Wednesday, November 13, 2019


The tall guy in the middle is celebrating his birthday.

Chicago-based singer-guitarist Dag Juhlin is celebrating his birthday a day early by performing tonight with EXPO ’76—one of the several hundred bands he’s a member of—at Simon’s Tavern on Clark Street. EXPO ’76 features Juhlin and other veterans of the Chicago music scene playing an amazingly eclectic and always fun selection of cover versions. Admission for tonight’s show is free. Happy Birthday, Dag.

Over 125 artists, along with several small independent presses, will be showcasing their work when the third edition of the Chicago Art Book Fair takes place this weekend at the Chicago Athletic Association at 12 S. Michigan Avenue. The networking event is open to the public free of charge.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s annual holiday tour has been canceled due to lead vocalist-guitarist Setzer having tinnitus. That wipes out the gig scheduled for this Saturday night at the Chicago Theatre, but at least fans can listen the Orchestra’s Christmas albums, which offer original and standard holiday tunes souped-up with catchy, old-time rock and roll arrangements.

Over the years, my wife Pam and I have seen a lot of talented Irish acts perform at the Irish American Heritage Center on Chicago’s north side. The live entertainment takes a different turn this Saturday night at the Center with the Heritage Rockfest. The lineup includes the AC/DC tribute band TNT Chicago, punk/heavy metal outfit Pipe, the high-energy rock of Vicious Circle, and the blues/hard rock band Midnight Road. Admission is $10; the music starts at 7:00 p.m.

The 22nd Annual Jeff Buckley Tribute event will take place at Uncommon Ground’s Edgewater location at 1401 W. Devon Avenue in Chicago on November 17 and 18.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Reading And Writing And Rock And Roll

Insight Comics is releasing a 160-page hardcover graphic novel titled Bowie - Stardust, Rayguns and Moonage Daydreams that’s now available for preorder on Amazon. Steve Horton and Michael Allred are the writers, Laura Allred is the illustrator, and the foreword is written by Neil Gaiman. Laura Allred employs a colorful, realistic style that brings Bowie’s career, personality, and fellow musicians to life in a consistently appealing fashion. The book is due out January 7.

Chicago Tribune writer Debbie Carlson reviewed another hardcover David Bowie book in last Sunday’s Life+Travel section. It’s titled Bowie: An Illustrated Life and combines Maria Hesse’s art with copy by Fran Ruiz. Carlson described the book as being told from Bowie’s point of view and added that readers “meet many of the famous musicians he interacted with, including Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, Freddie Mercury and others.” Hesse takes a whimsical and fun approach to rendering Bowie’s story. It’s available on Amazon.

And if acquiring both of the above-mentioned Bowie books puts you in the mood to see some of his music performed live, Sons Of The Silent Age have a Ziggy Meets The Duke show coming up on January 11 at Metro. The critically acclaimed Bowie tribute band will be performing Ziggy Stardust and Station To Station in their entirety. The Queen tribute band The Ready Freddies will be the opening act.

Freelance writer Allison Stewart had an intriguing feature story about comedian/author Jenny Slate in last Friday’s Chicago Tribune. Slate was in town for a show at The Vic Theatre, and her new book Little Weirds has been picking up critical acclaim. Stewart describes it as “an abstract memoir-like collection of short pieces.” Slate currently has a standup show titled Stage Fright on Netflix,

Bridge, a literary publication that enjoyed a short run around the turn of this century, is making a comeback as a hardcover journal via a small group of creative individuals. Its mix of art, poetry, fiction, and essays draws inspiration from vintage periodicals like Tristan Tzara’s literature magazines and Wyndham Lewis’ Blast. The relaunched Bridge will have a freewheeling publishing cycle, based on when its creators feel they have the right amount of material to go to press. There will be a relaunch event for Bridge this Sunday, November 17 at 7:00 p.m. SITE/less at 1250 W. Augusta Blvd. in Chicago. Following the official relaunch, there will be a Bridge After Party at Montrose Saloon featuring The Thomas Comerford Band, Danny Black, and Eric Chial from The Bon Mots, and Decoy Prayer Meeting. It kicks off at 8:00 p.m. Montrose Saloon is located at 2933 W. Montrose.

