Thursday, May 28, 2009

Naperville Sun - "Cloudy Day Can't Put Damper On Parade"


Monday morning was cloudy, but the weather held up for the Judd Kendall Post No. 3873 VFW and American Legion Post No. 43's 92nd annual Memorial Day parade.

NCTV news anchor/reporter Dolly McCarthy emceed the parade with Councilman and Vietnam veteran John Rosanova.

Members of Naperville's American Legion started it all at 10:30 a.m. on the corner of Jackson and West streets followed by the Naperville Municipal Band, which celebrated its 150th year.

"It's a big tradition with us," said trumpeter Dan Tromblay. The band practices once per week year-round and performs every Thursday in the summer.

The grand marshal this year was Rear Adm. Michael J. Browne of the United States Navy and his family. Following behind him was parade marshal Wayne Fisher and officer of the day Priscilla Laubscher.

Gold Star parents George and Deb Obourn, Ralph and Ruth Sieben, the Shanowers and Doug and Marie Pokorny followed in a line of vintage Chevrolet Bel-Airs, Mustangs, Town and Countrys and others. Gold Star parents are those who sacrificed a son or daughter in the line of duty.

George E. Laws, a survivor of the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, was a highlight of the parade. He was aboard the ship when it was attacked July 30, 1945.

Fourteen bands played, including those from Lincoln Junior High School, St. Raphael, Gregory Middle School, Jefferson Junior High School, Neuqua Valley High School, Crowe Middle School, Thayer J. Hill Middle School, Naperville North High School, Washington Junior High School, Scullen Middle School, Madison Junior High School, Naperville Central High School, the Kennedy Eagles and the SS Peter %26 Paul school marching band.

A number of various Scout packs and troops marched as well.

Twenty-one Cub Scout packs marched as well as Troop 1778, Brownie Troops 1703, 884 and 1073 and Girl Scout Troop 50206.

Other highlights included the Bolingbrook Cavalcade of Planes, which featured a large, wingless "Thunderbird" from the Illinois Aviation Museum, the Naperville Knights of Columbus, the U.S. Marine Corps, Operation Support Our Troops, Rockin' For The Troops, the Kiwanis Club of Naperville-Evening, the Naperville Field of Honor, the Fort Payne chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Corps and the Ghost Riders Squadron.

Naperville resident Gary McLain came to see his daughter in Naperville Central's Spirit Flag Team.

"Aside from that, my favorite part of it all is honoring the soldiers," he said.

Naperville resident Steve Adelson missed the beginning of the parade, but enjoyed the high school bands.

"They were very professional and well-organized," Adelson said. "They were not like kids at all. It was very nicely done."

Naperville Sun - "Naperville Central Graduation"


How many students graduated: 780.

Top students: Michael Ashley and Nitin Goyal tied at No. 1. The No. 2 slot was earned by Renee Cheng.

Honors: 62 Excellence in Education Award recipients; 154 National Honor Society (two years); 16 National Honors Society (one year); 98 High Honors (seven semesters); 293 Honors (seven semesters); 110 National Foreign Language Honors Society; 18 Quill and Scroll; 16 International Thespian Society; seven National Forensics League; 23 National Merit Scholars; 16 joining armed forces.

Commencement highlights: The senior choir started it off by singing the "Star-Spangled Banner." Steve Richards, class vice president, presented the class gifts, which were raising for the American Cancer Society.

Quotes: Graduating senior Bill Erlain gave the opening reflection: "The voice that conveys motions, beliefs and identity. It's who we are. ... Many people are content for their entire lives to compromise with their voice. Let's be the lucky few who live our voices. Do what scares you. Do what terrifies you and your voice will become strong."

Allison Rzepczynski, senior class president, thanking parents, friends, teachers and staff members: "You showed us it's OK to live to learn and you guided us in the process of setting goals."

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Old Wives/The Blame Its Split 7'' review

So I get this piece of mail the other day from Canada. I was like, "What the fuck am I getting from Canada?" And right after I finished thinking those words, I thought, "Ohhh yeahhhh."
This thing rules. It's release #001 on Eat Shit and Die Recordings, a label run out of Canada and was released on May 8. It's also on white vinyl, might I add. Not sure of the pressing and all the collector/obsessive nerd details, but here goes.
The first track by The Old Wives is called "Losing All Control." At first I thought my stereo was fucked up or something, but it starts out all scratchy and low - a really cool effect for when they bring it up and start rocking.

