WBEZ | Music http://www.wbez.org/news/music Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Try to do something nice—and face a year in jail http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/try-do-something-nice%E2%80%94and-face-year-jail-110667 <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/DARREN ROBBINS 2.jpg" title="Darren Robbins (photo courtesy Darren Robbins)" /></div></div><p>Though he&rsquo;s been living in a small town in Southwestern Michigan for the last few years, Darren Robbins is a familiar face in the Chicago music scene. The 48-year-old musician was the long-time leader of <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-11-14/entertainment/0811120110_1_clive-davis-bomb-stage-fright">Time Bomb Symphony</a>, a band that flirted with major-label success, and he still handles social media for <a href="http://superiorst.com/">Superior St. Rehearsal Studios</a>, which means that a heck of a lot of local artists hear from him regularly.</p><p>Robbins also is a cancer survivor; the former owner of a successful T-shirt business who was profiled in <em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/business/smallbusiness/28sbiz.html?_r=1&amp;adxnnl=1&amp;pagewanted=all&amp;adxnnlx=1408302181-u007bJyWozAGdjeUUcUSYQ">The New York Times</a>,</em> and a popular street artist who, inspired by Shepard Fairey and using the name <a href="http://www.lemmycornhole.com/">Lemmy Cornhole</a>, does a booming business selling cornhole boards and T-shirts adorned with the face of Marty Feldman in <em>Young Frankenstein. </em>He admits he also on occasion decorates skate parks and other spaces&mdash;when he&rsquo;s specifically invited by the property owners.</p><p>What Robbins is not is a reckless, property-trashing tagger, much less a menace to society. Yet the police in Dowagiac and the prosecutor in Cass County, Michigan are doing their best to demonize him as such, and they seem determined to punish him for &ldquo;Malicious Destruction of a Building, less than $200,&rdquo; which he was told at arraignment carries a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail and $2,000 in fines (penalties that are confirmed <a href="http://www.criminalpropertydamage.com/michigan/">by a state website</a>).</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/MARTY_be_original.jpg" style="height: 432px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>The trouble started on July 23 when Robbins, with the best of intentions, sprayed the message &ldquo;I love you Jolene&rdquo; on the side of a vacant building that happened to be on the route his friend had to take to the hospital to receive treatment for breast cancer. Here&rsquo;s how he tells the story:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I was not thinking of myself, but of the fear and loneliness that she must have been feeling in those early morning hours. As a longtime romantic at heart, I have long been a fan of grand gestures, and I couldn&rsquo;t help ask myself, &lsquo;What would Lloyd Dobler do?&rsquo; Dobler, of course, was the teenage protagonist in the film <em>Say Anything</em>...</p><p>&ldquo;Whatever I was going to do, I knew it had to be big&mdash;something that there would be very little chance of missing as she drove by. A cheap can of spray paint would have done the trick, but that would have been permanent. Instead, I opted to spend 10 times what a can of spray paint cost and procured a few cans of marking chalk. I then spent a few days spraying the chalk on a multitude of surfaces to determine which was the most temporary and easiest to remove. Of the three brands I purchased, Krylon came off with a water hose, or a bucket of water and a brush. Worst-case scenario, the chalk disappears in the first rain storm, or fades altogether in a few weeks.</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/Krylon.jpg" style="height: 1000px; width: 300px;" title="Says the manufacturer: Provides excellent temporary marking... easily removed from hard surfaces." /></div></div><p>&ldquo;Knowing my friend had to be at the hospital by 6 a.m., I left the message around 3 a.m. and promptly fell into bed around 4 a.m. with the intent of removing the message when I awoke. Of course, I never got the chance, because my slumber was interrupted by a visit from the police.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Robbins has had many a sleepless night since his arrest contemplating the ramifications of what seems like over-zealous small-town justice. All that <a href="http://www.casscoprosecutor.com/Prosecutor">Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz</a> will say on the record is that he cannot comment on ongoing prosecutions. But local law enforcement is doing their best to spin a very different story from the one Robbins tells.</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/Victor-Fitz.jpg" style="height: 408px; width: 450px;" title="Victor Fitz (Cass County Prosecutor's Office)." /></div><p>Officials portray Robbins as a &ldquo;stalker&rdquo; whose message to Jolene was most unwelcome; they add that the woman barely knows him, and doesn&rsquo;t even have cancer. They also say he&rsquo;s &ldquo;been tagging all over town,&rdquo; and that the punishment they&rsquo;re seeking is so stiff because he has a prior conviction in 2005 for tagging.