For the last two decades the great Chicago cartoonist and filmmaker (and one-time Reader contributor) Heather McAdams has marked the end of the year by producing a wildly entertaining Country Calendar, featuring the likenesses of countless old-school stars of the genre—before country became just another sanitized strain of suburban pop music. Sadly, the calendar she's designed for 2013 will be her last. The amount of time required by drawing and making the calendar has prevented McAdams and her husband, Chris Ligon, from other creative pursuits. The end of the calendar also means that the raucous annual live shows celebrating its release each year will also come to a close. On Friday at 9 PM at FitzGerald's, they'll present one final spin.
Each year McAdams and Ligon enlist local musicians to pick one of the artists McAdams illustrated for the new calendar and pay tribute to them by performing a couple of their songs. Among this year's participants are Jon Langford (covering Johnny Cash), Robbie and Donna Fulks (the Johnson Mountain Boys), the Polkaholics (the Collins Kids), Devil in a Woodpile (Billy Joe Shaver), and the Lawrence Peters Outfit (Randy Travis). As usual, McAdams and Ligon will screen quirky 16-mm films from their personal collection. Below you can check out a couple of lo-fi videos from last year's event: Scott Ligon and Kelly Hogan singing the great George Jones and Tammy Wynette gem "Living on Easy Street" and Robbie and Donna Fulks doing Jimmy Martin's "Grand Ole Opry Song."