Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CD Review: Angie Mead - West Of The Present

I’ve seen pieces on a new blues/hard rock duo called Redgrave recently in Time Out Chicago and Mary Houlihan’s Clubhopping column in the Sun-Times. It’s comprised of Angie Mead and Stephen Howard. I have to confess that I’m not familiar with Howard, but Mead’s name certainly rings a bell. Back in 1999, I reviewed her West Of The Present CD for the Illinois Entertainer. Here’s that review.


Chicago singer-songwriter Angie Mead may wear her heart on her sleeve throughout West Of The Present, but her hands are clenched in fists. This striking debut only offers six songs, but that’s enough time for Mead to make an indelible impression. Each track proceeds at a deliberate pace but her music never lacks power.


“You Leave” is reminiscent of Tori Amos as Mead’s soulful vocals swoop and tremble as she conveys a feeling of being betrayed. “Silence” continues in the trouble relationship vein, with lines like, “You can’t seem to find the time/To see what hides behind my eyes.” The textured arrangements feature Alison Chesley of Verbow on cello and Mystro Grant on piano, alongside Mead’s acoustic guitar.


“Drown,” with its Celtic melody and imagery of the sea, creates an epic feel. “Six Days” and “Hush” have sparse, electric guitar arrangements that push Mead closer to the edge. When she cries, “Save your life!” on ”Six Days,” there’s a genuine sense of urgency. On a chilling second version of “You Leave,” Mead swaps her rich voice for a corroded whisper, evoking a late-night anonymous phone call set to creepy percussion and strings.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CD Review: The Exies - Self-Titled

Note: This review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer in 2000. Incidentally, it had one of my least favorite CD covers, which is why I’m using a photo from the inside jacket for this post. Judging from their website, The Exies are still active, and toured Russia in 2010.


The self-titled debut from the California quartet The Exies never runs out of melodies or enough energy to punch them across. Much of the credit should go to Scott Stevens, who writes all of The Exies’ lyrics and delivers them via a classic rock and roll voice.


“Feeling Lo-Fi” immediately establishes a penchant for manic pop, as Stevens belts out his frustrations while guitarist David Walsh unleashes a flurry of riffs. Walsh opts for a funkier style of strumming on “Bighead,” an insult song with a chorus that explodes like a time bomb. “Straight Girl Of The Universe” is an unbridled love song that opens with the lines, “I’m in bloom/I go vroom/I go right off without my little parachute.” Other sentiments like, “Put a perfect love attack under the stars” and “She’s so innocently perverse” add to the fun.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Vintage Publication Spotlight: WCFL Presents The Teen Set

Last Saturday, while I was talking to members of Famous In The Future after their comedy revue at the Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins XXIII festival at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre, writer-performer Desiree Burcum told me how exciting it was to meet Peter Tork at the recent Chicago Wizard World Comic Con. So, in honor of her encounter, here’s a look at WCFL Presents The Teen Set from June, 1967.


I don’t have a great deal of nostalgia for this particular radio station since back then, I always listened to its main competitor, WLS. The most I know about the WCFL air personalities was that Jim Stagg was tight with The Beatles, and Barney Pip’s schtick involved playing some sort of horn and turning people into peanut butter. The station did create the coolest accessory any teenager could acquire at that time; the tiger-striped I’m Bold! button.


Actually, The Teen Set appears to have been a national magazine that was locally sponsored by WCFL, as opposed to an entirely homegrown effort like the Personality Album put out by WLS in 1967. Only four of this issue of The Teen Set’s 62 pages were devoted to Chicago happenings, including a profile of Pip, and a Concert Countdown Scrapbook with photos of Paul Revere and The Raiders, Mitch Ryder, and The Blues Magoos. The “In” Chicago With WCFL column noted that The Buckinghams had left the Chicago-based USA Records for Columbia Records, and that both labels were simultaneously promoting the group’s products. There was also a reference to a new wax museum in the Old Town neighborhood.


On the national front, songwriters-producers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart reflected on working with The Monkees in the recording studio and on the TV show. The Hollywood Underground column breathlessly covered a star-studded bash in honor of Buffalo Springfield, and included a pic of Tork conversing with folkie Peter Yarrow. Writer Laurayne observed that Tork “spent most of his time sitting on the floor chatting with a cute blond (Stevie Stills) but I managed to at least get close to him.” Elsewhere in the mag, the cute Stills, writing with Assistant Editor Ginni Ganahl, described his early days of hanging out with Tork in Greenwich Village playing music in the “basket houses.” (Apparently a reference to how money was collected from audiences.)


