Lindi Ortega’s Coming to Chicago, Gives Us Major Red-Lipstick Inspiration

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2-JulieMoe1We shamelessly judge albums by their covers, and we’re glad we do. On a routine scroll through Spotify, we spotted alt-country cutie Lindi Ortega and fell hard for her totally original look. Picture Frida Kahlo as a country star but with a Betty Boop pout. (It works, trust us.)

When we tuned into Ortega’s album, Cigarettes & Truckstops, our girl crush was set in stone. Ortega’s fiery, catchy songs have become like little shots of Tabasco on a bland burrito, and, needless to say, we’re totally hooked. Just try listening to “I’m No Elvis Presley” without dancing in your seat.

When we found out that Lindi Ortega will be playing in Chicago this weekend, we just had to introduce you to her — and hear more about her totally original look. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, read on to learn how she gets the perfect red pout — and why she endorses the unibrow. Then, nab your tickets for her show at Schubas on Sunday, February 10.

We love your style! How do you describe it?
"Well, I take a cue from the man in black, Johnny Cash. His management always said to him: 'Why are you wearing black, Johnny? You look like you're going to a funeral!' And he'd say: 'Well, maybe I am.' So I think I might be going to the same hypothetical funeral. Except I'm a lady, so shoes are important, and in my case, they are boots — red ones — inspired by the greatest superhero of all time: Wonder Woman. You can throw a little Frida Kahlo in there, too, 'cause I put black roses in my hair, and you bet if I had an awesome unibrow I'd certainly own it. So, I guess you could say my look is Johnny-Cash-Wonder-Woman. Pretty weird. But hey, so am I."

What do you feel most comfortable performing in?
"I pretty much always wear the same thing: this little black dress I bought years ago at a thrift shop. It must be well-made because I've worn that thing a hundred times, and it still holds together, it must be made of some Wonder Woman super-strength thread. Lately, though, a lovely gal named Aimee Bentson who I met on Twitter made me a beautiful dress with black sequins on the side, and I wear that one for special television performances cause it sparkles. She was so kind to make it for me, and I love it a lot because it’s one of a kind and handmade!"

What will we see you wearing in Chicago?
"A black dress and some red boots and a veil fascinator and red lipstick. There is a trend here. I like black and red. A lot."

Now onto beauty! You are a master of le Red Lipstick. What draws you to the color?
"Red is my favorite color. It's a passionate color and it's striking. I think I'm drawn to it because it reminds me of classic, glamorous Mexican women from the 1930s and ‘40s."

What brands and colors of red lipstick do you like to wear?
"I love Mac Lady Danger, Mac Ruby Woo, and Lime Crime's Retrofuturist."

Have you been to Chicago before? What are you most excited to see and do while you’re here? "I've been a few times! It’s a great city! Last time I was there, I crashed a karaoke bar with my band and we sang there 'til it closed! I hope to do some more exploring and eat more of that deep-dish pizza."

Give us a little teaser of the Chicago show! What can we expect?
"I'm a quirky girl. I relish in the absurdity of life. But I love nothing more than to sing for people. You will see that. Also, I'm playing with a great band called Dustin Bentall & The Smokes, who are phenomenal, and my pal Champagne James Robertson who is a stellar guitar player is going to play some sweet sweet guitar riffs!"

Lindi Ortega will Play at Schubas on Sunday, February 10. Tickets $12, available online at Schubas.

Schubas, 3159 North Southport Avenue (at Belmont Avenue); 773-525-2508.

Photo: Courtesy of Julie Moe