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Saturday, January 31, 2015

The dream of the 90s is alive in Pilsen

Posted By on 01.31.15 at 10:30 AM

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


I spotted Paula Nacif and Christine Janokowicz during an evening of audiovisual performances filled with SAIC students and low-tech/high-concept works at the new Pilsen art gallery 1-800-SPACE, founded by Paula and her roommate Maggie Harrington. The 90s definitely appeal to this generation of artists—someone even used Comic Sans during their presentation—and you could see it in their outfits. I think we tend to be fascinated with the decade during which we were kids, which Paula proves by stating that she loves to "make stuff that has a kind of childlike element of curiosity or spontaneity." Right now she's inspired by Party City and fruity popsicles that have chewing gum in the center. I love her pairing of yellow and black gingham, and the pearly white Nikes. Her BFF Christine—who has been featured in Street View before—always looks incredibly on point, balancing basic, comfortable garments with statement pieces such as her Mickey Mouse jacket and NBA hat. The result is a perfect sporty/girlie mix, topped off with her cool round frames. Both of them will be showing their work this Saturday at "g(URL)_FREAX," an event composed of "live performances, video screenings, and an installation of web works by 20 female and queer-identified Chicago-based and international artists”. More information here.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

How an old-school Pilsen carnitas joint plans to move into the next generation

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 04:30 PM

Marcos Carbajal, at Carnitas Uruapan

If you order carnitas at a chain burrito place, you will likely get roasted, shredded pork shoulder. For Marcos Carbajal, that's like using "barbecue" to mean only one kind of meat. "There's shoulders, there's ribs, there's pork belly, there's pork skin," he says, pointing to each on a styrofoam plate we've just been handed at his family's restaurant, Carnitas Uruapan in Pilsen. "Usually the shoulders and the ribs are the top two choices for beginning eaters. But at a more advanced level of carnitas eating, a lot of people like more of the skin, even as far as some of the organs like the kidneys, the liver, all of it. We cook the whole hog." He puts together a taco containing shoulder, some of the belly (more rubbery than pan-fried bacon) and a little of the near-gelatinous skin, then douses it all with some of the house-made salsa. "The specialty cuts are only available first thing in the morning," he says. "They sell out pretty quick."

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How local psych-pop band Ghastly Menace grew from a duo to a six-piece

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 03:00 PM

Ghastly Menace
  • Courtesy Ghastly Menace
  • Ghastly Menace

Ghastly Menace has tripled. Four years ago, the band was just Andy Schroeder and Chris Geick, two former posthardcore musicians that got together to play pop. Now, the psychedelic outfit has six members. A rotating cast of characters simmered down to a steady lineup during the recording of the band's debut album, Songs of Ghastly Menace, which came out on Tuesday via The Record Machine.

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An early recording of Europe's mighty improvising group the Schlippenbach Trio emerges

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 02:00 PM

A young Alexander von Schlippenbach
  • Dagmar Gebers
  • A young Alexander von Schlippenbach
I don't think there's a European free-jazz unit that's remained intact as long as the Schlippenbach Trio, the mighty juggernaut featuring German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, drummer Paul Lovens, and British saxophonist Evan Parker. I'm even more certain that no improvising group has remained so artistically potent for so long, balancing rugged individuality with collective endeavor like no one before.

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UIC students take a class in Kickstarter

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 01:30 PM

UIC student projects, clockwise from top left: Roka, Cave, Hexacatch, and Hum
  • UIC student projects, clockwise from top left: ROKA, Cave, Hex-Catch, and Hum
Like many aspiring product designers looking for creative support and capital from the Kickstarter community, Jonathan Owens turned his bio into his sales pitch. The video he posted on the crowd-funding site to convince backers to buy his Cave Picnic Tray, a stylish walnut carrying case for serious cheese fans, references the summers he spent working at farmers' markets for Wisconsin's Brunkow Cheese. But for Owens, his inspiration was part real-world experience, part passion—and part graduation requirement.

Owens and a dozen other budding industrial designers launched their own products yesterday, from a ceramic-and-wax cup that molds to your hand to a modular building toy, as part of University of Illinois at Chicago's new Entrepreneurial Product Development class. Local designer Craighton Berman, who's successfully launched a series of products on the crowd-funding platform, conceived of this year-long professional development course as a way to impart relevant, real-world skills at a time when self-starting and self-promotion are becoming more prevalent in the professional landscape. It's not coincidental the class Tumblr is entitled "Always Be Hustling."

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Hawaiian rare-groove label Aloha Got Soul throws a launch party Saturday at Punch House

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 01:00 PM

Aloha Got Soul founder Roger Bong
  • Courtesy of Aloha Got Soul
  • Aloha Got Soul founder Roger Bong

Because I've worked in music media for more than a decade, I've seen so many reissue labels it'd make your ass hurt—and few types of music seem to inspire reissues like soul and funk. What I haven't seen, though, is a reissue label devoted exclusively to soul and funk from Hawaii. In fact I doubt I could've done much more than guess if you'd asked me to describe the differences between soul and funk from Hawaii and soul and funk from the mainland.

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Takos Koreanos redeems poutine

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 12:30 PM

Kimchi Fries, Takos Koreanos

I've gone on record many times with the unpopular assertion that most poutine is unfit for hyena chow. That said I'm not above appreciating exceptions. The orthodox poutine at Montreal's undersung Main Deli Steak House may have softened my stance. (Why wait in line outside Schwartz's when there are open tables at the Main right across the street?)

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Brand-new Ohio-meets-Texas supergroup Blaxxx unleashes bluesy punk stomper 'Let Me Hold Your Hand'

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 12:00 PM

  • Byron Miller
  • Bim
A brand-new garage-punk supergroup has emerged, and this Ohio-meets-Texas collaboration is truly a force to be reckoned with. The new band is called Blaxxx, and it features Cleveland's Lamont "Bim" Thomas—a member of about 100 killer bands, including Obnox, This Moment in Black History, and the Bassholes—on drums and lead vocals, with Orville Neely and Tom Triplett of the Austin-based OBN IIIs on bass and guitar, respectively. The trio got together in Austin during last year's South by Southwest festival, and recorded four blown-out rippers on the spot—the first of these to be unleashed, "Let Me Hold Your Hand," is today's 12 O'Clock Track. "Let Me Hold Your Hand" is a sludgy, ultradistorted, disjointed take on swampy blues. All three musicians wail and stomp, the fractured riffs collapsing and coming back together over the course of the song's six minutes. It's soulful, it's punk, it's fucked up, and it's dangerous. I wouldn't expect Bim to put anything out that wasn't totally great and exciting, and Blaxxx follows suit. The record officially drops on 2/28 via 12XU.

Check "Let Me Hold Your Hand" out below.

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Did you read about John Wayne Gacy, bedbugs, and poop?

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 11:41 AM

Still frightening after all these years
  • Alex Wild
  • Still frightening after all these years

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

Hey, did you read:

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Temperance Beer Company goes big with its first bottles

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 10:00 AM

Might Meets Right imperial stout aged in High West manhattan barrels, one of the two beers in Temperances first bottle release
  • Might Meets Right imperial stout aged in High West manhattan barrels, one of the two beers in Temperance's first bottle release

I got to Evanston's Temperance Beer Company a bit late—I didn't manage a column till last May, when their kegs had been turning up in Chicago bars for seven or eight months and they'd just debuted on retail shelves with Gatecrasher English IPA. (I felt a little better, and even a tad prescient, when Gatecrasher won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival that summer—I'd given it an immoderately positive review.)

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