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Monday, July 6, 2015

See our photos of the Grateful Dead's Friday farewell show

Posted By on 07.06.15 at 04:15 PM

If you spent even a sliver of time within a few miles of Soldier Field this past weekend, then you know that it was impossible to ignore the Grateful Dead's three-day good-bye, "Fare Thee Well." The unparalleled tie-dyed presence could be an annoyance for those folks who have no tolerance for jam bands—but who among us wouldn't want to see a band we love bid adieu with the same sense of import and celebration that surrounded these "Fare The Well" shows? Almost 50 years later, the band's Summer of Love-era lineup—Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart—performed for thousands of Deadheads with the help of Phish front man Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby, and organ and synth player Jeff Chimenti.

Tickets were in high demand in the months leading up to this momentous blowout, so I didn't make it to any of the shows. Fortunately ace photographer Bobby Talamine was on the scene, and he captured some fantastic shots of the Dead in action. So throw on "Attics of My Life," the final song the band played at last night's show, and take in Talamine's photos below.


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Monday, June 29, 2015

In Blackout, Sarah Hepola shines a light on alcoholism

Posted By on 06.29.15 at 03:00 PM

blackout.jpg
Near the end of her new memoir, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, Sarah Hepola, newly sober, tries to imagine what the rest of her life will look like. She realizes that all her most satisfying daydreams depend upon her being someone else. So do her friendships, her romantic life, and even her career—she's a writer and the personal essays editor of Salon, where, even in that catalog of human misery, her contributions stand out for their candor and lack of self-pity. For most of her life, she'd relied on alcohol to turn her into the person she wanted to be.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Atlas Sound and others added to the already insane Levitation Chicago lineup

Posted By on 02.05.15 at 03:30 PM

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Austin Psych Fest has changed the name of its annual blowout to Austin Psych Fest presents: Levitation, and the show is going on the road and coming to town. Levitation Chicago hits Thalia Hall next month, and Empty Bottle Presents announced the initial lineup for the two-day bash back in January—postpunk outfit the Pop Group and shoegaze band Swervedriver are the big, attention-grabbing groups and easily worth the price of admission. The Reader's got the early scoop on the rest of the lineup and the full schedule, which you can check out below.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The influence of David Bowie on the rom-com Words and Pictures

Posted By on 09.02.14 at 12:30 PM

Clive Owen as a high school English teacher in Words and Pictures
  • Clive Owen as a high school English teacher in Words and Pictures
Like many Chicagoans, I'm eagerly looking forward to the David Bowie exhibit that opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art later this month. I'm also excited about the upcoming Doc Films series (copresented by the MCA) of movies featuring Bowie, which occupies the second Thursday-night slot on Doc's fall calendar. Bowie's records have always exhibited strong affinities with cinema. Many of them center on Bowie playing a different character (Ziggy Stardust, the soulless soul man of Young Americans and Station to Station), and the production often suggests a sonic equivalent to cinematic spectacle, conjuring up specific environments (like the futuristic noir landscape of Outside) or guiding the listener through little narratives.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Somm: When a niche becomes a trap

Posted By on 06.13.13 at 05:00 PM

Lauren Bacall, with curtain designs, in The Cobweb
  • Lauren Bacall, with curtain designs, in The Cobweb
I'm convinced that a great movie can be made on any subject, no matter how arcane, provided that its makers find something of greater significance in the material or else employ cinematic form to transform that subject into something interesting. One of Vincente Minnelli's best films, The Cobweb (1955), centers on a debate over who gets to design the curtains of a posh sanitarium's common room. In the movie's intricate structure, the debate becomes intertwined with larger psychiatric issues—namely, the benefits of regimented treatment versus a more exploratory approach. The patients who want to design the curtains (and the doctors who encourage them to do so) see the project as an outlet for self-expression, and Minnelli presents their case sympathetically. The curtains come to reflect the his long-running theme of the redemptive power of art.

For a very different example, consider the sequence in Frederick Wiseman's documentary Meat (1975) where beef-industry salesmen in Colorado make phone calls to potential clients. It's a brilliant piece of social portraiture, showing men who dress and talk like cowboys even when employed in bureaucratic work. Wiseman, a great listener, is keen to their jargon and cadences—he illustrates how every office place develops its own particular music.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

An irresponsible Saturday to close out my SXSW

Posted By on 03.17.13 at 04:36 PM

Waka Flocka Flame: Taller than youd expect
  • Gregoryjoziak/Wikimedia Commons
  • Waka Flocka Flame: Taller than you'd expect
I have the hangover that I was asking for. Just as our esteemed editor did recently I set out last night with the intention of feeling terrible today, not for the sake of a testing out a hangover cure, but just because I had spent the entire week being shockingly responsible—and it's not a true SXSW experience if you don't wake up wanting to die at least once.

