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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

You might want to avoid the shallow end on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 08.29.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Ryan Duggan
SHOWS: Trouble in Paradise at the Empty Bottle from Thu 9/13 through Sat 9/15

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DJ Duane Powell follows his ‘inner-gy’

Posted By on 08.29.18 at 06:00 AM

  • Isa Giallorenzo
  • DJ Duane Powell

"It's African, it's Afrofuturism, it's house, it's jazz, it's ever-evolving"—that's how DJ Duane Powell talks about his style. On the day he was photographed—after playing a set in Avondale's Woodard Plaza at an event promoted by Elastic Arts, the Corner Project, and Activate Chicago—his look included a tall-brim hat custom-made by Esenshel, a T-shirt by local artist James Nelson, and a neoprene necklace by Rosanna Contadini purchased at the Silver Room. Powell has been "at it" for so long that his taste is remarkably authentic, but he acknowledges artists like Andre 3000, Maxwell and Erykah Badu are "from his tribe".

The self-described "musicologist" exudes panache and self-confidence, but he wasn't always like that. In high school he spent his hard-earned money on designer brands he couldn't afford, just to be able to fit in. "I hung out briefly with what we call 'label whores', but it didn't take long for me to realize that I was looking for some kind of validation, some sort of acceptance—as were they," the 41-year-old says. "It wasn't natural. It was a middle-class performance, and it wasn't me."

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Heartbreak Hotel and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 08.27.18 at 06:00 AM

Heartbreak Hotel - BRETT BEINER
  • Heartbreak Hotel

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Friday, August 24, 2018

People of Culture will be taking over the DuSable Museum this weekend

Posted By on 08.24.18 at 06:00 AM

Tunde and Dupe will be hosting the red carpet. - COURTESY EFE IYARE
  • Courtesy Efe Iyare
  • Tunde and Dupe will be hosting the red carpet.

After moving to Chicago from Nigeria in 2014 to pursue a master's in marketing from Roosevelt University, Efe Iyare recalls the culture shock he had. "I realized that there was a huge bias about me being African and what that represented," he says."People had no idea, just based off what they have seen in the media, where I came from or my culture." The experience left him feeling inspired. "I felt obligated to represent [Africa] in my own way. It was my responsibility to show people the true colors and true values that Africa represents," Iyare says. So in 2016, he took to social media and decided to create an Instagram page, Culture Power (@culture_power), "to promote African culture and diversity." Now, two years later, the page has more than 1,200 followers, and Iyare’s efforts to foster cultural competency are growing beyond the Internet. Culture Power will be hosting its first event, People of Culture, this Sunday, August 26, at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

For Iyare, the history and significance of the DuSable Museum to Chicago's black community made it the perfect place for People of Culture. The evening's happenings will be based around music, dance, and fashion. A red carpet will kick off the event, followed by a light dinner and networking session, music performances, and a fashion display; the night will close with a talk.

The occasion will "show success stories and people from the continent who are doing extremely well," Iyare says. A few notable people who will be in attendance are Tanzanian fashion designer Rahel Mwitula Williams, Senegalese businessman Elhadji Gueye, and Ghanian Instagram fitness guru Jehu Graham. There will also be 12 musicians performing, which is very important to Iyare. "They don't necessarily have that audience and platform to promote like rock stars or African-American rappers, so this is the thing that will give them that platform for them to promote their talents," he says.

Iyare hopes that the event will attract not just Africans but those who are interested in learning more about the continent and what its countries have to offer. Anyone who wants to learn about and celebrate the African culture is welcome; tickets are available on the People of Culture website.

The event flyer - COURTESY EFE IYARE
  • Courtesy Efe Iyare
  • The event flyer

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Pedro the Lion at Thalia Hall, and more things to do this weekend

Posted By on 08.23.18 at 06:00 AM

David Bazan of Pedro the Lion - RYAN REYNOLDS
  • Ryan Reynolds
  • David Bazan of Pedro the Lion

There's a lot going on in Chicago this weekend—here's some of what we recommend that you check out.

