Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Public Schools
[ Click above to embiggen: Brad Balof’s official performance biography from his comedy appearances in Chicago; note the detailed resume ]
Today, I’ve been asked to give testimony to a team of Investigators assigned by the Chicago Public School (CPS) system who’ve been tasked with looking into the nocturnal activities of sixth grade teacher Bradley Thomas Balof; they want all photos I’ve found of Balof stripping and dancing on stage, all links to his pornographic or erotic videos, and all mentions I can find of “comedy” shows he’s appeared in where he mocked the intelligence, names, and home lives of his black Chicago public school students at Joseph Stockton Elementary on the North side. Truth be told, the person I spoke to on the phone to set up my testimony didn’t seem all that interested in the stripping or sex shows that Balof puts on…but CPS did appear very concerned that a white public school teacher was ridiculing black students at comedy venues such as Zanies in Old Town or Sidetrack the Video Bar (a Boystown gay bar that hosted “Laugh Track” comedy shows and other big events where Balof served as the MC and performed comedy bits at the microphone).
This is an interesting situation because typically in Chicago gay people can do whatever they like without fear of anyone in the media raising any question of propriety…while, simultaneously, no criticism is ever made of black people in the slightest in this city and no questions are ever raised as to why, exactly, black children do so poorly in the public school system here. The instance at hand of a gay public school teacher taking to the stage and mocking his black students for gay audiences thus pits two protected demographic groups against one another and forces the media to decide how they’ll ultimately cover this story (if at all).
Karen Lewis, the President of the Chicago Teachers’ Union, hasn’t weighed in on all this yet, but if she’s reading this now I’d love to ask her:
* Is it okay for a public school teacher (of any sexuality) to make fun of his students (of any color) after-work as a standup comedian? I’d also love to hear from any parents out there with children in public school to find out how you would feel if your children’s teachers were doing comedy sets based on your children’s intelligence and behavior after the last bell rang for the day.
* Is it appropriate for a public school teacher to moonlight in any facet of the adult entertainment industry, including performing nude or nearly-nude in public? It should be noted that in being featured in this adult entertainment the teacher in question does absolutely nothing to conceal his adult performances from his students and has admitted in interviews that his “children” in the public school system do in fact find photos, videos, and write-ups about him online. And he thinks that’s amusing!
* Is a gay white male teacher allowed to get away with doing whatever he wants when a female teacher has been prohibited in other states from being an adult entertainer while currently employed as a teacher? The ultimate question is: does being gay render someone immune to any and all criticism when employed by the government in any form?
I was in grade school in the 1980s and was mostly taught by either nuns or young moms from the suburbs…so it’s impossible for me to imagine a life where one of my elementary teachers was also a standup comedian and male stripper/erotic entertainer on the side. I went to Catholic School and know that if someone employed in the school was caught doing things like this that the person would probably be fired. At the very least, he or she would have been forced to make a decision between either remaining a teacher or leaving the classroom to pursue erotica full time elsewhere.
Bradley Thomas Balof’s full performance bio (posted above) that appeared in the programs for his comedy shows lists him as a true Renaissance man:
* Comedian = performances at Sidetrack the Video Bar’s “Laugh Track” events, at Zanies Old Town for “Queer Comedy” nights, and doing short sets of comedy at various gay festivals or while MC-ing events at Sidetrack.
* Activist = the MC of events at Sidetrack the Video Bar that raise money for Equality Illinois, which is the political lobbying group funded by Sidetrack’s owners Art Johnston and Jose Pepin “Pepe” “Pep” Pena using the bar as a revenue stream; as an activist, Balof himself uses his time at the microphone to rev the gay crowds in Sidetrack up in hatred against Christians, conservatives, or other perceived enemies of the gay community. He spreads a great deal of hate in his particular brand of “activism”.
* Teacher = sixth grade teacher at Joseph Stockton Elementary School…earning $60k/year plus benefits from the City of Chicago (and guaranteed his full-salary at time of retirement for the rest of his life when he retires).
* Drag Queen = performing dressed up as Liza Minnelli for “Chicago Takes Off” (an annual burlesque festival), for the “Night of 100 Drag Queens” annual event held at Sidetrack, and at other performances throughout the year in Boystown; Balof is not a transvestite, however, and only appears to dress up like Liza for performance (not personal pleasure).
* Leatherman = This advertises that Balof is into the leather/BDSM scene of sexual fetish; “Leather” is most on display in Chicago over Memorial Day Weekend, when the city hosts the annual International Mr. Leather fetish beauty pageant…which Balof MC-ed for many years dressed up in skimpy sexual fetish outfits. Balof is an active participant in the Chicago “leather community” and all its activities, by his own resume admission. Bars such as Touche, Jackhammer, and Cell Block in Chicago cater to the “leather community”.
* Bartender = Balof works at Sidetrack the Video Bar as a bartender/MC for special events. This is actually no different than police or firemen in the city working in bars when they are off duty. A lot of guys do this for extra money and it’s a long standing tradition for people who work for the City (and already make big salaries) to make even more money (often under the table) working in bars on the side. I actually have no problem with Balof being a teacher by day and a bartender or bouncer at night…but he crosses a line with the other stuff he engages in.
* Actor = Balof appeared in the pornographic films Into It and Bowser Makes a Movie; the former was about male prostitutes adventuring with drugs and the latter was about a group of people making their first porno. “Bowser” was so successful it apparently became a whole series of porn.
* Model = nude modeling for local Chicago photographers and through ModelMayhem, a website that connects nude models to photographers; a good number of Sidetrack the Video Bar’s employees regularly pose nude for local photographers or rent out their bodies through ModelMayhem. This is a popular thing to do for guys under 35 working in the bar scene.
* Bottom = this is Balof advertising his preferred position for anal sex on his resume; it’s in fact the only time I’ve ever seen anyone list this on a resume. It is not standard operating procedure for comedians/actors/models/whatever in Chicago that I’m aware of. The only other people who would list “bottom” in a program besides Bradley Thomas Balof would be guys on a RentBoy site or who advertise their bodies on Craigslist.
Are there some jobs in life where moonlighting should be strictly controlled by an employer?
I know that a lot of cops and firemen moonlight in the Chicago bar scene, with a good number of them picking up shifts as bouncers and doormen when they aren’t on-call for their already lucrative day jobs working for the city. Even back in Cleveland, cops and firemen did this all the time…but I remember hearing about a few instances through the years where a cop or fireman was caught making an erotic video and was fired over it, as it brought embarrassment to the department. There was even an instance in the last few years of a group of young morticians who made a “Men of Mortuary” Playgirl-style calendar (without full nudity) and then funeral homes that employed some of those guys fired them for participating in the project. So, this makes it seem that there are indeed limits to what some people in certain careers can do when it comes to moonlighting outside of their day job.
Am I wrong to expect a public school system to have an absolute zero-tolerance policy when it comes to things like this?
There isn’t an Illinois State Board of Education meeting in Chicago until the end of June, so I’ll have to wait until then to ask that question on the record and bring all this to the attention of all parents in attendance…but I’m wondering if the fact that Balof is gay and is stripping, dancing, and performing in the nude for other men makes a difference in how the Chicago Public School system responds to his
full-moonlighting; would a straight female teacher caught working in Hooters’ or bouncing around a stripper’s pole be disciplined for her after-school special activities while a gay male teacher/stripper is given free rein to nude it up all he wants when his teaching day is done? Does this mean there is one set of rules for gay teachers and another for straight ones…or is the fact that Balof has a penis (and shows it to people!) what makes all the difference in whether or not Chicago Public Schools has an issue with him?
If so, then there’s sexism in play here, too, since that would mean that Balof (a male) is given permission to do things that a female teacher seems forbidden to do. I hope that self-styled feminists take umbrage with that and demand that a stripping male teacher be treated just as a female teacher would when those nocturnal activities finally come to light.
Off the record, one children’s advocacy group I spoke with yesterday told me that they’d be afraid to confront the School Board about Balof because he’s a gay male…and anyone speaking out about his activities will be decried as “homophobic”…especially in June, of all months, “because this is pride month and we’re afraid of being called homophobes during pride month”. The bullies in the “gay community” would come out in full-force, I’ve been told, because whenever a gay man is criticized for any sort of behavior by a parents’ or moms’ group then gays see it as a chance to berate Christians and conservatives in general as “homophobes”.
Well, I’m openly gay and I have a problem with any public school teacher having a resume longer than “teacher”…especially when public school teachers are always crying about being overworked. Clearly, that’s not true, since Balof finds so much time to do all sorts of other things in addition to collecting that $60k/year as a Chicago public school teacher. If this guy really was so overworked and burdened by his teaching duties then he wouldn’t have the energy to bare his butt in public and wiggle it up on stage for people…or stand up there telling “jokes” about how dumb he thinks the black kids in his class are.