After a day of finishing off all of the work-related responsibilities I had to fulfill during the festival I headed over to Viceland to catch the excellent Brooklyn punk band Parquet Courts. Due to some production delays I ended up only catching half of one of their songs, but it was great, as per usual with that band. I did get to see Erykah Badu DJ, which was a dreamy surprise, especially since she's actually a really good DJ. Her set was an unaggressively bumping blend of recent R&B, vintage soul, and old school hip-hop, and she had a live microphone in front of her for whenever she was moved to sing along. Erykah Badu singing over old Stevie Wonder songs is better than 99 percent of the other music happening at SXSW. On my way out I walked past Waka Flocka Flame, who is far taller in person than you might expect.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trick-or-treating's so 20th century: what to do for Halloween 2012

Posted By on 10.24.12 at 11:38 AM

All the best things to do for Halloween
  • Cool dog costume, bro
The great thing about having Halloween on a Wednesday is that we get to celebrate it two entirely separate times, with plenty of rest in between. This weekend, Fri-Sun 10/26-10/28, is when Chicago's bogeymen are really boogying down. Here's a selection of the best our Halloween listings have to offer, and be sure to check Agenda for more good bets, too, like the ZomBeyonce party.

Friday26

OperaModa and American Chamber Opera Halloween Concert Kind of pricy, but there are no better costumes than opera's. Here you'll find Halloween-themed activities capped off by a concert of theater hits. 6-9 PM, Flederhaus Haunted Mansion, 2461 N. Geneva Terrace, americanchamberopera.org, $100, kids under 18 free.

Peek-A-Boo: An Ooky Spooky Halloween Burlesque Hey, I reviewed this revue a while back, noting that Kiss Kiss Cabaret's annual Halloween show "swaggers only when the vamps turn truly vampirical." They will tonight, I wager. 11 PM, Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-404-7336, greenhousetheater.org, $20, $15 in advance.

Saturday27

Happy Howl-O-Ween Dog Parade and Costume Contest Attendees are encouraged to bring donations of canned and dry dog food, toys, werewolves, and cleaning supplies to benefit the Famous Fido Rescue and Adoption Alliance.* Noon registraton, 1:30 PM parade, Bow Wow Lounge, 1744 W. Winona, 773-728-5474, asnachicago.org, $5 entry fee per dog, free for humans.
*actually, only three of those things are encouraged

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

#RIPBonny's: the last nights of Logan Square's dance bar

Posted By on 09.25.12 at 07:35 AM

Bonnys Logan Square last night photos
  • @leo_dude on Instagram
So many people I talked to this weekend were "totes"* sad that Logan Square's tiniest, sweatiest, shadiest late-night dance bar closed on Saturday. A "protracted legal battle" is responsible for shuttering the two-year-old Rorschach test of a watering hole, Time Out said, and that kind of makes sense for a place where you came to get hammered and make bad decisions.

When I found myself at Bonny's on Friday night irreparably sober and unavailable to the ladies, I decided to make the best of the experience by asking some regulars—and there were plenty of sightseers there to see what they'd been missing—where they'd go to get their drunken dancing fix. Results were mixed, but aside from one very confident reply that Danny's could offer everything Bonny's could, no one was sure. "Danny's is great, but it's not the same," one told me. "I guess I can't walk home from the Hideout," said another. "Bonny's for life," said another, who had "no fucking idea" where she'd go in coming weekends, just that it'd never be the bar that replaces Bonny's.

Anyway, things didn't seem so out of the ordinary on Friday besides the 40-minute-long line outside. We sang "Last Nite" in its entirety on the penultimate night, but that could happen any day, really, because that song is awesome. The one notable difference was on Instagram, which lit up with more than a few tributes, and some of the same old pics of shit-faced faces.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Closing this Saturday: Bonny's Bar

Posted By on 09.19.12 at 12:06 PM

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Bonny's, the Logan Square watering hole famous for its 4 AM closing time, talented DJs, and urinal-cake odor is closing its doors this Saturday. The bar announced the news on its Twitter feed.

Bonny's was voted "Best 4 AM Bar" in our 2011 Best of Chicago Readers' Poll. While dance clubs are fairly widespread in the city, 4 AM bars that feature DJs who play eclectic, exciting music (and also have enough space for people to dance) are rare. Here's hoping something else exciting rises up in its place.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Eight delicious photos of cats with fruit

Posted By on 07.20.12 at 11:23 AM

So thats where watermelon come from...
  • via vinomatt/Reddit
  • So that's where watermelon come from...
I'm coming down with a cold, and it's, like, a really bad time for me to be sick. Luckily, these little guys have fruit to offer me, because they know there's nothing like vitamin C to prevent a bedridden weekend. Thanks guys!

Note: We're not talking cats wearing fruit helmets, here. For that, you'll need to hit up Buzzfeed, which, to be completely transparent though it's blindingly obvious, is where I got the idea for a a quirky listicle based on something I saw early in the morning on Reddit—the mess of hair that is apparently responsible for Buzzfeed's Samsonesque strength. Hey, I don't resent them for that! Really, I'm happy to see that they're doing so well. I just think that maybe it's time we less "downtown" publications got in on the action, because let's face the music here, you guys are suckers for pictures of cats, you'll click through a whole slideshow of them probably, and we're not really doing our level best as a business if we didn't try to exploit that part of you even as we educate on gay youth struggling on the streets, City Hall's slush fund incompetence, and endemic poverty, are we?

Bite into the eight cats with fruit after the jump.

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
The Better Half Steppenwolf Theatre, 1700 Theatre
November 08
Performing Arts
Spirits to Enforce Berry Memorial United Methodist Church
November 08

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