Credit: Peter Gordon

Brettly Kawaguchi, Booking agent at the Heartland Cafe, enjoys:

Extreme Kung Fu

When I’m not booking shows and working at the Heartland Cafe and Red Line Tap, I spend a majority of my time at Extreme Kung Fu (EKF) training in martial arts, mainly San Shou and Muay Thai. It’s a place I can get away from it all, so to speak, and do something I still love to do. The coaches they have make learning and training easy to understand, it gives me a sense of physical accomplishment, and helps me gain some focus/discipline that sometimes can be lost working in a nightlife environment. I’ve been training there regularly for over two years, and in the coming months I’m hoping to compete in my first martial arts tourney since I was 16.

Stefan Moorehead, Manager and buyer at Unabridged Bookstore, read:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I just finished reading one of the big books of the late summer: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It’s like reading a video game but think more modern-day, like Fall Out 3 or Final Fantasy XIII. It’s filled with enough 70s and 80s nerd culture to keep even the heartiest pop-culture aficionados on their toes. References to Ladyhawke? Check. Allusions to pen-and-paper RPGs? Check. Giant robots from Japan? Check. This book is a gunshot of fun with a wicked sense of timing and a cast of characters that you’re pumping your fist in the air with whenever they succeed. I haven’t been this much on the edge of my seat for an ending in years.

Josh Berman, Musician, band leader, and cofounder of Umbrella Music Group, saw:

Cupola Bobber’s The Field, the Mantel

One of the most memorable and best things I’ve seen in recent months was the performance duo Cupola Bobber’s latest project, The Field, the Mantel. It’s a work filled with stark comedic absurdity, awkward, endurance-driven choreography, and masterful use of historical subjects to reveal the personal. What stays with me is the way it felt both formal—narrated, demonstrated, like a museum tour—and bursting at the seams of formality—a flashlight-as-spotlight rendering of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” to running in circles toward exhaustion. Cupola Bobber is Stephen Fiehn and Tyler Myers; they have been working together in Chicago since 2000, and sadly (for us) have made a move to New York. We can keep up with them at their website: cupolabobber.com.