Archives: January 2011

This is the archive page for [January 2011]; below you should see headlines and summaries of all entries posted here that month. Click the appropriate link at each to read the entire entry.

CCLaP Podcast 66: January Music Special | January 31, 2011
Today on the CCLaP Podcast: After a holiday break, it's the triumphant return of the center's monthly music special, in which I present the best of the free legal online music I myself have been downloading over the last 30 days. Today's episode features 14 songs and lasts just under an hour. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by Tom Henkey | January 31, 2011
Today's photo: "Untitled," by Chicago photographer Tom Henkey. | Read entire entry

The CCLaP 100: "Babbitt," by Sinclair Lewis | January 28, 2011
Today in the CCLaP 100 essay series on literary classics: It's Sinclair Lewis' darkly funny indictment of bland Midwestern middle-classers in the Roaring Twenties, 1922's "Babbitt." Classic or not? Click through for my opinion! | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "...and for some reason, I felt I was looking out into a Phillip K. Dick novel.," by Bob Prosser | January 28, 2011
Today's photo: "...and for some reason, I felt I was looking out into a Phillip K. Dick novel.," by British photographer Bob Prosser. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Cyrus | January 27, 2011
Today's movie: The Duplass Brothers' big-budget mumblecore film "Cyrus," billed as a black comedy but in actuality an emotionally violent, Michael-Haneke-style psychological torture drama, in which for two hours we watch already deeply disturbed people treat each other as horribly as they possibly can. Eeewww. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Parking et lampadaire, Santiago de Chile," by S├ębastien Gac | January 27, 2011
Today's photo: "Parking et lampadaire, Santiago de Chile," by Chilean photographer S├ębastien Gac. | Read entire entry

Your micro-review roundup: 26 January 2011 | January 26, 2011
Today, short reviews of three recently read books: The entertaining bizarro novella "Muscle Memory" by Steve Lowe; the underwhelming character dramedy "This Must Be the Place" by Kate Racculia; and "The Petting Zoo," the only so-so last novel by the late "punk poet" Jim Carroll. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by "Le Cercle Rouge" | January 26, 2011
Today's photo: "Untitled," by French Flickr member "Le Cercle Rouge." | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Howl | January 25, 2011
Today's movie: The inventive 2010 experimental documentary "Howl," which uses Hollywood actors spouting all real dialogue to tell the story of Allen Ginsberg's infamous 1955 Beat poetry classic, and the subsequent obscenity trial it inspired. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Waiting Balloons," by "lacomj" | January 25, 2011
Today's photo: "Waiting Balloons," by Nevada Flickr member "lacomj." | Read entire entry

New to the Reading List: 21 January 2011 | January 21, 2011
Today, a brief look at the four new books added this week to the center's unending to-read list, including the first-ever bio of an obscure Victorian author, a famed futurist's guide to the coming Second Renaissance, and two science-fiction titles that both sound fascinating. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by "la sucette" | January 21, 2011
Today's photo: "Untitled," by the Finnish-in-Paris Flickr member "la sucette." | Read entire entry

Your micro-review roundup: 20 January 2011 | January 20, 2011
Today, short reviews of three recently read books: Rebecca Janowitz's intolerably smug look at Chicago left-wing paradise Hyde Park, "Culture of Opportunity;" local author Kevin Guilfoile's new DaVinci-Codesque thriller "The Thousand;" and the delightfully dark and disgusting confessional novel "alt.punk" by Lavinia Ludlow. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Totem tags," by "fotomattic" | January 20, 2011
Today's photo: "Totem tags," by Hyde Park Chicagoan "fotomattic." | Read entire entry

Book Review: "The Private Life of Trees," by Alejandro Zambra | January 19, 2011
Today's Review: "The Private Lives of Trees," a wonderfully short, slow, and soft book published by the innovative translation press, Open Letter. | Read entire entry

Meet Oriana Leckert, CCLaP's newest staff writer | January 19, 2011
I'm happy to announce that CCLaP's staff today has officially doubled, from one writer to two; meet Oriana Leckert, the center's latest book critic, who will be contributing both general reviews this year and a new special series on female-friendly graphic novels. Click through to learn more about her and what her new publishing schedule at CCLaP will be. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "last greens," by Jani Turunen | January 19, 2011
Today's photo: "last greens," by Finland photographer Jani Turunen. | Read entire entry

The CCLaP 100: "To Kill a Mockingbird," by Harper Lee | January 18, 2011
Today in the "CCLaP 100" essay series regarding literary classics: It's Harper Lee's 1960 "To Kill a Mockingbird," a powerful Southern Gothic anti-racism tale that helped usher in the civil-rights movement of the Kennedy/Johnson era. Classic or not? Click through for my opinion! | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "HK38," by Hsien-Ku | January 18, 2011
Today's photo: "HK38," by Berlin photographer Hsien-Ku. | Read entire entry

