Editor’s Note: LoganSquarist readers can get a 7 percent discount on CIMMfest passes with the code LOGANSQUARIST1 by clicking here.
CIMMfest (@CIMMFest, cimmfest.org) is back for its seventh edition, and Logan Square plays host to a number of the festival’s marquee events. The annual Chicago International Movies and Music Festival packs a massive lineup of live music and music-centric film into a weekend, and has traditionally been held in venues along the Milwaukee Avenue Corridor. The festival has expanded to include venues in other quadrants of the city, while Logan Square, Bucktown, and Wicker Park venues still dominate the schedule.
Considering the number of screenings, concerts and parties that CIMMfest puts out in a four day span, there are going to be a ton of great shows that you will have to miss because you were at an equally unforgettable show. With the schedule builder at cimmfest.org, LoganSquarist built a relatively maxed-out schedule that includes the festival experiences we just couldn’t pass up, with descriptions provided by CIMMfest.
Thursday, April 16
CIMMfest begins in earnest Thursday evening, and we’ve got a rock doc then a concert on our list, connected by the short stretch of Blue Line between the Logan Square and California stops.
Danny Says with a Q&A with Writer/DirectorBrendan Toller
7:15-8:59 pm, The Logan Theatre (2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.), $12
A documentary on the life and times of Danny Fields, who played a pivotal role in music and “culture” of the late 20th century: working for The Doors, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and managing groundbreaking artists like the Stooges, the MC5 and the Ramones. Danny Says follows Fields as a punk pioneer and beyond from Harvard Law dropout to Warhol’s Silver Factory to Director of Publicity at Elektra Records. It was handcrafted from over 250 hours of interviews and items from Field’s immense archives. Danny Says weaves candid interviews, animation, archival video, photographs, performance footage, radio shows, demos and taped phone conversations spanning decades.
Miss Alex White Presents: Digital Leather, Mac Blackout, The Holy Motors, The Mongrels
9:00 pm -1:00 am, Township (2200 N. California Ave.), $10 advance/$12 door
Miss Alex White, founder of Missile X Records, is a Chicago musician whose current group, White Mystery, has played with Shonen Knife, the Stooges and Weezer. This program presents headliner Digital Leather, the long-running brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Shawn Foree. Digital Leather’s quirky blend of lo-fi synth-wave and indie punk is disarmingly catchy, capturing the essence of the 80s dance scene. The group’s newest album, All Faded, is set for release through FDH Records in June. Mac Blackout, a visual artist and musician, is also featured.
We’re back at it Friday evening with two films to catch, one with its own afterparty in Wicker Park.
Revenge of The Mekons with a Q&A with Director/ProducerJoe Angio
6:45 pm – 8:20 pm, The Logan Theatre, FREE
The Mekons have been called political provocateurs, social agitators and punk’s reigning contrarians. Director and Chicago native Joe Angio chronicles the group’s unlikely formation as British art students who came together in the first blast of punk rock in 1977, despite being geographically dispersed and lacking commercial success, to tour and make adventurous and challenging albums. This engaging documentary also delves further into the band’s ranks to spotlight individual Mekons’ ancillary yet impactful artistic lives as painters and avant-garde artists.
808, Alexander Dunn
9-10:34 pm, The Logan Theatre, $12
After movie: Hank Shocklee Showcase: Bomb Squad, Searchl1te, Striz, DJ Warp, MC Zulu
1:00 am, 1st Ward (2033 W. North Ave.)
Hank Shocklee (Bomb Squad) loved the 808. The legendary producer of Public Enemy will unleash the iconic sound that revolutionized the rap world: the Roland TR-808. The instrument’s history is told through the eyes and ears of today’s most influential artists in this fascinating documentary.
Following the film presentation, Hank Shocklee will perform live at 1st Ward. The Supreme Being of the rap world, and legendary producer of the hip-hop group Public Enemy, Salt-N-Pepa, Ice Cube, and Bell Biv DeVoe, Hank Shocklee headlines this amazing all-star event. He’ll get a little help from his friends by some of the world’s most influential DJs including Searchl1te, Striz, DJ Warp and MCZULU.
Movie tickets: http://cimmfest.org/808/
I have Saturday blocked off with a marathon of music movies, capped off by a soul-soaked performance at a legendary Logan bar.
The Possibilities Are Endless
12-1:23 pm, The Logan Theatre, Chicago premiere, $12
In 2005, Scottish singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins, best known for fronting ’80s postpunk band Orange Juice and for his out-of-the-blue 1994 solo hit “A Girl Like You,” suffered a catastrophic cerebral hemorrhage that wiped his mind clean. This intimate, elliptical film, named for a phrase that was inexplicably on Collins’ lips when he emerged from a coma, chronicles his intensely personal experience of recovery with structural boldness, visual imagination, and sublime empathy steering its course from near abstraction to brilliant clarity as Collins regains language, memory, music, humor and love.
Abby Singer Songwriter with a Q&A with Director/Producer Onur Tukel
2-3:13 pm, The Logan Theatre, $12
In the mid-1990s, Jamie Block was a bona fide indie rock star, riding a fleeting wave of fame all the way to a major label deal with Capitol Records. While his brand of anti-folk music made him a critical darling, the label dropped him after album sales failed to meet expectations. Under pressure to provide for his young family, Block did a 180 and became a Wall Street stockbroker. Fifteen years and one divorce later, he records a new album and meets hapless filmmaker Onur Tukel, who persuades him to sink all of his savings into a series of increasingly absurd music videos to promote his comeback. Abby Singer Songwriter is a hilariously original experiment in hybrid filmmaking, blurring the line between real life and fiction (with hallucinatory music videos in between).
