Monday, November 30, 2009

Settling in.

Settling in.

That was a really brutal move. What was supposed to take six hours took over eight and ended up costing almost twice as much as we were quoted. The crew we had were polite, but overdid it on packing stuff and charging us for it -- my drums really didn't need to go in boxes, they never had before -- and I don't feel they really worked quickly. The last time I moved it was with the help of two friends and WE got it done quicker than a team of four professional movers? We will never be using Golan's movers again.

Despite my previous fears about our new place, it's turned out to be almost perfect. It turns out there IS more space than we thought there would be, everything fits where we want it to, and the use of a full basement is absolutely a life saver for a dude like me that owns so much stuff. GalPal and I have woken up in our new bedroom the past few days feeling happy and positive and the new digs just seem to be having an overall positive effect on our general outlook.

Of course there is unexpected stress. Money is tighter than I wanted due to the additional moving expenses along with all the other little things like scraping together a security deposit, renting cars to move us and the pets, running out to get incidentals for the new place the old one didn't have. The timing is terrible with the holidays coming up, but what can you do? The situation is what it is and I'll just have to rebuild that financial safety net over the next few months.

Overall though I'm glad we moved. The neighborhood is quieter than I'm used to but that's great. There are countless restaurants all around us and a pretty excellent independent grocery store a three-minute walk away. After living in Humboldt Park where the only things near you are gas stations and fast-food restaurants and gangbangers this place is a positive shock to the system.

Change is good.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blur documentary out in 2010!

Blur documentary out in 2010!

File under "Yes, please!" What looks to be an official Blur documentary, No Distance Left To Run, is coming out next month and I can't wait to see it. I loved the biography, Blur: 3862 Days: The Official History, since it shows the band isn't afraid to look at themselves in an unflattering light, and i suspect the movie will continue in that vein. Naturally I hope the title does NOT refer to the band officially ending it's career, and since they keep going back and forth on that matter I'm going to read it as being cheeky rather than declarative. I'm hopeful that, but not counting on, the movie having a U.S. theater release, but if it doesn't can we please get the DVD ASAP?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Moving day...

Moving day...

We're into hour seven of a move they estimated would take five. Ugh. On the positive side it looks like our fears of the place being too small were totally wrong!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble gobble!

Gobble gobble!

Enjoy eating your meat / tofu based feast today!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pre-move freak-out.

Pre-move freak-out.

So yesterday we stopped by the new place to get a few measurements and I almost completely lost it. Allow me to preface this with a little background. It was raining and I got drenched on the way home. Gal Pal had been running errands in a ZipCar in shitty traffic caused by said rain. Once we got to the coachhouse I couldn't get the door open with any of the keys, so by the time GalPal finally figured out how to unlock to entry to our new home we were both in pretty foul moods.

Upon entering the house immediately seemed dingier than either of us remembered. We also realized that the kitchen had almost no counter space and only a few cabinets. For some reason I had thought there was a pantry but I was wrong. We went upstairs to figure out where stuff was going to go and that's when we realized that while there was tons of crawlspace storage, there were only two closets in the whole house, and they were both pretty tiny.

Suddenly we were both freaking out. The house we had so looked forward to moving into seemed more like a dumpy nightmare than a grand new palace. And the layout had me worrying about Betty the Beagle again. We had planned on confining her to the family room and what would be our books and music room but suddenly I was worried that would be too small a space for her. One reason I was so excited about moving into a new house was because I could take off her bark collar and let her run around and enjoy the view from ground level windows. But if she stays in that one space, there is no view.

And then we headed down to the basement to find it full of stuff we thought would be gone before we moved in. The previous tenant moved her stuff out but the neighbors were storing some stuff in there and haven't gotten it out yet, and we were counting on that storage space. The whole visit was a bit dispiriting since we'd been so excited about the move up until then.

So, after surveying everything and making some decisions on where what would go when the movers were there on Friday we headed home ... to find that Betty the Beagle had broken into the fridge and peed in the house. It was the last straw. We cleaned up the mess, I went into shut-down mode, and GalPal just headed straight for the bedroom and closed the door. It was just too much and cast an emotional pall over over everything I'm just starting to get through. You see I spent most of last night trying to sleep, then sipping a finger of bourbon, then making a few cups of hot, soothing (decaffeinated) tea, wondering if we made a mistake not grabbing the apartment we had liked in Logan Square, realizing that was a pointless and entirely fruitless line of thought to pursue, then puzzling through the issues at hand and trying to solve them.

