Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The mayoral election follies begin with a few challenges

Posted By today at 04.00 PM

Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson (wait, who?)
  • M. Spencer Green/AP Photos
  • Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson (wait, who?)
If you're a nihilist—and it's hard not to be one around here—these are your glory days as mayoral candidates attempt to throw each other off the ballot for violating this or that absurdly onerous and arbitrarily enforced election ballot access laws.

So in the name of defending democracy, we dilute it.

Just so you know—nihilism's basically a philosophical belief that says life is meaningless, so fuck it. That's how Mayor Rahm might've put it, had he'd studied philosophy in college rather than ballet.

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Rob Mazurek performs two markedly different sets tomorrow night at Chopin Theatre

Posted By today at 03.00 PM

Alternate Moon Cycles on vinyl
  • Courtesy of International Anthem's Bandcamp
  • Alternate Moon Cycles on vinyl

Earlier this month, local progressive label International Anthem released its very first LP online and on vinyl: Alternate Moon Cycles by composer and cornetist Rob Mazurek. (The Reader's Peter Margasak wrote about the new label and album in October.) Comprising two slow, gentle instrumental tracks, the avant-garde record lets a bass and a pump organ orbit a single note on cornet, creating a hypnotizing atmosphere meant to correspond to the waxing of the moon. Mazurek and his label celebrate the release of Alternate Moon Cycles tomorrow with a show at the Chopin Theatre in Wicker Park, where he'll play two sets.

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Nick Jr.'s Cancel Christmas is here for everyone who hates Christmas music

Posted By today at 02.00 PM

  • Yep
Right about now is when the amount of yuletide spirit filling the airwaves can make just about every day feel like Christmas, which must be a delight to at least a substantial part of the population. But it can also be more than enough to make you want to rage against the manger scene, and with every posi Christmas song it's fun to take refuge in the odd, nasty, and rebellious music made by folks who put this holiday in their crosshairs. Thank goodness for local rapper Nick Jr., who is readying a full-length called Cancel Christmas; from the sound of the two songs he's released thus far, "Scrooge" and "Grinch Freestyle," I imagine it'll be much more of a playful affair than a lump of coal.

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Revival Social Club is reviving monkey bread in Edgewater

Posted By today at 01.31 PM

The way foods go in and out of fashion is a mysterious process, but I still can't fathom why monkey bread virtually disappeared after its glorious heyday in the 70s and 80s, when even Nancy Reagan (allegedly) had her own recipe. Unlike its contemporary, fondue, it doesn't require special equipment or a lot of cleaning. Or even much effort, really: you take a few cans of biscuit dough, pop them open, chop the innards into bite-sized pieces, roll them in butter and cinnamon sugar, drop them into a bundt pan, cover with more butter and cinnamon sugar, bake for a while, and voila! Happiness! I suppose if you're a restaurant chef, you'd probably want to forego the canned biscuit dough and make your own, but still.

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Best Films of 2014, number eight: The Kill Team

Posted By today at 12.30 PM

The Kill Team
  • The Kill Team

Our big year-in-review issue hits the street on Thursday, December 25. I know you can't wait, and neither can I, so every weekday until then I'll be writing about one of my favorite films to premiere in Chicago in 2014. Number eight on my list is Dan Krauss's The Kill Team.

The deification of the American soldier says more about the secret guilt of those who send them off to war and forget about them than about the soldiers' sacrifice—and the ugliest secret of all may be that what soldiers often sacrifice is their own humanity. The Kill Team, which screened at Gene Siskel Film Center back in May as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, tells the gripping story of the Maywand District murders, in which soldiers from a U.S. Army platoon stationed in Afghanistan murdered three civilians and passed them off as legitimate combat engagements. The ringleader, Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, hoped to collect severed fingers from the victims so he could make himself a bone necklace, but some of the other culprits were simply bored with their assignment and resentful of the locals. "Nobody's innocent, because these guys know the Taliban, they're working with them, and they're not working for us," explains Specialist Jeremy Morlock, now serving 24 years. "We're here to help them, and they don't give us any help. We're just getting blown up every time we go out there just to talk with 'em or build 'em a well. So fuck 'em."

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Golden-age master Kool G Rap performs at the Shrine on Friday

Posted By today at 12.00 PM

  • Courtesy the artist

On Facebook, underground hip-hop hero Kool G Rap calls himself "Your Favorite Rapper's Favorite Rapper," and that's no hyperbole. Now 46 years old, he came up in Queens in the mid-80s (an era when it wasn't yet entirely gratuitous for a rapper to have a stage name with "rap" in it) as part of Marley Marl's Juice Crew, alongside the likes of Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, Biz Markie, and his longtime musical partner DJ Polo. Before long he'd prove to be a formative influence on the Notorious B.I.G., Nas, and Jay Z, among others.

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Did you read about Cuba, The Interview, and latke technology?

Posted By today at 11.43 AM

Will this movie even make it to American theaters?
  • Will this movie even make it to American theaters?

Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

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Marina City meets American Gothic in the gig poster of the week

Posted By today at 10.30 AM

ARTIST: Nate Duval
SHOW: Wilco and the Jim Becker Group at the Riviera Theatre on Mon 12/8

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

While the city sleeps on Thanksgiving Day, lonely souls rule the neighborhood streets

Posted By on 12.16.14 at 02:30 PM

Bernie Taupin and Elton John in 1971
  • Bernie Taupin and Elton John in 1971
Every year on Thanksgiving and Christmas, the city of Chicago celebrates what I like to call antiholidays—with most businesses closed and few cars on the streets, the town seems to be shunning its own people, demanding that we let it have some peace and quiet for once. The antifestivities usually start around midevening the night before the holiday and continue for about 36 hours. Stand on almost any aboveground el platform during that time and you can see the city sleeping for miles in any direction. Some people find this eerie (I've often heard the spectacle compared to a postapocalyptic landscape), others find it calming. I belong to the latter group.

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The last hour of The Newsroom is beyond criticism

Posted By on 12.16.14 at 01:30 PM

Sam Waterston and Jeff Daniels
  • Melissa Moseley
  • Sam Waterston and Jeff Daniels
My wife and I are faithful viewers of The Affair, the Showtime miniseries that wraps up this Sunday, but there hasn't been a moment of it that we'd call romantic. "It's too full of anxiety and guilt," says Betsy. Not to mention that somebody dies, and the tangled yarn is ultimately some kind of whodunnit.

Last Sunday's finale of HBO's The Newsroom, on the other hand, was the most romantic hour of television I've ever seen.

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Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
November 11
Galleries & Museums
Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle Museum of Science and Industry
May 23

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