The Joup Friday Album: Ice T – Power

powerLet’s have some fun. This isn’t going to be my usual, long-winded rendition of a Friday Album because, frankly, I’m exhausted. I’ve recently realized that I’m suffering from sleep deprivation – self-induced by pigheadedness and probably going on a duration of four years now – and it’s adding up something fierce. There are questions as to whether or not I’m spending parts of my day in drifting fugue states; luckily I haven’t gone out to a 711 naked yet or wound up trading bullets with a whacked-out meth psycho, but then again, who knows? What I do know is that this weekend I need to get some rest and then re-think my priorities on sleep. In the interim however, I intend to have some fun, and what better way to have fun on a Friday than with some old school rap.

The Joup Friday Album: The Callas – Half Kiss Half Pain

CallasI’m going to do something different this week. Normally the idea behind the Joup Friday Album is to post an entire album that the you can click to, hit play on and then go about your business preparing for your weekend. You know, sync the phone or laptop to the stereo, turn it up and then move around your house; start prepping the night’s dinner or sit and work on some writing while the sounds that Joup’s wonderful contributors have chosen usher in the potential inherent in your two days of freedom. It’s a nice way to start the brief respite from work, having someone curate a new experience and personally I hold it pretty holy. That said, this week I am not going to post an entire album. I’ve been thinking about this for a while – the fact that it has become harder and harder to find ‘full albums’ on youtube and the fact that our WordPress theme fights like a little bitch when we try to embed from spotify or bandcamp. So maybe this is all just an excuse to break protocol. Or maybe it’s just that I am excited as hell about this new album by The Callas.

The Joup Friday Album: David Bowie – Reality

realityIt has been just over a month. A month since I woke up at 4:15 AM on a Monday and saw a text from a friend that said, “Dude, David Bowie just died”.

My friend had sent that text at 11:35 PM the night before. She had no doubt been grinding away hours on the late shift at the hospital where she works, maybe a slow night for intakes, probably surfing the internet on her phone when she happened upon the news just about the time it hit the AP wire. I saw it a few hours later in the daze of a Monday morning; still dark out, cold and unprepared for the work week let alone news that big.

The Mental Stamina Ep 2: Darin Mullins

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.45.22 PMWelcome back to The Mental Stamina – the real people, real Chicago stories podcast hosted by Sonny Vitkauskas and Joup’s own owner, operator, author and photographer Joe Grez!

In this episode of The Mental Stamina Sonny and Joe welcome Darin Mullins, musician, animal lover and caregiver, and bartender extraordinaire! The guys talk to Darin about music, Dayton, Ohio, shitty jobs local Chicago TV commercial legend Harry Schmerler.

“Rock a bye your ba-by!”

The Mental Stamina is two normal, down-to-Earth blokes from the Southside of Chicago who like to drink beer and talk about all the crazy shit this city has to offer. And yeah, there’s a lot of crazy stories in Chicago. Will Sonny and Joe get to them all? Well, they’ll try…

The Mental Stamina: Ep 1 Sean O’Malley

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.26.43 PMSo my friends Sonny V. and Joup founder Joe Grez have a podcast called The Mental Stamina. It’s great. Sonny’s the funniest guy I know of – in person or among famous ‘comedians’. Grez is a solid producer and adds a bit of the ol’ ‘straight’ man to things when they have a guest as great as Sean O’Malley on. I don’t know Sean and he’s not a ‘celebrity’. That’s the charm of the show – this is two down to earth Chicago guys having real people on to talk life, music, whatever, and tell the kind of crazy stories that make for a great listen.  I’m going to begin posting one of these a week here on Joup, but I encourage anyone that finds The Mental Stamina here to head over to their Facebook page and hit that “Like” button that Jessie Eisenberg gave to us, then click over to their hosting site here and gorge on greatness.

Thee Comic Column #150: My Favorite Comics of 2015

wecannevergohomeAhh… 2015, another fantastic year for comics. I read a lot of comics this year, mostly indie or creator-owned, not a dud amongst them (though there were a few I stopped following after having done so for some time. Budget cuts). The only book I felt at all disappointed in was Sandman: Overture, which despite breathtaking art by JH Williams III, had a story that felt as though it’d been conceived with a glass to the wall of the office where Marvel’s Secret Wars was being spit-balled. I can’t say this enough: going forward, no more universe-ending apocalypse cataclysms for me. Can’t do it. Sick of ‘em. Especially in Sandman, a book that in its previous incarnation was purely character driven. To see Morpheus tasked with saving the Universe was, well, more disappointing than I can possibly describe. Are apocalypse stories Zeitgeist? Doesn’t matter.

The Joup Christmas Album: Vince Guaraldi – The Charlie Brown Christmas Album

CB ChristmasWe will return to our regularly scheduled feature, The Joup Friday Album next week, when Katie promises to give us a good hangover album for New Year’s Day. In the meantime, here’s the holiday classic by master jazz composer/musician Vince Guaraldi. I don’t know about you, but as far as Christmas music goes it really doesn’t get much better than this, album-wise. Sure there’s a few songs that I have to touch base with every year – chief among them Fairytale of New York from the classic 1988 record If I Should Fall From Grace With God by The Pogues – but when I’m looking for something to put on for a length of time that will allow for baking cookies, commiserating with friends or just working my way through a couple of beers and some quiet reading time, this is the one I go for.