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HEROES & Villains Out and About 

HEROES & Villains

You might feel like your heart is going to pound its way through your chest, almost to the very last scene of writer/director Jeremy Saulnier’s riveting third full-length feature Green Room (A24/Broadgreen), but it’s only a movie. Because of that, the film takes its place at the head of the class of the new generation of horror/suspense flicks such as The Witch, It Follows and The Babadook. The Ain’t Rights, a young punk band from the Washington, DC (Arlington, actually, as one member points out) are scrambling to survive on…

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Solos and Sides Out and About Uncategorized 

Solos and Sides

Talk about staying power! Singer and songwriter Dion  (DiMucci), the original wanderer, has been at it steadily since the late 1950s, as the leader of doo-wop group Dion & The Belmonts and later as a prolificsolo artist. On New York Is My Home (Instant), Dion continues his ongoing exploration of the blues over the course of eight originals, as well as a Lightning Hopkins cover. The album’s best (and least bluesy) tune is the title cut, a duet with Paul Simon, that has the potential to become a hit. The city of Chicago (and its…

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Cumming around again: an interview with Alan Cumming Out and About 

Cumming around again: an interview with Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming is a gay renaissance man. He sings, he dances, he writes, he acts – there doesn’t seem to be anything he can’t do. Few people can also claim the size and scope of his audience – from youngsters who know his voice from animated features such as Strange Magic and The Smurfs to adults who are fans of his work on television (The Good Wife and Web Therapy), on stage (Cabaret) and on film (Any Day Now, X-Men 2 and Burlesque). Cumming’s latest musical endeavor, the live recording Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs…

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by Gregg Shapiro Depending on how you felt about David Ebershoff’s Lambda Literary Award-winning novel, you will either love or hate Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of the Oscar-nominated The Danish Girl (Focus/Universal). Screenwriter Lucinda Coxon trims quite a bit from Ebershoff’s dense book and even diverts from the original ending. That said, Hooper’s treatment of the tale, “loosely” based on a true story, is both sensitive and visually captivating. Married artists Einar (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda (Alicia Vikander) are each attempting to make a name for themselves within the artistic…

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MARRIAGE MATERIAL GIRL: An Interview With Comedian Cameron Esposito Out and About 

MARRIAGE MATERIAL GIRL: An Interview With Comedian Cameron Esposito

by Gregg Shapiro In the world of comedy, specifically lesbian comedy, Cameron Esposito is the new reigning queen. This is especially true now that Lea DeLaria wants to be a serious actress and singer. Esposito, whose delivery sounds like a cross between Tig Notaro and Paula Poundstone, and her trademark asymmetrical haircut, has them rolling in the aisles on her new stand-up comedy special Marriage Material, debuting March 24 on the new NBC comedy channel Seeso. Filmed in front of a live and enthusiastic hometown audience at Chicago’s Thalia Hall…

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Winter 2016: Book Report Out and About 

Winter 2016: Book Report

by Gregg Shapiro Notes on a Past Life (BlazeVOX, 2016) by David Trinidad, as dishy and revealing as the best literary memoirs, picks at old scabs, slashes new wounds, spills the beans on contemporary poetry-world wars, ignites new feud fuses and drops names like F-bombs. This book is so hot; it should come with its own flame retardant gloves and fire extinguisher. Selected by Denise Duhamel as winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, The Book of Hulga (University of Wisconsin Press, 2016) by Rita Mae Reese, with illustration…

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Queerer than ever Out and About 

Queerer than ever

by Gregg Shapiro On his exceptional debut album Blue Neighbourhood (Capitol), gay multi-hyphenate Troye Sivan – YouTube sensation, actor, singer/songwriter – comes off like a cross between Perfume Genius and a queer male Lorde. Sivan touches on serious subjects including faith and coming out, on this multi-hued disc, beginning with opener “Wild,” which sounds of the moment with its female choir chanting “wild.” The same holds true for “Bite”’s synth beats and snaps, as well as “Fools”’ `80s keyboard play. Sivan is joined by Broods on the thumpier “Ease,” co-written…

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Another British Invasion Out and About 

Another British Invasion

Muse (right), the 21st century prog-rock adherents, combine the drama of Queen and politics of Pink Floyd on the concept album Drones (WB). Complete with a pair of skits, “[Drill Sergeant]” and “[JFK],” Drones makes a statement, whether or not you’re paying attention. Like Muse’s aforementioned predecessors, the trio isn’t afraid to color outside of the hard rock lines, as they do on the new wave funk of “Dead Inside” and the a cappella title cut. Muse is at its theatrical best on the Queen-like “Mercy” and the mini-epic “The…

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Screen Savor: Surface Guidance Out and About 

Screen Savor: Surface Guidance

At 22, having grown up in group and foster homes, aimless Evan (Harry Hains) is learning that it can take a lifetime to find yourself in Michael J. Saul’s The Surface (Ariztical/Aimes). Evan (below) is a broke college student, with a passion for swimming, living with his financially stable boyfriend Chris (Nicholas McDonald), who has a habit of being insensitive to him. Things change when Evan buys an old movie camera at a yard sale. Harry (Robert Weiner), the man who sells Evan the camera, offers to let him use…

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i-Music: Eight by Two Out and About 

i-Music: Eight by Two

There are many ways to praise the duo Beach House including saying that over the course of five durable albums, they have consistently maintained a high level of artistry and craft. This holds true for the twosome’s new disc Depression Cherry (Sub Pop). Taking its place on the musical landscape, somewhere between Cocteau Twins and Galaxie 500, Beach House finds a way to evolve without alienating its core fan-base. Songs such as “Space Song, “PPP,” “Wildflower,” and in particular “Bluebird” and “10:37” are excellent examples of this. Depression, cherry or…

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Listening to LGBT History Out and About 

Listening to LGBT History

Reissues, on CD and vinyl (and, in some cases, cassette) are a common occurrence when it comes to mainstream music. There are entire record labels, such as Rhino, Light In the Attic, Legacy and Real Gone Music, among others, devoted to rereleasing albums by popular and obscure artists, often in remastered and expanded editions. Over the years, some of these labels have also included work by LGBT artists on their roster. One of the most thrilling queer reissues of 2015 is How Far Will You Go? (Chapter Music), the first…

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Electronic Diva Music Out and About 

Electronic Diva Music

Fiercely forelocked electro goddess Elly Jackson of La Roux took a risk waiting almost five years to release her second album, the aptly named Trouble In Paradise (Cherry Tree/Interscope). Regardless, few second albums have been worth the wait and the payoff with this one is substantial. “Upright Downtown” is the hottest `80s Bowie homage ever recorded. “Kiss and Not Tell” is so infectious it may as well be the flu. “Cruel Sexuality” makes being cruel to be kind an inviting option. “Sexotheque” is the soundtrack to horizontal dance instruction and…

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EX/IT Out and About 


The incredible 2014 Australian horror film The Babadook (pictured above) took a tired genre and turned it on its head. Creating terror through suspense instead of ugly violence, The Babadook’s writer/director Jennifer Kent raised the bar for other filmmakers working in the field. American filmmaker David Robert Mitchell now takes Kent’s baton and runs with it in It Follows (Anchor Bay/Radius/Dimension). Set, appropriately, in the infected and rotting corpse of suburban Detroit (as the commercial say, “Pure Michigan”), It Follows focuses on a group of jaded teens and young adults playing…

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