Editor Judith Sims interviewed The Doors, claiming it was “their first ‘structured’ confrontation with the press.” She found them to be on the quiet side. There were also profiles on The Turtles, The Association, Spencer Davis Group, and The Beach Boys. Of course, no 1960s teen mag would be complete without tons of photos, and The Teen Set obliged with a centerfold of The Byrds, as well as full page shots of Tork and Mike Nesmith. My favorite is a zany B&W portrait of Neil Young.


There wasn’t much advertising other than a two-page spread for Clairol’s Summer Blonde, and full page ads for Cover Girl, Fresh-Start skin cleanser from Ponds, and the Georgy Girl album by The Seekers. A half page ad for subscriptions to The Teen Set proclaimed “all goods things come to those who wait at their mailboxes.” The price was $3 per year.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Slumgullion #76

Poster from Signal Ensemble Theatre website.


Unfortunately, Slumgullion is going to be a little slim this week, due to a hectic schedule that involved getting prepared for a garage sale, and taking part in a three-night market research survey about my wine-drinking habits. Hopefully, I’ll be able to add a few more items over the weekend.


The Palatine Street Festival kicks offs today. My picks are Ralph’s World for pint-sized power poppers, followed by the coed hip hop/urban contemporary cover band Your Villain My Hero on Saturday; and the catchy, clever pop of The Bad Examples on Sunday.


If you come to Palatine on Saturday morning or afternoon for the Street Fest, be sure to drop by my garage sale and say hello. I’m just down the street from the stage, at 35 East Slade.


Matt Dodge & The Lobsters, a young Minnesota band that impressed the crowd with songs like “Currency” and “Then We Die” at an International Pop Overthrow - Chicago showcase at the Abbey Pub two years back, is about to put out its second effort. The CD Release Party is on September 3rd at The Fine Line in Minneapolis.


Magatha Trysty will be the headliners for an extensive evening of indie rock and power pop, along with The Valley Downs, The Elements Of Style, Board Of Governors and Tiny Magnets at The Abbey Pub in Chicago on September 10th. The show starts at 8:00 PM, with a cover charge of $10 ($8 in advance).


The Second Disc online newsletter, which every fan of vintage rock and pop music should subscribe to, recently announced that Rhino Records has released an extremely limited edition of The Monkees’ mind-altering Head album on clear vinyl. The first 500 orders will also include a 7” single of of the tracks “Circle Sky (Live)” and “Can You Dig It (Mono Mix).” The Second Disc suggests fans act quickly because this rarity is sure to sell out.


Signal Ensemble Theatre, which has been making a name for itself with cutting-edge productions like The Rolling Stones-based musical Aftermath, recently announced the sale of subscriptions for its 9th anniversary season. The program includes discounted tickets and special benefits like behind-the-scenes previews and meet and greet opportunities with the cast and design team. Signal Ensemble Theatre will the present the Chicago premiere of Hostage Song, an indie rock musical, as part of its 2011-12 season.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

CD Review: L7 - The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum

Note: This review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer in 1997.


The Beauty Process finds L7 carrying on its mission to meld hard rock and strong melodies in the absence of longtime bass player Jennifer Finch. Founding members Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner take turns playing bass along with their friend Greta Brinkman. (Gail Greenwood, formerly with Belly, has since joined the fold.) The album maintains L7’s trademark swagger even if the pissed-at-the-world attitude is a bit too well-rehearsed at times.


The title track and “Lorenza, Giada, Allesandra” offer repetitious, minimal lyrics over a generic heavy metal beat, and the overly cute “Me, Myself, & I” is just as grating. Still, the rest of the CD is rock solid. Hard-hitting songs like “Drama,” “I Need,” and “Bad Things” are the meat and potatoes of L7’s successful formula. The psychedelic “Non-Existent Patricia” and “Moonshine,” which features haunting lyrics and twangy guitars are even more impressive, while the catchy “Off The Wagon” revels in the irresponsible fun of an endless night of drinking.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CD Review: Gary Ritchie - Hum, Sing . . . Repeat!

Rock critics are sometimes accused of simply comparing new music to older songs rather than coming up with an original description or analysis. Singer-guitarist Gary Ritchie, a longtime player on the power pop scene, must be okay with the process, because he’s provided a cheat sheet for the 18 catchy tracks on his latest effort, Hum, Sing . . . Repeat!