I think it’s time that people stopped being afraid of gay people calling them “homophobes” for saying something that a gay person (who is in charge of children) is doing while moonlighting is inappropriate, considering his day job. Being gay should never render someone an untouchable secular-saint who can’t be criticized for fear of the critic being bullied. Since June is “Pride Month” where the “gay community” loudly claims it’s demanding full-equality, shouldn’t part of that “equality” include an expectation that gays follow the rules like everyone else and be held accountable to the same standards of professional behavior that straight people must follow?
QUESTION FOR COMMENTS: Do you think a straight female teacher would keep her job if she posted a resume like Bradley Thomas Balof’s?
Can you find any instances of female teachers being dismissed for actively taking part in the adult entertainment industry?
How would YOU handle this situation if you were Karen Lewis (President of the Teacher’s Union in Chicago) or Barbara Byrd Bennett (CEO of the Chicago Public Schools)?
[ Click above to embiggen: Some of the promotional material for website www.BradleyThomasComic.com, which was wiped clean of all content on the morning of Friday 5/31/13 after our initial reporting on “The Case of the Stripping School Teacher” was published ]
A sixth grade teacher in a Chicago Public School classroom has been identified as a moonlighting stand-up comic who mocks his black students’ names, intelligence, and home life in degrading “comedy routines” staged in the city’s LGBTQAI community…where gay Chicago men have a longstanding habit of making racist, “ghetto” jokes at the expense of black people…but are never called-out on it because gays are a protected and favored class in our national media; a gay public school teacher ridiculing and degrading his black students for the amusement of gay audiences thus pits two of the institutional Left’s primary demographic groups against one another in as politically-incorrect terms as possible. Chicago’s now faced with the rare spectacle of wondering whom the media will side with on this one: the black children being mocked or the gay comic who degrades them on stage?
Bradley Thomas Balof, a gay, white, male teacher at Joseph Stockton Elementary School on the North Side of Chicago continues to perform his standup routine at venues like Zanies in Old Town, with troupes such as OutLoud Chicago, and in appearances at Sidetrack the Video Bar in Boystown (where Balof also serves as the bar’s master-of-ceremonies (MC) for special events and regularly dances nearly-nude as an in-house erotic entertainer).
Balof’s “comedy stylings” at Sidetrack and other gay venues include:
* Mocking the names of his black students, particularly the females, as “Shaquisha”, “Loquisha”, “”Shaniqua” , “Bon’Qui Qui”, and other variations of same that are disturbingly popular “jokes” amongst many gay men in Chicago
* Informing his audiences that he’s a public school teacher in Chicago who is exasperated by the lack of learning ability of his black students…and then detailing their academic struggles on stage in a “my students are so funny, they think 2 plus 2 is 5″ kind of way; other “jokes” in this vein involved the children not knowing what various sexual or other adult terms meant and then having “funny” responses to Balof about them
* Affecting a “ghetto accent” and taking on “ghetto black mannerisms” while telling “jokes” about the black people he claims to encounter during his teaching day
* Ridiculing black parents, especially the mothers, for the poor school performance of their kids
* Maligning black women as welfare queens and linking their reproductive frequency to the lackluster academic performance of their children
* Presenting himself on stage as a sainted martyr for having to “put up with black kids all day at work”
Balof regularly performs these “jokes” as the master-of-ceremonies (MC) for high-profile events held at Sidetrack the Video Bar, which is owned by prominent Chicago gay activists Art Johnston and Jose Pepin “Pepe” “Pep” Pena (who are also the principle fundraisers and founders for/of the lobbying organization Equality Illinois). Johnston and Pena are regularly present for Balof’s comedy routines and laugh along with the rest of the gay audience as Balof mocks black people unrelentingly. This is especially disturbing, since Johnston and Pena take the stage at these same events to promote Equality Illinois’ purported mission of achieving “equality for everyone in Illinois”…but then they laugh uproariously when one of their employees lambasts the culture and intelligence of black Chicago children and their parents.
I have personally and repeatedly complained to both Johnston and Pena about the offensive nature of the “comedy” performed at Sidetrack, with Pena in particular telling me in his thick accent that he didn’t care about complaints and that he “thinks this is funny”…and so Sidetrack will keep doing what it’s been doing, with Pena’s personal approval, regardless of how awful some of these “jokes” truly are.
Sidetrack the Video Bar films all of its special events MC-ed by Balof and stores these recordings digitally in its VJ/sound booth above its Main Bar room at 3349 N. Halsted in Boystown; as of Friday 5/31/13, it appears an investigation now has been launched by the Chicago Public Schools administration to obtain copies of all these videos for review, as Sidetrack has never made these performances by Balof available on its website or YouTube. There is an entire video production facility in-house and on-site at Sidetrack, with three or four dedicated staff members in charge of filming, editing, and archiving every event that happens in the bar.
[ Click PLAY above: as of this writing, this commercial for “Laugh Track” found on YouTube is the only film from the events available; while it does not show the racist jokes about public school students that are so offensive and only offers a taste of what “Laugh Track” was all about, it does prove that these shows were filmed by Sidetrack using the bar’s video production facilities. You can see screens to the sides of the comics where they’re being projected while they work the microphone; a Sidetrack camera operator was filming them so it could be broadcast on the screens and those performances were then captured digitally and archived in the Sidetrack VJ/sound booth ]
From the summer of 2010 through the spring of 2011, Balof and fellow comic Adam Guerino additionally staged the “Laugh Track” live comedy shows held at Sidetrack on Thursday nights; these featured standup comedy performances by Balof where he used his life as a public school teacher in majority-minority Joseph Stockton Elementary as the basis for his performance sets. Another Sidetrack co-owner, Chuck Hyde, was quoted in November of 2010 saying these “Laugh Track” shows had “been growing rapidly…We know that there’s a whole lot of talent in our community that doesn’t always get to showcase, so this just seemed like a natural fit” for Sidetrack the Video Bar. Another interview with Guerino revealed that he, Hyde, and Balof had conceived the idea for “Laugh Track” together and were the principle driving forces of the weekly events.
These “Laugh Track” shows were heavily promoted by owners Johnston, Pena, and Hyde with lavish posters and ads in all of the city’s gay entertainment publications. By all accounts, they were extremely well-attended and brought a lot of business into the bar on what was otherwise a slow night of the week. But, the consistently degrading nature of the material aimed at black people and children quickly soured audiences and “Laugh Track” was canceled unceremoniously in 2011…with most references to it disappeared down the “memory hole”. After hoping the ill will and hurt feelings that initial year of performances caused had been forgotten, Sidetrack attempted to resurrect “Laugh Track” again in the spring of 2012…but it was not restored as regularly featured entertainment in the bar. Balof, however, continued his racist comedy stylings at Sidetrack whenever he took the mic as an MC of special events and still performs at Zanies and other venues whenever they will have him…making fun of the black students in his sixth grade class wherever he can plug in a microphone.
Balof’s official performance biography describes him under his stage name “Bradley Thomas” as:
Bradley Thomas (www.bradleythomascomic.com) is a comedian, Activist, Teacher, Drag Queen, Leatherman, Bartender, Actor, Model, Bottom. Bradley Thomas does it all. Whether for his weekly show Laugh Track at Sidetrack, Night of 100 Drag Queens, International Mister Leather, or other performances Bradley has been performing as a comedian and emcee for over a decade. His quick wit, and sardonic view help him create stand-up performances that are both relevant and irreverent. Bradley does not shy away from incorporating equality, sexuality, and social justice into his art. Of course, he is quickest to laugh at himself, if you dont beat him to the punch. If laughter is medicine, Bradley hopes his audiences OD every night.
A “bottom”, as listed in the bio above, is a reference to Balof’s preferred position during anal sex (in which he elects to be the receptive partner); this is the first time I’ve ever seen a comedian list personal information such as this in a program bio…and one that his sixth grade students could easily find online in an internet search, no less.
Read the rest of this entry »
Public School Shocker: Gay Porn Actor and Male Stripper Employed As Teacher at Joseph Stockton Elementary School in Chicago!
[ Click above to embiggen: 6th grade teacher Bradley Thomas Balof (sometimes “Bradley T. Balof” or “Bradley Balof”) at Joseph Stockton Elementary School in Chicago is really “Brad Thomas” (porn actor) and “Bradley Thomas” (male stripper, erotic entertainer, racist comic, and sometimes-bartender at gay bar Sidetrack in Boystown) ]
The Chicago Public School system is now embroiled in another breaking scandal as it was uncovered this weekend that a gay porn actor and male stripper/erotic entertainer is currently employed as a sixth grade teacher at majority-minority Joseph Stockton Elementary School on Chicago’s north side.
