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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Immerse yourself in the work of Jean-Pierre Melville, master of the French crime film

Posted By on 05.31.17 at 02:54 PM

Le Cercle Rouge (1970) screens in the Film Center's Melville retrospective on June 3 and June 8.
  • Le Cercle Rouge (1970) screens in the Film Center's Melville retrospective on June 3 and June 8.

In the body of film history, the career of Jean-Pierre Melville represents a crucial piece of connective tissue. Melville may not have been the first French filmmaker to take inspiration from American crime films, but he did so more openly and with greater relish than any other before him. His 1950s crime tales, Bob le Flambeur (1956) and Two Men in Manhattan (1959) are madly cinephilic works that wear their influences on their sleeves. The characters are all but defined by their American cars and clothes, while the style of these movies is so ripe and self-aware that one never forgets that they're in the world of the Movies. With its low budget and movie-mad attitude, Bob le Flambeur was a key reference point for the directors of the French New Wave, who looked to Melville as a godfather. Melville turned in cameos in a couple of major New Wave films, Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless and Eric Rohmer's The Sign of Leo, and he reportedly provided Godard with advice when the younger director was editing his first feature; moreover, Francois Truffaut, Louis Malle, and Claude Chabrol turned to Melville's regular cinematographer, Henri Decaë, to shoot their early works.) His later, more austere crime works, among them Le Samouraï (1967) and Le Cercle Rouge (1970), were key influences on such Hong Kong directors as John Woo and Johnnie To, who were inspired by these works when developing their own style in the 1980s and '90s.

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With ‘Off the Clock,’ Chicago rapper Jayaire Woods demonstrates why he deserves a bigger audience

Posted By on 05.31.17 at 12:00 PM

jayairewoodsofftheclock.jpg

Chicago hip-hop had a tremendous year in 2016, but despite all the attention local artists got, plenty of great material didn't see the spotlight. Among those unfairly overlooked releases was Free the Fall, the second mixtape from Bolingbrook-based rapper Jayaire Woods. He put it out through Quality Control, the Atlanta indie label that's worked with Migos, Rich the Kid, and Lil Yachty. Woods opened Yachty's solo tour last summer, and I wish he could've benefited even more from the rapid rise of the King of the Teens. On Friday, Woods releases his third mixtape, Big Wood, and its first single, "Off the Clock," came out Monday

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Goodman pulls the plug on Stacy Keach’s opening-night performance of Pamplona

Posted By on 05.31.17 at 11:47 AM

Stacy Keach as Hemingway in Pamplona - LIZ LAUREN
  • Liz Lauren
  • Stacy Keach as Hemingway in Pamplona
UPDATE [6/6]: The Goodman Theatre announced today that actor Stacy Keach suffered "a mild heart attack" during the opening night performance of his solo Hemingway show, Pamplona, May 30.  The show was halted and the run subsequently canceled, but Goodman now says Keach is expected to recover, and that plans are under way to reschedule the production.

***

An hour into the Tuesday-night opening performance of Pamplona, a solo show featuring Stacy Keach as Ernest Hemingway, the lights came up, and an offstage voice announced, "We are having technical difficulties. Mr. Keach, please leave the stage."

Keach did, and a few seconds later, Goodman artistic director (and the show's director) Robert Falls came onstage, introduced himself, and put an end to it. "Mr. Keach has been sick all day, but wanted to go on," Falls said. "He wanted to give you this show. The performance is not going as we intended. We're ending it now."

The stunned audience applauded before it filed out.

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A proud octogenarian shows off her Canadian Tuxedo

Posted By on 05.31.17 at 09:00 AM

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

ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo

"I think what you should know about me is that I'm 83 years old, and I think that's important," Mary Borysewicz says while en route to the grocery store in a Canadian tuxedo. "We're the Gloria Steinem group!" She describes her style as "medium conservative," which she's quick to clarify "is very different from my politics." Her senior pride is evident in her denim brand of choice: Not Your Daughter's Jeans. "They fit well," the retired medical editor says, "and that's hard to find."

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There's a supercool hot rod on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 05.31.17 at 07:00 AM

18740549_10209348498415538_2245565819670642252_n.jpg

ARTIST: Joe Schorgl
SHOW: Giuda, the Sueves, and Mama at 1st Ward on Wed 5/31

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Chicago Teachers Union considering merging with charter school union, and other news

Posted By on 05.31.17 at 06:00 AM

Chicago parent and community groups hold a press conference in front of the mayor's office to support the Chicago Teachers Union in 2016. - JAMES FOSTER/FOR THE SUN-TIMES
  • James Foster/For the Sun-Times
  • Chicago parent and community groups hold a press conference in front of the mayor's office to support the Chicago Teachers Union in 2016.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

