Friday, November 15, 2019

Slumgullion

Welcome to everyone who’s come to Chicago this weekend for the grand opening of the Starbucks Reserve Chicago Roastery; AKA the world’s largest Starbucks. You’ll find it at 646 N. Michigan Avenue in the building that once housed a Crate And Barrel store. While you’re in town, be sure to take in some of our local entertainment.

If you’re intrigued by the recently released Arthur50 box set from The Kinks, but weren’t aware of the album when it was originally released, a recent article by Geoff Edgers in The Washington Post (picked up by the Chicago Tribune) offers some helpful information. Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire) is often cited as the first rock concept album, but in the article, Ray Davies tells Edgers it’s more like “a documentary album.” Davies notes that Arthur still has relevance to today’s world. Edgers also interviewed Dave Davies and Mick Avory, as well as John Dalton, who replaced original bassist Peter Quaife. A limited-edition seven-inch single of “Arthur” will be available as part of this year’s Black Friday Record Store Day releases.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story opens next Tuesday, November 19 and will run through December 8 at the Broadway Playhouse. The show combines film and photos with a live band to present the folk rock duo’s rise to becoming one of America’s most popular acts. Broadway Playhouse is located at 175 E. Chestnut Street, at Water Tower Place.

Over 125 artists and several small independent presses—some from other countries— will showcase their work at the third edition of the Chicago Art Book Fair this weekend at the Chicago Athletic Association at 12 S. Michigan Avenue. The networking event is open to the public free of charge.

Robert Freeman, the photographer who gave the world (and history) the riveting black and white cover shot for the 1963 With The Beatles album (Meet The Beatles in the U.S.), passed away earlier this week. An obituary by Washington Post writer Matt Schudel explained the surprisingly simple lighting and background approach Freeman used in capturing John, Paul. George, and Ringo for generations to come. He also took the psychedelic cover shot for The Beatles’ Rubber Soul album. Rock In Paradise, Mr. Freeman.

Both nights are now sold out for the 22nd Annual Jeff Buckley Tribute event taking place this Saturday and Sunday at Uncommon Ground’s Lakeview location.

Bridge, a literary publication that enjoyed a short run around the turn of this century, is making a comeback as a hardcover journal, thanks to a small group of creative individuals. A relaunch event is taking place at 7:00 p.m. this Sunday night at 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.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s holiday concert scheduled for the Chicago Theatre tomorrow night has been canceled, due to lead vocalist-guitarist Brian Setzer having tinnitus.

Heritage Rockfest, a four-act concert event, takes place tomorrow night at the Irish American Heritage Center on Chicago’s north side. 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 for the 17 and older show is $10; the music starts at 7:00 p.m.

Chicago-based power pop band The Collectors have changed their name to The Walkdown and have 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. The Walkdown’s new Facebook page has racked up 100 likes so far.

Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore’s new group has a pair of gigs coming up at The Empty Bottle on December 12 and 13.

The world premiere of The First Deep Breath by Lee Edward Colston II opened tonight at the Victory Gardens Theatre on Lincoln Avenue. Steve H. Broadnax III directs the intense family drama, which runs through December 22. The November issue of Chicago Social magazine has an interview by writer Jaclyn Jermyn with Colston.

According to a recent article by Nina Metz in the Chicago Tribune, there will a documentary about Chicago-based improve pioneers Del Close and Charna Halpern. Former Second City member and now successful director/screenwriter Kay Cannon is the creative force behind the film.

Amy Gore’s new garage rock band The Rosalyns are one of the American acts scheduled to join the international lineup at the Purple Weekend on December 4 in Leon, Spain. Australia’s awesome power pop band The Hoodoo Gurus are the headliners. The Rosalyns have a record release party coming up on November 29 at Casbah San Diego.

Tickets are have sold out for Velvet Underground 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.

We are definitely amused. The Royal Mint has added Wallace and Gromit to the collection of cartoon characters it has chosen to be honored. The human/canine duo, created by the clever and very British artists at Aardman Studios, are featured on a coin that’s available to order for from the Royal Mint’s website. Also new this year, is a trio of coins depicting the characters from The Snowman, the Academy Award nominated short animation. Prices range from £10.00 for an uncirculated coin to £980.00 for a limited edition gold proof coin.

The Court Theatre’s production of Oedipus Rex continues its run through December 8. Oedipus Rex is the first installment of the Sophocles trilogy, which Court Theatre will continue with a production of The Gospel at Colonus next May and a production of Antigone next Fall. Court Theatre is located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue in Hyde Park.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Incoming

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.

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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.

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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Slumgullion

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.

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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.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Incoming

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.

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Friday, November 1, 2019

Slumgullion

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.

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