10/10/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Billy Bob Thornton Does Chicago, But Not For Film

If there's one word for Billy Bob Thornton, it's quirky. Put him in the same room as antique furniture or silverware and he'll run screaming (seriously).

But there's another word for the Oscar-winning film actor and screenwriter: multi-talented.

In addition to being known as "Hollywood's go-to alpha male," Thornton's also an occasional director, playwright and singer. For those unfamiliar with his band The Boxmasters, he recently appeared in the Windy City in front of hundreds of Chicagoans instead of appearing on screen in front of millions.

The day was Aug. 29, 2008 and the venue was Joe's on Weed Street, which is growing because of its ability to attract gripping musical talent. The cigarette lover was here to promote his latest CD.

Thornton, who broke out with his 1996 film Sling Blade, has been a busy bee in the film world with a bevy of films slated to hit the screen in 2008 and 2009 including Eagle Eye, which was filmed in part in Chicago with Shia LaBeouf.

While some Chicagoans may be entirely unfamiliar with Eagle Eye, which opens Sept. 26, they may instead remember LaBeouf's "incident" in Chicago. He was arrested at a local Walgreen's and charged with criminal trespassing.

The Transformers star later blamed the foul up on an unexpected forehead pimple and the need to buy cream in order to zap it. Of course, it didn't help that he was drunk while he did it. But I digress.

Back to Billy Bob. I was unfortunately out of town that weekend and couldn't hear him riff. You wouldn't be so interested in my take on his musical stylings, though, since I'm a film critic. The last "musical experience" I had personally was playing the plastic recorder in the fourth grade.

But I do have another treat for you: an exclusive portrait of Thornton on that musical Chicago eve.

Adam Fendelman is a Chicago Film Critics Association-accredited film critic and the publisher of, which is a daily film, theater, TV and DVD publication.