Posted inArts & Culture

The Butter and Egg Man

THE BUTTER AND EGG MAN Northlight Theatre “You don’t have to work at all in the theater,” says a character in George S. Kaufman’s The Butter and Egg Man. The actors in Northlight Theatre’s production of the 1925 comedy, being revived in honor of the centenary of Kaufman’s birth, work their butts off to breathe […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story Pennsylvania state police recovered numerous photos of people’s feet from the home of Brookville farm worker John Reed, 57, in August. They also found a jar containing six human toes and videotapes of parades in which the camera zooms in on the feet of the marchers. (A judge refused to allow police to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cold Chambers

COLD CHAMBERS Mainline Productions at Urbus Orbis The five one-acts that make up Mainline Productions’ Cold Chambers are as bleak a set of plays as you are likely to see in Chicago these days. Hopeless, humorless, and extremely dark, each one studies a different aspect of the same milieu–the world of the disaffected, disenchanted, disenfranchised […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Anthony Newman

Anthony Newman’s once-controversial fast tempi are now commonplace among scholarly early-music performers. But Newman has always had unusual performing ideas; he was the first American to record the Brandenburg Concerti with one instrument per part, incorporating period instruments and conducting them from the harpsichord, now standard practice. He also released the first recordings of Beethoven […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Randy Weston

Even if pianist Randy Weston had never written African-inspired compositions (in the 50s), been among the first American jazzmen to visit the continent (early 60s), or settled in Morocco (late 60s), he might still suggest a transplanted African king of noble bearing. Weston’s music, now darkly percussive, now lightly skipping, consciously combines subcutaneous rhythmic subtleties […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Irene Schweizer & Maggie Nicols

These are two giants of the European avant-garde, each making her first appearance in Chicago as part of the Southend Musicworks’ innovative concert series. Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer was among the founders of Europe’s FMP (Free Music Production) movement in the 1960s; she was also long considered the preeminent avant-garde pianist in Europe, owing to […]

Posted inMusic

Into the Stratosphere

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at Orchestra Hall September 27, 28, October 3, 5 ITZHAK PERLMAN AND DANIEL BARENBOIM at Orchestra Hall October 4 It is not so terribly bizarre that a year’s time would see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra sink to its lowest level and then rise to its highest; I have seen this happen literally […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ordinaires

Those of us who love rock ‘n’ roll on the usual blindered, tautological level (because it is rock ‘n’ roll)–and can never really “get” jazz, or classical, or whatever simply because the idiom seems alien–can take heart in the Ordinaires, a nine-piece group from New York’s Lower East Side. This unholy aggregation–two guitars, two violins, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Queen of Hearts

Jon Amiel, a British director best known in this country for the miniseries The Singing Detective, directs a wonderful Italian family chronicle with a lot of style, lyricism, humor, and emotion. Tony Grisoni’s script deftly juggles a number of full-blown characters over 20-odd years while successfully employing a few touches of magical realism that Amiel […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Grief and Goodwill

DAYTON CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY at the Dance Center of Columbia College October 12-14 It may not be possible to watch the work of black choreographers in this country and not see it as political, as an outsider’s statement about American culture. America’s ugly treatment of its black population has to affect our experience of virtually […]