Category Archives: Music

Party Premiere Announces Online Release

“A brilliant slice of bedroom pop, infectiously catchy and rough around all of the right edges…A wild, rag-tag, day-glow world that exists both a millennia ahead of present time and one step in the past. Every frame is filled with wonders that are easily recognizable, yet slightly out of place. Like an antique store in the future…Not to be Missed.”
-Chicago Journal

On July 26th, we celebrated the online release of the uninterrupted 47-minute director’s cut of Sci Fi Sol.  And what better way to kick it off than with our 2nd annual house party at Star Labs.

Noble Square’s own Professor Weinsteiner concocted an exclusive party beer-brew, giving the event a distinct and unforgettable flavor. Fashion designer MxMiJe@n$ unveiled Wonder Women, his new original couture leather jacket.   Director Joseph R. Lewis introduced SFS’s party-premiere screening with a live-performance as Captain Famous accompanied by an original VJ set by Jeffy Cymbals.  Many thanks to Brian Jarreau for the stellar photo coverage.

Sci Fi Sol began production in early 2011 and shot for over a year throughout the beautiful city of Chicago.  Many soon-to-be-razed Chicago landmarks were included in the movie, including the last remaining tower of Cabrini Green and legendary comedy club Improv Olympic, where songwriter and star Melody Nife moonlights as Musical Director.

Check out Xclusive Pix from our XTRACT PARTY below~


RIP Jim Nayder. Chicago’s Host of “The Annoying Music Show” Passes Away

Jim Nayder (Courtesy: Chicago Tribune)

Jim Nayder (Courtesy: Chicago Tribune)

I’ve never met him and I’ve only heard his show a couple of times, but I definitely feel a kinship with Jim Nayder, who recently died from a heart attack at age 59.

Specializing in music that was grating to some and fascinating to others, Nayder parlayed his love of the musical oddball into a regular radio feature picked up by dozens of stations.  If you’ve ever heard some of the music I play on “Mediatrocities” or have seen my record collection, you’ll understand the love.

Thank you, Jim, for keeping alive the weird, wild and wonderful in music.

In tribute, here’s a youtube video of one of the most memorable renditions of “Let It Be” ever sung:




Chicago Jazz Trio, Nonpronto, Releases Their First EP and It’s Pretty Grand

Nonpronto (L to R): Dan Collins, Piano/Vocals; Josh Murtha, Bass; Luke Angle, drums.

Nonpronto (L to R): Dan Collins, Piano/Vocals; Josh Murtha, Bass; Luke Angle, drums.

The marvelous new Chicago jazz trio Nonpronto has just released their new 5 track self-titled EP. You can head on over to their Bandcamp site to give a listen and name your price. Better yet, support them by purchasing the CD on their Bigcartel store.

You can hear an earlier version of “Sweet Times Run” as part of this podcast of “Mediatrocities”. I hope to be able to get an interview with the trio for a future show.

Disco humor



Thanks to Shane Simmons for this punnery.

Four Really Bad Beatles Tributes on TV and Why the Stars Shouldn’t Do Them

sgtpeppepIf you were to check YouTube right now, you would find plenty of videos of  Beatles cover bands. That’s all well and good, totally understood. It probably gets you easy paying gigs at parties and local concerts if you’re a struggling musician.

However, if you’re already a star, covering the Beatles–under certain circumstances–is probably not a good idea, even if you’ve had hit remakes of them. It’s probably a zero-sum gain for the well-known. I’ve culled up four examples of “tributes” that end up being anything but, along with the reasons why they’re misguided.

1. You’ll always be reminded you’re not the Beatles nor will you be close.

At the 46th Grammys show, the Fab Four was “honored” by the talents of Sting, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill and Pharrell Williams. Never mind the flubbed title line by Matthews (“I saw her dancing there”) and never mind the fact that they do a decent job covering it. The problem is trying to recreate the ambiance of the Beatles’ debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. It’s bad enough to position the performers almost exactly how they would have appeared back then (making those guys look like the touring cast of Beatlemani), but adding the pictures and constant running videos of the real Beatles as wallpaper is a reminder of the ultimate unattainable goal.

2. It’s easy to be lazy and uninspired staging a Beatles tribute.

The following is a clip from what some have written is the worst Beatles tribute ever. (I have my own choice I’m saving for last) Watching it gave me the distinct feeling the makers of the TV special “Beatles Forever” cared more about having the audience sitting around in the world’s largest living room (a few bongs scattered about would have been a nice touch).  It starts out nicely with Ray Charles, but then quickly takes the steep drop as Tony Randall, Paul Williams, Mel Tillis, Diahann Carroll, Anthony Newley and Bernadette Peters take their shots. All sitting down? Really? Hey, folks will pay attention, they’re Beatles tunes.The most somnambulistic Beatles medley ever.

