a wide shot of a record store interior, dominated by rows of vinyl bins, with a man at front right with his back to the camera
Pat Deasey tends to the stock at Record Wonderland. Credit: Courtesy of Steve Young

Record Wonderland co-owner Pat Deasey died unexpectedly on Saturday, April 22, at age 55. “He was a workhorse—you didn’t always know he was here, but he kept the place together,” says his friend Steve Young, co-owner of the store. “He was the order agent, and I’m the chaos agent.” Young met Deasey in the 1980s when they were students at Northwestern University, where they were both Evans Scholars. Young was a year ahead of Deasey, who graduated in 1990, but they roomed together and grew close. 

“We’ve been going to concerts together for 25 years—we went to see the Residents together a few weeks ago,” Young says. “We both came to this without retail experience.” Deasey and Young started selling records online around 2005, and in 2016 they opened a brick-and-mortar shop in suburban Roselle. “It’s a cheap space,” Young says. “We’re in a ragged strip mall here that’s only half full. We’re a destination. People can Google ‘records’ near us and find us.”

Young credits Deasey with Record Wonderland’s layout and design. “He had a vision to create a space that’s appealing,” Young says. “I think he very much succeeded in that.” Deasey’s approach, he explains, was similar to what grocery stores do: milk is always at the back, so that even customers who just need a new bottle will pass other enticing inventory on the way.

“We were both kids in the 80s, so we both liked punk music,” Young says. “He’s a very irreverent person, so the more obnoxious, the better.” Deasey loved all kinds of rock, and in the 90s he became a big Pearl Jam fan. But his omnivorous tastes extended beyond that genre—the most recent music he bought, Young recalls, was a DJ Quik album that came into the shop. “The beauty of working in a record store is we get exposed to music all the time,” Young says. 

Young says Deasey could be gruff, but he wanted to make people happy—something he surely did for the record collectors around Chicagoland who’ve made the trek to Roselle to visit Record Wonderland. Deasey died on what the shop’s social media posts say was its most successful Record Store Day yet. “We are crushed that he wasn’t there to experience it,” Record Wonderland wrote on Instagram. “​​The day certainly would not have been a success without his work and planning.”

the three members of Baby Teeth, dressed as corny motivational speakers with headset microphones, raise their hands over their heads in triumph at what's mocked up to look like a book event for a book with the same cover and title as their new album
Baby Teeth: Jim Cooper, Abraham Levitan, and Peter Andreadis Credit: Sarah Elizabeth Larson @selfoto

Almost exactly one year ago, Gossip Wolf rejoiced in a new single from reunited indie-rock goofballs Baby Teeth. After a “final show” in 2012, the trio of singer-songwriter and keyboardist Abraham Levitan, bassist Jim Cooper, and drummer Peter Andreadis have been inching back to life—they returned to live gigs in 2018, and that 2022 single was their second since then. On Tuesday, May 2, Baby Teeth will finally release a full-length comeback album, Carry On Regardless, that Levitan describes as “celebrating and skewing marriage, fatherhood, middle-class ambition, and the paranoid remains of the American dream.” As usual, Baby Teeth package their thoughts in radio-ready pop whose dextrous arrangements and sublime hooks recall classic 70s albums from the likes of Supertramp or Chicago. Local weirdo-glam star Bobby Conn produced the album (Levitan and Cooper have both played in his bands), and he gives its 12 tracks an even more delightfully off-center feel. Baby Teeth play a record-release show at the Hideout on Friday, May 5, with openers Bronze. 

Baby Teeth’s first full-length album since their reunion was recorded and produced by Bobby Conn.

On Friday, April 28, hip-hop duo VirgoTwins headline Golden Dagger to celebrate their new album, ArtSpace. Producer Boricua Sandy is from San Diego, but rapper Gilead7 (who also lives on the west coast now) hails from Chicago and belongs to one of our city’s finest underground hip-hop supergroups, Tomorrow Kings. Gossip Wolf considers VirgoTwins honorary Chicagoans, but every city should want to claim a group capable of making an album as good as ArtSpace. Friday’s terrific lineup includes Lamon Manuel, Udababy, and Dai, as well as DJ sets by Ayana Contreras and Jaidot. Awdazcate hosts the show, which starts at 8 PM; tickets cost $12.

Rapper Gilead7 and producer Boricua Sandy of VirgoTwins are joined on this track by DJ Presyce.

In its own words, the University of Chicago established Arts + Public Life in 2011 as a “neighborhood platform for arts and culture in Washington Park” that provides “residencies for Black and Brown artists and creative entrepreneurs, arts education for youth, and artist-led programming and exhibitions.” Among the many upcoming programs under the Arts + Public Life umbrella is “Body & Soul: Recovering Community Stories From South Side Music Venues,” which organizers say will honor “culturally significant social spaces that once thrived along Garfield Boulevard.” The free event, held from 1 PM till 4 PM on Saturday, May 6, at the Green Line Performing Arts Center, will include “community story shares, live performances, and a neighborhood walking tour.” Among the scheduled participants are jazz guitarists George Freeman and Michael Allemana, Honey Pot Performance director Meida McNeal, and Party Noire cofounder Nick Alder.

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