</p><p>&ldquo;I was able to get the guy from the TV station to tell me what they told him and, believe me, it took me aback,&rdquo; Robbins says. &ldquo;But it did make me see exactly how comfortable they are in feeding half-truths to the media to scare off any press scrutiny.&rdquo;</p><p>In fact, Robbins says the 2005 conviction actually stems from a traffic accident in a neighboring town, and that Dowagiac officials &ldquo;have credited me with every unsolved tag or act of vandalism in this town from the dawn of time in hopes of getting the big one&rdquo;&mdash;the Jolene message and malicious destruction of a building&mdash;&ldquo;to stick.&rdquo;</p><p>As for Jolene, whose last name is being withheld in this report out of respect for her privacy, stalking is the last thing Robbins&rsquo; message brings to mind, and she is indeed battling cancer.</p><p>&ldquo;All I know is that I love what Darren did for me,&rdquo; she told me. &ldquo;How can anyone see saying &lsquo;I love you&rsquo; as a bad thing? I was in such a bad place&mdash;some days I still am&mdash;but when I think of seeing that message, I still get goose bumps. He is someone I love having in my corner.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, Robbins is angry&mdash;and worried.</p><p>&ldquo;I have come to realize that there is no end to the strong-armed idiocy displayed by prosecutors and law enforcement alike across the country,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not a teenage gang-banger, but a 48-year-old business man, musician, and artist who never thought a simple message in chalk could send me to jail for a year.&quot;</p><p>Indeed, his crime, if it is one, seems more akin to what kids regularly do with chalk in the school yard. But this ain&#39;t child&rsquo;s play: Robbins is due in court in Cassopolis, Michigan for a pre-trial conference on Sept. 22, with his jury trial scheduled to start at 9 a.m. the next morning.</p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong> and </strong></em><a href="http://jimcarmeltvdinner.libsyn.com/"><strong>Jim + Carmel&rsquo;s TV + Dinner</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 06:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/try-do-something-nice%E2%80%94and-face-year-jail-110667 Bringing live music back to the South Side http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bringing-live-music-back-south-side-110663 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/music_140815_nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A handful of musicians get a peek at the second-floor space they will soon be jamming in.</p><p>They&rsquo;re checking out a new club called The Promontory, an industrial space with a concrete floor and exposed beams. Oxblood red curtains and chandeliers grace the room.</p><p>&ldquo;The group is called South Side Big Band. And it&rsquo;s destined to play music on the South Side. I have no inspiration to play anywhere North,&rdquo; said arranger Tom Tom Washington. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been playing together for over 50 years, music all over the world. We&rsquo;re already known by everybody.&rdquo;</p><p>Individually, band members have played for some of the biggest soul, jazz &amp; R&amp;B artists from the last few decades.</p><p>Washington produced music for groups like the Chi-Lites and Earth Wind &amp; Fire. Some guys played with jazz giants -- from Charlie Parker to Dizzy Gillespie to Sun Ra. While others did session work for 1960s Chicago R&amp;B acts.</p><p>&ldquo;We like to have our young people look at us and sort of go back and do some kind of study and research and learn the history of jazz in America. As we play we hope to sort of continue the legacy,&rdquo; said tenor saxophonist Gene Barge, a former staffer for Chess Records.</p><p>To help keep the legacy alive, Washington formed the South Side Big Band in the 1990s.</p><p>He said they want to pay tribute to the old ballrooms and music clubs that featured jazz and R&amp;B on the segregated South Side. For a long time now it&rsquo;s been hard to find many live clubs playing this kind of music anywhere but the North Side.</p><p>But Jake Austen, The Promontory show booker, said Hyde Park is an area with a rich musical heritage that deserves more.</p><p>&ldquo;What we kinda want to do here is combine what they&rsquo;re successfully doing in other parts of the city like have this kind of legacy of successful rock clubs and music clubs and jazz clubs. But also respect the neighborhood and the South Side, the history and also what&rsquo;s happening now. It&rsquo;s diverse here, we can have all kinds of music here but you do not want to ignore the music here that&rsquo;s a real foundation,&rdquo; Austen said.</p><p>Upcoming shows include artists ranging from Roy Ayers and Stanley Clarke to Brokeback and the Eternals and country singer Kinky Friedman.</p><p>The Promontory&rsquo;s owners already have a successful track record with the music clubs Empty Bottle on the North Side and Space in Evanston. Clubs like the Shrine and Reggie&rsquo;s are South Side exceptions. But Austen said The Promontory wants to cater to an older crowd as well as local college kids.</p><p>&ldquo;I hope people would be willing to come to the South Side to see something because we&rsquo;ve all had to go to the North Side to see so many things,&rdquo; Austen said.</p><p>It&rsquo;s only fitting that the Promontory will kick things off with the 22-piece South Side Big Band.