Monthly Archives: December 2009

Three for Thursday

We here at Bybe know that you’ve been naughty this year, but we like you enough to get you Christmas presents anyway. It’s been a few weeks, so here are another three videos to keep you entertained.

Hot Chip – One Life Stand

Hot Chip is revving up for the February 9 release of their next album, One Life Stand and gives us a second glimpse in this video for the album’s title track. It’s not quite as good as our first glimpse, the mind-blowing “Take it In,” but how could it be? Still, the track belies all that is great about the Hot Chip style; it’s dancey yet pop, memorable, yet not cliché catchy. This only heightens my anticipation for the CD to drop. Also, watching this video makes me think that there cannot be a more nerdy-looking band on the planet. Sorry guys.
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Starstruck by Big Star

Tacos! (Picture courtesy of Metromix Chicago)

Tacos! (Picture courtesy of Metromix Chicago)

“…It’s a tortilla with cheese, meat and vegetables.”

So begins the famous joke by Jim Gaffigan about working in a Mexican restaurant in Indiana where the customers don’t know the difference between nachos, burritos and tostadas. But unlike the case Gaffigan paints, all tacos are not made equal and some Mexican food can transcend the punch line, “Why don’t you say a Spanish word and I’ll bring you something.”

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Beer, Pork, and Mussels

The Publican

This past Friday, some friends and I dined at The Publican in the Fulton Market in Chicago for a farewell dinner, as one among us was moving back to Europe to complete a Ph.D. I had dinner here once before, and was impressed with how well the restaurants pulls off the upscale-casual vibe. The reasons for its popularity are manifold – the food is relatively cheap for a Paul Kahan-helmed restaurant, the beer selection is excellent, and Midwesterners love meat.

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Moved to Tears

I want my museum to give me an emotional experience. I find myself returning time and again to the Art Institute of Chicago because I get euphoric while I’m there. It’s not that each piece of art is mind-blowing – there are some real duds there for sure – but just being in the presence of good art brings me pleasure. I believe it does me good, if not some outward measurable good, then maybe some inner mind- and soul-building good.

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The Black Place, Georgia O’Keeffe (1943)

Georgia O'Keefe - The Black Place (1943)

Georgia O'Keeffe - The Black Place (1943)

Georgia O’Keeffe is not a painter I get usually get excited about. In some cases, I flat out don’t think her paintings even look that good. But, for some reason, I was drawn to one work in particular on a recent trip to the Art Institute of Chicago. The painting was The Black Place (1943) and it was tucked into a corner spot in the gallery showing the “Alfred Stieglitz Collection”, works belonging to Stieglitz, inherited by his widow O’Keeffe, and then donated to the museum on her passing. The gallery is more than half works by O’Keeffe, but there are also Stieglitz photographs and paintings by contemporaries Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley. Continue reading

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It Ain’t Over Till

Earlier in the year, I read The Art of Noise by Alex Ross, the “classical” music critic for the New Yorker. His book is a chronicle of the evolution of western classical music in the 20th century and the various political, social, and artistic upheavals that influenced it. Ross emphasizes the key role that opera played in these developments; he writes at length about Strauss’ Salomé, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Britten’s Peter Grimes. The book motivated me to make an effort to see more 20th century opera. Continue reading

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Filed under Classical, Music, Opera

Uppers and Downers

the xx (top) and Friendly Fires (bottom)

the xx (top) and Friendly Fires (bottom)

I forget the actual wording, but as we waited for the bus my friend explained that if the concert we were off to see were drugs, it would be the equivalent of a downer followed by an upper. I don’t agree completely, but that is one of the more colorful ways of describing how odd it is to combine the xx and Friendly Fires. Both bands are relative newbies (one album apiece) from Britain, but the former tends toward darker dream pop while the later is decidedly dancey. Just look at the photo! I love both albums though, so I didn’t care.

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Filed under Concerts, Music