Wednesday, October 31, 2012

12 O'Clock Track: Bomba Estereo, "El Alma y el Cuerpo"

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 12:00 PM

Bomba Estereo
  • Rafael Piñeros/Mulato Films
  • Bomba Estereo
Since releasing their striking debut album, Blow Up, in 2009, Bogota band Bomba Estereo have been frequent visitors to Chicago, playing their jacked-up, slightly reggaefied and electro-charged cumbia to any local venue willing to have them—Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements, Rumba, the Empty Bottle, Green Dolphin Street. On Tuesday they're finally dropping the follow-up, Elegancia Tropical (Pelon). I've only been able to listen to it a couple of times yet, but Bomba Estereo definitely downplay their Colombian roots on most of the tracks, moving toward a more cosmopolitan and rootless dance pop. It sounds good so far, but at the same time I'm disappointed that they've abandoned much of what made them so distinctive and appealing in the first place. Below you can check out the video for the album's first single, "El Alma y el Cuerpo."

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Undercover reporting—not as dead as you've heard

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 11:30 AM

Brooke Kroeger
  • Brooke Kroeger
Brooke Kroeger’s new book brings good news. She puts in a good word for a discredited and abandoned form of investigative reporting closely identified with Chicago, and goes on to say that it’s actually not that discredited or abandoned.

Undercover Reporting: The Truth About Deception is a clear-eyed look at sneakiness. Kroeger is a professor of journalism at New York University and her previous books include a biography of Nellie Bly, a legendary fin-de-siecle reporter remembered for her brief stretch as a “stunt girl” (as Kroeger bluntly puts it) for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World: “What tops a ten-day incarceration as an inmate of the women’s lunatic asylum on Blackwell’s (now Roosevelt) Island, her very first New York World assignment?”

Kroeger put in three years as a reporter in UPI’s Chicago bureau in the mid-1970s, a tumultuous era in the rich history of undercover journalism. The Tribune in particular was then “in the vanguard of newspapers that made prominent, unapologetic use of the techniques of undercover reporting for investigations,” Kroeger writes. To probe the operations of private ambulance services, a Tribune reporter took an undercover job as a driver. That series won a Pulitzer. Another reporter got a job as a janitor at a private hospital and what he found out about unsanitary practices and Medicaid fraud helped shut the hospital down.

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Did you read about Hurricane Sandy relief, Ted Bundy, and a socialist board game called Monopoly?

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 11:11 AM

Beware these powerful socialist tools!
  • Bengt Oberger
  • Beware these powerful socialist tools!
Each day Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

• A credible source on how to help with Hurricane Sandy relief? Tony Adler

• About the state's token response to WBEZ's lawsuit for media access in Illinois prisons? Steve Bogira

That story in Salon about how progressives should vote for Obama because Romney isn't, um, progressive? (Yeah, kind of a no-brainer—but there's this part about the overuse of "awesome" and "amazing" that's a total repeat of what J.R. Moehringer bitched about in his September interview with Terry Gross, which aired again last night.) Mara Shalhoup

• That reviled Russian election chief Vladimir Churov has criticized U.S. elections as undemocratic? Ben Sachs

• That Monopoly is a socialist board game? Jerome Ludwig

• This spooky Halloween story Wikipedia entry about the introduction of the ghost word "dord" into Webster's dictionary in 1934? Asher Klein

• Another spooky Wikipedia entry: this unusually well-written biography of serial killer Ted Bundy? Tal Rosenberg

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Strange political bedfellows: Mayor Rahm and I, rooting for Obama

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 10:00 AM

Lets give Rahm a break for a bit.
  • Keith Hale/Sun-Times
  • Let's give Rahm a break for a bit.
In appreciation of Mayor Emanuel for going to Florida and Ohio to hustle votes for President Obama, I'm going to ease up on him—for the moment anyway.

Not going to give him grief for raising my water and sewer taxes or forcing that teachers' strike or doling out dough to the charters, or closing the mental health clinics.

Well, that last one's really asking a lot . . .

The point is—I take this presidential election very seriously.

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Premiere: Super Minotaur's "Werewolf"

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 09:00 AM

The Hawaii Pee cover
  • The Hawaii Pee cover
Chicago-based garage trio Super Minotaur is prepping the Hawaii Pee EP (get it?), a follow-up to the band's debut full-length, Dead Dino. Local label Cold Slice Cassettes will release Hawaii Pee on vinyl early next year.

Fortunately you don't have to wait till 2013 to hear new material from Super Minotaur; the Reader has an exclusive premiere of "Werewolf," just in time for Halloween.

