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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Best shows to see: Charles Gayle, Jeannie Holliday, Insect Ark, Barbara Eugenia

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 07:30 AM

Charles Gayle
  • Charles Gayle
Thousands upon thousands of people will descend upon Grant Park this weekend for Lollapalooza, and if you aren't one of them there's a good chance you'll want to avoid that. If you are going to the fest, I suggest reading through our Lollapalooza guide. If not, I suggest scoping out the bevy of other performances happening this weekend.

Tonight Lambchop performs all of Nixon at Old Town School of Folk Music, and Henny B and Angel Davenport play Tonic Room as part of the venue's annual Fuckapalooza minifest. Tomorrow night Lyle Lovett & His Large Band hit Ravinia Festival and Disclosure headlines Aragon Ballroom. On Saturday you can see Matthew Sweet at SPACE or Salt-N-Pepa at Joe's. On Sunday Dylan Ettinger closes out this year's Neon Marshmallow fest at the Burlington.

Head to Soundboard for all the Reader's concert listings and be sure to listen to our new "Best shows to see" playlist at the end of this post (follow us on Spotify too). Read on for some more show recommendations from our critics.

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Reader's Agenda Thu 7/31: Fiesta del Sol, Comedians Against Violence, and Neon Marshmallow

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 06:15 AM

Insect Ark
  • LAUREN BILANKO
  • Insect Ark
Looking for something to do today? Agenda's got you covered.

Go out and get some sun today through Sunday at Fiesta del Sol. Billed as the largest Latino festival in the midwest, you can expect there to be plenty of art, food, carnival rides, live music, and local vendors. However, you might want to you eat your churros and enchiladas after visiting the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you, right? That's what performers in Comedians Against Violence are hoping as they aim to break the cycle of brutality through jokes and compassion at the Laugh Factory tonight. Aaron Foster will host local comedians in the show, presented by Tio Hardiman, executive director of CeaseFire. All the show's proceeds will go to the cause.

The Neon Marshmallow music festival starts tonight at Burlington. Its mission is to "provide audiences with new sonic experiences." One such "sonic experience" is Dana Schechter's solo project, Insect Ark, which the Reader's Noah Berlatsky says "maps the bleak, ambient landscape where goth and extreme metal meet—moans of endless despair over lost love blend at their tattered edges with moans of endless despair at eternal torment."



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

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Queer punks stood up to all sorts of phobias and isms at Fed Up Fest

Posted By on 07.30.14 at 04:18 PM

Limp Wrist stole the show at Fed Up Fest.
Last weekend, at the corner of 32nd and Morgan in Bridgeport, a crowd of pierced punks with brightly colored hair and dark clothes could be seen smoking cigarettes, talking, and eating outside of Co-Prosperity Sphere, where Fed Up Fest made its debut.

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Principal Principle tells it like it is about teaching in Chicago

Posted By on 07.30.14 at 03:31 PM

Cassy Sanders and McKenzie Chinn in Joe Zarrows Principal Principle
  • Emily Schwartz
  • Cassy Sanders and McKenzie Chinn in Joe Zarrow's Principal Principle

I was still mourning the great Bel Kaufman when I happened to see the Stage Left/Theatre Seven co-production of Principal Principle, Joe Zarrow's play about teaching in Chicago.

Kaufman—who died last week—wrote Up the Down Staircase, one of the great satires about teaching high school in a big city public school system, back in 1965.

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An interview with Czech filmmaker Jan Hrebejk (part two)

Posted By on 07.30.14 at 02:42 PM

Hrebejks genial sex farce 4Some screened as part of the 2013 European Union Film Festival.
  • Hrebejk's genial sex farce 4Some screened as part of the 2013 European Union Film Festival.
Read part one of this interview.

Ben Sachs: You often develop your characters through their sexual relationships. They speak openly about their sex lives, and when you show them having sex, there isn't a sense of voyeurism or condemnation. It's just sex as part of everyday life.

Jan Hrebejk: Usually I try to link sex to the humor in my movies, because humor is kind of contradictory to sex. It's problematic, though. When you think about it, sex scenes have got to be the most frequently produced, given the amount of porn being made all over the world. . . When I was in film school, a professor told me that the most difficult thing about shooting a "love" scene is being able to show love while also showing sex. Love is subjective, but humor is objective. When you look at sex from the outside [to see the humor], it's easier for you to also see the love.

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It's never too late to get to know local rapper Goody

Posted By on 07.30.14 at 02:00 PM

GoodyAllIKnowcover.jpg
I'm as averse to mid-year "best of" lists as I am to year-end lists, which is to say I try and steer clear of most of the ones I find. But there's always a few good ones to pick through, and, as usual, Fake Shore Drive is the source of one of them. The site's "Best Songs of 2014 (So Far)" offers an encyclopedic overview of the city's expansive hip-hop landscape and all the overlapping microscenes within it. As local rap icons release compelling material and spotlight-grabbing youngsters take up much of the oxygen reserved for Chicago MCs on a national level, a quick peek at this list shows that there's a rich world of rappers honing their craft far from the gaze of the rest of the rap planet.

