Thursday, October 17, 2019

Something Rocking This Way Comes

It’s that time of year when spooky-themed entertainment drifts across Chicago like a fog on the Scottish moor. And whether you’re already in the Halloween spirit or prefer to wait until we’re closer to October 31, there are numerous events coming your way. The choices include live rock, classical music, films, masquerade, and outdoor revelry. Here are some suggestions:

City Lit Theater Company is currently staging a production based on the most frightening of all the Sherlock Holmes novels—The Hound Of The Baskervilles. It runs through November 10. City Lit Theater is located at 1020 W. Bryn Mawr in Chicago.

Durty Nellie’s in Palatine is hosting Wizardfest – A Harry Potter Themed Pop-Up Party presented by Popular Party Tours tomorrow night from 7:30 to 11:00 p.m. Activities include dancing, a costume contest, trivia, photo booth, Halloween egg hunt for cash prizes, and a chance to win a Sweepstakes Grand Prize trip to London for two. It’s a 21 and over event, with prices ranging from $15 to for general admission to $50 for table for four.

Elgin’s downtown area will once again become a safe zone to escape zombies when the annual Nightmare On Chicago Street returns this Saturday, October 19. That might seem a bit early for a Halloween festival, but it’s always good to get a head start on the living dead. In addition to live music and food vendors, there will be other fun activities, including the world premiere of two independent horror films. This Zombie For Hire was written and directed by David Metzger and Song Of The Dead was written and directed by Jeff Kelley. I had a blast being in the cast for each flick. No one under the age of 17 will be allowed into Nightmare On Chicago Street unless accompanied by an adult.

Music fans who come to the Chop House on Thursday, October 24, can participate in a costume party along with checking out four live bands. Pelafina, Bar Candy, The Locals, and the Cincinnati-based Here Come Here. The Locals will be showcasing songs from their emotionally charged new album Minutes, Seconds, Degrees. The music starts at 8:00 p.m. Chop House is located at .

Montrose Saloon is the place to be for this year’s Halloweekend, a fun tradition where local bands perform as famous rock stars and often dress up like them. On Friday, October 25, the lineup is Los Gallos Band as Los Lobos; Roxy Morons as Roxy Muisc; The Webstirs as The Doobie Brothers; Androgynous Mustache as Hall and Oates; and Fiction Romantics as The Buzzcocks. On Saturday, October 26, Phil Angotti promises to go wandering as Bob Dylan; and he’ll be followed by Planet Claire as Neil Diamond; Statutes Of Liberty as Velvet Underground; Rachel Drew as Siouxsie and The Banshees; and The Stone Montroses as the Stone Roses. Obviously, some of these band names are pseudonyms for performers who play the Chicago club scene under their regular names. So in a way, you don’t know who’ll find at Montrose Saloon on Halloweekend.

The town of Long Grove, once a popular destination for antiques, crafts, and gifts items, is showing signs of successfully reinventing itself after going through some tough times. Restaurants and coffee places are now leading the way. Long Grove will transform itself into a Halloween Town from October 23 through October 27.

The 7th Annual Halloween ComicFest takes place on October 26, with participating comic stores offering candy and free comics. Patrons are encouraged to wear costumes. Check with your favorite comic store to see if it plans on being part of the fun.

The Music Box will be screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight on Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26; and at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30 and Halloween. Audience members are encouraged to participate.

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


Wednesday, October 16, 2019


The Bad Examples will be at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights this Friday.

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has revealed its list of 16 nominees to be inducted in 2020, sparking the usual debate over who’s worthy, who’s unworthy, and who’s so much better than any of them but never gets nominated. Some rock music fans have long since opted out of even caring about Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I’ve taken a more positive view since The Hollies were inducted in 2010, but it’s easy to understand people’s frustration. So, five of these following nominees will be chosen to join the RRHF club next year. Notorious B.I.G.; Rufus featuring Chaka Khan; Depeche Mode; Thin Lizzy; Judas Priest; Todd Rundgren; MC5; Soundgarden; Pat Benatar; Dave Matthews Band; Whitney Houston; Kraftwerk; The Doobie Brothers; T. Rex; Motorhead; and Nine Inch Nails. A case could be made that each of them was influential in its chosen genre. My votes would go for Todd Rundgren; MC5; Depeche Mode; T. Rex; and Thin Lizzy.

