Bleader | Chicago Reader

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Todd Haynes’s first film for kids may also be his saddest movie yet

Posted By on 11.01.17 at 11:39 AM

Millicent Simmonds in Wonderstruck
  • Millicent Simmonds in Wonderstruck
When I'm watching a film by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, I'm Not There), I'm usually too caught up in the director's formal decisions to think about the emotions of the characters. The deeper engagement comes later, after the movie has sunk in and I can separate the aesthetic from the themes. So it goes with Haynes's latest, Wonderstruck, which opened in Chicago last Friday. Like his debut feature, Poison, Wonderstruck alternates between separate narrative lines set in different eras, with each given its own visual style. One story, set in 1927, is made to resemble a sleek silent melodrama; the other, set in 1977, has a grittier look reminiscent of American films made around that time. The influence of silent melodrama is palpable in other ways—the plot is driven by outlandish coincidences, and the characters are defined in broad strokes. Though it's always clear as to what the characters are feeling, Haynes and screenwriter Brian Selznick (adapting his own YA novel) emphasize the narrative form above any emotional content. Wonderstruck feels like an intellectual puzzle, inviting viewers to identify parallels between the stories and guess how they might intersect.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Buzzy indie enigma King Krule brought his glum, gritty tunes to Metro last night

Posted By on 10.31.17 at 02:29 PM

  • Bobby Talamine
  • King Krule

Last night, genre-hopping 23-year-old London singer-songwriter Archy Marshall, aka King Krule, headlined a sold-out show at Metro. He and his tight five-piece backing band refashioned the stylistically slippery, gritty songs from the second King Krule album, this month's The Ooz, abandoning some of the torpid inertia of his droopiest material while preserving its glum mood. Photographer Bobby Talamine was front and center.

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Chicagoan, former Trump aide pleads guilty to making false statements to the FBI, and other news

Posted By on 10.31.17 at 06:00 AM

Former FBI director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed-door meeting in June 2017. - AP PHOTO/ANDREW HARNIK, FILE
  • AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File
  • Former FBI director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed-door meeting in June 2017.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Happy Halloween!

  • Chicagoan, former Trump aide pleads guilty to making false statements to the FBI

Chicago native and former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, 30, has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Papadopoulos allegedly tried to set up meetings between Russian leaders and the presidential campaign staffers. The charges against the DePaul University alumnus come from Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's alleged ties and collusion with Russia. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his aide Rick Gates were also charged; both men pleaded not guilty Monday. Papadopoulos has been living in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, where neighbors say he mostly keeps to himself, according to the Tribune. [Tribune] [Daily Beast]

  • Gun violence is keeping the new chief of Chicago's FBI field office awake at night

Jeffrey Sallet, the new head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Chicago field office, is losing sleep at night over the city's gun violence problem, and he doesn't officially start the job until November 6. "I'm doing my homework and making sure that I am engaged on that issue from the moment I hit the ground in Chicago," he told the Sun-Times. The city must be prepared for the new normal of mass shootings like the October 1 massacre in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and more than 500 wounded. "I'm certainly going to be working with the Chicago Police and all of our law enforcement partners," Sallet said. [Sun-Times]

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Are there alternatives to calling 911?

Posted By on 10.30.17 at 02:53 PM


In this day and age, police violence—particularly against African-Americans, LGBTQ people, youth, people with mental illness, and undocumented immigrants—is impossible to ignore. As people who have little personal experience with these tragedies become conscious of the frequency and pervasiveness of assaults and killings by law enforcement officers, some are starting to wonder: In an emergency, are there alternatives to calling the police?

On the evening of October 25, about 20 people (mostly white women and a couple of men) gathered at the Nightingale Cinema in Noble Square for a workshop that explored this question. Hosted by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), the workshop was the group's latest in a series of events devoted to exploring the history of policing and police abolition. It's part of a growing movement of grassroots organizations training people wary of police to do everything from cop watching to providing emergency first aid to gunshot victims. The event prompted attendees to examine the notions of justice and punishment that shape their thinking about police and revealed the degree to which state services seem inextricably intertwined with law enforcement.

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Saturday Night Live: The Experience,’ Northalsted Halloween Parade, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 10.30.17 at 02:36 PM

The Chicago Thriller flash mob marches down Halsted to kick off the Northalsted Halloween Parade on Tuesday 10/31. - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • The Chicago Thriller flash mob marches down Halsted to kick off the Northalsted Halloween Parade on Tuesday 10/31.

Here's some of what we recommend for the week to come:

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Eddie Johnson calls for tougher Illinois gun laws after study shows many guns used in crimes are purchased in the suburbs, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 10.30.17 at 06:00 AM

Eddie Johnson speaks to the media in 2016. - AP PHOTO/TERESA CRAWFORD
  • AP Photo/Teresa Crawford
  • Eddie Johnson speaks to the media in 2016.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, October 30, 2017.

