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Monday, December 30, 2013

12 O'Clock Track: Never mind the low end on Shoppers' harsh "II"

Posted By on 12.30.13 at 12:00 PM

Happy Monday, here's some abrasive, female-fronted, high-fuzz-distortion noise rock. Having recently been gifted a copy of Silver Year—the 2011 debut (and only) full-length from the Syracuse-based Shoppers—and having recently been listening to the much-hyped Perfect Pussy (aka what became of Shoppers), today's 12 O'Clock Track is the feedback-leveled "II." Shoppers were underappreciated during their flash-in-the-pan heyday, so it's nice to see Perfect Pussy, that band's blown-out extension, getting well-deserved fanfare. The latter rolls through town to play a date at Schubas on Wed 1/22.

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Did you read about minimum wage, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Roger Ebert?

Posted By on 12.30.13 at 11:29 AM

In real life, this guy is still an asshole.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

• That creating good jobs and training Americans for them should be our national focus—not "snatching income from the 1 percent?" Steve Bogira

• That the minimum wage will get maximum attention in 2014 because Democratic Party leaders see its political value? Steve Bogira

How the U.S.'s drone program operates, according to someone who's manned part of it? ("What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light.") Kate Schmidt

• That in Italy, one in every eight dollars spent by families goes to gambling? Deanna Isaacs

• This look at what's lost when we lose alt-weeklies? Tony Adler

• How the protagonist of Martin Scorsese's recently released The Wolf of Wall Street is still screwing people over? Tal Rosenberg

• About the importance of shoes at the New York City Ballet? Aimee Levitt

• This collection of British scientists' favorite jokes? Ben Sachs

• About the 14-year-old who opened a box for Beats by Dre headphones and found tuna instead? Leor Galil

• Chaz Ebert on Roger's final moments? Aimee Levitt

• That No Fear of Pop writer Adam Harper said Alison Green's photo of Chaz Allen for the B Side feature on vaporwave is one of his favorite "musical objects" of 2013? Leor Galil

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Best shows to see: Flosstradamus, Death

Posted By on 12.30.13 at 10:45 AM

  • Flosstradamus
There's a whole mess of shows Tuesday night for those of you who are still figuring out your New Year's Eve plans, but you can still see great music this week if you're all booked up to ring in the new year. Tonight Roky Erickson plays his first of two local shows at Beat Kitchen; and tomorrow night Dessa hits Lincoln Hall.

There are plenty of other concerts to check out in the next few days—head to Soundboard for more listings and read below for a couple picks from Reader critics.

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Reader's Agenda Mon 12/30: On an Epic Scale, Flosstradamus, and Burning Bluebeard

Posted By on 12.30.13 at 06:06 AM

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

The Music Box finishes the year in grand fashion by screening some of the most epic movies of all time as part of its On an Epic Scale series (through January 2). Today's double feature: Kurosawa's masterpiece Seven Samurai and Francis Ford Coppola's disturbing Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now.

Starting the New Year's Eve celebration early, Chicago-born DJ/production duo Flosstradamus kicks off a two-night stint at the Riviera Theatre tonight. As Miles Raymer writes in Soundboard, "they're at the forefront of 'trap music,' which updates this blend by combining contemporary EDM and the trap sound that's been dominating southern rap lately."

Tony Adler listed Burning Bluebeard among his theater highlights of 2013, calling it "an ensemble masterpiece, at once comic, horrific, and holy." Catch it tonight at Theater Wit.

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

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reader's Agenda Sun 12/29: Whiskey, Frankincake & Myrrh, Blast of Silence, and Christmas Bingo

Posted By on 12.29.13 at 06:15 AM

Whiskey, Frankincake & Myrrh
  • Emily Schwartz
  • Whiskey, Frankincake & Myrrh
Looking for something to do today? Agenda's got you covered.

You can have your goddamned hot chocolate and mince pies. The only sane way to celebrate the season is with cake and whiskey. There will be plenty of both at Whiskey, Frankincake & Myrrh, presented by the Cake & Whiskey Club: chocolate cake from Maddiebird Bakery and cinnamon-flavored Fireball Whisky (plus plenty of bourbon to sample). It's all happening tonight at the Den Theatre.

In Allen Baron's 1961 noir Blast of Silence, which J.R. Jones calls "cool" and "edgy," a hitman visits New York during Christmas to kill a low-level mob boss. It screens at the Gene Siskel Film Center tonight.

There’s no need to go to a real church bingo game when Vicki Quade’s Christmas Bingo: It’s a Ho-Ho-Holy Night! is so much more entertaining. Plus, Quade’s stern Mrs. Mary Margaret O’Brien, a former nun, dishes out enough punishment to satisfy the guilty Catholic masochist in all of us. Play to win festive prizes tonight at the Royal George Theatre.

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

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Street View 155: All wrapped up

Posted By on 12.28.13 at 08:00 AM

Street View is a fashion series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights some of the coolest styles seen in Chicago.


