Posted inMusic

Ele Matelan tells stories with sound effects

Ele Matelan didn’t plan on making a career out of sound effects. Like a lot of Chicago theater artists, she moved here after college (at Southern Methodist University) to pursue acting. She also did some stage management for her SMU pals who had formed the House Theatre of Chicago in 2001. But one winter night […]

Posted inMusic

Cynthia Plaster Caster broke the mold

Kind. Funny. Genuine. A sweetheart, an artist, a legend. If the true sign of a life well lived is a tidal wave of emotional tributes when you die, then Cynthia Albritton—better known to the whole wide world as Cynthia Plaster Caster—lived a very good life. So much so that writing about her after her passing—she […]

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Bandcamp Fridays enter their third year

I still can’t do anything but guess about the long-term significance of last month’s news that Bandcamp has been acquired by Epic Games. Or maybe I should say “worry,” not “guess.” I cherish Bandcamp because it caters to artists who have little to no interest in the mainstream music business, and I don’t want that […]

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Rescuing the legacy of Dancin’ Man

On December 13, I took a long drive to Des Plaines to pick up relatives of my friend Perry Kanlan, a showbiz-adjacent eccentric known as Dancin’ Man. The time on the road gave me the chance to reflect on the circumstances of my relationship with him. I formally met Perry in 2011, when my friend […]