Fans of comics and science fiction headed down to C2E2—the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo—this weekend to rub elbows with celebrities, nab exclusive collectibles and show off their costumes. While fan-favorite performers like Hellboy's Ron Perlman, and comics Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn may draw crowds, it's the stunning superhero cosplay that is always the highlight of this convention.
I've always been a fan of pie of the month clubs because...pie...AT YOUR DOOR, but getting a scheduled delivery of more run-of-the-mill needs like nail polish, socks, underwear and razors could eliminate weekend Target runs forever. Other subscription services, like the local men's-only Trunk Club, have style experts picking out clothes for you and sending them to your house. No more dressing rooms! Here's a round-up of our favorite subscription delivery services.
1. The Polish Ambassador + Project Aspect + PHNM
On Polish Constitution Day (May 3), the Polish Ambassador and sidekick video artist Liminus perform their road-tested audio-visual show (spacey dub, new school reggae, oddball hip-hop) for the herbalized euroclubbers. Project Aspect, Raj Mahal and PHNM are on the bill, too. The Mid. May 3 at 10pm. $20.
2. Nü: Tiffany Roth
Guest Tiffany Roth of NYC cosmic disco act Midnight Magic drops in for the Nü: The Outer Space Disco Dancing Society of Chicago's anniversary party. Residents Mörk, Alinka, Trancid, Ryan Paradise and Chris Grant toast numero uno with mid-tempo boogie and spacey dance. Neo. May 3 at 10pm. $10, before midnight $5.
3. Stardust presents: Twirl
Scott Cramer's freaky party goes late and features nightlife superstars from the past and present. It's a bit like Warhol's Factory resurrected. Cheap drinks abound, and the regulars come to dance and schmooze with host Trannika Rex. On May 9, guest New Yorkers Avan Lava and the Carry Nation (DJ Nita and DJ Will Automagic) drop in for a special edition of the Thursday hipster party. Shaun J. Wright of Hercules & Love Affair fame, Mr. White and Alinka complete the well-rounded get-down. Berlin. May 9 at 10pm. $5, with R.S.V.P. free.
4. Richard 23 & Patrick Codenys of Front 242
Those who long for the days when industrial music ruled underground clubs will delight in hearing two men from legendary Belgian outfit Front 242 take over the decks for some hard-edged "electronic body music." Chicago industrial lifer Greg Haus gets some beats in, too. Smart Bar. May 10 at 10pm. $15, before midnight $12, advance $10.
5. Imran Khan
Legend of Punjabi hip-hop, Desi music and pop, Dutch-born singer Imran Khan (his "Ni Nachleh" is a monster jam) headlines tonight with support from DJ Kamran and Naveen Kumar. Definitely dress to impress at this international event or you won't get in. Nikki. May 16 at 10pm. $20.
6. Loco Dice + Robert Dietz + Chuck Flask
German techno slinger Loco Dice (formerly a hip-hop DJ) was on the leading edge of the minimal techno wave a few years ago with residencies in Ibiza and Düsseldorf. We're confident he can show us what's new and classic in techno without breaking a sweat. Spybar. May 16 at 10pm. $20.
7. Vito & Druzzi (The Rapture DJs)
Dance punk insurgents the Rapture might have slowed down in recent years, but we haven't forgotten how good their DJ sets in Chicago have been over the years. Tonight, Vito and Druzzi spin with help from Studio Casual and Adam Rowe of the Stripped & Chewed label. Beauty Bar. May 17 at 9pm. $5, limited advance tickets available for guaranteed entry.
Among his many non-rock pursuits, former wrestling script writer Bob Mould (Sugar, Hüsker Dü) formed DJ outfit Blowoff with Richard Morel while living in Washington, D.C. They've issued an album and various remixes, but Blowoff is best known as the polysexual dance party they popularized in Chocolate City. As per tradition, Mould hits town for International Mr. Leather weekend. Metro. May 25 at 11pm. $16.
