The Bleader | Blog + Reader, the Chicago Reader's blog

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Evanston new wavers the Front Lines exemplify the richness of the overlooked midwestern scene

Posted By on 08.29.17 at 02:53 PM


Since 2004 Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) has used the Secret History of Chicago Music to shine a light on worthy artists with Chicago ties who've been forgotten, underrated, or never noticed in the first place. Older strips are archived here.

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Real Gone Music reissues a moody but largely forgotten Paisley Underground classic from the Rain Parade

Posted By on 08.29.17 at 12:00 PM

Rain Parade - COURTESY OF THE ARTISTS
  • courtesy of the artists
  • Rain Parade

One of the first musical subcultures I got excited about as a kid was LA's early- to mid-80s Paisley Underground scene, one of the first neo-psychedelic movements in the U.S.—I was thrilled by the music but uninterested in the chemical mind alteration it often seemed to imply or encourage. So while I was happy to buy a paisley shirt at a vintage store, when I went to a concert by the Three O'Clock and somebody handed me a small paper cup with a sugar cube in it, I got nervous.

The Paisley Underground made room for lots of different sounds: the country twang of the Long Ryders, the post-Velvets skronk of the Dream Syndicate, the twee pop of the Three O'Clock, the proto-Americana garage rock of Green on Red. Looking back, much of the music was mediocre, but some of the best bands—such as the Bangles—made lasting cultural marks, even if they gave up anything remotely psychedelic in the process. One of my favorites was the largely forgotten Rain Parade, who made a couple of albums and pretty much dissolved by 1986. At this point they're probably best remembered as the first band of guitarist David Roback, who went on to form Opal and then Mazzy Star.

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Illinois school funding bill includes city property tax increase of up to $130 million a year, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 08.29.17 at 06:00 AM

Illinois senate minority leader Bill Brady (right) and Illinois house minority leader Jim Durkin address the media after arriving for a leaders' meeting about education funding at the state capitol Sunday. - JUSTIN L. FOWLER/THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER VIA AP
  • Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP
  • Illinois senate minority leader Bill Brady (right) and Illinois house minority leader Jim Durkin address the media after arriving for a leaders' meeting about education funding at the state capitol Sunday.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Tuesday, August 29, 2017.

  • Illinois school funding bill includes city property tax increase of up to $130 million a year

As the Illinois house's Democratic and Republican caucuses met to discuss the school funding bill Monday ahead of a vote, some details trickled out. The bill reportedly contains a property tax increase of up to $130 million a year for Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office is "still assessing the bill," spokesman Adam Collins told Crain's Chicago Business. "We have always looked to separate pension costs from CPS operating costs as a way to protect classrooms," Collins wrote in an e-mail. "This (tax hike) isn't something that would be taken lightly but, combined with the state stepping up on normal pension costs, it would be a step toward that end." [Crain's Chicago Business]

  • Who's most likely to run against Rahm Emanuel in 2019

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is likely to run for reelection for a third term in 2019, but "he has not made a final decision on whether his polling numbers have rebounded enough to risk facing an angry electorate openly hostile to incumbents," according to the Sun-Times. Assuming that Emanuel does run, the newspaper has drawn up a list of his potential challengers, from Cook County commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, former Chicago Police Department superintendent Garry McCarthy, and Cook County sheriff Tom Dart to city treasurer Kurt Summers, alderman and gubernatorial candidate Ameya Pawar, and Cook County commissioner Bridget Gainer. No clear frontrunner emerged. [Sun-Times]

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Game of Thrones wrap party, Noir City film festival, Fringe Fest, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 08.28.17 at 12:28 PM

See Marilyn Monroe in The Asphalt Jungle at the Music Box's Noir City: Chicago 9 film festival Thursday 8/31. - CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Creative Commons
  • See Marilyn Monroe in The Asphalt Jungle at the Music Box's Noir City: Chicago 9 film festival Thursday 8/31.

The Noir City: Chicago 9 film festival continues at the Music Box, the Chicago Fringe Festival kicks off, and much more is happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Entirely by coincidence*, Chicago producer Thelonious Martin partners with rapper Theophilus Martins on TM

Posted By on 08.28.17 at 12:00 PM

Thelonious Martin - IMAGE FROM THELONIOUS MARTIN'S FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Image from Thelonious Martin's Facebook page
  • Thelonious Martin

On Friday, prolific Chicago hip-hop producer Thelonious Martin released TM, a collaborative album with LA-based rapper, clothing designer, and cereal enthusiast Theophilus Martins. When the duo first teamed up three years ago, for the single "Show Me Around," Okayplayer suggested that they were using the similarity between their names to mess with the Internet. And when I read the Apple Music "artist" tag for TM, I did a double take.

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Chicago police have solved less than 20 percent of the murders committed in 2017, and other news

Posted By on 08.28.17 at 08:00 AM

Chicago Police officers investigating the site of a fatal shooting in July - ASHLEE REZIN/SUN-TIMES
  • Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
  • Chicago Police officers investigating the site of a fatal shooting in July

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, August 28, 2017.

