The release schedule times, they are a changin’. While typical release schedules with months of promotion are likely not going away completely any time soon, a rash of surprise releases has shifted the focus. Surprise albums are nothing new, but it’s been a little crazy this year. Long gestating projects coming out of nowhere (Rhianna, James Blake, Drake, the obvious one I’ll reference in a bit), truly unexpected albums (Beyonce, Autechre, again you know who I am talking about), and more than welcome returns (Chance the Rapper, Radiohead, I’m talking about Frank Ocean) have dominated the music scene recently and this past weekend saw another…
Frank Ocean, after four years of practically no communication and a few months or so of cryptic messages that honestly could have amounted to nothing, made his glorious return. He released two projects, a decent visual album in Endless and beautifully sparse studio album in blond. Like most of these surprise releases, I think most people were unprepared. I certainly was as I stood on my cousin’s rooftop watching the Air and Water show as news broke of a pop up shop in Evanston giving out of free copies of Ocean’s zine Boys Don’t Cry.
I don’t think there was any other way to release a project of this magnitude. If news broke any earlier there would be lines for days, leaks upon leaks of the album would have surfaced, and the majesty of the whole thing would be lost. Maybe it’s sour grapes over not being able to acquire Boys Don’t Cry, but at what point will these surprise releases start to lose their luster? When does a surprise become expected and not really all that special? I think we’re getting close considering there have been at least as many surprise releases as there have been months this year. But then again this coming from the guy that considered leaving the party he was at to get a copy of the zine.
Enough realizing that boys sometimes do cry, let’s get to your curated weekend. Whether you want to rock out, indulge in some foreign cultures, be a little socially conscious, or enjoy some coffee with that book reading, this weekend has something for you.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 25th
Tortoise and Homme @ Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph St., 6:30PM – 10:00PM
WHAT: Established legends and on the rise stars share the stage for the year’s final Millennium Park Summer Music Series concert
SO WHAT: Summer is winding down and the Millennium Park Summer Music Series is going out with a bang. Tortoise are Chicago’s post rock luminaries, experimenting with minimalistic jazzy sounds that add up to something greater than their parts. Joining them will be Homme, the duo of Sima Cunningham and Marcie Stewart. Homme’s experimental rock invites audience to melt into their sound before erupting into a frenzy that begs to just let loose. After their performance on the third day of Pitchfork, they are cemented as one of the must see acts in Chicago. Go listen to to “Woman” and try not to become as obsessed as I am.
NOW WHAT: It’s free! Stop what you’re doing and prepare for this amazing show.
Deborah Shapiro and Maryse Meijer @ Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N Milwaukee Ave., 7:00PM – 10:00PM
WHAT: Local authors discuss and read from their debut novels.
SO WHAT: Volumes Bookcafe may have just opened this year, but they are steadily becoming one of the best venues for readings, book shopping and coffee. This event will showcase Deborah Shapiro and Maryse Meijer as they go in depth on their debut novels. Shapiro’s The Sun in Your Eyes is an evocative an complex look at friendship and desire, while Meijer’s Heartbreaker is an intense collection of short stories that fell like studies on sexuality, masculinity, femininity, and family.
NOW WHAT: Its a free event that will introduce you to this wonderful store and two essential local writers.
THURSDAY – SATURDAY, AUGUST 25th – 27th
WHAT: An annual festival celebrating and teaching Turkish culture to Chicago
SO WHAT: Discover and celebrate Turkish culture with an array of art vendors from an array of Turkish regions, while enjoying performances of traditional Turkish dance, food and famous Turkish ice cream.
NOW WHAT: Stop by the Daley Plaza for free, grab your kebab lunch, buy a handmade copper pot, check out live performances between noon and 2:30 p.m. and watch a demonstration of paper marbling!
FRIDAY, AUGUST 26th
Let’s Talk About It @ Galerie F, 2381 N Milwaukee Ave., 6:00PM – 10:00PM
WHAT: The opening reception for a socially conscious art exhibit at the best gallery in Chicago
SO WHAT: Galerie F will host a group of street artists who have created works that represent and illustrate the desire to see social change in the current landscape. The exhibit aims to explore overlooked perspectives in an attempt to empowered everyone no matter how different their backgrounds may be from one another. This collection will invite the artists and attendees to join in on the conversation for the betterment of the world.
