Bleader | Chicago Reader

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sperm blowout, hoop dreams deferred, and the rest of this week's screenings

Posted By on 11.29.13 at 07:33 AM

Third Ward TX
  • Third Ward TX
In Delivery Man, a remake of the French Canadian comedy Starbuck, Vince Vaughn plays a man whose copious sperm donations in the 90s have yielded 533 children, a large contingent of which are suing to discover his identity. The movie opened last week, so this week's long review is a late delivery. If you're looking for a movie this holiday weekend, we recommend: Lenny Cooke, Ben and Joshua Safdie's documentary about an NBA hopeful who washes out; Philomena, Stephen Frears's fact-based drama in which an Irish woman tries to track down the child taken from her by convent nuns a half century earlier; and Third Ward TX, a short documentary about the rescue of a blighted Houston neighborhood.

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Best shows to see: Whirlpool, Corrections House, Weekend Nachos, Guillermo Gregorio Ensemble

Posted By on 11.29.13 at 06:43 AM

  • Whirlpool
We're coming out of a midweek lull in shows today, with a nearly quiet town suddenly becoming a very loud one again. This weekend is packed full of great live music. Tonight there's the sold-out Fall Out Boy show at Metro and the second sold-out Chance the Rapper show at Riviera. Megastar piano man Elton John will be at the Allstate Arena on Saturday, while local duo White Mystery records a live album at Double Door. And on Sunday metal trio KEN Mode will be heating things up at Empty Bottle, and if you happen to be in Saint Charles you can catch Michael Bolton at the Arcada Theatre.

But that's just the beginning. After the jump you can scope out a handful of other awesome Soundboard picks that our writers highly recommend for this weekend.

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Reader's Agenda Fri 11/29: Zombi, "City Self," and Zoolights

Posted By on 11.29.13 at 06:13 AM

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

"Pittsburgh duo Zombi haven't toured in damn near seven years, but when bassist and synth player Steve Moore and drummer Anthony Paterra got the opportunity to schlep around the country for a dozen days with Italian prog soundtrack masters Goblin (they don't meet up till after Zombi's Chicago date, alas), it was clearly time to start packing the Moogs," writes Miles Rayer in Soundboard. Catch Zombi tonight at Empty Bottle.

Chicagoans like to pretend we don't care when people from other cities (cough, New York) notice us, but that's just a front. Really, it makes us giddy. Case in point: "City Self." The exhibit opens today at the Museum of Contemporary Art and centers on the 2011 film Chicago by New Yorker Sarah Morris, with other tributes culled from the museum's collection.

It's that time of year when we all get really excited about looking at lots of very small lightbulbs. This evening, Lincoln Park Zoo flips the switch on its holiday display as Zoolights opens for the season. Besides strands of twinkling lights wrapped around things, Zoolights also features photos with Santa, live ice-carving demonstrations, festive 3-D displays, and ice skating.

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

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

12 O'Clock Track: Kosha Dillz makes electro-party rap with Gangsta Boo and Murs on "Where My Homies Be"

Posted By on 11.28.13 at 12:00 PM

Today there's a rare holiday mashup, as Thanksgiving happens to coincide with the first day of Hanukkah, which shouldn't mean too much to non-Jews and, honestly, shouldn't mean a lot to Jews; in the hierarchy of Jewish holidays Hanukkah ranks pretty low, but because it always happens during the "holiday season" it's awkwardly become the de rigueur equivalent of Christmas for American Jews. And today we have Thanksgivukkah, which strikes me as more of a pop-culture shtick than a semireal holiday.*

Instead of offering up a hokey holiday song for today's 12 O'Clock Track, I've decided to go with "Where My Homies Be" by Kosha Dillz, a Jewish rapper from New Jersey who embraces his Jewish identity without the kind of schlock typically found in one-off pop tracks about Hanukkah.** I decided to go with "Where My Homies Be" partially because I've spent the past eight (as of today it will be nine) Thanksgivings away from home, though I've ended up enjoying every one in the company of friends and their respective families. Dillz also appears to have a ball spending time with friends, and the dirty electro-party rap track is especially endearing because Dillz gets help from pals Gangsta Boo (of Three 6 Mafia) and Murs (who released Dillz's new Awkward in a Good Way). Kosha Dillz is opening for Matisyahu at Park West on Saturday; until then stream his track below and head to his Soundcloud page to hear all of Awkward in a Good Way.

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Reader's Agenda Thu 11/28: Thanksgiving Parade, Philomena, and Miracle on Wells Street

Posted By on 11.28.13 at 06:00 AM

Thanksgiving Parade
  • Courtesy Chicago Festivals
  • Thanksgiving Parade
Looking for something to do today? Agenda's got you covered.

The organizers of the Thanksgiving Parade promise their event heralds the arrival of Santa in Chicago, even though his lap has already been open in Daley Plaza for two days! Is this a lapse in the space-time continuum, or are sinister forces using high-school marching bands and enormous helium balloons to distract us from the impending Santa battle that will utterly destroy life as we know it? You can find out today. Catch the parade on State between Congress and Randolph.

Thanksgiving is a popular day for going to the movies. Film editor J.R. Jones recommends Philomena, an "absorbing drama [that] recounts [Martin Sexsmith's] relationship with Philomena Lee, an Irish woman who bore a child out of wedlock in the 1950s and was forced by nuns at the Roscrea convent to surrender it for adoption." Stephen Frears (The Queen) directed. With Steve Coogan and Judi Dench.

If you're in the mood for improv, Up Comedy Club has Miracle on Wells Street, a new R-rated holiday revue featuring Second City comedians.

