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Friday, November 28, 2014

Mockingjay—Part 1, Happy Valley, and the rest of what's screening around town this week

Posted By on 11.28.14 at 07:00 AM


This week the Gene Siskel Film Center presents Happy Valley, a new documentary by Amir Bar-Lev (My Kid Could Paint That, The Tillman Story) that looks beyond the screaming headlines of the Penn State child sex-abuse scandal to the football-crazed culture that nurtured it; our review is here. Also in this week's issue Ben Sachs looks at The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1, which he calls the most cynical installment of the franchise yet. And there are new reviews of: Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain, a drama about the infamous Union Carbide disaster in India, starring Martin Sheen and Kal Penn; The Eagle and the Hawk, with Fredric March and Cary Grant as antagonist flying aces in World War I; and Horrible Bosses 2, a sequel to the 2011 comedy hit.

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Chasing Amy, Being John Malkovich, and other Reader-recommended movies to watch online this week

Posted By on 11.28.14 at 06:30 AM

Chasing Amy
  • Chasing Amy
Each Friday, we recommend seven Old Movies to Watch Now, all of which come recommended by one of our critics and can currently be screened online. Read the review, watch the movie, feel accomplished.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Donate to the Urban League of Metropolitan Saint Louis via Ice Age Records' web store this weekend

Posted By on 11.27.14 at 12:00 PM

Plenty of independent labels are offering special Thanksgiving weekend deals for folks looking to pick up records for the holidays, and Ice Age Records founder Kris Di Benedetto is doing a little something extra: he's donating all the money that comes in to Ice Age's web store through the weekend to the Urban League of Metropolitan Saint Louis, in response to the Saint Louis County grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown (Di Benedetto was inspired by Philadelphia label Square of Opposition, which will be doing the same thing on Friday). The Ice Age store will offer up some killer punk records for the occasion—including a test pressing of The Echo & The Light, the second album from fourth-wave emo group CSTVT, then known as Castevet—and the label's catalog is ripe for the picking.

I'd suggest checking out A Constant State of Loss, the newish, gnarly EP from Sweet Talk, which counts Di Benedetto as a member. I've taken a particular liking to the cover of Gumbi's "Grey Sea," which features some forceful and slightly sludgy guitar blasts. "Grey Sea" is today's 12 O'Clock Track, so give it a listen below.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

John Kass calls out Ferguson hysterics

Posted By on 11.26.14 at 05:35 PM

Protestors took the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday night.
  • Justin Sullivan/Getty
  • Protestors took the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday night.
The Reader's Gwynedd Stuart makes a valuable point in an essay she posted on the Bleader Wednesday. Her subject's the TV show State of Affairs, but she begins with a comment on an age-old struggle—"reasonable" people versus hysterics.

Stuart's point of reference is Ferguson. "It became increasingly annoying to hear newscasters refer to the 'emotional' reaction protesters had. . . . Sure, anger qualifies as an emotion. And, yeah, some of the demonstrators' more destructive activities couldn't exactly be considered intellectual in their planning or execution. But so often the term 'emotional' delegitimizes whatever it's describing by putting that thing in direct opposition to 'logical' or 'rational.' People's anger wasn't necessarily justified, not even if they'd given the situation in Ferguson much careful consideration—they were just emotional."

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Ron Swanson is the spirit animal of Whisk

Posted By on 11.26.14 at 03:30 PM

When chefs and brothers Rick and David Rodriguez decided to open a restaurant, they were inspired by Ron Swanson, the Parks and Recreation character with a deep love for breakfast food. Thus was born Whisk, which combines brunch, burgers, and breakfast for dinner, all with a Mexican spin. The restaurant opens early and serves a classic brunch menu—pancakes, omelets, hash, and benedicts (on the weekends)—adding sandwiches, burgers, and salads to the options starting at 11 AM. After 5 they change to the burger-focused dinner menu, which retains a few breakfast dishes like steak and eggs, chicken and waffles, huevos rancheros, and chilaquiles (you can also order some of the burgers "breakfast style," replacing the bun with French toast or adding an egg, chorizo, and/or hollandaise).

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Let's give thanks for aldermanic elections

Posted By on 11.26.14 at 02:30 PM

No one is running against Harry Osterman in the 48th Ward.
  • Kamil Krzaczynski/AP Photos
  • No one is running against Harry Osterman in the 48th Ward.
With Thanksgiving coming up, let's give thanks for the good things in life—like the February 24 aldermanic elections.

Just three months away!

I know many of you might not appreciate this exercise in democracy, but think of it this way—it gives you a chance to undo the damage you did in the last go around.

Except for voters in the 13th, 14th, 42nd, and 48th wards. You don't get to vote . . .

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The story of 'This Christmas (Rap),' an overlooked Chicago hip-hop track from the 1980s

Posted By on 11.26.14 at 02:00 PM

The holiday season is arriving, and with it comes the constant stream of yuletide music pumping out of car radios and shopping centers. Of course there's more to seasonal music than the corporate coffee-shop dreck we all love to hate, and among the many releases dropping on Friday are a couple Christmas hip-hop reissues from excellent Boston label Get On Down: Run-D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis" single and Profile Records' Christmas Rap compilation, which both came out in 1987.

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Korean joint Hal Mae Bo Ssam serves up funky, briny, porky goodness

Posted By on 11.26.14 at 01:00 PM

bo ssam, Hal Mae Bo Ssam

For anyone who's ever eaten Korean barbecue bo ssam is not an unfamiliar delivery system. Literally meaning "wrapped," it also refers to a particular dish—a feast, actually—particularly if soju is involved. Typically, bo ssam is sliced and boiled pork belly served with raw oysters, kimchi, and raw cabbage or lettuce. You pick up a piece of greenery, tuck in some pork, an oyster, a scrap of kimchi, and perhaps add a smear of doenjang, or bean base—or a dab of fermented shrimp sauce—before bundling it up and shoveling it in your pie hole.

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Listen to 'Flare Gun,' a bewitching pop tune from the new In Tall Buildings album

Posted By on 11.26.14 at 12:00 PM

Four years removed from the release of his self-titled debut as In Tall Buildings—backed by the then-fledgling Whistler Records—Chicago-based Erik Hall preps the release of his follow-up, Driver, due out on Western Vinyl on February 17. Today's 12 O'Clock Track, "Flare Gun," is the first bit of that album to be made available, and it showcases the same warm, spacious pop Hall is so adept at composing. Though the track seems more focused on the gentle melodies breezing through the foreground—present in both Hall's airy vocals and the twisting acoustic guitar line—the subtle noises bubbling behind the music are often as bewitching. As is common with Hall's eclectic output—the songwriter is also a longtime member of Afrobeat band Nomo—there's a lot more happening than what you can hear right in front of you.

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Did you read about Darren Wilson, Jian Ghomeishi, and 'Green Friday'?

Posted By on 11.26.14 at 11:40 AM

This Friday can be a green one this year.
  • AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
  • Black Friday goes green this year.
Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

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