His influences are fairly typical for a power pop musician; The Kinks, Cheap Trick, Badfinger, The dB’s, etc, but he also gives props to fellow Chicagoans Pezband and Off Broadway, as well as the lesser known but still worthy Katydids. For the most part, Ritchie succeeds in emulating his heroes, particularly when he credits Gary Lewis and Nick Lowe for the easy-going “Hear From You,” or describes the sock hop romp of “Pretty Little Gina” as an Everly Brothers/Ramones mashup.


Ritchie experiments with other genres too, like the rockabilly “Fancy Two-Tone Car” or the bluesy “Scene Of The Crime.” Occasionally, his penchant for layering his vocals adds a bit too much sweetness, especially on “Do Or Die,” which should be more harrowing in its depiction of drug abuse. Likewise, he could have left the British Invasion harmonies off “Girl Like You,” which is supposed to lean more toward 1980s new wave.


Still, there’s plenty of good tunes on Hum, Sing . . . Repeat! The catchy “Cold Lies” dates back to Ritchie’s days with the pioneering Chicago power pop band Loose Lips, while “Never Again (Until Tomorrow)” and “Could Gave Been Love” are guitar-driven gems.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Setting A Bad Example In Palatine

Photo from The Bad Examples Facebook page.


Last year, around this time, I was proclaiming the upcoming performances of The Smithereens and The Bad Examples at the 2010 Downtown Palatine Street Fest. I was looking forward to seeing these power pop veterans on a stage that’s no more than five minutes from my house, and both bands came through with entertaining sets that featured some of their best songs. (See Archives, 2010 August 30th) Within a year, each would release an impressive CD of original material for the first time in the 21st century.


The good news for the 2011 Downtown Palatine Street Fest is that The Bad Examples will be back, playing a set at 2:45 on Sunday afternoon. As I stated in my Illinois Entertainer review of Smash Record earlier this year, (See Archives, April 4th) lead singer-guitarist Ralph Covert has lost none of his song writing abilities, evoking Squeeze with the clever lyrics and irresistible melodies on tracks like “Pictures Of A Masquerade” and “Jayne Left Behind.” The Bad Examples provided more punch on “Big E Chord” and “Devil Is In The Details.” The band also has a catalog of earlier gems to draw from, like “Not Dead Yet,” “A Mindless Pop Song,” and “It’s Over Now.”


Of course, the big news for parents is that Covert will also be at the Downtown Palatine Street Fest on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM with Ralph’s World. His catchy and silly tunes are entertaining and often have a useful lesson for kids to take home.


Unfortunately, The Smithereens won’t be back for 2011. In fact, for the first time in years, the Downtown Palatine Street Fest won’t have a national act performing in the Saturday night headliner slot. Instead, we’ll have club veterans Wedding Banned bringing their mix of cover versions and comedic antics to the stage. The festival planners have stacked the rest of the schedule with popular Chicago area tribute bands like American English, Infinity, Sixteen Candles, and ARRA. Each has a large, loyal fan base, and will no doubt keep the party rocking. But it would have been nice to hear a few original acts that aren’t thoroughly locked into the mainstream. Something that would have given the Downtown Palatine Street Fest an edge over all the other suburban summer time bashes.


Downtown Palatine Street Fest kicks off at 5:30 PM on Friday with the youthful ADHD, who earned the gig by impressing the judges at a Battle of the Bands contest earlier this summer. In a post at the time, (See Archive, June 14th) I noted that the trio of young teens made creative choices that leaned toward cutting edge hard rock. Your Villain My Hero, which performs at 4:30 PM on Saturday, has been garnering a lot of attention with its high energy covers of hip hop, dance, and popular hits. Vocalists J. Lee and Zigg have plenty of charisma and vocal chops to expand beyond the local scene, especially if this coed band continues to create original material. (See Archives, 2010 July 5th for a post on Your Villain My Hero performing at Palatine’s 4th of July festival.)


Other bands slated for this weekend include iPop, Brother Tim, Boxcar Dynamite, Suburban Cowboy, Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press, and Brass from The Past. The Music Room store will present its Jazz Band at 11:00AM on Sunday. For a full schedule of bands and other activities, see the Downtown Palatine Street Fest website.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Abbie Fest Afterglow

Wild Dogs photo of Gavin Robinson (left) and Rich Cotovsky by Sid Branca. From Rich Cotovsky's Facebook page.


