WBEZ | Music http://www.wbez.org/news/music Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A blast of soulful, grungy garage growl http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/blast-soulful-grungy-garage-growl-111474 <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/Bama%20Lamas.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>&ldquo;The kind of raunch you can feel deep down in your soul,&rdquo; the Chicago sextet the Bama Lamas promise in their bio, and these veterans of local garage grunge deliver in spades on their new D.I.Y. album <em>Going Up?</em></p><p>These boys are not reinventing the wheel, but neither are they slaves to the dusties they clearly devour and worship. &ldquo;Our love for scratchy R&amp;B, soul, and rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; roll 45&rsquo;s brought us together&mdash;became our blueprint for saving our sorry souls,&rdquo; they also note. &ldquo;The records that make you want to jump out of your skin and hit the dance floor happy just to be alive!&rdquo;</p><p>That intense desire to live in the moment&mdash;and to make it as joyful and out of control as possible, in the timeless dance-your-butt-off way&mdash;puts the fez-sporting group in the proud tradition of the mighty Flesthtones. Witness the undeniable yawp of the guitar, piano, sax, and rhythm section grooves on build-your-own-dance-craze anthems such as <strong>&ldquo;</strong>(Do) the Hurt,&rdquo; &ldquo;(Do) the Crab,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Monkey Bump.&rdquo; But my favorite track here is the gloriously stoopid, mostly instrumental &ldquo;Sambuca.&rdquo;</p><p>No, the anise-flavored Italian liqueur doesn&rsquo;t have the same power for the systematic derangement of the senses as the distilled nectar of the blue agave. But I do believe that at long last a band has musically equalled <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdMTl9zHQ9Y">the Champs&rsquo; timeless 1958 classic &ldquo;Tequila</a>,&rdquo; and I think even Pee Wee Herman would agree.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe seamless="" src="http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2821576186/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3983321159/transparent=true/" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;"><a href="http://thebamalamas.bandcamp.com/album/going-up">Going Up? by The Bama Lamas</a></iframe></p><p><strong><em>The Bama Lamas host the 10<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Big C Jamboree rockabilly open mic at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/832557086801828/">Martyr&rsquo;s at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5</a>.</em></strong></p><p><strong>The Bama Lamas, <a href="http://thebamalamas.bandcamp.com"><em>Going Up? </em></a></strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-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 or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/blast-soulful-grungy-garage-growl-111474 The perfect winter soundtrack http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/perfect-winter-soundtrack-111468 <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/Amazing.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>For fans of the moody, swirling, atmospheric sounds of the early &rsquo;90s British shoegazer movement, the best news of late&mdash;<a href="http://consequenceofsound.net/2014/11/ride-announce-reunion-tour/">after word of this summer&rsquo;s reunion tour by Ride</a>&mdash;is <em>Picture You, </em>the third album by the Swedish quintet the Amazing.</p><p>To the extent that the group is known in the States at all, it&rsquo;s as a side project by Reine Fiske, the guitarist for Dungen. But just as the power of Ride is in the interplay between guitarists-vocalists Andy Bell and Mark Gardener, the Amazing is all about the collision of Fiske&rsquo;s talents with those of co-band-leader Christoffer Gunrup, who sneers at anyone who deigns to characterize the results as &ldquo;psychedelic.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I hate the word,&rdquo; Gunrup says in the band&rsquo;s bio. &ldquo;I have no relation to psychedelic music or prog-rock. Reine likes that prog stuff, and he&rsquo;s very good with sounds, so he would be the one to blame for that.&rdquo;</p><p>Well, if psychedelia in the mode of <em>Sgt. Pepper&rsquo;s </em>or San Francisco Summer of Love is what one associates with the term, Gunrup&rsquo;s grousing is on point. But he readily admits his admiration for shoegazers like Ride, My Bloody Valentine, and the also reactivated Jesus and Mary Chain, and whiffs of pastoral, mid-period Pink Floyd (a la <em>Atom Heart Mother</em> and <em>More</em>), the early, idyllic, 12-strings-driven Genesis, and the syncopated eruptions of <em>In the Court of the Crimson King </em>also are undeniable in tunes such as &ldquo;Fryshusfunk,&rdquo; &ldquo;Safe Island,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Circles.&rdquo;</p><p>This is not to say that <em>Picture You </em>is overly derivative. The 10 tracks work to create a sustained, dreamscape built on Gundrup&rsquo;s breathy vocals and the slippery interplay of the group&rsquo;s three guitars, expansive keyboards, and deft rhythm section. Tune in, turn up your headphones, and be prepared to bliss out.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iNhFQWvF1TE" width="560"></iframe></p><p><strong>The Amazing, <em>Picture You </em>(PTKF)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: 3.5 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 or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/perfect-winter-soundtrack-111468 The first great album of 2015 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/first-great-album-2015-111391 <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/The-Decemberists-What-A-Terrible-World-What-A-Beautiful-World.jpg" style="height: 620px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>Let&rsquo;s get this out of the way right up front: Even if you haven&rsquo;t heard about their hometown naming next Friday &ldquo;<a href="http://www.oregonlive.com/music/index.ssf/2015/01/january_20_decemberists_day_portland.html">The Decemberists Day</a>,&rdquo; with an official proclamation to be presented by Portland Mayor Kyle MacLachlan.... er, Charlie Hales... at that craft-beer-and-Chemex-brewing, bearded-hipsters Mecca, or you didn&rsquo;t catch bandleader Colin Meloy announcing this new release by <a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/57193-the-decemberists-announce-new-album-with-colin-meloy-busking-on-brooklyn-street/">busking on the streets of Brooklyn</a>, he and his co-conspirators give the skeptical plenty of reasons to scoff.</p><p>Start with the cumbersome title of their long-awaited seventh album <em>What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, </em>and move on to capital-&ldquo;r&rdquo; Romantic lyrics that once again are rife with characters such as the gown-wearing Philomena (who prompts the unusually bawdy confession from our former English and Theater-major bandleader: &ldquo;All I ever wanted in the world was just to live to see a naked girl/But I found I&rsquo;ve quickly bored, I wanted more, I wanted more!&rdquo;) and the Cavalry Captain, a possible veteran of Tennyson&rsquo;s infamous Light Brigade, who &ldquo;is the remedy to your heart.&rdquo;</p><p>Then, too, you must wrestle with the usual bounty of musical filigree, from horn sections to doo-wop choirs, all decorating a Celtic/hill-country lilt to many of the songs that Meloy always credits to the cooler end of &rsquo;70s British folk-rock crossed with the Smiths, but which resonates just as much of prime Jethro Tull (think <em>Songs from the Wood</em>) and ELP in its &ldquo;Lucky Man&rdquo; mode.</p><p>None of that matters. As a geeky history buff with special passions for the Napoleonic and Victorian eras, as an English professor, and as an unabashed progressive-rock fan, I&rsquo;ve always lapped it all up. But even if I put on my cynical punk-rock glasses, I just can&rsquo;t condemn Meloy and his mates for their excesses, not when these are accompanied by such a healthy sense of humor, whether one thinks of the band <a href="http://www.jimdero.com/News2007/DecemberistsatMillennium.htm">performing with the Grant Park Symphony at the Bean back in 2007</a> and trotting out a <em>papier</em><em>-</em><em>mâché Moby Dick as a stage prop, or revels in the silly video for &ldquo;Make You Better&rdquo; or the lyrics to the new tune &ldquo;The Singer Addresses His Audience&rdquo; (which contains the lines, &ldquo;</em>So when your bridal processional is a televised confessional/To the benefits of Axe shampoo&hellip; We did it all for you&rdquo;).</p><p>&ldquo;We had to change,&rdquo; Meloy also declares in the latter tune, but the changes on the follow-up to <em>The King Is Dead </em>(2011) are minimal indeed: There&rsquo;s the most oblique of political references in &ldquo;12-17-12,&rdquo; the date of the Newton massacre; the unusually straightforward nature of the ballad &ldquo;Make You Better&rdquo; (which features Chicago darling Kelly Hogan on backing vocals), and an attempt to write a timeless folk/blues classic a la &ldquo;You Don&rsquo;t Miss Your Water&rdquo; in &ldquo;Till The Water Is Long Gone.