Blahsmopolitan No. 12: “Last Teenage Sleep” AKA “I Drifted Through Space for Twenty Years and All I Got Was This Gross Body”

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This is Blahsmopolitan, a column about one sophomore’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago. This week, our columnist turns twenty, thinks about his place in the universe, and learns how to type the long dash in hopes you can learn from his mistakes.

last week i had a panic attack on the treadmill at the gym because the belts were moving too fast and creating too much friction so it started to smell like burning rubber and i read this article that said people who have strokes say they smell burnt toast right before they have the stroke but i felt like maybe i could’ve misread the article so i sat on the floor of planet fitness and said “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” out loud to myself ten times because when my grandma had a stroke she said she couldn’t form sentences and i wanted to make sure i could still use every letter in the alphabet and when i finally calmed down i still felt fat so i switched machines and stayed for another 30 minutes

i’m 20 years old tomorrow and i texted my mom and asked if my birthday dinner could be popeye’s which makes me feel maladjusted

none of the “wonders” that humans made off the backs of slaves are really even that cool to me- the only things i’ve ever found quote-unquote beautiful are things that would’ve existed with or without us which makes me unbelieve and believe in God, respectively

if i was born on accident then why am i the one being punished Continue reading “Blahsmopolitan No. 12: “Last Teenage Sleep” AKA “I Drifted Through Space for Twenty Years and All I Got Was This Gross Body””

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Blahsmopolitan No. 11: “Friendly Creature Double Feature” AKA “Home Is Where the Shart Is”

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This is Blahsmopolitan, a column about one sophomore’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago. New stories are posted every other Thursday alongside an audio reading and a curated Blahsmo playlist to take the journey yourself. This week, our columnist has skips class, has digestive troubles, and goes home (whatever that means) in hopes you can learn from his mistakes.

 

My mom used to go to the movies alone.

She was sixteen years old and very, very cool. I mean cool in the sense that she was tough, a girl that nobody wanted to f*ck with, but a girl engulfed in so much effortless mystery that you wanted to know her with every fiber of your being. Digging through old stuff before I left for college, I found a picture of her from 1992, a little before my time, crouching down in shiny black Doc Martens, high white socks, french tip nails, a messy bun pulled up high, and a huge leather jacket with nothing underneath it, staring directly into the camera, looking like she had something to say.

Continue reading “Blahsmopolitan No. 11: “Friendly Creature Double Feature” AKA “Home Is Where the Shart Is””

Blahsmopolitan No. 10: “Urbana-Champaign for My Real Friends, Real Pain for My Sham Friends” AKA “You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can’t Make Him Show His D**k”

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This is Blahsmopolitan, a weekly column about one sophomore’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago. New stories are posted every other Monday, alongside a curated Blahsmo playlist, and an audio reading, to take the journey yourself. This week, our columnist meets the four Fates of U of I, crosses paths with a probable murderer, and goes skinny dipping in hopes you can learn from his mistakes.


I hear people tiptoeing around me. Floorboards make little creaks and doors are opened and closed ever so gingerly. All talk is kept to a hushed murmuring. Am I still wearing my boots?

Ohmigoddddd, how are we gonna fit the Omega through the dooooooor?”

“I don’t know, Sylvie. I just don’t wanna chip it. The girls were up so late painting it last night.”

God is doing the Hoedown Throwdown on my skull and has injected fire ants into my temples.

Continue reading “Blahsmopolitan No. 10: “Urbana-Champaign for My Real Friends, Real Pain for My Sham Friends” AKA “You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can’t Make Him Show His D**k””

Review: Lana Del Rey – “Lust For Life”

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There’s a moment on Lana Del Rey’s fourth record, Lust For Life, that should hit her biggest fans (or as Hipster Runoff dudebros in 2011 once called them, apologists) harder than nearly all of her lyrical catalog. For those listeners that once found themselves entranced with the smoky voice totally consumed, and maybe a little depressed, by the moments of quiet domesticity with her lover on “Video Games,” it should come as a revelation to hear that same voice turned outward to the world around her: “We get so tired and we complain / Bout how it’s hard to live / It’s more than just a video game.”

