August 15, 2004
This year’s line up for Market Days was a triumph for queer performers. Ember Swift, Dylan Rice, Ripley Cain and Melissa Ferrick were a handful of local acts that were booked to play on stages usually overwhelmed by straights. Believe me, I know first hand how fun it is to shake your ass to circuit beats on the corner of Roscoe and Halsted. In the summer, with beautiful men all around and no fewer than many beers in me, what’s better? But events like these frequently overlook the “pride” in “Pridefest,” the “gay” in “Gay Parade” and emphasize the “market” instead.
What unifies “punk” is an attitude. One punk band may sound completely different from another. Even the three chord blueprints made by Joey Ramone, the quirky yelps of David Byrne and the sassy calls of Debbie Harry were all distinct sounds, but they are cemented in the history books in the section about how CBGB was the place to be to watch an entire new movement blossom. Punk is about questioning the norms we are given and unification through a common goal of creating a time/place/artifact through those questions. Today, countless bands carry that torch and punk lives strong. Queer punk dares to throw sexual politics into the fire and laughs while social walls burn down. A man singing a song about how “everybody loves a muscle boy” or chanting “your asshole is political” over and over again is truly subversive.
Photo (Right): Pansy Division's Jon and Chris performing at Market Days. The band was told to keep down the profanity. Photo courtesy: Kirk Williamson, Nightspots Magazine
Photo (Left): Local band, Jinx Titanic, peforms at Market Days. Photo courtesy: Kirk Williamson, Nightspots Magazine
Pride comes in many forms. To me, it’s rare that music can transcend the performer-listener communication chain. When the art you create is in itself a push towards social change, you have celebrated and communicated at the same time. Booking queer performers at queer events is so important. And with the sunshine on your head, a drink in your hand, and all kinds of queers having a good time, to the left, right and even under you, who can argue with that?