Posted inArts & Culture

Cries From the Mammal House

CRIES FROM THE MAMMAL HOUSE Absolute Theatre Company One of the most horrible photographs in recent history was of Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978: 913 brightly clad dead bodies lying in the tropical sunlight. Look hard enough, and the stillness that seems to surround the scattered corpses becomes accusing: why didn’t we save them from themselves, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Gotta Light

I’m crossing the Daley Center Plaza at midday. The remains of the city’s Christmas tree, a towering frame now stripped of greenery, is ringed by municipal trucks. The Cor-Ten steel of the Picasso and the Miesian architecture behind are rusting familiarly Something’s different, but I don’t notice it until I’m about 60 feet away from […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jason and the Astronauts

DESPOILED SHORE/ MEDEAMATERIAL/ LANDSCAPE WITH ARGONAUTS Chicago Actors Ensemble It may be too early in the year to say, but if you’re going to see one completely obscure avant-garde treatment of a classical myth this year, this could be the one! Some things stump me, pushing me beyond the rationality of criticism into the risky […]

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Pamela Lillard & the Rubba Band

Pamela Lillard’s bluesy urban folk-rock lands her in a ballpark with Vega, Armatrading, Cockburn, and a few others who’ve rescued forgotten kernels of coolness from the mudheap of outdated singer-songwriter cliches; her best songs are disarmingly concise pop tunes free of the narcissistic indulgence that gave “sensitive” balladeers such a bad name in the 1970s. […]

Posted inFilm

Little Boy Blue

RAW * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Robert Townsend Written by Eddie Murphy With Eddie Murphy. Eddie Murphy’s new concert film, Raw, has one of those titles that rebound cruelly on their creators. No doubt Murphy and his handlers used “raw” to mean uncensored and unvarnished, hyping the notoriously scatological and obscene Murphy you can’t […]

Posted inFilm

Huckleberry Fem

HOUSEKEEPING **** (Masterpiece) Directed and written by Bill Forsyth With Christine Lahti, Sara Walker, Andrea Burchill, Anne Pitoniak, Margot Pinvidic, and Bill Smillie. Two or three days and nights went by; I reckon I might say they swum by, they slid along so quiet and smooth and lovely. –The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Marilynne Robinson’s […]

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Trip Shakespeare

A strange movie is playing in my head. Opening shot: a verdant meadow where horned satyrs lounge leering in eucalyptus trees, strumming electric lutes. A young woman in black comes walking down a road, carrying a baby in her arms. Storm clouds gather and the rain comes; the drops turn to bits of multicolored confetti, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Johnny Heartsman

Johnny Heartsman is a member of the post-World War II generation of bluesmen who developed a music of deep emotional intensity fused with soulful tenderness and a working knowledge of both jazz and sophisticated pop. Heartsman’s guitar style–mercurial treble runs accented by powerful lower-register accompaniment and featuring his patented “moaning” effect–is one of the most […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Contemporary Chamber Players

Two leading lights of the postwar generations of British composers are featured in this latest installment of the Contemporary Chamber Players concerts: Alexander Goehr (b. 1932), of the influential Manchester Group, is represented by the Concerto for Eleven (1970), an extroverted number inspired by Jewish wedding music; and Oliver Knussen (b. 1952), a prodigy noted […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I’m trying to locate the author of a poem and what book I could find it in. On the CBS TV show Beauty and the Beast, the character Catherine read Vincent this poem: But how could I forget thee? Through what power Even for the least division of an hour, Have I been so beguiled […]