Friday, September 30, 2011

The Tevatron shuts down

Posted By on 09.30.11 at 06:07 PM

At an event marking the closing of the Tevatron, Fermilab's storied particle accelerator—and the subject of this week's Reader cover story—director Pier Oddone departed from prepared remarks to talk about a dream he had last night. It was time to shut down the Tevatron and the two detectors that study the collisions it creates, but a lab technician had barricaded the doors to one of the detectors. "Turn it off," Oddone told the employee in the dream. "Make me," the employee replied.

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Occupy LaSalle Street

Posted By on 09.30.11 at 03:01 PM

Passersby on LaSalle St. in front of the Occupy Chicago protests
  • Passersby on LaSalle St. in front of the Occupy Chicago protests

In lower Manhattan the Occupy Wall Street protests have been growing with tremendous speed, adding leftist luminaries, elected officials, and hundreds of others to its ranks.

Here, the Occupy Chicago protests have persevered with the same message and energy—but not the same numbers. On Wednesday seven protesters braved the rain for morning rally. Around 25 arrived today at noon, holding flags and signs, passing out flyers, and banging drums.

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Miserable but mood-elevating music from Welkin Dusk

Posted By on 09.30.11 at 01:11 PM

Blackened crust band Welkin Dusk
  • "Blackened crust" band Welkin Dusk
I sat down at my desk this morning with absolutely no desire to do anything but listen to Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's Live/1975-85 box set and catch up on all of Kid Mero's #KNOWLEDGEDARTS that I've somehow let pile up in my RSS feed, plus maybe eat some Morningstar buffalo wings. But then of course people started sending me e-mails asking me for stuff and I needed to write e-mails back to them, and then I needed to read a bunch of music blogs to make sure that there were no news stories flipping people out that I needed to investigate and maybe blog about myself, and before I knew it I was working.

So basically it started as one of those days where you're basically mad at the world because you don't get to just laze about doing whatever you want whenever you want and instead have to do your job like every other adult who's lucky enough to even have a job in this current economic climate—i.e., I was in total waahh-baby mode. But then I was looking through some concert listings and saw one for a "blackened crust" band called Welkin Dusk, and checking them out helped my mood a lot. Back in June they put out a seven-track album called Born Into a Dying World that you can download at a you-name-it price point from their Bandcamp page. It is heavy as fuck and mean and both very crusty and nicely blackened, mixing up some really great howling-Nordic-wraith vocals with the kind of sludgy heft you get from a good Amebix record. I highly recommend it for anyone who needs to get their asses kicked out of feeling like a total baby.

Welkin Dusk plays October 21 at Crown Liquors opening for Perversion, who sound pretty much exactly like what you want a blackened punk band from Detroit to sound like. iCal>New Event>click-clack-click>done.

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More action from the Adventures in Modern Music festival

Posted By on 09.30.11 at 12:51 PM

Oval (aka Markus Popp)
  • Oval (aka Markus Popp)
The annual Adventures in Modern Music festival, presented by British music magazine the Wire and the Empty Bottle, is in full swing through Sunday night. The Reader has a handy sidebar, and Jessica Hopper wrote about tonight's set by Peaking Lights, a dubby Madison duo who recently decamped to LA—but of course there's more. Headlining that Peaking Lights show at the Museum of Contemporary Art is Oval (aka the longtime solo project of German electronic musician Markus Popp). Oval was sort of involved in last year's event too, when AiMM joined forces with the Sonar Festival, but tonight's show promises different material than he presented last September at the Cultural Center. He'll be playing music from a split LP with Brooklyn's Liturgy that Thrill Jockey released earlier this year, as well as material from the forthcoming German release OvalDNA, a CD and CD-ROM collection of hard-to-find and previously unreleased tracks spanning 1993-2010 (mostly either immediately before or after the work on last year's O). Popp will also revisit pieces from O, but this time around he'll add beats.

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This week in Food & Drink: Key Ingredient sugarcane, Barn & Company, ten new restaurants

Posted By on 09.30.11 at 12:31 PM

In Key Ingredient, Dirk Flanigan of the Gage and Henri takes a handsaw to the fibrous five-foot-stalks of sugarcane he was challenged with and goes wild, using painstakingly extracted cane juice to marinate scallops, dried peelings to smoke them, cooking the cane sous vide and grating it over the top of the dish, and dehydrating fermented red patches of the stalks to make a cachaca-and-Malort shot followed by a chaser of lime coated in sugarcane powder. Next up, when the chef challenge returns after a two-week hiatus, is Kevin Hickey of the Four Seasons, working with foraged mountain ash berries.

