Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cantaloupe cocktails: To foam or not to foam?

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 04:30 PM

Cantaloupe cocktail #1: extra foam edition
Last week I bought a cantaloupe and promptly forgot about it until several days later, when the ripeness that had made me choose it in the first place was threatening to approach rotten. Fortunately I had a friend coming over for drinks that evening, so I turned to the internet for cocktail recipes involving cantaloupe. I eliminated ones that called for cantaloupe juice because juicing sounded like a lot of work, and one for a cantaloupe margarita that seemed to use way too much lime juice (it didn't have very good reviews either).

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Local rapper Blake doesn't like your boyfriend, but you might like his new video

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 03:56 PM

Blake
  • Courtesy of Blake
  • Blake
Local rapper Blake Gardner spent years releasing music as Jams Dean, but recently he decided to dump the name and just go by Blake—just Blake. Yesterday he dropped his first video since changing his name and it's for "Your Boyfriend Sucks," a charming tune about the joy and anguish of being a lady's side-guy. The video is pretty delightful—in it the MC parties down with local rock outfit Rabble Rabble, shares some soft-serve ice cream with Trannika Rex at Tastee Freez, and gets pissed off when he stumbles upon Trannika and the titular boyfriend sharing a treat at Bang Bang Pie. (Full disclosure: Blake and I hang out from time to time at that very pie shop.)

"Your Boyfriend Sucks" is the first single off his forthcoming Blake 4Ever mixtape, which he says is about "love, and sex, and yoga pants; and smoking weed." To celebrate the release of his new song and video Blake is playing Cole's Bar tomorrow night alongside Netherfriends, Auggie the 9th, Black Matt, and Fess Grandiose.

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There's nothing in the air at Piko Riko

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 02:46 PM

Medio pollo, Piko Riko

Each morning, at around nine or ten, the atmosphere on the blocks surrounding the intersection of Montrose and Troy in Albany Park is saturated with the narcotic aroma of roasting chicken. If you happen to pass by the esteemed Colombian restaurant Brasa Roja, you can see for yourself the formations of bronzed chickens spinning over the smoldering coals in the front window. It's a Pavlovian stimulus nearly as compelling as the invisible cocoa clouds that spew from the Blommer Chocolate factory, but it's not even the best pollo a la brasa in the neighborhood (see: D'Candela). At least if you show up at lunchtime you're assured of securing a chicken that hasn't spent too much time under the heat lamp. And, perhaps due to this simple but effective piece of olfactory marketing, turnover at Brasa Roja is brisk enough that you can be reasonably assured of getting a fresh one at dinnertime too.

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'Picturing Logan Square' showcases turn-of-the-(last)-century images

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 02:00 PM

According to Logan Square Preservation president Andrew Schneider, this was taken in 1915. The Green Star Inn was, in his words, a cabaret of mixed reputation.
  • Logan Square Preservation
  • According to Logan Square Preservation president Andrew Schneider, this was taken in 1915. The Green Star Inn was, in his words, "a cabaret of mixed reputation."
Anyone who's lived in Logan Square for more than a handful of years will talk your ear off about how much the neighborhood's changed. A new exhibition of historic photos puts those anecdotes to shame.

"Picturing Logan Square," organized by Logan Square Preservation and opening this weekend at Comfort Station, showcases roughly 150 images that span 70 years, from the 1890s through the 1960s. One of them, a 40x50-inch aerial photo from 1929 that looks east down Logan Boulevard, is so detailed that "you can almost walk down the street and see individual cars and horses on the road," according to Logan Square Preservation president Andrew Schneider.

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What Arnaud Despleschin's U.S. debut tells us about the treatment of mental problems

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 01:00 PM

Mathieu Amalric and Benicio Del Toro in Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian)
  • Mathieu Amalric and Benicio Del Toro in Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian)
Last week, while recovering from a minor bike accident (which I described the other day), I remembered how enjoyable it can be to overcome an injury or a treatable illness like a cold and flu. The process has a clear narrative arc: you follow the doctor's orders (to rest, take medication, et cetera) and gradually the pain and other symptoms go away. For someone who's been treated for a mental illness or disorder, this narrative is especially satisfying, since mental problems, however treatable, never go away. Even with psychotherapy and medication, the best outcome you can hope for is learning how to live with the condition so that it doesn't overwhelm you.

One thing I admire about Arnaud Desplechin's Jimmy P. (which played at Facets Multimedia earlier this year and is now available on DVD and Netflix) is how its narrative structure reflects the messy and never-entirely-satisfying process of being treated for mental problems. Based on a true case from the late 1940s, the film depicts the unorthodox treatment of the eponymous Blackfoot Indian (Benicio Del Toro) for brain trauma received in World War II. In his treatment he comes to recognize that he'd been suffering from a range of emotional problems long before he'd been injured, mainly with the help of a Hungarian anthropologist (Mathieu Amalric) who's assigned to his case because he's an expert on Native American tribes. The anthropologist, Devereux, uses psychoanalytic methods to understand his charge, fully acknowledging that he might fail. Anyone who's been through psychotherapy should be able to relate to this, as therapy is always a matter of trial and error.