This follows scandals in Florida and Massachusetts where FOX News and other investigative reporting teams discovered former gay porn stars teaching elementary school students in the Miami and Boston environs. Here in Illinois, I’ve uncovered irrefutable proof that the Chicago Public School system currently employs a man who continues to moonlight in the adult entertainment industry; by day, he’s charged with taking care of classrooms full of mostly minority children…but at night he bares his body in sweaty bars and upon public stages for the hungry eyes of other gay men.
Are parents of elementary school students in Chicago informed that at least one of the men teaching their children is currently involved in the adult entertainment industry and does the Chicago Public School System have any idea of the sort of nude moonlighting in which at least one of its teachers engages? These are questions we ask your help in answering this week as we get to the bottom of this new Chicago Public Schools scandal that warrants a full investigation by the state and federal Education Departments.
[ Click above to embiggen: employment information for Bradley T. Balof, who earns nearly $60,000/year as a public school teacher…but still performs as an adult entertainer at night ]
Bradley Thomas Balof has been on my radar for some time, since he performs as a stand-up comic and serves as the master-of-ceremonies (MC) for sexually-charged events at Sidetrack the Video Bar here in Chicago’s heavily-gay Boystown neighborhood.
While on the stage, Balof openly talks about being a Chicago Public School teacher…and, in fact, often mocks the mostly black students in his charge by incorporating variations of racist “Shaniqua” or “Loquisha” ghetto-humor into his comedy stylings; these are “jokes” commonly told by gay white men like Balof that depict his black students as ignorant “Shaniquas”, “Loquishas” and other ebonics-inspired characters who are in his opinion unable to learn, difficult to teach, and almost entirely coming from broken homes with missing fathers and stereotypical black “welfare queen” mothers, whom Balof portrays on stage as having children for the expressed purpose of collecting more government benefits (and then shunting the kids off to him and his fellow Chicago Public School teachers to deal with for the day). White gay men laugh uproariously at these “jokes”, which has made Balof a regular on the gay comedy circuit, according to his website: BradleyThomasComic.com. His experience teaching black students in a Chicago Public School classroom provides roughly 80% of what he talks about in his standup routines…and his jokes primarily boil down to the fact that the “Shaniquas”, “Loquishas”, and other black students in his classes exist entirely to be laughed at by gay men who find this style of “comedy” hilarious.
For the uninitiated, it’s incredibly common to find gays mocking blacks in niche comedy venues…while simultaneously black comedians often find it hilarious to make fun of gay people; this is part of the dynamic of the Left where one specific demographic group often mocks and targets another (but the national media never calls any of them out on it, since it’s one minority mercilessly maligning another for intra-party Democrat amusement).
When Balof’s not denigrating his students and their families at Sidetrack or other gay venues around town, he also appears nude or nearly-nude as a male stripper for various celebrations and serves as an erotic entertainer at leather and fetish-themed events, where he’s costumed in everything from steel-studded jockstraps to dog collars and brightly colored thongs or g-strings. Balof has seemingly made no effort whatsoever to hide his adult activities from simple Google image searches and, in fact, both Sidetrack the Video Bar (one of his employers) and ChicagoPride.com (an entertainment site focused on life in Boystown) prominently feature many images of Balof stripping, strutting, and posing nearly-nude around town. Sidetrack, during its recently discontinued “Laugh Track” standup comedy nights, additionally hosted a great number of Balof’s “comedic” attacks on black people and the mocking of his specific students at Joseph Stockton Elementary in Chicago. Sidetrack maintains a video archive of all the “Laugh Track” comedy performances from the years 2010 to 2012, as Balof’s racist “comedy” making fun of his black students was recorded by Sidetrack’s video production team.
Note: If the Chicago Public Schools or Illinois State Board of Education subpoenaed those tapes, they’d have footage of Balof’s “comedy stylings” where poor black children at Joseph Stockton Elementary are the butts of his “jokes”. Shockingly, he’s smart enough not to maintain a YouTube channel with any videos of his standup routine…but I personally saw Sidetrack’s videographer taping Balof delivering these “Shaniqua” and “Loquisha” riffs during those Laugh Track events and know that as of this writing they are sitting in the video production booth at Sidetrack and have not ever been destroyed.
[ Click above to embiggen: Bradley Thomas Balof appears as “Brad Thomas” in the gay adult films Into It and Bowser Makes A Movie ]
Going by the name “Brad Thomas”, Balof has appeared in at least two low-budget pornographic movies and is featured in sexually-charged music videos that can easily be found posted to the web. In one of his films, titled Into It and manufactured by the adult entertainment company Hustlers in 2006, Balof stars as “Brett” and is featured on the back cover art of the video reclining nude in a position of sexual satisfaction. The erotic film involves male hustlers, heavy drug use, a “night of unbridled sex”, nudity, a sado-masochistic relationship, and other similar attractions geared towards a gay male audience. A “hustler”, for those who don’t know, is a low-rent male prostitute who picks up “Johns” on the street or in gay bars in a city such as Chicago.
In 2005’s Bowser Makes a Movie from erotic entertainer Hornbill Films, Balof inhabits the character of “Vincent Van Coq” in a story about a young gay man who decides “to pursue his life dream…making an adult film”. “Coq” is, obviously, a Gallic manipulation of “cock”‘…which is itself American for regular old “penis”. Balof, billed here as “Brad Thomas” once again, appears shirtless on the cover art for the film grabbing at his penis through his pants and can be spotted on the reverse in a scene where the title character Bowser indeed films the porno he’d dreamed of making. Dirty Bird Pictures seems to have continued the “Bowser” character into several sequels, which include Bowser Makes A Porn and Bowser Makes Another Porn, but it’s unclear if Balof’s character Vincent Van Coq was featured in these further sexual adventures (and none of these erotic features should be confused with the angry, testudine dragon that repeatedly kidnapped Princess Peach in the Super Mario Bros. video game series).
The music video “Joan Crawford Goes to Hell” by Chicago-based Joan Crawford-inspired punk band “The Joans” featured Balof (credited as Bradley Thomas yet again) gyrating provocatively (starting at the 2:40 second mark in the video above), dolled up as one of Satan’s barely-dressed imps in leather and soot as the Hell-bound, deceased actress is engulfed in CGI flames. Near the end of the video, Balof kneels before Joan Crawford and paws at her sexually…before gyrating his body some more in disco a-go-go special effects while a skeleton dances in rainbow lights behind him. The video closes with Joan Crawford pushing an eager Balof’s head down to a sexual position conducive for cunnilingus. According to the end credits, the video was filmed at gay leather fetish bar Jackhammer in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago.
[ Click above to embiggen: Balof as “Bradley Thomas”, MC of the IML Leathermen fetish events ]
Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago is when the annual International Mr. Leather (aka, “IML”) fetish pageant is held in a hotel downtown. Through the years, Balof has served as master-of-ceremonies (MC) for this event, where he’s appeared on stage in various forms of fetish gear, underpants, jockstraps, leather briefs, or nude. Balof in fact proudly posts this adult entertainment experience on his own website, as featured on his “Resume” page, and can clearly be seen performing his MC duties at the “world’s largest annual Leathermen convention”. The term “Leathermen” refers to gay men who enjoy a fetish of leather outfits, gear, and the corresponding sexual stereotypes associated with the “leather community”. The IML convention hosts sexual orgy parties, a “beauty pageant” of sorts where a nearly-nude “Mr. Leather” is crowned each year, and an expo of sexual toys and fetish gear for the “leather community”. In addition to serving as the MC for the major events, Balof danced in his underwear, in jockstraps, and nude for the enjoyment of IML attendees.
[ Click above to embiggen: Balof as “Bradley Thomas”, Sidetrack bartender, stripper, drag queen, and MC for special events ]
As an employee of Sidetrack the Video Bar, Balof regularly appears in his underwear, jockstraps, dolled up as Liza Minnelli, and nearly-nude at various events that owner Art Johnston hosts in his bar (in addition to Balof’s normal shifts as a Sidetrack underpants-clad bartender). Serving as master-of-ceremonies (MC) for these sexually charged events, Balof also seizes the opportunity to engage in polarizing and oftentimes hateful speech directed at Christians, such as the tirade he engaged in against Dan Cathy and the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain at the Equality Illinois Pie Toss held at Sidetrack last year, where Balof berated a man dressed in a chicken costume as an effigy of Cathy and his company. Balof hosts the Sidetrack Mardi Gras, Halloween, and drag events…where he similarly revs up considerable hatred amongst Sidetrack employees and customers for Christians, conservatives in general, and others Balof labels “enemies of the gay community”. He encourages Sidetrack’s clientele and staff to hate Christians and Republicans and to take to the streets after events to punish and persecute those he and Sidetrack portray as “the enemy”. The net effect of all of this is quite similar to the exhortations against Emanuel Goldstein in George Orwell’s 1984, with Balof’s purposefully-chosen sexual-charged attire designed to get the maximum attention of the crowds for his rabid, anti-Christian and anti-conservative calls to arm.
