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Posted inArts & Culture

Zou Zou / Princess Tam Tam

Two fascinating relics of the French cinema in the mid-30s, both semimusicals starring the great black dancer Josephine Baker in all her glory, and both very interesting for the racial attitudes they reveal. In each feature Baker is paired with a white male star–Jean Gabin as a brother-by-adoption and sailor-turned-electrician in Marc Allegret’s Zou Zou […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Eric Mandat

In what is likely to be the high point of New Music Chicago’s Spring Festival ’89, sensation Eric Mandat will play an evening of his remarkable compositions for clarinet. A New Music Chicago jury discovered Mandat’s unique artistry among some 400 scores, and quite a find it is. A resident of Carbondale, where he teaches […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Facets of Brecht

THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE Commons Theatre I have two collegiate drama anthologies in my house: Drama in the Western World by Samuel A. Weiss of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Masterpieces of the Drama, by three guys from the University of Michigan. Both cover about 800 pages. Both start with Sophocles and finish […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Seeing Stars

To the editors: Let us salute your movie critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum for his energetic–if breathless–review of Lawrence of Arabia [March 24]. I am relieved that your caption editor quickly established some sense of objectivity and sanity with his headline “Blue Eyes Is Back” to ameliorate–believe it or not–that David Lean used Peter O’Toole’s blue eyes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Unsound Structures

THE CHICAGO PROJECT Venetia Stifler & Concert Dance, Inc. with AM/FM at Mundelein College Auditorium March 31 and April 1, 7, and 8 “The Chicago Project,” performed by Concert Dance, Inc., is meant to celebrate Chicago architecture. The choreography is by a Chicago dancer, Venetia Stifler; the set, made up of architectural photos, is by […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Oak park chain-saw massacre

Should 50-year-old elm trees die in Oak Park so that new sod can be watered in Naperville? The Du Page Water Commission, endowed with vast powers by the Illinois legislature, has embarked on a mammoth multimillion-dollar project to bring Lake Michigan water to the parched and thirsty instant communities springing up in the western suburbs. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Credibility Gap

To the editors: I found the March 31 music review [Critic’s Choice]–the one letting us know that critics have been “creaming their jeans” about the Go-Betweens–in poor taste. Are you running out of fresh similes and metaphors for our reviews or has the Reader made a new editorial policy to use the stock phrases and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Tumbleweed in Cowtown

A TUMBLEWEED IN COWTOWN The Armadillo Theatre at the Chicago Cooperative Stage In another time, in another place, A Tumbleweed in Cowtown would have made a good episode on Love American Style. The story is simply a variation on a stock boy-meets-girl story: nerdy lonely guy is set up by swinging best friend on a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Oil City Symphony

OIL CITY SYMPHONY at the Halsted Theatre Centre I don’t think there’s a more hilarious sight currently on a Chicago stage than Susie Vaughn-Raney playing the drums in Oil City Symphony. As Debbie, “professional drummer and homemaker” and a member of the small-town high school quartet whose reunion is the premise of this flawlessly funny […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Three Musketeers

THE THREE MUSKETEERS Absolute Theatre Company and Organic Theater Company It would be hard to come up with a better stage adaptation of The Three Musketeers than the Absolute Theatre’s current production. Well staged, well acted, well paced, this two-part, six-hour show is at once entertaining, exciting, and faithful to the spirit of Dumas’ original […]

Posted inMusic

Two Modern Men

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at Orchestra Hall March 17 and 28 and April 6 and 13 At a CSO press luncheon recently, conductor Leonard Slatkin was lamenting the fact that no conductor in recent memory has matched the tireless efforts Serge Koussevitzky once made in championing new music. “For that matter, Leopold Stokowski did his bit […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pandit Pran Nath With Terry Riley

When Western ears first encounter the vocal stylings of Pandit Pran Nath, the greatest living exponent of the classical tradition of northern India known as Kirana, what immediately stands out is the low, rich droning sound. At first, much of his music sounds repetitious and unchanging, although this is an aural illusion; the music is […]

Posted inArts & Culture

PLastic People of the Universe

Now something of a legend among true aficionados of arty rock, Czechoslovakia’s Plastic People of the Universe were born in 1968 during that fleeting moment of glasnost-before-its-time known as the Prague Spring. Despite jailings, police beatings, periodic confiscations of their gear, and other assorted indignities, they’ve been punching away ever since. Though their name and […]