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.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

More Beatles: Martyrs’ And Moptop

I spent much of this past weekend in Elgin, acting in scenes for the two horror movies Jeff Kelly and Dave Metzger are filming for Elgin’s Nightmare On Chicago Street Halloween festival coming up on October 19. But I did manage to squeeze in a few hours to catch the John Lennon Birthday/Abby Road 50th Anniversary Bash at Martyrs’ on Saturday night. Ary Paloma Jeebie and Ellis Clark organized the event with the same expertise they’ve shown at their annual George Harrison birthday bashes the past few years. A number of acts performed Saturday night, with each one choosing a song from Abbey Road, along with a few of their favorite Lennon compositions. I wasn’t able to stay long, due to my need to be on the set early Sunday morning, but it was a great time. And I bought a very cool original John Lennon t-shirt designed by Ary Paloma Jeebie.

In other Beatles related news, Professor Moptop is coming to my humble village to present his The Beatles’ Abbey Road 50th Anniversary lecture at the Palatine Library tomorrow night, October 2. Admission is free but seating is limited, so anyone interested should register with the Palatine Library in advance. The Professor is a regular contributor on Terri Hemmert’s Sunday morning Breakfast With The Beatles program on WXRT. He not only has an amazing knowledge of The Beatles, but also provides background information and fun trivia that brings us closer to understanding the atmosphere of the band’s recording sessions. I found that same entertaining mix in Professor Moptop’s Beatles Textbook Volume One. His Volume Two is also out, and I’m hoping to buy a copy at the Palatine Library tomorrow.


Monday, September 30, 2019

Celluloid Heroes - Everybody’s In Movies

My weekly after-work trek to downtown Chicago last Thursday included the usual stops at Reckless Records and Graham Cracker Comics, as well as dropping by the Gene Siskel Film Center for free papers, brochures, and postcards for upcoming entertainment events. This time, there was a cinematic theme to the stuff I picked up.

The 55th Annual Chicago International Film Festival will run from October 16 to October 27 at AMC River East 21. The official 56-page program has the complete schedule arranged by genre, with a brief description of each film. New City magazine’s October issue is dedicated to its annual Film 50 list, which spotlights filmmakers, directors, artistic directors, casting directors, journalists, and other major players in Chicago’s vibrant film scene.

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.

BWiFF, the Blue Whiskey 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 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.

Jeff Kelley of the Sunday Morning Coffee With Jeff internet show and graphic designer/artist Dave Metzger are currently working on two short films they’ll be screening at Elgin’s Nightmare On Chicago Street Halloween festival on October 19. They’ve been creating horror movies for the annual event since it started and I’ve acted in a number of them. This past weekend, I spent a few hours on Saturday, and most of Sunday in Elgin because I have a role in each of the new movies. I can’t wait to see the finished work, because Jeff and Dave always do such an awesome job.

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