My turntables' gears got to turning and I immediately thought the lead singer sounded like whats his face from Face To Face. Which rules, cause I'm a really big Face To Face fan. Well, a kinda big one since I can't think of the dude's name. But anyways, "Losing All Control" is a catchy tune. They're a pretty straight-up pop punk band but instead of singing love songs and having that vulnerable, sensitive air about them, they lean towards the slightly snotty, harder-edged pop punk.
"Shut Up" is about wanting to not hang out with (maybe ditching) a chick because all she does is talk and tell boring, stupid stories.
It's definitely the best song on the split between both bands. The Old Wives are one of those bands that are standard pop punk, yet original, catchy and good enough to have you singing along, appreciating the lyrics and at the very least, tapping your feet around.

The Blame Its were cool too, but the thing that bugged me about the album cover was that there was no hyphen between "Blame" and "Its." Which is cool, I don't care...too much.
Their first track was called "Beer and Anti-Depressants," which sounds pretty cool on the surface, but I didn't really hear anything about either one of those things in the song. His voice is a bit harder to hear than the dude from Old Wives. They are good though, kind of drawing an obvious vocal and instrumental influence from The Riverdales, Screeching Weasel and I wanna say just a pinch of Smoke or Fire/Banner Pilot there too. They are also pop punk, singing songs about inebriation (I think) and girls.
Speaking of girls, the second song is called "Wants To Can't Have," which I don't really understand and keep thinking it should be called "Want What I Can't Have" or something. Man, this band might be full of grammatical errors. Anyway, the opening bass parts are rad. There are a lot of group vocals, making it fun and like The Old Wives, tempting to sing along...if I could make out the words, that is.

The only complaint I have with this release is that there is no insert. It would be nice to have some lyrics and names with who does what. The lyrics for either band aren't exactly the easiest to make out. It's not Chinese Telephones hard, but it's not really easy either. All in all, I would say this is worth picking up, especially for The Old Wives side of it. "Losing All Control" and "Shut Up" are becoming instilled in my brain, making me want to hear more Old Wives because I can only listen to the same song so many times in one day without having a mental breakdown and involuntarily shitting my pants. Check out The Old Wives and The Blame Its from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada! I bet they play shows together and hang out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Deep Sleep - "Three Things At Once" review

The first time I heard of Deep Sleep was when I saw them play at Reggie's in March with Psyched To Die and Dillinger Four. Like most people, I automatically hold all opening bands I've never heard or heard of to a higher standard because of that thing in the back of your mind that says, "You'd better be good cause I'm standing around here waiting to see ____."
Not that I'd boo 'em even if they were bad. But after their set, I was a fan.
Their energy combined with the speed and length (or lack thereof) of their songs were catchy, but rather than being "pop punk catchy," they had just the perfect amount of a hardcore touch.
I thought "Three Things At Once" was going to be about being born with three schlongs. Instead, it's a collection of three 7 inches. Heh. Heh heh heh.
So uh...this 21-incher rocks. There's also 21 songs. One inch a track? Anyway, the 21 tunes on here equal out to be 25 minutes and 6 seconds total, so that gives you an idea of the length of this CD.
The music itself was reminiscent of the Decendents actually, but faster and harder-edged.
I don't want a bunch of Descendents fans e-mailing me saying how they are nothing like the Descendents, I'm just saying they remind me of a fast Descendents with a twist of hardcore.
The lead singer was a great part of why I thought the band ruled because of how he would stand one foot on the monitors and lean into/above the crowd with the microphone and sing and jump around. His activity and passion about the music made it a lot of fun to not only watch, but listen to.
It sucks watching what's supposed to be a hardcore band or a punk band just stand there and do nothing and act like they're better than everything/everyone. Well, fuck that shit. Unless you're landlocked to a drum kit or a microphone while playing guitar, I think there's no reason why guitar players/singers (just singers) shouldn't move around and get shit a little bit exciting.
OK, OK, if you have a physical retardation, I'll accept that too.
Check out Deep Sleep on Grave Mistake Records and on MySpace. They'll be playing the Insubordination Fest pre-show this year too with Teenage Bottlerocket, so be sure to catch them then!

Naperville Sun - "Parade To Honor Those Who Served"


On Monday, the Naperville American Legion Post No. 43 and Judd Kendall Post No. 3873 VFW will co-sponsor the city's 92nd annual Memorial Day parade.

"What we do is we honor those who gave their life and service," said co-chairman of the parade committee Terry Jelinek.

A flag-raising ceremony will start the day at City Hall at 8 a.m. honoring those who served in the armed forces.