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How ham fat satisfies: More from Paul Fehribach on southern cooking

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 12:30 PM

Paul Fehribach with 1840s-style snowballs, from a 2012 bourbon dinner.
  • Michael Gebert
  • Paul Fehribach with 1840s-style snowballs at a 2012 bourbon dinner

So right as yesterday's segment of my interview with chef Paul Fehribach of Big Jones about his upcoming southern food cookbooks was being editorized for enpublishment, Twitter went kerflooey over a spectacularly nasty review of an Appalachian-themed restaurant in uberhip Bushwick, Brooklyn:

To transform what was once an auto repair shop into a mountain hut, Mr. Masback purchased a dilapidated barn from Kentucky, deconstructed it and reassembled the pieces in Brooklyn. Among other archly rural accouterments are a taxidermied deer head, a Betsy Ross flag, framed old timey photographs, an axe and, in the bathrooms, decoupage of mid-century nudie magazines . . . One need not be from Appalachia to object to the fetishization of that impoverished region for the blithe consumption of faux Brooklyn frontiersmen and women.

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12 O'Clock Track: Ultrademon, Zombelle, and the GTW will 'Drive U Crazy'

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 12:00 PM

Ultrademoncover.jpg
The minute Rihanna jacked some aquamarine imagery from seapunk for her performance on Saturday Night Live in the fall of 2012 it was pretty clear that the electronic URL microscene wouldn't be the same thing it was when it broke on Tumblr the previous year. That hasn't stopped me from counting "seapunks" at festivals* and it also hasn't stopped the scene's originators from moving on. Take seapunk blogfather Ultrademon, who recently released his second album, Voidic Charms; the tune that's caught my ear is "Drive U Crazy," a track that reminds me more of house than seapunk (even though seapunk incorporates elements of house).

On "Drive U Crazy" Ultrademon takes a euphoric melody built for nightclubs and tosses in startling glitches, and fellow seapunk originator Zombelle and avant-pop singer the GTW provide alluring vocals that'll coax you into putting the song on repeat. I've played it half a dozen times in less than an hour, which is why I made "Drive U Crazy" today's 12 O'Clock Track. Stream the tune below and grab Voidic Charms from Ultrademon's Coral Records Internazionale label.

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Did you read about a downtown shooting, cryogenic preservation, and Harry Potter?

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 11:32 AM

Supposedly breeds tolerance
  • Supposedly breeds tolerance
Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

• About the shooting at the Bank of America building in the Loop this morning? Tal Rosenberg

• About the many complaints filed against notoriously corrupt cops Keith Herrera and Jerome Finnigan and the little-to-no action that was taken by the police department? Kevin Warwick

• Nicholas Kristof on car control and gun control? ("As we've learned to treat cars intelligently, we've gone in the opposite direction with guns.") Steve Bogira

• That cryogenic preservation—putting a living person into deep freeze—is the new frontier between life and death? Aimee Levitt

• This profile of Zhang Tiesheng, a former hero of the Cultural Revolution turned multimillionaire businessman? Ben Sachs

• That the influential filmmaker and video essayist Harun Farocki has passed away at 70? Ben Sachs

• That Harry Potter may create more tolerant kids? Will Greenberg

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Marijuana legalization needs to be a gateway to broader drug reform

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 10:46 AM

A vendor weighs buds for medical marijuana patients at Los Angeles's first-ever cannabis farmers market on July 4.
  • FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
  • A vendor weighs buds for medical marijuana patients at Los Angeles's first-ever cannabis farmer's market on July 4.
"It is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition," the New York Times said Sunday, in an editorial calling for an end to the federal ban on marijuana. It will be even longer past time before this version of Prohibition is repealed. The NYT conceded that the present Congress "is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues."

But the ban will ultimately end. The momentum is firmly in that direction. The Times said its decision to call for repeal was "inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws." Twenty-three states have legalized medical marijuana, other states have reduced penalties, and Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana.

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City announces lineup for 2014 World Music Festival: Chicago

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 09:00 AM

Bombino
  • Ron Wynn
  • Bombino
Today the city announced the full lineup for this year's World Music Festival, which runs September 11-21 at 20 venues around town; all events are free. This year's programming, like last year's, represents a recovery from 2012, when the festival was reeling from the loss of founder Michael Orlove—that lineup was hastily assembled, and it showed.

The 2014 installment has plenty of terrific acts, but what's missing is the sense of adventure that distinguished the fest's early days. Most of the touring artists appearing this year are operating more or less within a world-music infrastructure that involves biz showcases for talent buyers and programmers—Europe's WOMEX Festival, for instance, or New York's GlobalFest. There's nothing inherently wrong with that system, and working outside it can be an impossible proposition for an artist without an agent and label in the West, but I miss seeing the WMF book projects such as the Mbira Ensemble in 1999 (for which musicologist Paul Berliner recruited some of Zimbabwe's greatest traditional players) or Brazilian samba group Orquestra Imperial in 2005. But if the city won't hire librarians for public schools, I guess we can't expect it to spend extra money on this.

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