Thu 8/23-Mon 8/27: A much-anticipated pop-up Glossier store opens at 114 N. Aberdeen in the West Loop this Thursday, where visitors can purchase the brand's makeup products as well as interact with installations that teach visitors more about the brand, created in partnership with local artists. Mon-Fri noon-8 PM, Sat-Sun 11 AM-7 PM

Fri 8/24-Mon 8/26: The Radicalization Process is a performance-art theatrical adaptation of Antigone, looking at revolutionary acts through the lens of 1960's and 70's America. "Originally inspired in 2014 by the activist movements sparked in the wake of high-profile killings of unarmed African-Americans, The Radicalization Process has taken on additional significance since the 2016 presidential election," writes Reader critic Dan Jakes. 7:30 PM, Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219-21 S. Morgan, $10

Fri 8/24: David Bazan's on-again, off-again band Pedro the Lion is back and playing at Thalia Hall alongside H.C. McEntire. In the words of Reader critic Leor Galil, Bazan and his band "excel at the kind of touching emo that both reaches the genre's heights and circumvents its lows." 9 PM, Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, $22-35, 17+

Sat 8/25: Local experimental pop duo Ohmme perform at Thalia Hall with the Hecks and V.V. Lightbody. "They sculpt a sound that's rich yet agile, and summon a virtual orchestra using only their voices and guitars," writes Reader's Peter Margasak of the group. 8 PM, Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, $12, all-ages

Sat 8/25: As part of the weeklong Dog Day performance series, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis brings his versatile jazz to Constellation, backed by locals Ben Lamar Gay, Kent Kessler, and Avreeyal Ra. 4 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, free, 18+

Sun 8/26: Flamingo Rodeo, the side project of Ne-Hi singer and guitarist Mikey Wells, is releasing its first full-length record, Said Unsaid, this Monday and celebrating with a show at Empty Bottle. 8:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, free

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

In Stephen Markley's debut novel, Ohio is more than just a political football

Posted By on 08.22.18 at 06:15 PM

Stephen Markley and his debut novel, Ohio - COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR
  • Courtesy of the author
  • Stephen Markley and his debut novel, Ohio

Since the election of Donald Trump, Ohio has served as a sort of political Rorschach test. Depending on the ideology or affiliation, some squint and see the state as the avatar of humble, plain-speaking "Real America." Others view it as a downtrodden place that embraced Trumpism after being abandoned by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Then there are those who see a state of racist white people are angry about the crumbling foundation of white supremacy.

But former Chicagoan Stephen Markley hopes his novel—named after his native Great Lakes state—will help readers think of Ohio as not just a swing state but a diverse, complicated region full of flesh-and-blood people. It's a book that attempts to be both a murder mystery involving four former classmates who return to the fictional town of New Canaan and a social critique about a place devastated by social, political, and economic upheaval over the last generation.

Out this week, Ohio (Simon & Schuster) is an ambitious debut of fiction from Markley, whose last book was a boozy, irreverent travelogue of a stint in Iceland (Tales of Iceland, or Running With the Huldufólk), written in 2013. Prior to that, in 2010, was Publish This Book: The Unbelievable Story of How I Wrote, Sold and Published This Book. The 34-year-old native of Mount Vernon, Ohio, cut his teeth as a freelance writer in Chicago, with jobs including a gig as a columnist for RedEye, then attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Before making a Chicago stop on his book tour on Thursday evening, Markley spoke with the Reader about his topsy-turvy career, the politics of military service, and, yes, Ohio.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sunday’s Kultura Festival filled Logan Square Emporium with the food and arts of the Philippines

There's a lot more to the culture than Spam, you know.

Posted By on 08.21.18 at 08:14 PM

Rapper and spoken-word artist Ruby Ibarra performs. - PAT NABONG
  • Pat Nabong
  • Rapper and spoken-word artist Ruby Ibarra performs.

