Posts in ART & CULTURE
Thom Yorke - Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes Tour

Thom Yorke - Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes Tour

By Jennifer Blaesing Lotus Mob | A.F.T.A.

In a highly anticipated return to Chicago for Thom Yorke, the Radiohead frontman gave a solo performance not to be missed this evening.

The show featured opener Oliver Coates, an experimental cellist from London. I arrive soon after he begins his set with his haunting, voice like cello singing through the entire Chicago Theatre. I am seated about 20 yards from the stage, all the way to the left in an aisle seat, directly across from a statue of a cherub-like boy holding up a bowl, on a black and white checkered floor, in a half-circle cutout in the wall - a statue I had never seen before in my many visits to the Chicago Theatre. It seemed rightfully fitting to be seated next to this angelic presence for this special occasion.


Oscar took a shy moment to muster up some words about how Yorke had found him on YouTube, and asked him to be part of his tour, and he was now to play for us some atmospheric dreamy melodies “to prepare us for the storm that is to come…”

Nevertheless, it isn’t quite clear how to prepare for a Thom Yorke show. This was to be a Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes tour, which was released in 2014. Just recently, he composed the film score to the remake of Suspiria. Not to mention with his debut solo album, The Eraser, and the works created with Atoms for Peace, his solo library is such a vast collection from so many branches, it's hard to determine what surprises he will throw in.

Yorke enters the stage with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and visual artist Tarik Barri. The show begins with “Interference”, with hypnotic, colorful visual effects by Barri. The audience is eager and enthusiastic, a welcome treat for a Chicago crowd. No one is sitting in their seats, everyone is standing. In my aisle seat, I am fortunate enough to have a killer view whether seated or standing, but of course, I opt to stand as well. Others from seats further back have scooted up the aisle and are hanging out in the cherub boy’s lair beside me.


It all started to swirl together in a euphoric haze (and no, I was not on mushrooms)... the geometric and hypnotic graphics show, the ebb and flow of the songs from dreamy and haunting to hard, wicked dance beats, the angelic boy statue crew, people dancing and cheering. I was swept up, like surfing a wave or a whimsical carpet ride in their geniusly crafted sensational art world.

Much like Yorke’s performance at the Radiohead show over the summer this year, there was a noticeable focus on vocal and emotional precision, more so this year than in tours of distant past, where he seemed to enjoy convulsing around the stage a lot more often. The performance with the trio was fully engaging and mesmerizing. And to see Nigel Godrich joining on the stage was a rare treat as well.


Thom was sure to thank the audience after each and every song. Possibly to show genuine appreciation, or to note the division between songs, as many of the tracks bled together. There was a good selection from Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, as expected. Notables from The Eraser were “Black Swan,” “Atoms for Peace,” and “Cymbal Rush.” Several thrown in into the mix weren’t recognizable, even for a pretty die-hard Yorke fan like myself. More favorites included Radiohead’s “Reckoner,” and Atoms for Peace’s “AMOK” and “Default.”

Thom had mentioned in interviews that writing the Suspiria score was more like casting spells than writing songs, a process he called “fuckin’ weird” just before playing his 2nd encore and final song, “Unmade,” which was the only song he played from the film score. But it was evident that he seemed affected by this process creatively in the way that he was interacting with the crowd. Of course, he was his usual energetic, jumpy-twitchy happy self, but as opposed to a Radiohead show, this one had a feeling of actually being cast under Thom’s spells. It was hard to tell if it was the music that gave this kind of feel, or the way he was looking out at us, the way he was gesturing to us with his arms wide open, as if preaching, or as if opening his heart out and welcoming us all into some secret world only Mr. Yorke and his crew seem to know about.


It was almost as though he seemed to have a new appreciation for his own work, and was joyous to share and present it with all those present, who had the ears to hear. Check out the set list below!

SHOP TALK: Featuring Ted Lody "A Comic Artist on the Concept of Existentialism"


“Featuring Ted Lody”

"A Comic Artist on the Concept of Existentialism"

By Hope Taylor | DDPROD | A.F.T.A.


Each month we feature one exceptional career artist in Chicago that we find stand out above the rest in their creative fields. We had the luxury to sit down and pick the brain of one of Chicago’s longtime comic artists, Ted Lody. He was kind enough to share his creative journey, inspirations and insider knowledge on the graphic art industry today.

When did you first know you wanted to make comics and what were the first steps you took to make that a reality?

In the summer of 1977, I starting collecting comics books as a young child. Some of my first comic books were Spiderman, X-Men, Batman, and the Marvel Comics adaptation of Star Wars. At the same time, I enjoyed the Spiderman and Super Friends animated series on television. From that point on, comic books and superheroes, in general, became a huge influence on me. Somehow, I always knew comic books were my destiny, either collecting, drawing, or even writing them. Being involved any way I can, just felt right; as if this is where I truly belong.