  • Chicago police have solved less than 20 percent of the murders committed in 2017

The Chicago Police Department has solved less than 20 percent of the murders committed so far in 2017, according to CPD statistics. Detectives were able to makes 204 arrests in the 781 murders that occurred in 2016, which is about a 25 percent clearance rate. In the 1970s and '80s, police "cleared" about 80 percent of the city's murders, but the rate has been steadily dropping over the past decade: "The overall trend is the same, and it's been getting worse for years," crime analyst Jeff Asher told the Sun-Times. [Sun-Times]

  • Rahm: Chicago students no longer treated as "second-class citizens" in state school funding deal

Chicago Public Schools students will no longer be treated like "second-class citizens" under a new bipartisan school funding deal agreed upon by state legislators, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "That clear benchmark has been met," Emanuel said. More details about the agreement are expected to be revealed Monday, but legislators' "efforts risked being derailed amid ongoing rancor between Governor Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as pressure from unions," according to the Tribune. [DNAinfo Chicago] [Tribune]

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Agile freebop trio BassDrumBone celebrates 40 years together

Posted By on 08.25.17 at 02:00 PM

BassDrumBone (Mark Helias, Gerry Hemingway, Ray Anderson) - JORDAN HEMINGWAY
  • Jordan Hemingway
  • BassDrumBone (Mark Helias, Gerry Hemingway, Ray Anderson)

Next weekend's Chicago Jazz Festival honors the centennials of three of jazz's most colorful, enduring, and influential figures—Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk—but those aren't the only significant anniversaries it's observing. At 6 PM on Saturday at the Pritzker Pavilion, the trio BassDrumBone—drummer Gerry Hemingway, bassist Mark Helias, and trombonist and Chicago native Ray Anderson—performs as part of an international tour marking their 40th year as working collective. Last year the group released a terrific double album called The Long Road (Auricle) to celebrate this milestone, and its music sounds as vital as ever.

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Stranger Things dance party the Upside Down, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 08.25.17 at 01:43 PM

Dance to throwback 80s tunes at DJ Heaven Malone's Stranger Things pop-up party next door to Emporium Logan Square on Friday 8/25. - ABDUZEEDO
  • Abduzeedo
  • Dance to throwback 80s tunes at DJ Heaven Malone's Stranger Things pop-up party next door to Emporium Logan Square on Friday 8/25.

Labor Day, the bellwether of the end of summer, is nearly a week away. Cram as much as you can into a packed weekend of outdoor activities. Here's some of what we recommend:

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This year's edition of Noir City: Chicago expands its focus

Posted By on 08.25.17 at 01:11 PM

Jeff Bridges and Clint Eastwood in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), which screens at Noir City on Sunday at 6:30 PM
  • Jeff Bridges and Clint Eastwood in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), which screens at Noir City on Sunday at 6:30 PM
One of the city's best annual film events, Noir City: Chicago (which begins tonight at the Music Box) has grown over the years from a showcase of classic American film noir to a celebration of all sorts of movies that feature crime and/or a fatalistic worldview. As such, the last several installments of the series have exhibited a range of compelling rarities, including Argentinian features from the 1940s and '50s, Julien Duvivier's whimsical Flesh and Fantasy (1943), and (one of my personal favorite discoveries) Jean Negulesco's naturalistic drama Deep Valley (1947). This year's Noir City contains fewer international titles than recent editions, but there are still plenty of deep cuts. (I'm particularly curious about Quiet Please: Murder [1942], a George Sanders vehicle that centers on a hostage crisis at the Los Angeles Public Library.) And as an added bonus, everything in Noir City will screen from 35-millimeter.

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Rauner fires new communications team, says the ‘intensity of the battle’ against enemies ‘is going up,’ and other Chicago news

Posted By on 08.25.17 at 06:00 AM

Governor Bruce Rauner greets supporters before taking the stage at a Republican Day rally at the Illinois State Fair last week. - RICH SAAL/THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER VIA AP, FILE
  • Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register via AP, File
  • Governor Bruce Rauner greets supporters before taking the stage at a Republican Day rally at the Illinois State Fair last week.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, August 25, 2017. Have a great weekend!

  • Rauner fires new communications team, says "the intensity of the battle" against enemies "is going up"

Governor Bruce Rauner has fired his new communications team, saying they were "good people trying to do good work" but not the right fit, according to the Tribune. The fired staffers were hired only about six weeks ago, after his first round of mass firings in July. The nail in the coffin for the new team was a statement issued by a spokeswoman addressing the recent controversy surrounding a controversial Illinois Policy Institute cartoon deemed racist by many: "The cartoon was removed days ago. And the governor—as a white male—does not have anything more to add to the discussion." Rauner discussed the firings in a conference call with his remaining staff Thursday morning and reportedly said that "the intensity of the battle is going up." "The reality is in addition to the enemies on the other side of the aisle, we have enemies in the media and enemies who should be on our side, some of them former members of the administration," he said, according to a Tribune source. Two of the staffers fired were previously at the IPI. [Tribune]

  • Former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett will serve her sentence in the same jail as Sandi Jackson, Martha Stewart

Former Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett will report to Federal Prison Camp Alderson in West Virginia Monday to start serving her four-and-a-half-year prison sentence. Former alderman Sandi Jackson and Martha Stewart also did time at the prison, which has been dubbed "Camp Cupcake." Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to her role in a CPS contract kickback scheme nearly two years ago. [Sun-Times]

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Performing Arts
BigMouth Chicago Shakespeare Theater
September 18
Music
Terry Bozzio Reggie's Rock Club
September 18

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