The Chicago International Movies and Music Festival has lifted the veil of secrecy about its opening night film this Thursday, March 4: it's Yony Leyser's William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, which I wrote about in the Reader in August. The story behind the film is fascinating; do check it out.
Begun while Leyser was an undergrad at KU in Burroughs's adopted hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, this is the first posthumous feature-length doc about the writer of Junky and Naked Lunch.
Fresh from its January premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival, A Man Within boasts a who's-who of counterculture icons who've known and been influenced by Burroughs: Patti Smith, John Waters, Iggy Pop, Jello Biafra, Gus Van Sant, Iggy Pop, David Cronenberg, Amiri Baraka, Sonic Youth, and on and on.
The Chicago Artists Coalition is looking for three "emerging" curators, pronto, to mount shows of student work for a new pop-up gallery at the Merchandise Mart, and a half-dozen artists to receive six months of free Mart studio and exhibition space. The student shows will have six-week runs, the first coinciding with the Mart's Art Chicago. The six residencies are open only to artists who work on paper (pastel, charcoal, pen-and-ink, screen printing; no paint or photography). Applications for both programs due by Friday March 12, 5 PM. CAC membership is required. More information here.
On Sun 2/28 at 7 PM, the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western) presents a free screening of Pete Seeger: Power of Song—the only authorized film biography of the folk singer. Directed by Jim Brown, and produced by Norman Lear and Seeger's wife Toshi, the documentary features unreleased archival footage and examines Seeger's political activism and songs (not that the two were ever separable).
Tonight from 7 to 10 PM, Studio Within Salon/Spa hosts "Go Within to Give to Those Without" — a fashion show and benefit for the American Red Cross's Haiti relief efforts — at Architectural Artifacts (4325 N. Ravenswood). The event includes a cocktail hour with passed food and a silent auction, and a free Studio Within haircut. Tickets are available here.
Tomorrow from 1 to 3 PM, Big Shoulders Realty's Lee Diamond leads a free 17.5-mile bike tour of West Town, including Wicker Park, Bucktown, Ukrainian Village, East Village, River West, Noble Square, and Humboldt Park. The meeting place is the intersection of N. California and W. Division. This is the last Big Shoulders Big City Bike Winter Classic ride of the 2009-2010 season.
Alabama DJ Chris Thrash so loved Billy Bob Brockali and the animatronic Showbiz Pizza house band the Rock-afire Explosion of his 80s childhood that he sought out the Explosion's creator Aaron Fetcher and brought the band out of retirement for reprogramming and a second career in viral video.
Houston-based director Brett Whitcomb and writer Bradford Thomason chronicle the saga of Thrash and his singing animal robots' revival in their 2008 documentary The Rock-afire Explosion, screening Sunday 2/28 at The Nightingale.
Beta Boutique owner Janice Moskoff is shuttering her Wicker Park store to focus exclusively on sample-sale events. Why? That's where the money is.
"Events are what our shoppers are most excited about--we hear that constantly," she told me, noting the popularity of sales devoted to high-end lines like Hugo Boss and Escada, as well as the semiannual Stacked Racks free-for-all.
In all of my (brief) time as a cheese monger, it never once happened that a customer walked up to me and asked, “Could you recommend a cheese to pair with this beer?” And it breaks my heart.
Destined to be the best post I read today (h/t Kyle).
A few days ago the Illinois EPA released its latest Annual Landfill Capacity Report.
Now that you've recovered from the excitement of this news, I'll explain: that's a document detailing how much waste residents and businesses in the state are generating each year, how much of it's being recycled or composted, and how much is being trucked to landfills. And the latest edition, covering 2008, shows that the state continues to produce garbage at a rate that's dangerous to the environment and costly to the economy. Our way of doing business in Chicago is mostly to blame.
Show: North Face Writer-director Philipp Stölzl dramatizes the 1936 attempt of four climbers to scale the deadly north face of Mount Eiger in the Swiss Alps, and the result is terrifically suspenseful even if one already knows the outcome. See our in-depth North Face review for more.
4:30pm, 7pm, 9:30pm, Music Box, 3733 N. Southport Ave., 773-871-6604
Dinner: Mixteco Grill "Based on the name and the looks of the place, you might take Mixteco Grill for a nicer-than-normal diner, acceptable if unambitious. Don’t be fooled: this is a restaurant set on greatness. The menu is pan-Mexican, featuring Oaxacan moles, Pueblan salsas, Guerrerense meats, and other regional specialties," writes David Hammond. The cochinita pibil made our list of the best Chicago dishes of 2009.
1601 W. Montrose Ave., 773-868-1601