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Friday, October 24, 2014

The stunt coordinators are the real stars of John Wick, the new Keanu Reeves vehicle

Posted By on 10.24.14 at 01:15 PM

Keanu Reeves in John Wick
  • Keanu Reeves in John Wick
John Wick, the Keanu Reeves vehicle opening today, probably has more in common with Carlos Saura's dance films than with any other actioner currently at the multiplexes. The film is deliberately lacking in suspense. There's no question as to whether the title character will triumph over the Russian crime family that ruined his life—Wick is presented as such an outstanding hit man that even other killers fear him. Rather, we're invited to take pleasure in how he triumphs over them, which he does with grace and gusto. Most of the showdowns between Reeves and his enemies involve a fair amount of hand-to-hand combat, and the filmmakers present the fights like dance numbers. There isn't much cutting during these scenes, so we get to appreciate the action choreography in real time. Moreover the camera often maintains enough of a distance from the performers so we can see their whole bodies.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Foo Fighters play the Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville this Friday

Posted By on 10.14.14 at 11:10 AM

Foo Fighters
  • Courtesy of Wikipedia
  • Foo Fighters

This weekend, Dave Grohl has plans to return to the venue where he saw his very first punk show, headlined by Naked Raygun. For the Chicago stop of the Foo Fighters' HBO documentary series, Sonic Highways, the band will play an intimate show at the Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville. The show's Fri 10/17, and doors open at 8:30 PM. Tickets go on sale Wed 10/15 at 10 AM and start at $20. Don't expect them to last long.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Windy City Rollers celebrate a decade of cruisin' and bruisin'

Posted By on 09.12.14 at 12:53 PM

There's nary a coffee shop or bar in Chicago these days that doesn't display the Windy City Rollers' league poster in their window come derby season. Even those who have never been to a bout are well aware of the group of bad-ass girls who are slamming into each other on four wheels. Some people have even turned to derby as a recreational fitness regimen (OK, I'm totally talking about myself here). It's funny, then, to think that just over ten years ago the league didn't exist.

What started in 2004 as a handful of women looking to bring the Austin-born tradition to Chicago has evolved to an eight-team league (one farm team, four home teams, and three traveling teams). On Tuesday skaters from the past decade—some of whom haven't stopped rolling since the league started—will gather to celebrate the Windy City Rollers' short but illustrious history at the Black and Blue Gala.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Premiere: A brand-new single from Mucca Pazza, 'All Out of Bubblegum'

Posted By on 09.03.14 at 10:00 AM

Mucca Pazza
  • C.B. Lindsay
  • Mucca Pazza
Ten years ago more than a dozen Chicago musicians came together to form Mucca Pazza, an outfit with the size and sound of a marching band that performs with panache and fervor of a punk group. To celebrate a decade of keeping things strange Mucca Pazza will play an anniversary show at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday, October 28 Friday, October 31. The concert also serves as a release party for their fifth album, L.Y.A., which they'll release on their new label, Leather Bus Records.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Photos of Sleep and Corrections House playing last night at Thalia Hall

Posted By on 08.29.14 at 04:44 PM

Matt Pike of Sleep

Last night, San Jose stoner-rock pioneers Sleep played the first of two sold-out shows at Thalia Hall in Pilsen. The massive, tectonic trio have been on the reunion circuit since 2009, hammering out the hypnotic sludge of their 90s heyday. For the past few years, Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder has taken over the drums for the legendary metal band, supplying the oozing stomp that slowly propels them along. Rave reviews from last night's show have been popping up, and I'm beyond stoked to see the heavy spectacle myself this evening (in like four hours).

