Friday, March 9, 2018


Congratulations to my nephew Joe Flamm on winning this season’s Top Chef competition on the Bravo channel. Earlier today, I did a post here about the Top Chef viewing event the Spiaggia restaurant in Chicago hosted last night.

In related news, the Millright’s restaurant in Simsbury, CT will have Top Chef contestants Adrienne Cheatham and Chris Scott preparing a five course meal and cocktails on March 25 to benefit the Sarcoma Foundation Of America in honor fellow Season 15 contestant Fatima Ali, who is battling cancer.

Factory Theater will be plunging into grunge rock circa 1997 when its production of The Next Big Thing opens in previews tonight. Carrie J. Sullivan’s play features original music in a tale of a small town musician named Beth who hopes to conquer the Chicago music scene. Allison Grischow stars in the title role, and Robyn Coffin directs. The Next Big Thing will run on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through April 21.

Prop Thtr’s new late-night production The Uploose Odditorium opens tonight at 10:30 p.m. The hour-long sketch comedy show features Jessica Kearney, Dash Kidman, Kyra Leigh, Dylan McGorty, Matt Nikkila, Zoë Pike, and Chloe Speschockrom, with Jamie Shriner as a musical guest. Admission is $10; Prop Thtr is located at 3502-04 N. Elston.

Elizabeth Acevedo, a poetry slam champion who is now an author, will be discussing her first novel Poet X at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in the Hyde Park neighborhood tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.

Graham Nash returns to the Chicago area next Saturday, March 17 with a show at the The North Shore Center For The Performing Arts in Skokie. The British Invasion continues a few days later when The Zombies perform at City Winery Chicago on March 19 and 20.

The official International Pop Overthrow website has now posted the schedule for its 2018 nine-day/12 showcase run in Chicago. The fest starts on Friday, April 20 and runs through Saturday, April 28. Several IPO favorites will be performing, including Tommi Zender, Phil Angotti, Rob Schultz Band, King Mixer, The Jeremy Band, The Lilacs, The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, Larry O. Dean, The Spindles, Thrift Store Halo, The Red Wigglers, The Cells, The Jay Goeppner Band, Michael Steven Cohen, Certain Stars, The Unswept, Dave Rave, Freetoed, Mike Vanderbilt And The Suburban Garage Sound, The Queue, and Too Much Saturn. IPO Founder/CFO David Bash has created profiles of most of the acts involved, along with links to their websites or Facebook pages. So even those who can’t make it to the shows can use this site to discover some amazing new power pop and indie rock acts.

Rock on and thanks for all the fish. The U.K. vinyl-only, indie label Fruits de Mer is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with Goldfish—a three LP/one seven inch single set on color vinyl in a triple gatefold sleeve. The tracks stretch across FdM’s decade of offering psychedelic and prog rock artists, and includes The Pretty Things, The Chemistry Set, Jack Ellister, Vibravoid, Soft Hearted Scientists, Tir na nOg, and Stay.

In addition to Goldfish, Fruits de Mer’s ten-year history will be featured in Goldmine magazine writer Dave Thompson’s new book The Incomplete Angler. The mind-bending cover art was created by artist/musician Gregory Curvey, whose band The Luck Of Eden Hall has appeared on a number frequent FdM various tribute compilations.

The Jewish Film Festival continues its run this weekend and next weekend. A total of 31 films will be screened at ArcLight Chicago, ArcLight Glenview, Century 12 Evanston/CineArts 6 and Century 16 Deer Park. The Chicago European Union Film Festival continues through April 5 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

WNUR’s Power Pop Showcase’s multi-act tribute to Tommy Keene and Pat DiNizio takes place next Friday, on March 16 at The Elbo Room on CHicago’s north side.

Nancy Wilson from Heart will be taking part in a Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp in Chicago with blues legend Buddy Guy June 28 through July 1.

Longtime Chicago Tribune rock critic Greg Kot, whose 2014 Mavis Staples bio I’ll Take You There was chosen as part of the city’s One Book, One Chicago campaign, has a new work available in print or ebook format. Turn It Up is a collection of his Tribune reviews, as well as columns about Bono, Beck, Patti Smith, Knaye West, Wilco and other big name music acts.

The One Where A Friends Star Helps Fight Sexual Harassment. David Schwimmer, who brought plenty of humor to his lovelorn character Ross Geller on Friends before moving on to various dramatic roles, is also well known in Chicago as the co-founder of Lookingglass Theater. As noted by writer Kim Janssen in the Chicago Tribune, Schwimmer has made five short films to identify and combat acts of sexual harassment in the workplace. The clips will be shown on screens on the backseats of Chicago cabs.

Actor Michael Shannon, who like Schwimmer, remains a vital part of the Chicago theatre scene even after achieving widespread critical and commercial acclaim, watched the recent Oscars Awards show at the Old Town Ale House, according to a Chicago Sun-Times story by reporter Mitch Dudek. Shannon had every right to be at the actual ceremony in Hollywood since he had a major role in The Shape Of Water, which was nominated in 13 categories. But he chose instead to be at the closing night of the play Traitor at A Red Orchid Theatre since he was the director.

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