The Bleader | Blog + Reader, the Chicago Reader's blog

Monday, September 24, 2018

Here's hoping that the myth of the bad teacher is finally laid to rest

Posted By today at 06.00 AM

Karen Lewis, then-president of the Chicago Teachers Union, speaking at CTU rally outside the Thompson Center, April 1, 2016 - ONE ILLINOIS/TED COX
  • One Illinois/Ted Cox
  • Karen Lewis, then-president of the Chicago Teachers Union, speaking at CTU rally outside the Thompson Center, April 1, 2016

If I'm reading the cards right, 2018 will go down in history as the year the  myth of the bad teacher finally, mercifully, and hopefully was consigned to the dustbin of history.

I say hopefully, because some myths die hard, especially when the powers that be—and that would be you, Governor Rauner—have much to gain by promoting them.

But let's focus on the good news.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ecstasy on film: Nathaniel Dorsky discusses The Arboretum Cycle, his latest work of devotional cinema, which he'd prefer you watch alone

Posted By today at 06.00 AM

Nathaniel Dorsky shooting The Arboretum Cycle - DANIEL BOGDANIC
  • Daniel Bogdanic
  • Nathaniel Dorsky shooting The Arboretum Cycle

This Friday at 7 PM, Northwestern University’s Block Cinema will host one of the major cinematic events of the year with the local premiere of The Arboretum Cycle (2017), a collection of seven interconnected short works by veteran avant-garde filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky. One of the country's most important living film artists, Dorsky has been making meditative, generally rapturous movies since the early 1960s. He has described his practice as "devotional cinema" (he also wrote a book with that title in 2003), referring to the potential of movies to engender spiritual experiences. The Arboretum Cycle is doubtless one such experience. Shot in the San Francisco Arboretum over the course of a year, the work consists of silent shots of plant life, skies, and other natural phenomena. Dorsky's compositions are consistently inspired; eschewing wide shots, he forces viewers to lose themselves in minutiae. Last week I telephoned the filmmaker (who will attend Friday’s screening) to discuss the cycle. Our far-ranging conversation came to touch upon spirituality, the ethics of editing, and what it’s like to be a plant.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, September 21, 2018

Reeling Film Festival, 312 Block Party, and more to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 09.21.18 at 12:30 PM

Jean-Pierre “Jupiter” Bokondji and the band Okwess, playing at the World Music Festival this weekend - MICKY CLEMENT
  • Micky Clement
  • Jean-Pierre “Jupiter” Bokondji and the band Okwess, playing at the World Music Festival this weekend

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

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

America is a junkyard on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 09.19.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Dan Black
SHOW: Childish Gambino at United Center on Sat 9/8

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Lillie West tells secrets but keeps them on Lala Lala’s lucid, cryptic new The Lamb

Posted By on 09.19.18 at 06:00 AM

Lillie West of Lala Lala - ALEXA VISCIUS
  • Alexa Viscius
  • Lillie West of Lala Lala

Lala Lala were the first band I saw after I moved to Chicago in 2015. I was 18 and nervous, camouflaged under the low ceiling of Humboldt Park basement venue Pinky Swear in what I hoped was the universal cool-kid uniform, right down to the scuffed low-top Dr. Martens and can of PBR. In the abrasive guitar and intricately coded autobiographical lyrics of Lala Lala front woman Lillie West, I found a pocket of the Chicago underground rock scene that I could see myself in—I've been a fan ever since.

The band will probably never lose their affection for basement shows, but these days they can play legitimate clubs too—in fact they're headlining the Empty Bottle on Friday, September 28, to celebrate the release of their second full-length, The Lamb, via Sub Pop offshoot Hardly Art.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Chicago’s first Red Bull Music Festival is all over the map, with Pusha T, Makaya McCraven, Merzbow, and more

Posted By on 09.18.18 at 10:00 AM

Jazz drummer Makaya McCraven will perform with an 11-piece ensemble on November 29 at the South Shore Cultural Center. - IMAGE VIA MAKAYA MCCRAVEN'S FACEBOOK
  • Image via Makaya McCraven's Facebook
  • Jazz drummer Makaya McCraven will perform with an 11-piece ensemble on November 29 at the South Shore Cultural Center.