NOW WHAT: Prepare yourself for an enlightening experience at this free event.
FRIDAY – SUNDAY, AUGUST 26th – 28th
WHAT: A chance to taste some the best food Greektown has to offer
SO WHAT: The 27th Taste of Greektown lets Hellenic pride take center stage at this acclaimed annual culinary fest. The whole festival is a love letter to Mediterranean culture, blending Old World traditions with a 21st century freshness. Tantalizing food and spirits from neighborhood eateries will be the main attraction, but plenty of music and entertainment including Greek bands and games for both kids and families will also be a highlight. If you’re 21+, feeling adventurous, and really hungry, then check out the fest’s first Gyro Eating Contest. Signup on Saturday, August 27 only from 3:30pm to 5:30pm at the contest’s table to join in on a chance for $250 Visa Giftcard at 6:00PM
NOW WHAT: Just head over to the Greektown and get ready for a feast! Opa!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27th
Bric-a-Brac Scummer Slam 2016 @ East Room, 2354 N Milwaukee Ave., 1:00PM – 10:00PM
SO WHAT: Summer is coming to an end and what better way to send it off with an afternoon of raging rock ‘n’ roll from all over Chicago and beyond. Bric-a-Brac and East Room will be hosting a huge lineup of bands with a little food from Boiler Room, drink specials from Jameson Irish Whiskey and New Belgium, and energy courtesy of Red Bull. Bands playing the Scummer Slam include Wet Wallet, Savage Beliefs, The Rubs, Tweens, Gym Shorts, Muff Divers, The Hemingers, Soda Boys, Slugs, and The Cowboys.
NOW WHAT: There is no cover for the Scummer Slam, but the event will be taking donations to support the music programming at Goethe Elementary School.
Records and Beer @ Aquanaut Brewery, 5435 N Wolcott Ave., 2:00PM – 10:00PM
WHAT: A private party and vinyl record marketplace at Chicago’s Aquanaut Brewing Company
SO WHAT: You’ll have a chance to taste Aquanaut’s freshest crafted beer while sifting through rows of wax to build your record collection. Plenty of Chicagoland record stores, food trucks, DJs, local artists, and a special live band will keep the fun going all afternoon and evening.
NOW WHAT: You can RSVP here for this responsible drinking and crate-digging event
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, AUGUST 27th – 28th
SO WHAT: This is an opportunity to supports some incredibly talented local artists. The fest invited 190 artists every year to participate in the fest, giving them the opportunity to share their great art work with the community. In addition to the art there will be plenty of food and drink as well as two stage of live music. All proceeds from the fest go to fund, develop and support arts education programming at Holstein Park and in the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhoods.
NOW WHAT: This fest is free and open to the public. Go and celebrate some wonderful art!
SUNDAY AUGUST 28th
WHAT: A nice movie night
SO WHAT: Everybody needs a nice night where they can just relax and watch good movie with a few friends. Boiler Room, along with Logansquarist and PBR, will host a screening of Grease that will satiate movie lovers and pizza aficionados alike. You can enjoy the movie and enjoy the open Boiler Room patio with a PB&J special; a slice of pizza, 16 oz PBR and a shot of Jameson for $8.50.
NOW WHAT: Slick your hair back, get your leather jacket, and RSVP here to enjoy a free PBR tallboy during the movie.
Garfunkel and Oates @ City Winery, 1200 W Randolph St., early show at 6:30PM, late show at 9:00PM
WHAT: Musical comedy at its best
SO WHAT: Garfunkel and Oates are Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, two utterly fantastic comedians and musicians. The duo named after “two famous rock-and-roll second bananas” Art Garfunkel and John Oates, are ludicrously funny and are able to intertwine their talents quite well. The duo has reached the top of the iTunes Comedy charts a couple of times as well as starred and wrote much of their IFC show Garfunkel and Oates, which captured their satirical wit quite well along with a very gripping and emotional turn from Lindhome.
NOW WHAT: Spots are still available for both the 6:30 early show and the 9:00PM late show. The tickets range from $28 for Reserve, $32 for Premier, $36 Front Premier, and $40 for VIP. And seriously, watch their wonderful show on Netflix or IFC, it’s absolutely worth a watch.