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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fela Kuti: Music Is the Weapon

Posted By on 08.04.10 at 05:58 PM


"For the uninitiated, it’s hard to explain—in mere words—how one man could so successfully mate the sexuality of James Brown with the righteous politics of Bob Marley and sinuous sounds of Miles Davis," writes Kathleen C. Fennessy for Malta Contemporary Art. "Fela drew as much inspiration for his 'Afro-beat' from Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X as funk, reggae, and jazz."

Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti talks about his work and his critique of the Nigerian government, and performs his songs including "ITT" and "Army Arrangement" at his Lagos club the Shrine, in Stéphane Tchal Gadjieff and Jean-Jacques Flori's 52-minute, 1982 documentary Fela Kuti: Music Is the Weapon.

It screens Thursday at 7 p.m. at Chatham 14, 210 W. 87th St., as part of the monthly Black World Cinema series. $5.

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Deborah Harry, Fashion Icon

Posted By on 08.04.10 at 04:33 PM

  • via
A friend pointed me to an amazing trove of photos of Deborah Harry on It's hard to remember how audacious and original these ensembles were back then, when wearing thigh-high leather boots meant there was a good chance people would think you were a hooker and camouflage was strictly for enlisted men. (I remember watching her on TV as a kid and my great-aunt commenting that she should comb her hair.)

More photos below. (Thanks to Irma for the tip!)

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Andrew Patner Talks Burge with John Conroy and Michael Miner

Posted By on 08.04.10 at 01:15 PM

On Monday night, WFMT's Critical Thinking with Andrew Patner featured the first half of a lengthy interview with former Reader staff writer John Conroy, who most recently blogged the Burge trial for Vocalo, and current editor/columnist Michael Miner. It's compelling listening even if you're familiar with the case, ranging from the idea of a "torturable class," why you should do your investigative reporting when you're young, why the dailies weren't interested in the Burge story for years, and features a cameo by Jimmy Stewart.

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Dinner & a Show: Wednesday 8/4

Posted By on 08.04.10 at 01:05 PM

Bob Log III
  • Bob Log III

Show: Bob Log III One-man band and Doo Rag veteran Bob Log III released his fourth solo album, My Shit Is Perfect, last year," writes Monica Kendrick. "Like its predecessors, it's full of primal, sweaty, riff-and-rhythm-driven garage blues, with fuzzy slide guitar oozing all over the place like a huge grabby radioactive slug."

9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508,, $12.

Dinner: A la Turka Turkish Kitchen The food is traditional too: zucchini pancakes, phyllo pies, and Turkish "ravioli" (manti) are hearty Turkish versions of the standards. Entrees like a a mixed-grill platter of tender lamb, beef, and chicken come with plenty of dill yogurt for dipping.

3134 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-935-6101,

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Soundgarden Would Like You to Know That They Know It's 2010

Posted By on 08.04.10 at 12:36 PM

Just because Soundgarden's best years are behind them doesn't mean that they (or their managers) don't know what the kids are into these days. Though the band's pre-Lollapalooza show at the Vic tomorrow night is beyond sold out, fans with access to mobile social networking sites and a lot of luck can still score tickets. Tomorrow afternoon a representative of the band—widely hailed as alternative rock's answer to Van Hagar—will be going around Chicago dropping off tickets and "mementos," as the press release says, at different sites. To find out where they are, you'll have to follow Soundgarden on Twitter and the extremely annoying and intrusive Foursquare. To claim them you'll need a Foursquare account yourself, so you can be the first user to check in at the drop-off site after the band.

In other Soundgarden-in-the-21st-century news, the group's upcoming retrospective collection, Telephantasm, will come bundled with Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, out September 28, and will actually be exclusive to the game for a week before it's available on its own. (Three fancy expanded versions of the collection will also get freestanding releases on the same date.) If the units sold in the bundle count toward SoundScan numbers, that could provide a nice chart boost for the album, as recent installments of the game have typically sold around 500,000 copies in their first month out.

