Pop Music Tourism

I’m not saying I married my husband because he grew up near Madonna’s childhood home in Michigan, but I will admit I made him drive me past her old house. That’s one of the highlights from my many years of pop music tourism.

See, I’m a huge music nerd. Rock songs, rap tunes, alternative hits, country anthems . . . whatever. There are songs I love in almost every genre. And when I can get closer to that music, it feels even more special. There’s just something so thrilling about standing on the actual spot where an incredible song was recorded, or walking down the […]

By |August 5th, 2014|Blog

When My Family Leaves Home, We Get Closer Than Ever

Never doubt the power of Designing Women. That show not only delivered one of the greatest monologues in sitcom history, but also inspired one of the most meaningful trips I’ve ever taken with my dad.

No, really! Back in the mid-aughts, I was on a break from graduate school and visiting my parents in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Naturally, I found time to watch the block of Designing Women reruns that Lifetime used to air in the mornings, and I happened to catch the episode “The Women of Atlanta,” where the Sugarbaker gals get tricked into posing for a slutty calendar. At the end of […]

By |June 13th, 2014|Blog

Los Angeles Union Station Makes History

Angelenos walk (or run) through Union Station each day to catch an Amtrak train traveling to one of their many destinations across the US. Or perhaps they’re catching the subway or bus to Hollywood, Koreatown or another LA neighborhood. If you were to slow down and learn the history of downtown Los Angeles, you would find deep roots to the LGBT community.

The connection to gay Angelenos harkens back to the El Pueblo de Los Angeles monument near Union Station. This is LA’s most famous and historic outdoor marketplace, and was once home to the Tongva, an American Indian tribe that settled in […]

By |May 22nd, 2014|Blog

Trains Matter

Every year at our elementary school pageant, we sang the Woody Guthrie folk song, “This Land is Your Land”, and it has been part of the soundtrack of my life ever since. The buoyant tune and incantatory lyrics are evocative and catchy, especially the way they end on an inclusive note. “For you and me,” we sang with our sweet, young voices, for our parents and friends.

My family didn’t travel much, so it took a long time for me to really feel the song, to truly understand what it means to be part of the landscape of America. Perhaps more important, coming to understand […]

By |May 15th, 2014|Blog

Gayborhoods: Finding Our Own in Chicago

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, during the 70s and 80s. The only gay person I knew to be gay was the flamboyant salon owner who cut, frosted and styled my mother’s hair. He often wore skin-tight, red leather trousers topped by an equally tight, black T-shirt, and he used more product in his hair than most of his lady customers.

There were rumors about our elementary school physical education teacher, but we had no evidence that the large, blocky woman in the tracksuit was, in fact, gay. Nonetheless, we all changed in and out of our gym jumpers as quickly as we […]

By |May 15th, 2014|Blog