Lovers Lane
Rialto Square Theatre
Avondale Music Hall
ATT Internet 75

File: June 2009

| June 1, 2009


This space was originally a set of light jibes regarding the legal dispute brought against Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy by former bandmate and writing partner Jay Bennett. Bennett, who was fired in 2001 after seven years in Wilco, claimed Tweedy owed him songwriting royalties as well as compensation for his appearance in the documentary I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, which captured his final days with the group. Sadly, Bennett passed away Memorial Day weekend at a wrenchingly premature 45-years old. Details were few as we went to press, though rumors are bound to speculate on his emotional condition leading up to his death. If we can use this window to deal in truth, then it cannot be understated how critical he was to Tweedy and Wilco’s career. He joined the band shortly after their debut, A.M., was finished when Tweedy was very much in the shadow of old Uncle Tupelo bandmate Jay Farrar’s Son Volt. With Bennett, Wilco went from treading-water roots rockers to studio savants, culminating with Wilco v.1’s masterpiece, Summerteeth, in 1999. The honeymoon would be short, however, as creative friction led to his dismissal before Yankee Hotel Foxtrot‘s release. After his ouster, Bennett returned to Urbana (where he went to school) to occasionally record and play out.

In April, our way of life, our very freedom, our Web site came under siege in a series of deliberate and deadly attacks. Readers have many questions tonight. Readers are asking, “Who attacked your homepage with malware and tried to infect innocent computers?” The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al-Qaida. And Saddam Hussein. Most likely it was some punk kid in an upper-class Stockholm suburb who writes malicious code because his experiment with banana peels in The Anarchist Cookbook failed to get him high. Well we’ve had enough. Our Web site is back up. The terrorists will not win. We generally support Internet rule-bending as long as the goal is the common good. Not anymore. You’re either with us or against us. Thank you, and may God continue to bless the Illinois Entertainer.


Ramsey Lewis

As Chicagoans, we’ve had ample opportunity to appraise Ramsey Lewis‘ work, yet somehow we never noticed how unbelievably excited the man can get. On June 12th at Ravinia in Highland Park, Lewis will unveil “Proclamation Of Hope,” an ambitious, mixed-media, history lesson/celebration brought on by the election of President Obama. The piece is so colossal, the press release gave up on measuring it and exasperatedly coins it an “eight or nine-movement composition” consisting of couplets pairing events leading to Abraham Lincoln and Obama’s destinies. Lewis doesn’t frame his work on the grade-school history of Lincoln we all know, but extrapolates his presidency and its effects beyond his death and the arrival of two new centuries . . . or something. A visual portion will help instruct listeners how the music impacts the narrative. We only have two questions: Is this gonna be on the quiz, and if so, are we gonna have to know dates?

Often while clinking glasses with our younger readers, the question arises: “Why do we have to meet in this basement?” “Because of The Man, little one. Now which sippy-cup is yours?” Smoking ban. Dim economic outlook. TV’s summer break. You know what today’s teenagers need? A shot and a beer. As we ignore increasing regulation and government in our lives, one batch of Texans want the authorities to roll back the one infringement thought to most cripple the youth of America: the drinking age. Funk rockers Achachay take over Silvie’s Lounge on June 17th not just to make you boogie like you’ve never boogied before, but to think about the suffering of children as you slurp down High Life after High Life. (For Ghanaian highlife, see our Occidental Brothers review in “Spins.”) When the music’s over, the band will hold an interactive discussion with the audience over the merits of their plan and how it can be enacted. If you can’t even get into Silvie’s because of the repressive age limit, visit

— Steve Forstneger

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