After a 15-month hiatus the Empty Bottle Book Club returns with drinks, eats from Bite Cafe, and a discussion of Viv Albertine's memoir, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.
The Chicago Authors Association celebrates the winners of its fourth annual Book of the Year Awards. This year's honorees include The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai, Carpe Diem, Illinois (A Leo Townsend novel) by Kristin A. Oakley, Meaty by Samantha Irby, and Famous Ski Hills in Wisconsin by Scott Jacobs. Winning authors will be on hand to read from their work and sign copies of their books.
The local brewery is officially six years old and plans to celebrate with a bunch of metal-themed parties at bars across the city and a lot of Metropolitan beer. Tonight's festivities take place at Small Bar Logan Square; future stops include the Owl and Paddy Long's. In keeping with the theme, six select brews will be on hand at each shindig, including the Bat Out of Helles and Shezmu Red Lager.http://metrobrewing.com/666/
Bill Frisell named his most recent album Guitar in the Space Age! (OKeh), suggesting a 1950s suburban take on science fiction—but the music is more about the era than about the space race. Frisell has interpreted rock here and there throughout his lengthy career, but this is the first time he’s put it at center stage, with a focus on songs he grew up with in the late 50s and 60s. He and his trusted collaborators Tony Scherr (bass), Kenny Wollesen (drums), and Greg Leisz (pedal steel) put an atmospheric, instrumental spin on nuggets from the surf-rock canon (“Pipeline,” “Telstar”), classic-rock favorites (“Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds, “Tired of Waiting for You” by the Kinks, “Surfer Girl” by the Beach Boys), and Nashville treasures (“Cannonball Rag” by Merle Travis, “Bryant’s Boogie” by Jimmy Bryant). The album feels nostalgic, with a sort of sweetness and innocence dominating most of the interpretations—though the version of Link Wray’s immortal “Rumble” gets a tad raunchy. By and large the sound remains of a piece with Frisell’s aesthetic, with patient tempos and airy arrangements that suggest the wide-open spaces of the American west; the guitarist contributes a couple tunes that fit right in, feeling as timeless as the classics that surround them. Every track has plenty of soloing, but Frisell and Leisz play with restraint, reflecting the style of each tune rather than stuffing them all into a jazz-rock straitjacket. The full band from the album will appear tonight. —Peter Margasak sold out
Fall Out Boy aren’t the same band they were ten years ago, when they stormed the charts and captured young hearts with their second album, From Under the Cork Tree. The suburban Chicago group strayed from the emo-inflected pop-punk of Cork Tree with their subsequent albums, and they ended the five-year hiatus that followed 2008’s Folie a Deux with a dramatic stylistic leap that made their radio-ready intentions even plainer than their collaborations with Jay Z and Lil Wayne had. (The hiatus also gave folks offended by Pete Wentz’s celebrity and/or hairdo the time to find other pop stars to complain about, which might’ve helped people focus on the music again.) Fall Out Boy’s sixth album, the new American Beauty/American Psycho (Island/DCD2), sounds a lot like the 2013 comeback record Save Rock and Roll. Its bedrock is Hot 100 pop, but the most common inflection is punk—at least it turns up more often than the effortlessly cool guitar licks of surf rock (“Uma Thurman”) or the computer-enhanced textures and robotic rhythms of EDM (“Fourth of July”). These songs are supersized for stadiums, and Fall Out Boy seem to have retooled their sound for even bigger stadiums this time out. —Leor Galil sold out
Every week in 2014, graphic illustrator Ryan Duggan made a brand new art print, and tonight you can see all 52 original works in one spot. If you like what you see, Duggan made copies of some of his favorites, so you can purchase one for yourself. He'll also have some beer for you, if that's more your thing.
Ian Karmel hails from the emerging comedy incubator of Portland, Oregon. He cut his teeth alongside fellow upstarts Ron Funches and Andy Wood in a stand-up scene that bears a striking resemblance to Chicago's, where a lack of traditional stand-up venues forces comedians to produce and book shows in the back of dive bars and other unconventional spaces. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Karmel cites as his biggest influence Chicago native Kyle Kinane, a helpful point of comparison for those who might be unfamiliar with the portly PDX native. Generally affable but able to turn dark and acerbic at a second's notice, Karmel shares Kinane's general befuddlement with life, often using his Jewish upbringing to give material an existential dimension, though he did call himself "more of a Beastie Boys Jew than a read-the-Torah Jew" during a recent appearance on the Comedy Central show Adam Devine's House Party. Describing someone as a "Portland comedian" likely summons a certain mental image, but Karmel is a classic everyman who remains attuned to the customs of a Portlandia-era Rip City. His former weekly Portland as Fuck column for the Portland Mercury offered an unpretentious, sharply satirical look at his hometown that lacked the sometimes cutesy affection Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein's sketch show has for the city. His bit about hitting an emotional rock bottom at a Jack in the Box drive-through speaks to his regular-guy persona. Indeed, his penchant for self-deprecation might be his strongest attribute: "My name is Ian Karmel," he said, addressing the House Party audience, "which is ridiculous because I am a six-foot-three, 300-pound Jewish man and my name sounds like a whimsical British candy store." —Drew Hunt $20
This vintage market is actually home to many markets, including the Chicago Antique Market and the Indie Designer Market. There’s also food and a record fair. Nate Berkus likes it, so you probably will too. It's all indoors during January, too, so don't worry about frostbite. $8
The "Playground for People Who Think" host Jac Charlier who lectures on the platform of the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition. $3http://collegeofcomplexes.org