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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hint stringer Liz Armstrong rocks out in Chicago...

Selena Trepp art Cody Hudson art

While no one would accuse Jil Sander of being a loud and freewheeling label, a gallery show celebrating rock 'n' roll launched in the attic of its Chicago boutique Thursday night. Employees cleared out ten years’ worth of stuff that died—apparently a graveyard of sewing machines and old computers—to make way for an offshoot of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s raucous “Sympathy for the Devil” exhibit, both events curated by Dominic Molon (left).

The opening party attracted the politest bunch of people you ever did see. Besides Cody Hudson, Selena Trepp and Terrence Hannum—the three artists showing work in the tidy space—Jil Sander America president Michele Sodi, Tortoise member Dan Bitney, Lumpen magazine founder Ed Marszewski, post-rock art chanteuse Azita Yousefi and girls wearing hay they snatched from an MCA installation in their hair clinked glasses—the gals in the bunch talking in three-inch voices. We all had a jolly old time, sure, but the opening was so clean and tasteful—nothing at all like what we were supposed to be glorifying. If they left all the junk there, at least we would could have been slightly appalled.

“Rock 'n' roll is something people care really deeply about,” said Molon. “Anyone who loves it is gonna think I got something wrong.” He might be right. Rock 'n' roll isn’t an air kiss and a bottle of fine chardonnay served in crystal stemware; it's a boisterous embrace and a cheap beer grasped by a hand-crocheted neon patchwork cozy. Which is exactly why I took off for a noise show at an unmarked space in the creepy industrial section of the city’s West Loop.

Jesus is my savior naked beer, cozy beerliving quarters big hug

In the musty, dungeon-like basement of a warehouse that had been converted into shanties made from construction-site detritus, kids with gap-toothed smiles (due to any number of violent and/or hedonistic pursuits) smoked themselves into a nicotine frenzy. Gnarly sex beats blasted from spaceship-like control boxes manned by Unicorn Hard-On (left), a rad thrasher chick named Val Martino who recently moved from Los Angeles to Nashville, while an angelic, afro-coiffed, albino-esque giantess with a holographic puff vest and shiny braces snapped photos. Some ruddy youngster in wide corduroys that looked like they were spit out of a dumpster grabbed my ass and winked.

Now this—the carcinogenic stench, the malefic sway, the secret industry, the inherent glamor, the utter gall—was rock ‘n’ roll.

FYI sign