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a> Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bringing-live-music-back-south-side-110663 Sinead O’Connor has some fun on her boss new album http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/sinead-o%E2%80%99connor-has-some-fun-her-boss-new-album-110662 <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/front.jpg" title="" /></div><p>&ldquo;You know I love to make music/But my head got wrecked by the business,&rdquo; 47-year-old Sinead O&rsquo;Connor sings on &ldquo;8 Good Reasons,&rdquo; midway through her 10<sup>th</sup> studio album, and anyone with even a passing familiarity with her career in the new millennium knows that&rsquo;s the stone-cold truth. (It&rsquo;s also what she was trying to tell Miley Cyrus <a href="https://www.facebook.com/sineadoconnor/posts/600729603299365">in that controversial online exchange</a>.) But as frustrated as O&rsquo;Connor is with the machinery of pop stardom, and as turbulent as her personal life has been at times, her music rarely has suffered, and her voice never has diminished.</p><p>In recent years, the artist has dabbled with traditional Irish folk song (<em>Sean-Nós Nua, </em>2002), reggae (<em>Throw Down Your Arms</em>, 2005), and a combination of both (<em>Theology</em>, 2007). She took a turn back toward more familiar Sinead sounds on her last effort, <em>How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? </em>(2012). But one thing still was missing: any hint of the unqualified fun and (relative) glamor of her beloved early work in the late &rsquo;80s and early &rsquo;90s. (And hard to believe, but it&rsquo;s been nearly a quarter-century since &ldquo;Nothing Compares 2 U.&rdquo;)</p><p>From the diva-dominatrix cover art to the slicker, pop-rock production&mdash;courtesy of ex-husband John Reynolds, who also has worked with Belinda Carlisle and Damien Rice&mdash;O&rsquo;Connor sounds more loose and <em>au courant</em> than she has in years on <em>I&#39;m Not Bossy, I&#39;m the Boss. </em>Yet despite the bounty of hooks, the rollicking rhythms, a convincing attempt to get funky (with Fela Kuti&rsquo;s son Seun on &ldquo;James Brown&rdquo;), a resurgent sensuality bordering on unbridled horniness (the disc opens with the declaration, &ldquo;I wanna make love like a real full woman, everyday&rdquo;), and the assertion that this is &ldquo;just an album of&nbsp;love songs,&rdquo; the singer certainly isn&rsquo;t lightening up. We still get familiar rants about the things that anger her, including the hypocrisy and cruelty of the church (&ldquo;Harbour&rdquo;) and the absurdity of modern celebrity-worship (&ldquo;Where Have You Been?&rdquo;). But she also embraces the contradictions of loving life in a world that&rsquo;s sp horribly screwed up.</p><p>In addition to standing as one of her strongest tracks ever, the gospel-tinged &ldquo;Take Me to Church&rdquo; indicates that, at long last, the incredible, troubled, and very necessary voice has found a measure of peace, if only in making music. &ldquo;I&#39;m gonna sing/Songs of loving and forgiving/Songs of eating and of drinking/Songs of living,&rdquo; she wails. And we&rsquo;re lucky to hear and revel in them.</p><p><strong>Sinead O&rsquo;Connor, <em>I&#39;m Not Bossy, I&#39;m the Boss </em>(Nettwerk Music Group)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: 4 stars.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jMzY_KQIKjU" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong> and </strong></em><a href="http://jimcarmeltvdinner.libsyn.com/"><strong>Jim + Carmel&rsquo;s TV + Dinner</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 08:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/sinead-o%E2%80%99connor-has-some-fun-her-boss-new-album-110662 Get set for the Summer Music Film Festival http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/get-set-summer-music-film-festival-110643 <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/musicfestival.jpg" title="" /></div><p>If you, like me, prefer your rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; roll at night in cool, dark places free of the broiling sun, drenching rain, and oppressive obnoxiousness of the festival scene, you&rsquo;ll be glad to hear that <em>Sound Opinions </em>has once again partnered with the venerable Music Box Theatre on Southport to present the fourth annual Summer Music Film Festival, starting Friday with Jonathan Demme&rsquo;s timeless Talking Heads concert film <em>Stop Making Sense </em>(with Greg Kot and me kicking things off) and running through Tuesday, Aug. 19.</p><p>Among my personal picks this summer: Prince&rsquo;s enduringly campy <em>Purple Rain; </em>Richard Lester&rsquo;s groundbreaking and still hugely influential <em>A Hard Day&rsquo;s </em>Night; the new documentary about the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, <em>Finding Fela, </em>and <em>The 78 Project Movie, </em>a film with Chicago roots about the all-consuming search for rare old 78 rpm discs.</p><p>The full schedule follows below, and a portion of the proceeds from all screenings benefit WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio. A five-admission pass is $45, individual tickets are $9 to $12, and more info can be found at <a href="http://www.summermusicfilmfestival.com">summermusicfilmfestival.com</a>.</p><p><strong><u>Friday, August 15</u></strong></p><p><strong><em>A Hard Day&rsquo;s Night,</em></strong><strong> 3 p.m.