Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


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DVD & Video Sun Jun 22 2008

Review of Work Series: Musician DVD

Ken Vandermark, part of an emerging avant-garde jazz canon, is a musician. In this well-edited documentary DVD in the Work series, he has a lot on his plate doing what he loves to do. This is less about him as a microcosm of jazz than it is about the challenges of playing music that isn't hugely commercially successful and dealing with the goings-on surrounding it.

This hour-long documentary follows Vandermark through private time composing new work, to rehearsal, to preparation to being on the road, and pretty much those steps in between that signifies the hustling aspect of being a touring musician. We see him packing and loading the van for stops around the world, and only once or twice do we see him nod off, which probably adds to his mystique of being one of the hardest working musicians alive today.

As for the music, there are two performances featured, which will give newcomers ideas of just where he is these days, but the focus of the movie isn't on the music per se, and that's a refreshing change from tour documentaries, taking the viewer behind the scenes into how the artist conducts business, plays with others, and deals with the grind. Enjoyable, but I doubt it's illuminating for anyone who has a friend who's a musician doing gigs in any of Chicago's small venues and is doing what they have to do to keep the music going. And despite appearing in more than 100 albums, Ken Vandermark is just that; working to keep the music coming.

The DVD is available at the Work Series online store, and is available for rent at quite a few indie rental places in this fine city.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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