Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important (pop) cultural happenings.
READ: Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders
In their new book, alternative travel guide Atlas Obscura shines a light on 700 of the strangest places, events and items on Earth. Think tree pubs, glowworm caves, leech-powered machines and something called a Baby Jumping Festival, where men in Spain dress as devils and leap over infants. (9/20)
LISTEN: Danny Brown
As Brown says on his new single, “You ain't heard it like this before.” And on his new album Atrocity Exhibition, the oddball rapper moves to the electronic label Warp and cites Bjork, System of a Down, Quentin Tarantino and Curb Your Enthusiasm as inspirations (and nabs Kendrick Lamar for a cameo). The result? Cheerfully bizarro hip-hop completely at odds with pop radio. (9/30)
DO: Aahh Fest!
Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day might be sold out, but his is not the only festival in town that weekend. Common’s Aahh Fest! returns this summer with a local hip-hop showcase on Saturday and a killer lineup on Sunday that includes The Roots, Jeremih, The Internet and, of course, the legendary Chicago emcee himself. Plus, ya never know who might wanna come through and play a surprise set (ahem, Chance). (9/24-25)
The fifth issue of our favorite NSFW photo journal/zine is available for preorder. Lots of content, little clothing. It’s art, dammit.
DO: EXPO Chicago
The city’s premiere international modern and contemporary arts fair celebrates five years later this month, and we suggest putting on your curator’s cap and having a go. Even if you’re not in the market, it’s worth seeing what’s new and good in the art world. En masse, you’re looking at 145 international galleries, and at least one lofty public art initiative, if you know where to look. (9/22-25)
Want more arts? Take a gander at SkillShot: The Collaborative Art of Pinball (opens 9/6), an exhibit on Chicago’s geekiest export: the pinball machine, and Beta (opens 9/23), a solo exhibition from Lupe Fiasco (yes, that Lupe Fiasco) at the Ed Pashcke Center.
ENJOY: “Nobody Speak”
The devolution of modern politics in three-plus glorious, horn-filled minutes. Here, producer DJ Shadow and the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels turn a UN-style meeting into a bizarro rap battle (“Picture this/I’m a bag of dicks”) and, soon, a war of fists. As Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike says, "It's what I really wish Trump and Hillary would just do [this] and get it over with. And even in that fight I think Hillary would win — and that's not an endorsement." (But do note the Trump diss about 1:10 in.)
Based on one of the largest cash robberies of all-time, this promising new heist flick from director Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) has an oddball Fargo/Baskets vibe and an A-plus comedy cast, including Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis. Not your thing? Watch for our fall movie guide next week for more options. (9/30)
SEE: In the Heights
A little broadway musical called Hamilton debuts in Chicago this month. But before there was Hamilton, there was In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout Tony-award winning musical set in Washington Heights, which — musically — let’s just say is no stranger to merengue. Controversy about the cast is all the more reason to go and give it your own review. (Opens 9/9)
DIGEST: Taste Talks
Serving as head curator, Lula Cafe's Jason Hammel will welcome some the country's culinary illuminati to this year's Taste Talks, the annual confab on the state of food — past, present and future. Hammel will be cooking it up at Virgin Hotel on opening night, with music from Wilco dummer Glenn Kotche. More highlights include demos from Abe Colon (Fat Rice), Sarah Greueneberg (Monteverde) and Paul McGee (Lost Lake), respectively, as well as the all-star BBQ finale. Tickets right here. (9/30-10-2)
Less Community and more hip-hop Louie, star/creator Donald Glover explores the lives of two cousins in the music scene in a surreal new FX show he calls “Twin Peaks for rappers.” (9/6)
STREAM: The best songs of September
Our hour-and-a-half Spotify playlist highlights the month’s best new tunes, including Against Me!, Warpaint, Phantogram, Empire of the Sun and SURVIVE, aka the co-composers of the Stranger Things soundtrack (fun aside: ask me what the year’s most overrated TV show was).
Also: Our friend Rob Lowe gets roasted on Comedy Central, but Ann Coulter apparently gets the most heat (9/5) ... Our favorite pinup queen in HD glory, thanks to the restored The Exotic Dances of Bettie Page on Blu-ray (9/13) ... Comic book guru Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell) goes positively Joyce-ian in his 1280-page fantasy magnum opus Jerusalem (9/13) ... Oh, look, a cookbook inspired by Brad Pitt’s insatiable desire to eat everything. It’s called Fat Brad (Available for preorder) ... He reinvented the home invasion thriller with You’re Next, so we have high hopes for what Adam Wingard can do with his Blair Witch sequel (9/16) ... The fall TV season looks iffy, but the live action/cartoon hybrid Son of Zorn comes from the guys behind 21 Jump Street and The Last Man on Earth, so hey, have fun while it lasts (9/25).