Friday, August 23, 2019


Fantastic guests and where to find them. Dan Fogler, John Travolta, Jeff Goldblum, Melissa Joan Hart, Chris Sarandon, Kelly Hu, George Wendt, and Henry Winkler are among the celebrities who’ll be on hand for the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con going on at the Donald E. Stephenson Convention Center in Rosemont this weekend. The annual event brings together self-professed nerds, sci-fi devotees, graphic novels readers, art lovers, TV fans, and anyone who embraces the more adventurous paths of modern culture. Prices for a four-day pass and single day tickets vary, so check out the website for schedule and ticket information.

Hitsville: The Making Of Motown premieres tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. on Showtime. The world-changing soul music label is now in its 60th year.

Here’s a request for all those going to see The Smithereens and Material Reissue at Skokie’s Backlot Bash tonight: At some point, raise a toast to Pat DiNizio and Jim Ellison, and all the amazing power pop songs they gave us. DiNizio was a founding member of The Smithereens, and the band wisely decided to carry on his legacy after his passing. Well-known power pop singer-guitarist Marshall Crenshall will be fronting the band tonight. Likewise, Material Issue’s surviving members Ted Ansani and Mike Zelenko realized Ellison’s songs deserve to be performed live, and brought in Chicago music scene veteran Phil Angotti as the lead vocalist-guitarist for Material Reissue  So here’s to Pat and Jim: The music lives on.

Skokie’s Backlot Bash runs through Sunday on Oakton between Lincoln and Laramie Avenues. The Imperial Sound, Tributosaurus, and War are among the acts scheduled to appear. The fest also includes a carnival and a vintage car show.

Ravinia will become a field of gold tonight when Sting performs his solo hits and mostly likely, some well-chosen selections by The Police.

Hairpin Arts Center at 2810 N. Milwaukee Avenue is the place for the Labyrinth Arts Performance Collective’s Catzilla 7 tonight and tomorrow night. The event aims to make the world a better place for cats and will feature music, performance art, artwork and photography. Admission is $20.

Cheers To Beers 19 will be held tomorrow starting at 6:00 p.m. at 3159 N. Elston. In addition to presenting the work of 19 artists, the event will feature live performances by Soultree and Remey Le Flow, along with DJ Bobby. Admission is $5.

Tickets went on sale today for Lenny Kravitz at Ravinia on September 7; Bush Tetras at Old Town School Of Folk Music on September 19; glam rock pioneers Sweet with special guests House Of Lords at The Arcada on September 5; Violent Femmes at Concord Music Hall on September 13; and A Tribute to Buddy Holly and The Crickets with Zachary Stevenson and more at FitzGerlad’s on September 9.

Jazzin’ At The Shedd wraps up its 2019 summertime run at the Shedd Aquarium next Wednesday, from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.. Expect jazz, drinks, fireworks, and “the chance to look nature in the eye.”

The 25th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival wraps up next Thursday, August 29 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Squeeze, one of England’s finest bands, will be at the Chicago Theatre next Saturday night.

According to the WXRT website, Neil Young will soon release the first album he’s recorded with Crazy Horse in seven years.

In a year when we’re celebrating 50 years of Monty Python’s Flying Circus silliness, Eric Idle will release an autographed, limited edition of his memoir Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, via the very classy Genesis Publications. And keep in mind Monty Python’s quest to stage the world’s largest gathering of people dressed like its Gumby character takes place on October 5. The program’s animator/director Terry Gilliam will serves as master of ceremonies.

Long-time country-rock band Heartsfield will be at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn next Saturday, August 31

The Tanita Tikaram anthology To Drink A Rainbow is now available for preorder from the Needle Mythology indie label.

The Dave Brubeck Tribute Project at performs SPACE in Evanston next Wednesday, August 28.

Two of Chicago’s better acts, The Phil Angotti Band and The Hushdrops, will share a double bill at Martyrs’ next Thursday, August 29.

EXPO ’76 will be delighting spectators with its unpredictable but always enticing blend of cover versions next Friday night at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights.

Professor Moptop, whose ongoing reports on Beatles recordings are one of the many highlights on Terri Hemmert’s Breakfast With The Beatles show each Sunday morning, is coming to my humble village. He’ll be presenting The Beatles’ Abbey Road 50th Anniversary at the Palatine Library on Wednesday, October 2. He also has upcoming lectures at

Also coming up at Palatine Library is London tour guide John Gowing’s All Things British discussion on October 22.

God only knows, it is what we would choose to do. Pink Floyd fans should mark October 2 and 6 on their calendars because those are the days when the new documentary US + Them will be screened in movie theatres. It was filmed in Amsterdam during Roger Waters’ 2018 Us + Them Tour, and created by Waters and director Sean Evans. Pink Floyd’s politically charged masterpiece “Us And Them” was written by Waters and keyboards player Rick Wright for Floyd’s iconic The Dark Side Of The Moon album in 1973.

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