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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 […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Gallery Fire

“Hey, Scott, come over here! There’s a building on fire! You can still see flames.” Well-dressed woman to friends: “Oh, God. Everyone in the neighborhood’s gonna have to get new upholstery.” The weekend crowd milled around the site of the fire—the block bounded by Superior, Huron, Orleans, and Sedgwick—staring at the smoldering ruins of the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pastel Refugees

PASTEL REFUGEES Northlight Theatre Pastel Refugees is a musical dramatization of a group therapy session for disturbed teenagers. It is a time for angst, a time for song. So join us now as our improbable cast of adolescent head cases attempts to answer the musical question, “What’s wrong with slam dancing on school nights? Wee-ooo.” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Illegitimate Players Comedy Revue

ILLEGITIMATE PLAYERS COMEDY REVUE at the Roxy The glaring extremes of our mass-media culture are standard fare in today’s Chicago comedy clubs: game-show hosts, television preachers, honest politicians. And while the Illegitimate Players certainly offer some of these expected bits, their current revue revolves more around the classics of English literature. “Library” suggests an eerie […]

Posted inArts & Culture

About Time

JAMES GRIGSBY at MoMing Dance & Arts Center April 13-15 and 21-23 James Grigsby knows how to put an evening together. The two pieces he’s currently showing at MoMing–Hard Coin and From Here to Detroit–together run for a little over an hour, just the right length for two intellectually demanding works. Refreshingly, Grigsby feels no […]

Posted inArts & Culture

P.S. 122 Field Trips

P.S. 122 FIELD TRIPS at the Goodman Theatre Studio April 11-16 Performance artists often say that their works violate genre expectations–just relax and enjoy it, they advise, don’t try to put it in a box. Sure enough, the five artists of P.S. 122 Field Trips, a traveling performance-art variety show from New York City, are […]

Posted inArts & Culture


The Reivers’ sound is a heavenly melange of open-chorded guitars, soaring melodies, and the incongruous harmonies of songwriter John Croslin and singer Kim Longacre. Croslin’s voice is a friendly instrument, but it’s rough and low-pitched. Longacre’s, however, is a dreamy, soaring wonder. Together they’re a heady mix that shouldn’t work but does. The Reivers’ new […]

Posted inFilm

Love in the Time of Thatcherism

HIGH HOPES *** (A must-see) Directed and written by Mike Leigh With Philip Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Dore, Philip Jackson, Heather Tobias, Leslie Manville, David Bamber, Jason Watkins, and Judith Scott. One of the most interesting things about Mike Leigh’s up-to-the-minute bulletin from Thatcher England is its title. Because this wonderful English movie is partly […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sleeping Beauty

SLEEPING BEAUTY Chicago Children’s Theatre at the North Shore Country Day School Good children’s theater is so rare that I’m reluctant to criticize it; before I can say anything negative about Sleeping Beauty at the Chicago Children’s Theatre, I must indulge the urge to praise it. The show is technically excellent. David Avcollie and Nan […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hold the Line

HOLD THE LINE Zebra Crossing Theatre More than a century ago Henry Ward Beecher said “Nothing dies so hard, or rallies so often, as intolerance.” In our lifetime this country’s ugliest example of this was the red scare of the 50s, a paranoid frenzy that fed on self-fulfilling fears and spurious accusations, and destroyed countless […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Contemporary Chamber Players

When American music patriarch Chicagoan Paul Fromm passed away some 18 months ago, he left a provision in his will that the annual free spring concert bearing his name would continue. This year’s Fromm Concert is also the 25th anniversary of Ralph Shapey’s Contemporary Chamber Players, who, as always, will be the centerpiece performers for […]