On a personal note, I recently finished writing my fourth novel. It’s a Young Adult/rock and roll/romance/paranormal—hopefully funny—effort inspired by musicians like Alex Chilton and Steve Winwood who were already accomplished vocalists in their teenage years. My previous efforts (none published yet) are a suspense/satire novel based on Chicago’s punk rock scene in the mid-1980s, a Middle Grade fantasy/holiday novel, and a sequel to the Middle Grade fantasy. Three literary agents at a writers convention I attended last June liked my pitch and gave me the green light to submit my latest novel to them.

One of the requests literary agents often make is that writers provide examples of published (and successful) novels that are similar to the submission. It was during that quest that I discovered Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious, a thoroughly enjoyable Young Adult/Paranormal/Mystery with a hint of romance and lots of clever humor. For its main character, Truly Devious gives us Stevie, a teenage girl who’s unique, funny, inquisitive, and at times, overwhelmed and frightened, the way any teenager would be at a new far-from-home school with a history of unsolved murders. I can’t wait for the second book of this trilogy to come out next month.

Finally, aspiring writers looking to connect with an agent or publisher should consider Chris Roerden’s Don’t Murder Your Mystery. An acquaintance highly recommended this writing guide so I recently bought a copy. Roerden has a decades-long career as an editor and offers essential tips from an insider’s point of view on how avoid common mistakes while submitting your manuscript. I’ve just started reading it can already tell it’s going to be extremely helpful.


Saturday, November 9, 2019


Tickets are now on sale for The Pretenders and Journey at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater on July 3; Jon Langford and Sally Timms at The Hideout on January 19; Silver Suns and Tommi Zender at Martyrs’ on November 14; and Social Act and Nicholas Barron at Martyrs’ on December 13.

The above gig information comes from this week’s edition of The Chicago Reader. For the full list, pick up a copy from local venues or a Reader box in the downtown area.

This week’s Chicago Reader is its Best Of Chicago issue. The honors are divided into several categories across entertainment, sports, politics, restaurants, businesses, stores, and events. Reckless Records was named best record store, with Laurie’s Planet Of Sound coming in second; Women and Children First was the best independent bookstore, with Book Cellar coming in second; WBEZ was best radio station, with WXRT coming in second; and Terri Hemmert was voted as best DJ, with Lin Brehmer coming in second.

The third edition of the Chicago Art Book Fair, a networking event for local artists, will be held next weekend, November 15 – 17 at the Chicago Athletic Association at 12 S. Michigan Avenue.

The Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts is holding its annual Fall Clearance sale today, with a massive selection of art and sculptures available at reduced prices. Palette and Chisel is located at 1012 N. Dearborn, just north of downtown.

The world premiere of The First Deep Breath by Lee Edward Colston II opens next Friday at the Victory Gardens Theatre on Lincoln Avenue. Steve H. Broadnax III directs the intense family drama, which runs through December 22.

Tickets have sold out for Velvet Underground founding member John Cale’s concert at the Art Institute of Chicago on January 26. The performance ties in with the museum’s current exhibition Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again.

The Grand Rapids Comic-Con takes place this weekend at The DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The event will include celebrity guests, artists, and authors.

The 22nd Annual Jeff Buckley Tribute event will take place at Uncommon Ground’s Edgewater location at 1401 W. Devon Avenue in Chicago on November 17 and 18.

