Scott Free's Alt Q Fest marks its 12th year Sat., May 19, 7 p.m. at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.
The show will feature Daphne Willis, JC Brooks, Alix Dobkin, Niojj, E. Nina Jay, Band Practice, and MCs Aerin Tedesco and Marvin Astorga.
ALT Q is celebrating its 12th year as a showcase for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered musicians and performers at the Old Town School of Folk Music. The event's mission is to raise awareness of out performers among the general public and the LGBT community. A meet-the-artists reception will follow the event. A portion of proceeds of this event will be donated to Broadway Youth Center, a program of Howard Brown Health Center, offering comprehensive services to youth, ages 12-24 including a safe space for young people experiencing homelessness.
Tickets available at 773-728-6000, www.oldtownschool.org , or the Old Town School of Folk Music Box Office.
Everything Daphne Willis has done up to now in both her music and her life has led to this moment-her new album, Because I Can (Vanguard, April 19), marks the 23-year-old writer/singer/guitarist's artistic coming of age in thrilling-and at times heart-wrenching-fashion. This captivating LP represents an exponential leap, as she grows into her enormous talent and puts it to powerful and relatable use via her singular sensibility. 'Because I Can' sounds very much like the defining work of a young artist who matters. "I pushed myself hard on this album, and I really let myself be pushed," says Willis, who recently relocated to Nashville from her native Chicago. Willis' self-assurance and level of engagement these days make her seem quite different from the introspective 21-year-old who signed with Vanguard in 2008 and recorded the digital EP Exhibit A. "I'm having so much fun," she says about what has been-and continues to be-an exhilarating and gratifying experience for her. But it's understandable that Willis is so energized-she's just made a career album.
JC Brooks erupts with heart and raw emotion, harnessing his Uptown Sound's post-punk reimagining of JB's moves and MG's grooves, to unleash pure and uncompromising soul music. Brooks has received accolades as an actor for his performances in "Ragtime," and most recently, the Chicago production of the Tony-award winning musical, "Passing Strange" (where his band also served as the on-stage house band). When he's not doing his soul shtick with his band, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Jayson writes somber acoustic pieces about lost love and the state of the world. Never one to natter on about himself (although he's a regular Chatty Kathy on just about any other subject), he prefers to let his lyrics tell a story that speaks to the scarred heart in all of us.
Alix Dobkin's career began in the late 1950s, when Philadelphia was a hotbed of do-it-yourself culture that magnetized folk music on the East Coast. She was a teen-aged, guitar-totin', card-carrying comrade grounding myself in mushrooming crowds of progressive Jews, self-taught musicians and other local subversives. Immediately after graduating from the Tyler School of Fine Arts, she headed east to NYC's world-famous Gaslight Cafe, and from that rich, heady, heart of Greenwich Village in the early '60's, I launched my full-time, professional folk-singing career. Focusing during the first decade on a traditional, international, and contemporary/protest repertory, she came out as a Lesbian in 1972 and turned to writing and singing for women in general and to building Lesbian culture in particular." Over the last 25 years she has traveled to hundreds of women's communities in this country and many others. They honor and reflect our unique feminist style, substance, issues and values. In addition to seven recordings, she has one songbook, many years' worth of columns and articles, and a shelf full of awards to her name, She was voted "All Time Favorite Performer" by Hot Wire magazine, and has been known to some as "Head Lesbian!" Spin magazine called me a "Womyn's music legend" and the FBI reported that she was a "trouble maker."
With a force that exudes his passion for love and life, a tone that resounds in both whisper and wail, and a consciousness that, without being preachy, speaks truth to power, Nhojj has spent more than a decade becoming what some regard as an acoustic soul "genius of joy". "I want to make the world better…one song at a time!" Nhojj says, a statement that underscores a classic soul tradition of having a "message in the music".
E NINA JAY
E. Nina Jay is a local artist and advocate committed to confronting issues of gender, sexuality, violence against women, and healing through art and activism.
Band Practice is Sam Worley on guitar and banjo and Lewis Wallace on accordion and bass, with occasional appearances by a ukelele, a trumpet, and a kinder-glockenspiel. This folksy, quirky, bluegrass-inspired duo features three-four time, sad-sweet harmonies, a little bit of irony, and a little bit of melodrama in surprising covers and sincere originals.
Scott Free, the queer-rock singer/songwriter extraordinaire, is one of America's leading openly-gay male artists. His sometimes humorous, sometimes angry, always touching songs of queer life have gained him acclaim in both gay and straight media across the globe. In 2010, he was inducted into the City of Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame. He has twice been named Outmusician of the Year by the OUTMusic Awards - in 2005 and 2009. He also won Out Song of The Year in 2005 at the OMAs for his song 'Another Day of The Cruelty'. His music video 'Happy Again' was in the Top10 Videos of 2009 on LOGOs 'The Click List'. He has appeared on Black Entertainment Television, NPR's 'All Things Considered', and Canada's MuchMusic station. His CDs have received glowing reviews in The Advocate, OUT magazine, and numerous gay publications around the country. He was a featured artist in Unzipped magazine in 2005, and Bear Magazine in 2010. He received two Stonewall Society Pride in the Arts Awards in 2005 - Song of the Year and Producer of the Year - and was inducted into the Stonewall Society's GLBT Hall Of Fame in 2005. He won Outmusicin of the Year at the OMAs in 2009, and his latest album 'Pink Album (A Pop Opera)' was the #1 CD of 2009 at Outvoice.net . He started this ALT Q festival eleven years ago, and is the host and curator of the bimonthly 'Homolatte' , the longest running queer performance series in the country.