  • Eddie Johnson calls for tougher Illinois gun laws after data shows many guns used in Chicago violence came from suburban licensed gun stores

Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson is asking Illinois state legislators "to approve legislation to more aggressively regulate gun dealers in Illinois, pointing to a newly released trove of data that shows many guns recovered by police in connection with crimes can be traced back to licensed gun stores in the Chicago area," according to the Tribune. A study conducted by the CPD, the University of Chicago Crime Lab, and the mayor's office found that "roughly two out of every five of Chicago's crime guns come into the city from Illinois source dealers, making Illinois the single largest source state for Chicago's illegal guns," according to the report. There are no licensed gun shops within city limits, so many of the guns are coming from suburban stores, and about 25 percent of guns found at Chicago crime scenes during a four-year period came from just ten area businesses. "Details in this report clearly highlight the need for additional legislative action to help stymie the illegal flow of guns in Chicago," Johnson said. [Tribune]

  • Pat Quinn, Renato Mariotti join Democratic race for attorney general

Former Illinois governor Pat Quinn and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti are joining the crowded field in the Democratic primary for attorney general. Quinn has not run for office since losing the 2014 gubernatorial race to Governor Bruce Rauner. Mariotti has built up name recognition and a large social media following as a cable news legal commentator and frequent critic of President Donald Trump's policies. The University of Chicago alumnus also worked in the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago for nearly ten years. "The argument that I'm making is the best way to check Donald Trump is [by] using state attorneys general," he told Politico. "I've been talking about issues—all voting machines have been penetrated by the Russians in Illinois, and no one really seems to be talking about it." [NBC Chicago] [Politico]

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Friday, October 27, 2017

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant: One of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s best films

Posted By on 10.27.17 at 04:56 PM

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
  • The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
One of the major cinematic events of the fall is the Rainer Werner Fassbinder retrospective at Doc Films, which runs on Sunday nights at 7 PM through December 3. The series, consisting of nine features (all showing on 35-millimeter), is organized in chronological order, and this allows spectators to consider Fassbinder's remarkable—and remarkably fast—evolution as it played out.

The first four weeks of the series brought films from Fassbinder's first period, which consists of ten features shot between spring 1969 and fall 1970. These efforts are of a piece, whether they're genre exercises (Love Is Colder Than Death, The American Soldier) or ironic dramas (Katzelmacher, Beware of a Holy Whore), employing detached long shots (which show the influence of Andy Warhol and Jean-Marie Straub) and espousing a pessimistic worldview that saw love as a form of social control. The breathtaking pace at which Fassbinder made these movies speaks to their fervor; here is the work of an angry, impassioned young man (he was only 25 when he completed the first period) who wanted to realize his ideas as soon as they came to him. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), screening this Sunday in Doc's series, comes from the start of Fassbinder's second period, when he married his style to a newfound interest in character. The results are deeply emotional, even overwhelming.

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Twenty years ago, in Moscow, Matt Taibbi was a misogynist asshole—and possibly worse

Posted By on 10.27.17 at 04:40 PM

  • Penguin Random House
  • Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi has a new book out now, I Can’t Breathe, about all the forces that conspired to kill Eric Garner. It's an important story that has become part of our national conversation, as evidenced by Ryan Smith's interview with Taibbi in this week's Reader. But it's also inadvertently become part of another conversation that has risen to a crescendo in the past few weeks: the Weinstein conversation. This, of course, encompasses not just Harvey Weinstein, but the misogyny and abuse of power that allowed him, and men like him, to harass and abuse women for decades with no apparent punishment.

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Helltrap Nightmare, Chic-A-Go-Go, and more of the best Halloween happenings in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 10.27.17 at 02:09 PM

Sarah Sherman, aka "Sarah Squirm," pulls out all the stops (and pubes) at the raunchy Helltrap Nightmare Fri 10/27. - COURTESY OF ARTIST
  • Courtesy of Artist
  • Sarah Sherman, aka "Sarah Squirm," pulls out all the stops (and pubes) at the raunchy Helltrap Nightmare Fri 10/27.

Halloween isn't until Tuesday, but this weekend offers plenty of opportunities to scare yourself. Here's some of what we recommend:

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What's in Chicago’s new Public Art Plan?

Posted By on 10.27.17 at 12:06 PM

  • Mobius / Wikimedia Commons

The city introduced its first ever public art plan this week, in
conjunction with a two-day symposium at the Cultural Center, and as part of the Year of Public Art.

Developed by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the plan is an ambitious, aspirational document that, according to DCASE commissioner Mark Kelly (speaking at the symposium), is intended to make public art "a defining characteristic of Chicago."

An outgrowth of the 2012 cultural plan, the Public Art Plan lays out seven broad goals, each accompanied by (here's where it can get dicey) a list of recommendations.  Among those likely to stir discussion are suggestions that the city:

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
March 21
Performing Arts
July 31

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