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Pop-up dinner: "In Times of Phylloxera"

Posted By on 09.30.11 at 12:02 PM


On Sunday, October 2, Henri mixologist Clint Rogers—who’ll be featured in next week’s Cocktail Challenge—will team up with chef Troy Graves on a pop-up restaurant at Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar. The dinner is themed "In Times of Phylloxera" and will feature cuisine from France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, all countries affected by the root louse that wiped out vineyards in the late 19th century. Pairings will be spirits that would have been available “when wine was off the table,” as Rogers puts it—e.g., absinthe cocktails, beer, rum punch. It’s $85 ($70 for dinner with nonalcoholic pairings), which includes tax and tip; cash only. Seatings are at 6:30, 7, 8:30, and 9 PM; e-mail for reservations.

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Live video of the Tevatron shutting down

Posted By on 09.30.11 at 09:59 AM

As I reported in this week's issue, the Tevatron, the giant particle accelerator run by west-suburban Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, goes offline today. It's the end of an era for Fermilab, which now shifts its focus to other types of physics, including the study of tiny elementary particles called neutrinos.

On its website, Fermi is hosting a live video stream of the proceedings: a ceremony starting at 2 PM includes remarks from Fermi director Pier Oddone, after which representatives from the two detectors attached to the Tevatron initiate the shutdown process. The whole thing is expected to last about 30 minutes, with the stream going live at 1:45. Watch it here.

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Chicago sites unite

Posted By on 09.30.11 at 08:23 AM

This is so self-evidently a good idea that I wonder what I'm missing that's wrong with it.

Fifteen Chicago websites — some of them hyperlocal, others citywide — have united to form the Chicago Independent Ad Network. Collectively, they are offering advertisers a minimum of one million page views a month. Each month the ad network will sell five ads — 300 x 350 pixels — that will rotate throughout all 15 sites. In the beginning — the service was announced Wednesday and will launch November 1 — each ad will cost $2,400 and the revenues will be divided among the sites prorated by page views.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Final daze

Posted By on 09.29.11 at 05:35 PM


The last home games of the baseball season are always bittersweet, but this year there was a divide between the north and south sides. The White Sox' last home game Wednesday was more bitter, because of the Sox' higher hopes for this season (which nonetheless found the team finishing below .500) and the fresh departure of Ozzie Guillen for Miami. "You Can't Always Get What You Want," the organist played as the grounds crew readied the field after a morning of rain, but sometimes you don't even get what you need.

The game was the Sox' season in miniature, but for the absence of any new embarrassments for Adam Dunn and Alex Rios, both riding the bench after Dunn had achieved a new team record with his 177th strikeout of the season the night before. The Sox could have tied the Cleveland Indians for second place, even at a humble 80 wins against 82 losses, but the normally reliable Chris Sale blew the save in the ninth inning, walking in two runs to make the final 3-2.

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This week on the B Side

Posted By on 09.29.11 at 05:17 PM

Over the course of writing about the controversial pop chanteuse Lana Del Rey for this week's Reader I listened to her song "Video Games" so many times I couldn't even ballpark a figure, but suffice it to say that repeat spins of that one track constituted most of my music listening for several days. I learned it on guitar and practiced it enough times to come up with what I feel is a fairly decent solo acoustic version. For about a week afterward I had "Video Games" on constant rotation in my head whenever I wasn't around other music. Whatever it is I'm writing about I tend to listen to obsessively, but this is outside even the normal range of what I consider obsessive listening. The fever, as it were, has since broke, but I'm still not totally burnt out on it, which impresses me even more. Good song.

In the new issue Peter Margasak takes on a recording I haven't heard yet but which sounds a little less accessible than Lana Del Rey: a tribute to 19th-century Norwegian composer and violin virtuoso Ole Bull from violinist Nils Okland and keyboardist Sigbjorn Apeland. This week's Three Beats has a short profile on local jazz saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, plus info on this weekend's Backyard Film & Music Fest and Saturday's "Pig, Swig and Record Dig" at Schubas. Gossip Wolf offers a couple of ways to help Chamber Strings front man and person-in-need-of-open-heart-surgery Kevin Junior, as well as the dish on new recordings by Mike Kinsella, Mike Weis, and My Gold Mask. We've also got a writeup on the unexpectedly well-curated Cultivate Festival put together by "corporate burrito slingers" Chipotle. And in Soundboard, Reader writers preview upcoming performances by Grouper, Girls, Ty Segall, Peaking Lights, Arch Enemy, the Mekons, and more.

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