Exquisite Cardboard

December 8, 2008

ExquisiteCityBlock
In their ongoing efforts to become a “non-typical” venue for the arts, The Viaduct Theatre on Western Ave has been hosting an exhibit called “Exquisite City“… a play off of the art game “Exquisite Copse” in which different artists depict parts of a body without seeing the whole — E.C. invited artists from across the city to depict their view of the city completely in cardboard, and then compile them together as individual, miniature city blocks.  Lots of great work, including from one of my favorite poster artists Dan Grzeca, musician/artists collaborator Sally Timms and TONS of others. 

The finished product of Exquisite City is very interesting… some abstract, some apolcolyptic, some detailed down to sidewalk curbs and little dramas taking place in little aprtment windows… wonderful stuff. 

I’ll upload more photo’s later, but here’s an impressive foot-tall appropration of The Hideout:

and the real one c/o the blog “The Inside Clam Digger“…

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Middle-By-Middle Middle

March 7, 2008

originally posted on URChicago here.

Chicago’s fortunate to have a super-supportive (nay, incestuous?) music scene, many of whom have roots back to a lil’ place called The Hideout. So who better than Hideout to host “Sending the Four Star City to the Lone Star State” party? The mini-fest is a fundraiser for all the bands travelling’ down to the Sundance Film Festival, oop, I mean South By Southwest in Austin.

Performing is a laundry list of the city’s faves, some of whom will soon be called “indie buzz bands” by Entertainment Weekly or something. A mere $10 gets you into this shizzle:

12:00 – Sybris
12:45 – Apteka
1:30 – Cameron McGill
2:15 – Mittens on Strings
3:00 – JT and the Clouds
3:45 – The Hood Internet (DJ STV SLV)
4:30 – Hollywood Holt
5:15 – Bound Stems
6:00 – Make Believe
6:45 – Reds and Blue
7:30 – Pit Er Pat
8:15 – Waco Brothers
9:00 – Tight Phantomz
9:45 – Killer Whales
10:30 – Icy Demons
11:15 – Tom Schraeder & His Ego
12:00 – Ezra Furman & the Harpoons
12:45 – Scotland Yard Gospel Choir

Rounding down, that’s like, $0.72 a band. Your door cover will let you go in & out for the whole day (like there’s anything else to do on Wabansia & Elston), but it will be packed by the end of the night.


Rodrigo y Gabriela at The Hideout

January 28, 2007

Another random weekend night landed me in a hilariously long line outside one of my favorite spots: The Hideout. The bar is aptly named; hidden in an industrial area of town near North Ave and Elston and it’s not an easy find if you don’t know where you’re heading. Then again, judging by the queue, the place isn’t exactly “hush-hush”. Hideout has a stellar entertainment reputation (comedy, poetry, music, etc), a great low-key vibe and a line that stretched out the door and down the block.


(Images taken From http://www.RodGab.com)

My pal Kate had tipped me off to a free early show hosted by WXRT. It’d be fair to say that XRT is “slipping” a bit as far as being a relevant Chicago music resource goes (XRT listener pole, the loss of Sound Opinions), but they’re still an authority if they highlight fabulous musicians like Mexico-via-Dublin’s Rodrigo y Gabriela. Hell, before I even saw them I relished saying their names in a thick, fake, latin accent: “Rrrodureeego Eeee Gabreeeeyayla.”

While we’re trying to keep warm out on Wabansia, there’s terrific music floating out the windows of The H/O… more slackers (myself included) begin to line up outside, annoyed that we’re not being let in. While we’re standing, and shivering, and smoking, snippets of gorgeous guitar work emanated though the open window facing the front patio. Intrigued outsiders started taking turns peeking into front window in hopes of catching a glimpse.

Within 10 or so minutes the crowd thinned out and the kindly Hideout staff let us in, so long as we promised to stay at the front bar. All of us promised and about half of us complied. Being a good kid I took a seat at the front bar, ordered a round of Old Styles, and took it all in: The bar aglow with homemade paper snowflakes and Christmas lights, the mixed-bag crowd, and the gorgeous acoustic onslaught that was filtering in from the crowded room behind us.

Eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I joined the dozen or so that opted to just stand on chairs and tables in the bar in hopes of seeing the stage. The backroom was packed with the exact type of people I picture listening to XRT and some terrible world music CDs. (Also, side note: RodGab would politely punch you in the gullet for saying they were “world music”). Peering over the adult-contempo crowd, I spotted two mild-mannered guitarists laying out beautiful, seemingly effortless classical guitar picking with a flair that married Latin and Led Zepplin.

When Rodrigo Sanchez would occasionally drop into complicated fretwork, the capacity crowd remained absolutely silent. At other times the sound assault was so dynamic you’d think there were more than a pair of acoustic guitars on stage. Part of that sound is Gabriela Quintero’s percussive style–occasionally punishing her guitar strings to create jagged rhythms and using the hollow body of her guitar in substitution of a proper drum kit. The combined effect of the duo was overwhelming–a full sound that belied the two dexterous and mild-mannered performers on stage.

The show ended (after a superb rendition of Stairway… NOT joking), and Gabriela graciously thanked the crowd in charming, broken English. A few minutes later, (and after a much-appreciated appearance by those Nomadic Tamale Guys) the pair waived goodbye to the handful of onlookers and hopped into a waiting cab.