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

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

All year long we moan and groan, so it's time for a little thanks

Posted By and on 11.27.13 at 03:44 PM

Asean Johnson is just one person we should be thankful for this year.
  • Alex Wroblewski/Sun-Times
  • Asean Johnson is just one person we should be thankful for this year.

Generally we're moaning and groaning about the corrupt and otherwise boneheaded stuff that goes on in this town.

So we thought we'd try something a little different—expressing our thanks to a few of the people who are fighting the good fight. You know, since it's Thanksgiving and all.

So without further ado, thanks to:

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This week in Claire Denis: Talking with Columbia professor Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa (and others) about No Fear, No Die and 35 Shots of Rum

Posted By on 11.27.13 at 03:21 PM

35 Shots of Rum (2008) screens again at the Gene Siskel Film Center tonight at 6 PM.
  • 35 Shots of Rum (2008) screens again at the Gene Siskel Film Center tonight at 6 PM.
I attended the most recent double feature in the Siskel Film Center's ongoing Claire Denis retrospective with Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, a film professor at Columbia College and a filmmaker in her own right. (Her latest documentary, Jerry & Me, screened at the Siskel earlier this year.) The films under discussion were Denis's second feature, No Fear, No Die (1990), and the more recent 35 Shots of Rum (which screens again tonight at 6 PM). Both star Denis's frequent collaborator Alex Descas, and both deal with immigrant communities in contemporary France. The subject matter allows Denis to tackle one of her recurring subjects—the legacy of French colonialism—from a different angle, considering the state of postcolonial France from the perspective of former colonial subjects. Saeed-Vafa and I discussed how these films relate not only to the director's other work, but to poetry, philosophy, and film history in general. We were joined in our conversation by Roya Mehrnoosh, Saeed-Vafa's longtime moviegoing companion, and Jonathan Rosenbaum, former Reader film critic and Saeed-Vafa's coauthor on a book-length study of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. (I had intended to speak exclusively to women for this series, but when Jonathan Rosenbaum asks if he can talk to you about French cinema, it's very hard to say no.)

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For your health, spike (and then age) your eggnog

Posted By on 11.27.13 at 02:57 PM

I've never made eggnog before, not because I'm skittish about eating raw eggs—I'll eat cookie dough without hesitation, and have added raw egg whites to pisco sours when I'm feeling ambitious—but because it seems like a lot of work. If I made it for a group I'd probably want a version that cooks the eggs (poisoning myself is one thing, but I'd really prefer not to poison my friends), which makes it even more finicky. I could keep coming up with excuses why, but the bottom line is that I've always wanted to try making eggnog but never have.

When I came across a blog post about aged eggnog recently, though, I was intrigued. According to Michael Ruhlman, the eggnog should be aged for at least 30 days but you can keep it (refrigerated) for up to three years, and the taste will continue developing over time. The secret, apparently, is an insanely high alcohol content, which kills any salmonella that may be lurking in the raw eggs. Science Friday tested this theory several years ago and found it to be sound. As Flora Lichtman put it, "It's that perennial holiday question: Can I count on booze to kill the bugs in my homemade eggnog?" Their recipe was different from Ruhlman's, but contains approximately the same ratio of egg yolks to sugar to milk/cream to alcohol (and it's kind of fun to watch people use lab equipment to make eggnog and then spike it with salmonella).

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Is Northwestern blacklisting architects who spoke up for Prentice?

Posted By on 11.27.13 at 02:17 PM

Bertrand Goldberg/Prentice Hospital
  • Bertrand Goldberg/Prentice Hospital
I don't want to spoil your Thanksgiving dinner, but here's some shocking news:

Northwestern University may be freezing out architects who spoke up to save Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Hospital, not giving them a chance to work on the Prentice replacement or any of NU's myriad other expansion projects!

That's what an anonymous source has told Architect, the magazine of the American Institute of Architects.

In the same story, architect (and Mies van der Rohe grandson) Dirk Lohan says that after he ventured an opinion on the radio that Prentice should be saved, he learned that NU was "very upset" with him.

Who would have thought it?

Didn't we all expect that once the nasty battle it waged was over, NU would just kiss and make up?

Wouldn't carry a grudge?

Would behave like the bastion of intellectual inquiry it's supposed to be? A place where free speech, debate, and integrity are valued?

Were we just a bunch of turkeys?

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Warm up Friday with the first annual Thanksgiving Bop-a-Thon

Posted By on 11.27.13 at 02:00 PM

Over the summer you could take a drive through the south and west sides and see folks on sidewalks and in the streets doing their take on bop, the intuitive and playful dance style born on the west side that many local rappers have embraced with some sunny, melodic tracks. While the dip in temperature has made it harder to bop outdoors (or at least far more unpleasant) there are still places to go and bop, or at least see other people do it—for example, on Friday the Olympic Theatre in Cicero is hosting what's being billed as the first annual Thanksgiving Bop-a-Thon. If you want to test out your moves, show up early to get in on the bop contest, which will be judged by bop king and recent B Side cover star Lil Kemo, and once that wraps up there's a lengthy list of rappers slated to perform.

At the top of the bill is Lil Durk, the south-side rapper who inked a deal with Def Jam last year as drill became the hot local sound. The MC recently teamed up with west-side duo Sicko Mobb to record "Maserati," a frenetic track that's exemplary of the style of music that's being made to soundtrack bopping. Sicko Mobb is also playing the Bop-a-Thon alongside a handful of other acts that have been key players in shaping the sound and culture around bop, such as Breezy Montana, M.I.C, and Stunt Taylor, who's dropping his debut mixtape next month. Also on the lineup: Matti Baybee, Chief Keef's 15-year-old second cousin, who has a penchant for soaking his vocals in Auto-Tune, which sits well next to all the "happy rap" tracks made for fiestas.

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