Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jon Mueller and Mike Weis meditate with drums at the Zen Buddhist Temple-Chicago

Posted By on 05.24.17 at 07:11 PM

  • Photos by Raphael Sandler and Mike Weis
  • Jon Mueller and Mike Weis

In arena rock, the drum solo is usually your cue to go line up for a beer—or to head for the restrooms and get rid of the one you just finished. But in other traditions a drum's message, not the motor skills of the drummer, is the point of the music. Though Mike Weis and Jon Mueller—drummers based in Chicago and near Milwaukee, respectively—have plenty of experience in rock, this Saturday they'll delve into the spiritual and spatial dimensions of percussion when each man plays a solo concert at the Zen Buddhist Temple-Chicago in Roscoe Village.

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Charming indie-pop duo Water From Your Eyes help celebrate the first year of Our Music My Body

Posted By on 05.24.17 at 12:00 PM

Water From Your Eyes - LUCAS DARLING
  • Lucas Darling
  • Water From Your Eyes

Last spring local nonprofits Between Friends and Rape Victim Advocates joined forces to address sexual harassment in the music scene with a campaign called Our Music My Body, which has since tabled at the Pitchfork Music Festival as well as shows at Subterranean and Beat Kitchen—during Riot Fest the latter also hosted an OMMB panel about confronting harassment. Tonight Beat Kitchen celebrates the campaign's first anniversary with a benefit show featuring an eclectic lineup of locals: indie-rockers Grandkids, rapper Lin Z, neosoul instrumentalist Kopano, and indie-pop duo Water From Your Eyes.

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Jolly carrots dance to the Horse Lords on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 05.24.17 at 07:00 AM

ARTIST: Andy Burkholder
SHOW: Horse Lords, Fire-Toolz, and Famous Laughs at Hideout on Sat 6/10

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Vibist Paris Smith is an undiscovered treasure of Chicago underground jazz

Posted By on 05.23.17 at 04:43 PM

Since 2004 Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) has used the Secret History of Chicago Music to shine a light on worthy artists with Chicago ties who've been forgotten, underrated, or never noticed in the first place. Older strips are archived here.

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At long last the African music from Ali and Foreman’s ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ sees release

Posted By on 05.23.17 at 12:00 PM


Ever since I saw the wonderful 1996 documentary When We Were Kings, about the legendary 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in the Congo (formerly Zaire), I've been curious about the prefight concert, which took place over three nights in Kinshasa. The fight itself ended up delayed by five weeks after Foreman sustained a cut near his eye while sparring, but the music went on as planned on the original dates, September 22 through 24, drawing a crowd of 50,000. Billed as Zaire 74, the Kinshasa event mixed marquee names from American soul, blues, and R&B—including James Brown, B.B. King, the Spinners, Bill Withers, and the Crusaders—and Latin-music heavies Celia Cruz & the Fania All-Stars with a top-flight roster of Congolese talent. The original film touched lightly on the concerts, but another great movie, 2009's Soul Power, gave the music its own showcase. Unfortunately, the film focused almost exclusively on the visiting artists, with scant mention of the locals.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Isabelle Duthoit & Franz Hautzinger and local trio ZRL present new strains of free improvisation

Posted By on 05.19.17 at 02:00 PM

Franz Hautzinger and Isabelle Duthoit - COURTESY OF THE ARTISTS
  • Courtesy of the artists
  • Franz Hautzinger and Isabelle Duthoit

Chicago offers no shortage of opportunities to see freely improvised music any day of the week, but in the coming days two shows stand out for me. One features European musicians who don't get here very often, and the other is by three Chicagoans who play in different contexts all the time. Both are exciting in different ways.

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Robert Altman's Popeye gets the big-screen revival it deserves

Posted By on 05.19.17 at 01:15 PM

  • Popeye
On Monday at 7:15 PM the Chicago Film Society and CHIRP Radio will present a rare 35-millimeter revival of Robert Altman’s Popeye at the Music Box Theatre. This is surely the most important revival screening of the week, a chance to see an unsung American masterpiece in the big-screen environment it deserves. (Incidentally, the week’s second-most important revival—Doc Films’ 35-millimeter presentation of Alan Rudolph’s Remember My Name, playing Thursday at 9:45 PM—was produced by Altman.) The film remains remarkable for possessing one of the greatest brain trusts in American movies. Not only was it directed by Altman; it was written by the brilliant cartoonist Jules Feiffer, shot by the great Italian cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno (whose credits include multiple films for Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, and Mike Nichols), contains songs by Harry Nilsson, and the inspired cast features Robin Williams (as Popeye), Shelley Duvall (as Olive Oyl), Ray Walston, Paul Dooley, and a number of limber circus performers. The contributions of these artists combine to form something much grander than the sum of their parts—the film may be the most operatic comic-strip adaptation ever made.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

West-side rapper ZMoney refines his effortless cool on the new album Heroin Bag

Posted By on 05.18.17 at 12:00 PM


West-side rapper Zernardo Tate, aka ZMoney, broke out in 2013 on the strength of two mixtapes (Rich B4 Rap and Heroin Musik) and the effortlessly euphoric "Want My Money," which Chance the Rapper used in a short promotional video for the release of Acid Rap that April. It's hard to believe that was four years ago. Since then the spotlight has ricocheted around Chicago's hip-hop scene, illuminating blossoming labels such as Closed Sessions, emerging media outlets such as Lyrical Lemonade, and what sometimes seems like dozens of rising artists—Noname, Mick Jenkins, Saba, Lucki, Cupcakke, and many more. Throughout these dizzying changes, ZMoney has focused on refining the style and persona he first developed—the changes he's made to, say, his mush-mouthed rapping feel incremental, but he performs with a stronger grasp of his abilities.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A zombie rides Pegasus into the sun on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 05.17.17 at 07:00 AM


ARTIST: Dan Grzeca
SHOW: Dark Lord Day at 3 Floyds Brewing on Sat 5/13

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Mary Oliver, Hank Roberts, and Mark Feldman kick off the Chicago Jazz String Summit tonight

Posted By on 05.12.17 at 03:11 PM

In this week's paper I wrote about Saturday's excellent program for this year's iteration of the Chicago Jazz String Summit, a multifarious festival organized by cellist Tomeka Reid. That evening her trio Hear in Now celebrates the release of its fine new album, Not Living in Fear (International Anthem). But the festivities get under way tonight with a remarkable lineup of intimate solo and duo performances at Elastic by musicians who have rarely, in ever, played locally in such a context. Violinist Mark Feldman, violinist and violist Mary Oliver, and cellist Hank Roberts are all heavies in the world of improvised music—versatile and curious players who move fluidly among various approaches.

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
The Outpost Boombox Wicker Park
May 04
Galleries & Museums
Uncommonplace Gallery19
March 24

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