The Bad Examples, who would easily be inducted if there was a Chicago rock band hall of fame, are coming to Hey Nonny this Friday. It’s another sign the Arlington Heights restaurant-music venue is interested in booking acts from Chicago’s vibrant club scene. The Bad Examples can rock out with songs like the funny and hard-hitting “Not Dead Yet” and also create smooth Squeeze-style pop like “Pictures Of A Masquerade” and “Jayne Left Behind.”

Fans of irresistible English rock and roll can also check out Nick Lowe - Montrose Saloon Tribute Social Night, Number 5 tomorrow, October 17. The venue’s Facebook post describes this event as “conceived and delivered by Mason Payne,” and the performers include Tony Nuncio, Charlie Crane, Dan Morr, Gil Orndorf, and Tim Peters. Cover charge is $5, the pure pop for now people starts at 8:00 p.m. Montrose Saloon is located at 2933 W. Montrose in Chicago.

Durty Nellie’s in Palatine is hosting Wizardfest – A Harry Potter Themed Pop-Up Party presented by Popular Party Tours this Friday night from 7:30 to 11:00 p.m. Activities include dancing, a costume contest, trivia, photo booth, Halloween egg hunt for cash prizes, and a chance to win a Sweepstakes Grand Prize trip to London for two. It’s a 21 and over event, with prices ranging from $15 to for general admission to $50 for table for four.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Lin’s Been Our Best Friend For 35 Years

This past August marked the 10th anniversary of Broken Hearted Toy. One of the first posts I did in August 2009 was about a WXRT event celebrating the birthday of its morning DJ Lin Brehmer. Back then, I noted that Brehmer, who’s always assured his listeners he’s their best friend in the whole world, offered a refreshing alternative to the obnoxious humor served up by typical rock ‘n’ roll morning drive-time types. Whether he’s lamenting a frustrating Cubs game; relating how he mispronounced Bono’s name in an early interview with the U2 frontman; or recalling the time he brought the Australian garage rock band The Hoodoo Gurus home at 3:00 a.m. (much to his wife’s dismay), Brehmer exudes a one-of-the-guys persona

Ten years later, he probably has more best friends than ever. WXRT and Sprint are throwing a Brehmer bash tomorrow night, but this time it’s to celebrate his 35th anniversary of working at the station. Los Lobos are scheduled to perform, and it seems likely a number of Brehmer’s peers, along with special guests, will take the stage to share their favorite tales about him. I met Brehmer for the first time at that birthday party in 2009, and we’ve talked at enough WXRT events since then that when he saw me at City Winery Chicago earlier this year, he grinned and exclaimed, “Flamm!” That might have something to do with my nephew Joe Flamm winning Top Chef on Bravo—Brehmer’s definitely a foodie—but it sure seemed like something a best friend would do. Congratulations, Lin.

NOTE: As far as I know, the only available tickets for this event were given away at Sprint stores a while back.


Friday, October 11, 2019


Major contender for my RSD wish list.

The official Record Store Day website has revealed the list of limited-edition vinyl releases for this year’s Black Friday RSD, and it looks like a better than average selection. Once again, the artists involved stretch across all genres of music, including Alex Chilton; Miles Davis; Devo; Chuck Berry; Liam Gallagher; Hank Williams; James Brown; Jeff Buckley; John Lee Hooker; Eric Clapton; The Marshall Tucker Band; Alice Cooper; Aretha Franklin; Bruce Springsteen; Paul McCartney; and Willie Nelson. My own shopping list has Cheap Trick; U2; Peter Holsapple Combo; The Kinks; Nick Lowe and Wilco; The Pretenders; and The Regrettes.

America sends its Regrettes. Having released How Do You Love? as a worthy follow-up to their  debut album Feel Your Feelings Fool, The Regrettes are touring the globe. They’re in Chicago tonight for a concert at Metro, and they have upcoming dates in Ireland, England, France, Germany and Japan. The Los Angeles-based band expertly mixes authentic punk with the 1960s girl group sound even though none of its members are old enough to have experienced either of those eras.