  • Chicago Teachers Union considering merging with charter school union

The Chicago Teachers Union is in talks to merge with Chicago ACTS Local 4343, which represents Chicago charter school employees. Both unions will need to approve the move, which would make Chicago ACTS and its more than 1,000 members into a CTU division. "We believe that unification is a key step to allow educators to speak with one voice in Chicago, halt privatization and bring additional resources to our collective work at the CTU," the latter union stated in a letter to its governing delegates that was obtained by the Sun-Times. "That said, merging two dynamic locals into a single union is a delicate process and will inevitably bring challenges and tensions. We must be intentional about addressing both sets of members' questions, concerns and commitments to having a clear voice, representation and identity within the new, larger organization." [Sun-Times]

  • Rahm counters Census Bureau data with U-Haul report

Chicago was the only major U.S. city to lose population in 2016, according to a Census Bureau report. But after its release last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel quickly tried to refute the data, citing a U-Haul report that "determined Chicago ranked No. 2 in the nation for one-way drop-offs of the company's trucks and trailers." Said Emanuel, "This report is further evidence of the vibrancy and vitality of Chicago, a global city where people across the country and around the world are coming to live, work and pursue their dreams." But as the Tribune points out, among other factors undermining the mayor's attempt at spin, U-Haul itself notes that "Destination cities do not account for departing traffic, and thus do not necessarily reflect growth." [Tribune]


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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Scrappy Oakland postpunks Rays are the latest discovery from Trouble in Mind Records

Posted By on 05.30.17 at 12:00 PM

Rays - COURTESY OF TROUBLE IN MIND RECORDS
  • Courtesy of Trouble in Mind Records
  • Rays

Sometimes a record label finds a sweet spot, locking  in on an aesthetic that keeps you enthralled. That's exactly what Bill and Lisa Roe of Trouble in Mind Records have been doing for me with one irresistibly hooky rock band after another. Not every act has staying power, and some are unapologetically mining aesthetics developed decades ago, but nearly every Trouble in Mind release over the past couple years has sounded great to me. This time next year I might not still be itching to listen to the self-titled debut from Oakland four-piece Rays, which came out in late March, but right now it's doing a killer job kicking off my summer.

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Voices Against Violence, Maifest, and more things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 05.30.17 at 11:45 AM

Maifest kicks off summer street festival season on Thu 6/1. - CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
  • chicago sun-times
  • Maifest kicks off summer street festival season on Thu 6/1.

From comedy shows to festivals to literary readings, there's tons to do in Chicago this week. Here are just a few recommendations:

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The Illinois General Assembly is back in session with little hope for a budget deal, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 05.30.17 at 10:13 AM

Republican state senators Jason Barickman, Karen McConnaughay, and Bill Brady ask for more time to continue negotiating a budget deal with senate Democrats during a news conference May 17. - AP PHOTO/JOHN O'CONNOR
  • AP Photo/John O'Connor
  • Republican state senators Jason Barickman, Karen McConnaughay, and Bill Brady ask for more time to continue negotiating a budget deal with senate Democrats during a news conference May 17.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

  • The Illinois General Assembly is back in session, but there's still no budget

Time is running out for the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Bruce Rauner to approve a budget by May 31, and there are few signs of progress. On Monday the house approved bills to increase penalties for repeat gun offenders, automatically register people to vote, and "protect immigrants in the face of a federal crackdown," the Tribune reports, but failed to address the state budget deadline. And last week Democrats in the state senate approved a budget blueprint last week that fails to include the property tax freeze Governor Rauner says he'll require not to veto any proposed legislation. "What good is it to pass a budget that doesn't go anywhere?" Democratic state rep Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates told the Tribune. "Really the endgame should be, 'How do we keep government running to help the people we are supposed to help?' Whether it's at 100 percent, it's at 80 percent, it's at 50 percent. To me, that's the fundamental question that we are losing sight of. We are spending a lot of time on a budget that might not happen." [Tribune]

  • CPD superintendent Eddie Johnson expects to undergo a kidney transplant within a month

Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Friday that he's ready to undergo a kidney transplant within a month. "I'm ready to get it done and get back to work," Johnson said. Doctors are reportedly considering three potential donors, including Johnson's son. [DNAinfo Chicago]

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Most Democratic gubernatorial candidates favor some form of legal weed in Illinois

Posted By on 05.30.17 at 08:00 AM

The Reader asked Illinois gubernatorial candidates where they stand on marijuana legalization. - AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA
  • AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA
  • The Reader asked Illinois gubernatorial candidates where they stand on marijuana legalization.

Whomever Illinois elects as governor in November 2018 may be in a position to make or break proposed legislation to legalize possession of limited amounts of pot and sow the seeds for a recreational marijuana industry in the state.

The gubernatorial election is still a year and a half away, but the sponsors of legislation filed earlier this year to legalize marijuana in Illinois say they plan to wait until the beginning of next year—at the very earliest—to push for a vote. That means a bill legalizing pot could arrive on the desk of the state's next governor in January 2019.

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