Posted inArts & Culture

The Pusher Trilogy

American crime thrillers have grown so bloated with pop culture and testosterone that these three Danish noirs are arresting for their spareness and close attention to character. Nicolas Winding Refn made his feature debut with Pusher (1996, 105 min.), the tale of a wild-living Copenhagen dealer (Kim Bodnia) whose business debts spiral out of control […]

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Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet

Take a mix of funk and hip-hop rhythms laced with New Orleans street beat, slather it in tried-and-true harmonies for five horns, and keep it airy enough to incorporate Basie-style riffs and Balkan counterpoint. Voila, Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet–a hearty hybrid of latter-day rhythms grafted to jazz melodies and chords. Anchored by Hammond organ and […]

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Johnny Rawls

Johnny Rawls came of age during the classic soul era of the 60s, serving as a guitarist and bandleader for groups founded by O.V. Wright and Little Johnny Taylor. Since going solo in the 80s he’s grafted pop and rock stylings onto that sound, but on his latest album, this year’s Heart & Soul (Deep […]

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Chicago Underground Comedy

Tony Sam, cofounder-producer of Chicago Underground Comedy, attracts the city’s funniest amateurs and rising professionals even though his show’s less than two years old. He bills CUC as “alternative comedy,” in part because of its bar setting, and challenges comics to present brand-new material and avoid “tired premises.” This week’s particularly strong lineup includes Sam, […]

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Resfest

This touring festival of digital videos celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, with programs screening Thursday through Sunday, October 19 through 22, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Music videos continue to provide an inviting market for adventurous video artists, which Resfest has recognized through its long-running emphasis on music clips. Videos […]

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World/Inferno Friendship Society

With its zealous horns, rampaging accordion, circusy swing, and overheated gutter-poet melodrama, this supersize New York punk-cabaret band has something to irritate just about everybody–its cheeky, casually dissolute swagger even manages to make the switchblade-sharp instrumental technique on display seem annoyingly show-offy. But despite all that, the music’s as infectious as a virus (and I […]

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The Hold Steady

The relentless deluge of hype that’s surrounded the Hold Steady’s Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant)–people calling it their Born to Run or comparing singer Craig Finn to Springsteen, Pitchfork handing out its highest rating of the year–is the sort of thing that would normally make me hate a record by association alone. But it’s […]