9. Kastle + XXXY
Barrett Richards has dabbled in dead ends like happy hardcore and breaks. Now, as Kastle, he's mining gems of every ilk. An eponymous new album, released in April, drifts through shadowy mist of R&B, trap, dubstep (of the preferred U.K. sort), bass, house and garage. Sirens Ayah Marar and Reva DeVito and bedroom crooner JMSN lure you into soulful, crushing grooves. In other words, it's what Burial might sound like if he hung out in strip clubs. Manchester's mesmerizing XXXY is both nostalgic for '90s divas and looking to push house into the future. Lincoln Hall. May 22 at 9pm. $20, advance $15.
10. Four Tet
Since the late '90s, Four Tet has set himself apart as one of electronic music's architectural bad boys. Defying conventions and even marrying his abstract beats with jazz, post-rock and an array of disparate sounds, he's challenged ears and rocked dance floors with equal aplomb. It's the tenth anniversary of his landmark Rounds LP. Smart Bar. May 16 at 10pm. $13, before midnight $10.
Considering all his stunning piano balladry, it's oddly easy to overlook that, first and foremost, Blake is a master technician of pretty, minimalist dubstep. Expect him to aim for the gut here after shooting for the heart at his upstairs Metro gig. Smart Bar. Thu at 10pm. $12, after midnight $15, with Metro wristband $5.
Can you image how hard people would have raged if EDM existed in the late 18th century? On May 3, 1791, Poland adopted its constitution. To celebrate the 222nd anniversary, Oakland's Polish Ambassador and sidekick video artist Liminus perform their road-tested audio-visual show (spacey dub, new-school reggae, oddball hip-hop) for the herbalized euroclubbers. Project Aspect, Raj Mahal and PHNM are on the bill, too. Four bucks for zimne PBR. The Mid. Fri at 10pm. $10.
Guest Tiffany Roth of NYC cosmic disco act Midnight Magic drops in for the Nü: The Outer Space Disco Dancing Society of Chicago's anniversary party. Residents Mörk, Alinka, Trancid, Ryan Paradise and Chris Grant toast numero uno with mid-tempo boogie and spacey dance. Neo. Fri 3 at 10pm. $10, before midnight $5.
4. Gerd Janson
German ace Janson helped drag jungle into Deutschland at Milk Club. These days, he's pumping out techy house for the Red Bull Music Academy and his label, Running Back. And, yes, he can get krautrock, too, as shown on his recent robotic road-funk compilation, Musik for Autobahns. Smart Bar. Fri at 10pm. $10, after midnight $13, students or before midnight with R.S.V.P. $5.
5. Robert Henke
On the brainy end of the spectrum, Berlin-based sound artist and professor explores static and white noise in "Dust." The work melds waves, coffee machines, weather turmoil and vinyl record pops into a dense computer symphony. Northwestern University, Lutkin Hall. Sat at 9pm. Free.
1. Big Boi + Killer Mike
Playing the Pitchfork Music Festival messed with his steez. Big Boi, who has been setting hip-hop trends for ages with Outkast, suddenly got the notion to inject indie flavors-of-the-month into his clever Southern bounce. Last year's Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors stuffed its guest list with middle-tier festival acts like Phantogram, Wavves and Little Dragon to varying degrees of success. Still, he remains one of the great voices in the game and his live show is on point thanks to those big festival stages. Add fellow ATLien "Killer" Mike Render and his Ice Cube–like flow and you have a must-see rap gig. Park West. Wed at 8pm. $27.
2. Palma Violets
Named after an old-fashioned British candy, the members of this wildly buzzed-about indie-rock four-piece from southeast London look like they’d blow their first paycheck on Clearasil and cigarettes—so far, so Arctic Monkeys. But Palma Violets do have a sound all their own, even if it has been stitched together from their favorite records. The band’s debut single, "Best of Friends," featured Spiritualized-style organ, plus drum thwacking and background shouting that recalls the Libertines, and a little bit the Walkmen. The songs get their sturdiness from the surprisingly deep, boomy tones of frontman Sam Fryer, his voice a pleasing blend of Birthday Party–era Nick Cave and Joe Strummer. The band signed to Rough Trade for its 2013 debut, 180. Schubas. Wed at 9pm. $14.