Before the parade, taps and volley services are scheduled to be held at Veterans Park on Gartner Road at 8:30 a.m., the Burlington Park Doughboy Monument at 8:50, St. Peter %26 Paul Cemetery at 9:15 and at the GAR Monument in Naperville Cemetery at 10.

At 10:30, the 76-unit parade will start at West Street and Jackson Avenue and move to Washington Street, go north on Washington Street, east on Jefferson Avenue, north on Brainard Street and west on Van Buren Avenue to Central Park.

"It started in 1917 by the American Legion to honor troops coming back from the first World War and to decorate the graves of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War," said Ron Keller, chairman of the Parade Committee. "It was popular, so they continued it."

About 1929, school kids were included in the parade, as well as school bands, he added.

"When I was in grade school, all the classes marched with their teachers from kindergarten through third grade and most carried flags or flowers," Keller said. "When they got to the cemetery, they put the flags or flowers on the graves of their relatives."

This year's grand marshal will be Rear Adm. Michael J. Browne of the United States Navy.

Browne heard the Naperville Memorial Day parade was a large and patriotic one and, having relatives in the area, wanted to march in the parade, Keller said.

The regular parade marshal is Wayne Fischer and the officer of the day is Priscilla Laubscher; both of whom are American Legion and VFW members, Keller said.

The parade will include veterans riding in cars, a 21-gun honor guard from the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, a float from the Illinois Aviation Museum, a color guard from the University of Illinois, a Humvee from Operation Support Our Troops, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls, school bands, Indian Guides, Little League and various fraternal organizations.

"We always invite military units that are in the area," Jelinek said. "Depending on if they're on deployment, we don't always get them. Politicians are not invited. It's honoring our dead, so we tell them no."

Immediately after the parade at 12:15 p.m., a service will be held at the Community Concert Center at downtown's Central Park, 104 E. Benton Ave. The Naperville Municipal Band will perform patriotic selections and service songs. The day's events will close about 12:45 with a service at Blackhawk Monument including a prayer, rifle volley, taps and the "Star-Spangled Banner."

"Naperville is pretty unique," Keller said. "A lot of towns have a Memorial Day parade, but they don't have the involvement that we do."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yesterday's News: "Hawks playoff run sparks hockey interest "


With the recent success of the Chicago Blackhawks heading to the conference finals, it seems as though the entire sport of hockey, at least around Naperville, is growing in popularity.

"None of their games used to be on TV," said Andrea Hahn, Chicago Mission president and vice president of Advanced Arenas in Woodridge. "The (former) owner, from what I was told, felt like if people could watch it on TV, they wouldn't buy tickets for games. But he's proven wrong, because this year, they're sold out.


The Blackhawks play the Detroit Redwings in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals at 2 p.m. today. The game can be seen on NBC.

Chicago Mission's Tier 1 Elite Hockey League has seven boys hockey teams and five girls hockey teams and is the highest level of youth hockey you can play in the United States, Hahn said.

"The goal is to play Division 1 college hockey or NHL professional hockey," she added.

The Blackhawks' success reflects positively on local businesses such as Hahn's.

"I think that any time a professional sport is popular in an area, and we find that in both hockey and figure skating, we have a lot more sign-ups," Hahn said. "When kids growing up get to be fans of the sport, they want to play that sport, and that reflects here at the ice arenas."

Naperville Play It Again Sports franchise owner Steve Sahli agrees that the recent growth in hockey popularity is directly related to the Blackhawks' success.

"They've got a lot of young players, a new approach to the game because of owners, more games available on TV for people, and nothing helps like an exciting young team like this getting deeper into the playoffs," Sahli said. "It gets everybody going."

As a sports equipment retailer, Sahli said hockey is one of the most difficult sports to get involved in because it's so expensive, with head-to-toe equipment, ice time, registration fees and league fees.

"It's nice to see the interest again, and it's one of those sports where you have to learn how to skate to play," Sahli said. "It's not like going to basketball, signing your kid up and then he goes to the first practice and he's on the team."

Naperville North High School athletic director Doug Smith thinks the biggest thing Hawks owner Bill "Rocky" Wirtz did was to allow more public access to the team, bringing back the interest, since Rocky's father Bill didn't allow the home games to be televised.

"One of the big public relations things they did was bring the old players back like (Stan) Mikita -- it was real positive to bring back the history of the Hawks; it was positive for the fans by bringing back the good old days, the nostalgia and the interest in the Hawks and it made them more friendly."

Smith said that in the past, the Hawks were viewed as a "money-making machine," because that's all the late owner seemed to care about. But now it's like the Hawks "used to be," he said.