When Balof lists himself as “an activist” on his resume, this is the sort of activity that he means.
You may also recall that Balof was one of the five hosts of the now-defunct Boystown tee-vee show “Only At Brunch”, which lasted just one episode back in the fall of 2011 and is today remembered primarily for the cruel bullying of special needs toddler Trig Palin by one of Balof’s co-hosts (while Balof himself laughed at these “jokes” and did nothing to stop them on camera) and misogynistic attacks on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Only At Brunch was promoted heavily at Sidetrack, where the show held its premiere episode-watching party with complimentary drinks provided by Art Johnston. Johnston, it should be noted, is constantly informed about this sort of activity continuing in his place of business but he elects never to put any stop to it. Similarly, it should also be noted that Johnston self-styles himself as “Chicago’s Harvey Milk” and the principal leader of the “gay community” in the state of Illinois.
Johnston has been inducted into the Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame and has seemingly no understanding of the word “hypocrisy”, since his establishment Sidetrack is ground zero for the hatred revved up against Christians and conservatives in Chicago…but, yet, Johnston never turns down an opportunity to lambast Christians and conservatives as “bigots” or persecutors of the gay community. Johnston, following Alinsky Rules for Radicals to the letter, accuses his “enemies” of doing the very things he and his staff engage in at Sidetrack.
To promote his standup comedy appearances during “Queer Comedy at Zanies in Chicago”, Balof appeared on a YouTube talk show called TheQudotco, in which he spoke openly about his employment as a Chicago Public School teacher. Tony Soto, the host of “The Qu”, specifically asked Balof if any of his students were aware of his activities outside of school hours…and implicitly asked whether the minors he taught during the day understood what their teacher got up to at night. As you can see in the video, Soto is clearly amused by the idea that a public school teacher could lead Bradley Thomas Balof’s double life.
Balof gave a quick run-down of his career outside the classroom, by noting that he started off as a circus ringmaster, then got into MC-ing events, hosting drag performances, and ultimately serving as the Master-of-Ceremonies for the International Mr. Leather (IML) convention (which Balof described as “expanding his horizons every Memorial Day weekend”, giving the camera a wink at the double-entendre obvious to anyone with a concept of what sort of “expanding” happens to a man’s body during “IML” weekend in Chicago; it seems “horizons” is slang to Soto for “sphincter”).
At about the 1:35 mark in the video above, Balof talks about still trying to find “his performance voice” while Soto asks if any of his students have discovered his extracurricular activities online. Balof acknowledges that children have, in fact, found his “other life” online…and even acknowledges they could be watching this very video by admonishing them to “do their homework!”.
Balof states directly into the camera at about the 1:50 mark: “I approach it as this is something that I do and that everyone should follow their (sic) passion in life. And to be a role model and to be in front of students…to not also want to express this artistic side of myself and to entertain people which is just something that is innate to the core of my being would be to not practice what I am preaching”.
At the 2:09 minute mark, Soto asks Balof how much material for his comedy routines he gets from his job and Balof states that he gets: “as much material as any comic gets from their (sic) family or their (sic) job or whatever. Funny things happen on a daily basis, oh yah, sure. We all remember what it was like to be 13 and, yah, exactly”. Since Balof’s students are mostly black in a majority-minority school like Joseph Stockton Elementary, those “funny stories from work” are thus primarily about young black children whom Balof regularly lampoons with heavy racial stereotypes in his comedy routines.
Near the 4:00 minute mark, Soto asks Balof how he juggles being a public school teacher with working in a bar and doing comedy and Balof explains that he does most of his adult entertaining during the school breaks, including the three months in the summer that he has off every year as a Chicago Public Schools employee earning about $60,000 annually (plus benefits…and including a full pension for the rest of his life at his last level of salary when he retires).
Clearly, working in a public school as a teacher is a highly attractive day job for entertainers in the adult industry…since once they age out of porn, stripping, bartending, and fetish conventions they can retire in luxury on permanent pensions provided to them by the taxpayers of Illinois.
[ Click above to embiggen: Shawn Loftis, Kevin Hogan, Bradley Thomas Balof ]
Like Balof, other adult entertainers have also been enticed by the ridiculously-generous salaries and benefits packages in the public school system, including the union guarantee that they all maintain their level of pay at retirement for the rest of their natural lives.
The website Queerty (which describes itself as “Free of An Agenda. Except That Gay One”) recently ran the article “Adult Film Stars Who’ve Retired: Did They Have Happy Endings?” that profiled a handful of male pornographic actors and adult entertainers who are now “mainstreaming”.
Just like Bradley Thomas Balof, the porn stars Collin O’Neal (real name Shawn Loftis) and Hytch Cawke (real name Kevin Hogan) became public school teachers to qualify for the high salaries, lavish benefits, and guaranteed retirement funds that accompany teaching positions in most states. O’Neal/Loftis taught at Nautilus Middle School in Miami, Florida and Cawke/Hogan found a job at Mystic Valley Charter School in Massachusetts. This is around the time, coincidentally, that Bradley Thomas Balof also started working for the Chicago Public School system.
In 2010, the School Board fired Shawn Loftis for his porn past but the Teachers’ Commission forced his reinstatement in 2011, claiming that his career in the adult industry was over and that he was trying to start a fresh life and educate his students about the mistakes he made by becoming a porn star. It appears he continues to be left in charge of children in Miami-Dade County to this day.
FOX News reporter Mike Beaudet ambushed Kevin Hogan back in 2011 on camera and confronted him about his gay-for-pay porn past; this is a term for a straight (and often married) male who performs in gay sex videos strictly for the money (most often with the wife’s approval). His wife, it turned out, was also a former porn star (so clearly she didn’t mind what her husband was up to). In 2011 Hogan was suspended with pay while the situation was investigated and finally in 2012 the School Board in Massachusetts decided to dismiss Hogan and not allow him to teach in the 2012-2013 academic year, citing the fact that he had previously performed in adult oriented videos and he’d highly embarrassed his school when word on this got out.
So, that makes one School Board in Democrat-controlled Miami, Florida that decided a gay man’s porn past has no relevancy to the appropriateness of his being a public school teacher…and one School Board in a slightly less Leftist area of Massachusetts that decided a public school was not the best place for a retired porn star to work during the day.
What’s interesting about the Matter of Bradley Thomas Balof is that he currently still works in the adult entertainment industry as a male stripper, erotic entertainer and MC at fetish events, dancer in music videos, and additionally delivers highly racist comedy routines in which he mocks his public school students. While it appears the last pornographic movie he appeared in was in 2005 or 2006, the rest of his adult-acitivities-moonlighting still continues (mostly during breaks in the school year). He was just nearly-naked again in public this weekend, as a matter of fact.
So, unlike porn stars Loftis and Hogan, Balof is still very much in the adult entertainment business…while simultaneously being employed as a Chicago Public School teacher.
This being Chicago, with Rahm Emanuel as our Mayor, Barbara Byrd-Bennett as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools system, and Karen Lewis as the President of the Chicago Teacher’s Union…what do you think the odds are of Bradley Thomas Balof continuing to teach the sixth grade by day in a shirt and tie while gyrating in bars and on public stages at night wearing not much more than some coconut oil and a smile?
Hope! Change! Adult entertainers for teachers everywhere!
QUESTION FOR COMMENTS: Do you think it’s appropriate for a Chicago Public School teacher to appear in porn, work as a male stripper, MC leather fetish events, and perform comedy routines in which he mocks his sixth grade students for their race and (in his opinion) lack of intelligence?
What would you do if you found out an adult entertainer was teaching in YOUR school district where you lived…and this teacher was not a “former adult entertainer”, but was someone who currently engages in this activity after he’s done teaching your children for the day?
Do you think that people employed with taxpayer funds in public schools should be forbidden to be part of the adult entertainment industry?
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The average salary for these people is $76,000/year, with Cadillac benefits, the impossibility of ever being fired, and four months of paid vacation.
They struck because they felt a 16% pay raise was not enough.
One of my exes, Jason, is a public school teacher here in Chicago. He teaches French and has been at it a few years now; he makes around $55,000 if I remember correctly. Probably more since that’s what he was earning when we were together and it’s been a few years.
This summer, Jason went on a weeklong trip to NYC, then to Hawaii for three weeks, and after that a Disney cruise somewhere in the Caribbean. Jason is not hurting for cash and enjoys having the entire summer off to do whatever he wants…along with a long winter break and a spring break too. The reason Jason became a public school teacher was because of the high salary, the amount of vacation time, and because the unions make it impossible to ever get fired.