&rdquo; But the overall impression is of familiar Decemberists terrain indeed. And that&rsquo;s fine, too, at least when every one of these 14 tracks boasts a melody as strong as any the band ever has given us.</p><p>That, ultimately, is why we love this group, and why we keep coming back. And your disdain of pretension and allergy to the thesaurus be damned.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Yb8oUbMrydk" width="560"></iframe></p><p><strong>The Decemberists, </strong><strong><em>What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World</em></strong><strong> (Columbia)</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 or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 06:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/first-great-album-2015-111391 Legal hurdles cleared for Congress Theater redevelopment http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/legal-hurdles-cleared-congress-theater-redevelopment-111385 <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/1congress%20theater_Bey_0.jpg" title="The Congress Theater (Lee Bey)" /></div><p><strong>** UPDATED 10 a.m. TUESDAY</strong></p><p>Nearly a year after this blog first reported that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-01/sale-congress-theater-pending-109543">renowned developer Michael Moyer was poised to purchase the troubled Congress Theater</a>&mdash;and after 12 months of legal wrangling bogging down the sale&mdash;Cook County Circuit Court has removed the final hurdles, and Moyer and Ald. &ldquo;Proco&rdquo; Joe Moreno (1<sup>st</sup>) will hold a press conference on Jan. 24 to announce new plans for the 89-year-old, 3,500-seat Logan Square landmark.</p><p>Moyer is best known in Chicago for redeveloping the decrepit Bismarck Theater, transforming it into the Cadillac Palace. Just steps from City Hall, that theater has hosted prestigious Chicago productions including <em>The Producers, Aida, MAMA MIA, The Lion King,</em> and<em> Kinky Boots. </em>The theater is the centerpiece of a $120 million development that also includes the Bismarck Hotel. <a href="http://www.palmetllc.com/about/">According to the bio online with PalMet Ventures</a>, where he is a managing member, Moyer also has had a hand in development projects in Iraq.</p><p>Said a statement from Moreno&rsquo;s office: &ldquo;This long-overdue rehabilitation project [at the Congress] will not only renovate the theater&rsquo;s historic lobby and auditorium, it will also include the improvement of the ground floor commercial spaces and the modernization of the above-grade residential units into a small inn and residences.&rdquo;</p><p>Moyer will work with Woodhouse Tinucci Architects and W.E. O&rsquo;Neil Construction, according to the statement.</p><p>Following a series of contentious city hearings about numerous public safety, building code, and liquor violations, which began to mount after a sexual assault outside the theater in January 2012, controversial venue owner Erineo &ldquo;Eddie&rdquo; Carranza finally gave up his fight to maintain ownership of the Congress in January 2014. At that time, he signed a contract for the sale to Moyer, and accepted a payment of $500,000 in earnest money.</p><p>Although Carranza talked often and at length about his ambitious plans for the Congress, no serious redevelopment at the crumbling theater had taken place, and the venue has been shuttered to major events since the spring of 2013.</p><p>Closing on the sale and moving ahead on the redevelopment were slowed by two competing claims from concert promoters contending that they had the right of first refusal to buy the venue should Carranza sell. Sources say the oldest claim, by Chicago-based Jam Productions, was resolved with relative ease. But React Presents, the local electronic dance music promoters who subsequently <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-02/sfx-entertainment-buys-react-presents-109765">sold out to the giant national corporation SFX</a>, pressed the fight in court.</p><p>&ldquo;The litigation thing is arduous,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-06/whither-chicago%E2%80%99s-historic-theaters-110273">Moyer told this blog with a sigh of frustration last June</a>.</p><p><strong>**</strong> The ruling could not be obtained last night, but sources familiar with its contents say that Moyer&rsquo;s settlements with both Jam and React/SFX have been approved by the court. Moyer <strike>now is the uncontested owner</strike>&nbsp; is set to close on the property in the next 60 to 90 days, and to move ahead with a redevelopment plan supported by Moreno and other city officials.</p><p>The specifics of entertainment offerings at the Congress will likely remain a mystery until the press conference, and Moyer declined to comment Monday evening. But theater may be part of the mix, along with music. &ldquo;Moyer will apply his expertise to the Congress to reestablish its reputation as one of the finest music venues in the nation,&rdquo; according to the statement from Moreno&rsquo;s office.</p><p>That may even include electronic dance music. As this blog observed, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/enough-%E2%80%98footloose%E2%80%99edm-nonsense-110684">the much-publicized restrictions placed by the city upon the Congress prohibiting EDM</a> were aimed not at that musical genre or even at that specific venue, but at Carranza as an irresponsible operator who racked up dozens of complaints.</p><p>Sources say it also was a tactic to prod React/SFX out of prolonging its legal fight. Rather than the city being anti-EDM, the move was pro-Congress, one source said. And React/SFX has been doing a thriving business at other venues with full city approval, ranging from the Concord Music Hall and the Mid to the city-owned Soldier Field, where it hosts the massive Spring Awakening Festival.</p><p>While some Logan Square residents initially rallied to Carranza&rsquo;s side during the early days of his long fight with city agencies, that support eroded as the details of the complaints against him were aired at public hearings. These ranged from <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-01/congress-theater-liquor-hearings-begin-undercover-cops-testimony-104950">security guards accused of seizing drugs from concertgoers, then reselling them to other patrons</a>, to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/congress-theater-safe-or-not-106931">&ldquo;hazardous and dangerous&rdquo; building code violations </a>unremedied for months, including standing water near bare electrical wires and non-functioning fire exits.</p><p>At least one longtime resident is supporting Moyer&rsquo;s plans. &ldquo;I am excited that the new owners have the security of the neighborhood in mind first, and that we will have a true safe and secure music venue in our neighborhood,&rdquo; Rick Sada is quoted as saying in the Moreno statement. &ldquo;I am also excited that Eddie Carranza will no longer be part of the Congress. For too long he got away with numerous criminal and building violations and I am glad Ald. Moreno helped us rid him of our neighborhood and is working with a new, truly viable owner.&rdquo;</p><p>The full text of the statement from Moreno&rsquo;s office follows. Meanwhile, Carranza is not yet entirely out of the theater game. He still owns the smaller Portage Theater in Portage Park, which is being leased by Charlie Burns, the former venue manager under Carranza at the Congress.</p><p>While Carranza&rsquo;s plans for another ambitious development surrounding the Portage on the Northwest Side have so far come to little, the theater<a href="http://www.theportagetheater.com/"> has been presenting a mix of film and music</a> for several months now, and the office of Ald. John Arena (45<sup>th</sup>) reports that there have been no complaints from residents.</p><blockquote><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;">&nbsp;</p></blockquote><blockquote><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u><strong>January 12, 2015 </strong></u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>New Congress LLC, Chicago and Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, 1<sup>st </sup>Ward</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u><strong>For Immediate Release</strong></u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>New Congress LLC and Alderman Proco Joe Moreno (1<sup>st</sup> Ward) are pleased to announce the upcoming revitalization of the Congress Theater, a City of Chicago Landmark located at 2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square.&nbsp; This long-overdue rehabilitation project will not only renovate the theater&rsquo;s historic lobby and auditorium, it will also include the improvement of the ground floor commercial spaces and the modernization of the above-grade residential units into a small inn and residences. The residences will be truly affordable residences under the City&rsquo;s Affordable Housing Ordinance- a request made by Alderman Moreno of Congress LLC.</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>Michael Moyer, manager of New Congress, LLC, will lead the project.&nbsp; Mr. Moyer, one of the early pioneers in the revitalization of Chicago&rsquo;s Loop, renovated the block adjacent to City Hall, including the historic Cadillac Palace Theater, which received a Distinguished Building Award from the American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA Chicago) with Special Recognition for Historic Preservation.