Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-01-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

BOOKS Queer scholar profiles Chicago house music
by Lauren Emily Whalen
2019-04-10

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


When Micah E. Salkind was a teenager in Kansas, he found the music that would change his life.

"I went to raves and would hear Chicago house music," said the queer scholar, whose first book Do You Remember House? Chicago's Queer of Color Undergrounds is available from Oxford University Press. "I came through [the house music movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s] with a Chicago taste in my mouth, so I wanted to understand the relationship between Chicago and the way the music moves."

Do You Remember House? originated as Salkind's dissertation for his Ph.D. in American studies from Brown University, where he also earned undergraduate and master's degrees. The book, which Salkind described as an "academic monograph," chronicles the history of Chicago house music from its origin in the 1970s to the present, and examines the genre as a means of community for queer people of color and others who gravitate toward its sound.

"The book is … a deep dive into a musical culture's development and a close look at how people today look at the culture in incredibly different ways," Salkind said via phone from Providence, Rhode Island, where he works as an arts administrator.

Although Salkind is queer, he is also white—a fact he remained cognizant of while researching and writing.

"My approach has been [that] it's not my culture to claim or story to tell, but [I can] amplify people at the center of this culture," Salkind said.

"Through the process, I asked myself, 'Should I be doing this? Is it coming from a place to honor and uplift, or to colonize and take?'" he said. "From me, it was a process of uplifting. I still wrestle with it, but I often thought, if I don't take my privilege to write this book the way I can write it, it leaves room for someone to write about it in a way that's less ethical."

Salkind did the bulk of his research in Chicago from October 2013 to May 2014. "All I was doing was interviewing people and going out dancing," he said. Salkind conducted over 60 interviews with individuals who were pivotal to Chicago house music. "Some people can just paint a world for you. They know how to recall events in their lives and describe them in amazing detail," he said. "Other people are incredible legendary figures and to have the opportunity to interview them at all was such an honor."

He also "read about any journal article or book about dance music I could get my hands on," and utilized archival research. "Center for Black Research had about five magazines that were eventually published online, that became extremely helpful," Salkind said. "And Jacob Arnold has a blog called Gridspace. He's not a trained scholar, but Jacob is an incredible [house music] archivist and historian, and I used his resources a ton."

While living in Chicago, Salkind immersed himself in current house music culture. "I tried to go to as many places as I could, and people recommended to me," he said. "I ended up spending the most time at Queen! at Smartbar on Sunday nights, and at the Chances Dances roving parties at The Hideout, Danny's and Subterranean. I also went to Excursion and The Shrine when it was still open."

Throughout the process, Salkind gained a deeper reverence for Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy—contrasting pioneers of the genre.

"Frankie and Ron set a blueprint for the didactic nature of Chicago house music," Salkind said. "The experimental energetic thing Ron would do was a counterpart to the soulful fluidity of Frankie. You have the incredible importance of the parties Ron Hardy DJ'd, when straight people became a part of the culture and learned to live among the queer communities. Chicago has an incredibly forward-thinking sensibility as to how people party together, because [Hardy and later Knuckles] accepted everybody. Great music was the common denominator.

"Ron's life was cut so drastically short, and they both had to leave before their time," Salkind continued. ( Hardy struggled with heroin addiction and died in 1992 at age 33. Knuckles, who was openly gay, died in 2014 at age 59 from diabetes complications. ) "Imagine all the Black queer artists we would have today if they hadn't come to the plague. HIV/AIDS figures hugely into why we have that missing generation, and perhaps why [house music] hasn't been archived and celebrated as much as it should be."

While Salkind's research was funded by his graduate program, writing the book while working was a whole new challenge. "I had to sequester myself on weekends to get it done around my nine to five," he said. "My father was an academic, and I learned early that half the battle was just sitting down and putting something on the page. My dad always said, 'Don't let perfect be the enemy of done.'"

When asked why he'd chosen house music as his academic and literary focus, Salkind recalled the boy from Kansas he once was. "Everyone who does research, does 'me-search.' You're always doing work to repair something in yourself," Salkind said. "What I realized [was that] I was looking for queer ancestry in this music I related to so deeply as a teenager, when I wasn't out. Having these new connections with people who I share this music with, across generational and racial lines, was really impactful."

Salkind has thrown house parties and worked as a DJ in Providence since 2007. He's planning a New England book launch with some of the artists he interviewed, but hopes to eventually host an event in Chicago, where the subject of his studies began.

"Chicago house is part of a legacy of musical culture, a history of DIY Black entrepreneurship [and] experimentation, cross-class and interracial spaces, where all kinds of ideas could flourish," he said. "You can't have house music without Chicago."

For more about the author, visit micah-salkind.squarespace.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Taylor Swift, GLAAD, music festivals, CW renewals, Jake Gyllenhaal 2020-01-14 - GLAAD will honor global superstar Taylor Swift and award-winning director, producer, writer and advocate Janet Mock at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards ...


Gay News

Sinfonietta's MLK Jr. tribute shows Jan. 19-20 2020-01-14 - Chicago Sinfonietta will be presenting its annual MLK Tribute Concert—celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through family, equity and the ...


Gay News

'She Shot Him Dead' among newest Newberry offerings 2020-01-13 - The seminar series "She Shot Him Dead: Husband-Slaying in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago" will take place Tuesdays Feb. 11-March 10, 6-7:30 p.m. at Newberry Library, ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ nonfiction writing class starts Feb. 23 2020-01-13 - StoryStudio Chicago, 4043 N. Ravenswood Ave., is offering a new course on writing stories from a queer perspective. Conceived by author Jeremy Owens, ...


Gay News

City names 2020 'Year of Chicago Music' 2020-01-12 - Recently, Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ( DCASE ) Commissioner Mark Kelly, Grammy- and Oscar-winning artist Che "Rhymefest" Smith and ...


Gay News

Kathy Acker tribute Jan. 10 2020-01-08 - "Re: Acker"—a tribute to experimental writer/artist Kathy Acker ( 1947-1997 )—will take place Friday, Jan. 10, 7-9 p.m., at M. LeBlanc Gallery, 3514 ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best LGBTQ films, Eddie Murphy, Obama's songs, DJ retires 2020-01-07 - Advocate released its list of the 30 best LGBTQ films of the 2010s. Some on the list include Appropriate Behavior, Moonlight, The Kids ...


Gay News

MUSIC Whitney; The Joy Formidable; Roy Kinsey 2020-01-04 - Despite my predictions for a gloomy holiday season, Christmastime in Chicago turned out to be just short of blissful. With nary a ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Judi Dench, HIV+ musical comedy, Black LGBTQ musicians, Ryan Reynolds 2019-12-30 - Dame Judi Dench ( perhaps jokingly ) had a different take on Old Deuteronomy, her character in the panned movie Cats, Out.com noted. ...


Gay News

Frankie Knuckles celebration Jan. 19 2019-12-29 - Queen!, in association with The Frankie Knuckles Foundation, will hold "For Frankie! A Celebration of his 65th Birthday" Sunday, Jan. 19, 9 p.m.-4 ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.