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Friday, January 30, 2015

This year's Oscar-nominated animated shorts are consistently, modestly enjoyable

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 09:00 AM

The Dam Keeper
  • The Dam Keeper
This year's Oscar nominees for the Best Animated Short Film come to about 50 minutes in total, so the touring program of nominees (opening today at the Landmark Century Centre) features an additional four shorts that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences deems "highly commended." I wasn't overly impressed with any of the official nominees, nor was I especially disappointed by the others. The program is consistently, modestly enjoyable—which makes for a better overall time at the movies than a program with one or two standouts amid a field of junk. Some of the selections here cross the line from sweetness into preciousness, though I didn't mind much, since none of those last longer than five minutes.

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Radio Advertising Inc., producing those 'brought to you by' ads since the 1960s

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 08:00 AM

Radio Advertising Inc.
  • Paige Wynne
  • Radio Advertising Inc.

Along Peterson Avenue on the city's northwest side sits a succession of relatively pristine, albeit aging, examples of garden-variety midcentury modern architecture. Among these mostly commercial properties, 3312 W. Peterson is unique: a building displaying 1960s design elements still occupied by a business straight out of the mid-20th century.

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Jennifer Aniston takes the Cake, plus more new reviews and notable screenings

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 07:30 AM

  • Mommy
Jennifer Aniston has collected some of the best reviews of her career playing the scarred, emotionally brittle survivor of a terrible car accident in the indie drama Cake; it screens at River East 21, and our review is here. Also in this week's issue, Ben Sachs spotlights the best work from this year's Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, Drew Hunt takes a look at the program "Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Live Action", and I recommend Mommy, the latest from French-Canadian wunderkind (or whatever wunderkind is in French) Xavier Dolan.

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WALL-E, An Affair to Remember, and other Reader-recommended movies to watch online this week

Posted By on 01.30.15 at 07:00 AM

  • WALL-E

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, January 29, 2015

Father John Misty is here to make fun of every digital music service at once

Posted By on 01.29.15 at 04:00 PM

Father John Misty
  • Courtesy of Father John Misty's Facebook page
  • Father John Misty

Father John Misty, the nom de troll of Joshua Tillman (formerly of Fleet Foxes), has streamed his new album I Love You, Honeybear a full two weeks ahead of its scheduled release. Sort of. The songwriter announced a "new music platform" called SAP that's all about hearing music on demand at no cost to either the listener or the artist. Slicked over with deeply sarcastic jargon and stock photos of young people listening to earbuds in the sun, SAP's homepage contains a single album stream: I Love You, Honeybear. Well, not really—the album's been stripped down to canned instrument patches and synthesized vocal sounds.

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The Super Bowl's number 'I' problem

Posted By on 01.29.15 at 03:30 PM

And were not talking about Pete Carrolls glasses.
  • Matt York/AP
  • Coach Pete Carroll readies himself for Super Bowl XLIX, aka Super Bowl 49.
Credit should go where it's due, and it's due any sportswriter who doesn't write like this:

The twists and turns of N.F.L. careers seldom intersect in the Super Bowl. Only twice has a head coach defeated the franchise that no longer wanted him: the Jets' Weeb Ewbank against the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Jon Gruden against the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

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A must-see free-jazz trio begins its February residency at the Owl this weekend

Posted By on 01.29.15 at 02:00 PM

Dave Rempis
Over the past couple of years, Logan Square late-night spot the Owl has been booking an eclectic and exciting program of music in its back room. Talent buyer Aaron Dexter has kept the acts constant and diverse, ranging from local punk and garage to hugely influential noise acts like Wolf Eyes and Pharmakon to legends like Silver Apples, so it only makes sense that he's now entering the jazz realm. Every Sunday in February, local free-jazz reedist Dave Rempis, along with bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Avreeayl Ra, will be performing two sets at the bar.

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Candidate Amy Crawford wants to tackle crime in the 46th Ward

Posted By on 01.29.15 at 01:30 PM

Amy Crawford
  • courtesy the candidate
  • Amy Crawford

Amy Crawford's run for 46th Ward alderman has been a long time coming. A resident of the ward for nearly a decade, she has long been involved in community and advocacy groups supporting childhood education and LGBT rights. In 2008 she took time off from her clerkship with a federal judge to work on Obama's campaign, which she says was an exciting and transformational time that ignited a political fire.

In the time since then she has remained active in her community, practiced law—including LGBT rights pro bono work—and, last January, adopted a baby boy with her wife. That was the real turning point that inspired Crawford to go one step further and run against current 46th Ward alderman James Cappleman.

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Report: Scientists are feeling sort of sulky

Posted By on 01.29.15 at 01:00 PM

Mad scientists? More like sad scientists.
  • Thinkstock
  • Mad scientists? More like sad scientists.
New research has identified another group of American professionals who feel underappreciated. A study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center indicates that the public respects this profession, but not to the degree its members believe they deserve to be respected, and that the public has more doubts about some of the methods they employ than the experts employing them do. Even though most Americans still believe these people are doing a superior job, they're not as certain of that as they used to be. There are signs the people doing these jobs are getting a little discouraged.

Who fits this description? Well, who doesn't? Teachers, journalists, the cops—they're all familiar faces in our nation of put-upons. Pew inducts into their company America's scientists.

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Moog is relaunching three classic modular synths, so here's a Moog mass from 1970

Posted By on 01.29.15 at 12:00 PM


Earlier this month Moog Music announced that it would recreate three of the sophisticated modular-synth systems that made the company famous in the 70s. System 55, System 35, and Model 15, as they're rather prosaically known, are straight-up battleships compared to most modern synths—enormous and heavy, with intimidatingly cryptic interfaces and solid walnut cabinets.

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