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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Local garage greats CoCoComa play the second show of their brief reunion this weekend

Posted By on 02.26.15 at 02:00 PM

CoCoComa before they called it a day
  • CoCoComa before they called it a day
CoCoComa, one of the most exciting bands to come out of Chicago, formed in 2005 as a duo of guitarist Lisa Roe and drummer and vocalist Bill Roe ("I was forced to learn how to sing and drum," he notes) and shortly after added Mike Fitzpatrick on bass and organ. The band became a full-fledged garage-rock powerhouse, perhaps the best Chicago has ever seen. Their songs are high-energy rompers fueled by the entire band's over-the-top enthusiasm as well as Bill's nonstop drum stomp and charismatic vocals.

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Indian cream liqueur doesn't go with Campari (and other lessons from Somrus)

Posted By on 02.26.15 at 12:30 PM

Last fall Burr Ridge resident Pankaj Garg and his wife Swati released Somrus, an Indian cream liqueur—the first product in what they intend to be an entire line of Indian-inspired drink products. In Hindi, the name apparently means "nectar of gods," which seems like a pretty high bar to set, but it does sound nice.

Pankaj Garg, a management consultant, decided to create his company—Sompriya, which means "dear to gods"—after noticing a void in the market (there's another product that bills itself as an Indian cream liqueur, Voodoo, but it doesn't appear to be available outside of India). Somrus has a cream and rum base flavored with cardamom, saffron, almonds, pistachios, and rose. I was given a complimentary bottle recently, along with a press kit containing a number of cocktail recipes. The liqueur sounded pretty good, but I was more intrigued by some unlikely-sounding cocktails. Who pairs a creamy ingredient with tequila? Or with Campari and gin?

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Okean Elzy, Ukraine's biggest rock band, plays the Riv on Sunday

Posted By on 02.26.15 at 12:00 PM

Okean Elzy, with front man Svyatoslav Vakarchuk second from right
  • Courtesy the artist
  • Okean Elzy, with front man Svyatoslav Vakarchuk second from right

I won't put on airs: I can't speak or read a word of Ukrainian. And I'd never heard of Okean Elzy ("Elza's Ocean") till I got a press release last month alerting me to their show on Sunday at the Riviera Theatre. The subject line of that e-mail referred to this group from Lviv simply as "Top Ukrainian band," which hardly seized my imagination. It's not even phrased properly to work as a hyperbole! But after a bit of research, I'm pretty confident that Okean Elzy are in fact the most popular rock band in Ukraine—which all but guarantees them a large, ecstatic audience in Chicago.

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Did you read about Banksy, Harper Lee, and Mike Royko?

Posted By on 02.26.15 at 11:45 AM

Is Harper Lees Go Set a Watchman a finished novel?
  • AP Photo/Rob Carr
  • Is Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman a finished novel?

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

Hey, did you read:

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Andorka's Sandwich Shop is all that and a side of homemade chips

Posted By on 02.26.15 at 09:00 AM

Roast beef sandwich and chips
Like many people who work in offices and who would rather sleep as late as possible instead of getting up early to prepare and pack elaborate lunches, I eat a lot of sandwiches. I wouldn't say I'm a connoisseur exactly, but I have some firm opinions about what makes a good sandwich.

The bread should not be stale or soggy. The fillings should not be slimy or greasy. The sandwich maker should not try to substitute an extra helping of lettuce for more expensive—and better-tasting—ingredients. If tomatoes are used, they should be red and juicy, not pink and chewy. There should be a balance between soft and crunchy. And you should be able to hold it easily in one hand while you type or click with the other.

I regret that Andorka's Sandwich Shop is in Pilsen instead of closer to Reader world headquarters because the sandwiches, prepared by owner and proprietor Matt Andorka, are models of the form, and I would eat them frequently.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Can Chuy beat Rahm in the runoff?

Posted By on 02.25.15 at 04:30 PM

Jesus Garcia addresses supporters at the Alhambra Palace last night after learning he made it into a runoff with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
  • Ashlee Rezin/for Sun-Times Media
  • Jesus Garcia addresses supporters at the Alhambra Palace last night after learning he made it into a runoff with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"Today, a majority of the people of Chicago said with one loud voice, 'We're sick and tired of being sick and tired,'" Jesus "Chuy" Garcia told his jubilant supporters last night at the Alhambra Palace.