3. Har Mar Superstar
Ron Jeremy look-alike Sean Tillmann, a.k.a. Har Mar Superstar, is branded as a joke funk man, but his latest album, Bye Bye 17, is an honest-to-God soul record with vintage touches. Released on Julian Casablancas's Cult Records, the album features Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti and a touch of that taut garage rumble. He may have his tongue firmly in cheek, but the vocal pipes underneath are on point. Empty Bottle. Sun at 8:30pm. $12, advance $10.
4. Oh Land
Oh Land has been likened to Björk, Florence and the Machine, Kylie Minogue and Portishead. In truth, the Dane's none of the above, but those names give you a sense of her stylistic tics, as well as her massive potential. Lincoln Hall. Fri 3 at 7pm. $15.
5. Zoë Keating
With thrasher Helen Money, a.k.a. Alison Chesney, not slated to play (hometown) Chicago until June, addicts of the solo electric cello can spike a vein with the endpin of looper Zoë Keating. Radiolab listeners will recall the Canadian's alluring hooks from the "Quantum Cello" episode of the show, but we're intrigued to see Keating building her sonic layers live in the intimate confines of Old Town. Old Town School of Folk Music. Fri at 7, 9pm. $22, members $20.
Keith Koeneman “I went looking for a book about Richard M. Daley and was shocked to find out none existed. I considered writing one, then got sidetracked. But ten years later, when there still hadn’t been anything written about him, I decided I had to do it myself,” Koeneman told TOC. The author discusses his recently released First Son: The Biography of Richard M. Daley. Unabridged Books. 7pm.
ART & DESIGN
"Lossless: an analog investigation of a digital ideal." Collages by Jordan Martins, Matthew Schlagbaum's sculptures and Theo Darst's prints explore the ways images and other bits of digital information degrade as they're passed around. Chicago Artists' Coalition. 9am–5pm.
GAY & LESBIAN
Salonathon Jane Beachy invites the city's strangest and queerest performers and provocateurs to take over West Town. Folks like Big Dipper, Jyldo, DAAN and Trandroid have so far kept this party weird and wonderful. Beauty Bar. 9pm.
Robbie Fulks + The Hoyle Brothers Now here's an ace pairing: Robbie Fulks and the Hoyle Brothers, kings of the hip happy-hour scene, join forces to spin a few twangy tales. Hideout. 7pm. $10.
La Dolce Vita This new weekly party explores the cool corners of '60s European hip, not the cliché version from the last decade. Los Inmortales de Chicago (featuring Frank Orral as Dandy Jack and Gilles Aniorte) will play live, and Joe Bryl, Clark Quente and Orral will spin jazz, jive, bossa, rhumba and more. La Sirena Clandestina. 9pm.
2. Big Boi + Killer Mike Playing the Pitchfork Music Festival messed with his steez. Big Boi, who has been setting hip-hop trends for ages with Outkast, suddenly got the notion to inject indie flavors-of-the-month into his clever Southern bounce. Last year's Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors stuffed its guest list with middle-tier festival acts like Phantogram, Wavves and Little Dragon to varying degrees of success. Still, he remains one of the great voices in the game and his live show is on point thanks to those big festival stages. Add fellow ATLien "Killer" Mike Render and his Ice Cube–like flow and you have a must-see rap gig. Park West. Wed 8pm. $27.
3. Eighth Blackbird with Shara Worden, Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly Save that tax refund, because May is going to be lousy with brilliant live music. Bridging the Apr/May divide are local heroes Eighth Blackbird alongside My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden, the National's Bryce Dessner and composition/piano paragon Nico Muhly. Other than Philip Glass's Two Pages (1968), the program is comprised entirely of music written in the past five years, including works by Tristan Perich, Steve Mackey, David Lang, Muhly, Dessner and Worden. We are especially curious to hear a world-premiere original by 8bb pianist Lisa Kaplan, scored for piano four hands. Museum of Contemporary Art. Tue and Wed 7:30pm. $28, members $22.