This watchful eye on a world in turmoil is a motif across Lust For Life- which, in the early days of the promotional cycle for the album, seemed worrying considering all the obligatory “political pop” done so inelegantly by her peers. Still, if any major voice in pop music seemed fit for the challenge, it was Lana- an artist so deeply reliant on iconic Americana imagery that even the slightest shift away could seem like a revolution.

Continue reading “Review: Lana Del Rey – “Lust For Life””

Personal Space: PWR BTTM and How Online Mob Culture Hurts Both Accusers and the Accused

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Lena Dunham and Matthew Rhys, S6E3 of HBO’s GIRLS

Earlier this year, my favorite show GIRLS made waves with a bottle episode called “American Bitch,” in which the main character Hannah meets one of her literary idols, the fictional Chuck Palmer. Chuck’s had some allegations made against him- several women have come forward on the Internet with claims that he sexually assaulted them, specifically, that he forced several of them into oral sex on his book tour. Hannah, a burgeoning writer, publishes a piece on a “niche feminist website” expressing her rage and frustration at the accusations, stating “If one more male writer I love reveals himself to be a heinous sleazebag, I’m going to do a bunch of murders, create a new isle of Lesbos, and never look back.”

Continue reading “Personal Space: PWR BTTM and How Online Mob Culture Hurts Both Accusers and the Accused”

American Rage and Suburban Malaise: A Study of the Urban Punk Underground

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Martha’s Got a Limp Wrist (Photo by Christian Contreras)

This piece has been censored for the UIC Radio blog.

It’s difficult to write about punk without draining it of its chaos.

The greatest punk shows are soaked in sweat and blown into the red. The best punk lyrics are incomprehensible, the best punk venues include a highly suspect dirty mattress in the corner, and the best punk showgoer is one who will sweat all over you, push you into other strangers, scream in your face, and then let you bum a cigarette at the end of the night. When writing about punk neglects to include that sense of disorder and entropy, you get sterile talk of what is, above all, the art of violent, cathartic release.

When I was a teenager, DIY punk shows in Chicago were my safe haven. Growing up gay, there are very few spaces in which you know that you’re not the only outcast- which isn’t to say that I was some sort of hunchbacked adolescent hermit, but when you come out of the closet early, there’s a very thin line you have to walk, knowing all the eyes that rest on you. Getting drunk, then moshing and screaming and sweating in trashed apartments on the weekends was just the sort of chaotic release I needed to keep from cracking under the pressure.

There’s an energy at every great punk show that finds its way up your spine and lets you know you aren’t the only one who just needs a f*cking break. There are systems in place working against all of us- some more complicated or institutionalized than others- but the fun of a punk show is sourced from the moment it allows for young, frustrated, bored, and fed up people to stop needing to think for a while.

Eventually though, you stop being seventeen years old and it’s no longer socially acceptable to struggle through an Aquafina bottle full of whiskey, sweat through your shirt and make out with a high schooler at the end of the night.

Continue reading “American Rage and Suburban Malaise: A Study of the Urban Punk Underground”

Another Trick: Tracing the Pervasiveness of Teenage-Adult Sex in Gay Male Spaces

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Note: This blog does not reflect the views of all of UIC Radio

Scrolling Twitter the other day, I found myself confronted with a well-meaning rant from one of my younger straight male friends. In response to a since suspended account’s unveiling of the “new and improved Pedosexual flag and symbol!”, paired with some generic “love is love”-esque statement, he responded, “This s**t is so disgusting and invalidating. What the f**k!”