So my record of having attended every Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins theatre festival is still intact. I dropped by the Mary-Arrchie Theatre on Saturday and Sunday, catching productions by various local theatre groups. This was the first year I noticed people using smartphones. Some of the performers checked in on them in the waiting room just before going on; audience members took them out during the downtime between shows, and sometimes even during shows; and a few productions used them as props. Back in 1989, when the first Abbie Fest was held, no one would have been able to imagine such devices.


A lot of things about Abbie Fest have stayed the same over two decades though. Mary-Arrchie Theatre Director Rich Cotovsky effectively channels the spirit of the late Mr. Hoffman; people stay extremely late watching shows; and the various participants hang out together, swapping war stories and developing friendships. A lot of new groups are able to cut their teeth at Abbie Fest in a supportive atmosphere, even when their efforts are amateurish, bewildering, or just plain dull. That’s another aspect of the Abbie Fest: the quality varies from extremely good to the occasional - - well at least they tried. Often, the newcomers learn from the experience, and get better.


Cotovsky was sitting in the stairwell of the theatre, beside a young woman who took my $10 and handed me a day pass. He mentioned that he could use a nap (he hardly gets any sleep over the weekend) so I told him when I used to perform with the comedy group Famous In The Future, we had a running joke that he always scheduled one of his naps during our show. Cotovsky laughed and said, “That was no joke.” Teasing aside, it’s always fun to talk to him. I also ran into James Moeller and Carla Hayden from Black Forest, and Pat Über-Critic McDonald, who occasionally performs with them; Simone Jubyna from Citizen’s Relief (unfortunately they didn’t perform at Abbie Fest this year); and the members of Famous In The Future.


I'll fight the temptation to wish the group had crumbled following my departure in 2009, and acknowledge their show was good again this year. An opening bit about the sun wanting to quit her job of warming the galaxy was imaginative and fun, as were a Wizard Of Oz political parody and skit about a woman who hordes human beings. After having performed with Famous In The Future at Abbie Fest for 20 years, watching them from the audience felt like being Scrooge when the Ghost Of Christmas Future takes him to the stock exchange. Still, things change over the course of 20 years, and sometimes people move in different directions.


Black Forest performed a new show titled You Must Believe, which mixed Moeller’s live guitar playing, Hayden reciting of beat poetry, and both of them comically coming to terms with a mysterious beast lurking just outside their door. Other highlights included Ludamus doing a terrific job of bringing the Peter Barnes absurdist play Nobody Here But Us Chickens to life; the funny and on the mark acting in The Side Project’s performance of Mark Young’s The Billing Project; the high energy American Agency brought to Angela Bassett’s weird but fascinating American Agency; and the campy detective spoof of Jessica Wright’s Parrot Love, as performed by Tempting Fates.


Steve Evans of Trained Monkey Productions proved there’s still a place in this freewheeling festival for a well-delivered and droll monologue, with his My Life With The Shawnee, while Dandelion Arts mined the comic possibilities of Brooke Johnson and Dina Klahn’s look at modern dating, Lucky At Cards? Gavin Robinson and Rich Cotovsky carried on the Mary-Arrchie tradition of performing Matt Borczon’s Wild Dogs; once again making it both tense and funny.


This is in no way meant to be a comprehensive review. It's just a sample of the enjoyment to be found in attending a weekend festival sponsored by one of Chicago's more cutting-edge storefront theatres.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Abbie Fest XXIII Schedule For Sunday, August 21st

Logo from Revolution Theatre Company website.


Here’s the Sunday, August 21st schedule for Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins XXIII, which is being held at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre this weekend. I added information I found through Internet research, or based on shows that I’ve seen in the past.


9:00 a.m. Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson adapted by Fred Husar -Theatre O Th Absurd Company Formerly with Dreadful Engines, Husar is another Abbie Fest regular who can be counted on for an interesting show. Here he’s adapted the infamous Rolling Stone scribe’s book for a funny, character-driven play.


9:15 a.m. TBA


10:00 a.m. Tai Chi with Daniel Guidara Guidara is a patient and knowledgeable instructor. An interesting way to kick off Day 3 of The Abbie Fest.