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An Assyrian-Iraqi Restaurant Roundup

Posted By on 08.04.10 at 11:06 AM

Andrew Zimmern and Basma Jajou stuffing stomachs at Georges Grill Kabab
  • Mike Sula
  • Andrew Zimmern and Basma Jajou stuffing stomachs at George's Grill Kabab

Last week I wrote about the small West Rogers Park kubba plant, Kubba Mosul, Inc., where five varieties of the bulgur-wheat-and-meat Middle Eastern staple—aka kibbeh—are produced and shipped to 15 different states.

I only came to this by way of an aborted attempt to spelunk the twisted lineage of Assyrian-Iraqi restaurants in the city and nearby suburbs. By my rough count, this subset of Middle Eastern restaurants numbers about ten in all. That may not seem like a lot, particularly because there isn't a tremendous amount of difference in the menus of these places to distinguish them from Arab-run Middle Eastern restaurants—apart from a few key dishes. But I had a hunch that the swell of recent arrivals fleeing the troubles back home has prompted at least a small surge in the number of places that can produce a decent masgouf—or at least an approximation of the grilled Tigris river fish, so dear to Bagdhadis—or a serious bowl of pacha, a stew of sheep's head, trotter, and stomach usually savored in the the wintertime.

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Pavement Tour Diary: Pitchfork

Posted By on 08.04.10 at 09:11 AM

The Pitchfork Music Festival. The big gig in my hometown with Pavement. We've all been looking forward to this for a long time. I've worked this festival a few times for bands and once as an employee of the fest itself. They've been some of the hardest shows I've ever mixed, actually. In 2007 I did monitors for Sonic Youth on Friday, mixed the first eight-piece Iron and Wine show on Saturday (with no sound check), and then did Stephen Malkmus solo (with Bob Nastanovich on a few numbers) on Sunday. In 2008 I mixed every band on the small stage with 15 minutes between sets and didn't have time to eat. My only break was to go over to one of the big stages and do monitors for Jarvis Cocker (with no sound check). That show went like this:

Me to Jarvis Cocker: Hello Jarvis, my name is Jeremy. I'll be doing monitors for you tonight. What do you like to hear?
Jarvis to me: I like everything really loud.
Jarvis to drummer: OK, here we go! One, two, three . . .

The set begins and I age three years.

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Posted By on 08.04.10 at 09:09 AM

Sunday World Herald, June 10, 1906. The resolution for this item is too crummy to read, so I will transcribe:

Lemars, Iowa., June 9. Ebenezer Davis, the wild man with a circus, confessed today that he ravished Miss Josephine Wilmes, for which crime another negro narrowly escaped lynching Tuesday night.

Davis was with the circus at Luverne, Minn., and was brought back from there today by Sheriff Arndt. He was confronted by Miss Wilmes in the county jail and she positively identified him. The negro broke down and confessed all.

Miss Wilmes was assaulted by a strange negro Thursday night while the circus was in town. Miss Wilmes later identified another negro as her assailant and he narrowly escaped lynching at the hands of a mob, but was rescued by the sheriff.

It goes without saying that most custodial confessions aren't worth the knuckle-skin they're printed on, even when the supposed culprit isn't the second perpetrator to be fingered for the crime. The year 1906 puts us dead-center in the golden age of the Southern-fried race lynching. I'll leave the last word to Civil Rights muckraker Ida Wells-Barnett:
"No nation, savage or civilized, save only the United States of America, has confessed its inability to protect its women save by hanging, shooting, and burning alleged offenders."

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Morning Art: Makaya Larson

Posted By on 08.04.10 at 08:51 AM

An untitled photograph by Makaya Larson, part of For No One But Us, a group photography show opening Thu 8/5, 6-8 PM, at Living Room Gallery, 1530 W. Superior, 312-226-3020.

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Don Draper and Tony the Tiger — Two Murky Pasts

Posted By on 08.04.10 at 08:34 AM

Mad Men is back with us, and the Tribune has alertly linked its home page to a story that ran in Chicago magazine a year ago. "Meet the real Don Draper," suggests the Tribune, and when we take the suggestion we discover a nostalgic yarn about Draper Daniels, an important Chicago ad man of the 1950s at legendary Leo Burnett who later ran his own agency. "I Married a Mad Man" was written by Daniels's widow, Myra Janco Daniels, who says Daniels was not only a lot like Don Draper — he helped inspire the TV character.

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