The Chicago TARDIS convention is being held November 29 – December 1 in Lombard have been announced. The special guests include Paul McGann, who played The Doctor in an American TV movie version of the U.K. sci-fi series, and had a pivotal cameo the 50th Anniversary short clips. Tosin Cole, Greg Austin, Vivian Oparah, and Sophie Hopkins will also be there.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Stop In The Name Of Rock

Nine east coast bands that feature women musicians have joined together and will hit the road in early 2020 as The WhistleStop Tour. The press release describes the lineup of Justine And The Unclean, The Chelsea Curve, Cold Expectations, Field Day, Heather Rose In Clover, Kid Gulliver, The Knock Ups, Powerslut, and Tiger Bomb as “New England Power*Pop*Punk Queens.” The first date is at the Askew Prov in Providence, RI on January 11, and it will be followed by gigs in Somerville, MA, Salem, MA and Portland, ME.

The Somerville show will be a record release party for PowerSlut. So far, the tour appears to be locked in on the east coast, with other regional dates to be announced. Special guests will join in the fun at each location; Lockette and The Shang-Hi-Los have already signed on. It would be nice to see a Midwest version of this tour, and of course, WhistleStop is welcome to visit the Chicago area anytime.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019


We lost Ric Ocasek a while back but his presence will surely be felt tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. That’s when Tributosaurus, one of the city’s best known tribute bands, will become The Cars. It’s hard to imagine new wave catching on as well as it did back in the 1970s without the nocturnal ambience of Cars songs such as “Just What I Needed,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “Moving In Stereo.” The band was justifiably inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last year.

Americana singer-guitarist Margo Price has been added to the musicians performing on The Last Waltz Tour, a tribute to The Band’s 1976 farewell concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The Last Waltz Tour, with headliners Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson, Lukas Nelson, John Medeski, and Don Was, comes to the Chicago Theatre on November 21.

A feature-length documentary about Ronnie Wood titled Somebody Up There Likes Me is set to open in theaters around Ireland and the U.K. on November 26. It will include vintage footage of his days with The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces, and The Rolling Stones. Hopefully, it will open in the States some time in the near future.


Friday, November 1, 2019


The Got It Covered - BBC Children In Need charity album, which features cover versions of popular songs performed by Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Himesh Patel, David Tennant, Jodie Whittaker, and other noted British actors, is now available on Amazon and other sites.

Today is release day for From Out Of Nowhere by Jeff Lynne’s ELO. Two weeks from now, we’ll see Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police from Juliana Hatfield; and November 22 brings Hyperspace from Beck, Losst and Founnd by Harry Nilsson; Thanks For The Dance from Leonard Cohen, and Who by The Who.

A big welcome to Jerry Seinfeld, who’ll be performing stand-up comedy tonight at the Chicago Theatre. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Countless television viewers can recite catch phrases (and probably entire scenes) from Seinfeld’s eponymous sitcom. But he was already a legendary stand-up comedian for his clever and imaginative takes on everyday things like doing laundry or the way a dog reacts when its human returns from even the shortest time away. His current TV project Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee offers fascinating and funny insight on how comedians create and regard their work. By the way, I wore a puffy shirt the other day, but it wasn’t because I wanted to look like a pirate. It was part of my vampire costume for our company’s Halloween party.

Social Act will be showcasing “Time” and other songs from their new album, Innocence In Time tonight at Montrose Saloon tonight. Icebox and Steve Karras are also on the bill. The music starts at 9:00 p.m. Tomorrow night at Montrose Saloon, it’s Go Time, The Spindles and 45 Souls.

Tickets went on sale today for Peter Asher at City Winery Chicago on January 3; Chicago at the Rialto Square Theatre on April 7; Juliana Hatfield at SPACE on January 16; NRBQ at Chop Shop on November 27; and Sons Of The Silent Age and Ready Freddies at Metro on January 11.

Next Saturday, November 9, QUAD CON will arrive in Burlington, IA the fourth destination on its quest to bring toys, comic books, art, and games to cities in the Midwest. Admission is free. QUAD CON will hit Rockford, IL on November 17.