After some thought, and some searching on craigslist, the issues that so vexed me seem totally solvable and I feel much better about it. GalPal is still in a funk but I hope once we start unpacking and making the place our own over the weekend she'll be able to regain the excitement we both felt just 24 hours ago.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The quiet lapping upon the shore before the storm.

The quiet lapping upon the shore before the storm.

It's always a bit weird to start typing seconds after stepping out from under the covers. The cold wood means you're feet are probably more awake than your head yet you still are vaguely aware of fingers hitting keys and words flickering across the screen.

And then, in a blink, you're aware again. Clarity settles in, your typing slows, and you start looking for something or substance to ruminate upon instead of just letting things flow from the unknown.

A kitten scratches at a door. The tic-tock of a clock is heard two rooms away. The fussy rustle of sheets in the next room sounds like breaking waves. Everything grows ever larger until what was once a serene early morning haze is replaced by the glare of minimalist sounds drawing together to give shape to the day ahead.

And this is how it always starts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thank goodness for the short holiday work week!

Thank goodness for the short holiday work week!

Man, what a bust weekend! Friday I packed and then shot Peaches and Amanda Blank at Metro, Saturday I DJed until 5 a.m. (check out the awesome setlist of what got played), and that left me pretty useless on Sunday while GalPal started to pack her stuff up. So while I try to get back on track why don't you enjoy this video of Pickle the Kitten look adorable.

Not enough? O.K., here's a picture of Sasha the Cat and Betty the Beagle also looking adorable.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Packing sucks.

Packing sucks.

And my girlfriend hates me. Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How Big Star let me down.

How Big Star let me down.

Look, here's my number one pet peeve in the restaurant business: you do not close your kitchen early. Ever.

I've worked in the service industry. I managed a restaurant that was one off the few late night eating destinations in Chicago at the time. Yes, on a slow night the kitchen would start closing up and cleaning everything early, but if we closed at 2 a.m., and someone walked in at 1:59 a.m., they were seated, the kitchen was dirtied,, and they got the same service they would have received if they'd walked in at 6 p.m.

Now I'm not saying it doesn't suck to have to go through that, especially when you've got your eyes on the clock and want to get the hell out of there, especially if it was a super busy day. But that doesn't change the fact that at the end of it all, posted hours should be observed. if they're not your reputation plummets in no time.

Big Star in Wicker Park has only been open a week and already they're falling prey to this behavior, and it's infuriating. I was pleased to hear people simpatico to the neighborhood had bought The Pontiac space, and even more pleased when I heard it's center on solid but affordable Mexican fare and lots of bourbon and whiskey! And what they've done with the interior is fabulous.

However if they're going to staff it with people that are too lazy to do their job, or can't be bothered to pay attention to little details like posted hours, then I give up on the place. Will losing my patronage hurt them? Of course not. But it's still a bummer to see one more place in Wicker Park fall into the average category that ends up primarily catering to douchebag clientele with middling service.


Photo by Barry Brecheisen for Metromix

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I was so blissfully clueless until now.

I was so blissfully clueless until now.

GalPal and I were talking the other night and she noted how funny it was that I was so well informed when it came to some thing, and so clueless when it came to others. I'm well rounded when it comes to current events and a reasonably solid worldview, and of course I'm pretty much a walking encyclopedia of music ... so what else could there possibly be? What is it I could be so clueless about?

Well, I got a rude awakening last night -- kind of a one-two punch -- while watching The Soup (Which used to be Talk Soup), a show I honestly haven't watched since Greg Kinnear was the host! Gal Pal and I were settled on the couch as new(-ish?) host Joel McHale ran through the usual talk shows and talking heads, familiar ground for me. Then he launched into quips on various reality TV shows and it was here that I grew startled. I had no idea so many reality shows still existed!

Sure, I'm familiar with the biggies, most of them in contest format, but I had NO idea so many existed that were populated by laarge families / preposterously wealthy families / 20-something douchebag real estate brokers / Lorenzo Lamas (!) / just an all around mind-boggling array of bottom feeders.

It was enough to really make me start to doubt the fabric of Western society. Do people really watch this shit?