It seems any local winning team generally tends to spawn hometown enthusiasm. You've got your lifelong fans and your bandwagon fans, but when a local team is doing well, new fans are created as well. Especially if the opportunity was never there, like being able to watch the Blackhawks on TV.

Smith made a comparison to the Chicago Bulls by mentioning their recent standing in the playoffs.

"Because they were playing so well, a lot of people were watching that, getting the old feeling about the Bulls again," Smith said.

One thing's for sure -- the Hawks' attendance is up, they're headed to the conference finals, and their seats are filling up.

"I wish 'em well," Smith said. "It's been fun watching them. I want to watch them as long as I can."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Psyched To Die - "Sterile Walls" 7'' review

New Jersey's Psyched To Die just released its debut 7'' on Grave Mistake Records and Firestarter Records March 6 titled “Sterile Walls.”

The seven songs hit you fast. The entire 7'' is just over 10 minutes long.

The “Sterile Walls” 7'' paints the picture of a frustrated and fatalistic outlook on life, as the band's name so bluntly portrays. “Onward Armageddon” eggs on the decimation of man-kind and singer/guitarist Mikey Erg (of The Ergs!, Radio Faces, House Boat, Short Attention and way too many more fucking bands to name) and singer/guitarist J. Nixon want to be right in the crosshairs of a nuclear attack, an asteroid or whatever other “fun” means of annihilating the planet they can think of. These dudes are sick of this book called life and its predictable monotony of endless blank pages and want to be the first to go.

“Permanent Solution” is a loud, fast almost-thrashy song about suicide because all other means of living are simply a “waste of time.” When you can't find any other way out, the mysterious death solution doesn't seem so bad. The song's title implies that they know they can't go back once it's done and they're fine with it.

“Five Year Plan” is my favorite track. It's a song about throwing in the towel. It's also a pretty hopeless song. Mikey Erg sings, “I got no future I don't think I mind 'cause I've accepted the fact I'm running out of time/No sense in working on a five-year plan 'cause with any luck, I'll be gone by then.”

It's also the most pop punk-sounding song of the 7'' as opposed to the other more hardcore/thrashy-feeling tracks.

“OCD Life” is a song about paranoia getting into your head and driving you insane; and then it being not paranoia but true, like Jim Carrey's sad fate in The Truman Show. It reminds me of episode 53 of the Twilight Zone titled “Twenty-Two.” The episode's about this stripper (with a real heavy Brooklyn accent) who, for the past six nights has had the same dream of waking up thirsty, not being able to stand the second hand on the clock, breaking a glass while reaching for water, hearing a nurse's hurried footsteps, following them down the elevator to the hospital morgue (room 22) and then waking up screaming after the nurse comes out of the morgue and says, “Room for one more, honey.”

Throughout the episode, the doctor and the stripper's agent keep reassuring her that it’s all in her head. But she knew the number of the morgue despite never going down there.

Anyway, she actually lives the nightmare at the airport as she's leaving to go back to Florida to show her tits and ass in Miami. She gets thirsty, she's reminded of her nightmare, the second hand on the clock is overbearing, a glass vase some woman is carrying breaks and the woman in her dream is none other the stewardess on flight 22 who says “Room for one more, honey.” She freaks out and runs back into the terminal. Everyone thinks she's insane but as the plane's taking off, it explodes, killing everyone on board.

That's exactly what “OCD Life” reminds me of. Knowing that your paranoia is real despite what doctors or anyone else may tell you.

“Staged Reality” seems to be more of a take on modern society and social networking.

“Every word you say is live on the air/every move you make is a public affair,” screams Mikey Erg. It basically says how this model society became a laughing stock and a soulless person trapped in a box until you die. In a way, it's true. Instead of going out and causing trouble or doing things with their lives, most teenagers and people in general these days are glued to social networking sites and the computer in general. I'll be the first to admit I'm guilty of it. “Staged Reality” sings frustration and disgust, another short and fast song, but this one targets the masses.

The last song, “Sterile Walls,” is the second longest track at 1:57 next to “Permanent Solution.” The title track is about being fed up with the outside world and wanting to be put away, just getting three meals a day and a bunch of pills for sedation.

Nixon's content with sitting in a room and rotting away. I think the point here is that rotting away in a hospital room is just the same as rotting away in the outside world because in the end, you're dead. Only difference is, cut to the chase already, and if you couldn't tell by the name, that's what Psyched To Die is all about. Check out their “Sterile Walls” 7''. It will not disappoint.

Psyched To Die on MySpace

Buy the 7''