4. Har Mar Superstar Ron Jeremy look-alike Sean Tillmann, a.k.a. Har Mar Superstar, is branded as a joke funk man, but his latest album, Bye Bye 17, is an honest-to-God soul record with vintage touches. Released on Julian Casablancas's Cult Records, the album features Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti and a touch of that taut garage rumble. He may have his tongue firmly in cheek, but the vocal pipes underneath are on point. Empty Bottle. Sun 8:30pm. $12.
5. Cremaster 1 + Cremaster 2 Matthew Barney's five-part, six-and-a-half-hour film cycle begins its run at the Siskel. About, among other things, gender, the nature of creativity and the amazing versatility of Vaseline, and shot out of sequence (4, 1, 5, 2, 3) over ten years, the cycle has been compared to everything from Star Wars to Wagner. Barney has called the Cremaster cycle a "narrative sculpture," so watch them in any order and look for visual motifs. In 2 (1999, 79 mins), Barney uses the Columbia Icefields (a glacier in the Canadian Rockies) as a piece of sculpture or character in the film, and its creamy, textured surface resonates with the molten Vaseline that Richard Serra scoops and splatters in 3 (2002, 182 mins). In 5 (1997, 55 mins), the rising white doves tethered with ribbons to Barney's testicles (in one of his many guises) chime with the Y-shape of American football goalposts in 1 (1996, 40mins). Gene Siskel Film Center. Fri 7:45pm. $11, students $7 , members $6, SAIC students and faculty and staff of the Art Institute $4 .
6. #SHOW Get your hashtags ready: Following long runs of its Jersey Shore: The Musical and It's a Wonderful Pro-Life, 4 Days Late Productions mounts an expanded version of the tech-obsessed sketch show it debuted at January's Sketchfest. studio BE. Sat 10pm. $15.
7. Sound Opinions at the Movies: Wattstax Dir. Mel Stuart. 1973. 103mins. Documentary. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, the hosts of NPR's rock talk show Sound Opinions, present this seminal concert film, shot at the titular 1972 music festival in Los Angeles, which mixes performance clips from artists like Isaac Hayes and Albert King with stand-up from Richard Pryor. The legacy of the 1965 Watts riots looms large over the celebratory proceedings. Music Box. Wed 7:30pm. $10, advance $9.
8. Ivywild: The True Tall Tales of Bathhouse John Jay Torrence's new show for the Hypocrites whimsically explores the true story of early-20th-century First Ward Ald. "Bathhouse John" Coughlin and "Hinky Dink" Kenna and their graft-fueled quest to build an amusement park in Colorado. Chopin Theatre. Wed–Sat 7:30pm; Sun 3pm. $28.
9. Cinco de Mayo Festival Go loco during this Little Village fete commemorating the Mexican army's victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Celebrate Mexican culture and check out the live music, crafts and Mexican eats. 26th St and Kostner Ave. Fri 6–11pm; Sat and Sun 2–11pm. Free.
10. Global Cannabis March With legislators in Springfield making moves toward okaying marijuana for prescriptive medical use, NORML Illinois is looking to ride the momentum of trailblazing pot legalization in Colorado and Washington state. Don your favorite legalize-it attire (your alien-smoking-a-joint hoodie?) to hear speakers including Illinois NORML director Dan Linn, Reader sleuth Mick Dumke, the Heartland Alliance's James Kowalsky and Northwestern Students for Sensible Drug Policy co-prez Frances Fu. Daley Plaza. Sat noon–3pm. Free.
OPERA & CLASSICAL
Remembering Mayor Harold Washington A little more than 30 years after Washington became Chicago's first African-American mayor, a panel of friends and confidants discuss the late politician's impactful (albeit short-lived) tenure. DuSable Museum of African American History. 2–5pm. $5, free for members.