3.  Staging the productions can be left to people who have no idea what The Beatles were about

On Cher’s variety show, Tina Turner (a Beatles remake hit maker) and Kate Smith joined her for a medley of the Mersey boys’ beats. Not really a bad idea, although Smith looks a little lost during some of it. What really sinks this is the garishness  of it all: Bob Mackie gowns, tinsels, rainbows, Sgt. Pepper’s outfits. The Beatles reflected the consciousness of a generation, but here the songs become fodder for a show coming to Las Vegas. Thank goodness Tim Conway pops in a couple of times to parody the production.

4. The production can be handed to someone who tries to be as experimental as The Fab Four and fails miserably

Dear readers, what follows is the rock bottom worst Beatles tribute ever shown on television. It was presented by Rolling Stone Magazine, which I assume never gave a shit about the group to produce this outrage. Ted Neely (Jesus from “Jesus Christ Superstar”) and Patti LaBelle (who sounds awful here) are part of a crew stuck in what looks like a combination of bad TV variety, very cheap and asinine Off-Off-Broadway experimental theater and self- parody. This is especially true when singers show up in a White House setting dressed in Nixon and Kissinger costumes (!). The great Richie Havens and Yvonne Elliman provide some much needed sanity, but they can’t stop the eventual onslaught, some of which has a (I think, unintentional) Rocky Horror feel to it. You won’t believe your eyes and ears.

All I am saying is –give it a rest.


QUEEN B XOXKasey Foster moved to Chicago in 2004.  She received her degree in Theatre and Dance from hometown college, Indiana-Purdue University of Fort Wayne. Over the last 9 years she has cultivated a reputation as one of Chicago’s most talented and respected underground theatre stars.

Kasey_Foster_1_loresShe has worked with Redmoon Theater often, performing in their annual Winter Pageants as well as Boneyard Prayer, The Princess Club, Once Upon a Time, and The Golden Truffle.  She has also worked with Dog n Pony, Collaboraction, Red Tape, Adventure Stage, and The Anatomy Collective.  Foster sings with local bands This Must be the Band, Grood, and The Dangerous Strangers.   Kasey has produced and choreographed variety shows at Martyrs’ and High Concept Labs including her original long-form dance pieces “Assignment #403” and “Dance Tribute to Mr. Bungle”. She has choreographed middle school productions of Bye Bye Birdie, Grease, and Fiddler on the Roof.  She is also a producer of Chicago talk show The Monthly Visit with Kevin O’Donnell.  She stars as Queen B in the music video adventure series SCI FI SOL.

How has the city of Chicago shaped your career as a choreographer and performer?

As a choreographer, Chicago has provided me with a bounty of talented people and opportunities to carry out my mad plans. As a performer I’ve learned a wide spectrum of performance styles, because you can find it all in Chicago. Devised to traditional to puppetry to clown to musical.  I feel that this experience is unique to Chicago.

Why is dancing important? 

Because everyone loves it. And they always will.

SCI FI SOL was your first large-scale movie production experience. Did the shoot leave any lasting impressions on you?

I was amazed to see the amount of details put into every shot.

How would you describe SCI Fi SOL? 

A masterpiece : )

When you host a party or produce an event what are you primary concerns? 

I’m most concerned with entertaining people.

Top three fave snack foods? 

Chips. Nuts. Grapes.

From Legendary Lew’s Record Collection: B.S. Pully’s “Fairy Tales”

bspullyfairytalesTonight’s entry is one of my favorite bad comedy albums: B. S. Pully’s Fairy Tales. This album is one of those early raunchy anti-PC records (pretty tame by today’s standards) like those of Belle Barth, Rusty Warren and Pearl Williams. I found it in a record store in Rochester, NY filed under “children’s records.” Ha!

Pully was a supporting actor whose most famous role was that of Big Jule in Guys and Dolls. He appeared in other films too, like Cat Ballou and The Love God? (starring Don Knotts) which has got to be one of the most obscene G-rated films ever.

One of the main reasons why I love this album is that Pully has the greatest voice for stand-up comedy ever. When he tells you he works the terlet , you believe him. With that chain-cigarette and whiskey voice, he sounds like he could have been the bouncer for his own shows. A few things you’ll notice here are that many of his jokes are not funny and he comments on how people are not laughing at them. Also, you’ll notice the same annoying recorded laugh loop running through most of the album. It’s a pretty sloppy mixing, but hey, it adds character. Enjoy the ‘venereal material’!

Originally posted on my previous blog,”DamnThatOjeda,” on March 27, 2008. Has it been 5 years already?

Fairy Tales, Side 1
Fairy Tales, Side 2