</strong></p><p><strong><em>Stop Making Sense</em></strong><strong>, 7 p.m. (hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot) and 9:30</strong></p><p><strong><em>Purple Rain</em></strong><strong>, midnight</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><u>Saturday, August 16</u></strong></p><p><strong><em>Finding Fela</em></strong><strong>, Chicago premier, 2:30 p.m. </strong></p><p><strong><em>The 78 Project Movie</em></strong><strong>, 7 p.m. (Midwest premier with director Alex Steyermark and producer Lavinia Jones Wright)</strong></p><p><strong><em>Good Vibrations</em></strong><strong>, 9:30 p.m.</strong></p><p><strong><em>Purple Rain, </em></strong><strong>midnight</strong></p><p><strong><em>The Rocky Horror Picture Show</em></strong><strong>, midnight</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><u>Sunday, August 17</u></strong></p><p><strong><em>The 78 Project Movie</em></strong><strong>, 3 p.m. (with Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Jones Wright)</strong></p><p><strong><em>Rubber Soul</em></strong><strong>, 7:30 p.m. (Lennon interviews doc, with director Jon Lefkovitz)</strong></p><p><strong><em>A Hard Day&rsquo;s Night,</em></strong><strong> 9:45 p.m.</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><u>Monday, August 18th </u></strong></p><p><strong><em>God Help the Girl</em></strong><strong>, musical feature directed by Belle and Sebastian&rsquo;s Stuart Murdoch, 7:30 p.m.</strong></p><p><strong><em>A Hard Day&rsquo;s Night, </em></strong><strong>9:45 p.m.</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><u>Tuesday, August 19</u></strong></p><p><strong><em>Stop Making Sense</em></strong><strong>, 7 p.m.</strong></p><p><strong><em>Purple Rain</em></strong><strong>, 9:45 p.m.</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong> and </strong></em><a href="http://jimcarmeltvdinner.libsyn.com/"><strong>Jim + Carmel&rsquo;s TV + Dinner</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/get-set-summer-music-film-festival-110643 Solo treats from Wire's bassist http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/solo-treats-wires-bassist-110620 <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/EGLphotocopy-350x350.jpg" title="" /></div><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/wire-rock%E2%80%99s-greatest-super-geniuses-after-eno-106948">The latest creative spurt in the long and intensely rewarding career of English art-punks Wire</a> happily extends to the new solo offerings from bassist, lyricist, and sometimes baritone vocalist Graham Lewis, who lately has tacked the &ldquo;Edvard&rdquo; at the front of his name. (He&rsquo;s living in Upssala, Sweden.)</p><p>Lewis always has had the most fluid and enigmatic role in Wire. If Colin Newman is the voice, the front man, and the &ldquo;pop&rdquo; craftsman, and now-retired guitarist Bruce Gilbert was the perverse noisemaker, art freak, and &ldquo;spanner in the works,&rdquo; Lewis was the Beat poet, the devilishly playful sex symbol, the charmingly eccentric but just a little scary weirdo, and the bridge between the band&rsquo;s sonic extremes and dueling aesthetics, as capable of producing a gorgeous and touching ballad (see: <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/439">&ldquo;Rolling Upon My Day&rdquo; by Dome</a>, one of his many extracurricular side projects) as unleashing a tremendous amount of unfocused but intriguing clatter (witness significant stretches of Wire&rsquo;s recently reissued 1981 oddity <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Document-Eyewitness-1979-1980-Wire/dp/B00LID0PC6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1407508352&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=wire+document+and+eyewitness">Document &amp; Eyewitness</a></em>), with plenty of forays into the industrial-dance underground along the way (as in his solo project He Said).</p><p>Strains of all of that work and more can be heard in the musician&rsquo;s new two-fer, his first solo releases in the new millennium. He describes <em>All Over </em>as &ldquo;a song-based album that resides amongst the cracks between narrative and song, sound and music&hellip; [which] conjures the spirit of Wire&rsquo;s experimental pop trajectory.&rdquo; Meanwhile, <em>All Under </em>is the Aphex Twin-like score to a 2003 film of the same name, plus a few other numbers in a similar vein. Really, though, the 16 tracks play as a satisfying whole, especially if you put them on shuffle, with the menacing clanking of alien death machines (the epic &ldquo;No Show Godot&rdquo;) nicely contrasting with skewed, almost optimistic art-pop (&ldquo;Bluebird&rdquo;) and even some Burroughs-like apocalyptic story-telling (via the musical short story &ldquo;The Eel Wheeled,&rdquo; and what a treat to hear that somber voice intone lines such as, &ldquo;Highly trained and horrendously willing, he perpetrated many random explosions in the tri-state area&rdquo;).</p><p>Lewis can introduce, explore, and abandon more ideas in one song than many bands have in a lifetime. Not all of them work, especially over such a broad canvas. But it&rsquo;s certainly fun and inspiring to accompany him as he putters about in the studio, a crazed combination of Victor Frankenstein and Salvador Dalí.</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/ALLOVER.