Last weekend was the Kentuckiana Pride Festival, held at the Belvedere, an open-air riverfront space sandwiched between The Galt House and the Muhammad Ali Center. I was there to record audio and obtain a few interviews for the LGBTQ documentary I’m helping with during my summer internship at WFPL.
And since June is the month to hold Pride festivals in the United States (in celebration and in honour of the Stonewall riots that sparked the modern LGBTQ movement back in 1969), this week’s edition of Music Monday is devoted to LGBTQ musicians.
“I’maman” – Jobriath: Glam rock was at its height in the early 1970s, with artists like David Bowie and T. Rex pushing boundaries of musical, artistic and sexual/gender expression. However, Jobriath went above and beyond, being the first-ever openly gay rock musician signed to a major record label. Alas, the rest of the world wasn’t quite ready, reflected in poor album sales. His final mark in the world would also be his saddest, becoming one of the first internationally famous musicians to succumb to AIDS upon his death in August 1983.
“Miss Me Blind” – The Culture Club: Boy George celebrated his 51st year of life last week, so a little shout-out is in order for the man whose androgynous appearance was notable in the early 1980s, leading to questions about his sexual orientation (and ambiguous answers from the singer in return). These days, Boy George is performing DJ stints, the latest during London’s Worldpride 2012 Festival next month.
“Northshore” – Tegan & Sara: The Canadian twin siblings are currently at work on their seventh album. In the meantime, they’ve turned up on progressive house DJ Morgan Page’s latest disc In The Air, performing in “Body Work” and “Video.” A U.S. tour is also in the works, beginning in October.
“Liquorice”- Azealia Banks: Azealia Banks has already made her mark on hip hop, beginning with “212,” and continuing with her debut EP 1991 and her mixtape FANTASEA. Banks will be making the summer festival rounds in Europe, as well as a tour in the United Kingdom in October.
“Walking is Still Honest” – Laura Jane Grace: Last but not least, Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) of Against Me! came out as transgender in May of this year, making her one of the first musicians in a highly popular band of any era to do so. She has a long road ahead of her, but her allies in the punk community and elsewhere will have her back on this new journey.