Rad Chic-A-Go-Go hostess and Tiny Bones drummer Mia Park is one of Chicago's sweetest, perkiest rock 'n' roll citizens. She's so sweet it makes Gossip Wolf's big teeth hurt. So who better to represent Santa to millions of Americans for Sears stores nationwide? Miss Mia has already passed initial auditions and is currently one of the most viewed entrants in the chain's "Be the Santa" contest website. If she makes it as a finalist, she could be chosen as one of five Santas to be paid $50,000 and featured prominently in Sears holiday ad campaigns. You can vote for her until September 23 at bethesanta.sears.com/sections/viewentry/368025.
Old-timers from Wicker Park's dangerous days may remember Twig Harper as the lanky proprietor of Mystery Spot, the cool junk shop that was across the street from what is now the Fifty/50 on Division. Almost a decade ago he decamped for Baltimore with his project Nautical Almanac. Apparently he also made pals with Baltimore's resident punk mystic/brown Santa, Daniel Higgs—the two have crafted an album, Clairaudience Fellowship, due out on Thrill Jockey on the 21st.
If you've got a spare $3,999 sitting around and are in the market for a piece of Chicago indie rock history, well, you're in luck. Mark Greenberg of the Coctails has listed his rare vintage Mellotron up on eBay. "This instrument is very heavy and almost killed someone when bringing it up a flight of stairs years ago . . . so naturally I will not mail this," writes Greenberg, so if you're not local you'll have to figure out some other way to get it home. The auction ends September 12.
Chances Dances, the queer dance monthly that has grown to include three different monthly parties, welcomes some new organizers into the fold. Erik Roldan of Think Pink Radio and Allison Burque will be filling the vacancy left by the ever-bowtied Mel Racho, a longtime Chances DJ and promoter. Racho recently moved to Toronto.
As previously gossiped about by Gossip Wolf, Mittens on Strings are calling it a day. The band's last show will be September 17 at the Hideout, in case you'd like to pay your respects.
Shapers headed to Rock Island this week to record a Daytrotter session, for which they played songs from their forthcoming seven-inch, to be released in late fall by the Whistler's in-house label. The single's two tracks, "Virginia Reel" and "Polywog," were recorded by the band in their practice space. "Polywog" features guest backup vocals by Joe Carsello of Lasers and Fast and Shit.
The members of local black-metal/war-thrash battalion Kommandant often play wearing gas masks and paramilitary gear. Shit gets intense. So when lead singer Nick Hernandez pulled a seven-inch dagger off his costume during one of Kommandant's recent sets, Gossip Wolf joined the majority of the crowd in casually stepping back a few feet from the stage. The band's third release, the new six-song EP Kontact, came out on Planet Metal last week; according to the label, "initial reports indicate that the document outlines the militia's plan to complete the destruction of our planet." Who doesn't like the sound of that?