&nbsp;&nbsp;Mr. Moyer has brought together an experienced and award-winning team with deep roots in the City of Chicago, including Woodhouse Tinucci Architects as the project&rsquo;s architect, W.E. O&rsquo;Neil Construction as general contractor and MacRostie Historic Advisors. &nbsp;&nbsp;</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>Mr. Moyer will apply his expertise to The Congress to reestablish its reputation as one of the finest music venues in the nation.&nbsp; The renovation will draw on the diverse history and culture of the neighborhood and the innate character of the architecture.</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>The venue, which the City closed two years ago for dozens of unaddressed violations, originally opened in 1926 as a movie palace. Eventually it grew to host such diverse musical acts as Chuck Barry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lauryn Hill, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Idol, Toots and the Maytals, ZZ Top, Zoe&rsquo;, and Weezer.&nbsp; Under New Congress LLC&rsquo;s direction, the theater will once again host live music performances, managed by an experienced operator with local insight and national presence. Eddie Carranza, former owner of the Congress, will have no part, legally or otherwise, in the future of the Congress Theater.</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>Alderman Moreno worked closely with the City&rsquo;s Departments of Buildings and Business Affairs to address the long-running problems of mismanagement and disrepair at the Congress Theater.</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>After scores of meetings and inquiries from parties interested in taking over the Congress Theater, Alderman Moreno is thrilled that New Congress LLC has been able to secure the property by contract and facilitate the resolution of litigation that has kept the theater dark.&nbsp;&nbsp;</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>Rick Sada, lifelong community resident who lives near the Congress Theater and participated in the fight to close it down stated: &ldquo; I am excited that the new owners have the security of the neighborhood in mind first, and that we will have a true safe and secure music venue in our neighborhood. I am glad Alderman Moreno helped us rid the previous owner from our neighborhood and is working with a new, truly viable owner.&rdquo;</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>Alderman Moreno is confident that New Congress, LLC will fully realize the potential of the Congress property and return it back to its full glory. He is equally confident that this renovation will also lead to a dynamic resurgence of this stretch of Milwaukee Avenue. Alderman Moreno stated, &ldquo;I am very excited about the future of the new Congress Theater. When completed, the new Congress Theater will be a world-class entertainment and commercial venue that our community will be very proud of. Just as important, this new theater owner, Mr. Moyer, will be a responsive and responsible owner and a true community partner.&rdquo;</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;"><u>Alderman Moreno and New Congress, LLC will host an Open House for the community to tour the Congress Theater on January 24, 2015 from 1-4 pm.&nbsp; Refreshments and light snackswill be served.</u></p><p style="margin-left:-27.0pt;">&nbsp;</p></blockquote><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 or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 19:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/legal-hurdles-cleared-congress-theater-redevelopment-111385 The return of D'Angelo and the Divine Styler http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/return-dangelo-and-divine-styler-111359 <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/angelo.jpg" style="height: 620px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>The final weeks of 2014 brought two presents from two reclusive, idiosyncratic, and brilliant cult figures we never thought we&rsquo;d hear from again: the long-awaited returns of R&amp;B giant D&rsquo;Angelo and hip-hop innovator the Divine Styler.</p><p>Born Michael Eugene Archer in 1974 and raised as the son of a Pentecostal preacher in Richmond, Virginia, D&rsquo;Angelo seemed poised to set a new raw, gritty, and very real course for modern R&amp;B in the late &rsquo;90s with his neo-soul debut <em>Brown Sugar </em>(1995) and, especially, his towering masterpiece <em>Voodoo </em>(2000). He was even more powerful onstage than on record, leaving fans breathless during the long-running tour supporting the latter. But then&hellip; nothing, or very, very little, for nearly a decade and a half.</p><p>The artist, it seemed, had joined the ranks of frustrated/stymied auteurs unable to top a peak (see also: Kevin Shields, Syd Barrett, or Brian Wilson), instead just disappearing and leaving us hanging. Then, with minimal fanfare, D&rsquo;Angelo dropped <em>Black Messiah </em>on Dec. 15. And, even more surprising, it proved to be a very worthy successor to <em>Voodoo.</em></p><p>No, the new disc does not have its predecessor&rsquo;s sustained, swampy moody of mystical mischief. But the music, credited to D&rsquo;Angelo and the Vanguard but including some familiar collaborators from back in the day (superstar drummer Questlove and bassist Pino Palladino chief among them) absolutely follows in the tradition of real, soulful, sweaty grooves and slinky but potent melodies that marked the singer and songwriter&rsquo;s work in the past. And neither the new and timely political consciousness of some of the lyrics (&ldquo;1,000 Deaths,&rdquo; &ldquo;The Charade&rdquo;) nor the uncharacteristically sunny optimism of other tunes (&ldquo;Sugah Daddy,&rdquo; &ldquo;The Door&rdquo;) seem out of character for D&rsquo;Angelo in context, or out of place amid his more familiar updates on the classic Marvin Gaye mix of sacred and profane (&ldquo;Prayer,&rdquo; &ldquo;Really Love&rdquo;).</p><p>With the title, a concept addressed several times throughout the album, D&rsquo;Angelo isn&rsquo;t positioning himself as a savior or calling on supernatural forces to intervene in these troubled times. The primary message is one of spiritual self-reliance&mdash;&ldquo;We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah,&rdquo; he&rsquo;s said&mdash;and this philosophy is very much in line with that of Marc Richardson, a New Yorker born in 1968 who changed his name to Mikal Safiyullah when he converted to Islam, but who&rsquo;s better known in the hip-hop world as the Divine Styler.</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/styler.jpg" style="height: 620px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>Like D&rsquo;Angelo, the Divine Styler has been missing from the music scene for nearly 15 years. And if his masterpiece, 1991&rsquo;s <em>Spiral Walls Containing Autumns of Light</em>, isn&rsquo;t quite as celebrated as <em>Voodoo</em>, that&rsquo;s only because it never received the promotion it deserved during &ldquo;the Year Punk Broke,&rdquo; as well as the fact that its heady, spiritual lyrics and wildly inventive, genre-defying music were so out of touch with the then-prevailing trends in gangsta rap.</p><p>Richardson has said he dropped out of the hip-hop scene because of its stifling negativity; with heroes including Jimi Hendrix and Sun Ra, he preferred to strive for a utopian ideal rather than reveling in a nihilistic reality. With <em>Def Mask</em>, he gives us a concept album about the ugliness of a Philip K. Dick-like futuristic dystopia that is all too much like our present matrix. But hope can be found in ripping off the mask of the title, which, he says, &ldquo;keeps others at distance and creates a barrier between the wearer and the multiple realms of psychic pollutants.&rdquo;</p><p>Philosophical, intellectual, but agile in his rhymes, the Divine Styler is just as potent with his music, turning from the jazzier bent of previous work to craft hard-grooving but sonically challenging tracks with a tinge of industrial aggression that puts him in line with DJ Shadow and El-P, and making for a dark, ominous, but consistently rewarding ride from start to finish.</p><p><strong>D&rsquo;Angelo, Black Messiah (RCA)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the four-star scale: 4 stars.</strong></p><p><strong>Divine Styler, Def Mask (Gamma Proforma)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the four-star scale: 3.5 stars.</strong></p><p><strong><em>Greg Kot and I reviewed </em></strong><strong>Black Messiah <em>on </em>Sound Opinions <em>on <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/473">Dec. 19</a></em>, <em>and we&rsquo;ll talk about </em>Def Mask <em>this week.</em></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 or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 10:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/return-dangelo-and-divine-styler-111359 Pay to play is bad enough, but paying to get reviewed? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/pay-play-bad-enough-paying-get-reviewed-111333 <p><p>&ldquo;Pay to play&rdquo;&mdash;bands being forced to sell a certain number of tickets or cover the deficit with cash to perform at a &ldquo;prestigious&rdquo; club&mdash;long has been a reviled practice in the music industry, second only to the age-old scam of payola, or record companies shelling out to have a song played on the radio.