Bleader | Chicago Reader

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A local vocalist keeps her 'cool consciousness'

Posted By on 10.31.15 at 08:00 AM

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

  • Isa Giallorenzo

Vocalist Kiara Lanier, aka Ki, was hanging out at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Prime Time event after guesting with Nomo, one of Chicago musician Elliott Bergman's projects. A new touring addition to Bergman's main group Wild Belle, Lanier also spreads good vibes via her recently launched "cool consciousness" lifestyle blog the Qi Shop ( The site's goal, she says, is to "share knowledge that encourages me and the readers to grow into our greatest selves." There's also room for fashion in Ki's philosophy: she tries to be intentional about the visuals she takes in and gives off. "Visualization influences thought," she says. "My outfits are affirmations too. I want my outfits to read 'Afro-Futurist monk from the south side.'" When it comes to "clothes, relationships, ways of being, thinking," the self-described minimalist advises people "get rid of anything that is taking up dead space in your life and closet. I've come to recognize this is an act of practicing worthiness. Knowing we're worthy of what we desire for our life is so important." Lanier opens for Nomo at Schubas on November 28 and performs with Wild Belle at Metro on January 15. 

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Mesmerizing Portland duo Golden Retriever return to Chicago on Sunday

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 05:45 PM

Golden Retriever - SARAH MEADOWS
  • Sarah Meadows
  • Golden Retriever

It's been more than three years since the peculiar Portland duo called Golden Retriever played in Chicago, when it made its local debut at the Empty Bottle in May of 2012. Clarinetist Jonathan Sielaff and synthesizer player Matt Carlson have only released one new recording since then, but they were quite productive beforehand, churning out a pile of releases between 2010 and 2012, including four full albums and a handful of shorter things. Golden Retriever returns to town this weekend, performing Sunday night at Elastic, which I hope anticipates an uptick in activity.

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Cultural moments of 1990 revisited by someone born in 1990

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 03:30 PM

Something very, very strange in these old woods. Call it what you want. A darkness, a presence.
  • Something very, very strange in these old woods. Call it what you want. A darkness, a presence.

From what I hear, 1990 was a hell of a year. NASA sent the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit, Nelson Mandela was released from prison—and, crucially, I was born unto this world. Twenty-five years later, as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, a panel of six WBEZ radio personalities and six storytellers and poets will come together for a month-by-month review of 1990. Just because I lived through only half of ’90 doesn't mean I can't contribute to the conversation. As a primer to the CHF event, I revisited several of the year’s most notable cultural moments.

Twin Peaks: In 1990, agent Dale Cooper ate cherry pie and drank black coffee in the fictional small town of Twin Peaks. In 2016, agent Dale Cooper will eat cherry pie and drink black coffee in the fictional small town of Twin Peaks. Some things never change. 

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Steve Brown, Natasha Korecki talk Madigan, Rahm, and Rauner at the Hideout

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 03:12 PM

What's up with these guys? Brown and Korecki will dish on Rauner and Rahm at the Hideout Tuesday. - (AP/CHARLES REX ARBOGAST)
  • (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
  • What's up with these guys? Brown and Korecki will dish on Rauner and Rahm at the Hideout Tuesday.

To get to the bottom of Governor Rauner's feud with Mayor Rahm, Mick Dumke and I have invited Steve Brown and Natasha Korecki to join us at the Hideout Tuesday night.

Actually, one thing has nothing to with the other. I just intended to write a bit about next week's First Tuesdays show, but couldn't stop from mentioning the ongoing spat between Rahm and Rauner, my two favorite plutocrats.

