Friday, November 20, 2020


Some houses in my neighborhood are already decked out in holiday lighting, which is probably meant to lift people’s mood in these troubled times. It certainly can’t hurt. Hopefully, it will also inspire donations to worthy causes.

The Fest For Beatles Fans is making spirits bright by bringing back its Fab Friday virtual concert series now that we've returned to a lockdown. New Yorker Andrew Weiss performs at 8:00 pm ET tonight, followed by Chicago-based singer-guitarist Phil Angotti at 9:00 pm. Check the Fest For Beatles Fans Facebook page for info on upcoming concerts.

Episode One of the Chicago Independent Venue League’s CIVLIZATION virtual concert series takes place on November 27. See the CIVL website for the list of performers and venues involved, as well as information on how to support independent venues and the musicians who make their living in them.

The Go-Go’s posted a video on YouTube for their hard-hitting and impossibly catchy new song “Club Zero.” I bought The Go-Go’s Beauty And The Beat debut immediately after seeing them perform at ChicagoFest back in the ‘80s, and it’s great to see them still in action.

The 27th Chicago Underground Film Festival is underway, and as mentioned by Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Richard Roeper in this past Wednesday’s issue, it will include director Danielle Beverly’s documentary Dusty Groove: The Sound Of Transition. The 85-minute film centers on Rick Wojcik and J.P. Schauer, owners of the Dusty Groove record store in Wicker Park, and their customers. A pass can be purchased on the website for $30.

For some funny and interesting insight on the art of standup comedy, check out the interview Nina Metz conducted with comedian/actor Deon Cole in today’s Chicago Tribune about his Workin’ It Out’ special on Netflix.

The 2021 She Rocks Awards will take place in a virtual format this Sunday, January 22. This year’s honorees represent all sectors of the entertainment industry and include The Go-Go’s, Cherie Curie, Cindy Blackman Santana, Amy Lee, Margaret Cho, Starr Parodi, Ann Mincieli, Sharon Hennessey, and Gwen Riley. Singer-Guitarist LZZY HALE, from the band Halestorm and a previous honoree, will serve as host. The ceremony is open to the general public, and will include a silent auction.

This year’s Black Harvest Film Festival, which went virtual due to COVID-19, wraps up November 30. All the films are streaming at via the Gene Siskel Film Center. 

Graham Nash, Elvis Costello, Angelique Kidjo, Sting, Jim James, Kesha, and the Brooklyn Youth Choir will perform when the David Lynch Foundation presents Meditate America on December 3. Katy Perry, Hugh Jackman, Debora Lee Furness, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, and Jennifer Ashton, MD will serve as hosts. The free virtual event aims to raise awareness of transcendental meditation, which is believed to help control stress and lessen the risks of stroke, heart disease, and depression. Viewers are encouraged to donate.


CoCo and Blu, a hip and classy cafe in Arlington Heights, has a Christkindlmarket going that will run through December 23. The venue promises, “Fabulous Holiday Mug Keepsakes, Shopping, Food Cocktails, and Coffee Creations.”

The Black Friday Record Store Day is still on, but you’ll need to check with your local record store to see if it’s participating. The official RSD site has a very helpful Store Status spreadsheet with state-by-state listings of which stores will be open to foot traffic; offering curbside pickup; local delivery; online sales with shipping; or appointment shopping.

The recent news that Wrigley Field has been designated as a National Historic Landmark brought back a flood of pleasant memories. The first being my Dad taking us kids and some of our friends there to see the Chicago Cubs play. More recent memories center on being outside the ballpark, like when I walked there from my Lincoln Park studio apartment in 1988 to witness the first time Wrigley Field had lights. The game was rained out. I couldn’t afford a ticket to a Paul McCartney concert so I based a Broken Hearted Toy review on what I could hear standing at the corner of Clark and Addison. I later covered a Bruce Springsteen show in the same fashion for a post I titled When I’m Out On The Street. By the time the Cubs finally returned to the World Series in 2016, I had moved to Palatine. But watching those games on TV was still the best memory of all. 

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