The belated Riot Fest post

An excerpt of my reporting and photography from the Sept. 20 issue of

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Chicago’s three-day Riot Fest music festival wrapped up Sept. 15 with sets from the Pixies, Peelander-Z and The Replacements, who performed their first U.S. gig since going on hiatus after their July 4th, 1991 concert in Chicago. This was the second year that the event was held inside Humboldt Park.

Chicago was the second of three cities that played host the punk rock music festival this year. Since the move to Humboldt Park, Riot Fest has become the second largest outdoor summer music festival in Chicago. The only larger event is Grant Park’s three-day Lollapalooza. Continue reading

Q & A with Matthew Hoffman on new Pickwick Theater Classic Film Series

Originally appearing at on Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Pickwick Theatre in downtown Park Ridge, I...

The Pickwick Theatre in downtown Park Ridge, Illinois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Alex V. Hernandez | Staff Reporter | @The AVHernandez

This fall the Pickwick Theatre will debut an all-new classic film series at the art deco movie palace in Park Ridge. The Pickwick opened in 1928 as a vaudeville stage and movie theatre and was designed by architects Roscoe Harold Zook, William F. McCaughey and Alfonso Iannelli. The main auditorium is built to resemble an Aztec or Mayan temple and seats up to 1,400 people. Additionally film fans were already familiar with the theater, as “Siskel & Ebert & the Movies” featured the Pickwick’s marquee and 100-foot tower in the opening credits of their legendary television series.

Now Matthew Hoffman is hoping to make the Pickwick a destination for cinephiles interested in classic films. He’s currently the assistant circulation manager at the Park Ridge Library and also its resident film historian. Previously he studied film at Columbia College before focusing on becoming a writer. After college, he was charged with hosting the LaSalle Theatre’s Saturday Night Classic Film Festival.

At LaSalle he oversaw a revival of classic and rare cinema screenings, some of which aren’t easily available via retailers. He got the job after his Columbia College professor Scott Marks, who was running the LaSalle film festival prior to Hoffman, was hired to be Film Critic and Big Screen blogger at the San Diego Reader.

Hoffman continued the festival until he decided to pursue his Masters degree. Then five years ago, the Park Ridge Library asked him to start a classic film series that has now expanded to the Pickwick. The Bugle talked to Hoffman about his plans for the Pickwick series and his love of cinema. Continue reading

Summer Festivals: A.V. Fest/Hideout Block Party

Young The Giant | Aug. 7, 2013 / PHOTO BY ALEX V. HERNANDEZ

Young The Giant | Aug. 7, 2013 / PHOTO BY ALEX V. HERNANDEZ

I attended A.V. Fest/Hideout Block Party this weekend. For those not familiar with it, The Hideout is bar located just off of Elston Avenue, on the industrial area nestled between Wicker Park and Lincoln Park on the shore of the Chicago River.

Named The Hideout since it opened (legally) in 1934, the bar’s located in a balloon-frame house built in two days and still standing in 2013. For the past 17 years the bar’s block party has been a staple of the Chicago music scene.

Continue reading