Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hey Chicago! Tonight...

A message from Kris Poulin:

Hello friends,

This time there's a theme: Red.

Camaro Rouge
Love Story in Blood Red
Red Chamber

play this Thursday, August 31st, at Darkroom (2210 W. Chicago) at 9pm.

$7 get you in.

We asking everyone to wear red. Unite in color! Red shirts, red dresses, red pants, red socks, red hats, red shoes, red sunglasses, red gloves, red undies, red eyes. We want to see an entire Darkroom full of red!

We're also hoping that there will be drink specials on red drinks (vodka cranberry, Red Stripe, Bloody Mary, etc.). This is not confirmed, but we're working on it.

Red. Red. Red.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Where are all my black friends?

Fact is I don't have any, not any close black friends. Why? Well it's actually easy to explain I guess. I don't hang out in black neighborhoods or establishments and for that matter not many black people hang out in the places you can normally find me. Civil Rights may have come (and gone) but that didn't really bring us people together. Still I have been influenced strongly by several black individuals and of course Black American Culture has had a big influence on me musically.

Why am I bringing this up? Because we're six months away from Black History Month and if I'm gonna have anything to say about Black Culture, I'm doing it now away from all the hullabaloo. And why might I have anything to say about black culture? Because I keep this stupid site going and it's supposed to be about cultural affairs that inspire me, particularly in the city where I live.

This city happens to be a pivot point of Black American Culture. It's where Blacks came to better themselves from the rural South. It's where Blues was electrified and thrust upon the world. Chicago was Martin Luther King Jr's last home, Malcom X and Fred Hampton's as well. It is home to Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition, Barrack Obama, Buddy Guy, R Kelly, Ebony and Jet magazines, the Nation of Islam and Oprah - to name a few.

So I'm going to spend a few posts talking about Black Culture from the perspective of a white boy who got his musical start funking up some f*cked up family memories in a band influenced by the urban black-meets-whitey college boy Texas Funk scene. If that doesn't tempt you to stay tuned, how's this? -> My great grandfather designed the first church built specifically for a black congregation in Houston; as a young boy my big black nanny drove a huge 70's Ford LTD's and used snuff; I worked summers under the wing of my own Injun Joe; I once kept Albert Collins' guitar chord from coming unplugged as he waltzed through the crowd in a Texas night club; and a couple of years ago I went on the road as the photographer for the Sears Associate Gospel Choir to the NAACP convention in Milwaukee.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cheer up Little Indie Rocker. The Bottle tells you it is time for a good chuckle...

This might come as a surprise but Chicago indie rockers have funny bones. At least that's what the Empty Bottle, the brick and mortar determiner of indie hipness in this town, is impressing upon their drones. The butthole is promoting comedy night at Weed's, a Goose Island bar not normally known for laughs.

While Chicago is known for many fine comedy establishments that continue to deliver the goods, none are quite hip enough for the Bottle which is now a "brand" to be exploited establishing hipness far beyond the confines of the well worn Western Avenue night club.

I'd warn you that mixing the weed and the bottle is not a good idea but would you kids listen?

I'm in the corner that says Comedy (with a capital C) certainly needs a good kick in the pants. Just turn to Comedy Central for an hour or watch the disappointing "the Aristocrats" (or anything by the always disappointing Will Ferrell, etc) to find out just how insular, self-congratulatory, immature, and uninspiring Comedy has become. BUT two wrongs don't make a right and mixing this insular self-congratulatory immature and uninspiring indie scene with comedy sounds about as funny as sending Albert Brooks to the Middle East.

The Reader calls it "stand-up for the stand-and-nod" and that about sums it up.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Return of Brando

Brandon Holbrook - loving husband, father, web guru, and lead guitarist of de Schmog - now has a MySpace page. Holler at him will you? Let him know his presence is felt.

He is doing a noble thing these days, giving de Schmog a MySpace home. Check it out. If you can, please comply with his request for photos and other de Schmog memorabilia.

