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 2019-10-16
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Kyle Abraham: 'The Radio Show, hip-hop and pizza
DANCIN' FEATS by Lauren Warnecke

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1980s-influenced New York City-based choreographer Kyle Abraham's life in more ways than one.

From Pittsburgh, Abraham moved to New York to attend SUNY-Purchase for college as a dance major and lived in a plethora of cities before moving back to NYC for graduate school at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts ( NYU ). He is now firmly planted in Brooklyn, but never denies Pittsburgh as the place from where he comes.

Talking with Windy City Times, Abraham recalled listening to soul music on his local radio station, and on family road trips from Pittsburgh to Detroit. He cited classic soul music as the voice of his community, and a source of communication within his family. The sudden closing of the radio station coincided with his father developing Alzheimer's disease and aphasia ( loss of ability to speak ), creating a multifaceted loss in his life. As his father's ability to communicate deteriorated so, too, had the voice of a community whose memory was steeped in its music.

These are the two events that form the inspiration for Abraham's The Radio Show, which is stopping at the Museum of Contemporary Art ( MCA ) Feb. 20-23. The once-struggling young choreographer is now living a Cinderella story that includes esteemed accolades such as the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award ( 2012 ), a Princess Grace Award in choreography ( 2010 ), a 2010 Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for The Radio Show and, most recently, a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant"—a five-year, $625,000 unrestricted grant awarded to exceptional creative individuals. Although The Radio Show comes from a deeply personal place, Abraham's work addresses themes that affect and speak to us all—themes such as voice, identity, community and urban Americana.

At some point, according to Abraham, national and urban cultures became two different things. When and how this shift occurred is unclear, as is the commercialization of modern-day hip-hop. The current form is unfamiliar to him, and yet Abraham still simply said, "I am hip-hop." As a child of the late 1970s, he feels close to the B-boy culture and doesn't necessarily identify with the current commodity hip-hop has become. Why did it change? "People realized you can make money off of it," he said. Growing up, there was no such thing as hip-hop class. Hip-hop is often the thing that drives Abraham as a contemporary dance maker and roots his choreographic aesthetic, yet he has no formal training.

In addition to the engagement at the MCA, Abraham will speak on a panel titled "B-Boys, B-Men: Moving with/in our Masculinities" as part of an international hip-hop festival The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago is hosting. The line-up includes France's Compagnie Kafig and Philadelphia's Raphael Xavier plus special events, dance jams and discussion sessions. The topic of masculinity is often associated with hip-hop, but Abraham's identity has one foot firmly planted in the hip-hop culture from which he rose, and one foot in the Queer community. To him, hip-hop often exudes an archetype of what a black man in America is "supposed" to be. Masculinity is a misconstrued perception that supersedes sexual orientation, and it is assumed that the stereotypical Man ( capital M ) pervades hip-hop.

What, then, is hip-hop supposed to be?

"Hip-hop is a social commentary. hip-hop is fun, and love, and unity and freedom," Abraham said.

So hip-hop, according to Abraham, is an embracing community that allows anyone of any race, creed, or orientation into its fold. Hip-hop is a source of empowerment that was something urban kids could pour their emotions into; it was a place to express anger and frustration in a healthy way. When put in this light, it would seem that the hip-hop community and the queer demographic could be besties if they wanted to.

This trip to Chicago will be the first time Abraham is presenting his work here, but it's not his first visit to the Windy City. A tour with David Dorfman Dance brought him here once ( or twice ) before, and while here he embarked on a tour of Chicago-style pizza parlors. Of Giordano's, Pizzeria Uno and Lou Malnati's, the best pizza, according to Kyle Abraham, comes from Lou's. Next on his list? A tour of restaurants owned by chefs who appeared on Top Chef. This guy is a genius in more ways than one.

Kyle Abraham and Abraham.In.Motion present The Radio Show Feb. 20-23 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. Tickets are $28; stop by the MCA Box Office, call 312-397-4010 or visit . A limited quantity of $10 student tickets is available. One free museum admission is granted with an MCA Stage ticket stub, valid up to seven days after the performance.

The B-Real Festival hosted by the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago takes place Feb. 17-March 1. All B-Real events are free and open to the public. Call 312-869-8330 for more information. Performances for Compagnie Käfig and Raphael Xavier are ticketed; see

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.


Gay News

Chicago Dancemakers Forum Launches International Initiative, Two Fall Events 2019-10-15 - CHICAGO, IL, 10/15/2019 Images Available Here. - Chicago Dancemakers Forum's new CrossHatch Initiative promotes artistic growth for dancemaking artists and builds connections for, ...

Gay News

Auditorium commissions Michelle Dorrance work for Trinity Irish Dance Company 2019-10-11 - ( CHICAGO, IL — The Auditorium Theatre announces the commission of American Traffic, a new work for Trinity Irish Dance Company ( TIDC ...

Gay News

'Body Political' revue to take place Oct. 12 2019-10-03 - The Body Political—described as "a semi-annual burlesque and variety show that confronts social myths about the body through personal stories of resistance and ...

Gay News

Ooh La La Burlesque & Variety Show to benefit Center on Addison 2019-09-18 - Chicago, IL — We are thrilled to announce our upcoming fundraising event for Center on Addison, the social and residential center for LGBTQ ...

Gay News

Chicago performers 'Dance for Life' in annual showcase 2019-08-21 - Patrons of the arts gathered Aug. 17 in the South Loop for the 28th Dance for Life benefit performance. Dancers from six different ...

Gay News

Illinois Gay Rodeo Association presents Rodeo Round Town 2019-08-20 - The Illinois Gay Rodeo Association presents Rodeo Round Town, a three-day series of events throughout Chicago, continuing the tradition of the annual Windy ...

Gay News

'Doing Fine' dance event Aug. 22-Sept. 8 2019-08-06 - Culminating a year-long research process, Joanna Furnans will premiere Doing Fine—a new full-length dance performance over three weekends Aug. 22-Sept. 8. All performances ...

Gay News

Dance event 'Rampage' in Chicago on Aug. 11 2019-08-06 - Rival Productions ( Milwaukee ) and CircuitMom Productions ( Chicago ) are collaborating to present "Rampage"—a new performance and dance event dedicated to ...

Gay News

New Dance for Life director named 2019-08-06 - Fewer than three weeks before Dance for Life is slated to take place, the organization announced the appointment of Kesha M Pate as ...

Gay News

'Dance Divas' Aug. 4-5 at Baton's new site 2019-07-24 - Dance for Life Chicago is presenting Dance Divas "Bright Lights, Big Cities" a party and performance Sunday, August 4 at 6 p.m. and ...


Copyright © 2019 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.




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.