspired thing, and the guys convinced me that it sounded cool.  As the show developed, so did the character/persona of JC… before the story
3) Alright, Sophie’s Choice, like twins sharing a heart, only one may survive, if you had to pick one, would you choose music or theater? And why?
I feel like my answer is a bit of a cheat, but I would say theater because theater could include music.  Theater is my first love and through it I got much of my practical (theory, solfège…) music training.  I still love music a lot, but there’s so much to be said for interpreting the prose of an author/playwright who has a great feel for conversational speech or subtle exposition.
4) How glamorous is life as a rock-star and actor? Do you bathe in champagne while drinking champagne but a different kind of champagne then the bath-champagne because, we, gross?
Lol, yeah -it’s glamorous because you get to perform for a cheering crowd, and good venues fill your tour rider… usually lots of local bear and a couple bottles of wine.  The un-glam side is all the driving between gigs and sleeping in lots of different motels…comparing continental breakfasts across America.
5) For everyone playing at home, what’s your best advice to someone who’d like to be Jayson, JC or both?
Just be the best you you can be. That’s what JC is to me -he’s a slightly-stylized, cooler, better version of me.  Nobody wants to be Jayson, he’s awkward and bad at keeping in touch with people…
before the story6) What inspired a solo music show?
I’ve always written songs and poems, but not everything I write is well-suited for the band and as my name’s gotten around both the music and queer communities I’ve gotten opportunities to share my other work.  Last summer Scott Free offered me a spot at his Alt-Q festival and I got to perform my material for the first time in about 5 years.  Stephen Leonard and I chatted about me doing a feature for his Untapped series, and finally the scheduling worked out.  I’m especially excited to participate in the queer arts community because I feel that while the band is very visible and gets lots of great attention I’d felt a bit distanced from the community since I’d stopped doing theater regularly.  As far as inspiration for the content: life, love… the usual stuff.
7) What can fans expect from the new JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound album?
The new album is highly personal for me lyrically, and it also marks a change in our general sound. We’ve been experimenting with adding synths and mixing in some of our other (non-soul) musical influences.  Fans can expect danceable, fun music as usual -just a different sound than they’ve gotten used to.
You can catch Jayson and his many hats at the JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound “HOWL” album release at Mayne Stage, sponsored by 93XRT (5/25):

https://www.facebook.com/events/362636707176142/?fref=ts order tickets here:  http://www.ticketweb.com/fb/3539044/mayne  (get $10 off with the promo code “HOWL”)
And he will be performing his Lost Boys Suite at Untapped with Stephen Leonard on 5/26) https://www.facebook.com/events/529548230416354/?fref=ts

OutLoud Chicago Presents: Barefoot Ballad

Introducing… OutLoud Chicago.

OutLoud Chicago presents Barefoot Ballad, a queer concert, Tuesday July 12th at 7pm at The Hideout 1354 W Wabansia. ‘Ballad will feature singer songwriter guitarist Diva Kai with Manny Capozzi and is sponsored by Nightspots Magazine, Backlot Bash music series, TheLStop.org and produced by Adam Guerino with promotions by Alma Izquierdo.

OutLoud Chicago is a production effort to find safe spaces for queer stories, storytellers and audiences. With the words “out,” “loud” and “Chicago,” the name combines the concepts of proudly queer and Chicagoan. ‘OutLoud premiers this Summer with a series of shows from music to comedy at such legendary Chicago venues as The Hideout and Zanies. Bringing such historic venues and amazing talent together, OutLoud hopes to make “Chicago” and “Queer” a welcome harmony.

The amazingly talented singer/songwriter Diva Kai will headline the premier with her indie folk-pop song stylings. The eclectic and charming Manny Capozzi will open the show. The premier, Barefoot Ballad, will be at the height of summer and embody a fun, folky return to simple yet soulful music. Imagine music that goes best on a camping trip with friends who catch up over a 24 pack of trashy beer beside a fire. The inspiration for the title came from the same-titled Elvis Presley song, “Barefoot Ballad.”


