1. The Luyas Montreal’s enjoyably loopy the Luyas embrace exotic quirk and whimsy—i.e., toy pianos and zithers—without sacrificing atmosphere. Last year's entrancing Animator found middle group between Blonde Redhead and Arcade Fire (whose Sarah Neufeld contributed strings), which is some feat. Julian Lynch opens with sun-drenched psych. Empty Bottle. Jun 20 at 9pm. $10, advance $8.
2. AM & Shawn Lee The Kansas-born, London-based Shawn Lee has made a career flitting from project to project, with L.A.'s AM his latest collaborator. The duo's recent sophomore album La Musique Numérique follows a Beck-ish formula on songs like "Suffer Like Me" and "Automatic": dreamy vocals over synthetic funk. To finish up the sunny batch, the two slip into cool kitsch with a cover of Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out," busy with cut-and-paste percussion and disco glimmer. Hanging out on the back porch? Here's your jam. Schubas. Jun 21 at 10pm. $15.
1. James Holden Once a DJ prodigy, now a major force in dance music, British techno wunderkind James Holden sets a high bar for what a modern DJ can be. His Border Community label culls the finest cuts from young European producers, his production and remixes are unparalleled, and his DJ sets are epic. We see him in Chicago too rarely, but we've danced to him enough to know he won't disappoint—oh, and it will be loud. Spy Bar. Jun 20 at 10pm. $10.
2. Giraffage Like pop radio heard through a thick fog or a neighbor's wall, the chopped and diced tracks of Giraffage spread a schmear of relaxing synthesizer over warped vocals, trap beats and slow R&B grooves. It's the kind of fodder that's been stuffing the Pitchfork main page for a few years, but it's done to great effect. Perhaps that is because 23-year-old Charlie Yin, the brains behind the project, keeps his dream-pop out of the haze and close enough to the legit slow-jams you hear on Sirius's Heart & Soul station. "Undress U" could pass for Keith Sweat, if not for a singer being slowed down into a druggy syrup. The downtempo evening is a perfect cool down coming off Spring Awakening weekend. Schubas. Jun 18 at 9pm. $20, advance $15.
Second City cofounder Bernie Sahlins has been reported to have passed away Sunday at the age of 90.
Sahlins, who had also been involved with Second City precursors the Compass Players and the earlier Playwrights Theatre Club, maintained ownership of the improv and sketch comedy institution in Chicago until 1985, when he transferred operations to current owner Andrew Alexander. (The pair are pictured above at one of the Second City's 50th-anniversary events in 2009.)
Sahlins was slated to appear as part of a June 23 panel at Second City's UP Comedy Club marking the 60th anniversary of the Playwrights Theatre Club, to be moderated by Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones. Obituaries were published online Sunday night at both the Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Details of a public memorial service are said to be forthcoming.
Spring Awakening: Porn and Chicken + Zebo + Milk N Cookies Three day of raging didn't sap you? Well, the regular Porn and Chicken party offers up revelry and grease on Monday night as an official Spring Awakening after-party. Evil Olive. 10pm. $10.
Pivot Arts Festival In the spirit of the vaudeville era, this inaugural arts fest in Edgewater boasts a mixed lineup of dance, theater and music. Highlights include an evening-length restaging of The Delicate Hour by Chicago stalwart Molly Shanahan of Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, and The Lonely Visitors, presented by the theater-minded movers of RE|Dance Group. Visit pivotarts.org for a complete schedule. Kitchen Sink. 7pm. Prices vary. See pivot.tixato.com/buy.
The final day of Spring Awakening is coming to a close. That woomph woomph woomph you heard while coming out of the Field Museum with your family? That would have been tens of thousands of kids dancing their neon sunglasses off in Soldier Field. Headliners Moby and Bassnectar delivered the deep beats and bright lasers. The undercards thrilled the masses just as much. Check out pictures of the performers from Friday and Saturday. In case you missed it, we also snapped dozens of images of the colorful people in the crowd that make EDM music festivals an equal treat for the eyes. Tune in tomorrow for more pictures and a full recap.
Have you been riding the Red Line in the last two days and been wondering, "Why are there so many kids in here wearing neon tank-tops and Japanese kitten hats?" Well, duh, it is Spring Awakening weekend. The second day of the massive EDM festival kept the party going in Soldier Field. Check out pictures of people at Spring Awakening on Saturday. And catch up with images of club kids and ravers from Friday.
"I'm deeply uncomfortable with children, so that's why I send my niece and nephew a box of wigs." Maria Bamford's confessional and often bizarre comedy sends up anxiety and bipolar disorder in a new and refreshing way. Read my review of her packed Park West show.
Bob Newhart, pride of St. Ignatius College Prep, took to the Chicago Theatre's stage Saturday night for a Just for Laughs appearance that was perhaps more reminiscence than performance. But the Chicago native's as charming as ever at age 83. Which classic bit from his 1960 Grammy-winning debut, The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart, made an appearance? Read the full review.
Fiesta Puertorriquenas One of the Midwest's largest Puerto Rican communities, Humboldt Park celebrates its heritage with four days of Caribbean-infused cuisine (jibarito, anyone?), Latin music and carnival rides. On Saturday at noon, out come the meticulously decorated floats and lowrider car clubs as the Puerto Rican Day Parade marches down Division Street under the giant metal Puerto Rican flag. Division St and California Ave. Noon–10pm.
Puddin'head Press Bloomsday Celebration Bloomsday is an annual celebration of the life and work of Irish writer James Joyce, in which fans around the world reenact the events of his famous—and famously impenetrable—novel, Ulysses (which is also a way of bragging that they've read it. Hats off to you, people.) Chicago's Puddin'head Press hosts a Bloomsday reading featuring local actors, writers and scholars. Want to relive the Dublin adventures of Leopold Bloom? If your answer is, "Yes I said yes I will yes" (the right answer), make your way to the Galway Arms. Galway Arms. 7pm. $5 suggested donation.
It has been a while since Kumail Nanjiani lived in Chicago, but he maintains close ties to our fair city. In fact, the Pakistani-born funnyman says most of the comedian he hangs out with in L.A. are Chicago transplants. (YOU'RE WELCOME FOR ALL THE TALENT, LOS ANGELES.) I spoke with Nanjiani during Just for Laughs about his jam-packed sched, including podcasts, an upcoming Comedy Central special and Portlandia. Read the interview here.