My initial instinct was to jump on board with him- I drafted a few versions of a tweet along the lines of “Just on behalf of the entire LGBT+ community, pedophiles have absolutely ZERO to do with us.” Upon more thorough consideration as my finger hovered above the Shout Into The Void button, I wasn’t sure that was entirely true. Continue reading “Another Trick: Tracing the Pervasiveness of Teenage-Adult Sex in Gay Male Spaces”

Blahsmopolitan No. 9: “The Great Grindr in the Sky” AKA “Bottoms in Neverland”

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This is Blahsmopolitan, a weekly column about one freshman’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago, and the songs that soundtracked it. New stories are posted every Thursday, alongside a curated Blahsmo playlist to complement your reading and get you through the week with some new music. This week, our columnist asks someone to choke him, searches through his sexual Rolodex, and realizes he’s been thinking too much in hopes that you can learn from his mistakes.

Stream this week’s playlist on Apple Music.

Hey! I read this piece at UIC’s English Department open mic! Watch a little bit of my reading here. I swore a lot there but the transcript has been censored for the blog. 

I spent the majority of my high school years hooking up with one of my best friends, which, in the long run, I don’t recommend. It’s a complicated living dynamic when you wind up going to the same college as said friend, and then have to live with a person who you’ve asked to choke you so you could c*m. Plus, the one time we hooked up in college was marred by him saying “Take off your stupid Thrasher shirt” and I was like, “Do you even know the new me?”

Continue reading “Blahsmopolitan No. 9: “The Great Grindr in the Sky” AKA “Bottoms in Neverland””

Blahsmopolitan No. 8: “All Fags Go to Heaven”

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This is Blahsmopolitan, a weekly column about one freshman’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago, and the songs that soundtracked it. New stories are posted every Thursday, alongside a curated Blahsmo playlist to complement your reading and get you through the week with some new music. This week, our columnist gets bullied into googling porn, cries about the Mars Rover, and realizes he’s in love for the first time in hopes you can learn from his mistakes. (Sorry I’ve been gone so long! I’m in two workshop courses so I’ve been totally drained creatively- this is my first final piece. Enjoy!)

Stream this week’s playlist on Apple Music or Spotify.

This piece has been censored for UIC Radio. 

I was five years old when I got my first computer. It was a pale, white, unfortunate thing that moaned and groaned to life, a process which usually took about ten minutes. I already had my own email address, (bluesclues@ameritech.net, can you imagine that not being taken today?) and a little scuba diver followed my cursor around as my obsessive-compulsive self made alphabetized catalogs of all the CDs I owned so as to better keep track for the radio show I hosted under my bed. It was a lot of Spice Girls with a hint of 50 Cent. A real variety show.

Being one of the first people in my neighborhood to have not one but two computers with Internet access, I was obviously the talk of the Kindergarten class. A playdate with two Internet-enabled computers meant that we could play Stratego or Bowling Blitz from opposites sides of the room! It was unheard of. It all made me very popular, which was only boosted by the fact that I lied and told my classmates I won a Nickelodeon sweepstakes with a prize that was just too special to tell.

Fun as it all was, something changed once Ella Thomas started coming over.

Continue reading “Blahsmopolitan No. 8: “All Fags Go to Heaven””

Blahsmopolitan No. 7: “No Crying in the Uber” AKA “Help! I’m Stalling and I Can’t Get Up!”

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This is Blahsmopolitan, a weekly column about one freshman’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago, and the songs that soundtracked it. New stories are posted every Thursday, alongside a curated Blahsmo playlist available on Apple Music and Spotify to complement your reading and get you through the week with some new music. (Not this week, though!) This week, our columnist breaks his leg, breaks the same leg again, and considers a conspiracy theory in hopes you can learn from his mistakes.

The first week of my first semester, I did a celebratory kick at my first college party, tore a ligament, and fell in blinding, screaming agony in front of everybody. Within seconds, a circle of staring sorority girls had cleared around me as I frantically tried to pull myself off the ground to no avail. In retrospect, I probably looked hilarious, but at the time, it was no joke. I could straight up not stop screaming. Not, like, cute groaning and embarrassed smiling. No performance- dead eyes, and full-bodied shrieking. Water on the Wicked Witch of the West. Not kidding.

Continue reading “Blahsmopolitan No. 7: “No Crying in the Uber” AKA “Help! I’m Stalling and I Can’t Get Up!””