We start off this week’s edition of Your Chicago Curated Weekend with a concert that’s not happening. Ke$ha was scheduled to play at Loyola University on Friday. But yesterday, she canceled the show, citing “personal reasons.” And by “personal reasons,” it’s pretty much a given that she’s referring to the legal turmoil she has undergone the past week in her battle to free herself from her recording contract with Dr. Luke, her longtime producer and alleged abuser.
Pitchfork ran an excellent, thorough recap of the whole ordeal, which I’ll summarize here:
- Ke$ha couldn’t prove that staying in her recording contract would cost her her career, only able to make the contention that Sony would leave her on the shelf even if she recorded with a different producer. Therefore, Judge Shirly Kornreich denied her injunction motion.
- The Twitterverse flipped a shit, with many fans and celebrities rallying around Ke$ha and many think pieces written about the inherent misogyny of both the criminal justice system and the music industry.
- There are still many things left to be determined here–Ke$ha has sued Dr. Luke for abuse, while he has countersued her for defamation–and Ke$ha may yet win herself a fresh start, particularly if Sony decides an out-of-court settlement is favorable for all parties involved. It would certainly be quicker and cleaner.
The Internet has beaten this case to death by now, and it’s really late, so I’ll keep my thoughts brief.
Rape allegations are really, really tricky to report on and to prosecute. For the most part, unless there’s physical or eyewitness evidence of the crime having taken place, they turn into protracted he-said she-said fights that bring out the worst in everyone. For every person dismissing Ke$ha as a lying slut who wants out of her contract for no good reason, there’s a person declaring that Dr. Luke should be castrated without a trial. Name-calling abounds, and no one comes any closer to a solution–in fact, the two sides are driven further apart.
It’s true that most alleged rape victims are telling the truth–and allowing them the opportunity to speak without being immediately dismissed is key to creating an environment where they’ll come forward. Only 32% of rapes are even reported to the police, and only 2% result in a conviction; those numbers are, frankly, unacceptable. Yet if the victim is categorically believed in every case and that testimony is taken as hard evidence, there will be a few innocent people sent to jail, as has been made clear in recent high-profile false accusation anecdotes (UVA, Duke). Where do we draw the line?
I think the only real solution is two-fold.
First, and this requires tricky mental gymnastics: each party must be taken at his or her word until it’s proven that one is wrong. Is it possible that each side is telling the truth? Actually, yes, because consent is still so poorly defined in the public mind (despite the rather simple dictum that anything except for “yes” means “no”) that each side could genuinely believe his or her own story, especially if alcohol or drugs were involved. In the Ke$ha-Dr. Luke case, though, Dr. Luke asserts that he never had sex with Ke$ha. Still, in the statistically unlikely event that he’s being honest, his reputation is being destroyed for no good reason. Better to withhold judgment, create a safe space for both sides (am I being too unrealistic here, Internet commenters?) and let the legal system do its work.
But here’s the rub: the legal system, as I said before, is very much toothless when it comes to prosecuting rape cases. It could be made more effective, though, if victims felt comfortable reporting the violations soon enough after the fact to make the gathering of physical evidence possible. At that point, of course, police and prosecutors would have to be trained to take any claims of sexual assault more seriously and, at the very least, bring them to trial. Such steps would eliminate much of the uncertainty and stigma surrounding rape cases; the only remaining possibility for error would be the exceedingly rare instances in which mutually consensual sex was retroactively deemed unconsensual by one of the parties. Again, those instances are exceedingly rare.
So in the case of Ke$ha, what should we do? I’m of a mind to trust the statistics and believe her, though the lingering uncertainty will keep me from expressing unbridled vitriol toward Dr. Luke (I’ll merely express dislike). That said, I’ll root for her to get out of her contract, because the world needs more of her music.
With that out of the way, on to this weekend’s events:
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH
Howie Day @ City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., 8:00 PM
WHAT: Howie Day performs “Collide” and probably some other songs at City Winery.
SO WHAT: You’ve always wanted to see “Collide” played live, right? You secretly know all the words, and you secretly want to make out with your significant other to this song, which of course leaves Howie Day unfazed because that’s the sole purpose of this song’s existence. Actually, though, he did put out an EP in November, so you’ll probably hear some new songs before he goes back to “Collide.”
NOW WHAT: Tickets range from $22 to $30. Get ’em here.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH
#FreeKesha Rally @ Loyola, 5:45 PM
WHAT: Ke$ha may no longer be performing, but the rally is still happening.
SO WHAT: Did you literally not read everything up to this point?
NOW WHAT: Go. Just go.
Bluebird Arts Presents Zoyka’s Apartment @ Athenaeum Theatre, Studio Three, 2936 N. Southport Ave., 7:30 PM
WHAT: Mikhail Bulgakov’s Zoyka’s Apartment, a tragic farce in two acts directed by Artistic Director Luda Lopatina Solomon, revolves around Madame Zoyka, a smart, bold and pragmatic woman who turns her apartment into a dressmaker’s shop in order to survive during post-Revolution Soviet Union. As the country seethes with economic discontent and everyone is scrambling to escape to Paris, Zoyka is frantic to save as much as she can before the opportunity disappears.
SO WHAT: Bluebird Arts produces plays in both English and Russian, translating English language plays into Russian and vice versa, and will continue to collaborate with Russian arts organizations such as Theatre Volhonka in Ekatirenburg.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27TH
Music Frozen Dancing @ The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., 1:00 PM
WHAT: Music. Outdoors. In February.
SO WHAT: For the third year in a row, the Empty Bottle takes over a sliver of Cortez St for some afternoon jams. It’s not just a gimmick: it’s actually pretty damn fun. Atlanta garage-rockers Black Lips headline, but get there early for local troublemakers Meatwave. The Spits and Muuy Biien play too.
NOW WHAT: Do you like all ages, free events? Does your I.D. say you live in Chicago? Then prove it. Grab some chili and a Goose Island and join the pit.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH
Recovery Soup @ The Double, 3545 W. Fullerton Ave., 6:00 PM