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p><strong>Edvard Graham Lewis, <em>All Over </em>(Editions Mego)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the four-star scale: 3.5 stars.</strong></p><p><strong>Edvard Graham Lewis, <em>All Under </em>(Editions Mego)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the four-star scale: 3 stars.</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong> and </strong></em><a href="http://jimcarmeltvdinner.libsyn.com/"><strong>Jim + Carmel&rsquo;s TV + Dinner</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/solo-treats-wires-bassist-110620 Spoon has soul to spare http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/spoon-has-soul-spare-110608 <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/spoon%20cover.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>While pretty-boy front man Britt Daniel garners most of the attention, the MVP throughout Spoon&rsquo;s 20-year, eight-album career always has been drummer Jim Eno, and not only because he has one of the coolest names in rock. The group long has been about stark, minimal, but consistently irresistible grooves, and those rhythms never have been more insistent or captivating than on the band&rsquo;s first album after a four-year hiatus, which Eno spent producing other bands, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sound-opinions-divine-fits-104111">while Daniel moonlighted in Divine Fits with Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade</a>.</p><p>To be sure, Daniel has plenty of support here in delivering his laconic, charmingly alienated vocals and slyly insinuating melodies: former Get Up Kid Rob Pope is the best partner Eno has had in this band&rsquo;s rhythm section; Alex Fischel proves himself a great addition on atmospheric keyboards and guitar, and Flaming Lips super-producer Dave Fridmann adds plenty of his trademark psychedelic touches and sonic punch (he&rsquo;s the first producer to really put his stamp on this band), without ever over-powering the basic Spoonishness of the proceedings.</p><p>But it&rsquo;s Eno who gets your body moving in sync time and again, whether it&rsquo;s on the herky-jerk undulations of &ldquo;I Just Don&rsquo;t Understand,&rdquo; the mechanical but human pulses of &ldquo;Rainy Taxi&rdquo; and the title track, or the retro New Wave dance beats of &ldquo;New York Kiss.&rdquo; Spoon isn&rsquo;t altering the basic sound it perfected on <em>Kill the Moonlight </em>(2002) or <em>Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga </em>(2005), but it&rsquo;s never sounded better, and it&rsquo;s reached a point lo these many years on where it&rsquo;s very consistency is its biggest asset, and in that regard, the band is second perhaps only to Yo La Tengo, which has another decade on it.</p><p><strong>Spoon, <em>They Want My Soul </em>(Loma Vista)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the four-star scale: 4 stars.</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong> and </strong></em><a href="http://jimcarmeltvdinner.libsyn.com/"><strong>Jim + Carmel&rsquo;s TV + Dinner</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/spoon-has-soul-spare-110608 Columbus cans R. Kelly http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-07/columbus-cans-r-kelly-110568 <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/R-Kelly-614x307.jpg" title="" /></div><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-07/columbus-musicians-and-fans-balk-r-kelly-festival-headliner-110543">Following protests from music lovers, bands and the local public radio station</a>, promoters of the <a href="http://www.fmmf.us/">Fashion Meets Music Festival</a> in Columbus on Labor Day weekend have kicked Chicago R&amp;B superstar R. Kelly off the bill.</p><p><a href="http://www.columbusalive.com/content/blogs/thelatest/2014/07/r-kelly-fmmf-part-ways.html">Writes Columbusalive.com reporter Andy Downing</a>, who first questioned Kelly&rsquo;s place on the bill by writing about his sordid past of pursuing illegal sexual relationships with underage girls:</p><blockquote><p>A joint statement released Tuesday evening by FMMF organizers and R. Kelly&rsquo;s camp read, in part, &ldquo;Fashion Meets Music Festival and headlining artist R. Kelly have come to the mutual decision to cancel Kelly&#39;s upcoming performance at the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival.&rdquo;</p><p>Kelly&rsquo;s publicist also released the following statement: &ldquo;R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans, but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Kelly headlined the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2013, with little coverage of his problematic past outside this blog. However, <a href="http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2013/12/read_the_stomac.php">a Village Voice article by Jessica Hopper in December</a> renewed discussion about enjoying the star&rsquo;s super-sexualized music given the many girls that he&rsquo;s hurt, and it garnered 4.5 million page views.