</p><p>From time to time, music magazines also have been accused of giving more favorable coverage to bands or labels that advertise; hello, <em>Rolling Stone! </em>But shortly before the holidays, a practice putting a new spin on purchasing favorable notices got a lot of attention courtesy of <a href="http://www.popmatters.com/archive/contributor/348/">Zachary Houle</a>, an Ottawa-based contributor to the otherwise much-respected arts, music, and culture Web site <a href="http://www.popmatters.com/">PopMatters</a>.</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/zachary-houle.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="Zachary Houle" /></div></div><p>I first became aware of the story via a piece in <em><a href="http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/12/23/music-journalist-will-help-your-bandfor-a-hopefully-reasonable-fee">The Stranger</a></em>, which portrayed Houle as pimping himself out <a href="http://ottawastart.com/indiegogo-campaign-hiring-a-music-writer-who-wants-to-work-for-you/">via IndieGogo</a> to &ldquo;help new bands by reviewing them&hellip; for a reasonable fee.&rdquo; The Canadian critic does not elaborate on his prices, but here&rsquo;s a sampling of what he does say:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re still struggling to get heard and get the stars aligned for you, I can help you&hellip; I can listen to your demos and tell you what&rsquo;s great and the thing about your music or act that will twig the interest of the media&hellip; I will also tell you&mdash;quite honestly &mdash; what stinks and needs fixing&hellip; I can go to your shows and critique the live experience for you. I also used to do the odd Fashion article for the Ottawa Citizen. I&rsquo;m no Joan Rivers (RIP), but I can say a few things about your image and how you&rsquo;re projecting yourself&hellip; I can write a press release&hellip; I make no guarantees in terms of getting deals with publicists or labels, but I can point you in the direction of publicists who deal in various genres of music and might be receptive to your work. I realize this is information you can look up yourself for free, but that&rsquo;s time. Or you can come to me with your music for a hopefully reasonable fee, and I can recommend people based on your style and genre&mdash;and this is information I have, more or less, at my fingertips&hellip; I also can do liner notes.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>One imagines that Houle might also carry your gear, walk your dog, and clean your apartment, also for &ldquo;a reasonable fee,&rdquo; though he doesn&rsquo;t specify there. Now, even in lower-cost-of-living Ottawa, a writer&rsquo;s got to eat, and Houle does make it clear that he has standards. While he&rsquo;ll write your press release and give you a list of suggested recipients, he won&rsquo;t distribute it, &ldquo;because I&rsquo;m sort of in the journalism profession.&rdquo; And he issues a disclaimer, which we know is serious because of the repetition and the selective use of all caps:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;If you agree to use my services I WILL NOT, I repeat, WILL NOT review your album or EP for PopMatters.com. I have to maintain my journalistic integrity... WARNING: If you agree to hire me to listen to your music for honest feedback, that feedback is yours and yours alone. If I find my feedback as a quote in the press anywhere, I will get mad. You won&rsquo;t like me when I&rsquo;m angry. [Smiley-face emoticon] Seriously, you have to agree to protect my reputation.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Um, Zach, even in these times of journalistic lapses galore, I do believe your reputation now is toast. But I might just be old-fashioned that way.</p><p>A fair amount of online snickering followed<em> The Stranger</em>&rsquo;s piece, and while I&rsquo;m still waiting for Houle to be exposed as a mere prankster, I&rsquo;ve yet to see that happen. Meanwhile, I have learned of another scam run by the ironically named Web site <a href="http://www.theequalground.com">theequalground.com</a> that is even more blatant, if only because it sets some fixed prices for the reviews it&rsquo;s peddling.</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/Equal%20Ground.jpg" style="height: 141px; width: 640px;" title="" /></div><p>&ldquo;theequalground.com is a collaboration of music enthusiasts who to want to share their thoughts about the music that is being released in our world,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.theequalground.com/about.html">is how the site describes its mission</a>. &ldquo;We give honest opinions and guided descriptions to enable our readers to determine what they may want to listen to next as well as providing the artists with an insight as to what a seasoned music geek really thinks about their music.&rdquo;</p><p>How does that play out? Submit your D.I.Y. album to theequalground.com, and you&rsquo;ll receive the following email in response, which recaps the policies spelled out on the site itself.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Hi: You submitted an album to our website <a href="http://www.theequalground.com">www.theequalground.com</a>. The staff took a vote this morning and we decided to move forward with a review. If you are unfamiliar with our website, we only review submissions that we thought were at least favorable (details in our <a href="http://www.theequalground.com/about.html">&ldquo;about&rdquo; section</a>). Along with that, our reviews are honest, guided descriptions for our readers as well as insightful,professional critiques for the artists. Your review will either have a favorable, good or great rating, meaning a 3.0 or above. (We think it&rsquo;s a little more fun to keep the detailed rating a secret till your published date). In order to maximize the exposure to our audience we give the artist a couple of different options.</p><p><strong>&ldquo;Option 1 (Free)</strong> With this option your album will be included in our &ldquo;weekly roundup&rdquo; section. This section is published once a week (on Friday) and is a list of the albums we enjoyed <a href="http://www.theequalground.com/indie-music-album-reviews/weekly-roundup14">Here is an example of what it would look like.</a></p><p><strong>&ldquo;Option 2 ($25)</strong> With this option your album is featured as one of our daily reviews. One of our trusted writers who is a seasoned music geek within your genre will elaborate on the rating we have given. We talk about the genre of music, the tracks we felt were highlights, as well as any constructive criticism that will benefit the artist. This includes its own distinct URL, cover art, two links of your choice&nbsp; (Bandcamp, Website, ReverbNation, Facebook, record label, etc.) and a professionally written review (3 to 4 paragraphs, sometimes more). <a href="http://www.theequalground.com/indie-music-album-reviews/david-bowie-the-next-day">Here is an example of what it would look like.</a></p><p><strong>&ldquo;Option 3 ($35)</strong> This option includes everything from Option 2 and also includes a song or songs (your album) of your choice to be embedded from iTunes, Amazon, Soundcloud, or Bandcamp.&nbsp; If you want people to actually hear your music from our site while reading your review we can do that, too. The song or songs have to be uploaded to iTunes, Amazon, Soundcloud, or Bandcamp. We will embed it right on our page. <a href="http://www.theequalground.com/indie-music-album-reviews/ryan-horton-listen-alone">Here is an example of what it would look like.</a></p><p><strong>&ldquo;Option 4 ($40)</strong> This option includes everything from Options 2 and 3. It also includes a&nbsp; video upload. The video must be on Youtube and be a music video or live performance. <a href="http://www.theequalground.com/1/post/2013/05/half-light-things-to-figure-out.html">Here is an example of what it would look like.</a></p><p><strong>&ldquo;Process:</strong> No matter what option you chose we will need to hear back from you to confirm your review. (You will need to reply to this e-mail telling us what option you selected in the body of the e-mail.) If you chose Option 1 all you need to do is reply to this e-mail and put Option 1 in the body. Within a couple of days we will send you a follow-up e-mail confirming what day your review will be published. If you chose Options 2, 3, or 4, we will send you an invoice through Paypal for the option you selected in your e-mail (let us know if you want us to send the invoice to a different e-mail). Once the invoice is paid we will send you one last e-mail confirming the date that it will be published. For Option 2, 3, or 4, we will also need you to include the proper links for Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Youtube video, your mp3, etc. This review will be up on our website forever with its own specific URL. Feel free to put it on your website, use it in your press kit or send to fans.