11:00 a.m. Sea Change by Leana Savoie and Paul Scudder - The Continuation Project


11:30 a.m. Wild Dogs by Matt Borczon - Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. This comedy/drama is a showcase for Rich Cotovsky’s in-your-face acting style. A deranged loner and an uptight businessman who was recently thrown out by his wife become uneasy allies after a bout of heavy drinking and fighting.


12:00 p.m. Readings from Run Run Run by Jack Hoffman In the past, audience members have been asked to come onstage and take part in the readings.


12:30 p.m. Flagellating The Boss by Crystal Jackson and Nathalie Magri - Revolution Theatre Co. A trio of employees plot revenge against their abusive boss.


1:00 p.m. Little Ivory Fingers by Sid Branca - Red Room Intimate solo performance from Branca, who’s also involved with The Chicago Fringe Festival.


1:25 p.m. TBA


2:00 p.m. Sea Change by Leana Savoie and Paul Scudder - The Continuation Project


2:30 p.m. TBA


2:45 p.m. Death Party by Max Lapine - Death Party


3:05 p.m. TBA


3:15 p.m. Some Air, A Sneak Peek - Nothing Without a Company A preview of Anya Clingman’s musical based on an average people who fear they’re going nowhere in life.

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4:00 p.m. L’il Howlin Wolf Veteran blues singer takes a down and dirty approach to performing. Not for kids or the easily offended.


4:35 p.m. The Billing King by Mark Young - The Side Project


5:05 p.m. Parrot Love by Jessica Wright - Tempting Fates


6:00 p.m. Lack of Dis-illusion by Mitch Straeffer and Pepper Giese - Pepperkorn Productions


6:24 p.m. L’il Howlin Wolf Another quick shot of blues.


6:45 p.m. My Life With The Shawnee by Steve Evans - Trained Monkey Productions


7:17 p.m. American Agency byAlexandra Bassett - American Agency


8:00 p.m. TBA


9:00 p.m. Lucky At Cards? by Brooke Johnson and Dina Klahn - Dandelion Arts


9:50 p.m. Rover From Dover by Joe Janes - Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. Part of Janes’s (The Best Of) 50 Plays series of 10-minute plays which The Reader described as “by turns they are silly, bizarre, violent and provocative.”


10:10 p.m. Birdlace by Birdlace - Birdlace


10:30 p.m. Peter Pain and The Power by Joe Janes and The Power - The Power More from Janes's (The Best Of) 50 Plays series.


10:55 p.m. Dorkumentary by Tarleton/Dawn Production - Tarleton/Dawn Productions David Tarleton and Adria Dawn are the creators of this Internet comedy series. Not sure if they’re doing a live performance or presentation.


11:10 p.m. Gas Mask 101 by Arlene Cook-Mary - Arrchie Theatre Co. Cook’s comedic look at SUI students back in the Viet Nam era is traditionally the last play of each year’s Abbie Fest.


12:00 a.m. Closing Ceremonies featuring Richard Cotovsky as Abbie Hoffman In character as Hoffman, Cotovsky bids farewell to the audience for another year. The solemn but funny ritual often involves cast members from Mary-Arrchie and other groups as Hoffman is entombed to the strains of The Doors’ “The End.” Festival regulars view attending this finale as a badge of honor.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Slumgullion #75

Picture this: They’ll be at The House Of Blues on September 7th. Photo from Blondie’s website.


The Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins XXIII theatre festival kicked off today at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre, and runs all weekend. See my earlier post today for the complete schedule.


Three bands that each take a different approach to indie music, the harder-edged Farewell Captain; the lighter and melodic The Bon Mots; and the off kilter but melodic Penthouse Sweets, are on a triple bill at Quenchers on Fullerton tomorrow night. The show starts at 10:00 PM.


Tickets went on sale earlier today for The Bangles October 10th gig at The House Of Blues. Sweetheart Of The Sun, the band’s first CD in several years, will have just been released by then, so it should be interesting to see how much of the new album gets mixed in with their big hits. Certainly, their cover of the Nazz tune “Open My Eyes” should be included in the set. In other Bangles news, Susanna Hoffs mentions in an interview with the online mag Culture Brats, that she’ll be releasing another CD of cover tunes with Matthew Sweet. Under The Covers III will find the duo moving up yet another decade, and covering hits from the 1980s.


The Handcuffs have been tabbed to open for Blondie at The House Of Blues on September 7th. The Chicago indie rock band will be armed with a new CD; Waiting For The Robot, their strongest release to date, comes out the day before.


