The ACTIVATE curators sat down with CLA to share their thoughts on this year’s “Backstage” theme, their favorite performances, and more. Click here to read the interview on Loop Chicago’s website.


Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White are sibling rock’n’roll duo White Mystery from Chicago. Since 2008, White Mystery has self-released 100 songs, performed 1,000 shows worldwide, and pioneered  a new generation of musical entrepreneurship through multimedia. White Mystery will work with the organization A Queer Pride on curating an ACTIVATE event this year.

A Queer Pride is a collective of seasoned professionals from Chicago’s nightlife landscape, working together to celebrate Pride throughout the year. A combined effort between Scott Cramer, Abhijeet, Melissa Hespelt, and Bambi Banks-Couleé, A Queer Pride actively seeks to provide a platform to marginalized and underrepresented members of the LGBTQ community in a political climate that needs these voices to be heard even louder.

Tell us about your performance at one of our 2016 ACTIVATE events.

White Mystery: The event centered on the five senses, and as a band, of course, we celebrated the sonic theme, “HEAR.” Entering the Sullivan Center alley downtown was an absolutely transformative experience. Every nook and cranny was curated, including a silent disco for guests, and visual art.

What do you find exciting about the “Backstage” theme?

White Mystery: ACTIVATE: Backstage is exciting because it honors the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre theme in an interpretive, contemporary way. There are so many classic musicals and Broadway productions currently playing in Chicago, like West Side Story and Cats, that need to find a new generation of fans. Connecting local creatives with the urban community, in collaboration with the organization A Queer Pride, is an opportunity to showcase diverse talent to a wider audience, at a free event, which is a Chicago dream.

A Queer Pride: So much of what goes into seeing a drag or theatre performance on a stage happen backstage – everything from makeup, to costumes, to choreography takes place in usually a tiny basement of a nightclub before evolving into something larger than life. We want to give a glimpse into a world of drag and performance that only ever exists behind the scenes.

What is the coolest performance art you’ve ever seen in Chicago?

White Mystery: One of the coolest performance artists I’ve seen in Chicago is “Miss Ammunition,” who uses a belt sander on the surfaces of her metal clothing to create sparks with intense music, like the Prodigy, as the soundtrack.

A Queer Pride: Chicago’s art landscape is constantly evolving, and it’s great to see local talent featured alongside visiting artists who have a larger national platform. One of the standouts from our events last summer was watching Lizzo close out the Lollapalooza Sideshow party with A Queer Pride, singing her final song with a number of Chicago drag performers and club kids on stage with her!

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