</p><p>&ldquo;Cheers&mdash;The team at theequalground.com&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>To be certain, ethical standards in the world of music journalism and criticism always have been, er, <em>more relaxed </em>than in the &ldquo;real-news&rdquo; racket (though arguably not in sports). Back in the day, my rock-crit hero Lester Bangs <a href="http://screamyell.com.br/musica/critic.html">openly bragged in print</a> of selling promo records to pay the rent and eagerly partaking of the free food, booze, and luxury accomodations during record-company junkets. Yet even at his flat-broke most down-and-desperate, I don&rsquo;t believe Bangs would have taken money to &ldquo;help new bands by reviewing them.&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/Lester.jpg" style="height: 303px; width: 300px;" title="Saint Lester" /></div><p>As for my reaction, even as someone who once lost an $85,000-a-year job as deputy music editor at <em>Rolling Stone </em>for objecting when <a href="http://www.citypages.com/1996-06-19/music/a-good-blowfish-is-hard-to-find/">Jann Wenner spiked a negative review I&rsquo;d written</a>, I can&rsquo;t top the verdict my old pal Jim Testa had when the veteran fanzine/blog editor, musician, and indie-rock super fan brought theequalground.com to my attention:</p><p><em>Sometimes I just want to kill myself. Or the rest of society.</em></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>.</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 09:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-01/pay-play-bad-enough-paying-get-reviewed-111333 It’s official: The Death Star controls Walmart on the Lake http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-12/it%E2%80%99s-official-death-star-controls-walmart-lake-111279 <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/Logos_1.jpg" title="" /></div><p>Making official the &ldquo;sources say&rdquo; reports that first made national news in October, Live Nation, the giant and voracious corporate Pac-Man of the concert industry, announced on Friday that it now owns a 51-percent controlling interest in the smaller but no less ambitious Austin-based promoter C3 Presents&mdash;thereby giving it control of Lollapalooza in Chicago and a major presence in the U.S. festival market.</p><p>Many questions remain, from why C3 talked such a good game about its loyalty to Chicago for so long, then sold out, to exactly how much the &ldquo;three Charlies&rdquo; behind that company made, and how much they&rsquo;ll still be around. But the deal is done. Here are the accounts in <em><a href="http://www.statesman.com/news/business/live-nation-buys-majority-interest-in-austins-c3-p/njXRk/">The Austin American-Statesman</a></em>, <em><a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/at-the-watercooler/2014/12/live-nation-buys-ownership-stake-in-austins-c3.html">The Austin Business Journal</a></em>, and <em><a href="http://www.pollstar.com/news_article.aspx?ID=815568">Pollstar</a>, </em>the primary trade publication in the concert industry.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-10/death-star-buy-walmart-lake-110907">This blog ran a list of 10 issues concerning Live Nation&rsquo;s ownership of Lollapalooza in October</a>, and they&rsquo;re repeated here again down below. But the one key thing to note as the mayoral campaign heats up is that Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s brother Ari has stakes in Lollapalooza both as the head of Hollywood talent agency William Morris Endeavor (which now owns only 24.5 percent of the concert, since it used to own 50-percent in partnership with C3) and as a member of the board of directors of Live Nation.</p><p>Why is this more than a footnote? These corporations have an exclusive contract in perpetuity to present Lollapalooza in Grant Park, and that deal was renewed without competitive bidding and in violation of the mayor&rsquo;s pledge during the last campaign to appoint an independent negotiator to deal with C3 for Lollapalooza, given his brother&rsquo;s ties.</p><p>Add to that the fact that Live Nation won a bid-free sweetheart deal for a 30,000-seat concert venue on Northerly Island under Emanuel, and it sure seems like companies that Ari Emanuel is cozy with get a whole heck of a lot of good will from this administration, while the local music industry is pushed further and further to the margins in favor of those glitzy tourist dollars.</p><blockquote><p><strong><em>As noted earlier in this blog:</em></strong></p><p>Here are 10 things you should know about these companies and their dealings with Chicago city government and the local music scene. (And we should note that neither company has yet commented on the pending deal, which <em>The New York Times</em> quotes sources as saying is worth about $250 million, and which would give Live Nation a 51-percent stake in C3, making it one of the largest festival promoters in the world.)</p><p><strong>——</strong><strong>1. Lollapalooza&rsquo;s deal for Grant Park lasts </strong><em><strong>forever.</strong></em></p><p>Often misreported as a 10-year deal struck between the Park District and C3 Presents in 2012, a close read of the Lollapalooza contract (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/city-releases-lollapalooza-contract-98324">which this blog posted in its entirety after filing a Freedom of Information Act request</a>) reveals that it is in fact a contract in perpetuity: When the agreement expires in 2021, Lollapalooza and the city are free to add another year after that year&rsquo;s festival&hellip; and the next, and the next, and the next, for as long as both sides desire, and free from public scrutiny or competition. Which means a Ticketmaster/Live Nation/C3 Lollapalooza in Grant Park forever.</p><p><strong>—</strong><strong>2. The original Lollapalooza deal reeked of favoritism.</strong></p><p>The first contract the Daley administration approved in 2005&mdash;and later amended in 2008&mdash;included an unprecedented and very questionable arrangement whereby the concert partnered with the Parkways Foundation, a favorite charity of Maggie Daley, and operated as a non-profit venture. Despite generating considerable income, it thereby avoided the city and county amusement taxes paid by every other entertainment event in Chicago that draws more than 750 people, costing taxpayers millions in lost revenue for the concert&rsquo;s first seven years.</p><p><strong>—</strong><strong>3. That deal was negotiated by then-Mayor Daley&rsquo;s nephew, and C3 recently repaid Daley and his kin with a big fat contract in Austin</strong><em><strong>.</strong></em></p><p>C3&rsquo;s hired attorney and paid lobbyist, Daley nephew Mark Vanecko, negotiated that first deal with the Park District, despite the obvious conflict of interest. Late last month, <em>Sun-Times </em>reporter Dan Mihalopoulos <a href="http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/ex-mayor-daleys-firm-profits-lollapaloozas-promoters-deal/tue-09232014-105pm">had a tasty scoop</a> revealing that C3 is paying the Austin Parks Foundation specifically to hire the former mayor&rsquo;s consulting firm to work on a $100 million project essentially privatizing an Austin park for major events like the Austin City Limits Festival, the predecessor of and model for Lollapalooza. It&rsquo;s hard not to see that as payback.</p><p><strong>—</strong><strong>4. The current deal is almost as sweet as the first one</strong><em><strong>.</strong></em></p><p>While the new contract generates more income for the city&mdash;around $3 million a year total&mdash;it contains a number of problematic concessions. The biggest: Lollapalooza has an exclusive lock on Grant Park, prohibiting any other promoter from staging a similar event there. It also fails to stipulate penalties or set deadlines for post-concert repairs (and these have been extensive in years with bad rain). Bottom line: The city&rsquo;s biggest and most prestigious public park now is handed to a private business for the third of the year with the best weather.</p><p><strong>—</strong><strong>5. When Live Nation becomes a co-owner of Lollapalooza, it will now have sweetheart deals for </strong><em><strong>two</strong></em><strong> lakefront concert venues.</strong></p><p>Live Nation initially got a sweetheart deal from the Daley administration in 2005 for a temporary, mid-sized concert venue on Northerly Island, where the former mayor had bulldozed Meigs Field in the middle of the night. In 2013, the Emanuel administration made the arrangement permanent, allowing Live Nation to build a massive fixed venue for 30,000 people&mdash;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/did-chicago-park-district-sidestep-competitive-bidding-northerly-island">all without public hearings and sidestepping competitive bidding</a>.</p><p><strong>6. Rahm&rsquo;s ties to Lollapalooza and C3 are even closer than Daley&rsquo;s.</strong></p><p>While C3 does all the work, Lollapalooza actually is co-owned in a 50/50 partnership by the Texas company and Hollywood talent agency William Morris Endeavor, which is run by Rahm&rsquo;s brother, Ari Emanuel. (The concert&rsquo;s founder, Perry Farrell, sold his stake to William Morris back in the alternative era, and is now basically a corporate spokes figure&mdash;the Gorton&rsquo;s Fisherman of the music world.) <a href="http://www.livenationentertainment.com/leadership%20http://www.livenationentertainment.com/leadership">Ari Emanuel also sits on the Board of Directors of Ticketmaster/Live Nation.