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chicago producer Starfoxxx talks about dumb tattoos, sampling cats, and his forthcoming debut album

Posted By on 08.13.14 at 03:30 PM

Starfoxxx at the Empty Bottle
  • Courtesy of David Beltran/Starfoxxx
  • Starfoxxx at the Empty Bottle
Local-music stalwart David Beltran wears a lot of hats. He cofounded FeelTrip, a collective and record label that once operated out of a cavernous loft in the South Loop—Beltran and his cohorts threw DIY shows featuring the Orwells, Sepalcure, and Dirty Beaches, and the space also included a studio that Yawn and Twin Peaks used to record sessions. Beltran's also a talented visual artist, and I'm a fan of his Chicago band calendar and his "Feeltrip Lovers" T-shirt, which I wrote about in the 2013 edition of the Reader's Best of Chicago.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

The Reader's photo recap of Lollapalooza 2014

Posted By on 08.04.14 at 05:30 PM

Killer Mike and El-P, aka Run the Jewels

This year's edition of Lollapalooza was possibly the most controversial since the festival took up an annual weekend-long residence in Grant Park in the summer of 2005. As reported here on the Bleader and elsewhere, Blood Orange's Dev Hynes and Samantha Urbani were assaulted by security officers who were reportedly not employed by the festival; yesterday, Chance the Rapper brought R. Kelly out onstage, but the reception was considerably cooler than the one following the latter's performance at last year's Pitchfork Music Festival. Despite the debatable choices of the Lollapalooza organizers, there were plenty of great performances this past weekend, and our photographers were there to capture most of it. Check out our photo slideshow below to see some of the best of the weekend.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Dense crowds and dubious security practices at the first day of Lollapalooza

Posted By on 08.02.14 at 12:00 PM

Blood Oranges Dev Hynes and Samantha Urbani
  • Alex Friedland
  • Blood Orange's Dev Hynes and Samantha Urbani

Tal Rosenberg: The big news out of the first day of Lollapalooza was Blood Orange; unfortunately, troubling news about festival security overshadowed otherwise positive feedback about the Dev Hynes-fronted band's set. According to multiple tweets from Hynes and a Pitchfork report, the frontman and his girlfriend Samantha Urbani were assaulted by security. In a bizarre coincidence, Hynes was wearing a T-shirt with the names of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, and Jordan Davis written on it; Urbani wore a T-shirt that read "STOP POLICE BRUTALITY." A later report from Lollapalooza indicates that the security guards were not hired by the festival but rather privately hired by that stage. Here's Lollapalooza's statement about the incident:

"Late Friday night, we learned of an incident involving an artist and a security guard on site. Since then, we have been in contact with those involved and the authorities, as we work together to resolve the situation. As always, our top priority is to ensure the safety of everyone at the festival."

Despite the lamentable news about aggressive security, there was plenty of music at the festival that people seemed to enjoy. Two of our correspondents, Emily Ornberg and Kerry Cardoza, had plenty of positive feedback about some of the music performed on Friday. Those recaps, plus a few snapshots of the festival, are below.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

And the winner of our 2014 Pitchfork cover contest is . . .

Posted By on 07.18.14 at 02:30 PM


Some people have strange talents. Take Patrick Stanton—he has managed to win this contest for the second year in a row. Patrick correctly identified a mind-boggling 46 characters on this year's B Side cover, no small feat.

This year, we've provided a detailed key of everyone and everything that appears on Jason Wyatt Frederick's Pitchfork cover. Take a look below and see what you might have missed (and use the image above for reference). And keep checking back here for the rest of our coverage of this year's Pitchfork Music Festival.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The shadow forces of Dr. Strangelove

Posted By on 06.11.14 at 03:43 PM

Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove
  • Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove
One of the supreme pleasures of the new 35-millimeter restoration of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (which screens for two more nights at the Music Box) is that it allows you to celebrate how grainy Stanley Kubrick's movies are. I can't think of many other comedies that look like Strangelove, with its sci-fi mise-en-scene and newsreel-style matter-of-factness. Nothing about the imagery suggests you're supposed to laugh—Kubrick creates the impression that he captured the humor surreptitiously and then smuggled it into the theater. This odd spontaneity is central to the director's art. As Jonathan Rosenbaum has argued, Kubrick's notorious practice of shooting dozens of takes of the same shot didn't stem from some mad perfectionism, but rather a desire to achieve something as unforced and unpredictable as real life. (Compared to Dr. Strangelove, the improvised humor of most current Hollywood comedies feels especially belabored.) This method has roots in Kubrick's early career as a photojournalist—one might say he constructed his movies as intricate, self-contained worlds so that he might film them as if he were a documentarian.

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