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Friday, September 29, 2017

Pianist Dave Burrell deftly straddles jazz history

Posted By on 09.29.17 at 02:00 PM

Dave Burrell - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • courtesy of the artist
  • Dave Burrell

Pianist Dave Burrell has never bothered following a script, or at least the one that's directed most figures involved with the free-jazz ferment of 1960s New York and the expat community that spent a number of fruitful years working in Paris in the late '60s and early '70s. His playing has always been built from a deep understanding of hard bop, even as he bent conventions to accommodate heavy-hitters like Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, and Grachan Moncur III, among others. In the 70s Burrell worked with a younger generation of firebrands, and he forged a meaningful partnership with reedist David Murray. Yet at the same time Burrell engaged in a rigorous study of the great, pioneering New Orleans jazz master Jelly Roll Morton—on the surface, a very different can of worms.

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The Upside Down closing with DJ Heaven Malone, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 09.29.17 at 10:42 AM

Emporium Popups throws a Viking funeral for its popular Stranger Things-themed space the Upside Down on Saturday 9/30. - COURTESY OF EMPORIUM POP-UPS
  • Courtesy of Emporium Pop-ups
  • Emporium Popups throws a Viking funeral for its popular Stranger Things-themed space the Upside Down on Saturday 9/30.

Sit politely at the South Asian Film Festival or dance wildly at the closing night of the Upside Down. Either way, there are plenty of events for you to do this weekend. Here's some of what we recommend:

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How Chicago shaped Hugh Hefner and his Playboy empire, and other news

Posted By on 09.29.17 at 06:00 AM

Tony Bennett with Hugh Hefner on a 1960 episode of the Chicago-based Playboy’s Penthouse - EVERETT COLLECTION/REX USA
  • Everett Collection/REX USA
  • Tony Bennett with Hugh Hefner on a 1960 episode of the Chicago-based Playboy’s Penthouse

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, September 29, 2017. Have a great weekend!

  • How Chicago shaped Hugh Hefner and his Playboy empire

On Wednesday Playboy founder Hugh Hefner passed away at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, but the 91-year-old's formative years took place in Chicago. Born at Michael Reese Hospital, Hefner was raised on the northwest side and graduated from Steinmetz High School. "When I was a child, the street lights were still gas," he once recalled. "And you got your milk and coal and ice delivered by horse-drawn wagons. And at night, you could hear the train whistles. One of the loveliest sounds in the world." Hefner was living in Hyde Park when he produced the first edition of his iconic magazine. The original Playboy Mansion was located in the Gold Coast, just blocks from the first Playboy Club, the Playboy Towers Hotel, the Playboy Theater and the magazine's headquarters. [Tribune] [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Rauner signs House Bill 40 expanding abortion coverage and protecting the procedure

Outraging many Republicans, Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 40, expanding insurance coverage for abortion and ensuring it remains legal in Illinois if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, the Sun-Times reports. "I am being true to my values and my views," he said Thursday at a news conference announcing his decision. "I have to do what I believe is right for the people of Illinois. And I have to be consistent with my values." [Sun-Times]


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Afrobeat innovators Antibalas end a five-year silence with Where the Gods Are in Peace

Posted By on 09.28.17 at 04:14 PM

Antibalas - MICHAEL DAVIS
  • Michael Davis
  • Antibalas

These days it seems like every city in America has its own Afrobeat combo, if not two or three. We have the Chicago Afrobeat Project, which tomorrow drops a new album, What Goes Up, featuring a guest appearance by the legendary Tony Allen—the drummer who helped create the style in the 1960s as the musical director of bands led by Nigerian agitprop-funk hero Fela Anikulapo Kuti. But once upon a time, Afrobeat was a rare commodity in this country—formed in the late 90s, powerful Brooklyn ensemble Antibalas were the first to popularize it here. Despite all the new competition from younger bands in the U.S. and abroad, they remain largely without peer, even as it's become less special to be able to hear Afrobeat played live in the States.

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Judge in Laquan McDonald murder case faces a challenge trying to control the flow of information, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 09.28.17 at 06:00 AM

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke takes the witness stand during a hearing in front of Judge Vincent Gaughan at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building. - NANCY STONE/CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA AP, POOL, FILE
  • Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File
  • Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke takes the witness stand during a hearing in front of Judge Vincent Gaughan at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, September 28, 2017.

