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When July/August rolls around each year, I send out dozens of reply emails that have a variation on "No, I won't be attending Lollapalooza"/"I'm not covering Lollapalooza." Despite living in Chicago's Northern Suburbs, Lollapalooza for me is not the true Lollapalooza - the traveling festival that I was lucky enough to attend in the 1990s. In fact, Lollapalooza '93 was my first paid gig as a photographer, so there's a connection there. As a permanent, Chicago-based event, Lollapalooza just has not come up with a lineup compelling enough for me to attend. Sure, they drop in a handful of bands that I dig each year, but I'd never drop the money or deal with the hassle of attending the fest as it stands right now. Eventually, they might "wow" me, but for now, I'm in the RIOT FEST camp. Want to see a lineup that I can fully get behind? Look at RIOT FEST Chicago's schedule... not THAT is a lineup! As for Lollapalooza, there's highlights online every year from bands that I would dig seeing, and METALLICA is an example. Here's their highlight reel from Lollapalooza 2015 - complete with performances of "Wherever I May Roam" and "Am I Evil?" -- Old Crankypants

Published in Music News

This September, Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare will return to the Chicago area for another season of frights at The Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park, Illinois. I'd been wondering about this one, as I covered last years' event - having checked-out the haunt and Zombie's surreal, one-night-only performance in the confines of a very unconventional locale.  For the 2015, the frights will be even bigger, and Rob Zombie will be rocking the stage once more - with two special concerts set to take place on October 2 & 4. The Villa Park/Chicagoland show is the ONLY edition of the Great American Nightmare this year. Here's the details on what to expect...

Published in Chicagoland

When I found out that I'd get to spend some time with filmmaker/choreographer Kenny Ortega on one of my recent visits to Los Angeles, I was pretty excited. The Director of NEWSIES, HOCUS POCUS and HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL actually helmed the film that was the very first Blu-ray I personally bought after beginning my format switch - the 2009 documentary musical, MICHAEL JACKSON'S THIS IS IT. I may not mention it often, but Jackson has been a big influence in my own musical life, so it was fitting that THIS IS IT was my first Blu-ray purchase, as THRILLER was the first album I remember asking for on vinyl. Ortega's connection to "The King of Pop" not only as a Director, but as a Choreographer, was not the reason for our meeting, however... it was all about his latest work, Disney's DESCENDANTS.

Published in Movies, TV and More

After finally settling in on a new location, Chicago's RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL will take place in Douglas Park, September 11-13, 2015. Tonight comes the much-anticipated First Wave Lineup Announcement for this year's fest, which boasts some big surprises, and like year's past, features some bands performing seminal albums in their entirety. RIOT FEST might be Chicago's "second biggest music festival," but it's the only one that I care about - and FAITH NO MORE (who revealed their appearance during their recent Chicago stop) would be all that I needed to be on-board, but look at this lineup! THE ROCK-AFIRE EXPLOSION is gonna be there - the house band of ShowBiz Pizza, who I've written about multiple times! And the first wave of bands for 2015 are...

Published in Music News

While I don't live in the City proper, I've always identified as a "Chicagoan," and have long looked at the annual RIOT FEST as a true Chicago tradition - one that's spread to other cities, including Denver and Toronto. Having attended, and having seen it grow from small clubs to a multi-venue, week-long event (I covered and shot it back in 2011) that then morphed into the RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL, I (like many) was disheartened to see the fest being squeezed as part of a larger debate about its recent home in Humboldt Park. Today, that debate ends as far as RIOT FEST is concerned, as the 2015 RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL will stay in Chicago, moving south to Douglas Park.

Published in Chicagoland

On May 16, the folks from KIND and zulily will partner for Kindness Safaris to be held at 20 Zoos across the country. For friends in my home City of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo will be the center of the action from 10am-5pm, where families can take part in the safari, and kids can discover how being kind through simple acts can be fun, and really brighten the world around us. It's all part of the ongoing Kind Parents, Kind Kids program, which uses fun family activities to teach kids the importance of kindness year-round.

Published in Chicagoland
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