</p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong> and </strong></em><a href="http://jimcarmeltvdinner.libsyn.com/"><strong>Jim + Carmel&rsquo;s TV + Dinner</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-07/columbus-cans-r-kelly-110568 Get ready to turn it up to 11 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-07/get-ready-turn-it-11-110561 <p><p>From the moment Greg Kot and I launched our regular &ldquo;Sound Opinions at the Movies&rdquo; series &nbsp;at the Music Box Theatre, we&rsquo;ve never been at a loss for great rock films we&rsquo;d like to show. But the movie topping the list from the start has been <em>This Is Spinal Tap</em>, and we&rsquo;re finally showing it <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sound-opinions-presents-spinal-tap-millenium-park-110369">at a super-special free screening at Millennium Park at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow&mdash;Tuesday, July 29</a>.</p><p>Why has it taken us so long to get around to Rob Reiner&rsquo;s 1984 classic, which we both agree is the best rock movie ever because it is the truest? Well, for a while, we harbored a desire to show it in IMAX (just imagine the cucumber scene!), and then we thought of Sensurround; unfortunately, it wasn&rsquo;t available in either format. Nor was Smell-O-Vision an option.</p><p>You&rsquo;ve got to admit, though, that Millennium Park is a pretty good fallback.</p><p>In case you missed our chat with Reiner about the film&rsquo;s 30<sup>th</sup> anniversary, <a href="http://soundopinions.org/show/451">you can podcast it here</a>. And if you still need some help getting psyched up for the fun, here is an extended deleted scene from the movie that finds Bruno Kirby channeling his limo-driver character&rsquo;s hero, Frank Sinatra. In his underwear, no less.</p><p>See you at the movies!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/J7XncEILEGc" width="640"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-07/get-ready-turn-it-11-110561 Columbus musicians and fans balk at R. Kelly as festival headliner http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-07/columbus-musicians-and-fans-balk-r-kelly-festival-headliner-110543 <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/R-Kelly.png" style="height: 360px; width: 640px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>*** UPDATED JULY 28: WCBE WITHDRAWS AS FESTIVAL SPONSOR</strong></p><p>In response to R. Kelly headlining the <a href="http://www.fmmf.us/">Fashion Meets Music Festival</a> in Columbus on Labor Day weekend, Ohio&rsquo;s musical community is having the spirited public debate about separating the art from the artist that Chicago never had when the controversial R&amp;B superstar topped the bill at the Pitchfork festival in 2013.</p><p>Andy Downing, a reporter at ColumbusAlive.com and a former music contributor to <em>The Chicago Tribune, </em>first raised questions about the young festival&rsquo;s decision to give Kelly its top slot <a href="http://www.columbusalive.com/content/blogs/thelatest/2014/06/fashion-meets-music-headliners-announced.html">in a post that ran on June 25</a>. Wrote Downing:</p><blockquote><p>Organizers downplayed the inclusion of Kelly, born Robert Kelly in Chicago 47 years ago, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, and whose history of sexual predation on underage girls was chronicled at length in <a href="http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2013/12/read_the_stomac.php">a Village Voice discussion </a>between music journalists Jim DeRogatis and Jessica Hopper that went viral late in 2013.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t even think [Kelly&rsquo;s inclusion] was a debate. We don&rsquo;t have a national R&amp;B act, and we wanted to fill that void, and he&rsquo;s one of the best-selling artists of all time. Why wouldn&rsquo;t we?&rdquo; said FMMF cofounder Bret Adams. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s good national press for us and Columbus. He&rsquo;s a nationally known name. He was not convicted of anything. He was acquitted. If we wanted to limit our artists to people who never had brushes with the law or were not good people, then you can eliminate quite a few across the board. We&rsquo;re running a festival to help brand the city of Columbus. We&rsquo;re not the morality police.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><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/columbus1.png" style="height: 600px; width: 600px;" title="" /></div><p><a href="http://www.columbusalive.com/content/blogs/thelatest/2014/06/r.-kelly-fmmf-update.html">In a longer follow-up on June 30</a> that referenced this blog&rsquo;s series of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-07/kelly-conversations-more-questions-answers-about-r-kelly-headlining">&ldquo;Kelly Conversations&rdquo;</a> last summer, Downing chronicled the beginnings of a backlash to the booking by Columbus musicians, and he quoted some of the hundreds of posts debating the issue appearing on forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. In the weeks since, several bands have pulled out of the festival in protest, and others have begun organizing a competing FemmeFest in response. <a href="http://saintseneca.com/post/92568863872/some-thoughts-on-why-we-wont-be-playing-fashion-meets">In a post on its Web site on July 22</a>, Columbus folk-rockers Saintseneca wrote:</p><blockquote><p>We were disappointed that the artist selected to headline the festival was R. Kelly. We feel his selection as a performer ignores his very serious allegations of sexual violence and assault. We feel it is an affront to all survivors, who are already often overlooked and forgotten in our society. As a result, we&rsquo;ve decided to withdraw from the festival.