</a></p><p><strong>7. Rahm promised to appoint an independent negotiator to handle all city deals with C3 and Ticketmaster/Live Nation.</strong></p><p>In addition to his nepotistic ties with C3/William Morris and Ticketmaster/Live Nation, Emanuel received campaign contributions from 15 William Morris employees and the top two corporate executives at Ticketmaster/Live Nation, totaling $156,000 during his first mayoral campaign. In response to this blog&rsquo;s reporting on those contributions, then-campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-02-08/rahm-emanuel-pledges-hands-all-dealings-ticketmasterlive-nation-and-lo">&ldquo;Given his brother&rsquo;s position at WME [William Morris Endeavor] and on the board of Live Nation, Rahm would ask the City Council to appoint an outside negotiator to handle any negotiations with these companies so that there wasn&rsquo;t even a question of favoritism.&rdquo;</a></p><p><strong>8. Rahm broke that promise.</strong></p><p>As mayor, Emanuel failed to appoint that independent negotiator to oversee the new contract with Ticketmaster/Live Nation for Northerly Island or with C3/William Morris for Lollapalooza. The administration has claimed the mayor had no role in those deals, since they were struck by the Park District. But Emanuel hand picks the Park District&rsquo;s board and top executives.</p><p><strong>9.</strong><strong>—</strong><strong> Rahm is raking in the cash for his second run from C3.</strong></p><p>The real reason for the mayor&rsquo;s much-ballyhooed goodwill trip to Austin for South by Southwest 2013 <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-08/news/ct-emanuel-austin-fundraiser-met-20140308_1_campaign-fundraiser-charles-attal-lollapalooza">was revealed by <em>Chicago Tribune</em> reporters John Byrne and Bill Ruthhart</a>: Emanuel made the trip to collect &ldquo;campaign donations at a fundraiser thrown for him by the promoters who hold the 10-year contract to put on the Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park.&rdquo; Doesn&rsquo;t this blatantly contradict the executive order Rahm signed forgoing political contributions from city contractors, the <em>Tribune </em>asked? Once again, mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton countered that the rule does not apply because C3 has its deal with the Park District, not with City Hall, a fine distinction many would dismiss.</p><p><strong>—</strong><strong>10. Lollapalooza never has &ldquo;played nice&rdquo; with the Chicago music scene, but Ticketmaster/Live Nation&rsquo;s been even worse.</strong></p><p>In addition to dominating the summer concert scene by its sheer size and scope, Lollapalooza wields unequaled power over the Chicago music world via the radius clauses C3 places on every act that plays its stages. These prohibit artists from performing for six months before the festival and three months after anywhere within 300 miles of Grant Park, which includes Milwaukee, Madison, Iowa City, Detroit, and Indianapolis. C3 claims it waives the radius clause for any band that asks; some artists have disagreed. Either way, the policy remains intact.</p><p>C3, which does not even have an office in Chicago, claims to be a good neighbor to the music scene by making sanctioned after-shows available to local venues. Some promoters and club owners have said that doesn&rsquo;t come close to compensating for the nights they now are dark, but they&rsquo;re almost always hesitant to speak for attribution lest they lose the handful of shows they do get.</p><p>For its part, Ticketmaster/Live Nation has been an even more problematic neighbor. Ticketmaster&rsquo;s egregious &ldquo;convenience fees&rdquo; and poor customer service are notorious, as are its exclusivity agreements with venues. (These mean artists must use Ticketmaster or they cannot play that facility.) Live Nation has aggressively bought up or driven independent local promoters out of business from coast to coast; Chicago is one of the few major cities that still has an independent competitor, Jam Productions, but court testimony has included statements by top Live Nation execs promising to &ldquo;crush, kill, and destroy&rdquo; its smaller rival. And Live Nation&rsquo;s radius clauses are as troubling as C3&rsquo;s.</p><p>Though Ticketmaster&rsquo;s merger with Live Nation in 2010 was roundly criticized by the music industry and legislators on both the left and the right, <a href="http://voices.suntimes.com/arts-entertainment/music/ticketmaster-live-nation-meet/">it nevertheless won the approval of the Obama administration</a>. (At the time, Rahm Emanuel was the president&rsquo;s chief of staff.) <a href="http://www.wbez.org/jderogatis/2010/06/breaking-illinois-attorney-general-investigating-lollapalooza-for-anti-trust/27523">And though the Illinois Attorney General investigated Lollapalooza and C3 for possible anti-trust violations in 2010</a>, the probe ended with no action taken. Complaints about the bullying practices of both companies have fallen on deaf ears.</p><p>Also worth noting: The city never has contracted for a thorough, independent Economic Impact Study weighing the benefits of the lakefront concerts staged by C3 and Ticketmaster/Live Nation against the detriments to local music businesses, especially the clubs and independent venues that operate here 365 days a year.</p><p>While the ramifications of the merger remain to be seen, two things are undeniable and don&rsquo;t augur well for the future: Under Ticketmaster/Live Nation, concert tickets and service fees have only gotten more and more expensive while customers have increasingly been treated worse, marketing has grown more obnoxious, and bookings have grown ever more conservative. And competition has dwindled while the giants have thrived, leaving music lovers with fewer alternatives all the time.</p></blockquote><p><strong><u>SOME OF THIS BLOG&rsquo;S KEY REPORTS ON THE SHENANIGANS BEHIND LOLLAPALOOZA, TICKETMASTER/LIVE NATION, AND THE CITY</u></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-09/lollapalooza-gift-keeps-giving%E2%80%94-daley-110839">Sept. 24, 2014: Lollapalooza, the gift that keeps giving&mdash;to Daley</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/did-chicago-park-district-sidestep-competitive-bidding-northerly-island">May 30, 2013: Did the Chicago Park District sidestep competitive bidding for the Northerly Island concert venue?</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/city-oks-expansion-ticketmasterlive-nation-northerly-island-106215">Mar. 21, 2013: City OKs expansion of Ticketmaster/Live Nation on Northerly Island</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-08/lessons-lollapalooza-2012-101501">Aug. 6, 2012: The lessons of Lollapalooza 2012</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/city-releases-lollapalooza-contract-98324">April 17, 2012: City releases Lollapalooza contract</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/new-lollapalooza-deal-blown-opportunity-98257">April 15, 2012: The new Lollapalooza deal: A blown opportunity</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-14/lollapalooza-finally-will-pay-what-it-owes-97309">March 15, 2012: Lollapalooza finally will pay what it owes</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-14/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-02-01/county-lollapalooza-pay-96038">Feb. 1, 2012: County to Lollapalooza: Pay up!</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-14/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-02-04/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-01-29/state-rep-probes-lollapalooza-sales-tax-95937">Jan. 29, 2012: State rep probes Lollapalooza sales tax </a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-14/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-02-04/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-02-01/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-01-23/county-targets-lollapalooza%E2%80%99s-tax-exemption-95730">Jan. 25, 2012: The county targets Lollapalooza&#39;s tax exemption</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-09-18/another-pa-lollapalooza-92124">Sept. 18, 2011: Another pass for Lollapalooza: Restoring Grant Park</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-08-08/demand-builds-probe-lolla-sweetheart-deal-90218">Aug. 8, 2011: Demand builds: Probe Lolla sweetheart deal</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-08-02/rahm-city-will-review-lollapalooza-tax-exemption-90008">Aug. 2, 2011: Rahm: City will review Lollapalooza tax question</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-08-01/does-lollapalooza-hort-chicago-89911">Aug. 1, 2011: Does Lollapalooza $hort Chicago?</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-04-07/two-key-differences-between-mega-fests-dave-matthews-caravan-vs-lollap">April 7, 2011: Two key differences between the mega-fests, Dave Matthews Caravan vs. Lollapalooza</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-02-24/dear-rahm-how-quell-fears-about-your-ties-ticketmasterlive-nation-and-">Feb. 24, 2011: Dear Rahm: How to quell fears about your ties to Ticketmaster/Live Nation and Lollapalooza and fix relations with the Chicago music scene</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-02-08/rahm-emanuel-pledges-hands-all-dealings-ticketmasterlive-nation-and-lo">Feb. 7, 2011: Rahm Emanuel pledges hands off all dealings with Ticketmaster/Live Nation and Lollapalooza</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-02-07/rahm-emanuel-pal-thuggish-concert-giants-ticketmasterlive-nation-and-l">Feb. 4, 2011: Rahm Emanuel: Pal$ with thuggish concert giants Ticketmaster/Live Nation and Lollapalooza</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/jderogatis/2010/06/its-official-ticketmasterlive-nation-free-to-devour-the-concert-business/27048">June 21, 2010: It&rsquo;s official: Ticketmaster/Live Nation free to devour the concert business</a></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>.