I decided to take solace and watch a couple episodes of Community GalPal and II have missed over the last few weeks; we like the show because Chevy Chase is finally doing something funny and because the main character cracks me up with his vulnerable smugness. It was then that I realized said main character was ... Joel McHale, host of The Soup! I had no idea!*

GalPal had a very good laugh at that one ... and said it only underscored her previous point, and man was she right.

*Though the realization did make a slam against E! in that episode even more funny.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yes, another Lady GaGa post from someone that is neither a seventeen-year-old nor a theater major.

Yes, another Lady GaGa post from someone that is not a seventeen-year-old nor an actor nor an art major (but was all of those things at one point).

I swear to you this site has not turned into some Lady GaGa fansite. Especially since the Fame Monster EP shows "Bad Romance" to be an interesting hiccup instead of the harbinger of a bold new direction. (Sonically the EP hews incredibly closely to the more straightforward pop of her debut than the interesting tics and treats I was hoping for.) However this new collaboration with Beyoncé -- not the duet on GaGa's EP but rather one BY Beyoncé FEATURING GaGa (keep it straight) -- is interesting in that it primarily shows the GaGa in PopTart / Diva light and while it's still entertaining it's not nearly compelling as the art-damaged GaGa I prefer.

And with that I swear to try and avoid mention Stefani Germanotta for AT LEAST a week.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A whole lot going on...

A whole lot going on...

I know, like what else is new? More later but for now there's a pretty good comment thread starting up on Rob's "worst movies" post, and my review of the new album from Them Crooked Vultures is up.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Big ol' rock show tonight!

Big ol' rock show tonight!

In a different time, I was primarily known as a dude who booked venues in Chicago. I put together a LOT of shows, worked with a LOT of awesome people, and had a LOT of fun. As time passed, and the field grew more crowded I sort of let that part of my life mostly fall away. Once it became a JOB job, I lost the pleasure I took in doing it, and decided that I would only book shows that felt right to me.

Fast forward a few years and a few of my contemporaries are still thriving, while a fresh batch of new promoters who I see as dedicated to the music for all the right reasons have sprung up in town. Because of this, there is rarely a night in Chicago where there is at least one, if not more, awesome show to see.

Tonight I return to the promoter's chair for an evening, and in my opinion the awesome show you should attend is the one I'm putting on at Subterranean tonight. The bill is filled with old, and incredibly talented, friends, playing a wide enough variety of music that I don't think a single person will leave disappointed.

Do you dig Britpop flavored stadium anthems? The Assembly kicks the nigh off with some of those. Are you more a soul and R&B type? The Midnight Shows is celebrating the release of their debut EP. Do you want to dance to some glam-pop that combines the cars with the more vicious sides of Cheap Trick and David Bowie? The Ladies & Gentlemen will look good and deliver the goods.

All three bands are filled with guys who have been on the scene for years, in and out of label deals, and who know how to deliver the goods because they truly believe in what they do.

Tonight, my friends, is gonna be a whole lot of fun. I hope you can join in!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Checking in.

Checking in.

I was in the midst of writing something about how excited I was to go to Lincoln Hall for the first time tonight when I was informed I was bumped from the list. It seems as if one of the bands playing needs the space for friends and family so that's cool, I understand.* I'd rather had pals at my show than some dude from the press I've never met. It just means it'll be a bit longer before I finally get to visit the new venue everyone has been raving about.

Other than that everything is just kinda keepin' on keepin' on. My review of Kid Sister's new album is up right now, and hopefully tomorrow I'll have photos to go along with my write up of an insane party from earlier this week.

Tarry on.

*They did offer me a spot on the list for another show, but I have this going on tomorrow night so I had to turn it down.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's funny because it could be true.

It's funny because it could be true.


My romance with GaGa.

My romance with GaGa.

Man, it's looking like video week around these parts, ain't it? I resisted posting this -- not like you can't see it a jillion other places -- but man, if you haven't seen it, or at least heard the song, you really should. Lady GaGa is just getting weirder and weirder -- just check out her unrestrained vocal tics and overly mannered delivery throughout the song -- and I just keep liking her more and more. It's weird to think I've only been aware of her since inauguration week when I heard "Let's Dance" "Just Dance" in a D.C. bar and marveled at how the room exploded.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Them Crooked Motherfucking Crushing Vultures.

Them Crooked Motherfucking Crushing Vultures.