Covers for Cover III is still looking for female musicians to take part in its November 17th benefit at Schubas for The Primo Center for Women and Children on Chicago’s Westside. The concept involves rock and roll women covering popular bands to help homeless women find shelter. The lineup so far looks promising, with Surfer Rosa as The Pixies; Parkway as The Buzzcocks; Planet Claire as The B-52’s; The Lady Sentinels as Britney Spears; and Sound Board Collective as The Pretenders. Organizer Mia Park explains that participating bands will have “a strong female presence & have female front people or have at least 50% women.” Admission is $10 in advance, $12 at the door. The Covers for Cover series has raised $4,000 through its concerts since 2006. Schubas is located at 3159 N. Southport in Chicago.


The Del Moroccos, a fun rockabilly/R&B outfit comprised of three female singers and five musicians, has a gig coming up on Saturday, September 3rd at Fitzgeralds in Berwyn. L.A.-based one-man rockabilly band Deke Dickerson is also on the bill that night.


Little Steven’s Underground Garage Facebook page has posted his Top 30 Garage Rock Songs, with “I Can Only Give You Everything” by Them taking the #1 slot. Other worthy selections include “Gloria” by the Shadows Of Knight, “We Aint Got Nothing Yet” by The Blues Magoos. “I Had Too Much To Dream” by The Electric Prunes, “Friday On My Mind” by The Easybeats, “Dirty Water” by The Standells, “Lies” by The Knickerbockers, “Psychotic Reaction” by Count Five, “Open My Eyes” by Nazz, “Pushin’ Too Hard” by The Seeds, and “Itchycoo Park” by Small Faces.


Hard-edged power pop band Go Time! will be performing at Homewood Music Fest next Saturday, August 27th at Irwin Park Bandshell at 7:30 PM.


Could Be We're In For A Tribute. A Cryan Shames Tribute, featuring former member James Fairs will be held online via the American and British Early-to-Mid ‘60’s (&at times, late 60’s) Pop Cullture Facebook page tomorrow night from 7:00PM to 9:00 PM. The web-based tribute will be hosted by Joanie Baker and Bob Nasca, and feature a bunch of vintage Cryan Shames YouTube videos. The hosts will chat with Fairs about his spanking new website.


The hard rock quartet Faith In The Fallen will be hammering out tunes tomorrow night at the Bada Brew Bar & Grill in Crest Hill tomorrow night. Skull King is also on the bill. Show time is 9:00 PM.

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Abbie Fest XXIII Lineup for Saturday, August 20th

Photo from James Moeller's Facebook page.


Slumgullion will appear later today. Right now, here's the Saturday schedule for the Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins XXIII theatre festival going on this weekend at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre. I added information based on what I could find on the Internet, or from what I have seen at past Abbie Fests. See yesterday's post for background info. NOTE: The Abbie Fest sometimes runs a little behind schedule.


9:00 a.m. TBA


10:00 a.m. Tai Chi with Daniel Guidara Guidara is a patient and knowledgeable instructor. An interesting and relaxing way to kick off Day 2 of The Abbie Fest.


11:00 a.m. American Agency by Alexandra Bassett - American Agency


11:40 a.m. TBA


12:00 p.m. Three Scary Tales by David Denman - Clock Productions Denman’s spooky yarns, which he writes and adapts, have delved into vampires, super powers, and monsters in the past.


12:30 p.m. TBA


1:00 p.m. Flagellating The Boss by Crystal Jackson and Nathalie Magri - Revolution Theatre Co. A trio of employees plot revenge against their abusive boss.


1:30 p.m. TBA


2:00 p.m. Lack of Dis-illusion by Mitch Straeffer and Pepper Giese - Pepperkorn Productions


2:24 p.m. TBA


2:30 p.m. Nobody Here But Us Chickens by Peter Barnes - Ludamus Offbeat comedy from the British playwright involving a man who is convinced he’s a chicken and winds up in an institution.


3:00 p.m. Dorkumentary - Tarleton/Dawn Productions David Tarleton and Adria Dawn are the creators of this Internet comedy series. Not sure if they’re doing a live performance or presentation.


3:15 p.m. The Room by Nick Cardiff - Nothing Special Productions Original short piece by one of the Elgin-based group’s founding members.


3:25 p.m. TBA


3:30 p.m. Three Scary Tales by David Denman - Clock Productions See 12:00 p.m. listing.


