Kool Keith Credit: Andrew H. Walker

Who knew that flanking a mutative hip-hop personality with old-school Ghostbusters, Batman, and Wrestlemania pinball machines would feel so right? For the fourth year in a row, Kool Keith—who has also gone by Dr. Octagon, Dr. Dooom, and a slew of other monikers—will descend upon Chicago’s most legit arcade bar for a merry evening of performance and carousing that’s been anointed “A Very Kool Xmas.” Spawned in 2014 from a playful Twitter back-and-forth between Keith and Logan Arcade mensch and owner Jim Zespy, the event has become a bizarro, well-oiled holiday get-down featuring the idiosyncratic and colorful vet rapper working through his deep catalog about the future, space, and the future in space. Keith’s chill delivery begets rapid rhymes that hang among the bells and whistles and clings and clangs of the arcade’s vintage machines. (The back room is actually cleared out for the performance, which gives the arcade more of a music-venue vibe, but those pinball noises are ever-present.) Being three sheets to the wind in a loud-ass arcade is sensory overload to begin with; at this event the atmosphere is even more intoxicating. And because Keith loves the spotlight, expect him to schmooze and wade through the crowd, ready for any photo op that might arise. Supa Emcee and a small host of DJs will precede Keith, and following his set you can expect some freestyling to close out the evening. In conjunction with this year’s party, Logan Hardware Records is dropping a limited cassingle of unreleased Kool Keith material. One of the tracks is (naturally) titled “Fuck Space,” and the other is “Larry Birdz.” It’ll be available for purchase at the show along with commissioned silk-screened posters from Dead Meat Design.   v

In February 2018, this category was updated to use the phrase ‘arcade bar’ in place of the word originally used.