Lee Scratch Perry’s Visions of Paradise
4:10-5:50 pm, The Logan Theatre, $12
Aptly titled, Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise chronicles the career of reggae music’s inimitable architect of Dub, a subgenre of reggae. Filmed over a 13-year period, director Volker Schaner, equipped with a camera and microphone, spent countless hours at Perry’s home, culminating what he considers “the most intimate, extensive and fascinating adventure you can possibly have with Lee Perry.” Not your typical documentary as it also serves as Perry’s own spirituality, and the pre-eminent guide on how to change the world with art and music.
Jaco with a Q&A with Writer/Director Paul Marchand and Executive Producer Robert Trujillo
6:15-8:04 pm, The Logan Theatre, $12
Critics once hailed bassist Jaco Pastorius as the “the future of modern music”. More than 25 years since his violent and untimely death comes the long-awaited portrait of the once poor and unknown Florida boy, whose inventive approach to the electric bass earned him international recognition. Featuring a Q&A with director Paul Marchand and the film’s executive producer Robert Trujillo (bass player of Metallica).
The Hip Hop Fellow
9-10:19 pm, The Logan Theatre, $12
I saw this film at Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, N.C. last November. This documentary has a singular subject, Grammy-winning hip hop producer 9th Wonder. However, it is in chronicling his life and works that the film explores multiple touchstones in hip hop. A true hip hop scholar, 9th Wonder has given courses on the subject at both Harvard and Duke. His thought leadership gives way to conversations about a range of themes, from ethnomusicology to the ethics of sampling to the overarching history of hip hop itself. A who’s-who of hip hop figureheads, old school to new, provide supporting interviews.
8 pm doors/10 pm-1 am show, Rosa’s Lounge (3420 W. Armitage Ave.), $10 advance/$20 door
What do you get when you combine Delta roots with R&B and soul? You come up with the unique sounds of Jimmy Burns. His charismatic performances—expressive, soulful voice and a melodic guitar style – are unmatched. With a keen sense of his musical heritage, Burns has created an upbeat style that has won him critical acclaim as an award winning American soul blues and electric blues guitarist, and a singer-songwriter. When you hear “Leaving Here Walking” you’ll know why it was a hit right out of the gate and why you are at Rosa’s Lounge.
Refusing to succumb to festival burnout, we will be fully prepared to embrace Sunday, last day of CIMMfest and a very worthy finale.
Rio 50 Degrees with a Q&A with Writer/Director Julien Temple
12-1:33pm, The Logan Theatre, $12
CIMMFest 2015 Baaddassss Award Winner
If you don’t speak metric, 50 degrees Celsius = 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and this portrait captures the heat of Rio de Janeiro in every sense. The third in Temple’s series of music-minded urban histories (following Requiem for Detroit? And London – The Modern Babylon), this is a 360-degree view of Rio in all its contrasts: black and white, rich and poor, Catholic and Candomblé, Copacabana Beach and the hillside favelas. Artfully mixing old movies and news footage with striking contemporary views, Temple shows how Rio became the city it is, not as imagined by tourists, but as lived and shaped by the millions of Cariocas, perpetually on the move and never without a beat.
Killer B3 with a Q&A with Director/Producer Murv Seymor
1:20-2:53 pm, The Logan Theatre, $12
Related: Joel Paterson Trio featuring Chris Foreman on Hammond B3 Organ
11 pm–2 am, Green Mill Jazz Club (4802 N. Broadway Ave.), $4
Over eight years in the making, the documentary Killer B3 puts you in front, behind, and inside the more than 425-pound keyboard, the Hammond Organ, responsible for the unique sound in gospel, jazz, blues, rock, country and reggae music. The film is a cross-country venture with stops in almost a dozen cities, and features B3 players such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Papa John DeFrancesco, Jimmy Smith Jr. and many others.
Chris Foreman will play the Hammond B3 with the Joel Paterson Trio later that night at Green Mill.
Movie Tickets: http://cimmfest.org/killer-b3/
Music: $4, door only
Docks of New York with live score performed by Marc Ribot and Daniel Knox
5-9 pm, 1st Ward, $18
CIMMfest is ecstatic to welcome the prolific and celebrated guitarist Marc Ribot to our 2015 program. In over 20 solo records and countless collaborations (with likes of Tom Waits, John Zorn and Marianne Faithful, to name a few), Ribot has touched on everything from roots to jazz to rock throughout his storied career. This year at CIMMfest, Ribot will live score Josef von Sternberg’s 1928 film Docks of New York.
Never Release My Fist
9-10:27 pm, The Logan Theatre, U.S. Premiere, $12
Never Release My Fist is a documentary on the life and music of punk rockers in Wuhan, the largest Chinese industrial city sometimes referred to as the “Chicago of China.” In the late 90s, Wuhan was the center stage of punk rock, and home to one of China’s most outspoken and longest-running punk band, SMZB. The film follows its lead singer Wu Wei, who grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Wuhan and is regarded as its godfather of the punk rock movement.
And that’s how I plan to end my festival, though there were so many enticing wrap-up shows and parties to choose from. For a full rundown of CIMMfest’s 99+ films and 99+ bands at this year’s festival, head over to cimmfest.org.