The art of Kind of Blue comedy

Kind of Blue, a monthly showcase at the Hideout, is kicking off their 2013 season tomorrow night (Saturday, January 5) with a killer lineup featuring Danny Kallas, Junior Stopka, Jeff Steinbrunner, Nicholas Rouley, and Joe McAdam. One of my favorite things about the show (other than their keen lineup building skills and awesome venue) is the screen printed posters that ape the classic style of Blue Note-era jazz albums. Rouley, who designs the posters and helps produce the show, wrote in to explain the show's background and the process of creating of these seriously nice prints.


I consider myself extremely fortunate that, along with Joe McAdam and Derek Smith, I get to throw a monthly comedy showcase at Chicago's infamous Hideout Inn. For years its been one of my favorite venues to see bands, along with more off the wall shows like Shame That Tune or The Interview Show.

Regardless of the medium, you'll occasionally get to check out someone on a national level that's both hip and capable of playing to much larger rooms. It's a nice and intimate atmosphere, without the hassle of being in the back of a noisy bar or having to deal with the cost of seeing a comedian in a small comedy club. A real dream space for live entertainment.

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With The Hideout on board, Kind Of Blue was born. The show was obviously named after the Miles Davis album of the same name, widely considered not just the greatest jazz album of all time, but perhaps one of the greatest albums period. It was both innovative and cool, which is the cat's pajamas, baby. The name lends itself to the show nicely too considering all three producers are fairly dirty. One might go as far as to say that all of our sets can get kind of blue.

See what we did there?

On the flip side, critics of the show are given the soft volley of saying that while it may not have sucked, it still the kind of blew.


Given the name of the show I wanted to class our act up so we could separate ourselves from the herd. Having come up in the Chicago music scene, I immediately thought about doing silk screened posters to help give
the show a specific feel. A logo is one thing, but an overall look steps it up a notch.

Posters serve not only as great way to promote a show, but if you have a limited edition run you've got yourself a fancy souvenir as well. Even if no one buys a print at the show the comedians all have an art print with their name on it, which means the most for me personally.


Much in the same way Sub Pop wouldn't be nearly as iconic had it not been for Art Chantry's design work, Blue Note records was given a certain feel with the packaging Reid Miles helped create for the label. I'm directly aping a lot of his old Blue Note album covers. My wife and I mock them up and then Derek screens them over at Spudnik Press. If you dig around a bit you'll probably figure out the original source and if not you're still getting your hands on some damn good jazz.

Our next show is a special event this Saturday, January 5th and we've made a giant poster for the occasion. We sell the prints for $5 each, which is, honestly, a steal. You're not going to find these limited edition silk screens elsewhere and if you do they won't look nearly as sexy. I actually think they look best when you've got a few of them hanging together. Hope you can come check us out soon!

-Nick Rouley