</p></blockquote><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/columbus%202%20saintseneca.jpg" style="height: 600px; width: 600px;" title="Saintseneca" /></div><p>That followed an earlier protest of the booking by the electronic duo Damn the Witch Siren. Those musicians met with festival organizers to discuss the issue, but ultimately pulled out of the festival as well.</p><p>&ldquo;They were really nice and courteous to us about the issue, and I think it was really considerate of them to meet with us under the circumstances,&rdquo; musician Nathan Photos wrote <a href="https://www.facebook.com/damnthewitchsiren?ref=br_tf">on the band&rsquo;s Facebook page</a>. &ldquo;[But] after about an hour&rsquo;s deliberation, they were unwilling to budge on the issue, and they were also unable to make us feel differently about things.&rdquo;</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/columbus%203%20damn.jpg" style="height: 399px; width: 600px;" title="Damn the Witch Siren" /></div><p>At least Columbus promoters have been willing to discuss the booking. In stark contrast, Pitchfork corporate chief Ryan Schreiber and festival booker Mike Reed have yet to respond to requests for comment on their booking last July, though Reed did tell this reporter at last year&rsquo;s festival that it was &ldquo;hypocritical&rdquo; for this blog to criticize the booking when WBEZ was a sponsor of the festival.</p><p>Columbus public radio station WCBE 90.5-FM has found itself in a similar position this summer. It signed on as a sponsor of Fashion Meets Music before Kelly was announced as a headliner.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re still deciding precisely what we&rsquo;ll do&mdash;at the very least, we&rsquo;ll put together a panel discussion to focus not only on the R. Kelly/Festival issue but the underlying societal sexism, racism, and rape attitudes which surround our listeners&rsquo; concerns,&rdquo; <a href="http://wcbe.org/">WCBE</a> general manager and program director Dan Mushalko wrote this blog via email.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the incident has opened up a window into these much larger societal issues and&mdash;this is where I&rsquo;m very proud of WCBE listeners&mdash;Columbus is not afraid to look inside to try to find some answers. We&rsquo;ll record the discussion and edit it down to a one-hour special we&rsquo;ll broadcast sometime afterward.</p><p>&ldquo;But this is a much bigger issue than a panel discussion/on-air special can give justice to,&rdquo; Mushalko added. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;m wrestling with: What <em>more</em> can we do? How can we leverage the controversy and our special to make a true, lasting difference in the community? I simply haven&rsquo;t figured that out yet, but there&rsquo;s a wonderful thread on our <a href="https://www.facebook.com/WCBE90.5">Facebook page</a>, and I&rsquo;m hoping that the combination of comments and insights there will end up providing the epiphany to create a greater positive out of such a horrific negative.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m darn proud of our city for this. We see an issue, and bring it to the fore. To borrow a phrase from the Columbus Foundation, this is &lsquo;the spirit of Columbus!&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Again, this attitude is a striking contrast to some media outlets in Chicago, which continue to snicker at last year&rsquo;s controversy. For her efforts to discuss the issue in <em>The Village Voice </em>via an interview that has so far generated 4.5 million page views, Hopper found herself caricatured on last week&rsquo;s Pitchfork cover of <em>The Chicago Reader, </em>seemingly infatuated with yours truly as I sit waving a sword beside &ldquo;a box of old R. Kelly crap.&rdquo;</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/ReaderP4K-2014.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>The ultimate validation for raising these issues, however, may be the impact on sales of Kelly&rsquo;s concert tickets. The chart below, current as of last night, shows the unsold tickets to his Columbus performance in blue, while promoters have shut off even trying to sell seats in the third tier of the Nationwide Arena.</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/Screen%20shot%202014-07-22%20at%207.18.15%20PM.png" style="height: 340px; width: 600px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>*** UPDATED: <a href="http://www.columbusalive.com/content/blogs/thelatest/2014/07/fashion-meets-music-wcbe.html">Andy Downing reports</a> that WCBE has withdrawn as a festival sponsor. Says general manager Mushalko: &ldquo;It may be too late for this year, but I think it is important for them for the next festival to really understand the reasoning behind [our decision].