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is scheduled to announce the nominees to be inducted in 2020 this coming Tuesday. Expect the usual outrage over which nominees are completely unworthy and which rock acts have been neglected for far too long. Not that there isn’t some merit to those comments. A couple of recommendations for induction off the top of my head would be Squeeze and The Bangles.

Tickets went on sale today for Cowboy Junkies at City Winery Chicago on March 5 and 6; Steve Forbet at SPACE on January 10; Sinead O’Connor at City Winery Chicago March 14 through 16; and Willy Porter at SPACE February 13.

The Bad Examples have a show coming up next Friday, October 18 at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights. Once again, it’s encouraging to see this new venue tapping into some of the Chicago area’s best rock and roll acts for its bookings.

Congratulations to the Graham Crackers Comics location at 77 E. Madison on 20 years of doing business in downtown Chicago. The store has a sale running through this weekend.

Chris Hillman from The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers will be performing with noted studio Herb Pedersen at The Old Town School Of Folk Music this Sunday night.

Morning Glory On The Vine, a book featuring Joni Mitchell’s art, poetry, and lyrics, is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It’s based on a book Mitchell personally created for a number of friends back in 1971. In other Mitchell news, a double LP version of Jonie 75: A Birthday Celebration, which features various famous musicians in concert paying tribute to the iconic singer-songwriter, will be among this year’s Black Friday Record Store Day treasures.

The Haymarket Opera Company will perform John Frederick Lampe’s 1737 work The Dragon of Wantley at the Studebaker Theater on Michigan Avenue on October 27 at 5:30 p.m. and October 29 at 7:30 p.m. Haymarket promises, “beguiling music, cleverly ridiculous poetry, thrilling spectacle,” with ticket prices starting at $30.

It was nice to see a photo Ray and Dave Davies together at a London bash marking the 50th Anniversary of The Kinks’ groundbreaking rock opera Arthur - Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire. Arthur will be available on October 25 in various CD and vinyl formats.

The 2019 Chicago TARDIS Doctor Who convention will field an impressive roster of celebrity guests when it takes place November 29 – December 1 at the Westin Chicago Lombard. Paul McGann; Sylvester McCoy; Arthur Darville; Tosin Cole; Katy Manning; and Louise Jameson are among those who will be there.

If the critically acclaimed Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice documentary is on your wish list, you can catch it at the Gene Siskel Film Center November 1 through 7.

Professor Moptop presented his The Beatles’ Abbey Road 50th Anniversary lecture at the Palatine Library last week and it proved to be as interesting and entertaining as his regular contributions to Terri Hemmert’s Sunday morning Breakfast With The Beatles program on WXRT. He had copies of his Textbook Beatles Volume One and the very recently released Volume Two for sale after the presentation. Both books are filled with well-researched Beatles history, trivia, and a lots of fun photographs.

The 55th Annual Chicago International Film Festival gets under way next Wednesday, October 16 and will run through October 27 at AMC River East 21. The official 56-page program, with the complete schedule arranged by genre and featuring a brief description of each film, is available at the Gene Siskel Film Center and other place around Chicago.

BWiFF, the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival, will present the 1919 Cinema Centennial – Celebrating 100 Years Of Cinema at the Music Box Theatre on October 23 at 7:00 p.m.

The Bensenville Arts Council and Bensenville Community Foundation are sponsoring the very first Bensenville Short Film Festival on November 13 at the Bensenville Theatre. The deadline for submissions is October 13 and there is a $10 admission fee. Films should be no longer than 15 minutes.

Elgin’s downtown area will once again be overrun with zombies as part of the annual Nightmare On Chicago Street Halloween Festival . In addition to the roaming flesh-eaters, there will lots of entertainment; including Me-TV’s Svengoolie; DJs; live bands; and a costume contest. If you can claw your way through the mayhem, you might find a storefront theater where Jeff Kelley and Dave Metzger will each be screening an original horror film. I have an acting role in each of them.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A Birthday For Three Cool Cats And One Real One

John Lennon was born on this day in 1940. Not only is his music still very much with us, his multi-faceted personality—wit, angst, compassion, and commitment to worthy causes—shines on as bright as ever. Depending on what time you read this, there might still be time to catch some of the Phil Angotti and Friends Lennon Tribute tonight at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue.