CCLaP Podcast 65: An Evening with Nathan Rabin | January 17, 2011
Today on the podcast, the long-awaited audio transcript of the center's most recent big live event, a long-form interview with AVClub.com head writer Nathan Rabin last month at Chicago's Stage 773 theater complex. The special 90-minute episode also features an opening story by local author Ben Tanzer. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "fall between the lines.," by Steven Bley | January 17, 2011
Today's photo: "fall between the lines.," by New Jersian Steven Bley. | Read entire entry

New to the Reading List: 14 January 2011 | January 14, 2011
Today, a look at the four newest books to be added to CCLaP's unending "to-read" list, including long-form journalism about post-Soviet Russia, a dark comedy about an off-the-rails pregnant suburban housewife, and the hot reverse-immigration memoir "India Calling." | Read entire entry

Book review: "Amazing Journeys: Five Visionary Classics by Jules Verne," translated by Frederick Paul Walter | January 13, 2011
Today's book: A brand-new compendium of five of Jules Verne's most famous Victorian speculative novels, featuring all-new translations by genre scholar Frederick Paul Walter, showing off a slyly funny and politically aware side of this Frenchman who we English speakers have never gotten to see before, thanks to a century of quick and crappy translations. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Repo Men | January 12, 2011
Today's movie: The unremarkable B-grade sci-fi thriller "Repo Men," with a premise literally ripped off from a Monty Python sketch, that transplant recipients in the future can have their organs repossessed by bloody killers if missing a surgery mortgage payment. | Read entire entry

CALL FOR ARTISTS: "American Wasteland: Bleak Tales of the Future on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11" | January 11, 2011
Announcing a call for artists for CCLaP's newest anthology, "American Wasteland: Bleak Tales of the Future on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11," in which a group of writers will create a shared dark future universe in which mismanagement has brought the US to the brink of collapse. Click through for all the details and submission rules; deadline is July 4th! | Read entire entry

Your micro-review roundup: 10 January 2011 | January 10, 2011
Today, small reviews of three recently read books: The engaging Jamaican noir "John Crow's Devil" by Marlon James, the pleasingly challenging alt-horror tale "Shades of Green" by Ian Woodhead, and the not-so-pleasingly challenging prose-poem collection "The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse" by Lonely Christopher. | Read entire entry

The "Year In Books 2010" ebook is here! | January 10, 2011
Happy day! The electronic book version of CCLaP's "Year In Books 2010" four-part report is now online for your free downloading pleasure! Click through for all the details and links! | Read entire entry

New to the Reading List: 7 January 2010 | January 7, 2011
Today, the debut of a new weekly feature, in which I share the latest titles to be added to my unending 'to-read' list at CCLaP. Today's list consists of five titles, including brief descriptions of why I added them. | Read entire entry

New "99 Problems" ad! Look at all them nice quotes! | January 7, 2011
While preparing a new ad for Ben Tanzer's essay collection on running and writing, "99 Problems," put out by CCLaP about six months ago, I came to realize just how many nice things have now been said about it. Here, a reprint of the ad itself, as well as the text version of all those quotes. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Murphy Building," by Martin Gonzales | January 7, 2011
Today's photo: "Murphy Building," by Chicagoan Martin Gonzales, shooting here in East St. Louis. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Anvil! The Story of Anvil | January 6, 2011
Today's movie: 2008's "Anvil! The Story of Anvil," billed as a "true-life 'Spinal Tap'" but not nearly as mean-spirited as that, ultimately a loving ode to a group of earnest but kind of dim-witted '80s metal rockers, as they attempt an ill-fated comeback in the '00s that includes lots of embarrassing low points but is ultimately a triumph. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World | January 5, 2011
Today's movie: Edgar Wright's latest, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," an endlessly inventive slacker-relationship comedy based on an "Western anime" style comic book with a fiercely passionate audience, and which would instantly become my favorite film of all time if I were eighteen again while watching it. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by Matthew Hardman | January 5, 2011
Today's photo: "Untitled," by Chicago photographer Matthew Hardman. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Mystery Team | January 4, 2011
Today's movie: The disappointing "Mystery Team," the feature-film debut of comedy group Derrick Comedy, which wants to be a raunchy grown-up comedy about former boy detectives who are now squeaky-clean adults, but which unfortunately follows the formula of the "crappy kids' movie" so faithfully that it ultimately becomes one itself. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: ".you closed my eyes we did not breathe," by Herr Benini | January 4, 2011
Today's photo: ".you closed my eyes we did not breathe," by Italian in Berlin "Herr Benini." | Read entire entry

Your micro-review roundup: 3 January 2010 | January 3, 2011
Today, short reviews of three recently read books: The disappointing liberal morality tale "Songs of Vagabonds, Misfits and Sinners" by Ken Wohlrob; the fantastic "Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl" by Donald Sturrock; and the so-so urban fantasy tale and 2010 Hugo nominee "Palimpsest" by Catherynne M. Valente. | Read entire entry