No matter how closely we all listen to new tracks and artists there's always going to be something great we'll all miss on a first pass (or second or third), and, in my case, I very well could've not heard a single bar from local MC Goody had I not combed through Fake Shore Drive's list. The site included Goody's recent "All I Know" on the list, and the tune's gossamer, 80s-pop keys and punchy, sparse percussion won me over pretty quickly. I've been playing catch-up with Goody's small catalog, which keeps expanding. A couple weeks ago he released a digital single called "Shawty Swing" with a posi B side that's captured my attention; on "The World (What If)" Goody raps about the possibilities of a Chicago free from gun violence, vibing off of a feel-good beat that sounds like it leapt out of a time capsule from 1994. He's working on a longer project called ToAnyOne (21), which is supposed to come out sometime this year—these tracks will certainly suffice until then.

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'Even pimento cheese has a story': Paul Fehribach on his upcoming cookbooks

Posted By on 07.30.14 at 01:30 PM

Paul Fehribach

Southern-style comfort food is a fairly easy sell, especially after a few drinks. When Big Jones opened in Andersonville in 2008, it could have gotten along just fine doing a restaurant version of feel-good food, calories be damned. But chef Paul Fehribach, who opened it with co-owner Mark Armantrout, was determined from the start to do farm-to-table, whole-animal cooking, like people in the south always did. And the restaurant has grown in ambition to dig into the heritage of southern food over the years— especially in its series of occasional bourbon dinners, which resurrect forgotten dishes from old cookbooks, often things like calves' jelly which you've never seen in a restaurant in these parts, at least in the last century.

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A nebbish of a Hamlet is making his way around the world

Posted By on 07.30.14 at 01:00 PM

Naeem Hayat as Hamlet
  • Cathy Taylor
  • Naeem Hayat as Hamlet
In honor of the Bard's 450th birthday last April, Shakespeare's Globe in London put together a traveling production of Hamlet that's scheduled to hit 205 countries by birthday number 452, in 2016. That's a dozen more countries than are members of the UN. The United States is country 28 on the itinerary, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater is the second stop here after the Folger in D.C. The troupe end their three-day stand tonight.

Given the nature of the effort, the ensemble is appropriately diverse. On the evening I saw the show, a Hong Kong-born actress was performing the part of Rosencrantz (or maybe it was Guildenstern), a Maori New Zealander took on Polonius, and Hamlet himself was played by Naeem Hayat, a British artist who claims "basic Urdu" as one of his skills. Hayat alternates in the role with Nigerian Ladi Emeruwa.

Also onstage that evening was Keith Bartlett, whose CV gives his "appearance" as "white." Among other things, Bartlett played the ghost of Hamlet's father, which made for a vivid statement in his scenes with Hayat. Hamlet is basically the story of a son who has to prove himself to his successful (and, still more daunting, dead) father, even though he's spectacularly ill suited to the task: verbose where he should be silent, ironic where he should be blunt, angry where he should be strategic, meditative where he should act. Seeing Hayat's dark-complected prince alongside Bartlett's pale king makes the gulf between them unmistakable.

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12 O'Clock Track: The crisp indifference of Parquet Courts' 'Black and White'

Posted By on 07.30.14 at 12:00 PM

parquet-courts.jpeg
The hour-by-hour method in which the Reader previews the behemoth Lollapalooza—writing about one act per time slot per day, with little to no overlap—occasionally results in the exclusion of an excellent band. And this year's most glaring exclusion from our guide is Parquet Courts, who were set up alongside hip-hop troupe Ratking and unfortunately lost the battle of writers' pitches. Them's the breaks, I guess. Still, that doesn't diminish the fact that in early June the Brooklyn indie darlings—find 'em on late-night TV!—released one of the best and best-received albums of the year in Sunbathing Animal. It's sharp but never too serious, offering a mix of rock 'n' roll slackerdom and airtight, crisp songwriting. Today's 12 O'Clock Track is "Black and White," a clap-along, bobbing number with simple guitar leads and just the right injection of noise and feedback—and fronted by the off-center vocals of Andrew Savage, which stay perfectly out of tune.

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Did you read about the Westboro Baptist Church, Afrobeat, and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood?

Posted By on 07.30.14 at 11:32 AM

Ask them anything.
  • Brandon Thibodeaux/Getty
  • Ask them anything.


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

Hey, did you read:

• About how President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative shortchanges black girls? Steve Bogira

• That the Westboro Baptist Church will picket Reddit's San Francisco offices next month, just two days after they plan to host a Reddit Ask Me Anything? Leor Galil

• That Logan Square's Two Way Lounge is for sale? Brianna Wellen

• About the fight over the future of Afrobeat? Ben Sachs

• About the Choco-Pie airlift into North Korea? Ben Sachs

• About the dubious conviction of Tyrone Hood for a 1993 south-side murder? Steve Bogira

• About the self-marketing and capitalist strategies of the smartphone game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood? Lucy Wang

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