The Boy Illinois Credit: @dgainz

In October one of Gossip Wolf’s favorite local rappers, the Boy Illinois, dropped Windy, a triumphant EP featuring a great slate of Chicago guest MCs, among them YP, Rico Recklezz, and Pivot Gang members Saba and Frsh Waters. Windy is the Boy Illinois’s first release since signing a distribution deal with Priority Records through his label, Born Leaders, in May 2017. Those of you keen to see these feel-good tracks performed live are in luck: the fine folks at music site Illanoize are throwing the Boy Illinois’s first big show of the year on Tuesday, February 6. He headlines Wire in Berwyn with openers Adam Ness, London Lo, Tynece Allen, and Vo.

Since 2015, Los Angeles-based website Waywords and Meansigns has been soliciting readings of James Joyce’s notoriously difficult novel Finnegans Wake set to music—it’s compiled the unabridged book three times, and now focuses on shorter passages. Hundreds of people from more than a dozen countries have participated (including Minutemen broom handler Mike Watt, longtime Mekons member Sally Timms, and veteran vocal improviser Phil Minton), and all the audio is free to download. On Friday, February 2 (Joyce’s 136th birthday), the website will post a three-minute clip by a trio of Gossip Wolf faves: Reader contributor Brian Costello reads to music from Laura “Lulu” Callier of Gel Set and guitarist Bill MacKay. Costello and Callier are both former Chicagoans now in LA, but MacKay still lives in our fair city—please don’t leave, Bill!

Through its Ag47 mentorship program, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble pairs kids ages 11 to 17 with local artists and musicians “to lift up the voices of girls, femme identities, trans and gender nonconforming folks and individuals seeking brave space through creativity and community.” On Friday, February 2, it fires up the 2018 program with a Cafe Mustache fund-raiser featuring sets by Staring Problem, Bev Rage & the Drinks, and Pledge Drive.  v

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