</strong></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 10:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-12/it%E2%80%99s-official-death-star-controls-walmart-lake-111279 Freud's goal: Keep Chicago's Lyric Opera relevant http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/freuds-goal-keep-chicagos-lyric-opera-relevant-111263 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP199355075472.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Anthony Freud was 14, his favorite pastime was going to the opera in London and then, on the train ride home to Wimbledon where he lived with his parents, &quot;dreaming about how I could do it better when I ran a company of my own some day.&quot;</p><p>He&#39;s gotten his chance, not once but three times: first in Wales, then in Houston and now in Chicago, where he has been general director of the Lyric Opera since 2011.</p><p>Freud is only the fourth person to run the 60-year-old Lyric, and the first, after founder Carol Fox, who didn&#39;t come up through the ranks. Fox established the company&#39;s reputation for artistic excellence, but it was her successors, Ardis Krainik and William Mason, who stabilized its finances.</p><p>Lyric long enjoyed a subscriber base that was envied throughout the industry, but that has slipped in the wake of the economic meltdown. Changing tastes and competing demands on people&#39;s time also have contributed to a decline in ticket sales.</p><p>Despite these problems, Lyric ended last season in the black on a budget of more than $70 million. Meanwhile, the similar-sized San Francisco Opera and New York&#39;s Metropolitan Opera &mdash; five times as big &mdash; finished in the red.</p><p>But, as Freud was quick to point out during an interview last week in his office on the fourth floor of the Civic Opera House, though Lyric is financially sound for now, &quot;Stability is also fragile, especially post-2008.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Arts organizations the world over went through a period of existing in hermetically sealed bubbles,&quot; he said. &quot;We felt we were doing a good job ... and if it ain&#39;t broke, why fix it? Those assumptions gradually proved less and less reliable, to the point where they became almost irrelevant.&quot;</p><p>Keeping Lyric relevant is much on Freud&#39;s mind these days. And his proudest initiative is Lyric Unlimited, an outreach to cultural and community groups that previously had little or no exposure to opera.</p><p>For starters, he brought to Chicago a mariachi opera, &quot;Cruzar la Cara de la Luna&quot; (&quot;To Cross the Face of the Moon&quot;) that he had commissioned in Houston. It played one performance at the 3,600-seat Civic Opera House and several more in neighborhoods with large Mexican populations.</p><p>A second mariachi opera is to have its world premiere in March, and next year will also see performances in smaller venues of a klezmer opera commissioned in conjunction with performances in the main house of the Holocaust-themed opera &quot;The Passenger.&quot; Freud has also engaged composer Matthew Aucoin to create a children&#39;s opera called &quot;Second Nature&quot; that will premiere with a free performance in the Lincoln Park Zoo and then tour to schools.</p><p>&quot;The days when community engagement was thought of as, &#39;Here is La Boheme, come and see it, you should enjoy it&#39; ... that&#39;s what I call colonization rather than collaboration.&quot; Freud said. &quot;I&#39;ve been really clear with our board that the justification for investing in Lyric Unlimited is NOT to build our subscriber base. If we wanted to invest half a million dollars to sell more full-price tickets, we wouldn&#39;t do projects in economically deprived areas.&quot;</p><p>Not that he&#39;s neglecting the main house. Lyric&#39;s next season will include its first new piece in more than a decade, an adaptation of the Ann Patchett novel &quot;Bel Canto&quot; by composer Jimmy Lopez. That work has been nurtured by Lyric&#39;s creative consultant, soprano Renee Fleming, who also has sparked a collaboration with the improv comedy troupe Second City.</p><p>A series of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals that play after the regular season is proving a financial boon as well as bringing in potential new customers for opera. Last season&#39;s &quot;The Sound of Music&quot; played 30 performances and drew 71,000 people. More than 40,000 of those said they had never been to the opera house before.</p><p>He is also commissioning new looks at standard works, like the Robert Falls production of Mozart&#39;s &quot;Don Giovanni&quot; that opened the current season. Upcoming is a new production of Wagner&#39;s &quot;Ring&quot; cycle by director David Pountney, and on his wish-list for the future is Berlioz&#39;s epic &quot;The Trojans,&quot; never performed at Lyric, as well as the five-act version of Verdi&#39;s &quot;Don Carlos.&quot;</p><p>Overall, Freud is optimistic that Lyric and opera in general will survive, despite rapid changes in viewing and spending habits.</p><p>&quot;What is opera, after all,&quot; he said. &quot;It&#39;s telling stories through words and music. And that&#39;s utterly universal, transcending continents and centuries and cultures.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/freuds-goal-keep-chicagos-lyric-opera-relevant-111263 Gonzo holiday music goes Hollywood http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-12/gonzo-holiday-music-goes-hollywood-111234 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/nyiWDeKL15s" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em>Sound Opinions </em>has benefited from the expertise of its friend and champion Christmas music expert Andy Cirzan for&hellip; well, pretty much for as long as there has been a <em>Sound Opinions.</em></p><p>As usual, Andy delivered the goods in his inimitable way on last week&rsquo;s episode, <a href="http://soundopinions.org/show/472">which you can stream or download here</a>, as well as making this year&rsquo;s collection&mdash;a set of wonderful holiday pop esoterica ideal for your spaceage bachelor/bachelorette pad&mdash;<a href="http://soundopinions.org/christmas">available for free download complete with artwork here</a>. But Chicago&rsquo;s Kris Kringle ain&rsquo;t done yet.</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/Andy%20cover%202014.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>The biggest news this season is that Andy features prominently in a new documentary by director Mitchell Kezin entitled <em>Jingle Bell Rocks!</em> With other appearances by the likes of Rev. Run from Run-D.M.C., Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, cult cinema hero John Waters, Dr. Demento, and, um, the hosts of the aforementioned <em>Sound Opinions</em>, the film digs deep into the weird underground community of hardcore collectors of tuneful Christmas strangeness. And, needless to say, the soundtrack is amazing.</p><p><em>Jingle Bell Rocks! </em>will screen at View and Brew at the Vic Theatre (owned, incidentally, by Jam Productions, the local concert promoters who thoughtfully give Andy a day job to fuel his crate-digging habits) every evening starting Friday, Dec. 19, and running through Christmas. <a href="http://www.brewview.com/">More info can be found here</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/Andy.JPG" style="height: 470px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>Andy and his pal and Jam cohort John Soss also will highlight some of their more XRT-oriented faves on that station tonight, and they&rsquo;ll spin live at <a href="http://www.logan-hardware.com/">Logan Hardware</a> from 9 to midnight tomorrow (where director Kezin also will be hanging and drinking eggnog). Then Andy will spotlight his holiday jazz favorites on WDCB 90.9-FM with Barry Winograd on Christmas Eve, while, Soss will be a guest on WGN-AM on the new show hosted by my old <em>Sun-Times</em> colleague Dave Hoekstra from 10 to midnight Saturday.</p><p>Finally, if you&rsquo;re still curious about the roots of Andy&rsquo;s quest from Christmas craziness, here is a piece I wrote for the <em>Sun-Times </em>back in 2000, which was still early in his obsession, if not in the history of holiday music.</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/Andy%20mask.PNG" style="height: 258px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><blockquote><p>There are people who enjoy Christmas music. There are people who love Christmas music. And then there are people who are insanely, obsessively, perhaps unhealthily devoted to Christmas music.</p><p>Chicagoan Andy Cirzan is definitely in the latter group.