Category شیکاگو ریدر

Phew’s harrowing synth-and-voice experiments on Vertical KO channel the dread of living in our world

For more than four decades, Hiromi Moritani has been making music by her own rules. She’s largely known for the short-lived art-rock band Aunt Sally, which she started as a teenager in late-70s Osaka, and for her 1981 self-titled solo album under the name Phew. Since then she’s continually honed her craft as Phew, expanding beyond her postpunk beginnings into straight-ahead rock, otherworldly pop songs, and avant-garde experimental pieces built around her voice. Though she’s collaborated with a handful of artists throughout the decades, including Bill Laswell, the Raincoats’ Ana da Silva, and turntable experimentalist Otomo Yoshihide, her solo endeavors have consistently been her most enthralling and intriguing. With the new Vertical KO (Disciples), Phew skews darker, presenting ...

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‘Pioneering is dangerous’

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

When HBO’s Lovecraft Country started filming in Chicago, excitement surrounding the upcoming TV show quickly spread. And halfway through its debut season, the drama delivers on its examination of both supernatural horrors—ghosts, monsters, and magic—and very real ones such as economic inequity, the inhumane treatment of Black bodies in science, and housing segregation. It’s all rooted in racism, of course, and racism? It haunts you.

It’s eerily familiar. In the 1950s, much like today, Chicago’s segregation and the people, policies, and systems behind it were evident as clear dividing lines that dictated who lived, worked, and played where...

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Gone but not frog-otten


  • MEgan Kirby

I watch a TikTok where the Rainforest Cafe frog sits on a trailer in a parking lot, dismantled. When I fall asleep, I dream I have adopted the frog. I am trying to convince my roommate we have the space. “You can use it as a plant stand,” I tell her. “Besides, think of the content!”

Cha Cha the frog stood sentry over Chicago for 22 years, peering out over Ohio and Clark streets with wide red eyes and a benign smile. Did you know their name was Cha Cha? I didn’t until I went to Rainforest Cafe for the first time, in August 2019. My buddy Jon and I like to go to theme restaurants and write zines about the experience. That late summer evening, our pick was Rainforest Cafe...

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IRS approves Chicago Reader’s move to nonprofit model

CHICAGO—The new Reader Institute for Community Journalism, Inc. (RICJ) has received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service. On January 1, 2021, RICJ will take over the Chicago Reader newspaper from its current owners.

RICJ is an Illinois nonprofit that was formed earlier this year to create an ownership structure for the Chicago Reader to move to once 501(c)(3) was conferred. RICJ will begin operations when the Reader’s assets are transferred next year.

Elzie Higginbottom and Leonard C. Goodman are currently majority owners of the Chicago Reader after purchasing it for $1 from the Chicago Sun-Times in October 2018. They have given significant support to the paper as it charts a path to a fully independent future. The Reader has also received extensive support fr...

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Noise-rock masters Uniform get even bigger, better, and darker on Shame

I’ve spent a lot of Reader ink gushing about Uniform and the previous projects of their members. With the release of their new fourth full-length, Shame, the band’s sonic assault continues—and so does my adoration. Formed in 2014 as a wildly abrasive industrial-noise-rock-drone duo of vocalist Michael Berdan (formerly of unreal noisecore trio Drunkdriver) and guitarist Ben Greenberg (who’s played in Zs and Pygmy Shrews and engineered records by every good band coming out of NYC), Uniform have continually streamlined their sound, toying with Wax Trax! industrial, straightforward punk, and electronic synth swaths—sometimes all at once. On 2018’s The Long Walk, they added live drums to their previously all-electronic rhythm section, recording with experimental drummer Greg Fox (...

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The Folded Map Project shows a segregated city

“I’m sure you’ve heard the words to describe Englewood are ‘Black, dangerous, poor, gun violence,'” says Tonika Johnson in one of the opening lines of her short film, The Folded Map Project. Englewood is where Johnson was born and it’s where she still lives. Englewood is home.

In her film, Johnson asks the viewer to think about how they came to live in the neighborhood where they live or to think about the neighborhood where they grew up. She asks viewers to think about how they decided to live where they do. Who did they talk to before making the decision?

My move from Hyde Park to Back of the Yards happened a year ago and I’m still thinking about my decision, why I chose to move, and what led to these changes...

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Bill Callahan has a couple dad jokes for you

In 2019 Bill Callahan broke a bout of writer’s block that had lasted more than five years with Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest, a 20-song concept record about the satisfactions of family life. Gold Record, which arrives just 14 months later, sustains its predecessor’s sparse country-rock sound. And while it wastes no effort on trying to shape its ten songs into a cohesive statement, several tracks elaborate upon Shepherd’s themes. Having embraced fatherhood on Shepherd, Callahan now revels in daddishness by dispensing advice, telling jokes, and laying down rules. The limo-driving narrator of “Pigeons” preaches tolerance to a pair of newlyweds. “Ry Cooder” is an escalating tall tale about the titular guitarist’s slick licks and yoga skills...

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We’re Gonna Die offers a poignant portrait of mortality

There’s a video of Young Jean Lee performing her 2011 play We’re Gonna Die on Vimeo. It’s an exercise in minimalism and mortality: a single person with a mic backed up by a band—part stand-up, part rock concert, part TED talk, and part campfire confession—relaying a series of humiliating, horrifying, gory, and mundane incidents-in-the-life-of, and Lee is brilliant: eyes dry, voice wry, bangs on her face, feet on the ground, and a pocket full of tunes that worm their way into your ear. With the murmur of the crowd in the room, that video is a relic of a time and place we won’t reenter soon. Just before lockdown began, a production of We’re Gonna Die was playing off Broadway at the Second Stage Theater, one of the last houses to go dark in New York...

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نه تنها در رویاهای من

این هفته من خواب دیدم که من مخفیانه طاس مانند آقای پاک طاس—اما تنها در نیمی از سر من. روزانه من سبک بود به انجام استادانه درست شده combover با مو است که در سمت چپ بود. در رویای دیگر, من در تلاش برای داشتن روابط نامشروع با کسی در حمام عمومی, اما آنها به پایان رسید تا فقط ادرار در پای من. و بعد شب من ستاره عجیب و غریب طنزهای که در آن من به پایان رسید تا وارث بازداشت عصبانی اما درخشان 14 ساله دختر که نمی خواهد انجام کارهای و می گویند چیزهایی مانند “یک Duchampian بازنده” به تلفن همراه او را نگه داشته و گچ بری به گوش او...

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Mary Chapin Carpenter finds her folk-pop heart on The Dirt and the Stars

Mary Chapin Carpenter’s twangy, peppy hits bounced up the country charts in the 90s, but their cowboy boots always seemed like they pinched a bit. Twenty-some years later, Carpenter’s records have eased into a more comfortable idiom, scuffing up their coffeehouse folk with a bit of rock. On The Dirt and the Stars (Lambent Light), her voice has lost a lot of its snap and range, but its ragged edge fits well with her confessional, resolutely earnest approach. She includes the obligatory anti-Trump anthem (“American Stooge”), and the title track is an ill-advised AOR ballad that clocks in at a really unnecessary 7:43, complete with the usual guitar histrionics. The songs to show up for—which outnumber the missteps—are the frankly maudlin midtempo melodic strummers...

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