Lollapalooza 2013

Continuing what is now a three-year tradition with my brother Dan, I attended Lollapalooza in Chicago again this year. This year our sister Lexie and my lovely girlfriend Katie came along to partake in three days of music, smuggled rum, Roman Cokes, sunshine, dancing, aching legs, and too many slices of Chicago-style deep dish.

The whole crew.
The whole crew.
Koozie users.
Koozie users.

Here’s a list of the bands that, in some capacity, we saw so that you can judge how cool I am (I think I might be kinda cool.) and how good my taste in music is. (At least I think it’s pretty good.)

-Robert DeLong
-San Cisco
-Icona Pop
-Smith Westerns
-Father John Misty*
-Band of Horses*
-Theophilus London
-Hey Marseilles
-New Order
-Hot Chip*
-Lana Del Rey (Kinda. Stage’s sounds was bogus.)
-Nine Inch Nails (Kinda. We watched for like 20 minutes and very little occurred.)

Katie & Lexie awaiting Matt & Kim.
Katie and Lexie awaiting Matt & Kim.

-Shovels & Rope*
-Family of the Year
-Charles Bradley (From a distance)
-Matt & Kim*
-Eric Church
-The National*
-HAIM (though an insanely long bathroom line prevented us from seeing much of this)
-Mumford & Sons (which was pretty tame, so we went to…)
-Steve Angello (where Dan and I had to carry an uber drunk kid to the EMT)

Katie and me at The National.
Katie and me at The National.

-Wild Belle
-Wild Nothing (From a distance)
-Tegan and Sara*
-Alt-J (which was kinda dull, so we moved on to…)
-The Vaccines
-Vampire Weekend*
-Major Lazer (which turned out to be a bad reason to leave Vampire Weekend)
-The Cure

* = exceptionally good sets/enjoyable shows

Best people to go to a festival with: confirmed!
Best people to go to a festival with: confirmed!


Making friends: This fella from Dublin by way of Toronto become our concert buddy at Vampire Weekend... and he loaned me his sweet shades!
Making friends: This fella from Dublin, by way of Toronto, became our concert buddy at Vampire Weekend… and he loaned me his sweet shades!

Going to this festival every year, hearing music from bands I know and bands I’ve just been made aware of… Well, it’s tiring as hell, but it’s also a blast! It makes me feel extremely old, yet makes me feel young again at the same time. It’s exhausting and exhilarating. It’s fun and it’s frantic.

Fingers crossed the tradition continues next year!

Katie and I closing out the festival in front of the glowing Buckingham Fountain smack dab in the middle of Chicago's Grant Park, the home of Lollapalooza.
Katie and I closing out the festival in front of the glowing Buckingham Fountain smack dab in the middle of Chicago’s Grant Park, the home of Lollapalooza.

What’s in a surname?

Gibbons isn’t a name you hear all too often. It’s not uncommon, but it’s not quite common either. You’ve got a fair number of schlubs like me who use it to sign our checks and a few celebrities who sport it—Comic artist Dave Gibbons, TV Host Leeza Gibbons and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons—but that’s about it. Gibbons isn’t a last name that crops up in fiction much either, so it was kind of exciting when—while watching the Super Bowl—I heard, “What if I told you that Gibbons was working with the Irish Mob?” Continue Reading “What’s in a surname?”


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m blurb-worthy!

So, I was catching up on this week’s comics and was reading through on of my favorites from Image Comics, Jay Faerber and Mahmud A. Asrar’s Dynamo 5. After another another great issue, I flipped over to the back cover where I saw the following…

The cover and back cover of Dynamo 5 #12…

…And let’s zoom in for a closer look.

This quote comes from a Secret Stash review I did of Dynamo 5 back in Wizard #191, and while Mahmud mentioned me on his blog back when the review came out, and I’ve had blurbs of my reviews featured in press releases before, I believe this is my first blurb to actually grace the cover of a book—which is super exciting. I don’t write my reviews consciously trying to make them cover-worthy, I write them for readers looking for honest looks at books. But at the same time, it’s nice to know that something I’ve written—and honestly believe about a comics—was viewed by the creators and the people at Image as something that they thought was worth putting on their book. So, thanks to Jay, Mahmud and the good folks at Image for making one of my minor journalistic dreams come true!
Special thanks on this post goes out to my sister Lexie, who dug through a pile of my old Wizard’s littering my room back on the ol’ suburban Chicago homestead to help me confirm #191 featured my review. Thanks Lex!


Quite a bunch of good books this week, let’s pick through’em!

I like Wednesdays that surprise me.

Every week I usually have my picks: my best guesses at what books are going to get me giddy. Most times, I’m right on the money and the first books I’m grabbing are the books that keep me talking all week. Great as those reads may be, having your perennial favorites be top picks gets a little predictable.

