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.

Shawn’s Top 10 Records of 2015

My favorite ten of the year, #1 being the pinnacle of what I heard in 2015. It was a good year and as usual, I didn’t even get to hear everything I wanted to yet.

Thee Comic Column #149: Penny – Adventures in Coping

PennyIconHave you ever had one of those days? One of those weeks? Months? Well, about three Wednesdays ago I was having a day. My cat Tom had been stricken with an unexplained ailment that saw his rear legs cease to work properly (he’s since recovered). I’d spent the night before at the vet, where I’d received no real conclusive answers despite the $500 I spent, and ended up coming home and basically crying myself to sleep while holding my cat. It continued to the next day as I woke up at 4AM for work, exhausted both mentally and emotionally and was treated to especially brutal doses of LA traffic on the dreaded 405. The day elapsed in a sad daze, and as I drove home in that hellwater traffic I had an epiphany and said f*ck it: I’m stopping at the Comic Bug. It was #NCBD and I figured I had just enough cash left over from the vet to pick up the new issue of TMNT, as well as issues 2-4 of my new obsession We Can Never Go Home. And as always, the moment I walked through the door of my favorite shop in CA everyone working there and several of the regular customers made me feel fantastic as we sank into the rejuvenating confines of passionate discourse.

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