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Preview Thu Aug 09 2012
By Timothy A. Schuler
If a person camped out at the Empty Bottle for seven nights straight, they'd almost be guaranteed to see seven shows that shared nothing but the same small, corner stage. It's a venue known for its eclectic taste and a bent toward the fiercely independent, and yet on Saturday it will open its doors for an event that will be somewhat of an outlier to its already fantastically peppered scatter-plot and will make Empty Bottle history.
The Thirsty Ear Festival, from 5pm to 7pm on Saturday, will be a showcase of contemporary classical music, featuring four Chicago-based groups, including the MAVerick Ensemble, James Falzone, Palomar, and the Chicago Q Ensemble. Organized by Seth Boustead, the executive director of Chicago non-profit Access Contemporary Music and host of WFMT 98.7 FM's Relevant Tones program, the "festival" will also be the first concert ever broadcast live from the Bottle.
It's guaranteed to be one of the most unique shows of the weekend. Each artist gets a 30-minute time slot, and the music will range from a performance of work by experimental composer Iannis Xenkais by the Maverick Ensemble to Falzone's meditative solo improvisation, Sighs Too Deep For Words. It'll be a great chance to exercise your brain (and ears — prepare for dissonance!) before you exercise your booty when Windy City Soul Club invades the Bottle later that night.
A few important notes: If you're going, go early. Thirsty Ear performers will be playing Ben Vida's "Liminal Bends" from various corners of the venue before the show begins, starting at 4:15pm Also: consider biking. Not only is Tom Skilling predicting beautiful weather, but in partnership with the Active Transportation Alliance, if you prove to the doorman you biked (show him your helmet or other paraphernalia), he'll let you in for $5 instead of $10.
The Thirsty Ear Festival will take place at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., on Saturday, August 11, at 5 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m. Admission is $10, $5 with proof of bike.
About the author: Timothy A. Schuler is a writer, editor, and essayist. He's written about Congolese trance music, homelessness in Hawaii, idea culture, and everything in between. More of his work is online at timothyschuler.com.