According to Jason, he also doesn’t have to put all that many years in before he qualifies for a pension…where he will be paid his salary for the rest of his life, many years after he’s stopped teaching. He could conceivably retire and collect his full salary from the state of Illinois for another 30 years. I think they even continue to get raises with their pensions.
I’d love you to chime in on this, but I think we’re approaching (or have reached) a point where the American public is going to revolt against the public employee unions.
YOUR taxes are going to fund all the perks the public school teachers receive. Can we really afford all this…and better question: do these people really deserve all this?
I’ve had a few occasions to tour public schools here in Chicago. One project I worked on was to administer a survey on vegetables to middle schoolers, where I was part of a team that went into a half dozen schools a few years ago with all sorts of vegetables to see which ones the students were familiar with. Most could identify carrots and lettuce and tomatoes (confused though they were on whether they were vegetables or fruits), but broccoli, celery, and even some kinds of potatoes were alien to them. These were middle schoolers who didn’t know that french fries (which they did recognize) were made from potatoes. Almost all of the kids we interviewed were horribly behaved and the schools all had giant pictures of Che Gueverra, Malcolm X, Yassir Arafat, and even Idi Amin on the walls. This was right after Obama won the presidency, so one of the schools had started painting a weird mural of Obama in the hallway surrounded by kids with dead eyes who were grabbing at the light that was glowing around him.
This was what tax dollars were spent on here in Chicago.
I asked if these schools we went to were for kids with disciplinary problems, but I was told these were “some of the better public schools here”.
Jason routinely told me how bad the students were in public school and how there was no real expectation that most of them would learn much or amount to anything in life. The focus was just on getting them trained enough to pass the “proficiency tests”. The way he described this made it sound more like obedience school where animals are taught to respond to certain sounds and then perform tricks. That’s what the Chicago Public Schools do: keep these kids warm and fed during the day and teach them how to do a few tricks for “proficiency test” time.
If I had a child there is no doubt in my mind that I would homeschool him or her. Almost all of my friends with kids homeschool, except ones who make enough to afford Catholic school.
I’m not one of those people who join the “support the teachers and give them what they want!” chorus. I think public school teachers are greedy and have no concept of how lucky they have things, especially in a Depression like we’re in now. Yes, it’s unpleasant to deal with horribly behaved and often violent “students” all day…but $76,000 a year and four months of paid vacation sure seems to make up for whatever angst these kids cause them. In this Obamaconomy the job security of being a teacher and never having to worry about being fired should be prize enough for these people.
The only upside of having Rahm Emanuel as Mayor here in Chicago has been our shared belief that this caustic man would one day put on a good show and crack some skulls in the job. I actually think Chicago needs a caustic person to get things done in the Mayor’s Office. Mayor Daly was wonderful at this, but was still a very nice guy who people would get excited to meet in person. Rahm is sickly-looking and downright creepy but he was promoted to Chicagoans as having a real temper and the ability to explode on people who caused problems in the city.
Now’s his chance to prove he’s every bit the powder keg he’s supposed to be.
When a union strikes, I’ve always wanted to see a Mayor fire all of the union workers and replace them immediately. I think this is because I grew up in the 80s and can vaguely remember Ronald Reagan doing this to the lazy and greedy air traffic controllers. I was too young to watch the news regularly, but one day I remember my grandmother having Ted Koppel on and her cheering…and she told me that Reagan had fired all of the strikers.
The unions and “striking” always seemed like Communism to me. From an early age, I loved seeing elected officials call the strikers’ bluffs and bust the unions wide open.
Do you think we’re at the tipping point where these old wives’ tales of “teachers not earning much” and “teachers having to buy their own supplies” won’t fool the public anymore? Because I have firsthand experience with Chicago teachers and these people are not buying school supplies with their own money…they are taking weeks’ long trips to Hawaii and having the times of their lives. They have better compensation packages than anyone else I can think of here in Chicago.
Do you think this time, in this economy, that people will finally notice how much better off the public sector union members are than the rest of us?
There’s nothing earth-shaking in this Tribune bit on Ron Huberman today, but it’s interesting for all of you on a national level because this man will most likely be headed to another large city to run the school system there.
Huberman’s been a terrible CEO of the Chicago Public School system. He’s never been a teacher. Never once taught so much as a puppet show for a class. He has a great deal of contempt for the students and parents in the CPS system (he pops up a lot at Sidetracks in the Glass Bar area, where he can often clearly be heard telling jokes about how stupid the CPS kids are and how ugly, ignorant, and terrible the parents he has to deal with are…something anyone in earshot of him can listen in on whenever he has more than a few while out in Boystown). The man is the absolute height of unprofessional…but is nice-looking, gay, Israeli, a former cop, and one of Mayor Daley’s darlings.
When Daley leaves office next February, few of Daley’s pets are going to be retained by the incoming Mayor, who will have his or her own pets to tend to.
It’s widely expected here in Boystown that Huberman is going to get a new gig in another big city being the superintendent of the school system in something like Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, or wherever.
With CEO of Chicago Public Schools on his resume, where he made $230,000/year, he will no doubt end up running another city’s schools for even more money.
And he will do just as terrible job there, no doubt, as he did here in Chicago.
It’s just so hard to give this man the slightest bit of respect after hearing him mock CPS students in a bar, surrounded by his friends, laughing and laughing and laughing…while knowing he was chauffeured to the bar in a car provided to him by the City, with a personal driver that is also on the City’s payroll. Meanwhile, Huberman was threatening to axe upwards of 1,300 teachers because the City had no money in the budget for them.
Yet, Huberman was paid $230,000. His driver was paid $60,000-70,000. That car he’s driven around in costs a pretty penny as well. But, teachers needed to be cut because there was no money in the budget.
It’s going to be interesting to see where others like Huberman land, nationwide, when the Daley administration comes to an end here in Chicago.
If you hear that any of these people are being considered for big positions wherever you live, we highly urge you to voice some objections.
You’ve already seen what importing Chicago to Washington, DC does…you don’t want this coming to Atlanta, Denver, Miami, or wherever as well.
After lunch today, we went to the movies with our friend Althea and her two kids, Lil’ TJ and Niblet.
Althea homeschools her kids because she can’t afford to put them in private schools in Chicago (close to $10,000 a year, for each, when factoring in all the supplies, the transportation costs (not free busing, like with public school, the activities, the uniforms, the books, etc.) and the CPS system (run by party-boy and Mayor Daley’s pet, Ron Huberman). Our friend Abbey back in Ohio also homeschools her son, Lil’ Remy, and both of them run their own businesses from home so that they can educate their children much better than what the public schools would provide.
Every once in a while, some of us here do little freelance projects in CPS schools, where we conduct surveys for various companies that need market research done on the youth market. While we are in the schools, we are stunned by the opulence of the buildings (a $100,000 mural here…a $25,000 sculpture there…skylights, marble floors, holographic light displays, auditoriums that would make some Broadway theaters jealous) and the ineptitude of almost every member of the teaching staff we’ve met.
There are a lot of stupid people in this world — people who seem, to us anyway, that they’re in danger of drowning every time it rains. A good many of these fools work in the Chicago Public School system, as educators. All of them are tenured. None of them can ever be fired. Watching them teach classes is like watching Texas Instruments speak-n-says from the 80s lecture to a class. They are robotic, with their verbiage programmed to be as politically correct as possible, praising everything the students do as “excellent” so as not to hurt Deante, DerNoshante, and Jamertankpte’s feelings.
When everything is “excellent”, nothing is.
“Waiting for Superman” is a film about how terrible the American school system has been since the 1970s, when two things happened:
(1) Teachers unions took over
(2) Politically correctness and the Leftist agenda infiltrated the education system
We’ll add a third item: the 1970s was when conservatives ceded the school boards in every state to the Left, because conservatives “had jobs, had families, and were just too busy to sit on a board”.
In the film, an educator named Geoggrey Canada narrates a thorough look at the problems facing every school district in the country. They can be traced to two sources:
(1) The Department of Education, which should be abolished
(2) Teachers’ Unions, which should be abolished
The reason the unions must go is because they protect bad teachers.
Canada calls this “the lemonhead dance”, which is named “the turkey trot”, “the idiot switch”, and “pass the trash” in other states. This is where tenured teachers can never be fired, so one school just moves the worst teacher to another school at the end of the year, and that school has to take “a lemon” from somewhere else for a year. These people can’t be fired, but the principals get to trade their failures for what they hope is a less-terrible teacher.
The unions prevent these firings.