&rdquo;</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong> and </strong></em><a href="http://jimcarmeltvdinner.libsyn.com/"><strong>Jim + Carmel&rsquo;s TV + Dinner</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-07/columbus-musicians-and-fans-balk-r-kelly-festival-headliner-110543 The best Lollapalooza press release ever http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-07/best-lollapalooza-press-release-ever-110506 <p><p><strong>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,&nbsp;</strong><strong>July 15, 2014</strong></p><p align="center"><strong>INTRODUCING THE STAND UP</strong><strong>&nbsp;&trade;</strong></p><p align="center"><em>Lolla Ladies Can Now&nbsp;<u>Stand Up</u>&nbsp;to Disgusting Port-A-Potties</em></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/V25June%202%208am_8%20Clouds%20greener%20sky%20SMALLER.jpg" title="" /></div><p align="center">&nbsp;</p><p>(San Francisco, CA) Growing up with three older brothers in Chicago&rsquo;s Lincoln Park, Stand Up Founder and &ldquo;Queen Pee&rdquo; Sara Grossman always felt she was an inconvenience to her family the second she needed to find a restroom during car trips. While Sara was instructed to go to the bathroom right before they left, her brothers had&nbsp;easy. And thus, the idea for the Stand Up<strong>&trade;</strong>&nbsp;trickled forth.</p><p>As the years continued, Grossman admitted to herself she just wasn&rsquo;t good at peeing on the go. One disgusting toilet seat after another, her squatting game had never improved. She figured she wasn&rsquo;t the only one.</p><p>&ldquo;When encountering a less-than desirable peeing locale, many women opt to squat, which isn&rsquo;t easy! We can feel off-balance, like we&rsquo;re about to fall through the stall door, or maybe like we&rsquo;re modern-arting a one of a kind pee-splatter-painting for the next unlucky hopeful sitter,&rdquo; says Grossman. &nbsp;&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just no winning when it comes to squat-peeing, which is why I invented the Stand Up&nbsp;<strong>&trade;</strong>; I believe women can have a hygienic and dignified peeing experience if they so choose.&rdquo; &nbsp; &nbsp;</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/SU15%20SMALLER.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Stand Up<strong>&trade;&nbsp;</strong>is a peeing accessory&mdash;Grossman stresses it is not a device (devices are utilitarian instruments; accessories are expressions of choice [and fun!])&mdash;that women can use to keep their distance from the mess, anytime, anywhere.&nbsp;<strong>Cue Lollapalooza. As concert-goers know, nothing compares to the nastiness of a public toilet at a summer outdoor music festival.</strong></div><p>The Stand Up<strong>&trade;</strong>&nbsp;is the perfect solution: a disposable, biodegradable, clutch-purse-fittable, pocket-slippable peeing accessory. Made of neon pink, gloss-finished cardstock, The Stand Up<strong>&trade;</strong>&nbsp;fits right in with the cute contents of a purse, and liquids slide right off its surface.&nbsp;<strong>High-resolution photos available for download&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/sh/iqujnqbl8fdfahh/AAA_G_0gNb24G45TEAo5ms7ia"><strong>here</strong></a><strong>&nbsp;(please note credit Read Me).</strong></p><p><strong>The Stand Up</strong><strong>&trade;</strong><strong>&nbsp;is available for purchase at&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.the-stand-up.com/"><strong>www.the-stand-up.com</strong></a><strong>.&nbsp;</strong>Stand Ups are packaged in convenient, ready-to-&ldquo;go&rdquo; sizes:&nbsp;<u>The Purse Pack</u>&nbsp;($6),&nbsp;<u>The Festival Pack</u>&nbsp;(3 Purse Packs for $16) and&nbsp;<u>The Super Woman Pack</u>&nbsp;(6 Purse Packs for $30).&nbsp;<strong>Order by July 28, 2014 to receive in time for Lollapalooza</strong>&nbsp;(August 1-3, 2014).</p><p>The purpose of the Stand Up<strong>&trade;</strong>&nbsp;is not to emulate men, but rather to give women a choice. In those moments when you&rsquo;d&nbsp;<em>rather</em>&nbsp;not, now you&nbsp;<em>can</em>&nbsp;not.</p><p><strong>About &ldquo;Queen Pee&rdquo; Sara Grossman</strong></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/Sara%20Grossman%20Stand%20UP%205%2019%2014_AMP3881%20SMALLER.jpg" title="" /></div><p>Sara grew up in Chicago and remembers to say,&nbsp;&ldquo;Midwest the best&rdquo; and &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s make some Illi-Noise&rdquo; whenever she discusses her hometown. After 18 years spent in brutal winter, she moved to California for crop tops, organic toothpaste, and Stanford, where her mother warned her she would stay, and which statement she foolishly denied.&nbsp;An English major with an emphasis in creative writing, she happily typed her way through essays and short stories for her school work, while writing scripts and acting for comedy shows in her free time.&nbsp;</p><p>After graduation, she made a quick comeback tour through Chicago to work in the First Lady&rsquo;s department on the Obama for America 2012 Campaign, where she wrote briefs 99% of days, and drove in her motorcade one day. Now, she resides in San Francisco, along with every other person who underestimated the power of his or her mother&rsquo;s prediction that once you move to California, you stay in California. (If you like it). &nbsp;(Which she did). (Does). She began working on the Stand Up<strong>&trade;</strong>&nbsp;in 2013, and launched in 2014.</p><p><strong>Stand Up Specs</strong></p><p>Folded: a triangle with a base of 4 inches and a height of 4.5 inches.</p><p>Unfolded: a kite-shape with the widest point at 4 inches and a height of 6 inches.</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p align="center">#&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; #&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; #</p></p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-07/best-lollapalooza-press-release-ever-110506