ART & DESIGN
"Matt Rich: Razors and Vapors" For his second solo show at devening projects + editions, Boston-based artist Rich presents paintings that are at once flat and dimensional, representational and abstract. Made from cut paper and smears/sprays/brushes of acrylic paint, the works exhibit both X-acto–like precision and messy exuberance. devening projects + editions. 4–7pm. Free.
Improv Nerd Jimmy Carrane kicks off a third season of his local talk show in which he interviews local legends and gets them out of the chair for a short improv set. This season's guests include John Lutz, Edgar Blackmon, Katy Colloton, Beth Melewski and Andy St. Clair. Stage 773. 4pm. $10, students $8.
Boom Boom Room This legendary, polysexual Chicago-house night is back at Dolphin, settling on a Sunday-night spot, rather than the Monday it used to call home. It remains an awe-inspiring blend of clubbers and regular city folk who like to party, and it's a Chicago institution. Gene Farris, Diz, Justin Sheridan and Martin Stoy spin every week. Dolphin. 10pm. $10.
Erick Morillo Colombian-American house titan Morillo is best know for his work in Reel 2 Real. Don't act like you haven't shook it a little bit to his "I Like to Move It." Or at least wanted to kill yourself after hearing it on repeat at Six Flags/in Madagascar trailers. The Mid. 10pm. $20–$30.
826CHI Promic-Con Nonprofit writing workshop 826CHI's prom fund-raiser borrows some comic-con steez, encouraging attendees to nerd out with cosplay. The theme should make for some interesting dance-floor combos. School of the Art Institute. 8pm–midnight. $45, couples $75 , advance $40 per person.
ART & DESIGN
"Commonwealth: New Work by Neal Vandenbergh and Latham Zearfoss" Two Chicago-based artists consider power as an invisible force in our lives. Zearfoss creates an imaginary poll asking residents of a Midwestern town to assess their power to affect change, both publicly and personally. Vandenbergh incorporates materials of authoritative control—i.e., yellow construction-grade paint and reflective vinyl—into his large-scale monochromatic panels. Roxaboxen Exhibitions. 5–9pm. Free.
Facets Night School: The Cannibals The other cannibal musical. Portuguese writer-director Manoel de Oliveira's The Cannibals (1988) screens, then local indie filmmaker Michael Smith gives a late-night lecture on this rare piece of "anti-bourgeois surrealism." Facets Cinematheque. Midnight. $5.
Bleached + Hunters Much about Bleached feels been-there-done-that: It's a guitar/drum duo, crafting retro garage rock, consisting of blond sisters. Thus, the L.A. act calls to mind Frankie Rose, Vivian Girls, the Kills, et al. But its debut, Ride Your Heart, is a blast. Saying its punky, '50s-ish pop is going out of style is like declaring the death of blue jeans. NYC's like-minded Hunters worked SXSW hard this year, fueled by the captivating energy of front-woman Isabel Almeida. Subterranean. $10.
Earlier today, The A.V. Club, the cultural wing of humor outlet The Onion, announced that three longtime writers and editors, Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson and Genevieve Koski, would be leaving. The trio added to a recent small exodus of talent from the fantastic critical voice that included Keith Phipps and Scott Tobias. Former Time Out Chicago film critic A.A. Dowd remains as A.V. Club's new film editor. So, why did the rest leave?
In this blog post, managing editor Kyle Ryan stated that the five were all joining "another Chicago-based media company, for a film-specific project."
Our immediate thought: Pitchfork, the movie site?
This Whois search shows that on June 11, 2011, Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber registered the domain name Pitchfilm.com. It was updated in February of this year. When asked today whether Pitchfork was launching a film-criticism site called Pitchfilm, Schreiber replied, "No comment."
Someone with knowledge of the situation confirmed our speculation that Pitchfork is starting a film-related venture. This would add to an empire that includes Nothing Major, a fashion and design blog edited by TOC contributor John Dugan, and the annual Pitchfork Music Festival.
Yes, it is possible that Schreiber is snatching domains for good business sense. It is possible that the A.V. Clubbers are going somewhere else in town. But it's also possible that Harry Knowles just lost a ton of sleep, and not because Iron Man 3 is a week away.