Willis Earl Beal makes a return visit with a new album | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Willis Earl Beal makes a return visit with a new album 

Plus: A TMNT pizza party with Bric-a-Brac Records, swords-and-sorcery stories by heavy-metal heroes, and more

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Genre-agnostic antifolk singer and former Chicagoan Willis Earl Beal is making a return visit. On Sun 1/25 he plays the Portage Theater, which will also screen his movie debut, 2014's Memphis (a favorite of Reader critic Drew Hunt). Beal also has a brand-new self-produced album called Noctunes, which has this wolf's stamp of approval. You can buy one of the 300 CDs of Noctunes at the show for $10 (or e-mail Beal at thewillisbeal@yahoo.com). In March, Chicago-­based music blog the Minimal Beat will release two Noctunes cuts—the soulful "Flying So Low" and the cosmic "12 Midnight"—as a seven-inch. Sunday's show costs $7 and starts at 4 PM; Sharkula opens.

On Sat 1/24 Bric-a-Brac Records copresents a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pizza party at Dimo's in Wicker Park. Bric-a-Brac co-owner Nick Mayor will be among the DJs, and he'll sell loads of goofy stuff from the store (pizza-­themed LPs?) and raffle off a four-foot Michelangelo toy. The shindig starts at 4 PM.

While listening to Manowar a few years back, Highland Park science-fiction fan Dave Ritzlin got the idea for a paperback anthology of fantasy and horror written by his heavy-metal heroes. On Sat 2/21, his company DMR Books will publish Swords of Steel, whose stories he describes as "in the tradition of Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, George R.R. Martin, and H.P. Lovecraft"; they're by members of Manilla Road, Twisted Tower Dire, Eternal Champion, and others. The release show that night at Underground Lounge will feature Winterhawk, Noble Beast, and others.

Chicago composer Alex Temple has lined up some otherworldly peeps to premiere an expanded version of Behind the Wallpaper, her song cycle about loneliness and altered perception: modern-­classical mavens Spektral Quartet (who commissioned the piece) and avant-pop songwriter Julia Holter. It's at Constellation on Thu 2/26.

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or e-mail gossipwolf@chicagoreader.com.

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