Chicago-based power pop band The Collectors are changing their name to The Walkdown and have officially added vocalist Erica Loftus to their lineup. Loftus has made guest appearances with the Mike Mazza led group (as well as with Van Go) in the past and also sings lead for The Right Tidys. All of the above-mentioned acts are well-known to regular attendees of International Pop Overthrow - Chicago.

We lost Ric Ocasek a while back but we’ll never forget his contributions to cutting-edge music. You can appreciate the nocturnal allure he crafted with his songs when Tributosaurus becomes The Cars next Wednesday, November 6 at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue.

Progressive rock fans should flock to The Raue Center For The Arts in Crystal Lake on Saturday, November 23. The six-member band Prognosis will be performing Six Of The Best, a tribute to Peter Gabriel; Genesis; Jethro Tull; Emerson, Lake, and Palmer; King Crimson; and Yes.

The Grand Rapids Comic-Con takes place November 8 – 10 at The DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The event will include celebrity guests, artists, and authors.

The Music On Stage theater group will present Annie The Musical from November 16 through December 1 at Cutting Hall in Palatine. In 2020, Music On Stage will be presenting The Sound Of Music and The Wizard Of Oz.

Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell TV show, is coming to the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL on January 17. Don’t look for me to make any jokes about my cats being from hell. They’re both perfect angels.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019


I haven’t made it to Stay Tuned: Rock On TV at the Museum Of Broadcast Communications yet, but I definitely will. The exhibition originated at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, so the memorabilia is impressive. I’ve been informed by a friend that Stay Tuned includes a drumhead that once belonged to Bobby Elliott of The Hollies. He gave it to Shindig after The Hollies performed on the TV show in 1965. I corresponded with Mr. Elliott via email back in 2010 for a piece I was doing for the Illinois Entertainer about The Hollies being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. He still performs with the band, and was extremely gracious.

The first date on Juliana Hatfield’s 2020 tour will be at SPACE in Evanston on January 16. Other cities she’ll be visiting include Nashville, Indianapolis, Austin, Los Angeles, and Portland.

Indie rock band The Rut (which includes avid Hatfield fan singer-guitarist Frank Carr) will be performing tomorrow night at Phyllis’ Musical Inn as part of the venue’s American Troubadour Night. The band has its roots in the Famous In The Future comedy group, which performed every year at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s annual Abbie Fest, and are now runs the annual YippieFest held in August.

The Social Act, the Ellis Clark-fronted band that got off to an impressive start back in the late 1980s with atmospheric rock songs like “World War Three” and “Reverend Joe,” has returned to the recording studio and local club scene. Their Not Too Late album is now available, and they’ll be at Montrose Saloon this Friday night. Icebox and Steve Karras are also on the bill. Show time is 9:00 p.m.

Go Time! and The Spindles, two Chicago area power pop bands that have earned praise here on Broken Hearted Toy for their albums and live performances, will share a triple bill with 45 Souls on the following night at Montrose Saloon.

And finally, as a reminder, there are still a few Halloween treats left in the bowl for some more scary fun.

Late Bar, at 3534 W. Belmont on Chicago’s north side, is having a Halloween Music Video Monster Mash Up featuring DJs Sonic Marchesa and Samorama this Thursday night. Late Bar promises lots of candy and a My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult ticket giveaway.

The Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge will offer a twin bill of the 1931 horror films Frankenstein and Dracula tomorrow night, as part of its Classic Film Series. Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are the stars, respectively. Admission is $12.

The Music Box will be screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 10:00 p.m. tomorrow night and Halloween. Audience members are encouraged to participate.

There will be a Waking The Witch benefit for the Clinic Vest Project at The Empty Bottle tomorrow night, featuring DJ Claire Lyerla and DJ Ruby Des Jardins.

The Chicago Philharmonic will provide a live soundtrack when Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is screened at the Auditorium Theatre on Halloween and November 1.

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