Celebrate 'Roctober' | WBEZ
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Jim DeRogatis

Tomorrow: Celebrate Roctober

Jake Austen is one of those imaginative, effusive, and indefatigable personalities that give the Chicago rock scene its one of a kind personality. He’s been the driving force behind those garage-rock demons the Goblins, and the heart and soul of the cable-access dance show Chic-A-Go-Go. But perhaps his greatest contribution to the world of rock fandom and arcana is Roctober, which for nearly two decades has shone a spotlight on some of the most wonderful but underappreciated eccentrics in the music world (folks who, come to think of it, are not unlike Austen himself).

Austen now is celebrating the recent publication of the first book compiling some of his ’zine’s most memorable interviews, Flying Saucers Rock ’n’ Roll: Conversations With Unjustly Obscure Rock ’n’ Soul Eccentrics (Duke University Press), a list that includes such forgotten but unforgettable heroes as Sam the Sham, Zolar X, the Treniers, the Good Rats, and David Allan Coe. And he’s doing it in prime Austen style, with a free book release party, concert, and screening on Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington.

In addition to chatter from Austen, the night will feature the premier of Flying Saucers Rock!, which he describes as “a video adaptation of the book created especially for this event featuring rare performance footage by the ten artists featured in the collection” (which also includes Oscar Brown, Jr., Sugar Pie Desanto, Billy Lee Riley, fhe Fast, and Guy Chookoorian” and a live performance by Milt Trenier, the last surviving Trenier brother, and widely acknowledged as one of the first and most influential artists in the evolution of rock ’n’ roll.

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