Rock critic Jessica Hopper publishes an expanded edition of her first book | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

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Rock critic Jessica Hopper publishes an expanded edition of her first book

Plus: Bryan Away (aka Elliot Korte) drops an album of lush folk-pop, and an animated footwork film joins the projections on the Merchandise Mart.

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  • Photo by Mercedes Zapata
  • Jessica Hopper

Since leaving Gossip Wolf in 2012, music journalist Jessica Hopper has really hit the skids. In the years since, she's been reduced to writing and editorial work for bit players MTV News, Spotify, and Pitchfork, among others (and hosting a season of KCRW's award-winning podcast Lost Notes). Sad! This week she's publishing a revised and expanded edition of her 2015 book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, with a foreword by Samantha Irby, heaps of previously uncollected material, and a touchingly autobiographical afterword. Hopper's virtual book tour includes three dates this week, including a discussion on Thursday with critic Greil Marcus, and on August 26 she'll participate in a Chicago Reader Book Club event.

Local tunesmith Elliot Korte, who records as Bryan Away, comes from a clan with chops—his parents have both been working musicians (they've collaborated with the likes of Paul Simon, Rubén Blades, and Willie Colón), and his grandfather is composer Karl Korte, who's won two Guggenheim Fellowships. On his new album, Canyons to Sawdust (due Friday, July 9), Korte adorns gilded folk-pop with lush orchestration and breathy backup vocals. Standout tracks include "Dreams & Circumstance," which features vocals from Half Waif, and "Scenes From a Marriage," whose sweet guitar arrangement is undermined by grimly poignant lyrics.

  • Visuals by Qianwen Yu for "Dreams & Circumstance"

On Monday, Art on the Mart debuted a new collection of nighttime projections on the side of the Merchandise Mart. It includes Footnotes, an animated celebration of footwork directed by Brandon "Chief Manny" Calhoun (cofounder of the Era) and scene documentarian Wills Glasspiegel. Teklife cofounder DJ Spinn put together the short film's music, with contributions from Angel Bat Dawid, the Chicago Bucket Boys, and Elisha Chandler and Amal Hubert from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Footnotes runs till September 16.  v

  • DJ Spinn curated the music for Footnotes.

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