In New York City, the teachers’ unions cost the city $100 million a year because teachers who are so bad that they are not allowed in classrooms get to receive 100% of their pay and benefits if they spend 7 hours a day in what amounts to adult day care: it’s called “the rubber room” and it’s a place where they go to read newspapers, draw in coloring books, tell stories, play cards, and sleep while their cases are waiting review by the union. The union keeps a three year backlog on hearings, so that their dues-paying members continue to pay those dues while the cases against them are decided.
By the time they are up for review, whatever students were involved in complaints against them have graduated, moved on, disappeared, or forgotten about whatever the complaint was about in the first place. Then, after this stint in “the rubber room”, these clowns are put back into the system at another school, where most likely the same thing will happen again.
Only 1/2500 teachers ever lose their accredidation. Compare that to 1/57 doctors or 1/97 lawyers (like the Obamas) who lose their professional licenses for one reason or another (including gross incompetence).
There are, in fact, only 38 teachers in the state of Illinois who have been fired since the 1970s. The unions are responsible for that.
The film deals a lot with Michelle Rhee in the DC public school system, who was brought in as superintendent after her predecessors all gave up because the unions made reform impossible. One of these former superintendents was a former Marine Lt. General who surrendered after 18 months because he said dealing with the unions was “a living Hell”.
The unions prevented Rhee from firing bad teachers and principals and cracking the system so she could make the changes that were necessary.
This happens in every school district across the country.
Because the teachers’ unions give 90% of their contribution to the Democrat Party, Democrats use the Department of Education to strengthen the teachers’ unions and to hamper efforts on the state and local level to bring about the changes the students need.
It’s just one of myriad reasons the Department of Education needs to be abolished — the way President Reagan wanted to do in the 1980s (it was Jimmy Carter who created this beast).
People, please go see this movie…in theaters. It’s just heartbreaking.
The schools in some cities, like Chicago, are so terrible that families have to pin their hopes on winning a lottery to score a seat in a school that’s not run by people who are completely inept.
No one should have to stake a child’s future on luck.
Charter schools work much better than public ones because the teachers there are not unionized, so bad teachers can actually be fired, and good teachers can receive merit pay for high performance (merit pay is NOT allowed in the unionized public schools).
One of the goals of the Tea Party movement should be to destroy the labor unions. All of them.
They are the single greatest reason the public school system is such a disaster.
We believe they are a similar disaster in every sector of our lives where unions are prevalent.
Unions are also the hired muscle and the financial lifeblood of the Democrat Party, so taking the unions down means dealing a death blow to the DNC.
Can this ever happen?
We don’t really know — because the unions are so entrenched and so powerful.
But, if ever there was a time for it, it’s right now.
With so many people struggling, the unions’ complaints and demands are now falling on deaf ears, especially when peopel see what a cushy life union members enjoy…and feel entitled to.
Chris Christie has declared war on the teacher’s union in New Jersey. We’d love to see Jan Brewer do the same in Arizona, and Nikki Haley get on this when she’s elected Governor of South Carolina. Every single Republican Governor nationwide should go Chris Christie on their state’s labor unions.
There is no downside to this.
The unions back the Democrats anyway, so it’s not like the Republicans are going to alienate anyone by doing this.
Highlighting the graft, corruption, and incompetence of the unions is a winning strategy for Republicans because it shows parents the GOP is ready and able to do something — SOMETHING — to try to improve education for their children. The unions care about cushy protections for incompetent adults…it’s time conservatives branded themselves as champions for the children.
We need someone to do to the teachers’ unions what Upton Sinclair did to the meat industry in The Jungle.
We really need the horrors of the unions exposed…especially since the unions are so in bed with the communist and socialist agitators in this country, as they proved they were this past Saturday with that “One Nation” march.
We’re just sick and tired of this garbage…and we want to make this an issue HillBuzz pushes in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Not only will it be a winning one for conservatives, but any success we have will further harm Democrats at their fundraising and goon squad cores…all while HELPING CHILDREN GET BETTER EDUCATIONS.
Not every parent can run their own businesses from home like Althea and Abbey, and not everyone can send their children to private schools the way our own parents did.
But ALL OF US, every regular daily reader here, can DO SOMETHING to become an everliving thorn in the unions’ sides.
Together we can eventually stir up our own local communities against the unions…and maybe even get a good number of you elected to school boards so you can bust unions in a bureaucratic capacity.
What think you?
Education Secretary Arne Duncan, one of the Chicagoans brought to Washington for “The Golden Age of Hope and Change” (aka, “The Unmitigated Disaster of Unprecedented Proportions”), said recently that “the best thing to ever happen to the school system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina”.
New Orleans public schools were terrible before Katrina. Post-disaster, they were rebuilt from the ground up, along a charter school model that’s already showing great progress.
But, Duncan ran Chicago’s public schools, and those are terrible. Liberals control Chicago, and thus the schools. So, why aren’t Chicago public schools doing better? We must need more hurricanes.
While we’re on the topic, why are the public schools in every Liberal-controlled city that we can think of so terrible? Cleveland Public schools were at one time ranked the worst in the world. Worst in the known universe, to be technical. To this day, they need a hurricane, or at least a plague of locusts or a shower of toads, to make them adequate, because it’s unimaginable anything on Earth could make them good.
Why is everything that’s Liberal-controlled always so terrible?
What does that say about Liberalism, that the massive destructive power of a hurricane actually makes things Liberals control BETTER?
Yesterday, I sat in the principal’s office under a cartoonishly-executed tempora painting of several klansmen holding candles against a midnight-blue nightscape, sprayed from above by a giant bottle of “Racist-Off” insect repellant, the product pitch “Spray No to Racism” flourescently scrawled in the sky above.
It’s the second most bizarre painting I’ve ever seen displayed with great care and pride in anyone’s office (the first being, collectively, a series of gorilla paintings a 50-something-year-old woman I know named Madison keeps in her office here in Chicago: gorillas dressed up like Marie Antoinette or Cleopatra, Gorilla George Washington, Gorillas visiting Millennium Park, Gorillas eating various sandwiches without irony, all painted so amateurishly I at first thought actual gorillas made them (which would have been remarkable, for actual gorillas, but then I realized Madison, a Human Resources Director, wasn’t outsourcing her art to great apes but was instead poorly aping said apes’ violent, opposable-thumb-challenged, artistic direction; once I realized these paintings were made by a fully-functioning adult human, the only thing remarkable about them was the every-day-is-April-Fools attitude required to exhibit those monstrosities in an office where other fully-functioning adults come to do business)).
“Spray No to Racism” hovered above me while I waited for the school’s principal to give me a tour of the building and show me which health and nutrition classes I would sit in on that day. If I looked away from the painting, I would start to imagine the little klansmen in their ridiculous getups simpering and muttering all manner of vile curses, as the “Racist-off” melted them into tiny puddles of robes, Margaret Hamilton-meets-Evian-style. If I stared at the painting, I became wholly absorbed by the bizarreness of it, in much the same way gorillas dressed as famous people (as painted by someone clearly out of her mind) captivate me, and not in a good way.
For the rest of the day, all I could think about was racism, and tiny klansmen scurrying into the walls to hide from “Racist-Off” spray, and how much the art in that principal’s office and the rest of the school could be, unintentionally or intentionally, impacting the education the students there received.
And, of course, I also thought of cupcakes.
“Emergency cupcakes” (and “emergency champagne”, too) and a conversation I’d had with my good friend Jessie the other night, where she asked me for some good first-date things to do with a guy she liked but didn’t want to scare off by doing things she typically does, like inviting him over to look through her astonishing stacks of old dog-eared, tear-stained issues of Martha Stewart Weddings (or talk about shoes, and how much she loves shoes, because after the wedding planning stuff, you all know that’s the second-best surefire way to send straight men scurrying for cover, “Racist-off” style).
Because a single, gay man whose longest relationship was with a lying, cheating, Asperger-afflicted, prescription-drug addicted, momma’s boy like my ex David is OBVIOUSLY the best person to solicit winning first-date advice from.
Because THAT always worked so well on Will & Grace, too.
But, I do have to say, “emergency cupcakes” have never failed me before, and I was surprised Jessie had no idea what I was talking about, as I have gotten more guys over to my apartment with this bit than with skywriting or voodoo. Combined.
“Just text that guy you like and tell him you’re having an emergency and need his help. That triggers the He-Man, giant-spider-killing, distressed-damsel-rescuing, testosterone-fueled cowboy that lurks somewhere in even the whimpiest guys. He instantly answers the old Bonnie Tyler “where have all the good men gone and where all the gods…where’s my streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds” call and thinks there’s a big dragon for him to slay, so he’ll ask you what sort of emergency and how he can save the day, and you tell him it’s a cupcake emergency. That’s the particular kind of emergency that involves too many cupcakes in your apartment at that particular moment in time, coinciding with your real and exasperated need for someone meeting his EXACT DESCRIPTION to come over IMMEDIATELY to crisis-manage the situation by eating at least half of those delicious, gourmet cupcakes, procured from any one of the dreamy cupcakeries here in Boystown.”