Festival season ain't over till Red Bull says it is. The energy drink's music operation has so far thrown six festivals in New York and one in Los Angeles, and in November it'll host a similar event in the midwest for the first time. (Last year's 30 Days in Chicago—one big show every night, with Red Bull's muscle and money allowing for relatively inexpensive tickets—was a different beast.)

Red Bull Music Festival Chicago will present sprawling concerts, curated showcases, and a handful of lectures and panels across the city throughout November. Thankfully the events won't be happening every night (making it somewhat more plausible for normal humans to attend the majority of them), and even better, they focus more on local artists. The fest begins Saturday, November 3, with a showcase by Kanye West's GOOD Music label, and ends Friday, November 30, with a celebration of Jamila Woods's breakout debut, Heavn.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hotel workers' strike now in its second week with no end in sight

Posted By on 09.18.18 at 06:00 AM

Picketers in front of the Palmer House Hilton. The strike started on September 7. - BRITA HUNEGS
  • Brita Hunegs
  • Picketers in front of the Palmer House Hilton. The strike started on September 7.

On Monday the largest hotel workers' strike in Chicago history entered its second week with negotiations still under way and many hotel beds still left unmade. Thousands of members of Unite Here Local One, which represents more than 15,000 area hospitality workers, are picketing around the clock at 25 local hotels (a full list is here). The union is calling for year-round health care for workers as part of its new contract. Currently workers laid off for the off-season lose their health care benefits. Meanwhile the workloads of others increase to compensate for their absence.

"There are just certain times of the year they say, 'Hey we're going to cut back,'" says Roushanda Williams, a bartender with Hilton Hotels for 18 years. "There's no real rhyme or reason as to when and how. If you're laying people off and the occupancy rates at the hotels are still high, somebody still has to do that work. Most times, it falls on the employees that are still working."

"We don't feel like people should be punished for Chicago being cold in the wintertime," says Sarah Lyons, a research analyst for Unite Here, which represents workers in the hospitality industry and a range of other service industries. "Everyone should be able to take themselves and their child, a sick child, to the doctor."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, September 17, 2018

Screw nostalgia—the Avengers and Blondie made punk as relevant as ever at Riot Fest

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 03:23 PM

Avengers vocalist Penelope Houston - DANNY O'DONNELL
  • Danny O'Donnell
  • Avengers vocalist Penelope Houston

Outdoor music festivals tend to wear out their own fans. There's only so much hot sun, crowd congestion, and spider-infested porta-potties you can take before you ask yourself, "What the hell am I doing here?" If a fest runs three days, as Riot Fest has for several years now, by the third nearly everyone will have reached that point. Even the teenagers will be dragging. But there were plenty of reasons to trek to Douglas Park for the last day of Riot Fest 2018. Run the Jewels played a transformative headlining set (I'm now a superfan, at least), and Sunday's schedule also included two iconic bands that emerged on opposite ends of the country during the first wave of American punk: the Avengers and Blondie.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Riot Fest 2018 Sunday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 02:47 PM

Run the Jewels closed out Riot Fest 2018.  We have the live photos and a review by Jamie Ludwig of Sunday sets from Blondie and The Avengers.  Photos by Danny O'Donnell

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Riot Fest 2018 Saturday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 02:00 PM

Day two of Riot Fest saw a range of acts from hometown, garage pop wonders Twin Peaks to iconic Elvis Costello.  Check out the highlights of the Saturday performances from photographer Danny O'Donnell. 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Manic Mondays Frances Cocktail Lounge
November 20

Tabbed Event Search

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories