WBEZ | Performances http://www.wbez.org/sections/performances Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Kanye, Kim, Seth and Jim http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-11/kanye-kim-seth-and-jim-109255 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/kanye franco.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Which do you prefer: Kanye West&rsquo;s original video for &ldquo;Bound 2&rdquo; with his baby mama and fiancé Kim Kardashian, or the shot-for-shot parody that James Franco and Seth Rogen made while on the set of their movie <em>The Interview</em>?</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6BWTNYFCNVs" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 07:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-11/kanye-kim-seth-and-jim-109255 In tribute: The after party for music fandoms http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-08/tribute-after-party-music-fandoms-108475 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/969556_10100631311284141_43077372_n.jpg" style="float: right; height: 291px; width: 300px;" title="(The Whistler/Facebook)" />Chicago makes things happen. It allows for nearly any sort of lifestyle or livelihood. The cultural individuality (or even isolation) of the city means citizens can create the experience they want with communities they find and believe in. When it comes to nightlife, this is especially true.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>One rising example is the music tribute night. Venues throughout the North, West, and South Sides of the city have tapped into a growing fandom culture that seeks to legitimize the output of musicians, both contemporary and older.</p><p>This week will see the return of two such nights:</p><ul><li><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/494134160661732/506410209434127/?ref=notif&amp;notif_t=plan_mall_activity" target="_blank">Song of Summer: A Kate Bush Tribute Night</a> Aug. 21 at <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;q=2421+N+Milwaukee+Ave.&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hq=&amp;hnear=0x880fcd633e345a95:0xc657d57ea68c4b34,2421+N+Milwaukee+Ave,+Niles,+IL+60714&amp;gl=us&amp;ei=dgoVUsiUIMKArAHd1YGoBg&amp;ved=0CDsQ8gEwAQ" target="_blank">The Whistler</a>.</li><li><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/570182499706712/?ref=2" target="_blank">Bump &amp; Grindcore: A Tribute to R. Kelly</a> Aug. 23 at <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;q=2421+N+Milwaukee+Ave.&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hq=&amp;hnear=0x880fcd633e345a95:0xc657d57ea68c4b34,2421+N+Milwaukee+Ave,+Niles,+IL+60714&amp;gl=us&amp;ei=dgoVUsiUIMKArAHd1YGoBg&amp;ved=0CDsQ8gEwAQ" target="_blank">Beauty Bar</a>.</li></ul><p>Scenes help facilitate tributes, allowing bars and clubs to bet on an idea knowing that there will be an interested audience. Event creators can recognize what is missing in the scene and fill that hole. Local venues are much more open-minded and willing to take risks in holding tribute nights.</p><p>&ldquo;It&#39;s a perfect balance,&rdquo; said Joe Erbentraut, a co-founder of the Kate Bush tribute night. &ldquo;We have everything we need here in Chicago for innovative and unusual nightlife to succeed.&rdquo;</p><p>The Kate Bush tribute night moves through venues across the city, like Parlor on the far North Side and The Whistler on the Northwest Side. This gives different audiences a chance to attend while still providing access through public transportation for those who do not live nearby.</p><p>When creating a night that references the music, ideas, and persona of a specific artist or artists, a built-in audience is even easier to find than a standard club night. And in the case of someone like Kate Bush, it is a change to legitimize her significance with American audiences who are less likely to be recognized as major part of her fandom.</p><p>&ldquo;Our primary hope is that we will reach those who adore and/or appreciate the music of Kate Bush and bring them together in a space of positivity and community,&rdquo; Erbentraut said.</p><p>Performers for the Kate Bush event include Distant Cities, Kyle Greer, Luke McQuillan and resident DJs Belazauberin, Joshua and Josie Bush.</p><p>Bump &amp; Grindcore incorporates a similar structure with a variety of DJs and performers for its R. Kelly event.</p><p>Eric Strom of Bump &amp; Grindcore and the GlitterGuts Photobooth describes his event as, &ldquo;a night for true believers by true believers, where DJs from a lot of different Chicago tribes can play their guilty pleasures and longtime favorites.&rdquo;</p><p>Frequent collaborators include (but are not limited to) Ernest Wilkins and Moneyworth of the Sensitive Thugs tribute night, Tess Kisner of Slo&#39;Mo, and burlesque performer Josephine Shaker.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Bump &amp; Grindcore taps into the legacy of Kelly to create a night that builds on his music without completely dedicating its five hours to it.</div><p>&ldquo;As the party progresses, R. Kelly becomes more of a guiding force than the central figure,&rdquo; Strom said. &ldquo;It&#39;s everything we like in R. Kelly in all music. It&#39;s about sexuality and hypersexuality in music. It&#39;s about comedy in music. It&#39;s about hip hop and R&amp;B and it&#39;s about Chicago music.&rdquo;</p><p>At the Kelly tribute, audiences will hear artists ranging from Betty Davis to The Lonely Island to Aaliyah and Jodeci.</p><p>The event is a way to recognize Kelly&#39;s significance both within his hometown (through local DJs and tribute performers) as well as internationally through the variety of musicians who have taken his aesthetics and created something new.</p><p>&ldquo;The access I have to all these amazing people and the reciprocal support we grant each other leads to a crowd that spans all gender identities and racial and ethnic lines,&rdquo; Strom said.</p><p>By focusing on the legacy and output of one artist at a time, the creators of these events can build nightlife communities that are drawn to their music and the experience it creates.&nbsp;</p></div><p><em>Britt Julious is the co-host of&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbezs-changing-channels" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. She also writes about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-08/tribute-after-party-music-fandoms-108475 Version 13 Festival welds art and social programs in Bridgeport http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/version-13-festival-welds-art-and-social-programs-bridgeport-107675 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jc_tm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In an open field in Birmingham, Ala., <a href="http://www.ericfuertes.com/" target="_blank">Eric Fuertes</a> and his collaborators operate an ornate printing press to the sound of death metal music.</p><p>&ldquo;We emboss or burn our images into paper, leather, wood or any other material that chooses to be placed upon the altar of our art-making machine,&rdquo; said Fuertes, an adjunct professor of sculpture at Northern Illinois University.</p><p>Two silver skulls sit on either side of the fire pit behind the press, watching as Fuertes moves metal plates over the fire. He pulls on one of the many machetes and handaxes welded onto the machine as handles.</p><p>He calls it the &lsquo;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WrO-KW5dQQ" target="_blank">Death Metal Press</a>&rsquo;.</p><p>Fuertes will exhibit and operate the &lsquo;Death Metal Press&rsquo; at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.versionfest.org/13.html" target="_blank">Version 13 Festival</a>&nbsp;in Bridgeport starting June 14. The theme for this year&rsquo;s festival is the &lsquo;Urban Operating System.&rsquo; It will showcase how community projects are changing Chicago neighborhoods. These programs include finding ways to fund art collectives, food banks and other groups looking to improve local amenities.</p><p>Fuertes debuted the press at the National Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron and Art Practice in April. It is one of many similar sculptures he has created as part of Dumbo Press, an artist collective that designs interactive printing presses.</p><p>He wants to make art more accessible. Printing presses allow Fuertes and his collaborators to create art pieces which they can easily produce and give to the public.</p><p>&ldquo;We want everybody to celebrate it,&rdquo; Fuertes said. &ldquo;I want my work to be understood by a two-year-old and a 75-year old. Or a person who knows a lot about art and someone who knows nothing about art can appreciate it.&rdquo;</p><p>Ed Marzewski is part of the <a href="http://www.publicmediainstitute.com/" target="_blank">Public Media Institute</a>, a non-profit organization which cultivates cultural initiatives through multimedia, social programs and festivals such as the Version 13 Festival. For 12 years, The Public Media Institute and other Bridgeport locals, community groups and business owners have decided upon an annual theme that suits the needs of the city.</p><p>Last year&rsquo;s festival brought community leaders, artists and entrepreneurs together to envision what the &#39;community of the future&#39; would look like.</p><p>These groups started and operated businesses or art projects in 12 Bridgeport storefronts over the course of a month.</p><p>&ldquo;You can use these technology metaphors or references as a way to [show] how we human being operate in this system of cooperation and information sharing,&rdquo; Marzewski said. &ldquo;You can see people operating as hubs or spokes, offering assistance to people in need.&rdquo;</p><p>Other presenters at the Version 13 Festival look to make fresher produce, transportation and trade skills more accessible to the people living in their community. One participant, &lsquo;Pocket Guide to Hell&rsquo;, aims to connect Chicagoans with their local history and culture.</p><p>The &lsquo;<a href="http://pocketguidetohell.com/" target="_blank">Pocket Guide to Hell</a>&rsquo; is a street performance and tour group that guides Chicagoans through the more unfamiliar stories of their local history. Meghan McGrath is normally its web designer. But this Friday, she is snake-oil salesman Doc Merriweather.</p><p>&ldquo;For this one, we&rsquo;ll have people in bowler hats, an apothecary, lots of shills to endorse the medicine,&rdquo; McGrath said of their performance, which will bring the 1915 story of con man Doc Merriweather and his conflict with the Pharmaceutical Association to life.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m natively from Chicago and I feel that a lot of people here are deeply engaged with the city and, kind of like, proud of it and excited about it,&rdquo;&nbsp; McGrath said. &ldquo;The motivation for all of these shows is to represent Chicago through street theater in a way that will be publicly accessible and memorable.&rdquo;</p><p>Co-founder Marzewski wants the ideas at the festival to spread like a virus.</p><p>&ldquo;I think if we help facilitate people&rsquo;s activities and projects that things will happen on their own,&rdquo; Marzewski said. &ldquo;Nothing mind blowing. Really simple stuff. And Version Festival demonstrates really simple, obvious things have an impact.&rdquo;</p><p>Version 13 Festival will have events at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on 3219 S Morgan St and Maria&rsquo;s and Pleasant House Bakery on 960 W 31st St from June 14 to 22, 2013. Visit <a href="http://www.versionfest.org/13.html" target="_blank">versionfest.org</a> for more information.</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/jclee89" target="_blank">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 11:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/version-13-festival-welds-art-and-social-programs-bridgeport-107675 We don’t need no stinkin’ critics… or do we? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/we-don%E2%80%99t-need-no-stinkin%E2%80%99-critics%E2%80%A6-or-do-we-106783 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2Ego.jpg" style="height: 258px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Criticism&mdash;which I define as the attempt to intellectually convey your emotional response to a work of art, via context, insights, and the evidence to back those insights up&mdash;always has been distinctly different from and vastly superior to mere opinion.</p><p>The latter never is lacking: You know what they say about opinions and everyone having one. Such is the human animal that we can assume the first Cro Magnons were grunting pro or con about one another&rsquo;s cave paintings 43,000 years ago. But in today&rsquo;s solipsistic Twitterverse, we arguably are drowning in more vacuous, empty-headed opinion than at any point in history, leading some to exclaim (via the Mexican-American actor Alfonso Bedoya in the 1948 film <em>The Treasure of the Sierra Madre</em>): &ldquo;Critics? We don&rsquo;t need no stinkin&rsquo; critics!&rdquo;</p><p>Or do we?</p><p>Well, yes, of course we do, so long as some small minority of us still think of art as so much more than mere entertainment and yet another disposable product to be quickly consumed and consigned to the compost. And maybe that minority is not even as minor as skeptics think: Witness the incredible response of this city and this country to the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/roger-ebert-intellectual-hero-critical-inspiration-colleague-and-friend">death of Roger Ebert</a> two weeks back.</p><p>Sure, some of the outpouring of commentary was about Ebert&rsquo;s celebrity. But much of it was celebrating a man who thought deeply and cared passionately about the art form he loved. Because of that, he connected with people to the same extent as some of the artists he wrote about. And many art forms have given us his equal, from Ebert&rsquo;s mentor Pauline Kael to pioneering food writer M.F.K. Fisher, and from theater critic Dorothy Parker to rock critic Lester Bangs.</p><p>I could say much (much, much) more about this topic, but I want to save something for <a href="http://www.wbez.org/we-dont-need-no-stinkin-critics-106572">tomorrow night</a> (and more about that in a minute). But if criticism in general and the role of the critic in the age of the Internet in particular are topics of interest, I cannot recommend highly enough the Winter 2013 issue of Nieman Reports, &ldquo;<a href="http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001-EJ1j7mGEj6yrC1V9EV0F9lgoi4UvzKFmhPhOar_3R7tOLy6frds7McUtN1gXa-Z2jcrnaYIXOS-H6myc45xf0_iE5zgV40y4Cb9yhtPH7Mn-J4q4PJznW5XvGNpCOfF4CsNKZwxxctwod-BWRTdYz8nCO3b0WSd03hMzJwZV3wrFTRix0DDDQ==">Critical Condition: Why Professional Criticism Matters</a>.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Criticism&rsquo;s condition is critical&mdash;to informing and inspiring the public and to keeping our cultural conversations alive,&rdquo; Nieman deputy curator James Geary <a href="http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001-EJ1j7mGEj6usTcz9EEnOMxtuF-hG7j_fcb2pfgNEzyusSY6RGHEQW4H6vSD46z_PO45zQTprwgB9W6bmMBKU72Gu1eDhNdpa6OIfzXQwVw7c7ndBRSpZnhBJPHNv6RRqGL3xRTQfLRUVaZimnva8tcFPmPCd7jubpP2_Xb5kCzJxsXNsjCSWJw2Yydbldqf">writes in his introduction</a>. Among the highlights that expand on that view in this free online publication: <a href="http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/102822/Concision-and-Clarity.aspx">a lengthy interview with Robert Christgau</a>, &ldquo;the dean of American rock critics&rdquo;; a thoughtful essay by Pulitzer Prize winner and former <em>Chicago Tribune </em>book reviewer and cultural critic at large Julia Keller (&ldquo;<a href="http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/102824/The-Reviewer-Reviewed.aspx">The Reviewer Reviewed</a>&rdquo;), and a piece entitled &ldquo;<a href="http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/102823/Consumer-Retorts.aspx">Consumer Retorts</a>&rdquo; by Kimberly D. Kleman, editor in chief of <em>Consumer Reports</em>, which poses the question, &ldquo;When everybody&rsquo;s a critic, what&rsquo;s the role of a professional reviewer?&rdquo;</p><p>The short version of Kleman&rsquo;s answer: The professional critic (which means those who critique with professional standards, and that has nothing to do with whether or not they&rsquo;re getting paid) approaches his or her work with impartiality, the desire to dig deep, and the goal of unfailing honesty to the reader, sans distractions from editors, industries, pundits, or anyone else. And those standards are as valid when one is reviewing the blenders on offer at Target as they are when strolling the galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago.</p><p>&nbsp;These factors, plus accountability, are what separates the critic from the anonymous Yelper. A few weeks ago, my pal Jason Gross, editor of the excellent online music zine <a href="http://www.furious.com/perfect/">Perfect Sound Forever</a>, sent an email linking to the aggregated music critiques, genuine or parody, of one <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A24PMZJF0LHGCW/ref=cm_pdp_rev_all?ie=UTF8&amp;sort_by=MostRecentReview">Gilby Mitnick III Jr.</a>, who proudly claims to be scribbling away in his mother&rsquo;s basement.</p><p>&nbsp;<strong>&ldquo;</strong>World&rsquo;s worst rock critic?&rdquo; Gross asked. &ldquo;Well, it isn&#39;t me anymore!&nbsp;This guy on Amazon is clearly the winner. He ties every album into a slap about Obama, [and] frequently repeats the same info (which is often wrong). He&rsquo;s either a parody of wingnuts or someone who works for Fox News.&rdquo;</p><p>Me, I think he&rsquo;s a twisted genius of sorts, and one who should be recognized right beside the brilliant duo of Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster with their <a href="http://www.stereolaffs.com/rockrot.php">Rock Rot &amp; Rule</a> project. That is to say, for sheer absurdity and comedic value, Mitnick is well worth reading. But, really, have you ever seen any site like Yelp or Amazon that provides better than one in twenty crowd-sourced reviews that are worth your time and attention?</p><p>Again, this is not to denigrate the &ldquo;amateur&rdquo; critic. My <em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/">Sound Opinions</a> </em>cohort Greg Kot and I always have been sincere when we&rsquo;ve said that &ldquo;everyone is a critic,&rdquo; and that we never intend to be the final word, just the one that gets the conversation started. But every critic worth his or her salt thinks that way, as was amply evidenced in a wonderful roundtable discussion convened by <em>TimeOut Chicago </em>theater critic Kris Vire in 2008 entitled &ldquo;<a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/things-to-do/54347/critical-condition">Critical condition: Chicago&rsquo;s top taste makers discuss why they critique culture&mdash;and why anyone should listen to them.</a>&rdquo;</p><p>Nicking the idea from Douglas Reichert Powell, director of Columbia College&rsquo;s Professional Writing Program, I&rsquo;ve been having my Reviewing the Arts classes read that piece every semester. But as much as the fundamentals have remained the same, quite a few things have changed in the whiplash world of the Net over the last five years, so it was with the goal of freshening up the conversation that I pitched WBEZ the idea of a new discussion entitled &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/we-dont-need-no-stinkin-critics-106572">We Don&rsquo;t Need No Stinkin&rsquo; Critics</a>,&rdquo; a free event taking place at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park (1328 W. Morse Ave.) at 7 p.m. Tuesday (April 22).</p><p>Joining me as moderator are a few veterans of Vire&rsquo;s original discussion, including the man himself; everyone&rsquo;s favorite Chicago book critic <a href="http://www.donnaseaman.com/">Donna Seaman</a>, and our behind-the-scenes facilitator Don Hall (WBEZ events guru by day, theater impresario and <a href="http://donhall.blogspot.com/">blogger by night</a>). Among the fresh voices: Sarah Zupko, editor of the Chicago-based <a href="http://www.popmatters.com/">Pop Matters</a>; Andrew Barber, editor of the hip-hop blog <a href="http://www.fakeshoredrive.com/">Fake Shore Drive</a>; LaShawn Williams, arts editor of <a href="http://www.gapersblock.com/">Gapers Block</a>; Jim &ldquo;Tankboy&rdquo; Kopeny, ace music writer at <a href="http://www.chicagoist.com">Chicagoist</a>; Duncan MacKenzie and Richard Holland, co-founders and contributors to the <a href="http://badatsports.com/">Bad at Sports</a> art blog, and two of my former students, Drew Hunt, editorial assistant and sometime film reviewer at <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ArticleArchives?author=5394171">the Reader</a>, and Leah Pickett, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett">WBEZ culture blogger</a> and freelance contributor to the <em>Tribune</em> Dining section.</p><p>Oh, yeah, we also have a great dining critic, whose name I cannot share and whose likeness you will not actually see, based on that weird but necessary policy of restaurant critics having to maintain their anonymity if they want to be able to do their jobs right. (And here I&rsquo;ve only ever had to worry about losing my hearing!)</p><p>&nbsp;The audience will be invited to critique the critics while all this is going down, with real-time Twitter commentary projected behind the panel. And if you&rsquo;re thinking that all of that may be a bit too meta or highbrow, well, Mayne Stage is a fine restaurant as well as a great music venue, and while I won&rsquo;t say the hurling of your dinner salad&rsquo;s tomatoes is encouraged, well&hellip; everyone&rsquo;s a critic.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CRITICS.jpg" title="" /></div><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></a><em><strong> or join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><em>Facebook</em></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 16:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/we-don%E2%80%99t-need-no-stinkin%E2%80%99-critics%E2%80%A6-or-do-we-106783 Biopics to watch in 2013, plus the 10 best (and worst) of all time http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/biopics-watch-2013-plus-10-best-and-worst-all-time-106676 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Portrait-of-a-Princess-Naomi-Watts-as-Princess-Diana.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px; " title="Naomi Watts as the iconic Princess Di in &quot;Diana.&quot; (Ecosse Films) " /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>The biographical film, or biopic, is a long-celebrated bastion of cinema that began with <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018192/?ref_=sr_5" target="_blank"><em>Napol</em></a><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018192/?ref_=sr_5" target="_blank"><em>é</em><em>on</em></a> in 1927 and continues to dominate movie screens to this day.</p><p>Last weekend<em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0453562/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">42</a>&nbsp;</em>(a&nbsp;Jackie Robinson biopic&nbsp;starring Harrison Ford and one-time Chicago actor Chadwick Boseman in the title role) premiered to commerical and critical acclaim, as films about <a href="http://www.popeater.com/2011/02/24/the-fighter-dicky-eklund-temple-grandin-conviction/" target="_blank">real-life heroes</a> often do.&nbsp;</p><p>Other big biopics expected for 2013 include:&nbsp;</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1327773/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>The Butler</em></a> (with Forest Whitaker as White House butler Cecil Gaines, and a slew of other <a href="http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-10-19/entertainment/35499398_1_white-house-butler-laura-ziskin-film" target="_blank">A-list stars</a> playing presidents Eisenhower through Reagan)</li><li><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1426329/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Lovelace</em></a> (Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace)</li><li><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2357129/?ref_=sr_2" target="_blank"><em>Jobs</em></a>&nbsp;(Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs)&nbsp;</li><li><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1758595/" target="_blank"><em>Diana</em></a> (Naomi Watts as Princess Diana)</li><li><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493076/" target="_blank"><em>Nina </em></a>(Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone)</li><li><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2402085/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>All Is By My Side</em></a> (Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix)</li><li><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1291580/?ref_=sr_1"><em>Behind the Candelabra&nbsp;</em></a>(Michael Douglas as Liberace)</li></ul><p>Of course, movie buffs are already arguing about Saldana&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/picture-of-zoe-saldana-as-nina-simone-shows-darkened-skin-tone-adjustments" target="_blank">darkened skin</a>&nbsp;in&nbsp;<em>Nina&nbsp;</em>and whether Kutcher will totally&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/do-you-think-the-steve-jobs-movie-with-ashton-kutcher-will-be-good.452960885/" target="_blank">bomb</a>&nbsp;as Steve Jobs after mixed reviews from Sundance.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" behind="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/michaeldouglas.jpg" style="float: right; height: 211px; width: 300px; " the="" title="Michael Douglas as Liberace in Steven Soderbergh's HBO film &quot;Behind the Candelabra.&quot; " /></p><p>Studios depend on biopics to create a perfect storm of advance publicity, which may or may not translate to big wins at the box office and massive sweeps during awards season.&nbsp;</p><p>Actors often bank on these films not just to win Oscars, but to stretch their limits with challenging accents, method lifestyle changes and shocking physical transformations (remember when Robert DeNiro gained 60 pounds to play boxer Jake LaMotta in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081398/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Raging Bull</em></a>?) Some fail miserably, while others are forever remembered and admired for their uncanny portrayals of real people.&nbsp;</p><p>Many biopics had the potential to be great films but fell short.&nbsp;<em>The Doors</em>&nbsp;could have been incredible, if not for Val Kilmer&#39;s regrettably one-note portrayal of Jim Morrison. The 1982 epic&nbsp;<em>Gandhi</em>​ featured a fantastic performance by Ben Kingsley, but ran about two hours too long. More recent biopics like<em>&nbsp;Ray</em>, <em>Capote, Ali&nbsp;</em>and <em>The Aviator&nbsp;</em>also featured spot-on performances from their charismatic leads; but in retrospect, could have amounted to so much more.</p><p>In my opinion, these are the greats:</p><p><strong>10. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0395169/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Hotel Rwanda</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2004)</p><p><strong>9. &nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1285016/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>The Social Network</em></a></strong> (2010)</p><p><strong>8. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061418/" target="_blank">Bonnie and Clyde</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(1967)</p><p><strong>7. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Goodfellas</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(1990)</p><p><strong>6. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056172/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Lawrence of Arabia</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(1962)</p><p><strong>5. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1504320/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">The King&#39;s Speech</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2010)</p><p><strong>4. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0340855/?ref_=sr_4" target="_blank">Monster</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2003)</p><p><strong>3. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433383/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Good Night, and Good Luck</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2005)</p><p><strong>2. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108052/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Schindler&#39;s List</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(1993)</p><p><strong>1. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108052/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">I&#39;m Not There</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2007)</p><p><b>Also</b>:&nbsp;<strong><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066206/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1" target="_blank">Patton</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(1970),&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1013753/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Milk</em></a>&nbsp;</strong>(2008),<strong>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117318/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">The People vs. Larry Flynt</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(1996)</p><p>And now, the 10 worst (ranked from blandly underwhelming to downright atrocious):</p><p><strong>10. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1007029/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">The Iron Lady</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2011)</p><p><strong>9. &nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0125664/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><i>Man on the Moon</i></a></strong>&nbsp;(1999)</p><p><strong>8. <i><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363473/?ref_=sr_1">&nbsp;Beyond the Sea</a>&nbsp;</i></strong>(2004)</p><p><strong>7. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1616195/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">J. Edgar</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2011)</p><p><strong>6. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1129445/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2" target="_blank">Amelia</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2009)</p><p><strong>5. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049092/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>The Conqueror&nbsp;</em></a></strong>(1956)</p><p><strong>4. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097457/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Great Balls of Fire!</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(1989)</p><p><strong>3. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0129290/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Patch Adams</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(1998)</p><p><strong>2. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346491/?ref_=sr_6" target="_blank">Alexander</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2004)</p><p><strong>1. <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2375255/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Liz &amp; Dick</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(2012)</p><p><em>Which biopics do you love, and which ones do you wish had never seen the light of day? Leave a comment below, send me a tweet <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>&nbsp;or join the conversation on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 17 Apr 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/biopics-watch-2013-plus-10-best-and-worst-all-time-106676 Picture or it didn't happen http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/picture-or-it-didnt-happen-106640 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP195640861850.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="File: Fans at an Ellie Goulding concert use cell phones to capture the event. (AP/File)" />Art punk trio the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been posting <a href="http://gawker.com/5994047/yeah-yeah-yeahs-post-sadly-necessary-sign-asking-fans-not-to-watch-their-show-through-a-smartphone-screen" target="_blank">this sign</a> at venues on their current tour: a polite reminder for fans to enjoy their shows without a &quot;I must take a million blurry pictures/horrible sound quality videos to prove that I was here!&quot; mentality.</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Please do not watch the show through a screen on your smart device/camera,&quot; the sign reads, &quot;PUT THAT [BLEEP] AWAY as a courtesy to the people behind you and to Nick, Karen and Brian.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>Understandably, the band has a zero tolerance policy for looking out at the audience and seeing a constellation of iPhones glowing back at them.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">I will be the first to admit that I&#39;ve been guilty of this behavior. I&#39;ve snapped photos during shows for St. Vincent and Ty Segall, compelled to somehow immortalize the experience of seeing my musical idols in the flesh. I&#39;ve also developed a fondness for photo-sharing other aspects of my life, like the best cocktail I&#39;ve ever tasted or a new book that I can&#39;t wait to read. And I&#39;m not alone in what appears to be a <a href="http://www.generationalinsights.com/tag/generation-y-millennials/page/2/" target="_blank">millennial-specific</a>&nbsp;compulsion to photo-document even the tiniest minutiae, as the mobile app Instagram just topped <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/26/instagram-100-million/" target="_blank">100 million</a> monthly users this year.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">My generation came of age with Facebook, then mobile photo-sharing on a mass scale. We&#39;ve become a society of instant clickers, wracked with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.generationalinsights.com/tag/generation-y-millennials/page/2/" target="_blank">extreme anxiety</a> when parted from our electronic devices and a constant <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/03/20/social-media-anxiety-sites-like-facebook-twitter-stressing-teens-out/" target="_blank">needling desire</a> to prove our worth through social media. We ask ourselves, &quot;If I don&#39;t take a picture of this event, will my friends believe that I was there?&quot; With the rise of <a href="http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/tech-addiction/" target="_blank">tech addiction</a>&nbsp;and smartphone cameras literally right at our fingertips, the answer to that question is usually <a href="http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/pics-or-it-didnt-happen" target="_blank">no</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_conclave,_2013" target="_blank">papal conclave </a>on March 12 was a glaring example of this phenomemon. Past popes (including Pope Benedict XVI in 2005) have been greeted with a smattering of camera flashes; but when the newly-elected Pope Francis appeared on the balcony of St. Peter&#39;s Basilica, almost everyone in the crowd raised their glittering smartphones and tablets in response.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As the world&#39;s obsession with technology grows, so does our reliance on instant gratification and the gnawing impulse to photo-capture every moment. Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram have made <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-31/features/ct-tribu-social-media-oversharing-20130131_1_social-media-tweet-or-post-online-boundaries" target="_blank">oversharing</a> easier than ever before, and &quot;keeping up with the Joneses&quot; through social media&nbsp;even more stressful.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">According to the <a href="http://www.generationalinsights.com/tag/generation-y-millennials/page/2/" target="_blank">Pew study</a> of millennials, 40 percent of young people surveyed feel like they &quot;can&#39;t live&quot; without their smartphones. However, our parents did just fine without them, and perhaps had even better memories of their good times as a result of being 100 percent unplugged.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Can you imagine the Beatles playing to a sea of iPhones, or a Woodstock audience glued to their Twitter feeds? Back then, concert-goers could experience music in the moment, allowing the songs to wash over them completely, and never once think about which Instagram filter they should use to prove how cool they were for being there.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">To the compulsive photo-sharers: cutting back is key. Take one quick shot if you absolutely must, then sit back and enjoy whatever experience that you&#39;re supposed to be having. Pictures may last forever, but real-life moments are gone in a flash; so try really<em> living</em> them for a change, without the superficial barrier of your camera phone getting in the way. &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 15 Apr 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/picture-or-it-didnt-happen-106640 Rocking under 21 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/rocking-under-21-106433 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/421121_511592478871203_1408300725_n.jpg" style="height: 415px; width: 620px;" title="19-year-old wunderkinds Twin Peaks play a basement show in Chicago. (Courtesy of Twin Peaks) " /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">In a recent <a href="http://pitchfork.com/features/update/9090-smith-westerns/" target="_blank">interview</a> with Pitchfork, the onetime teenagers of Chicago glam-rock band&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/smithwesterns?fref=ts" target="_blank">Smith Westerns</a>&nbsp;are suddenly all grown up. The baby-faced trio surfaced on the local music scene with a <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/13358-smith-westerns/" target="_blank">self-titled</a> LP in 2009, then catapulted to indie stardom with <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/15016-dye-it-blonde/" target="_blank"><em>Dye It Blonde</em></a>&nbsp;in 2011.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Today, the boys of Smith Western have matured into full-fledged adults: settling into apartments in Logan Square, toning down their hard-partying ways and delving into more personal and lyrically-reflective themes on their third album, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_Westerns" target="_blank"><em>Soft Will</em></a>. Their songs are less cheeky this time around, and written with the awareness that every action has a consequence&mdash;some of which may have come back to haunt them.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;The main goal for us was to have an audience, and that we&#39;d grow,&quot; said Smith Westerns frontman Cullen Omori. &quot;And, you know, we want to make sure that our parents still like us.&quot;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Up-and-coming Chicago band&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/twinpeaksdudes?fref=ts" target="_blank">Twin Peaks</a>&nbsp;may follow a similar course, as a strong showing at SXSW and a newly-inked deal with <a href="http://autumntone.com" target="_blank">Autumn Tone Records</a> could also mean a fast-track to fame for these 19-year-old rockers. They name the Smith Westerns as one of their biggest influences, along with youthful compatriots <a href="https://www.facebook.com/theorwellsband?fref=ts" target="_blank">The Orwells</a> and Windy City stalwarts <a href="https://www.facebook.com/WhiteMysteryBand?fref=ts" target="_blank">White Mystery</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Alex White [the female half of White Mystery] was one of the first people to really support us,&quot; said Twin Peaks lead singer/guitarist Cadien Lake James. &quot;That&#39;s what the DIY scene is about.&quot;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The four-piece outfit (which also includes&nbsp;guitarist Clay Frankel, bassist Jack Dolan and drummer Connor Brodner) has been playing together for years, but their high school graduation was a critical turning point in the band&#39;s trajectory. They tried college in the Pacific Northwest; but after just one semester, ultimately decided to return to Chicago and focus on their music.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Chicago is home to us,&quot; Dolan said. &quot;This is where we should be.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The momentum behind Twin Peaks has grown <a href="http://loudlooppress.com/features/13-chicago-bands-to-watch-in-2013/" target="_blank">exponentially</a>&nbsp;in the past year, so it would appear that they made the right decision in putting college on hold.&nbsp;In addition to their lightning-in-a-bottle talent (Autumn Tone will be reissuing their stunning debut EP <a href="http://twinpeakschicago.bandcamp.com" target="_blank"><em>Sunken&nbsp;</em></a>on vinyl in June), the group is lucky enough to have parents who support them, older musicians who look out for them and legions of young fans who regularly fill up the basements, backyards and other pop-up spaces where under-21 rockers can legally play.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Because most Chicago music clubs have a strict 21-and-over policy, young bands are usually forced to rely on an underground network of <a href="http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=160739">DIY venues</a> in order to draw a crowd. Twin Peaks found this out the hard way at SXSW as well, since most of the shows that they wanted to play and see there were off limits. &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img 2012.="" alt="" august="" autumn="" class="image-original_image" in="" released="" remember="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/The Orwells Remember When.jpg" style="height: 278px; width: 310px; float: left; " title="The Orwells debut album, &quot;Remember When,&quot; was released in August 2012. They were 17 at the time. (Autumn Tone Records)" tone="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Luckily, The Orwells were in Austin at the same time to throw an <a href="http://arrozyfrijolesmusic.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-orwells-house-party-show-wdune-rats.html" target="_blank">epic house party</a> for the under-aged (themselves included). The &quot;flower punk&quot; band from Elmhurst, Ill.&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Orwells" target="_blank">exploded</a>&nbsp;on the hot-new-music scene last summer with the release of their debut album&nbsp;<em>Remember When,&nbsp;</em>garnering high-profile exposure from <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/13909-mallrats-la-la-la/" target="_blank">Pitchfork</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.spin.com/gallery/5-best-new-artists-september-12-91-fellows-django-django-orwells-paws-trinidad-james">Spin</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://buzzworthy.mtv.com/?p=175756" target="_blank">MTV</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Orwells lead singer Mario Cuomo <a href="http://isuindynews.com/images/marioorwellsinterview_1_.pdf" target="_blank">dropped out</a> of high school before his senior year, while the rest of his band mates (guitarists Dominic Corso and Matt O&#39;Keefe, bassist Grant Brinner and drummer Henry Brinner) finished early. Backed by Autumn Tone Records and the popular audio blog <a href="http://www.aquariumdrunkard.com" target="_blank">Aqarium Drunkard</a>, the notoriously <a href="http://www.prefixmag.com/news/lead-singer-of-underage-punk-band-the-orwells-arre/70751/" target="_blank">debaucherous</a>&nbsp;group has toured the U.S. numerous times and, for better or worse, officially steeped themselves in the hard-partying lifestyle.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Whether the Orwells will continue their meteoric rise or burn out just as quickly remains to be seen. But with their impressive songwriting chops, thrilling onstage antics and a plum set at this year&#39;s <a href="http://lineup.lollapalooza.com" target="_blank">sold-out</a> Lollapolooza festival, I&#39;m betting on the former.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>Twin Peaks has an East Coast tour in the works for this summer, but&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=550058625024588&amp;set=a.391078067589312.91124.207126505984470&amp;type=1&amp;theater" target="_blank">tonight</a>&nbsp;you can find them at Animal Kingdom with fellow Chicago bands Siscrys, Esoteric Tapioca and Big Colour. Also, check out their music video below for &quot;Stand in the Sand,&quot; the first single off the upcoming <em>Sunken</em> reissue:&nbsp;</p><p><em><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/48982072" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></em></p><p><em><a href="http://vimeo.com/48982072">Twin Peaks - Stand in the Sand</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/rohm">RYAN OHM ▲</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</em></p><p><em>Leah writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a> or join the conversation on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Apr 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/rocking-under-21-106433 Pondering some of my favorite concert double bills http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/pondering-some-my-favorite-concert-double-bills-106440 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F86256685&amp;color=00bdff&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1BeckFlamingLips.jpg" style="height: 429px; width: 620px;" title="Beck records for public radio with the Flaming Lips." /></div></div><p>When WBEZ listener and blog-follower Patrick Gallagher found himself wondering about the best double bills ever hosted on our local concert stages, like many a stumped Chicagoan before him, he turned to the fine folks at the <em><a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org">Curious City</a> </em>project. But this query is a bit different than others about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-nike-missile-sites-around-chicago-105087">hidden missile silos</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/laugh-your-troubles-away-105619">long-gone amusement parks</a>, because there really isn&rsquo;t a definitive answer.</p><p>For one thing, no master list exists of concert pairings on the city&rsquo;s many stages from the last seven decades&mdash;and that&rsquo;s if we&rsquo;re restricting ourselves to the rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; roll era. Sure, we could go to the library and comb through a century of dead-tree media, looking for concert listings, ads, and reviews. But that&rsquo;s assuming every show made the newspapers, not to mention it&rsquo;s a heck of a lot of obsessive research, even for a fact-finding super-heroine like my colleague <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/jbrandel-0">Jennifer Brandel</a>.</p><p>Another, even bigger problem is who gets to define &ldquo;best&rdquo;? All any music lover can do is talk about the shows that meant the most to us&mdash;the ones we saw that moved us most deeply, to the point that we still recall them with a vicarious thrill 10, 15, 20, or more years later.</p><p>For me, this sometimes was a pairing of artists who shared similar styles and influences, but not always; on occasion, complete opposites made for the most satisfying experiences. (Think chocolate and peanut butter.) I have not limited my list to only two bands; if a great double bill is worth celebrating, what about one with three, four, five bands or more? In some cases, the two artists were of equal stature, though this was not always the case. On occasion, the artists collaborated before, during, or after touring together&mdash;though, again, that didn&rsquo;t always happen.</p><p>I told you this <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org"><em>Curious City </em></a>query was a tough one! This blogger will take part in a segment devoted to the topic today on <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift">The Afternoon Shift</a>. </em>But here&rsquo;s an early look at some of the multi-band bills that stand out for me during 21 years on the pop-music beat in Chicago, listed in chronological order.</p><p>&bull;<strong> The Rollercoaster Tour at the Riviera Theater, Oct. 24, 1992.</strong></p><p>Obviously inspired by the second year of the original day-long touring Lollapalooza, which they had been a part of through the summer of &rsquo;92, Scottish noisemakers the Jesus and Mary Chain extended their stay in the U.S. that fall and headlined their own more intimate package tour with Curve and Spiritualized, presenting three different but equally amazing takes on modern psychedelic rock.</p><p>&bull;<strong> Lollapalooza at the World Music Theatre, <strike>July 3, 1993</strike> July 16, 1994**.</strong></p><p>For my money, year three of Lollapalooza was the strongest of the festival&rsquo;s original incarnation, with main-stage acts the Smashing Pumpkins, the Beastie Boys, George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars, the Breeders, A Tribe Called Quest, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the Boredoms and second-stage performers the Flaming Lips, the Frogs, Guided by Voices, and Shonen Knife. One factor was the incredible breadth of musical diversity; another was the impromptu collaborations that occurred either on tour, as the artists shared each other&rsquo;s stages, or afterwards.</p><p>Snapshots I&rsquo;ll never forget: watching Billy Corgan play basketball backstage with the Beasties, and standing beside the Flaming Lips in a mostly empty arena as they saw the Boredoms for the first time and had their minds well and truly blown. (The Lips later would record with the band&rsquo;s drummer and pay tribute to her with the character in and title of <em>Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots</em>.)</p><p>** Corrected for the right date. You know what they say about the &rsquo;90s: If you can remember them, you weren&rsquo;t really there!</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1Patti%2BBob.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Bob Dylan and Patti Smith." /></div><p>&bull;<strong> Bob Dylan and Patti Smith at the Beacon Theater, New York City, Dec. 11, 1995.</strong></p><p>Sadly, this show never came to Chicago show&mdash;the two only did a handful of East Coast dates&mdash;but it was too great not to include, and reviewing it was one of my few proud moments during a brief and miserable stint as deputy music editor at <em>Rolling Stone. </em>(<a href="http://www.expectingrain.com/dok/set/95/9512/951211rs.html">A Dylan fan site has transcribed and posted that review here</a>.) On one hand, we had two giants from two different musical movements and two different eras, both of them children of the Beats. On another, we had two defiant nonconformists determined to avoid easy nostalgia: Dylan was at the height of his mid-&rsquo;90s guitar-slinging powers, rewriting his classics onstage every night, while Smith was in the full flush of her early comeback, reintroducing herself as a still fiery though obviously older godmother of punk. And it all ended with a killer duet of &ldquo;Dark Eyes.&rdquo;</p><p>&bull;<strong> The Area: One Festival at the Tweeter Center, July 25, 2001.</strong></p><p>As the original Lollapalooza tour petered out into mediocrity in the early days of the new millennium, that lovable techno-pop imp Moby revived the concept of a bounty of musical diversity in one day-long traveling jaunt. This one featured the Roots, Outkast, the Orb, and the man behind <em>Play</em> presenting dramatically different but equally rewarding takes on the power of the groove.</p><p>Unfortunately, Moby lost his shirt as the concert-going public began to embrace the new model of massive &ldquo;destination festivals&rdquo; with a hodgepodge of acts booked with little rhyme or reason&hellip; and that of course is how we got to the new Grant Park-based Walmart on the Lake.</p><p>&bull;<strong> Radiohead with the Beta Band, Hutchinson Field, Grant Park, Aug. 1, 2001.</strong></p><p>Speaking of shows that paved the way for Lollapalooza Mach II, this was the one that convinced a formerly recalcitrant city bureaucracy to let the rockers into Grant Park again. Performing on a stage refreshingly devoid of corporate logos, our Oxford-bred art-rock heroes delivered pristine sound while upping the intensity of their recordings and challenging a mass audience with their enigmatic soundscapes. It was the perfect set in the perfect setting, and the Beta Band opened by snarling at promoters who hassled fans for bringing their own water, as well as entrancing us with their hypnotic grooves, just like in that scene at the record store in <em>High Fidelity </em>the year before.</p><p>&bull;<strong> Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds with Neko Case at the Chicago Theatre, April 26, 2002.</strong></p><p>Touring with the Bad Seeds, one of the most subtle bands in rock, in support of the stellar <em>No More Shall We Part</em>, Cave transformed himself into the characters in his songs, acting out their tales of murder and mayhem. There&rsquo;s nothing like two hours of gore from the master of dark and literary mood music to leave you feeling giddy and cheerful&hellip; especially when it comes after a beautiful and uplifting set from alt-country chanteuse Case. Nothing beats that mix of sweet and sour, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-06-27/neko-and-nick-don%E2%80%99t-suck-true-blood-kinda-does-88372">Cave and Case later would collaborate on a cover of &ldquo;She&rsquo;s Not There&rdquo; by the Zombies for the soundtrack of <em>True Blood.</em></a></p><p>&bull;<strong> Beck and the Flaming Lips at the Chicago Theatre, Oct. 18, 2002.</strong></p><p>This was an unusual pairing in many ways: Where alt-rock icon Beck always shielded himself behind a cloak of irony and an affected cloud of angst, the Flaming Lips celebrated their sincerity in voicing the joys of being alive. The two brought out the best in each other as they shared the stage throughout the show, with Beck providing the Lips a forum for showing the depth of their talents as musicians, and the Lips giving Beck a welcome antidote to the cathartic material from his dark but wonderful <em>Sea Change </em>album. For Generation X, this combination was the equal of Neil Young pairing with Crazy Horse or Bob Dylan joining forces with the Band.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1jaymary.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>&bull; <strong>Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige at the United Center, April 26, 2008.</strong></p><p>The idea was obvious: Bring together the top talents in hip-hop and R&amp;B for a triumphant arena tour that raised the bar for the concert experience in both genres, with one artist who really speaks to the ladies, and another who all the fellas emulate. The Heart of the City jaunt with Hova and the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul rolled into town for two nights at the United Center with exquisite staging, a kicking big band, and the two headliners performing at the peak of their abilities, together and separately, just as they have numerous times on record.</p><p><strong><em>Have you got a favorite double bill or a pairing for the ages? Let me and Curious City know by commenting below.&nbsp;</em></strong></p></p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 07:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/pondering-some-my-favorite-concert-double-bills-106440 Sharon Van Etten: Photo of the Day - April 2, 2013 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2013-04/sharon-van-etten-photo-day-april-2-2013-106431 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshuamellin/8612735322/in/pool-32855810@N00/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/POTD_Sharon%20Van%20Etten.jpg" title="Sharon Van Etten (Flickr/Joshua Mellin)" /></a></div></p> Tue, 02 Apr 2013 12:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2013-04/sharon-van-etten-photo-day-april-2-2013-106431 Shout Out Out Out Out (and more than a few other things) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/shout-out-out-out-out-and-more-few-other-things-106131 <p><p>AUSTIN, Tx&mdash;Commitments and reality beckon, and as you read this, my last dispatch from my 20<sup>th</sup> trip to South by Southwest, I&rsquo;ll be trading bright sun and 85&deg; for rain and a high of 35&hellip; to say nothing of no longer hearing two dozen bands a day. But, hey, Spring Break can&rsquo;t last forever.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1Shout.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; float: left;" title="Shout Out Out Out Out." /></div><p>Best things first: My musical highlight Friday, and the second best show I saw after <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/i-saw-god-andor-savages-106114">Savages</a> throughout the festival, came courtesy of a six-piece band from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with the unwieldy name of <strong><a href="http://www.shoutoutoutoutout.com/">Shout Out Out Out Out</a></strong>. (Read it as if those last three &ldquo;Out&rsquo;s&rdquo; are slap-back echoes.) If I have a problem with a lot of electronic dance music today, it&rsquo;s that it&rsquo;s ahistorical: EDM should not be slavishly tied to the past, but often things hailed as groundbreaking were done 30 years ago, and ideas hinted at then but never fully explored still offer more adventurous new sonic worlds than the ubiquitous unsa-unsa crap.</p><p>With an endearing love for the rich analog sounds of vintage Moog synthesizers and the tremendous visceral power of not one but two great live drummers, plus an obvious devotion to cutting-edge rhythms and digital technology, Shout Out Out Out Out has been creating a bridge between Krautrock (heavy on the Hawkwind, Neu! and Kraftwerk) and next week&rsquo;s hippest grooves over the course of three albums since 2006, including last year&rsquo;s <em>Spanish Moss and Total Loss. </em>And the power of this very human manipulation of machines and technology in the sweaty, loud and immediate present is absolutely undeniable onstage.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/eFOA5YkWX2Y" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Shout Out Out Out Out&rsquo;s afternoon set at the International Day Stage in the Austin Convention Center came after a panel called <strong>&ldquo;Inside the Artist&rsquo;s Studio&rdquo;</strong> where <em>Hits </em>magazine president Karen Glauber channeled James Lipton and coaxed an array of artists to talk about the creative process in their songwriting, from lyrics they avoid and problems that have taken them months or years to work out, to those wonderful bursts of inspiration where a timeless tune comes fully formed in five minutes.</p><p>The highlights were acoustic performances (and the ensuing stories behind the songs) of &ldquo;Black Like Me&rdquo; by Britt Daniel of Spoon, a new tune that may or may not wind up being called &ldquo;I Hate Music&rdquo; by Mac McCaughan of Superchunk and &ldquo;Something Came Over Me&rdquo; by Chris Stamey of the dB&rsquo;s and the fine new solo album, <em>Lovesick Blues</em>. These bursts of musical brilliance were very much needed to reaffirm my faith in the power of art to transcend commerce after the panels I attended earlier in the day.</p><p><strong>&ldquo;Building an Optimal Partnership Between Brands &amp; Bands&rdquo;</strong> was another of the six sessions in the last few days touting the idea that corporate America and the advertising world are, in effect, the new and better music industry. This one had an executive from Coca-Cola on it&mdash;&ldquo;Music is a tremendous passion point for fans,&rdquo; he said, noting its ideal role in helping sell caffeinated sugar water&mdash;and it was distinguished from the panel entitled <strong>&ldquo;The Future of Cultural Branding&rdquo; </strong>only by the fact that that discussion was sponsored by Pepsi.</p><p>In the panelists&rsquo; view, the world works like this: Drake likes Sprite; Sprite likes kids; kids like Drake. Sprite gives Drake money to help sell Sprite. Everyone wins! Except, of course, the kids who should be drinking fruit juice or water.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1Drake2.jpg" style="height: 280px; width: 500px;" title="" /></div><p>One of my favorite careful-what-you-wish-for stories came from Brad Haugen, chief marketing officer of Scooter Braun Projects, also known as Justin Bieber&rsquo;s managers. Before the Biebs became a star four years ago, he was using Proactiv to clear up his skin, Haugen said. The managers called the company and tried to get a sponsorship deal, but the company wasn&rsquo;t interested. Then Bieber blew up big with the release of <em>My World 2.0</em>. Proactiv came begging and Biebs cleaned up with a lucrative sponsorship&hellip; which he cancelled a year later when he grew embarrassed that everyone thought he had acne.</p><p>Alas, one can never escape the decision to optimize that allegedly ideal brand/band partnership. Maybe that&rsquo;s why young Justin&rsquo;s been so troubled of late.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gd2zAtmgjNk" width="420"></iframe></p><p>Apparently, poking fun at the Biebs or in any way questioning his validity as an artist, to say nothing of maintaining a belief in the evils of &ldquo;selling out,&rdquo; marks this critic as an elitist snob: If one wasn&rsquo;t listening carefully, one would think that was the message of the discussion called <strong>&ldquo;Guiltless Pleasures: Imagining a Post-Snob World.&rdquo; </strong>But while chatting after the session, twenty-something participants David Greenwald of <a href="http://www.rawkblog.net/">Rawkblog</a> and <em>Billboard</em> and Simon Vozick-Levinson of <em>Rolling Stone </em>(who had been joined by Lindsay Zoladz of <a href="http://www.canonballblog.com/">Cannonball</a> and Pitchfork via Skype) pretty much agreed that my definition of criticism is the same as theirs: an attempt to intellectually convey your emotional response to a work of art.</p><p>The good critic would never tell someone, be it the 11-year-old Belieber or the 70-year-old Rolling Stones fan, not to listen to something said critic dislikes; he or she is just giving their emotional reaction to that music, with all of the context, insights and evidence they can muster to get the discussion started. (For the record: This critic isn&rsquo;t big on Bieber, thinks the Rolling Stones were pretty great up through <em>Some Girls </em>in 1978, but would be hard-pressed to say which he would dislike more if imprisoned at Guantanamo and forced to choose between listening only to post-&rsquo;80 Stones or present-day Biebs.)</p><p>In their zeal to laud the &ldquo;pop omnivore&rdquo; who&rsquo;ll listen with equal diligence and write with just as much insight about underground or mainstream acts, &ldquo;Gangnam Style&rdquo; or <em>Amok </em>by Atoms for Peace (to use the examples Dave Grohl cited in his keynote), these sixth-generation rock critics could be strident at times with their doctrinaire declarations, especially about the &ldquo;false god of authenticity.&rdquo; Yes, authenticity is a phony construct. But who among us really can deny that Thom Yorke has more of <em>something </em>very important than Psy? (I&rsquo;d call it &ldquo;soul.&rdquo;)</p><div class="image-insert-image "><br /><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1certificate.png" style="height: 386px; width: 500px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Still, it was great to hear these issues being wrestled with. Even better was hearing Zoladz end the session by pondering whether bragging of omnivorous listening is in fact the new snobbery. (One used to jockey for hip points by claiming one was first to hear Hüsker Dü play for six people at a small club in the &rsquo;80s; now it&rsquo;s bragging that you really, really like Ke$ha as much as Grimes.) But best of all was hearing the panelists agree with both me and <a href="http://music-mix.ew.com/2013/03/14/dave-grohl-sxsw-keynote-speech/">Grohl</a> that Pitchfork is not only often too narrow in what it chooses to review and what it ignores, but that the influential and formerly Chicago-based Webzine is just no darn good as a model for what music criticism should aspire to be. (Plus, editors there are unfamiliar with one of the most basic rules of grammar&mdash;the punctuation goes <em>inside </em>the quotation marks. Learn it!)</p><p>But enough inside-baseball on the dirty business of rock criticism: Let&rsquo;s wrap up with some final lightning-round observations of other musicians whose paths I crossed in Texas, delivered concisely but (to be certain) absolutely non-snobbishly.</p><p><strong>Parquet Courts: </strong>I wanted to see if these Brooklyn slackers possibly could be as good onstage as they are on <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-01/parquet-courts-gives-us-reasons-be-cheerful-105173"><em>Light Up Gold</em></a></em>. Were they? Fuggadeaboutit! (That is to say, &ldquo;Absolutely, yes!&rdquo;)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/UHdXXbvC8N0" width="560"></iframe></p><p><strong>Merchandise: </strong>I prefer my shoegaze with less gloom and no Brooklyn grooves (though these lads actually hail from Tampa).</p><p><strong>Mikal Cronin: </strong>He&rsquo;s toured with Ty Segall&rsquo;s band, but his own music is a lot more melodic, less ferocious&hellip; and not nearly as engaging live.</p><p><strong>Dawes: </strong>Perfectly pleasant, sunny West Coast jangle. Wake me when it&rsquo;s over.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><u>My complete coverage of SXSW 2013</u></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/i-saw-god-andor-savages-106114">I saw god and/or Savages</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/more-sxsw-day-two-social-networking-and-music-pumcayo-106110">More of SXSW Day Two: Social networking and the music of Pumcayo</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/foo-fighting-dave-grohl%E2%80%99s-keynote-address-106099">Foo fighting: Dave Grohl&rsquo;s keynote address</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/laura-stevenson-holydrug-couple-foxygen-and-more-106090">Laura Stevenson, Holydrug Couple, Foxygen and more</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/imaging-jingle-crafting-crowdfunding-and-%E2%80%98born-chicago%E2%80%99-106087">Imaging, jingle-crafting, crowdfunding and &lsquo;Born in Chicago&rsquo;</a></p></p> Fri, 15 Mar 2013 21:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/shout-out-out-out-out-and-more-few-other-things-106131