The Hideout is a Chicago institution known for underground music and counter culture. What better fit for a concert series that focuses on queer musicians? The Hideout is: “Where Jack White threw up in the alley, due to a terrible flu, taped up a black and white bed sheet behind Meg’s drum set, put on some red polyester pants, and then flew onstage and played his pants off” “Where Billy Corgan spends nine Mondays in a row creating a new band and invites everyone from Rick Nielsen to Neko Case to perform in between. It is a community where every bartender, door person and sound tech is in a band. Where no one quits, they just go on tour.” “Where bands like the Flaming Lips and Wilco choose to have their CD listening parties. And everyone dresses up like robots, or sings Wilco karaoke.” (from www.hideoutchicago.com)

The inspiration for the series came from creator Adam Guerino’s first production—a comedy show with stand-up, sketch and movies. The show debuted in Lakeview, the heart of Boystown, with a queer-friendly cast. Even though Guerino was the only queer performer, queer audiences felt welcome to attend without wondering if they will be the punchline to a joke. Guerino was surprised to see such a queer following from something that wasn’t specifically catered to the queer community but realized that audiences felt the same prejudice of going to a mainstream comedy show that a queer performer might. Because queer audience members felt included, and straight audiences never felt left out, the show built a fusion audience-base doubling what might be a mainstream show or a “gay” show. This following gave a support to queer acts and maintained a stage where they could thrive.

OutLoud intends to use language that brings people together such as music and comedy. From this experience, OutLoud Chicago aims to create a collection of artists and audiences that transcend sexuality and focus on community and storytelling.

OutLoud Chicago presents Barefoot Ballad, premiering Tuesday July 12th at 7pm at The Hideout 1354 W Wabansia. The series will continue through the summer featuring different artists, mediums and genres. Admission is $5 advance from www.hideoutchicago.com, $8 at the door and audience members must be ages 21 or older. For questions, hi res images or a saved seat, email adam.guerino@gmail.com.

Lady Gaga – Born This Way

All of the interwebs were aflutter this morning as Lady Gaga’s new song was released. The amazing business woman that she is, she previewed it live while winning an award a few months ago and has since encouraged others to join her in the countdown to its release. Under this kind of pressure, it’s a miracle if the song doesn’t implode. But, somehow, she pulled it off. Take a listen.


Gee, I wonder who she is talking about when she says “Born This Way?” Everybody knows how much Lady Gaga loves the gays and I genuinely believe it. Unlike some divas who don’t agree with the gay lifestyle but love the gay money, Lady Gaga has surrounded herself with fabulous gay men her whole career. Although her bisexual ways reek of sensation, I do believe she loves the gay community. What I want to hear is which gay men have affected her life. I think that would be an amazing story to tell to better connect to the gay community but also to humanize the gay lifestyle to mainstream culture.

As far as the song. It’s a self identity anthem which I am always skeptical about. Pink’s anthems have a facade of being independent but it always has undertones of separatism (underdog vs popular) and I like how Born This Way seems to be a positive song without being negative toward other groups. As far as the melody, it is reminiscent of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” but not so much that I’d think it was a steal. It’s also a departure from her grungy Manson feel from Fame Monster and seems to be closer in tone to 90s pop ala Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson. Is this a trend that will be appear throughout her album? I hope so.

It’s going to be EVERYWHERE for the foreseeable future. And you know what, if everyone is singing along to a song that is this uplifting, I don’t have any complaints.

January Music Playlist

Fiona Apple–I Know. One of my all-time fave artists doing one of my all-time fave songs. True fact: This is by far the most played song on my itunes, to the tune of 100 more than any competitor. I related to it after a breakup a few years ago and listened to it. A lot.


Melanie Safka–Brand New Key. Beautiful song. This is the song I think of when I think of something that is timeless. I really do believe this song would be a hit today and in twenty years.

Loudon Wainwright iii–This Summer I Went Swimming. I had a very hard Summer this past year thanks to an awful “relationship.” I use the quotes because I think it more closely resembled water-boarding than dating. But with the ups and downs, the Fall was my rewards for many years of hard work both personally and professionally. This song explains it better than me.


Johnny Cash–Big River. One of my all-time favorite musicians and one of my all-time favorite songs of his. It’s the perfect fusion of folk and grit.


Diva Kai–Fancy Town. Diva is one of my dearest friends and four years ago, we visited New York together. She brought her guitar because one of the things we just HAD to do was play for pennies in Central Park. Throughout the trip, she would be working on this melody with her guitar. Listen to the lyrics, you might hear a bit about our trip.

City High–What Would You Do. Remember this song? I would have never remembered it until it was playing at a house party last week. I was thrilled to hear it and surprised to find that I knew all the words. Just between you and I, I want to do a sketch to this song in an upcoming show.

Chromeo ft La Roux–Hot Mess. A fun partnership.

Soho Dolls–Right And Right Again. Sultry and fun, an amazing lounge song.

