Daniel Biss to rock the vote onstage with Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot in Chicago | Bleader

Daniel Biss to rock the vote onstage with Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot in Chicago

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Proposed poster for Pussy Riot and Daniel Biss - ILLUSTRATION BY RYAN SMITH
  • Illustration by Ryan Smith
  • Proposed poster for Pussy Riot and Daniel Biss

One is a Russian feminist punk band/protest group whose members were once jailed in Moscow for subversive performances critical of Vladimir Putin. The other is an Illinois gubernatorial candidate who calls himself the middle-class candidate for governor.

Believe it or not, Pussy Riot and Daniel Biss will share a stage on Tuesday night during the first stop of the anti-Putin, anti-Trump group's first-ever "live music performance art tour" through North America that makes three stops in Chicago—including two consecutive nights at the Subterranean.

But sadly, no, Biss will not be performing live with the punk-rock troupe, which had a viral hit in 2016 with the Trump-baiting music video "Make America Great Again." Instead, Biss and activists from Reclaim Chicago are scheduled to appear on stage at 9:30 PM, just before Pussy Riot's set begins. The Russians will reportedly encourage concertgoers to vote in the March 20 primary, while Biss will speak briefly about the negative influence of billionaires and big corporations on politics and how he wants to "return power to everyday people," says Biss campaign spokesperson Tom Elliott. 

Is Biss a big Pussy Riot fan? Elliott would only say that "Daniel supports [Pussy Riot's] politics in that they're against money in politics."

It's also unclear if Pussy Riot is officially endorsing Biss for governor,  though the group did recently tweet out a list of things they're rallying for (see below), and the state senator is mentioned as an "anti-corporate candidate and activist."

"Umm, I'm not sure they have a formal endorsement process," says Elliott.

Last week, it looked as if the early part of Pussy Riot's tour—set to run from early March through mid-May—might be endangered. The group tweeted that two of its 11 members (Olya Borisova and Sasha Sofeev) "disappeared in Crimea" and claimed Russia's FSB (Federal Security Service) "detained them several times" and "broke their phones and computers." But later that day, they announced Sasha and Olya "were detained several times but safe now."
There are reasons to be fearful for Pussy Riot's safety. In 2012, three members were arrested and jailed on charges of "hooliganism" and "inciting religious hatred" after staging a "punk rock prayer" inside Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral following the patriarch's endorsement of Putin. Putin insisted he had no part in the arrest and jailing but welcomed it, blaming the Pussy Riot women for "undermining the basic norms of morality."

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