  • Judge in Laquan McDonald murder case faces a challenge trying to control the flow of information

The high-profile nature of the first-degree murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in the death of Laquan McDonald would be a challenge for any courtroom, but Cook County judge Vincent Gaughan is facing an additional set of challenges. Gaughan has to "find ways to control or even stop the flow of information about such cases" because statements made by public employees made under a threat of being fired cannot be used in court, and the prosecution team must "demonstrate that none of the evidence they're using is the result of testimony given under a grant of immunity," according the Associated Press. The judge recently asked the prosecution and defense teams to come in for hearings on separate days in order to avoid their crossing paths. "If it's found that the prosecution used (protected) information, it can disqualify the whole prosecution team or get a conviction thrown out," Jennifer Joyce of the Prosecutors' Center for Excellence told the AP. [Associated Press via the Washington Post]

  • Four high-profile business leaders join Amazon bid committee

Chicago has named four high-profile business leaders to chair its Amazon second-headquarters bid committee: United Airlines chief executive officer Oscar Munoz, former U.S. commerce secretary Penny Pritzker, Abbott chief executive officer and chairman Miles White, and Loop Capital chief executive officer and chairman Jim Reynolds. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner are serving as honorary cochairs of the 600-person committee. "This unprecedented coalition brings together the public and private sectors with education, community and faith leaders to speak with a powerful, unified voice that says that Chicago is the ideal location for Amazon to build its new home and continue to grow for generations," Emanuel said in a statement. [Tribune]

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Food for thought: deep-fried pork brains

Posted By on 09.27.17 at 09:31 PM

Bill Walker, chef at the Kennison, has nothing against offal. He's even open to brains as long as they're fresh. But when Stephen Hasson of Ugo's challenged Walker to create a dish with Rose Pork Brain in Milk Gravy, Walker struggled with fact that the product comes in a can. For one thing, its smell and taste reminded him of another canned meat—namely, cat food. "[The brains are] just off-putting in a pink paste of milk gravy in a can," he says.

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Joseph Chilliams talks about the losses he overcame to release one of the year’s best Chicago hip-hop albums

Posted By on 09.27.17 at 06:57 PM

Joseph Chilliams - ARIS THEOTOKATOS
  • ARIS THEOTOKATOS
  • Joseph Chilliams

Chicago rapper Joseph Chilliams is one of the tens of millions of Americans for whom the night of November 8, 2016, was a nightmare. But Chilliams's evening went south even before the election was decided. While walking home in Austin, he was robbed of his wallet and backpack (the latter empty but for a broken umbrella and some Altoids) and badly beaten. His assailants left him bleeding on the ground with a shattered face. "They had to do plastic surgery and put a plate in my cheek to give me a foundation, because it was totally broken," he says. On the first night Chilliams spent at the hospital, his doctor tactfully pretended not to know the outcome of the election. "He didn't want to be the person to break that news to me. I was dealing with enough," Chilliams says. "It was definitely decided. He was like, 'Oh, you know, they're still counting.'"

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The LatinxArts festival gets on its feet with a show of dances by immigrant choreographers

Posted By on 09.27.17 at 05:22 PM

Michel Rodriguez Cintras - BENJAMIN WARDELL
  • Benjamin Wardell
  • Michel Rodriguez Cintras

In a year that's been especially tough on immigrants, the arts can foster a sense of community that provides relief. Hairpin Arts Center is rising to the occasion with the monthlong LatinxArts festival, featuring free workshops, exhibitions, and performances—among them, the one-night-only Movements: A Show of Work by Three Immigrant Dancemakers.

"In Chicago, our Latinx community is very large, and it is important for these people and their kids to see themselves represented when they go see dance and arts events," says Michel Rodriguez Cintra of Lucky Plush, who'll perform a duet from a work in progress, Give and Take, with his wife, Jordan Reinwald.

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The first Chicago International Latino Theater Festival brings 11 productions from five countries

Posted By on 09.27.17 at 04:30 PM

Mexico's Teatro Línea de Sombra’s brings Amarillo to the Yard at Chicago Shakespeare in October. - SOPHIE GARCIA
  • Sophie Garcia
  • Mexico's Teatro Línea de Sombra’s brings Amarillo to the Yard at Chicago Shakespeare in October.

Myrna Salazar was in Houston the day I talked to her by phone, with a lot to worry about. She has family in Puerto Rico—including her mother, whom, she said, she was trying to get off the hurricane-devastated island. She was also less than a week away from opening a brand-new theater festival.

A former talent agent who spent four years as development and marketing director at the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (the organization behind the Chicago Latino Film Festival), Salazar currently runs the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance, which she helped found last year. That makes her the point person for CLATA's first major project: the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, running September 29 through October 28 at various venues and featuring a total of 11 productions from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, and New York, as well as Chicago.

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The new horror film Friend Request fails to address what’s truly scary about social media

Posted By on 09.27.17 at 04:09 PM

Friend Request
  • Friend Request
In a recent article for the London Review of Books titled "You Are the Product," John Lanchester takes a rather skeptical view of Facebook and Google, arguing that these sites don't exist to bring people together or provide information, but rather to collect data on their users that they can sell to advertisers. Lanchester goes so far as to deem Facebook "the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind," adding "it knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government agent has ever known about its citizens." The article creates a frightening portrait of the social media landscape—Lanchester writes that Facebook is basically an amoral operation, selling user information to whomever pays for it, including organizations that seek to spread disinformation in the form of news. The site, he argues, is a threat to journalism as well as privacy.

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Bus Stop Athenaeum Theatre
July 19
Music
Batushka, Chasm, Suffering Hour Reggie's Rock Club
August 16

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