Nicki Minaj–These Girls Fall Like Dominoes. I think everyone feels obligated to have an opinion about popular things. You can’t be impartial about GW Bush or Lady Gaga, you know who they are and you have to love or hate them. Well, screw that, I don’t like or dislike Nicki. I think she’s a good MC but I’m still waiting to see. This song is great but I’m still waiting to see about Nicki.

Madonna–Revolver (Demo version.) Where did this song come from? I feel like such a bad gay for not hearing it. It might be my favorite song from Madge since ‘Confessions.

Macy Gray–Freak Like Me. Let me tell you what I shouldn’t have said to Macy Gray when I met her, “I love your music, The Id is one of my all-time favorite albums. Also, I’ve done burlesque to your song “Sexual Revolution” as Jesus.” But hindsight is 20/20. This song is so amazing and I always wanted it to be at the finale for The ID but alas, it’s smack in the middle. What a great way to end a CD, right?

December Playlist

I had a terribly depressing playlist planned for you this month but noticed that Winter was making me a choice Debbie Downer. It had Fiona, Rufus and came with a razor-blade. But I looked Winter right in the face and said, “Listen, season, you don’t know me!” and decided to go against my mood and pick some of my favorite songs that make me feel great. The one word you’ll hear a lot throughout all my descriptions of these songs is “fun.”

The Talking Heads–Take Me To The River. One of my all-time favorite bands. This goes back to mixed tapes my brother would make and play in the car when I was in Elementary school. I’m such a fan of Talking Heads that when I worked at a music themed hotel, this was my selection for favorite band listed on my name tag.


The White Stripes–We’re Going To Be Friends. I think a necessary friend to fun is innocence and this song has it in spades.


Stephen Leonard–With A Pen. A Chicago musician that I’m proud to call a friend. He’s an inspiration of talent and character–and listen to that voice! Sexy. This song is his first music video from his album by the same name and it’s a great uplifting song perfect to fight the Winter blues.


Paula Abdhul–Opposite’s Attract. Another throwback to youth, this song was one of those songs I’d dance to in my parent’s house. But only when nobody was around, I was too embarrassed. I have since reclaimed my pride by dancing out my shame on a regular basis requesting this song at dance clubs.

Ke$ha–Tik Tok. About two years ago, I was at a Lollapolooza after party and this bitch came up to me when I was in the men’s room. She walked up to me when I was at the urinal, looked at my dick then looked at my face and asks, “Hey, I’m performing in like 20 minutes, come watch me?” She hands me a condom with the letter “k” and a dollar sign. You might have guessed, it was Kesha. And she was amazing. She jumped around like a crazy person and fired glitter from a cannon into the crowd. I have two words for you, “glitter” “cannon.”

Ray Charles–I Got A Woman. Try not to tap your toes to this amazing song. It’s a classic and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes with classics, we don’t realize there’s a reason that they are classics.

The Noisettes–Never Forget You. A choice recommendation from my Brit bestie who always knows about these great bands before they become popular in America. I always feel cool when someone gets popular after I know them. “Oh, the Noisettes? Yeah, they’re awesome, I’ve been listening to them for a while.”

Hot Chip–One Life Stand. I actually did a variety show that doubled as the premiere party for this song and album. I didn’t know a lot about it at first but when the night went on I was so impressed with the song and wear the story like a badge of honor. It has since doubled as a song I claimed with a quasi-boyfriend and later, after I dumped his ass, claimed as a great song to make out to. Try it.

Martin Solveig featuring Dragonette–Boys And Girls. There’s nothing serious about this amazing, repetitive feel-great song. Yet it has such solid production and rhythm.

Duck Sauce–Barbra Streisand. If you haven’t heard it yet, you will. This song is going to be the biggest club hit of 2010 and will be heard well into 2011. I had a great conversation with a DJ based out of NYC and she said that Brooklyn was where all the best music was coming from and when I asked who, she could only name this song. Case. In. Point.

India Arie–There’s Hope. I think it’s always easier to relate to people with their complaints. “My guy left me” “I hate haters” etc etc. It’s so much harder to make art that relates to people yet is uplifting. Everyone can relate to this song and it is such a great lesson to us all.

November Playlist

I’ve been in more of a alternative rock mood and I blame the weather. Fall makes me a bit more reclusive so when I go out, I go out harder. It also reflects on my Fall drink of choice, whiskey/Dr Pepper. Something about it just tastes like Fall and rock and roll to me.

Neon Trees–Animal. I got the pleasure of hanging out with them at Lolla briefly and saw them perform for a private show. I kept running up to everyone and saying, “This man on stage didn’t get his voice from the good Lord!” I mean, it’s too nuanced and sexy, the devil had something to do with it. Perhaps he is the devil? Either way, they are choice, fun and seem like a genuinely rad group. I’m glad they’re getting more exposure and they are one of my fave Fall songs.

