CIMMfest kicks off this weekend | WBEZ
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Jim DeRogatis

CIMMfest kicks off this weekend

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Getting underway with a launch party Thursday and then kicking into high gear Friday through Sunday, the 7th annual Chicago International Movies & Music Festival once again features a promising roster of strong music films and live performances.

With events at several venues around town, from Wicker Park to Pilsen and from the Loop to Lakeview, the highlights of this year’s CIMMfest include heroic avant-garde guitarist Marc Ribot live-scoring Josef von Sternberg’s The Docks of New York (5 p.m. Sunday); the world premiere of John Anderson’s labor-of-love documentary on one of Chicago’s great drummers, Sam Lay in Bluesland (7 p.m. Saturday); the U.S. premiere of Never Release My Fist, a doc about the punk-rock scene in China (9 p.m. Sunday); Nick Hall’s Joe Strummer film I Need a Dodge! (7:30 p.m. Sunday); Mark Shuman’s Morphine: Journey of Dreams (7 p.m. Friday); a history of the world’s most celebrated drum machine, 808: The Movie (9 p.m. Friday), and Jaco!, a filmic love letter to bassist Jaco Pastorius (6:15 p.m. Saturday).

The Roland TR-808: machine as movie star.

Oh, and then there’s my favorite pick, Joe Angio’s new documentary Revenge of the Mekons, which screens at Logan Theatre at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, followed by a Q&A with the director, Jon Langford, and Sally Timms, then moves onto the screen at the Music Box. I can think of no better homage to the greatest Welsh/U.K./Chicago country-punk political-activist band/commune ever (or, if you prefer, one of the plain best rock bands ever, period).

Really, now: Who doesn't love the Mekons?

Among the live-music highlights: a Thalia Hall gig by Lisa Fischer, the backing vocalist who stole the spotlight in Twenty Feet from Stardom (7 p.m. Saturday); a DJ gig by the legendary Hank Shocklee of Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad production team (10 p.m. Friday at 1st Ward); Sierre Leone's Refugee All-Stars (9 p.m. Friday at Martyr’s), and two of Chicago’s best alt-era bands, the vibrant-as-ever Local H and the reunited Figdish (7 p.m. Sunday at Metro).

The great Sam Lay in action.

The full schedule of events and information on tickets can be found here.

Follow me on Twitter @JimDeRogatis, join me on Facebook, and podcast or stream Sound Opinions.

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