How Hollywood Got M.I.A. | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

How Hollywood Got M.I.A. 

Plus: Heavy metal for dummies, classical music for garage rockers, and more

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Blame it on the hammertoe? After a season that saw Sybris's writing and recording hindered by new parenthood and foot surgery, drummer Eric Mahle has split from the group for personal reasons. Mahle told Gossip Wolf: "Angela and I have plans on collaborating in the future, and Sybris may or may not go on with a new drummer. I'm concentrating on my new band Sunken Ships and getting my drum fix with Husker Dudes. No idea if new Syb material will see the light of day."

Former Chicagoan Bill Salas has left These Are Powers—the Brooklyn band he's played drums in for four years—to focus on his solo work as Brenmar. Salas says the split was amicable and the band will continue as a two-piece.

A new jolt of relevance for local rapper Hollywood Holt, whose last national splash was for "Throw a Kit," his mopeding video from two summers ago: this week he released the video for "La La La Freestyle," which features a cameo from M.I.A. According to Holt, the cameo was simply a matter of timing. "I have known her for a long time," he e-mailed Gossip Wolf. "My cousin Mano was her DJ—we met several times over the years at events. She had a show in Chicago the day after I recorded the verse and we went to see her and she asked me what I had been up to and I said 'rappin' and I'm shootin a video tomorrow' and she goes 'well, I'm not doin' anything' and I said 'do u want to be in it?' She said 'yeah' . . . so the next day she came through and we did it in like five minutes."

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True story: Gossip Wolf was once on a reality TV show. It was kind of like America's Got Talent, except it was in Turkmenistan. It was called Turkmenistan's Got Talent. We fronted a glam-metal band, Chronic Sexual Malfunction, that wrote songs about burning down lingerie stores. (The lyrics were a total bitch to translate.) Not to get huffy, but we lost in the finals to a BMX "dance" routine. But now, a shot at redemption! America's Got Talent is hosting auditions at McCormick Place on November 6 and 7, starting at 8 AM. Preregistration is advised. There are a pile of rules and regulations on the show's website, so read them before packing up your ventriloquist's dummy and/or lute.

Your Gossip-giving Wolf knows the difference between true and false metal. Trust. Imagine a tall tree with all the branches of metal represented by actual branches. We pee on that tree all the time! We know that those on the black-metal branch wear makeup and ritually burn down churches, and that the glam-metal branch also wear makeup, but burn down lingerie stores. Wait, is that right? Anyway, GOOD NEWS! On November 9 local poet and literary critic Michael Robbins—who has seen his poesy in the New Yorker—and social-media consultant Keidra Chaney are giving a lecture, Heavy Metal 101. Topics include an "editorial analysis of what makes 'true' metal" and some "personal musings on the value of metal." The lecture is part of the nonprofit Homeroom series, which seeks to bring together Chicago's disparate artistic communities (like poets and metalheads, for instance). The free event will go down at the Hungry Brain (2319 W. Belmont) at 9 PM, with DJ sets by Chicago Underground Film Festival curator Bryan Wendorf.

Speaking of disparate artistic communities, way back in early October, Chicago classical ensemble New Millennium Orchestra began its MIXTAPE series, a live mashup of highfalutin (high-flutin'?) concert-hall material and other genres. The first event featured string music by Britten, Bartok, and Biber (no, not Bieber!) and a DJ set by Sound Culture. This month's installment will feature the NMO performing John Adams's Shaker Loops and Vivaldi's Piccolo Concerto in C Major, featuring soloist Emma Hospelhorn. That'll be followed by a set from local garage gang Hollows, featuring bassist Emma Hospelhorn. It's the same person! After the performances, DJ Hilary Rawk will spin dance jams. It's at 8 PM November 18 at Architectural Artifacts (4325 N. Ravenswood). Tix are $20 in advance at the NMO website, $25 at the door.

El duo pelo rojo White Mystery released "Powerglove," the debut video from their new album, this week. Shot at the Empty Bottle last month, it features a gaggle of fellow redheads shimmying and tossing their locks to the band's grungy sounds—a welcome relief for young gingers everywhere from the psychic terror of M.I.A.'s "Born Free" vid. The free release show/party for "Powerglove" is November 18 at Rockit Bar (3700 N. Clark); in the interim you can watch at whitemysteryband.com/videos.

Bad news, Nitzer Ebb superfans: Kyle Ryan, Chicago editor for the Onion's A/V Club, tweeted last Friday that his Wax Trax oral history is stalled indefinitely. The publisher, Soft Skull, closed up shop last week, but according to Ryan the project was on hold before that because key artists were unwilling to be interviewed, including Trent Reznor and Ogre (Skinny Puppy, KMFDM).    v

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