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This week's Culture Vultures recommend . . .

Upright Citizens Brigade podcasts, Popstache.com, Will Goss's Land

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James Finn Garner, author of Honk Honk, My Darling: A "Rex Koko, Private Clown" Mystery, is keeping abreast of:

Upright Citizens Brigade podcasts As we get older, heading out for a spontaneous evening of improv doesn't happen often, ironically. Technology now lets us enjoy the talents of two Chicago improv legends who've moved to the coast. Upright Citizens Brigade founders Matt Walsh and Matt Besser now produce podcasts that feel like both a fun evening out and a riotous time around the kitchen table.

Besser's show, Improv4Humans, features guest stars (like Horatio Sanz and Kevin Dorff) and works like a three-person improv set, even taking suggestions over Twitter. During the football season, Walsh produces The Bear Down Podcast. A labor of love for the fan and homesick actor, the show's not just for gridiron fans. Walsh and his costars barely comment on the week's game, but instead spend time interviewing "celebrities" inhabiting a strange world of ego, money, and fan obsession. In turns offensive, bizarre, and hilarious, it's also smart, like good improv, and a smart use of your time.

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Erik Nelson Rodriguez, Comjourn.com comic-journalist, graphic designer, and illustrator, is bopping to:

Popstache.com Music websites are a dime a dozen, and I am easily lost in the overgeneralized critiques of albums and promotional banter of big moneymakers in the musical world. When it comes to getting information on upcoming bands, local artists, and shows I find solace in Popstache.com. It's the latest in music reviewing on the Web, bringing a fresh face to the scene, and a generous one at that. They are based out of Chicago and usually have promotional shows (sometimes more private loft shows) for local artists, giving Chicago the kick it needs in its music industry. They are constantly updating their site with reviews and free mp3 downloads; these updates include a new mix tape every month with handpicked tracks from the staff. There is also a strong focus on journalism which I appreciate. The site includes features with various topics including the preservation of national record shops which are in decline. If you want to get your hands on some free mp3s and introduce yourself to some new sounds, check them out.

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Nick Bastis, artist most recently of They Go on Whistling and Solutions to Vacancy, is entrenched in:

Land Will Goss, a recent SAIC MFA grad, will premiere his new movie entitled Land on February 10 at the Nightingale Theatre (1084 N. Milwaukee) at 8 PM. Goss draws from the visual language of television, the culture of the south, and literary poetics of Flaubert to weave a Faustian story about "a cosmic battle of elemental human desire." Land is a celebration of language and love, whose union transforms perception. If you have yet to see a show or film at the Nightingale, this would be a good time.

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