CIMMfest & Odd Obsession Movies present the music documentary Benda Bilili!

Benda Bilili! follows an unlikely group of musicians in Kinshasa, capital of the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. The band, Staff Benda Bilili — in English, “look beyond” — is a group of street musicians composed of four paraplegics and three able-bodied men. The core of the group is four singer/guitarists polio, who use customized tricycles to get around: Ricky, the eldest and a co-founding member of the band; Coco, the band’s composer and co-founding member with Ricky; Junana, the member most disabled by polio, yet the official choreographer; and Coude, a bass player and soprano singer. Joining them is a young and entirely acoustic rhythm section, led by Roger, a teenage prodigy on the satongé, a one-string guitar he designed and built himself out of a tin can.

The screening starts at 7pm. Admission is FREE. After the screening, the Odd Obsession crew will be spinning African and reggae records.

Saturday, April 26: Odd Obsession Foreign Film Series & Dance Party Ting!

Foreign film screening presented by Odd Obsession Movies from 7-9pm. DJs, singers, and chanters from 9pm-3am. All vinyl selection from Impala Sound’s Esteban Lagrue, Dave Mata, Rad Brian, and Nic the Graduate. Friends and special guests bless the mic late night.

Pistol Opera (Japan, 2001)
Japanese cult director Seijun Suzuki’s combination sequel to and remake of his 1967 classic gangster film Branded To Kill stars Makiko Esumi as Miyuki Minazuki, aka “the Stray Cat,” a beautiful female assassin. She is number three in the hierarchy of killers in her criminal organization at the beginning of the film, but soon a battle breaks out among the assassins, all of whom are trying to become the number one killer by murdering their competition. Miyuki finds herself fighting her fellow assassins one by one, encountering along the way such eccentrically-nicknamed opponents as The Teacher, who is confined to a wheelchair, Painless Surgeon, a bearded Westerner who literally feels no pain, and Dark Horse (Masatoshi Nagase), who wears a blond wig and has a perpetual case of the sniffles. Also making an appearance is Goro Hanada, the hero of Branded To Kill (played in the original by Jo Shishido, but here by Mikijiro Hira), who becomes a mentor to Miyuki, and is now known as number zero. The film’s skeletal plot mostly allows director Suzuki to develop elaborate visual tableaus that stretch the possibilities of narrative cinema.

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Friday, April 18th: TTTTOTALLY DUDES

The night seems blacker than usual, as if the darkness itself has become solid. Substantial. Sentient, even. The usual disheveled masses are swarming the bar, smiling their empty smiles, desperate for another swig of whatever will enhance their moods or drown out the ceaseless drone of meaninglessness that pervades their subconscious. It doesn’t matter. Even here, even with the bass swelling, the warm bodies gyrating and the PBR spraying like an arc of diamonds across the room, the iniquitous refrain won’t stop repeating, repeating itself through your mind, like a parasite, lodged deep within, unstopping, infinite… “I’ll be there for youuuuuuuu….”

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After a two year hiatus, Book Club returns to The Whistler on April 30th. As in the past, our bartenders will pull a cocktail book off the shelf and serve up their favorite drinks from within it. For the April installment of Book Club we’re making drinks from the delightfully entertaining Left Coast Libations, by Ted Munat. We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a number of these drinks at their bars of origin — such as an Armistice by Erik Hakkinen at Zig Zag Café in Seattle and a Chartreuse Swizzle by Marco Dionysos at Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco — so we’re excited to bring these and other cocktails from Left Coast Libations to our friends in Chicago.
For the evening’s entertainment, James Davis will lead a quartet performing “west coast jazz” in the vein of Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan’s famous quartet from the early 1950’s. They’ll play sets at 9:30pm and 11:00pm.


Then on May 28th, with Negroni Week just around the corner (June 2-8), Book Club presents our favorite cocktails from The Negroni, a gaz regan Notion.

The Negroni: a gaz regan Notion, is filled with essays about the Negroni written by Barnaby Conrad III, Rosie Schaap, and others, quotations, Negroni variations, and comments about the drink from the world’s top bartenders and personalities such as Dushan Zaric, David Wondrich, Salvatore Calabrese, Dale DeGroff, Jim Meehan, Alex Kratena, and yes, Orson Wells. Read about Count Negroni, the bronco-buster who first created the drink in the early years of the 20th century, and discover the pretender to his throne, too. “A classic drink can be counted on to start fights and stir controversy, says regan, “and the Negroni certainly fits that bill. There’s even a Negroni cheesecake recipe in the book. What more could a Negroni lover ask for?”

For the Negroni event, The Whistler — in partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago and DePaul University — will present live music by Italian guitarist Luca Nostro.

Book Club began at The Whistler in 2010. Past events have featured classic cocktails from Jigger, Beaker & Glass by the early 20th century bon vivant Charles H. Baker, Jr., Tiki titles such as Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide by Victor Bergeron and Intoxica! and Grog Log by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, the modern and experimental recipe guide Rogue Cocktails by Maks Pazuniak and Kirk Estopinal, and cocktail historian David Wondrich’s Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, among other books.