Gossip–Men In Love. It’s not a rumor that I love me some Gossip. I haven’t heard their whole album yet. Burn it for me? But I’m a big fan of this track and it fits in with my Fall playlist so well. Oh, and I kind of want to be her best friend.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World/Metric–Black Sheep. I saw the movie on opening night and couldn’t believe how solid the music was. I went on a hunt to see where the music came from–was it original? Were the actors the singers? I found, this fictional band was given a song by the indie Canadian band Metric and the character’s wardrobe was even modeled after the lead singer, Emily Haines. Brie Larson, the actress who played the female singer used her own voice, which I was surprised by because it’s a pretty awesome voice–turns out she has a solo music career as well. Also, fun coincidence–the actor playing the bassist (Brandon Routh) is from the same small town in Iowa as me. He is best known for his Superman in Superman Returns. We rode the bus together.

Hedwig And The Angry Inch–Tear Me Down. I love how hardcore this song is and it’s rocked out by a drag queen. Stephen Trask is a genius and John Cameron Mitchel can melt your face and kick your ass.

Neutral Milk Hotel–The King of Carrot Flowers parts 1, 2 and 3. One of my all-time favorite bands–always eclectic, strange and authentic.


Violent Femmes–Blister In The Sun. Remember that one episode of My So Called Life when Angela wakes up and plays this song and is getting dressed in the morning and dancing around her room? Well, bitch stole my moves because I would always steal my brother’s copy of “Add It Up” and listen to this song, dancing around like an idiot.


Kayne West–Power. I am addicted to this short song. I have been a huge fan of Kayne since day one. I love it when people try to attack his music by his character–”He’s a prick, how can you like his music?” I guess I see a separation between someone and their art. I’m a fan of his music.

Sam Sparro–Black and Gold. A favorite of mine for a few years and my fondness is only made greater when I miss one of my favesies, Soph. It’s about being apart and even though it’s more of a romantic song, Sophie is one of my best friends and she is usually abroad so when we are able to close down dance clubs and this song comes on, it’s our anthem. Jump around, sing along, that’s what we do.

Oh Land–Son Of A Gun. Song courtesy DJ Greg Haus (where I hear most of my favorite music first.) I love the progression of the song–the ups and downs mixed with her melodic voice is like a roller-coaster.

Rachel Getting Married–Vows. One of my favorite things to do is end on a sweet note and this is a clip with a song from one of my favorite movies. The back-story–Anne Hathaway leaves rehab to go to her sister’s wedding, these are the vows for the wedding. The groom sings Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend” to his bride.


October Music

I like music, you do too. Here’s some music from me to you.

Here are 10 tracks that I want to share–I listed them in a way to be listened to in this order. With all of my personal playlists, I like to have a rhythm and flow with the structure too. After each brief description, I give a link for where you can take a listen. If you like it, check out more of their music and support their craft with a CD.

I’m going to try to do this monthly, folks. Feel free to comment with any more suggestions–if you know something you think I’d like based upon my suggestions, holler! Let’s be music pals.

Janel Monae ft Big Boi–Tightrope. If you’ve ever danced with me before then you’d know this is my number one request. And I get ridiculous. Can you imagine me juking? No? Let’s go dancing. And request this song.

Christina Aguilera–I Hate Boys. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Christina ballads. But this song is more of her silly side (think Dirrty.)

Florence and The Machine–Dog Days Are Over. This jam is the perfection fusion of feel-good dance and anthem.

Jamie Cullum–I’m All Over It Now. Jamie is one of my all-time favorites. He was with me in Hawaii (metaphorically) and I haven’t heard an album of his I haven’t liked more than the last.

Mayer Hawthorne–Let Me Know. My adoration of this song is one part awesomely smooth jazz and one part chillingly relateable content, shaken and served up, garnished with funk.

Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse–Angel’s Harp. A great mix of rock, folk and electronica.

Cazwell–Ice Cream Truck. So original and delicious, Caz gives you scandal and you don’t feel dirty after, neither.

Moneypenny–Cool and the Gang. An amazing girl duo I’m lucky to know in Chicago. A must listen and see. http://www.myspace.com/moneypennyofficial/

Ida Maria–I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked. This song is stupid and I love stupid stuff. Try not to dance around singing to this song. Try it. I dare you.

The Proclaimers–500 Miles. Now, Dog Days Are Over was a good anthem but this song is one of my all-time faves for anthems. You’ve heard it, hear it again.