The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, CIMMfest for short, returns for its sixth year this week. The festival's hybrid schedule—which includes film screenings, concerts, panel discussions, and combination events such as live movie soundtracks and music-video showcases with live bands—has grown to a huge size, and this year's tips the scales at more than 70 performances and at least as many films.
Among CIMMfest's five headliners (one per night, except for two on Saturday) are seminal indie-rock band Yo La Tengo at Concord Music Hall on Thu 5/1, Brooklyn disco orchestra Escort at Concord on Fri 5/2, Italian electronic-music legends Goblin performing a score to the Dario Argento 1977 horror classic Suspiria at Metro on Sat 5/3 (Claudio Simonetti's new lineup, not the version of the band that played here in October), and a Bloodshot Records 20th-anniversary party at Logan Square Auditorium, also on Sat 5/3, with headliners Murder by Death.
Other notable music-focused events include a pair of live soundtracks on Thu 5/1: Wrekmeister Harmonies accompanying the 1922 silent film Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages at Double Door and Califone accompanying Pat O'Neil's 1989 meditation Water and Power at First Ward.
On Fri 5/2 Tim Kinsella and LeRoy Bach team up to play the music of Marvin Tate at the Hideout; the Double Door hosts a Closed Sessions hip-hop showcase with Blu & Exile, Alex Wiley, and ShowYouSuck; and jazz saxophonist Larry Ochs improvises at Elastic with reedist Dave Rempis, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, and drummer Tim Daisy.
On Sat 5/3 These New Puritans headline the Empty Bottle, while Indianapolis collective Joyful Noise hosts a concert at the Burlington featuring a solo set by guitarist Victor Villarreal of Owls and Cap'n Jazz. On Sun 5/4 EMA headlines the Empty Bottle, and Subterranean presents a hip-hop bill with Psalm One, Serengeti, and more.
Of course, these are strictly music highlights. The first M in CIMMfest stands for "movies," and Reader critics have reviewed 17 of the festival’s films—including Death Metal Angola, Led Zeppelin Played Here, the Townes Van Zandt biopic Be Here to Love Me, and Pleased to Meet Me, a feature inspired by Starlee Kine and Jon Langford's This American Life story "Everyone Speaks Elton John."
CIMMfest sells a variety of passes, which generally provide first-come, first-served admission—the basic festival pass, for instance, guarantees access only to one headliner and to three other events. The VIP pass, however, guarantees access to everything, so long as you RSVP.