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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Doc Films salutes one of the best French directors you've never heard of

Posted By on 12.31.14 at 01:30 PM

Jacques Doillons Ponette, featuring an extraordinary performance by four-year-old Victoire Thivisol, screens at Doc Films on Monday at 7 PM.
  • Jacques Doillon's Ponette, featuring an extraordinary performance by four-year-old Victoire Thivisol, screens at Doc Films on Monday at 7 PM.
This Saturday the Siskel Center kicks off a two-month tribute to Jean-Luc Godard with 35-millimeter screenings of the director's first two films, Breathless and Le Petit Soldat. From there the theater will present 12 more features from Godard's trailblazing first decade and two from the early years of his late period (Hail Mary and Every Man for Himself). The centerpiece of the series is the Chicago premiere of Goodbye to Language, Godard's latest (and possibly last) feature and his first to be shot in 3-D. The Siskel is installing new equipment in order to present Language in its intended format, and to celebrate the upgrade they're running a sidebar series of 3-D classics, among them House of Wax and Creature From the Black Lagoon. That these movies seem to have nothing to do with Godard makes their presentation feel that much more Godardian, as the director's mind-expanding take on film history (which reached its apotheosis in the video series Histoire(s) du cinéma) is built on unexpected associations.

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Pop a cork in honor of 70s funk and the J.B.'s

Posted By on 12.31.14 at 12:00 PM

A cover of a 70s funk album
  • A cover of a 70s funk album
There is plenty happening tonight. Plenty. Blown-out concerts, decadent theater, get-downs that will annihilate your ability to stand up. The Reader has documented many of these and made the general Chicago public aware of their existence. But New Year's Eve is also all about how one looks in his or her sparkly getup, and if you want a particularly funky sort of inspiration while scouring an overflowing closet, press play on today's 12 O'Clock Track, the J.B.'s "Here We Come, Here We Go, Here We Are." Not only James Brown's band in the 70s and early 80s, the J.B.'s also released their own records. "Here We Come" is from 1975's Hustle With Speed—released by Brown's People Records—and features album art of a galactic monorail cruising between planets. The track is a jam of free-flowing horns, tinny guitar wild-outs, and, as you might have guessed, easy-grooving rhythms. No doubt it'll get you shuffling your feet as you go from one outfit to the next. Plus, the blistering and frenzied outro—which ends by stopping on a dime—is a beautiful example of just how adventurous and tight the J.B.'s were.

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Did you read about Lagunitas, Patton Oswalt, and Jeb Bush?

Posted By on 12.31.14 at 11:47 AM

That beer can afford a $25,000 campaign contribution to Rahm Emanuel.
  • Philip Montoro
  • The beer that helps pay for Rahm Emanuel's reelection campaign

Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

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'Socialist' 25th Ward candidate Jorge Mujica brings breakfast to the unemployment line

Posted By on 12.31.14 at 08:00 AM

Jorge Mujica wants you to remember his name. And his face. And that he wants to raise the minimum wage to $15.
  • Chloe Riley
  • Jorge Mujica wants you to remember his name. And his face. And that he wants to raise the minimum wage to $15.
Longtime activist Jorge Mujica wants you to know he's a socialist. Not that it really matters from a voting perspective, as aldermanic elections are nonpartisan, but because—according to Mujica—socialism means fighting for the working man, something he says hasn't happened for a long time in the 25th Ward.

To hammer home his support for workers, the 59-year-old candidate set up a mini breakfast station Monday morning just steps away from a state unemployment agency underneath the 18th Street Pink Line station, where a line some 15 deep had already formed by 8 AM.

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Alderman Joe Moore explains his choice of beer and support for Rahm

Posted By on 12.31.14 at 07:00 AM

Alderman Joe Moore (right) has become a reliable backer of Mayor Rahm Emanuel--and says thats a good thing.
  • Al Podgorski/Sun-Times
  • Alderman Joe Moore (right) has become a reliable backer of Mayor Rahm Emanuel—and says that's a good thing.
Alderman Joe Moore was enjoying an Amstel Light when I arrived at the bar the other night for our beer summit. Clearly, the first thing we would have to agree to disagree on was our choice of beverage.