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The 1930s chiller White Zombie is an experimental-horror masterpiece

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 02:30 PM

Bela Lugosi in White Zombie
  • Bela Lugosi in White Zombie

The first time I ever saw Victor Halperin's 1932 film White Zombie (which will be screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center twice this week in a 35-millimeter restoration by the UCLA Film & Television Archive) it was part of an unintentional and incongruous double feature. I had snuck into a University of Chicago classroom screening of Max Ophuls's venerated Lola Montes (1955) and then sprinted across campus to see White Zombie at Doc Films immediately afterwards. I proclaimed White Zombie—a horror cheapie with Bela Lugosi as a unibrowed necromancer in a thinly researched rendition of Haiti—to be the superior film to anyone who would listen. I thought the Ophuls film had a messy, self-conscious narrative structure and moments of unabashed melodrama, while White Zombie was pure cinema, its images of terror (clasped hands, glowing eyes) rendered with a graphic simplicity that approaches cuneiform pictographs. I wouldn't instinctively feel the need to make such a comparison today—but I wouldn't disagree with my original verdict either.

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The daring debut album of AACM historian George Lewis gets reissued

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 02:00 PM


A couple of weeks ago I caught one of International Contemporary Ensemble's two performances of George Lewis's ambitious new opera Afterword: The AACM (as) Opera, a challenging piece based on the composer's 2008 book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago). Aside from a few sections in which current members of the AACM such as reedist Douglas Ewart and vocalist Ann Ward improvised, very little of the music resembled the early days of Lewis's career, which was spawned and inspired by his membership in the organization, beginning in 1971. 

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Tax on tickets to Lyric Opera and the CSO? Not for now.

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 01:45 PM

click image The Chicago City Council's Progressive Caucus wants to apply the amusement tax to Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. - (FLICKR/DAMIAN ENTWISTLE)
  • (Flickr/Damian Entwistle)
  • The Chicago City Council's Progressive Caucus wants to apply the amusement tax to Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Chicago’s laws can be confusing, even to the folks who make them. And in a city scraping for pennies to stay afloat, a pair of grand palaces of culture can attract attention. Like glittering Fabergé eggs, just sitting there looking rich.

So it was that in the run-up to the City Council’s budget vote this week, the Progressive Caucus came up with a list of revenue-generating amendments including one intended to add a 9 percent tax to the cost of tickets for two of the city’s major cultural engines—Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

It would be so easy. All the council would have to do is delete a paragraph of the Municipal Code.

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Start the Halloween weekend with Cannibal Corpse

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 12:00 PM

  • courtesy the artist
  • Cannibal Corpse

What better way to kick off the Halloween weekend than watching a disgusting, gory video from bloody death-metal staples Cannibal Corpse? Today's 12 O'Clock Track is "Kill or Become," which is taken from the band's latest album, last year's A Skeletal Domain. "Kill or Become," of course, is about murdering hordes of zombies—the song's brutal chorus erupts with, "Fire up the chainsaw! Hack their fucking heads off"—and in the video, the lyrics come to life in all their vile glory. The monster tracks off of A Skeletal Domain sound somewhat tame when compared to 90s Cannibal Corpse "classics" like "A Skull Full of Maggots" or the incomparable "Hammer Smashed Face," but all the elements that make the band so captivating—the dizzying blastbeats, guttural growling, hair-spinning guitar riffs, and slasher-film imagery—are all still there and haven't diminished too much. Enjoy the chainsaw slinging in the video below. Added bonus! Cannibal Corpse is playing tonight at Durty Nellie's in Palatine. What better reason for a little trip out to the suburbs than for death metal's finest?

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Did you read about New York, LA, and Richard Nixon?

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 11:38 AM

Conrad Black believed Richard Nixon when he said he wasn't a crook. - SUN-TIMES PRINT COLLECTION
  • Conrad Black believed Richard Nixon when he said he wasn't a crook.

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

Hey, did you read

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Psychologists gone wild, plus more new reviews and notable screenings

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 07:00 AM

  • Experimenter

This week I review two indie dramas about social psychologists studying control and obedience: Michael Almereyda's Experimenter tells the story of Stanley Milgram, whose famous "electroshock" experiment in the early 60s proved that most people could be pressured into torturing an innocent person, and Kyle Patrick Alvarez's The Stanford Prison Experiment re-creates the notorious study in which college students were cast in the roles of guards and prisoners. Also in this week's issue, Ben Sachs reviews Taxi, the latest from Iranian troublemaker Jafar Panahi. 

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