Posted inMusic

Ben Folds Five

When is bitter cynicism just a negative energy drain, and when is it a sign of someone’s willingness to face unpleasant realities? Hell if I know, but whatever his case, I get quite a thrill from Ben Folds’s intelligent venom. It would be one thing to shout lyrics like “Kiss my ass” or “Give me […]

Posted inMusic

Instant Karma

Rodd Keith I Died Today: The Music of Rodd Keith (Tzadik) It was 1966 and I was just a little kid in Lansing, Michigan, with two years of accordion lessons under my belt and no understanding of the liberating power of rock ‘n’ roll or the horrors of war. One of my favorite songs on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

On Exhibit: rocket man

In the late 1940s and early ’50s, the U.S. “space program” consisted of little more than a few captured German V-2s, and trips to the moon were still popularly regarded as the idle dream of adolescent boys. But a number of rocket engineers were already busy designing the spaceships of the near future. When their […]

Posted inMusic

Frank Tedesso

FRANK TEDESSO Given a superficial listening, Frank Tedesso’s songs all sort of sound the same, with similar chord changes and melodic contours. But if you pay close attention to his words, you’ll hear the kind of genuine talent that’s rare in this day of overhyped poetasters. Tedesso writes his songs with his brain switched on–he […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Catch a Falling Comet

By Renaldo Migaldi Comet Hyakutake caught me by surprise. I was so busy piddling around with my life that when I heard news reports of a big comet on the way, I assumed they were referring to Comet Hale-Bopp, which astromomers have been tracking since last July and cautiously hope will be a spectacle early […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Iggy Pop

IGGY POP If it hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t worry, it will; you reach a certain age and suddenly realize with a shudder that not only is life precious, but more of it lies behind you than ahead. A similar awareness lurks between the cracks of Iggy Pop’s joyful new Naughty Little Doggie, an […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Dinner Theater

“So, what’s the latest on your love life?” “My love life. Betty, you’re a riot.” The woman with a ponytail was pretty; she wore a T-shirt advertising the Wisconsin Dells. Her beefy, bearded friend wore frayed flannel. We three were the only customers in this modest little Thai restaurant in Uptown; they took a nearby […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pops Staples

It may be cute to call pop singers “geezers” once they’re past 35, but it’s not mere age that rots the geezer–it’s the excesses of fame. If one maintains a solid sense of purpose and remembers that music, not fame, is what matters, the creative flame can survive. Perhaps this is what has enabled Chicago’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Beau Jocque & the Zydeco Hi-Rollers

Having gigged professionally only since 1991, Beau Jocque reportedly has become the south Louisiana zydeco circuit’s biggest draw, besting such established names as Boozoo Chavis and Buckwheat Zydeco, all while demonstrating how to modernize a traditional style without sucking the soul out of it. As a melodist, he’s no Mozart, but he compensates for that […]