Years later, I self-published my first comic book in early 1995, called “Vampire Nation: Vampire Subway,” under my own comic book label called “Letterbox Comics.” 3000 print copies were distributed and sold in local comic book stores in the greater Chicago area, including southern Wisconsin, Northwest Indiana, and Central Illinois. I attended several “meet and greets” and book signing in those first few weeks of the book’s release. In 1997, I launched a website and digital copies of the book were made available; I instantly recognized the power of digital publishing and the endless possibilities it created.

I heard you were also a graphic designer, how do you find time to manage your graphic design business and still make digital comic books?

Finding the balance between projects is the key to creative harmony. If you truly believe in a creative endeavor enough, you will find the time and means to make it happen. Since I’m an Indie Publisher, I have greater flexibility with the release schedule and distribution of my product than most traditional comic book publishers. Not having to strictly adhere to the limitations of their production and publishing schedules, it gives me the ability to create comics on my own time and on my own terms. As I got older the old saying “If you want something bad enough, you will eventually find a way to make it happened, by hook or crook..” made the most sense.

Is there a main message or theme behind your comics?

I have several comic books in production at the same time, all with their own unique message. A common story element they all share is the concept of existentialism: a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person and free will; and the “struggles of man versus the system, versus man, and ultimately himself.” Like a young Luke Skywalker, I often looked to the stars and wandered the quintessential question “What is my place in-universe?” or “What is my destiny in the grand scheme of the cosmos?” One thing that learned early on was “Your focus determines your reality.”

Who would you say is the biggest influence in your craft?

The artist and writer team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne would be my earliest and greatest influence for me as a comic book writer and artist. Claremont used classic literary themes with greater complexity that was ever attempted in the comic book hero narrative. One of their most memorable stories included “The Dark Phoenix Saga" and “Days of Future Past.”

Do you have any inspirational advice you’d like to give someone thinking of making their own comics?

Follow your dreams, don’t overthink it. The hardest part of creating comic books, as either a writer or artist, is writing that first paragraph or drawing that first page. So many creative people are worried about their first attempt being perfect, being a hit or being a masterpiece. The creative process is ongoing, and it truly never ends. You have tuned out your own expectations and obsession with perfection before you can move forward or even get started. You will be your own worst critic and the greatest obstacle to your own success; until you clear your mind of self-doubt and second-guessing. Lose yourself in the creative process and JUST CREATE. Most of all, don’t worry about your critics. No matter what you do or how well you do it, someone won’t like it. At the end of the day, their options really don’t matter. DO pay attention to your fans. I have fans, then you are doing something right. Stan Lee said it best: “You will have critics before you have fans…”

Can you tell us where we can follow you and find your work?

My newest comic book “Jack WhoAmI” is available for download on the following platforms:

Drive Thru Comics:

Comix Central:

Gum Road:

Deviant Art:

Follow me on social media:

A.F.T.A. Taste: "Hotdogs & Happy Hour with Zimmermann"


Oct 19th - Nov 10th
Second Floor Exhibition Space
Curated by Sergio Gomez

Video/Photography: by Digital Distortion Productions & A.F.T.A.

By Hope Taylor | A.F.T.A.

If you don't know local artist Jeff Zimmermann, just spend a day strolling around Chicago and you are sure to see some of his nostalogic work. Living and working in the Pilsen area, I was taken back by seeing such works of art covering the buildings and alleyways.  His use of modern pop culture, bright colors and grandeur portraits silently speak for themselves while leaving the final narrative up to you.

I find it a real talent he uses local faces as his characters to paint a story that is so raw, in-form. The subjective and subliminal messages take on a life of their own as he intertwined his passion for local community and informing us of the past and present.

Zimmermann uses the faces of the everyday person leaving us to think within ourselves, is there even such a thing? In leaving out the idolized identities we are oversaturated with in today's media, he opens up new doors for a personalized and universal story to exist in his work.

Bells of symbolism ring throughout his collection with a bright color scheme and three-dimensional attention to detail. Guns, Lips, Lollipops, Chicago Style Hotdogs as well as his series of “Love Knots” all nail down an implied meaning while keeping a playful edge. Zimmermann’s larger collage elements seem to dance in the negative space of his canvas so well, leaving the the right amount of breathing room in between.

I could go on and on about Jeff Zimmermann’s work, BUT you should just go check it out for yourself!


Zhou B Art Center

1029 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60609

Second Floor Exhibition Space

Oct 19th - Nov 10th