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 2020-09-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

'Get Out composer talks career, race and LGBT developments
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-09-17

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In advance of its 2019-20 season, the Chicago Sinfonietta will perform a live concert screening of Jordan Peele's smash hit film Get Out—conducted by openly gay score composer Michael Abels—at the Auditorium Theatre.

Life has taken some twists and turns for Abels since he last talked with Windy City Times in 2009—including composing the Peele horror films Get Out and Us. He discussed his achievements, the LGBT community's achievements and what guests can expect at the Sept. 21 show.

Windy City Times: How did the collaboration with the sinfonietta come about?

Michael Abels: I've been collaborating with the sinfonietta for about two and a half decades. [The orchestral group first performed one of his pieces, Global Warming, in the early '90s.] When I decided to do this in concert, [this group] seemed like the logical presenter for that and, so, I wanted them to know about it right away. I reached out to them last year to let them know this [concert] was something I was working on; I thought the sinfonietta would be a great choice.

WCT: Regarding Get Out, is it true that you didn't believe it was Jordan Peels calling?

MA: Well, he didn't call me personally; he had the production company, Blumhouse, call me. But, yeah, lots of people in L.A. say they're producers and you don't necessarily believe that. [Laughs] So I consulted IMdB, but then I called a friend who see if the caller was legit—and it turned out that if I was being punk'd, someone had taken the time to make a very elaborate IMdB profile. [Laughs]

WCT: The last time we talked, we discussed the aspect of race and your exploration of your Black roots. [Abels, who is mixed-race, was raised by a white family in South Dakota, but explored his Black roots in L.A., including working with the legendary Rev. James Cleveland.] Was part of the reason for working on Get Out was to further connect with the African American aspect of your heritage?

MA: That's interesting. So I've spent a lot of my life recovering my Black identity—and that has happened amazingly and beautifully since I last talked with you, although it's happened in stages. It wasn't so much that I did Get Out for that reason; but I wanted to … represent. This was for me, as a Black person, wanting to reach out to the rest of the world.

In my first meeting with Jordan, he said two things to me. First, he said the music has to be scarier than shit. [Both laugh.] But he also said, "I want the African American voice, both literally and metaphorically, in this film." So we instantly starting talking about voices and he said, "The thing about African American music is that there's always this thread of hope that runs through it," and I thought, "What an insightful, brilliant comment to make." But then he said, "You have to drain all hope out of it." [Laughs] I then said, "I think you're talking about 'gospel horror,'" and he said, "Yeah!" So that was the catchphrase I took away from our conversation. I went home and wrote a couple demos for him; one of them—"Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga" [which means "Listen to the Ancestors" in Swahili]—became the main title track of the film.

Looking back on it, I received the future Oscar-winning script for Best Picture. It was so brilliant constructed. So that—combined with the fact that Jordan is smart, funny and nice—[compelled] me to work with him. I'm very honored to be a part of it.

vWCT: I thought Get Out was a great horror film and a brilliant social commentary.

MA: I still think it's the best social commentary about understanding race relations that I've ever seen. I just can't believe it.

WCT: Did the success of Get Out surprise you at all?

MA: Yes! Jordan said he didn't think it'd be released. Many things can happen from the script to a film opening, so I was just thrilled about the nature of this project. My only goal was just to complete the film and make a contribution. And while I didn't know if it would be successful, I knew it'd be very polarizing. So when it opened at number one at the box office and took off like a rocket, I was stunned. To see so many people respond to it and get all the layers to the film was beyond my wildest dreams.

WCT: Of course, that led to the collaboration on Us.

MA: Yes—and Jordan said he definitely did not want this to be Get Out 2. So it's a very different film; it was a huge, fun experience as well.

By the way, with [the 'Get Out' concert], we'll be doing the source music—which is music that wasn't used, for different reasons—so we do that creepy song "Run Rabbit Run" and the Childish Gambino song "Redbone." And the song "( I've Had ) The Time of My Life"—the song that's playing on [Alison Williams' character's] earbuds—we do that live. It's so much fun.

Also, there's a way in which you're not really supposed to be aware of the music; it taps into your subconscious. So when the music's live, you become aware of the contributions the music makes. And we encourage the audience to respond; if you want to talk back to the screen, it's encouraged. [Laughs]

WCT: Lastly, since the last time we've talked, a lot of things have happened regarding the LGBT community, such as same sex marriage and transgender rights/visibility. Has anything surprised you?

MA: Yeah, for sure. I was surprised and elated that we won our marriage equality rights; growing up, I never thought that would happen. I'm equally surprised by how severe the backlash has been and how much we, as a country, tend to backpedal. The progress we've made in the past 50 years has been pretty dramatic—but things can turn around even more quickly.

The Chicago Sinfonietta concert with guest composer Michael Abels will take place at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit AuditoriumTheatre.org .


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 Julia Child movie, Janelle Monae, 'Ammonite,' Harry Styles 2020-09-21 - David Hyde Pierce will star opposite Sarah Lancashire in Julia, HBO Max's drama pilot about the famous chef, trailblazing cookbook author and TV ...


Gay News

Local musician/comic Becky Raisman aims to show passion in performing 2020-09-21 - Becky Raisman—a 38-year-old singer and comedian who is part of the LGBTQ+ community—has been singing ever since she was in elementary school. She ...


Gay News

SOCIAL MEDIA Sam Cushing talks COVID-19, creating meaningful content 2020-09-15 - Sam Cushing is a multihyphenate talent—musician, fitness consultant, digital content creator and mental-health advocate—with a focus on building his social media presence to ...


Gay News

Sarah Brightman in Chicago in Dec. 2021 2020-09-15 - Soprano Sarah Brightman will bring "HYMN: Sarah Brightman In Concert" to the historic Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., on Friday, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Pose,' Matt Bomer, 'Mr. Soul,' Lil Nas X, Halsey, Dave Koz 2020-09-15 - SHOWBIZ 'Pose,' Matt Bomer, 'Mr. Soul,' Lil Nas X, Halsey, Dave Koz COMPILED BY ANDREW DAVIS FX's award-winning series Pose is ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Star Trek,' Julianne Moore, benefit album, 'To Wong Foo' 2020-09-08 - The producers of Star Trek: Discovery announced that next season they will be introducing the first nonbinary and trans characters in the history ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ #ReadOutProud, Mj Rodriguez, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez 2020-09-02 - Non-profit organization Pride and Less Prejudice ( PLP ) has launched a #ReadOutProud fundraising campaign video with LGBTQ celebrities including Adam Rippon, Nicole ...


Gay News

'The Best of Cher' on DVD Sept. 15 2020-09-01 - Time Life will release The Best of Cher on DVD on Tuesday, Sept. 15. The SRP is $99.95. The Best of Cher brings ...


Gay News

MUSIC Trans singer Kyler O'Neal debuts music video, talks poetry 2020-09-01 - Kyler O'Neal is a transgender contemporary, folk artist. She officially released her debut music video for her single Satan's Tears on Sept. 1, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Disco fundraiser, drag queen dies, Randy Rainbow, Outfest's tribute 2020-08-24 - Chaka Khan, Gloria Gaynor, Patti LaBelle, Nile Rodgers and Kathy Sledge, and Marti Gould Cummings are slated to perform at a virtual Studio ...


 



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


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar 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.