What you’ve done, quite deliberately, is stimulated several different areas of the male brain all at once, going all the way back to his childhood, where all little boys on some level want to play hero (and never grow out of that), and most have wonderful memories of cupcakes baking in kitchens, if not at home then at least at grandma’s house or school or somewhere (and the smell of treats baking is much, much, MUCH more powerful magic than any of those expensive perfumes, lotions, creams and other nonsense women slather themselves with, making them smell like flowers soaked in alcohol and chemicals instead of something that would actually trigger positive sensory memories in men). You also differentiate yourself from other people he’s dated, who call him to fix broken pipes, deal with emotional crises, take care of a sick dog, or whatever other typical emergencies guys are summoned to handle for girlfriends who speed dial them for these sorts of reasons.
A “cupcake emergency” is a welcome emergency, and it’s kooky enough to get that smile on his face as you coax him out of his place and over to yours, all suited up and ready for adventure with someone unlike anyone else he’s dated before.
But, the downside to having cupcakes lying around your house, or champagne sitting in your fridge (awaiting catastrophes of its own), is that you are tempted to have these sorts of emergencies more often than you should. The emergency champagne, for instance, is very easy to abuse, as it’s also very effective in dealing with almost any other sort of real or imagined crisis in your life. Bad day at work? Break out the “emergency champagne”! Hate the finalists on American Idol this season? Thank Hera for “emergency champagne”! Drank too much last night and feel like Hades this morning? “Emergency champagne” for breakfast, to the rescue!
So, in concept, emergency cupcakes and emergency champagne are good things, meant to serve noble purposes (or, at the very least, be on hand should you ever have a chance to get Chris Pine out of his Star Fleet uniform and over to your place, in that or any other order, because Chris Pine and his baby blues are the new Jake Gyllenhaal rocking my world). But, if you are always looking for emergencies to drink champagne and eat cupcakes, then you’ll ultimately end up the love child Liza Minnelli and Oprah mercifully never had.
You will find emergencies everywhere, because you predispose yourself to look for them around every corner.
The same is true for the anti-racist verve at the school whose principal was so fond of that “Racist-Off” painting, because it really set the tone that racism was absolutely everywhere, likc cockroaches, throughout the whole day. Every student, every teacher, every visitor passing through that principal’s office had to remain forever vigilent and on the lookout for RAAAAAAACISM!
And that “Racist-Off” painting wasn’t the only piece of art encouraing this: the rest of this almost 100% Hispanic school was decorated exclusively with Mexican and Central/South American art, with only photos of famous Hispanic people up on the walls and only prints of artwork by Hispanic artists. The one exception to this was a mural (FABULOUSLY done) of famous Native Americans like Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Pocahontas, and Sacajawea…with a picture of Ghandhi nearby, which still puzzles us (because it could be a weird play on the word “Indian”, or it could just be an inadvertant coincidence because Ghandhi was being recognized for his pacifism and nonviolence completely separate from the Native American place of honor).
When I saw the Ghandhi/Crazy Horse proximity, I immediately realized this is one of those opportunities crazy people use to start PC-trouble (I call these particular trolls bogomilskys, after the most vile PC-policeman in Seattle, the man who waged war on Christmas back in 2005). People who wake up each day determined to find something to complain about will indeed succeed. Someone conditioned to look for RAAAAACISM! around every corner will spend their whole lives convincingly impersonating Al Sharpton, James Clyburne, Eric Holder, and Jesse Jackson. I’m truly surprised one of these bogomilskys hasn’t complained to the principal that, “I find it offensive you have a portrait of Indian peace activist Ghandhi, my personal hero who I know nothing about, really, except that he is not only my idol, but Bono’s as well, too close to a mural depicting Native Americans because I find “Indian” to be a pejorative used to subjugate and malign Native Americans and First Nation members, and so I am scarred and deeply troubled because seeing an actual Indian, from India, too near the Native American mural makes me think everyone in this building needs sensitivity training.”
Though we can imagine bogomilskys going on for days and days in that vein, the reason something like that wouldn’t happen at a 100% (or close to it) Hispanic school is because Hispanics, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, and other minority groups can never, in this realm of PC-logic, be racist. Only white people can be racist, so anything hanging up in a Hispanic or black school has to, by nature, be 100% politically correct because white people didn’t put it there (so there is no problem with it).
The portraits of Che Gueverra hanging on the walls are a very interesting choice (where “interesting” can be a synonym for anything you like). I also remind you those same portraits hung in Dr. Utopia’s campaign offices in California, Texas, Nevada, and other largely Hispanic areas. Not being Hispanic, I don’t know why, culturally, Gueverra is hung on the walls but Delores Huerta isn’t featured up there (who would not only be a positive role model, but would also be a WOMAN featured prominently in a school where I saw about 30 rooms, none of which had a single woman honored with a painting, portrait, or bulletin-board feature). These are all questions for another time, that people with much, much more experience in this than I do could maybe shed some light on.
And it was fascinating to get a glimpse into how history was being taught in this school. Speaking purely anecdotally, with no information about what’s in the lesson plans or history books in these classrooms, and just talking about what I personally saw on the bulletin boards and other classroom displays, it seems Victimhood is what these children are exposed to constantly every day. One of the classrooms had a big display on the evils of colonialism and all the damage that did to Afro-Caribbean peoples. That same room had another map asking who were REALLY the first people in North America, and who REALLY discovered “the New World” (interestingly, no mention was made of Vikings and their suspected settlements in present day New York or New England, but there was a big mention of the theory that Chinese voyagers reached North America before Columbus — who, incidentally, was only mentioned in passing with a line like “Columbus didn’t really discover America, so who really did?”).
It’s just fascinating to walk around in alternate reality like these classrooms and see what I learned in school, and what I have continued to learn as an inquisitive adult, twisted and reshaped to fit into the desired victimhood molds prescribed by whomever is in charge of the public school curriculum. It’s definitely people like William Ayers behind this sort of thing: rich, white liberals who took over the education system with an “America’s bad!” mindset some time ago. Not being a teacher, and not having a background in childhood education, I have no idea how any of this impacts people’s lives as they get older. But, I don’t see how mulitculturalism, if it’s indeed as great as liberals always say, doesn’t apply at a 100% Hispanic or 100% black school. Where is the multiculturalism in the art and curriculum of segregation and victimhood?
I have a good friend named Joaquin who is Mexican-American and grew up outside Dallas, Texas. He only spoke Spanish at home, because his mother never felt the need to learn English, as her mother never learned a single word of it. Joaquin’s father is American-born and is some kind of businessman, but Joaquin’s mother has never worked, and doesn’t often leave the house. When she does, she goes to other Spanish-speakers’ homes, or to Spanish-mass at church, or to the Spanish-speaking Mexican grocery store. So, she lives in this Little Mexico world she’s created for herself.
That’s actually VERY similar to Polish immigrant families I know, who pretend they are in Little Warsaw when at home: only going to Polish internet sites, only watching old VHS tapes of Polish shows on TV, paying hundreds of dollars to get Polish movies flown in on DVD so they never watch American movies, eating only Polish food and never going out to restaurants or trying anything new (“Why would we go to restaurants when there is food here? Polish food is best!).
What’s interesting is that the children of people like these Polish families wouldn’t find themselves in a public school that pretended it was Little Poland. Those kids would become part of the larger American culture, and would not be segregated all day in classrooms with giant photos of Pope John Paul II and Lech Walesa exclusively. They would be exposed to everything, in mainstreamed schools. Will they do better in school and in life as a result? I’m not an education expert, so you tell me.
But, Joaquin has a lot of trouble socially because he missed out on American culture for all those years he lived at home and went to a Spanish-dominated school. Because he didn’t watch anything but Spanish TV and didn’t have exposure to things his mainstreamed age peers had, Joaquin doesn’t get pop culture, literary, or historical references in common usage. He’s forever saying, “What’s that? I’ve never heard of that.” He sits there, clueless, while other people are laughing and sharing jokes, because he didn’t get the broad education that mainstreamed kids get.
What’s truly tragic about all of this is that people back in Mexico treat Joaquin the same way. He’s not Mexican, because he also doesn’t get Mexican cultural ques either. He’s a smart and very nice guy, but he’s clueless a lot of the time because his parents kept him in a limbo between two worlds, so now at 30 he’s not either, really.
