Activism | Interviews | Queer

Toward Self-Determination

An interview with trans activist Monica James

With her work existing at the intersection of prison abolition and transgender rights, Monica James visited Geneva this month to address the United Nations Committee Against Torture on the criminalization of transgender women of color. There, she spoke alongside members of the Transformative Justice Law Project (TJLP) of Illinois, United States Human Rights Network, and the Women’s All Points Bulletin. Her trip was made possible through a crowdsourcing campaign that raised over five thousand dollars. James, herself a transgender woman and activist born and raised on the South and West Sides, works with the TJLP to help low-income and homeless transgender people access fair legal counsel and adequate healthcare. I met with Monica James to discuss her activism, her upbringing, and her trip to Geneva—her first time entering an airplane. Continue reading

Pilsen | Queer | Visual Arts

Templehead’s Hallowed Halls

Rick Majewski

It’s a moody September evening at the Church of Templehead—clouds bruise the sky, and bursts of rain seem intent on ruining the party. Templehead, a DIY artists’ living space converted into a queer- and feminist-focused community venue, sits on the corner of 19th and Allport in Pilsen. It’s in a quiet pocket of the neighborhood, removed from 18th Street’s trickle of winers and diners. Tonight is JOSE FEST, a performance art festival named after Chicago-based artist Jose Hernandez and featuring an eclectic set of theatrical vignettes. Continue reading

Hyde Park | Music | Queer

Turn Down for Nothing

Sister Spit takes 2014’s final bow at Logan

There’s a warm glow in the eighth floor penthouse of the Logan Center for the Arts, despite the falling snow visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows. People pile in, vying for spaces in the front rows. Continue reading

Hyde Park | Queer | Visual Arts

An Animate Archive

Chase Joynt and Kristen Schilt populate the Gray Center with the past

Student Evan Hernandez leads a gallery tour. STEPHEN URCHICK

Student Evan Hernandez leads a gallery tour. STEPHEN URCHICK

The boilerplate image for “#FOLLOWUS,” a collaborative multimedia installation on display at the University of Chicago’s Gray Center, is a still from the original short film “Urban Renewal.” Continue reading

Hyde Park | Music | Queer

Getting Vocal

A Hyde Park band places gender issues in the spotlight


Gene Cochrane and Kalil Smith-Nuevelle call themselves “gender politicians.” The two UofC students met last spring at a coffee shop where Cochrane was working, and quickly began friends and then bandmates. Now known as Slurp’s Up, the duo is more than eager to jump into discussions of radical gender politics with their newly released debut album, “Text Me When You Get This.” Continue reading