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Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Reader's Agenda: Sun 6/3

Posted By on 06.03.12 at 06:52 AM

The Antlers play Do-Division
Looking for something to do today? Agenda's got you covered:

The final day of Do-Division ends with some notable musical performances.

Chicago's brightest young classical musicians play a final local show before shipping off for a June tour in Spain.

The Eastside Millennium Art Festival gives you a reason to visit the Bean that doesn't have to do with visiting relatives.

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

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Friday, June 1, 2012

12 O'Clock Track: Gull, "Fast Enough"

Posted By on 06.01.12 at 12:00 PM

Chances are you've never seen a street musician quite like Nathaniel Rappole, who made a name for himself busking in Richmond, Virginia. As Gull, Rappole takes the ludicrous "man plays several instruments at once" gimmick (Mary Poppins, anyone?) and uses it to make actual songs and stuff that people might even want to listen to. Like today's 12 O'Clock Track, "Fast Enough."

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From brutal Beckett to oafish Ionesco: new Reader performing arts reviews

Posted By on 06.01.12 at 09:39 AM

Trying out one of 3,628,800 possible outcomes in Bombs, Babes, and Bingo
  • Tom McGrath
  • Trying out one of 3,628,800 possible outcomes in Bombs, Babes, and Bingo

(Re)Discover Theatre turns audience discomfort into a virtue in An Evening of Beckett: Play, Not I, What Where, writes Jack Helbig. Ushers who test your hearing, inspect your cell phone, and curtly order you to your seat set the tone for the three plays that follow. The trio evoke Beckett's brutish ethos as they confront the horror of life. Existential despair is funnier but no less skillfully conveyed in Organic Theater's adaptation of the Melville story Bartleby the Scrivener. Organic's slapsticky portrayal of a dysfunctional law office captures both the humor and the hopelessness of Bartleby's stock phrase, "I would prefer not to."

You don't have to "get" Trap Door Theatre's Anger/Fly to appreciate it, says Tony Adler. The plotline about a perfect town gone berserk becomes secondary to a striking staging, rich sound design, and charismatic performances. Adler also likes A History of Everything, in which toys represent historical events (an aerosol can for Hurricane Katrina, an little airplane for 9/11) and time runs in reverse all the way back to the big bang.

The gimmick behind Bombs, Babes, and Bingo is inspired. But the story about a bomb maker recovering from a brain injury? Less so. A bingo ball randomizes the order of scenes, mirroring his disorganized thinking. Sean Graney's alternately ardent and irreverent Romeo Juliet seems sometimes to satirize teenage love. Then again, says Zac Thompson, it can feel like "Graney is riffing and remixing for the sake of riffing and remixing." Still, the final scene resonates emotionally.

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The Reader's Agenda: Fri 6/1

Posted By on 06.01.12 at 06:50 AM

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

The Interview Show is exactly what it sounds like: host Mark Bazer chops it up with some of Chicago's most famous (and infamous) local personalities.

The first big street fest of the summer kicks off in Wicker Park.

An art festival takes place near Chicago's front yard, with food from local vendors and plenty of family entertainment.

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

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Galled by the Reader's sale to the Sun-Times? Not really.

Posted By on 06.01.12 at 06:22 AM

Anatomical guide to career discomfort
  • Anatomical guide to career discomfort
Time Out Chicago media blogger Robert Feder speculated about me last week, and I will address the speculation. But first things first. Feder began his post on the sale of the Reader to Sun-Times Media by asking an excellent question. J.R. Jones offered his answer Monday as the Bleader launched No Alternative Week. Now I'll offer mine.

"It just got harder to call the Chicago Reader an 'alternative weekly,'" Feder wrote when the sale went down. "Alternative to what?"