"Hey, it's a light beer that's actually drinkable," he said.

If you say so, alderman—and Rahm's a reformer too! But more on that in a second.

In the meantime, I asked for a Revolution.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How Hollywood drains the subversion out of Into the Woods

Posted By on 12.30.14 at 03:30 PM

James Corden and Emily Blunt as the Baker and his wife in Into the Woods
  • James Corden and Emily Blunt as the Baker and his wife in Into the Woods
Before I saw the new movie adaptation of Into the Woods I made the mistake of rewatching the American Playhouse take on the original Broadway production, which first aired on PBS in 1991. (The Chicago Public Library has a few copies in their collection, if you want to make the same mistake.) I consider that performance one of the best pieces of theater I've seen, live or otherwise, and by placing it at the front of my mind, I was basically setting myself up to be disappointed by any other interpretation of the musical. Knowing that the movie was a full-fledged Disney production helped to lower my expectations, though—Into the Woods calls into question the values underlying many classic fairy tales (like the worship of wealth and fame or faith in the supremacy of traditional, heterosexual unions), while "Disney entertainment" is virtually synonymous with reassuring, old-fashioned storytelling. The two would seem to cancel each other out.

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Did you read about economic inequality, the death of the artist, and Serial?

Posted By on 12.30.14 at 03:00 PM

It only got worse this year.
  • aastock/Shutterstock
  • It only got worse this year.

Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

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Can a 26-year-old beat Rey Colon in the 35th Ward?

Posted By on 12.30.14 at 02:30 PM

35th Ward candidate Carlos Rosa is taking on Rey Colon.
  • 35th Ward candidate Carlos Rosa is taking on Rey Colon.
The political website Aldertrack reported on Twitter this morning that we're down to 217 candidates in the 50 aldermanic races (or, rather, in the 46 wards in which incumbents are actually being challenged).

In the 35th Ward, which includes parts of Avondale and Logan Square, the competition is down to just two: incumbent Rey Colon and progressive newcomer Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. (Republican committeeman Walter Zarnecki was apparently removed from the ballot for filing to run in more than one ward.)

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Listen to the Advisory Circle's vintage horror-film electronica before 2014 ends

Posted By on 12.30.14 at 12:00 PM

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Now begins a strange time on the music calendar: most year-end lists have been released, the number of local shows slows down for a few weeks before Tomorrow Never Knows starts up (with the exception of New Year's Eve, and most of those shows are expensive or sold out), and January is typically a sleepy time for new music releases. It's a good time to spend indoors listening to old records or stuff you might have missed this year, and 2014 boasted a particularly strong slate of December releases. For me the most remarkable is From Out Here, the latest from UK electronica act the Advisory Circle. I wrote about Brooks a couple years ago when he released his Summer Triangles mix and since then he has been prolific, releasing many new titles under his own name and various aliases (the best way to keep track is via Cafe Kaput, the blog for his label). Despite the high quality of all these releases, the Advisory Circle material tends to stand out, and From Out Here exceeds all of my expectations—it's among the best work Brooks has ever done, and one of the finest albums of the year.

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A Logan Square juice barista looks like a million bucks for a lot less

Posted By on 12.30.14 at 09:00 AM

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

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Celeste works at Owen + Alchemy, a new juice bar located in Logan Square. Since she needs to wear a black uniform, she plays with patterns and texture to make her outfit pop.

Her adorable, sheer polka dot dress is by H&M and her shiny combat boots are from Target, which proves that you can look like a million dollars for a fraction of that price.

P.S. I haven't tried their juices yet, but their fruit bowls are delicious. I especially recommend the Ca—cashew yogurt, coconut milk, banana chia seeds, orange and grapefruit supremes, with sesame brittle and shredded coconut topping for $12—and the Ka—kale, açai berry, blueberry, almond butter, maca and orange supremes, with raw granola and apricot topping for $11.

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