In Search of Blind Joe Death
In Search of Blind Joe Death

The fifth annual Chicago International Movies & Music Festival runs Thursday through Sunday, April 18 through 21, at various north-side venues. Most events are $10, and one-day passes are $25. For more information and a complete schedule see

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me See long review. J.R. Jones Fri 4/19, 10 PM, Logan.

CIMMpathy for the Stones Marathon screenings of Rolling Stones concert films; series passes are available. Scheduled to screen on Friday, April 19: Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981 (6 PM), The Rolling Stones: Charlie Is My Darling—Ireland 1965 (8 PM), and Stones in Exile (9:45 PM). On Saturday, April 20: Some Girls: Live in Texas ’78 (2 PM), Rolling Like a Stone (4:30 PM), Sympathy for the Devil (6:15 PM), and Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! (8:15 PM). On Sunday, April 21: Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones (2 PM) and The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (4 PM). Music Box.

In Search of Blind Joe Death Steel-string guitar player John Fahey made his mark in the 60s with solo instrumentals, performed in the clawhammer fingerpicking style, that brilliantly evoked legendary bluesmen, the field recordings of Smithsonian Folkways, and early 20th-century classical music. By the 90s, however, he was badly alcoholic, living near the poverty line in a place that one interview subject in this documentary calls “the vaguest motel ever.” Fahey’s career picked up when a new generation of musicians (including Thurston Moore and Jim O’Rourke) championed him, and he worked steadily until his death in 2001. His story is rich material, but writer-director James Cullingham leaves it sketchy and underdeveloped. The most interesting revelation, that Fahey was sexually abused by his father, is mentioned once and barely revisited; the rest is mostly sycophancy. Tal Rosenberg 57 min. Sat 4/20, 6 PM, Logan.

Jesus Lizard: Last “Drink up, get arrested tonight, cause some car accidents, kill as many pedestrians as possible,” was among the sage advice offered by David Yow, 50-year-old front man for the pioneering noise-rock outfit the Jesus Lizard, during their final reunion performance (probably), at Metro on New Year’s Eve 2009. Directed by Tony Ciarrocchi, this video documentary captures the band’s set from start to finish, with stark images of guitarist Duane Dennison, bassist David Wm. Sims, drummer Mac McNeilly, and Yow, who sweats, snarls, and gurgles into the mike as security continuously fishes him out of the crowd and drops him back onstage. All the gems are here (“Seasick,” “Mouth Breather,” “Puss”), and Yow becomes progressively more deranged as the night wears on. Kevin Warwick 60 min. Sat 4/20, 11:15 PM, Society for Arts, 1112 N. Milwaukee.

Richard and Van Dyke Parks program Richard Parks—son of singer-songwriter Van Dyke Parks—screens three short videos. Van Dyke Parks on Song Cycle and Van Dyke Parks on Discover America are two-minute clips in which the elder Parks rhapsodizes about the meaning and creative circumstances of two of his most famous albums. Music Man Murray is a tender portrait of 90-year-old Murray Gershenz, a one-time opera singer and cantor, and his quest to sell his LA record store, which is closer to a museum than a retail outlet. Following the videos, Richard conducts a Q&A session with Van Dyke, and Van Dyke performs live with the Don Heffington Players. Peter Margasak Tickets are $25. Thu 4/18, 7 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western.

Sacrificial Youth High school skate punks, whose band recalls Suicidal Tendencies and Dead Kennedys, are courted by a major label, much to the chagrin of the underground-or-die lead singer. Not unlike the subculture being portrayed, this punk musical makes up for its low production values with brazen stylistics, shifting heedlessly between genres—from scene to scene, anything from rock-opera fantasy to psychological horror. Director Joe Losurdo tries to make as little narrative sense as possible, but beneath all the chaos lies a serious examination of subcultures—both how they function and how they’re compromised. The vibrant colors and incongruous imagery would make Busby Berkeley blush. Drew Hunt 85 min. Fri 4/19, 8 PM, Logan.

Viva Viva Former Chicagoan Carolina Pfister looks at the punk-rock community of Sao Paulo, Brazil, interspersing talking heads, raw performance footage, and clips from the 1983 documentary Punks by Sarah Yakhni and Alberto Geico. Though Pfister skillfully conveys why punk aesthetics have been embraced by segments of the city’s disenfranchised youth (her footage was all shot between 2003 and ’05), the video lacks narration, which discourages any sense of historical context, or any sort of narrative development, despite the pretense of a three-act structure. Unless you’re deeply invested in Sao Paulo or punk communities around the globe, you’re unlikely to feel much for the polemical subjects. Peter Margasak 100 min. Sun 4/21, 5 PM, Logan.

Live music events:

Music programming runs Thu 4/18 through Sat 4/20 with multiple shows each day; see page BTK for venue information. Highlights on Friday include a Bloodshot Records showcase with Lydia Loveless and Luke Winslow-King (10 PM, Hideout); a Closed Sessions showcase with Treated Crew, Juice, ShowYouSuck, Alex Wiley, and screenings of the label’s making-of documentaries (9 PM, Double Door); and the Funky Meters, the Greyboy Allstars, and JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound (6:20 PM, Congress Theater). Saturday’s notable concerts include a New Atlantis Records program of short films, accompanied by bassist Jason Ajemian, by pianist Marc Riordan and drummer Frank Rosaly, and by drummer John Herndon and guitarist Edward Ricart (8 PM, Elastic); Corey Harris and Guy Davis, plus Billy Branch giving a talk, “Evolution of the Blues” (8:15 PM, Rosa’s Lounge); and a program honoring festival guest Melvin Van Peebles (Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song), with clips from his films and a music set by him and players from Burnt Sugar (9:30 PM, Constellation). Philip Montoro