This past weekend, Emporium Logan Square was turned into an ephemeral Filipino neighborhood that featured Filipino-American chefs, artists, dancers, activists, and performers.

Where other ethnicities have distinct neighborhood identified with them—Chinatown, Greektown, Pilsen and La Villita—"We don’t have our exact community space. . . . We don't have a Filipino town," says Natalia Roxas, a photographer behind the food and culture website Filipino Kitchen. Four years ago "in a drunken spur" Roxas came up with the thought of a Filipino-specific event. The Kultura Fest blossomed into something bigger as she talked to people in Chicago's Filipino-American community.

"It's that need of having a community space and coming together to really appreciate and highlight all these people that are hidden in different kitchens and difference scenes," Roxas says. "It feels like our community here is struggling with that."

But Sunday's festival drew people from all over the midwest as well as a chef from Portland, Oregon, and artists from the Bay Area. Filipino pride was palpable in the room as Filipino-American artist Ruby Ibarra rapped about the beauty of having brown skin.

The event's success has inspired Roxas to try to branch out to other cities next year. "We want to be able to serve and create this space for underresourced communities throughout the country. I think this is a really good platform to highlight different talents," she says. v

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After much hype, beauty brand Glossier pops up in the West Loop

Posted By on 08.21.18 at 01:38 PM

  • Courtesy Glossier

New York-based beauty brand Glossier knows how to build buzz. In June it posted a photo to Instagram of a pink Bean in Millennium Park—utilizing the same shade as its popular brand color (Pantone 705 C)—and shared plans to come to Chicago this summer. The post generated nearly 135,000 likes—well over double what those bookending it commanded—as well as more than 4,000 comments, ranging from "OMG I’M STOKED I LIVE THERE ILY GUYS! Like I'm legit crying tears right now" to "Wait, Chicago is getting a Glossier store? Or just a pop-up? Either way, I’m dying. Covered in goosebumps."

Glossier responded to the comments with cryptic lines like, "We'll be sharing more details about our Chicago experience soon!" Those details have since been revealed.

A pop-up Glossier retail shop will open at 114 N. Aberdeen in the West Loop on Thursday, August 23, and remain through the end of October. Chicago was "awarded" the store because it ranks in Glossier's top five "engaged" cities. Curated by the beauty brand's in-house design team, the space is meant to draw inspiration from the city's architectural history and art scene.

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‘Guaclandia’ made about as much sense as a guacamole-themed Instagram trap can make

Posted By on 08.21.18 at 06:16 AM

  • Courtesy Wholly Guacamole

Last Friday I stopped by the Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival to check out Guaclandia, a small portion of the festival being spun as a "fun and immersive avocado experience."

That was a bit of an oversell. The entirety of Guaclandia was a school bus emblazoned with letters advertising Wholly Guacamole—a company specializing in flavored guacamole dips—and an avocado-green ball pit (see what they did there) that spilled out the back. The themes and entertainment felt lifted straight from a kindergartener's birthday party, and I imagine the pit was about as sanitary.

It took about two minutes to walk through Guaclandia. Featured was a Warhol-style wall of avocado illustrations, a claw-machine arcade game with small avocado-themed prizes, and a nearly blank wall on which guests were prompted to write in chalk what they liked about avocados.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

An Agam sculpture vanishes from Michigan Avenue—again

Posted By on 08.20.18 at 06:00 AM

One view of Communication X9 by Yaacov Agam - CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE TODAY VIA FLICKR
  • Chicago Architecture Today via Flickr
  • One view of Communication X9 by Yaacov Agam

Crain's Chicago Business
, taking note of the disappearance of  Communication X9, a tall, multicolored sentinel of a sculpture that stood in front of the building at 150 N. Michigan that houses its office, reports that the family of the artist, Yaacov Agam, a 90-year-old Israeli living in Paris, is upset about it.

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September 20
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