John Entwistle, “The Ox” bass player from The Who, was born four years after Lennon, on the same day. Like Lennon, he emerged during the first British Invasion, and played an essential role in making The Who the one of rock’s most powerful and enduring bands.

Jackson Browne is celebrating his birthday today. A major star of the the singer-songwriter boom of the 1970s, he collaborated with The Eagles and became good friends with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. “Doctor My Eyes” and “Take It Easy” are just two of his songs that remain classic rock radio staples.

Happy Birthday, gentlemen.

October 9, 1996 is the birthday of Penny, the first cat my wife and I picked out together, and a wonderful pet who made us laugh and seemed to read our every mood and need. She shows up in two of the novels I’m currently trying to get published, and it’s likely she’ll be in at least a few more. Maybe she’s sharing a drink with John Lennon somewhere right now. I think they’d enjoy each other’s sense of humor.

David Bowie’s birthday isn’t for a while, but Late Bar on Belmont Avenue is having an Oh, You Pretty Things: David Bowie and Friends Video Night this Friday. DJs Sonic Marchesa and Carrie MonStar will spin records from his entire career and there will a lot of music videos. Admission is $5 after 10 p.m.; Happy Hour is 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Rock In Paradise, Kim

Power pop lost one of its most vibrant and popular stars when Kim Shattuck passed away from ALS complications last week. Posts from fans, as well as musicians, expressing shock spread across social media, and there were numerous tributes. Shattuck was a founding member of The Muffs, but also performed with The Breeders and The Pandoras, and recorded songs with NOFX and Bowling For Soup. She helped out on Derrick Anderson’s A World Of My Own solo album, once again showing how much she enjoyed cutting loose with her peers on their projects.

More recently, Shattuck was a member of the trio The Coolies with Palmyra Delran of The Friggs and fellow Muffs member Melanie Vammen. Their EP Uh Oh! It's The Coolies was championed by Little Steven Van Zandt on his Underground Garage radio program, and offered a fun mix of garage rock, power pop, and a bit of country and western. She reunited with The Muffs for No Holiday, their first album in five years, and it’s due out October 18. As with all of the music Kim Shattuck gave us, it’s sure to be filled with high energy, irresistibly catchy songs.


Monday, October 7, 2019


Lead guitarist-vocalist Mike Skill from The Romantics has a new catchy power pop single titled “Carrie Got Married” that’s available to download on CD Baby. The song is a sequel to The Romantics’ early hit “Tell It To Carrie” and was written by singer-guitarist Chloe F. Orwell from the Chicago band The Handcuffs. Orwell sings back-up vocals on the recording, and drummer Brad Elvis, who’s a member of The Romantics and The Handcuffs, backs Skill’s vocals and ringing guitar with some rocket-fueled drumming.

If you enjoyed the recent John Lennon Birthday Celebration /Abbey Road 50th Anniversary event organized by Ary Paloma Jeebie and Ellis Clark at Martyrs’—and that would be the only sensible reaction—check out the Phil Angotti and Friends Lennon Birthday Bash coming up at that same venue this Wednesday night. Like Ary and Ellis, Phil has a passion for Beatles music, as well as the expertise to bring the band’s song to life. He’s become a regular on the Apple Jam Stage at Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago, and does tribute shows around town. This Wednesday, he’ll be joined by musicians Tom Ryan, Joe Camarillo, John San Juan, Tony Richards, and Steve Dawson.

Tickets are now on sale for Off Broadway at FitzGerald’s on November 29; and for Al Stewart and Empty Pockets at SPACE on May 1.

Kim Gordon’s first solo album, No Home Record, comes out this Friday. October 25 will bring Colorado by Neil Young and Crazy Horse; and Daylight by Grace Pottter.

This past Sunday’s edition of the Chicago Tribune had a feature story by freelancer Donald Liebenson about Aaron Cohen’s new book Move On Up – Chicago Soul and Black Cultural Power. Cohen’s book covers the city’s urban contemporary music scene from the 1950s through the 1980s, and is available through the University Of Chicago Press. He’ll be discussing his book with Duane Powell at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore on October, and will also be at Constellation on October 11.

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