This past fall, the board of local nonprofit Pure Joy, who came together in 2013 to launch an ADA-accessible, LGBTQ-safe all-ages punk venue, reached a crossroads when the latest in a series of potential spaces fell through. “We were like, ‘OK, that was our best bet,'” says board member Jes Skolnik. “‘We should probably figure out what to do, because it’s been four years and we’re not gonna get closer than that.'” The board decided to shift focus: while continuing to search for a space, Pure Joy will present shows and host workshops at other people’s spaces, as well as build a skill-share database to connect the punk community with arts nonprofits. On Friday, April 20, Pure Joy will throw a relaunch benefit at a DIY gallery and share the proceeds with radical black collective Assata’s Daughters. It’s a combination art show and concert with sets by hip-hop and punk acts Semiratruth & Anaiet, Liquids, the Breathing Light, and C.H.E.W. For info e-mail

Gossip Wolf has long ranked Varsity among the city’s best indie-pop bands, and the world is catching up—their album Parallel Person, due Friday, April 27, on D.C. label Babe City, has attracted coverage on NPR and a bazillion blogs. They’ll sell copies at their Empty Bottle show on Friday, April 20. Need more Varsity news? Three members—Jacob and Paul Stolz and Dylan Weschler—have a new band called Discus with Arthur Velez of Clearance. They just debuted with the jangly “One Step.”

Since debuting in Los Angeles in 1998, the International Pop Overthrow festival has expanded to Vancouver, Stockholm, and Liverpool, among other places—and it’s been in Chicago for 17 years. For 2018 more than 60 acts play the Heartland Cafe in 12 shows that run from Friday, April 20, till Saturday, April 28. Gossip Wolf is stoked for the Stones-y psych of Soft Candy, the bent garage of Gal Gun, and the reunited original lineup of 90s Chicago power-pop experts the Lilacs.  v

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