The much anticipated Them Crooked Vultures debut leaked yesterday so the band did the right thing and decided to just stream the whole thing online.

Here's the first track of the album, "No One Loves Me & Neither Do I." It starts off with a bluesy boogie riff, and while I dig it I worried slightly that the album would continue along that path ... until I hit the 2:44 and realized everything was going to be A-OK.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Educational Monday: Om nom nom.

Educational Monday: Om nom nom.

Consider this a history lesson.

In other news, The Hood Internet dropped their latest mixtape this morning. Now, I'm gonna pat my own back for a second and point out that I'm the dude that gave the dynamic duo their first show. So I've watched with a bit of pride as they've grown from being perceived as sort of a novelty into being two widely respected DJs whose littlest moves now trigger beaming responses from their legion of fans. Way to go guys!

Friday, November 06, 2009

DJ Tankboy + Old Oak Tap = Friday funday!

DJ Tankboy + Old Oak Tap = Friday funday!

It is the first Friday of the month, so that means I will be curating the music within the walls of the Old Oak Tap this evening. It's supposed to be a relatively nice evening, so come on out and enjoy it before the weather turns icy and you find yourself hunkered down on your couch with only the television (and possibly your partner if you have one / if they can still stand you after months of cabin fever) as company.

As usual I have a truckload of new stuff, alongside about three semis of classic faves, so you know the music will never be predictable.

BONUS: The great thing about Old oak? Not only are the tunes good, but the food is excellent*, and the beers are many. So come on down, nosh a bit if you so desire, and then stay the evening for camaraderie set to a wonderful soundtrack.

November 6

DJ Tankboy

10pm - 2am

2109 W Chicago

*Seriously, try the spicy fries. They're awesome. The subtly slow burn is not to be found elsewhere in our city.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

My inner ten-year-old's hormones just went into overdrive.

My inner ten-year-old's hormones just went into overdrive.

Princess Leia and her stunt-double catch some rays.

In other news, check out my review of the new Prairie Cartel album, and don't forget to catch them at Angels & K

[photo credz]

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Obligatory "Sorry for the skimpy posts" post.

Obligatory "Sorry for the skimpy posts" post.

So I've got this thing where I force myself to do at least one post a day during the week. I've been doing it for years, and it helps keep the gears churning, even in dry periods. I am currently not in a creatively dry period, but I am in the middle of a time-strapped stretch.

So yes, you've seen more photos and videos and less words. Why is that? Well, GalPal and I have been searching for a new apartment, and that has been incredibly draining. We spent weeks combing Logan Square and had it narrowed down to two promising properties until last Sunday when a dark horse suddenly entered the race. A friend of ours knew of a 2-story coach house, plus basement, that we would have all to ourselves, that was suddenly available. The only downside? It wasn't in Logan Square, it was in Bucktown.

I had reservations about living in Bucktown, as did GalPal. For my part, I spent a lot of time there in 1994-1998 when it was decidedly less friendly. Danny's was a house party gone punk, the Blue Note was on Armitage, and walking at night without heavy attitude was strongly discouraged. In fact I've spent my whole Chicago life living in the edgier, hipper parts of town, and the prospect of moving to somewhere as, well, safe as Bucktown is now seemed to go against the grain, at least for me. I mean I have a reputation to uphold, right?

Then again, I've spent almost two decades in edgy areas, and maybe it's not so terrible an idea that I could walk to and from the train without having to constantly check over my shoulder or adopt a swagger and up my guard when a crew of kids suddenly appears in my path. Maybe moving to an area with strollers and families would be O.K.

Then other things popped up. We'd be within walking distance of dozens of restaurants, train distance of hundreds of restaurants, and, here's an important one, there's a neighborhood bar around the corner that is dog -- and especially beagle -- friendly. And a huge fenced in park that a certain beagle could run around in. And did I mention we'd have a house to ourselves ... for less than the apartments in Logan Square we were looking at were asking for?

So yeah, sorry the content has been of the more skimmable sort recently, but GalPal and I were busy finding our dream home for the next few years! We can't wait to move in.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Listening to KC.

Listening to K. C.

This photo was taken on the way home from Chuck's last birthday party, but I'm pretty sure we were listening to Kelly Clarkson so it could've been taken last week.

Yup, you got it ... Marcus and I are in fact 13-year-old girls.