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Drag City unveils its Soccer Club Club on Friday

Posted By on 05.31.12 at 04:30 PM

Lisa Alvarado: Powdered Unicorn (2010)
  • Lisa Alvarado: "Powdered Unicorn" (2010)
A few months ago Drag City Records, one of the many Chicago labels featured in Kevin Warwick's excellent overview of the local record biz, relocated to a cool old building on the near west side. Included in the deal was a defunct private bar that had played host to a soccer club. Drag City has found a use for the space, and on Friday the label will share it with the world. Renamed the Soccer Club Club, it will debut as an art gallery with an exhibit called Limpia, which consists of paintings by Chicago artist Lisa Alvarado (who also plays harmonium in Natural Information Society, a musical project led by her husband, bassist Joshua Abrams).

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Underground movies, one flight up—and other notable screenings

Posted By on 05.31.12 at 04:03 PM

Jan Kwiecinskis Fawns, the standout entry in the anthology The Fourth Dimension
  • Jan Kwiecinski's "Fawns," the standout entry in the anthology The Fourth Dimension
Tonight brings the opening feature of the 19th Chicago Underground Film Festival: The Fourth Dimension, which anthologizes shorts by Harmony Korine (Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy, Trash Humpers), Aleksei Fedorchenko (Silent Souls), and Jan Kwiecinski. The festival continues through next Thursday, with all programs at Gene Siskel Film Center; check out our festival sidebar, with reviews of The Fourth Dimension and ten more features.

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Shows to see: Jason Moran, Urizen, Iggy Azalea, and more

Posted By on 05.31.12 at 01:34 PM

Iggy Azalea
  • Iggy Azalea
I guess summer unofficially kicked off on Memorial Day, but as Chicagoans know the season really starts with the first big street festival, and this weekend there's a doozy: the annual Do-Division Street Fest. Two stages of music Friday through Sunday bring us the great DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, Le Butcherettes, the return of Pinebender, Craig Finn, the Besnard Lakes, and much more. For those averse to the smell of stale beer and shirtless dudes displaying empty plastic cups like trophies, though, there are plenty of indoor options—in fact, two of jazz's greatest guitar players are visiting Chicago venues. Pat Martino holds court at the Jazz Showcase tonight through Sunday, and Peter Bernstein plays a rare solo concert Saturday at the Old Town School. Naturally, this week's Soundboard has even more, and four great choices are after the jump.

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Festivals, fund-raisers, and other food and drink events

Posted By on 05.31.12 at 01:00 PM


At Chicago Maifest attendees can quaff Louis Glunz Beers Inc.’s beers Hofbrau Original and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The German festival will include food, music, and cultural events. 5/31-6/3, Thu 5 PM-9:30 PM, Fri 5 PM-11 PM, Sat noon-11 PM, Sun noon-10 PM, Chicago Maifest, Lincoln and Leland in Lincoln Square.

Indulge in seasonal appetizers and cocktails at Green City Market Junior Board’s Meet the Market tonight. The event will feature Seedling Fruit’s Peter Klein, the Bedford chef Mark Steuer, and Evanston’s FEW Spirits. Appetizers are complimentary. Cocktails are $8, but $6 is considered a donation. 6-8 PM, the Bedford, 1612 W. Division, 773-235-8800.

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On the B Side: Local labels, a fake Fugazi, and more

Posted By on 05.31.12 at 12:30 PM

Chicago has long been a hotbed for independent record labels, with heavy hitters like Drag City, Thrill Jockey, and Touch and Go leading a pack of smaller imprints that run into the dozens. This week Kevin Warwick surveys the current label scene in town, focusing on a diverse quartet of relative upstarts: HoZac, Chocolate Industries, Peira, and Not Normal Tapes.

Gossip Wolf is especially punk this week, featuring local punks Running, reunited midwest punks Planes Mistaken for Stars, and aptly named Fugazi cover band Instrument (who play a benefit for Girls Rock! Chicago this weekend). The latest installment of In Rotation features picks from Cheer-Accident's Dudley Bayne, multi-instrumentalist Boris Hauf, and Reader music editor Philip Montoro. A new Secret History of Chicago Music profiles versatile but anonymous journeyman Dean Milano. And Soundboard offers live picks that include Drake, Iggy Azelea, Doug Paisley, and more—plus a guide to the first big outdoor festival of the season, this weekend's Do-Division Street Fest.

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