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Monday, October 31, 2011

Take a knee, Tebow

Posted By on 10.31.11 at 06:50 PM

When Tim Tebow dropped to one knee following the comeback win he led against the Miami Dolphins two Sundays ago, he unknowingly began a fad that's since been christened as Tebowing. It looks a lot like icing, aside from, well, the fact that he's praying and not being forced to pound a bottle of sugary malt liquor. The nonbiblical miracle delivered that day culminated in a frenzied sideline celebration that was quickly evened out by a camera shot of Tebow giving props to the man upstairs for his uncanny ability to stink for three quarters and still lead his team to a fourth-quarter victory over the winless Dolphins.

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A tribute to Misfits tributes

Posted By on 10.31.11 at 04:30 PM

One of the only things that gets me through the November-December period of being assaulted from all sides by Christmas music—not only suffocatingly musty carols but those horrible holiday-themed songs that turn rock and pop music into twisted, wholesomely jolly parodies of themselves*—is the somewhat recent tradition of punks and former punks turning the entire month of October into a giant Misfits playlist. For some reason I can never get sick of hearing Misfits songs, and actually the more I binge on them the more I want to remove everything but the Misfits from my personal rotation, a fact that fascinates me and has brought me close to the brink of getting a tattoo of their logo on several separate occasions.

(Below the jump eight bands that aren't the Misfits offer their own takes on the song.)

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What Lynda Barry does now

Posted By on 10.31.11 at 02:00 PM

It seems unlikely that Lynda Barry's unique brand of cartoon magic is a teachable skill.

Her long-running Ernie Pook's Comeek (a staple for several decades in the Chicago Reader) was remarkable for being outrageous and authentic at the same time, and totally idiosyncratic. But she ended the strip in 2008 (as Michael Miner reported), and is now leading writers' workshops aimed at helping others unleash their creativity. Sunday's New York Times Magazine sat in on a four-day session at Miami Dade College. Ernie Pook's Comeek will reappear in a forthcoming ten-volume collection of her work.

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Tonight is Hal the Weenie

Posted By on 10.31.11 at 01:00 PM

Hal Russell
  • Hal Russell
In August I DJed between sets at a Hideout show by a terrific group led by bassist Harrison Bankhead. One of my selections was intended to tweak reedist Mars Williams, a member of the band: "Raining Violets," the opening track from the Hal Russell NRG Ensemble's brilliant Hal on Earth. The album was originally issued by the band as a cassette in 1989, but it was released on CD in 1995 by Abduction Records, a defunct Seattle imprint that once released copious amounts of music by Sun City Girls. Williams immediately recognized the track—as a longtime member of the NRG Ensemble, he played on it—and broke into a wide grin. In fact, it seemed like a third of the crowd noticed too—but sadly, Russell, who died in 1992 at age 66, is too often missing from accounts of the 90s free-jazz scene in Chicago.

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Last-minute Halloween costume ideas

Posted By on 10.31.11 at 12:30 PM

If you're going out tonight and severely procrastinated on planning your costume, you can probably muster one up out of items you already own. Costume ideas after the jump:

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Ben on Rahm on Fox Chicago Sunday

Posted By on 10.31.11 at 11:00 AM

Reader political writer Ben Joravsky appeared on Fox Chicago Sunday to talk about his and Mick Dumke's recent story "The Mayor's Millionaire Club."


"Chicago - In politics, it's all about access: who has it, who doesn't, and what you have to do to get it.

"That makes this week’s cover story in the Chicago Reader so fascinating.

"Reporters Ben Joravsky and Nick Dumke used the Freedom of Information Act to get a copy of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's schedule book.

"'The Mayor's Millionaire Club' details who gets access to the mayor’s fifth floor office.

"Joravsky joined FOX Chicago Sunday to talk about their article."

(Hey, Fox, it's Mick Dumke.)

Video after the jump:

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The dB's rock again

Posted By on 10.31.11 at 08:00 AM

The dBs, left to right: Gene Holder, Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby, Chris Stamey
  • The dB's, left to right: Gene Holder, Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby, Chris Stamey
The dB's—the brilliant guitar-pop band that came out of the southeast along with R.E.M. but never enjoyed anything like the other band's commercial success—have released a killer new song, available as a free download. Titled "Revolution of the Mind," it's the hardest-rocking thing they've recorded in decades, with extra guitar from Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo. An album, Falling Off the Sky, and a long-awaited reunion tour of the band's original lineup are scheduled for early next year.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Shakespeare exposed

Posted By on 10.28.11 at 05:00 PM

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and Bard of Avon
  • Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and Bard of Avon

Anonymous opens this weekend. That’s the new movie from Independence Day auteur Roland Emmerich, taking off on the Oxfordian theory—the idea that it was the 17th Earl of Oxford and not the “Stratford man” (i.e., Shakespeare) who wrote Shakespeare’s plays. Originated, interestingly enough, by a guy named Looney (though he pronounced it LOHney, much as Gene Wilder’s character in Young Frankenstein insists on calling himself FrAHnkenstEEn), the theory holds that Shakespeare was too common and provincial to have come up with the plays that have defined Western culture for the last four centuries. It had to be somebody who was rich, well-traveled, hyper-educated, and on intimate terms with the royal court. A member of the 1 percent, as it were. Francis Bacon, Queen Elizabeth, and lots of others have been suggested. Even Christopher Marlowe, who’d have to have faked his own death to qualify. But the earl, Edward de Vere, has emerged as the favorite.

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I hear Al Jazeera English is opening a Chicago bureau

Posted By on 10.28.11 at 04:43 PM

  • ABC photo
Word came to me Friday afternoon that the Al Jazeera English news service intends to open a Chicago bureau and has just hired a bureau manager—John Hendren, who for the past several years has been a Washington correspondent for ABC news. He previously covered the Pentagon for the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio.

Al Jazeera English, launched by Al Jazeera in 2006, has had trouble finding a foothold in this country. WTTW, Channel 11, recently announced that it will start carrying it a few hours a week beginning October 31.

I'm trying to reach Hendren for comment.

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Public service announcement: blood

Posted By on 10.28.11 at 04:30 PM

  • Paradigm
In his Straight Dope column this week, professional genius Cecil Adams takes a break from spouting off about weird arcana that's of no practical use to anybody and tackles a much-ignored topic: is the stench of amassed dead bodies, emanating in this case from zombie armies, toxic enough to kill you? Some nasty shit wafts off of dead bodies, Cecil reports, though the scent won't necessarily do you in. Still: "Conceivably . . . if you were locked up for an extended period with a roomful of rotting zombies, the fumes might accumulate to a perilous degree. I will say personally, however, that if I were in that situation, the danger of hydrogen sulfide poisoning would not be uppermost in my mind."

This is an important question, and it reminds me of something that's been bugging me about AMC's celebrated show The Walking Dead, otherwise a masterpiece of realist dystopianism. But seriously: what is the deal with zombies, when they're violently assaulted with, say, an ax—a not-infrequent occurrence on the show—spurting blood? My own Adamsian investigation brought me to Internet medical clearinghouse Wikipedia, which in its entry on death ("‘Dying' redirects here. For the process of coloring, see Dyeing") claims that one side effect of this common condition is the cessation of cardiac activity. The heart stops pumping, etc. Where is all this undead blood coming from?

Which is to say: if you're dressing as some sort of sexy zombie this weekend, save a couple bucks on ketchup. There's no need to overdo it. You're dead!

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