4:00 p.m. Wild Dogs by Matt Borczon - Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co This comedy/drama is a showcase for Rich Cotovsky’s in-your-face acting style. A deranged loner and an uptight businessman who was recently thrown out by his wife become uneasy allies after a bout of heavy drinking and fighting.


4:30 p.m. Did Jesus Laugh? by Camille Cadenhead - Stand On Your Hands And Clap


5:20 p.m. L’il Howlin’ Wolf Veteran blues singer takes a down and dirty approach to performing. Not for kids or the easily offended.


5:25 p.m. Three Plays by Tron Von Trier - Johann Sebastian Theatreson


6:15 p.m. Sea Change by Leana Savoie and Paul Scudder - The Continuation Project


6:45 p.m. Nobody Here But Us Chickens by Peter Barnes - Ludamus See 2:30 p.m. listing.


7:15 p.m. How Low Will You Go? - Famous In The Future My former comedy group is back for its 23rd year at The Abbie Fest, although at this point Frank Carr is the only original member left. Other cast members, Desiree Burcum, Michael Hora, and Tina Teske are also Abbie veterans. Carr describes this year’s revue as a “new collection of comedy sketches and songs but dipping into the low brow side.”


8:05 p.m You Must Believe by Carla Hayden and James Moeller - Black Forest Hayden and Moeller are longtime participants in The Abbie Fest and their avant garde, amiable productions are thought-provoking and fun. Live music often plays a role, as Hayden and Moeller are also members of the WhiteWolfSonicPrincess alt rock band

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8:45 p.m. Little Ivory Fingers by Sid Branca - Red Room Intimate solo performance from Branca, who’s also involved with The Chicago Fringe Festival.


9:10 p.m. Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson adapted by Fred Husar - Theatre O Th Absurd Company Formerly with Dreadful Engines, Husar is another Abbie Fest regular who can be counted on for an entertaining show. Here he’s adapted the infamous Rolling Stone scribe’s book for a funny, character-driven play.


9:25 p.m. L’il Howlin’ Wolf More ribald original tunes.


9:30 p.m. Lifted: A Jewish Love Story by Marissa Lessman - Marissa Lessman According to an online Red Eye review, this original work by Chicago playwright Lessman concerns a Jewish sportswriter who finds romance on an L ride to O’Hare Airport.


9:55 p.m. L’il Howlin Wolf He’s baaaaaaack.


10:00 p.m. TBA


10:20 p.m. Rompas and Attapas: A Buddy Cop Extravaganza by Juan Castaneda and Antonio Bruno - MadLab


10:50 The Best of Democracy Burlesque - Democracy Burlesque Politically-charged skits and song parodies from a group that has been playing at Abbie Fests since forming in 2006.


11:20 p.m. Some Air a sneak peek - Nothing Without a Company A preview of Anya Clingman’s musical based on average people who fear they’re going nowhere in life.


12:05 a.m. The Decency by The Harlotry & Necromancy Appreciation Society All female troupe takes a physical approach to story telling, involving puppets and acrobatics.


12:15 a.m. Cubismo by Jack Miggins - The Inconvenience The critically acclaimed group performs Miggins’ dark comedy about a family hoping to build a powerful machine that uses components hidden inside other people’s bodies.


1:15 a.m. Not Art by Abraham Werewolf A parody that uses art, poetry, and dance to examine a Chicago band called D’Artagnan. Loosely based on Yasmina Reza’s award winning play, Art.


1:55 a.m. The Room by Nick Cardiff - Nothing Special Productions See 3:15 p.m. listing.


2:05 a.m. Existential Crisis - Existential Crisis


3:05 a.m. Lola Balatro Three bad-ass looking musicians set funny lyrics to acoustic guitar arrangements. At least that’s what they were doing in 2009 when I reviewed their self-titled CD for the Illinois Entertainer. Back then I wrote, “Occasionally the humor aims too low, but for the most part, Lola Balatro serves up a good time."


4:05 a.m. Bitch With Rich - Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. Cotovsky’s Skid Marks character engages the audience (and there usually is one even at this hour) in discussions of current topics. On the times I’ve seen this in the past, the show involved TV monitors, other effects, and Marks playing guitar.


5:00 a.m. through 7:00 a.m. - TBA


7:00 a.m. My Life With The Shawnee by Steve Evans - Trained Monkey Productions


8:00 a.m. TBA

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