You see, de Schmog being one of those pre-internet bands, the digital material is just now slowly emerging. With that in mind, we also have an outstanding request for an mp3 version of the Fairy Tale for the free online deSchmogabase. If you can provide that, your deed will be appreciated by tens if not twenties of deLighted fans.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tonight Marcos Raya Opening Cafe Duvall

Looking for something interesting to do this evening? An Art Opening just around the corner from me looks good. Everybody knows that openings aren't the best time to view art because of the distractions. The distractions on the other hand can be worth the fuss. In this case, the art is housed in a small Tango cafe owned by William Duvall.

Aside from the potential to meet long legged women, there's the chance to rub elbows with Robert Duvall who just happens to be the proprietor's uncle. Incidentally this makes the second establishment in a two block radius of my house to be managed -to some extent- by the relative of a Hollywood star (George Wendt's sister bartends at a nearby Italian restaurant).

You might even get something out of the art since the body of work is small and the space intimate.

More on the artist Marcos Raya (pictured here as Frida Kahlo).

Cafe Duvall
2257 W23rd Place
Chicago, IL 60608

*picture courtesy of

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Headache City on This American Life: Tomorrow

Note from Norah -

Hey everyone! Headache Citywill have a song on NPR's This American Life this Friday! Its our one minute interpretation of the folk song, The Cat Came Back. Please listen! Check out for programming info. Its on at 7 pm here!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Chicago Loop Alliance Loopy Loop the Loop Tours

The Chicago Loop Alliance, basically the Chamber of Commerce for the downtown area, put together a trio of audio tours along with corresponding loop maps that highlight the cultural attractions in Arts, Theater and Landmarks. Friday, Tricia and I did all three tours at once.

It was a beautiful summer day, sunny but not too hot so a perfect day to wander. The tours proved geographically easy to combine but posed a tricky mp3 queuing problem especially since Tricia and I were sharing one player. No matter, there was time between stops (even combining all three tours) for both of us to get the info. Running Time for each spot rarely went over two minutes.

The Chicago Loop Alliance is a business group so unsurprisingly the audio is bland, the information scandal-less and the tempo cheerful. Many of the spots give nothing that PBS-watching Chicagoans don't already know along with vapid quotes like "You know it's Christmas in Chicago when you see the big wreathes around the Lions (in front of the Art Institute) like collars." The Theater Tour is particularly frustrating because in every instance* the listener is acutely aware that being outside is no fun. It's like saying you've been to a city because you had a stop over at the airport.

Still occasionally we were informed and it got us out on a great day and put us into interesting spots where the highlights from the tour were generously accentuated by their locality.

Top Ten List

1. The Public Gardens at the Art Institute - these gardens have been overshadowed by millennium Park since we've been in Chicago.

2. Four Seasons by Marc Chagall. Nice mosaic, don't think I've taken a close look at it before. It attracts French speaking tourists too.

3. The commentary for the Crown Fountain had a nice reference to "a modern day gargoyle."

4. Carbide and Carbon building - always a fun building to gawk at and wander through the black on black lobby (now the Hard Rock Hotel).

5. Baja Fresh - I know it's a chain but it's pretty damn good and where else can you eat cheap and good downtown? Their fresh fish tacos are goooood. (p.s. not on the official tour)

6. Walking through the DuBuffet

7. Finally trying Garrett's cheese popcorn on a tourist tip and being impressed.

8. Being outside and walking around on a really nice day

9. Finally deciding to stop messing around with the stupid mp3 player and just be happy to be alive.

10. Being Alive.

*except perhaps the Chicago Theater just because of the sign. I'd say the Ford Theater too but it's best exteriors features are obscured by obnoxious Wicked signage.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Kashmere High School Band

Thanks to Erin for turning me on to this All Things Considered story written by Austin writer David Brown. I have to admit I was not aware of this Houston phenomenon. If anybody has more info, bring it on.