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Gig poster of the week

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 07:30 AM

ARTIST: Meaghan Garvey
SHOW: Ernie Bank$$$, Moneyworth, and PHNM at Beauty Bar on 10/25

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And in this corner, the Rainbow Coalition!

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 06:53 AM

The Reverend Jesse Jackson was ahead of his time.

Back in 1984, when he first* ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, I was in college at the University of Iowa, and damn, was I psyched to take part in my first caucus. Double damn was I psyched at the prospect of a black U.S. president. He never had a chance in hell.

We were going on four years of Reagan at that point, and though you'd never know it based on the Gipper's current lionization, he was not popular. His approval rating in 1983 was at 35 percent, lower even than George W. Bush in his second term (37 percent). And it's no wonder. We were in a recession—well, supposedly just out of a recession, but really in one of those postrecessions that really, really still seems like a recession. (Sound familiar?) People were suffering, losing their jobs, their houses, their farms, their savings. (Sound familiar?) Meanwhile Reagan continued to call for tax cuts on the rich on the theory that this would stimulate job growth and the economy. (Sound familiar?) He also called for the U.S. to be king of the world and, I guess just to put some skin in the game, invaded the tiniest country in the Western Hemisphere.

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The Reader's Agenda: Wed 10/31

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 06:14 AM

Die Antwoord
Looking for something to do today? Agenda's got you covered:

Those who still possess their Halloween spirit ought to head to Granville Anvil in Edgewater for Dance of the Dead, which will feature karaoke, a costume contest, a two-hour open bar, and a spooky drag performance by Priscilla Darling.

For a more family-friendly Halloween event, the Garfield Park Conservatory hosts Creatures of the Night, where attendees can learn about nocturnal animals while enjoying "boo-grass music" and a costume party.

Internet meme turned international pop superstars Die Antwoord stop by Congress Theater for what's sure to be an eventful evening of phallic symbols and weird haircuts. Azari & III, Seth Troxler, Paul Kalkbrenner, Tiga, Gesaffelstein, and Nic Fanciulli are also on the bill.

For more on these events and others, check out the Reader's daily Agenda page.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A statement by Rahm means high noon for Prentice

Posted By on 10.30.12 at 06:00 PM

Bertrand Goldberg/Prentice Hospital
  • Courtesy of Geoffrey Goldberg
  • Bertrand Goldberg and Prentice Hospital
It looks like we can kiss Bertrand Goldberg's distinctive Prentice Women's Hospital building good-bye.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel came out today in favor of Northwestern University's plan to tear the iconic structure down in order to build a new medical research facility on the Prentice site.

Two weeks ago, 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly announced that he'd reached the same conclusion.

And this afternoon, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks belatedly posted an agenda on the city website indicating that Prentice will be railroaded—er—considered for landmark designation at its meeting this Thursday. According to the agenda, an unusual, abbreviated process will be employed to take commission members (all mayoral appointees) from preliminary consideration to resolution in a single sitting.

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Video Drone: The director of American History X takes on the chaos in our schools

Posted By on 10.30.12 at 04:00 PM

Detachment is one of those obscure video releases that pique one's curiosity. Here's a movie by Tony Kaye—who directed American History X (1998) and the landmark abortion documentary Lake of Fire (2006)—with a cast that includes Adrien Brody, Marcia Gay Harden, Christina Hendricks, Bryan Cranston, William Petersen, Tim Blake Nelson, Lucy Liu, Blythe Danner, and James Caan. But according to Box Office Mojo, Detachment played on no more than 15 screens when it was released this spring, and it never arrived in Chicago at all. With a roster of talent like that, what went wrong?

Well, plenty. To Kaye's credit, he tackles a vast and seemingly irresolvable problem: the crisis in America's schools, which has begun to generate both dramas (Won't Back Down) and documentaries (The Cartel, Waiting for "Superman"). But his treatment of the subject verges on hysteria. "Hey, jackass! I axed you a fuckin' question!" shouts one student in a do-rag before marching up to the front of class, getting in the teacher's face, and hurling his leather satchel against the wall. In the front office, a mother bursts in with her daughter, spots the girl's teacher (Hendricks), and gets in her face. "You the bitch that expelled my baby?" she screams as her daughter crosses her arms smugly. "And for what! Because you can't handle her! Bitch, why are you here? You wanna be home with her every day? I don't have time for this bullshit! Racist bitch! Ah'mo sue yo' ass!" A flashback to the offending incident shows the daughter getting in the teacher's face: "Bitch, you give me any more shit in class and I'm gonna have my niggas fuckin' gang-rape yo' ass!"

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