The crowd roared, but it wasn't true. Most Chicagoans didn't speak at all in yesterday's mayoral election. They voted with their butts—they stayed home. Chicago has 1,421,430 registered voters, and 957,095 had better things to do. Maybe they were sick and tired of Rahm Emanuel, but none of his opponents inspired them to vote, either. Chuy made the runoff because a third of the third that voted went for him. It was hardly a ringing endorsement, as he surely knows.

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Check out drill's great indie hope SD tomorrow at Lincoln Hall

Posted By on 02.25.15 at 04:00 PM

When drill erupted out of Chicago three years ago behind the rise of Chief Keef, the infamous MC brought his close circle of friends with him into the limelight. Many inked deals with major labels, though Sadiki Thirston, aka SD, went indie—he's released a string of Life of a Savage mixtapes and a studio album, November's Truly Blessed, which he put out through LA's IHipHop Distribution. SD's name is less recognizable than, say, fellow drill rappers Lil Durk or Lil Reese, but SD is exalted among hip-hop heads who follow this scene closely. SD is a known entity, but some people talk about him like he's this city's best-kept rap secret.

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With 'Vikings,' the Field goes metal

Posted By on 02.25.15 at 03:30 PM

The first Norsemen to wear horned helmets were characters in Wagnerian opera in the 19th century. The horned helmet became a patriotic symbol of Scandinavia after Germany invaded Denmark in 1864. It was adopted by heavy metal enthusiasts in the 1970s.
  • Aimee Levitt
  • The first Norsemen to wear horned helmets were characters in Wagnerian opera in the 19th century. The horned helmet became a patriotic symbol of Scandinavia after Germany invaded Denmark in 1864. It was adopted by heavy metal enthusiasts in the 1970s.
Vikings did not wear helmets with horns on them. They probably bathed and combed their hair—or at least, the archaeological record shows they were very attached to their combs. They did other things besides sail around Europe and rape and pillage and set things on fire. And they did not call themselves Vikings: "viking" is an Old Norse term for going on a trading trip or raid (sometimes it was hard to distinguish the two), which came to be applied to all medieval Scandinavians who showed up in places that were not Scandinavia.

These are some of the things you can learn at "Vikings," an exhibit organized by the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm that will be on display at the Field Museum from February 27 till October 4, along with the Krampmacken, a modern Swedish replica of a Viking ship. But maybe the most surprising thing you will learn is that medieval Scandinavians had some pretty spectacular jewelry.

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The mayoral runoff is going to be a shitstorm

Posted By on 02.25.15 at 02:51 PM

Rahm is, no doubt, readying his big guns.
Many years ago, I heard a funny story from former aldermanic candidate Marja Stoll about running against Alderman Dick Mell's mighty political machine, then rooted in Logan Square.

As Stoll stood on a corner greeting voters, up drove Mell, teeming with rambunctious power.

From across the street, he called out: "Hey, Marja, you're gonna lose! You're gonna lose!"

I've got to admit I heard that story with a little bit of envy.

As one of those guys generally on the losing end of elections against the machine, I wanted my chance to be the taunter. As opposed to the taunted.

Well, Chicago, in the aftermath of yesterday's improbable election in which—and I still can't really believe it—Jesus Garcia, the most unlikely of candidates, forced Mayor $30 million into a runoff . . .

Allow me to have my Dick Mell moment.

Ha, ha, ha, ha—Mayor Rahm got his ass whupped!

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The New York Times publishes the best reason yet for not naming a source

Posted By on 02.25.15 at 01:30 PM

The New York Times may have finally settled the debate over when it's OK to use anonymous sources. Times policy: only when the source has a good enough reason.

But what's a good enough reason? The Times just made that clear.

Wrote James Barron in Wednesday's New York edition, reporting on results of a restroom restoration project at midtown's Port Authority bus terminal:

A second person who checked out the women's restroom—and who asked not to be identified because she has always wanted to be an anonymous source—reported her findings by email: "Black shiny granite-y sink. Arched faucets by Sloan. Tasteful slate gray and powder gray tiles."

Works for me.

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