It really feels like the 100% Hispanic and 100% black schools in Chicago are creating generations of people who, like Joaquin, seem like they are also destined to not fit in with age peers who were mainstreamed. If I was a bogomilsky, I would see hidden racism in that: by separating these kids and constantly reinforcing what makes them different, educators are ensuring these kids grow up to be adults who never get any of the jokes, who have a hard time joining their age peers in friendships at work, have difficulty using those friendships to network and get ahead, and are doomed to be socially awkward and separate for their whole lives. I’ve personally set up more opportunities for Joaquin to network than I can count, and he rarely shows up for any of them, but if he does he just stands there alone or sometimes gravitates towards other Spanish-speakers in the room, where they all speak in Spanish together, and miss the point of networking to make new professional contacts. “I don’t have anything to say to the other people because I don’t know what they are talking about,” is what Joaquin usually says when I tell him he missed the chance to meet the president of this or that group or business, because he was talking to other people he already knew from back in Texas.
Joaquin hates his job working in a medical office that deals exclusively with Hispanic patients in a Hispanic part of town, but doesn’t take any steps towards a different career because he’s uncomfortable anywhere that’s not segregated along the racial and cultural lines that have always been emphasized for him his whole life.
I just imagine this happening to so many more Joaquins in the future, even if the school they are in now is beautiful and the teachers are as wonderful as the ones at the schools I toured this week. I just don’t see any good that comes from constantly emphasizing separateness and not giving these kids the chance to share the same experiences and knowledge as their mainstream peers. If the majority of students learn history one way in school, but black and Hispanic kids are taught a history for victimhood every day, doesn’t anyone else see there’s going to be conflict guaranteed in the future since not only will blacks and Hispanics butt heads with white peers over this learned victimhood, but they will also resent each other too — as blacks taught they were the main victims will have to compete for that martyrdom with the Hispanic kids who were taught THEY were the real victims, and kids who went through 13 years or more of this race-based victimhood indoctrination will not only be unable to relate to the mainstreamed kids at large, but will also resent the other racially segregated subgroups out there.
This is why I was also against the proposed LGBTQ High School here in Chicago as well. On the surface, it sounds like a great idea, because having a school where LGBTQ youth could feel at home, be accepted, and learn about LGBTQ culture SOUNDS fantastic. I wish I had that growing up in Catholic School, being taught in religion class first that being gay was a sin and gay people were bad, to later in the late 80s seeing the switch to “being gay is not a sin, but doing anything gay sexually is a sin”, to whatever it is they are teaching now (long after I stopped listening to this nonsense). A separate LGBTQ school is not the answer anymore than separate black and Hispanic schools are the answer; instead, ALL schools should depict LGBTQ culture positively and not single kids out as different and teach them that throughout their lives they have to hang out exclusively with other different kids, just like them, and never be part of the mainstream culture.
As fabulous as HillBuzz High would be, it would be as counterproductive as the way Joaquin was raised, creating a smart guy who is forever self-limited by the separateness he grew up with.
So, this is what I thought about when I left the principal’s office at the end of the day, turning in my visitor’s pass, and passing under that “Racism-off” painting again before leaving that public school and heading home. I also thought about the emergency cupcakes and the dating advice for Jessie and realize what an outsider’s perspective a gay man always has in this country. I can observe and research various things and issues in the school system, but at the end of the day, my opinion will always be discounted because it’s assumed I will never have kids, so I won’t be a parent, and thus I won’t ever have to weigh in on any of this “for real”. That outsider status is even more obvious in the relationship advice for Jessie and other straight female friends, because not only will I never really understand their situations, but they never listen to me anyway (and, despite being told repeatedly to stop obsessing over and talking about shoes to straight men, they just keep on making that same mistake instead of whipping out the emergency cupcakes).
I can see the outsider stuff is what’s driving the art and curriculum in these public schools, but the way it’s handled would be like me spending all my time never leaving Boystown, watching only LOGO or HERE! on TV, listening to nonstop Madonna, eating only at Stella’s or Nookie’s gay-friendly diners, and hanging out only at Sidetrack while reading Advocate and Genre exclusively. There’s a whole wide world out there apart from Sidetrack’s Showtunes night. If I went to HillBuzz High would I know that? If ALL I saw all day was LGBTQ and the lens I learned history through was also 100% LGBTQ, what kind of person would I be and what sort of a life would I lead?
I really don’t have an answer for that, and it kind of makes my head hurt a little, to be honest.
Time for the emergency champagne, I guess. That always makes everything better.
Believe it or not, the most bizarre thing to happen in Chicago for a while has nothing even remotely to do with Governor Rod Blagojevich or his three ring circus of an impeachment trial – it was Mayor Daley’s appointment of Ron Huberman to head up Chicago Public Schools.
For those of you not from Chicago, Huberman’s the new Obama around here (Obama Part Deux, as we call him) — a man beloved by the Chicago political machine, and Mayor Daley personally, who has been pushed up through the ranks at breakneck speed, regardless of his actual accomplishments or abilities, mainly because of his look, style, and telegenic image.
He is Mayor Daley’s chosen successor when our imperial mayor decides to step down from office, after the 2016 Olympics (which will be Daley’s personal triumphe and swansong). It’s been clear for some time that Daley wants Huberman to be our next Mayor, running in 2018 after Daley retires as the longest-serving Mayor Chicago’s ever seen.
Thus, Huberman is Daley’s personal pet project, regardless of his ability to actually deliver on any of his promises. He’s openly gay (and very often seen at Sidetrack here in Boystown), biracial, a former beat cop, and until yesterday, the head of Chicago’s failing transit system, the CTA.
Not that he did anything to improve the CTA in the last two years, and leaves it deeper in debt and further up the creek without paddles than he found it.
Two years ago, without having any experience with major transportation systems, Da Mayor appointed Huberman head of an agency crippled with disintegrating infrastructure, lazy employees, massive budget shortfalls, and probably the greatest source of graft and corruption in a 50-mile radius of Chicagoland.
Part of that graft is the $900 million+ mythical “transportation hub” Daley’s buried underneathe Block 37’s new eyesore development in the heart of the Loop: it’s basically a pharaoh’s tomb of wasted riches, an enormous unusable train station hundreds of feet below street level, without access to trains, sealed off indefinitely until billions in federal funding can be pumped into Chicago to dig monstrous tunnels below the watertable that reach out to both O’Hare and Midway (soon to be Barack H. Obama International Airport). This is Daley’s unrealistic dream of building privately-contracted Japanese-style bullet trains to race nonstop from both airports to this “transportation hub” in the center of the city, bringing people from both airports to the Loop in 12 minutes (instead of 45-75 minutes or so, depending on delays) for about $15 a ride. November 4th was a very good day for Daley, as an Obama Administration means stimulus funds will most likely be sunk into this, as it greatly helps Chicago’s Olympics bid.
Installing loyalist Huberman at CTA was a move by Daley to keep the real costs of the Block 37 transportation hub underwraps, while doing whatever else Daley wanted, no questions asked. Huberman was promoted to high positions not because he is the most qualified, but like Obama before him, because his biography is “inspirational”: Huberman went to the University of Chicago part-time at night while working as a Chicago cop to get his MBA. He is a bright and attractive biracial gay man, who by nature of his appointment to any agency, brings diversity on many levels to a classicly image-conscience city. Mayor Daley is a showman, and knows full well that his own gruff persona needs a slick, attractive, puppet like Huberman carrying out his orders.
But putting a man with no education background, who was never even a substitute teacher or reading tutor, let alone expert in school management or professional education, in charge of one of the largest failing school systems in the country is madness, even for Daley.
There are worse choices to head Chicago’s public schools. Barbara Bird Bennett, the administrative disgrace who drove Cleveland’s public schools into the ground for seven years, comes immediately to mind. Huberman is definitely not on that scale of willful ineptitude and gleeful corruption, but he’s completely out of his element handling the hydra of titanic problems facing Chicago’s schools.
And Huberman’s replacing Arne Duncan, who Obama elevated to Secretary of Education, despite his poor performance here with Chicago’s schools. So, in essence, like with a lot of things, Chicago’s problems are now the nation’s, as things on the ground here in the Windy City get worse than they were before.
Unlike the CTA, though, which the media here largely ignores and everyone accepts as unmanageable and hopeless, people are emotionally invested in public schools because of the children they serve. Who have parents…who are upset today someone uncertified to even teach in a school and unqualified to be a principal of one is now in charge of ALL of them.
Daley was very smart to make this appointment this week, with all eyes on Blagojevich, thus limiting the news coverage of the appointment. While Huberman’s tossing back Pilsners at Sidetrack celebrating his new job, we wonder just how bad the school system will get under a charismatic, attractive, machine-backed man who wants to bring his own special blend of hope and change to a failing system (just like the hope and change he didn’t bring to the CTA, though he promised everyone lemonade and pixie dust).