Then, there’s those other weeks that come along when books A, B and C seem like the most exciting, but X, Y and Z end up making the week memorable. It’s that type of freshness added to my reading list here and there that keeps me coming back for something new.

But the best weeks, by far, are the ones where the books I’ve guessed would be good turn out great and the leaps I’ve taken with other books aren’t let-downs but really enriched my weekly reading.

And with that long explanatory preface over, this week was one of the best kinds where the no-brainers and favorites definitely delivered along with the leaps.

The top “no-brainer” of the week has got to be Logan. I feel like saying, “I shouldn’t even have to explain why Brian K. Vaughan and Eduardo Risso working on a Wolverine book is awesome,” actually insults your intelligence as readers, but if you need telling, check out what this week’s QB crew had to say about this “Book of the Week.” Quick related side-note: I love referring to a last page cliffhanger by saying, “Holy crap, the last page dropped a bomb!” And this book dropped the bomb, calling out “Little Boy” on the page…

Freakin’ awesome!

Another book this week I could rattle on all day about is Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera’s Scalped, but Andy Serwin already took care of that for me, so check his blog to hear why you need to be reading this book. Trust me, grab the first two trades, give’em a read and you will wonder how you’ve been getting by as a comics reader without out.

Now, the “no-brainer” for most that really was a leap for me was this week’s Green Lantern. I was editing columnist Jamie Dunst’s Corps Curriculum roundup—which, as a guy who’s never read much Green Lantern, reads like an update about the denizens of the Mos Eisley Cantina to someone who’s never seen Star Wars with all the alien names being bandied about—and got so freakin’ excited after Laira became a Red Lantern that I think I became a Lantern fan on the spot! Seriously, I read that panel and I could just see the splash page down the line with a rainbow of warriors from different factions meeting on an intergalactic battlefield for a crazier and more colorful Hobbit-esque “Battle of Six Armies!”

Another book I gave a read after editing some related stories was Image’s Dead Space. After giving the ol’ edit to Kevin Mahadeo’s interviews with the writer Antony Johnston and artist Ben Templesmith, I thought, “I like Johnston’s Wasteland and I dig Templesmith’s art on Fell, I’ll give this a shot.” While most versions of video games in other forms of media haven’t been great successes, this book really drew me in and had me itching for more issues and a shot at the game, so much so that I snuck into Thursday Morning Quarterback and tacked that very statement onto the end of the Extra Points section (Ok, ok, I didn’t so much “sneak” as I said, “Hey Andy, did you give Dead Space an Extra Point, cuz I dug that book, man.” He said “no” but I could, to which I said, “I’m doing it!”)! I think I’m most excited for the next issue because while this one didn’t have mass amounts of alien assault or monster mayhem, it was a really creepy laying-out of the story that shows all the little pieces that will inevitably lead to the type of clusterf— that lead to a video game about a guy alone on a monster-filled space station. Plus, eerie ghost scenes like this are just intriguing for a big sci-fi fan like me that loves cross-genre stories…

Now, I’ve got to call out Halloween: Night Dance. As I’ve said in other posts, “Halloween” is my favorite horror franchise and I think that’s because it’s not just gore for gore’s sake, it’s always had a very creepy psychological aspect to it and it took place in a small Illinois town that, being from the outer suburbs of Chicago, I could always look at and go, “Wow, that could be my town!” Plus, that setting always made me a little nostalgic for Halloween night back when I was in High School. Anyway, after editing TJ Dietsch’s interview with writer Stefan Hutchinson—I read and edit a cool story, I like to check out the book and that happened a lot this week—I grabbed last month’s first issue and this week’s #2…

Between the ever unraveling mystery of Lisa with her nightmares and the creepy drawings she keeps getting from a young neighbor kid, the plight of the out-of-towner who’s been hospitalized after hitting a young woman fleeing Michael Myers with his car and seen his wife skewered, things are pretty nuts in this comic…and I like it! The inner monologue keeps changing so reader’s get all of Lisa’s anxiety, all the craziness of Mr. Denial-about-his-wife’s-murder as he contemplates how to rescue his love that readers know is long gone and the terrified thoughts of each new victim, the book builds to that frantic, breakneck thought process of being chased by a silent, sadistic unstoppable killer that the classic “Halloween” movies instilled in viewers.

On top of that, Tim Seeley’s art and the colors by Elizabeth John and Courtney Via are so spot on for fall in the Midwest that as I read the carnival scene in issue #2, I actually got the smell of burning leaves and that rush of first brisk breeze and thought about going to grab a sweater. Great stuff!

That’s this week’s best of the bunch for me! Next week, more comics will be read and more bunches of books highlighted, but keep checking in to The Loudest Monkey all week for more comic talk and feel free to leave me comments over at the my blog’s official thread on the Wizard Universe Message Boards or shoot me an email. Till later on, monkey-lovers!