So the other day jewelry designer Ashley Scott invited me to come check out her studio, which is like the decor version of a bag of Skittles. It couldn't be otherwise: Scott herself is pure color, sweetness, and fun. I mean, talk about holiday cheer. Too bad I'm spending my Christmas elsewhere; otherwise I'd kidnap this gift of a girl. With bow and all.

Check out her locally made bling at Ashley Drapes.

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Reader's Agenda Sat 12/28: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Liza Treyger, and Atomic Punks

Posted By on 12.28.13 at 06:12 AM

Atomic Punks
  • Courtesy SunCoast Entertainment
  • Atomic Punks
Looking for something to do today? Agenda's got you covered.

Christmas was three days ago, but are you going to let that stop you from seeing the latest Trans-Siberian Orchestra show, "The Lost Christmas Eve," and miss out on the laser show and the fake smoke and the bursts of real fire, not to mention the 70s-style prog rock? Are you high? There are two chances to catch the magic at Allstate Arena today.

Fresh off a fall TV debut on Adam Devine's House Party, Skokie native Liza Treyger performs her "stoner-sweetheart" stand-up with coheadliner Megan Gailey and host Marty DeRosa tonight at the Comedy Bar. Molly Adams writes, "Treyger uses jokes to explore the strange social position of many young American women in the modern age."

The holidays may be wrapping up, but don't ever stop doing things that are totally hokey and ridiculous (by which we mean superfun and awesome). For instance, perhaps you want to go see Atomic Punks, a tribute to early Van Halen. A David Lee Roth-alike screeches and does the splits (fingers crossed) while a dead ringer for Eddie V. shreds. To hell with Hagar. Check them out at the House of Blues tonight.

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

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Friday, December 27, 2013

One Bite: Eataly's porchetta sandwich

Posted By on 12.27.13 at 12:36 PM

Porchetta sandwich, Eataly
  • Mike Sula
  • Eataly's porchetta sandwich: Simplicity itself

Eataly's Rosticceria, which slow roasts a different hunk of flesh every day, is an island of approachability in the stormy ocean of possibilities that the all-Italian superemporium offers. There's no need to wait for a table, no need to dither over choices—there's a single sandwich of the day and a daily prime rib sandwich—and if your only goal is get something and get the hell out, you can just tuck a sandwich under your arm, juke for the escalator and exit.

On Tuesdays the sandwich is leg of lamb, Wednesdays it's brisket with salsa verde, Saturdays it's fennel-rubbed turkey breast, and on Thursdays they offer porchetta. Porchetta is the classic Roman pork roast that can take on different forms but usually includes skin-on belly wrapped around pork loin or other pig parts (or, if you're serious, a whole boneless pig).

Eataly's porchetta is a low-fat version. The only evidence I saw of any belly was the occasional scrap of crispy, lacquered skin mixed in among the slices of pork loin. For each order the sandwich man sprinkles it with sea salt, then gives it a few grinds of black pepper and a few squirts of olive oil before wrapping it in butcher paper. It's simplicity itself—despite the lack of belly, this is a juicy sandwich that'll stain the paper before you get a few steps away. My real complaint is with the thick, crusty bread that occasionally overwhelms the otherwise ample filling. A more-than-hefty regular size goes for $11.80, while the large edition sells for two bucks more.

Eataly, 43 E. Ohio, 312-521-8700,

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12 O'Clock Track: "Cemeteries" is excellent bummer punk from Life Stinks

Posted By on 12.27.13 at 12:00 PM

Life Stinks
  • Life Stinks
S.S. Records out of Sacramento, California, was one of this year's best sources of bad-vibes, bum-out punk. Not only did they put out two excellently deranged records from Spray Paint in 2013, they also brought us . . . And Then a Shovelful of Dirt Hit Him Flush in the Face . . . by San Francisco's Life Stinks. This band couldn't have a better name: these weirdos play slovenly, downtrodden punk rock in the vein of noise punk pioneers Flipper and reinforce it with two drummers hammering out simple, sludgy beats. Today's 12 O'Clock Track is "Cemeteries" off Life Stinks' S.S. release, and it's a big, fat slice of gross-out bummer punk. A real uplifting number to keep your post-holiday spirits up.

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Did you read about pizza boxes, Ross Douthat, and Lisa Frank?

Posted By on 12.27.13 at 11:42 AM

What a nightmare
  • What a nightmare
Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

• That we're pulling more fossil fuels out of the earth than ever before? Mick Dumke

• That the New York Times is polling Jews who are "living in Hungary or are from Hungary" for an in-depth look at Hungarian anti-Semitism? Tony Adler

• An actual daughter on conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat's "daughter theory"? Kate Schmidt

• This list of untranslatable words from other languages? Aimee Levitt

• James Thurber's 1939 short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"—source of one movie starring Danny Kaye and, now, another with Ben Stiller? Tony Adler

• This insider's account of how horrible it is to work at Lisa Frank? Luca Cimarusti

• About the latest in pizza-box technology? Mick Dumke

• Poet and People Issue subject Michael Robbins on the ten least annoying metal albums of 2013 (with a sly dig at Sound Opinions for good measure)? Tal Rosenberg

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