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Metro hosts a joyful send-off for the late Cynthia Plaster Caster

Legendary artist and writer (and onetime Chicago mayoral candidate) Cynthia Plaster Caster passed away in April after a lengthy illness, but Gossip Wolf isn’t done mourning. Future generations of local musicians and fans won’t get to bask in the splendor of her warm, glowing personality—thankfully her famous plaster casts of the private parts of musicians […]

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Chicago country craftsman Dan Whitaker decamps to Texas

Gossip Wolf has long admired local country-music craftsman Dan Whitaker, whose considerable discography includes folk-tinged solo work and recordings with his combo the Shinebenders that combine hillbilly jazz, country blues, honky-tonk stompers, and working-class ballads about booze, trucks, and lost love. By the end of this month, Whitaker will have relocated to Martindale, Texas (between […]

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Bev Rage & the Drinks ring in Pride with a kaiju rampage

Queer garage-pop band Bev Rage & the Drinks have become one of the city’s most entertaining acts since coming together in 2015. Mixing hilariously forthright lyrics, spitfire riffs, and the second-to-none showmanship of lead singer and guitarist Beverly Rage—a seven-foot drag queen, counting hair and heels—they put on a show that’s not to be missed! Over […]

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The Pride Bands Alliance celebrates 40 years with a symphonic-band blowout and two world premieres

In October 1982, members of seven LGBTQ+ concert and marching bands from across the U.S. met in Chicago and formed the Lesbian and Gay Band Association. Though the LGBA changed its name to the Pride Bands Alliance in 2021, it still provides “an international network of LGBTQ+ and affirming bands in all stages of development” […]

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Emma Hospelhorn of Ensemble dal Niente releases a scintillating solo debut as Em Spel

Gossip Wolf always likes to hear about a new solo album from a member of Ensemble dal Niente—the long-running local contemporary-classical corps has built a spotless reputation for adventurous programming and technical excellence, and its members often pop up in far-flung musical contexts around town. Among the most prolific is multi-instrumentalist Emma Hospelhorn, who has […]

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Mystery Actions debut a new blast of anti-war punk rock

Local four-piece Mystery Actions remind Gossip Wolf of the cool, slightly intimidating kids from the Chicago street-punk scene in the late 80s and early 90s, when it centered on Clark and Belmont—specifically Punkin’ Donuts and the Alley. Perhaps that’s because the band—vocalist Nikki Mouse, guitarist Lucy Dekay, drummer Rose Beef, and bassist Mikhael Hell—crank out […]

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Sound artist Rocio Zavala debuts with an album of otherworldly drone

In May 2020, during the isolating depths of the first large-scale U.S. COVID-19 lockdown, Gossip Wolf caught a live online performance by Rocio Zavala as part of Experimental Sound Studio’s Quarantine Concerts series. A sound and visual artist from Mexico who’s now based in Chicago, Zavala crafted an alluring, otherworldly drone with her own handmade […]

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Experimental Sound Studio unveils an archive devoted to beloved saxophonist Fred Anderson

On March 22, 2022—what would’ve been Fred Anderson’s 93rd birthday—Experimental Sound Studio and its Creative Audio Archive announced the acquisition of a collection devoted to the beloved Chicago saxophonist, venue owner, scene anchor, and mentor. The CAA describes itself as “formed for the historical preservation of recordings, print, and visual ephemera related to avant-garde and […]

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Half-Ukrainian musical jack-of-all-trades Pasha Pear drops a hallucinatory new dance single

Born to a Ukrainian mother and a Russian-Armenian father, Chicago-based musician Pasha Petrosyan grew up living in Moscow during the school year and Kyiv every summer, till his family moved to the suburbs of Chicago when he was 11. Since moving into the city in 2013, Petrosyan has become a jack-of-all-trades in its independent rock […]

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Venerable jazz guitarist George Freeman celebrates 95 years with a new compilation

Legendary Chicago jazz guitarist George Freeman has been honing his dynamic, explosive style since the 1940s, working with dozens of the genre’s hall of famers, including Charlie Parker, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Gene Ammons, Jimmy McGriff, Buddy Rich, Shirley Scott, and his brothers Von and Bruz Freeman. On Sunday, April 10, Freeman turns 95, and to mark […]