</p><p>There is music in Cirzan&rsquo;s life that does not revolve around Christmas; his day job happens to be head talent buyer for local concert promoters Jam Productions. (He&rsquo;s the guy who cuts a deal with Pearl Jam to perform at the United Center, then works with the band from start to finish to see that the show goes smoothly.)</p><p>But Christmas music is Cirzan&rsquo;s true passion. For the last 13 years, he has spent 365 days a year scouring the dusty bins of used record stores to find the rarest holiday music ever recorded. He then compiles his finds on cassette, duplicating the resulting tape to send out in lieu of Christmas cards to a select group of friends.</p><p>Cirzan started the first year by dubbing five tapes at home. This year, he went to a professional duplicating house and made more than 300 copies of a compilation that he dubs &ldquo;Christmas Conundrum 2000.&rdquo;</p><p>I talked with Cirzan about his mania and this year&rsquo;s Christmas discoveries.</p><p>Q. I know about a dozen music nuts who make Christmas tapes each year, but you&rsquo;re the most ambitious. Do you trade tapes with a lot of other people who share your enthusiasm?</p><p>A. It&rsquo;s weird, but I&rsquo;m not involved in that little tape cabal thing. I trade with about five or six people. Most of the tapes that I hear aren&rsquo;t what I consider to be interesting. I don&rsquo;t want to hear David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing &ldquo;Little Drummer Boy&rdquo; again.</p><p>Q. Most Christmas collectors are amateurs, while you&rsquo;re sort of the Billy Corgan of the genre.</p><p>A. Don&rsquo;t dare say that! But now that this year&rsquo;s tape is done, next year&rsquo;s tape starts. It&rsquo;s that serious. Now, all the old vinyl shops will start to put out the holiday releases, so I&rsquo;ll go in there and pillage, but I can&rsquo;t use that stuff for this year&rsquo;s tape because it&rsquo;s already too late. I have to collect 365 days a year, every opportunity I&rsquo;ve got, and then usually around October or so I&rsquo;ll sit down and start to really whittle down. I go through and listen to everything. Literally, if I buy a hundred 45s and three of them end up being usable, that&rsquo;s about the ratio that it comes down to. And finding those hundred 45s is just obsessive behavior.</p><p>Q. So what did you come up with this year?</p><p>A. This year it&rsquo;s 100 percent vinyl, nothing from CD. I have 19 new songs on the tape, and all but three are from 45s from the &lsquo;40s, &lsquo;50s and &lsquo;60s. One of the highlights is a song on a homemade 45. Hallmark or whoever used to let you send in a reel tape of a personal Christmas greeting and they&rsquo;d slap it on a 45. Whenever I see those, I always buy them; every once in a while you just find one that&rsquo;s from another planet. This one is called &ldquo;My Santa Claus Has No Ho Ho Ho,&rdquo; and it&rsquo;s by a woman named Lynne Ostergren. It&rsquo;s a freakout. It has to be early &lsquo;70s, because there&rsquo;s some really unbelievable cheesy synth accompaniment that sounds like maybe her brother or sister are in the band&nbsp;--&nbsp;a budding Partridge Family-type thing&nbsp;--&nbsp;and Mom and Dad got the reel-to-reel out and let them wail. It&rsquo;s almost like a Daniel Johnston kind of thing&nbsp;--&nbsp;outsider art&nbsp;--&nbsp;right on that fine line between just awful and absolutely amazing.</p><p>I found this other tune called &ldquo;Santa&rsquo;s Magical Bag&rdquo; by Charlotte Sanders, and it&rsquo;s like a hippie-dippy song, a &lsquo;60s thing with psychedelic overtones that&rsquo;s all about what&rsquo;s in Santa&rsquo;s magical bag. I can&rsquo;t identify specific drug references or anything, but it&rsquo;s definitely that kind of &ldquo;Spill the Wine&rdquo; sort of thing with a breathy flute solo on it. How many Christmas tunes have Haight-Ashbury flute solos on them?</p><p>A few of the tracks on this year&rsquo;s tape are from 78s. One is called &ldquo;Yingle, Yingle Yumpin&rsquo; Beans,&rdquo; and it&rsquo;s by a guy named Ole Svenson. It&rsquo;s about this concoction that Santa Claus makes and feeds to the reindeer&nbsp;--&nbsp;it involves beans and various spices&nbsp;--&nbsp;and it&rsquo;s the fuel that makes the reindeer get into action. The next thing you know, Santa Claus is eating some of the stuff and he&rsquo;s going crazy. The song is real wound up, like carnival organ stuff. I had to buy a 78 player just so I could hear it. I still can&rsquo;t figure out how I rigged it up to my stereo, but I did it.</p><p>Q. You also have a &ldquo;B tape&rdquo; these days, right?</p><p>A. I started to do a B tape last year. The first side is a tribute to one artist&nbsp;--&nbsp;last year it was Little Jimmy Osmond. This year the tape is called &ldquo;The Christmas Artistry of Jimmy Boyd&rdquo;; he was a kid when he did these recordings in the &lsquo;40s, and he&rsquo;s got a voice like a baby bullfrog. The B side of the tape is the Twilight Zone Christmas, stuff that is just too weird and disturbing to put on my main tape&nbsp;--&nbsp;and that&rsquo;s saying a lot. It&rsquo;s the really, really outside-the-box Christmas stuff where it&rsquo;s almost impossible to listen to more than once. You just sit back and marvel that this stuff ever got made.</p><p>That&rsquo;s the beauty of Christmas music: One song can be a crazy, homemade, outsider pop thing like the Shaggs, another thing can be a totally smokin&rsquo; jazz tune, and another can be a hillbilly song</p><p>Q. Can you name some of the musicians who dig your tape? I&rsquo;m asking you, so it can&rsquo;t be construed as gratuitous name-dropping.</p><p>A. Most of the people who get the tape are friends, long-term people I&rsquo;ve known in the business, like R.E.M., Robert Plant, the Smashing Pumpkins, Beck and Tom Waits. Phish puts the tape on the hold music on the telephones at their office; that&rsquo;s something that makes me feel good. I got a note last year from Pearl Jam&rsquo;s Jeff Ament that he played it while he and his family were sitting down to Christmas dinner.</p><p>Basically, this is something that makes me feel good. I spend all this time making this thing&mdash;it&rsquo;s obsessive behavior on my part, and what I go through is really disturbing in a lot of ways&mdash;but if around the holidays people are listening to my tape and they say something like, &ldquo;Oh, man, I was driving around in my car the other day and I was just cracking up,&rdquo; that&rsquo;s all I need to hear. It&rsquo;s my outlet and my way to say, &ldquo;Isn&rsquo;t music interesting?&rdquo; If you think Christmas music is just &ldquo;Jingle Bells,&rdquo; wait till you hear &ldquo;My Santa Claus Has No Ho Ho Ho.&rdquo; You get a little view into a world that is way weirder than you can ever imagine.</p></blockquote><p style="text-align: center;"><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>.</strong></em></p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-12/gonzo-holiday-music-goes-hollywood-111234 Second City's 24 ­hour improv and music marathon http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-12/second-citys-24-%C2%ADhour-improv-and-music-marathon-111215 <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/Second%20City.jpg" style="height: 237px; width: 640px;" title="" /></div><p>Some of the most adventurous players in Chicago&rsquo;s music and improv scenes will once again join forces for a tuneful and very funny 24-hour benefit for the families in need helped by <a href="http://www.onwardhouse.org/">Onward Neighborhood House</a>.</p><p><strong>The Second City That Never Sleeps: 24 Hour </strong>celebrates its 13th year starting Tuesday at 6 p.m. and running through Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Second City e.t.c. Theatre, 1608 N. Wells. Among this year&rsquo;s participants: Kim Deal, J.C. Brooks &amp; the Uptown Sound, Robbie Fulks, Jeff Tweedy, Steve Albini, Fred Armisen, and Natasha Lyonne.</p><p>Tickets are $20 at the door throughout the event, which also will <a href="http://www.letterstosantachicago.com/">stream live here</a> (and accept donations via PayPal) for those who can&rsquo;t make it in person&mdash;though this is a party best experienced live, and the event also will include a number of special items and experiences up for auction.</p><p>The good-will partnership will continue after the holidays with the <strong>Our Living Room Show </strong>in the UP Comedy Club on Monday, January 5. That all&shy;star evening features sketch comedy and improv from <em>Saturday Night Live </em>cast members and Second City vets including Aidy Bryant, Mike O&rsquo;Brien, and Tim Robinson, as well as an intimate performance by Wilco&rsquo;s Tweedy. Tickets are on sale now via the UP Comedy Club box office (312-662-&shy;4562) or <a href="http://upcomedyclub.com/show.cfm?id=358419&amp;cart">http://upcomedyclub.com/show.cfm?id=358419&amp;cart</a>, <strong>with prices ranging from $75 general admission to $150 front row.</strong>*</p><p>(* Price listed incorrectly on an earlier version of this post.)</p><p><a href="facebook.com/secondcity24hour">More info on both events can be found here.</a></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><strong>.</strong></p></p> Thu, 11 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-12/second-citys-24-%C2%ADhour-improv-and-music-marathon-111215