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Posted inArts & Culture

The Death of Carmen

THE DEATH OF CARMEN Pegasus Players “Free she was born,” declares the gypsy Carmen of herself, shortly before her deranged ex-lover knocks her off, “and free she will die!” Would that were true of The Death of Carmen, Victoria Bussert and Russ Borski’s new version of Georges Bizet’s 1875 opera. The Death of Carmen was […]

Posted inMusic

Hubert Sumlin–Heart & Soul

HEART & SOUL Hubert Sumlin Blind Pig Records BP 3389 The best blues and jazz soloists are both earnest about their craft and deeply committed to having a good time. The histories of these two interrelated forms are peppered with a colorful cast of flamboyant free spirits whose art and life-styles refused to remain within […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Toots & the Maytals

Frederick “Toots” Hibbert is one of the half dozen or so Jamaican musicians who can justifiably lay claim to having “invented” reggae, and hardly anyone disputes that he gave the genre its name (“Do the Reggay,” 1968). When he and Bob Marley were getting their first U.S. releases (1974 or so) the two were considered […]

Posted inFilm

A Bluffer’s Guide to Bela Tarr

ALMANAC OF FALL *** (A must-see) Directed and written by Bela Tarr With Hedi Temessy, Erika Bodnar, Miklos B. Szekely, Pal Hetenyi, and Janos Derzsi. 1. Problems One reason that Eastern European films often don’t get the attention they deserve in the West is that we lack the cultural and historical contexts for them. If […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ben Vaughn

From Ben Vaughn’s rather inauspicious beginnings (the Ben Vaughn Combo originally consisted of Vaughn and a guy on snare) the pride of Camden (New Jersey) is now rock’s leading funnyman. He’s not a parodist, exactly, and he’s not really a wit, either. Mostly what he does is construct effortless pop ditties on such essential subjects […]

Posted inMusic

Handel With Care

JOSHUA Basically Bach at Saint James Cathedral May 18 CHORAL ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO at Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ May 20 The greatest single pleasure of the blossoming of early-music groups in Chicago in recent years is that occasionally we get the opportunity to hear a long-neglected masterpiece. Such was the case when Basically […]

Posted inArts & Culture

New Humanism

GET WELL SOON at the Robbin Lockett Gallery Previous shows at the Robbin Lockett Gallery may have been too idea-oriented and esoteric for many Chicagoans, but the current group exhibit, “Get Well Soon,” should communicate provocative ideas to a wide audience. Its accessibility comes from the show’s references to the human body, of which we […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Size Counts

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO Chamber Opera Chicago at the Ruth Page Auditorium Chamber Opera Chicago’s production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro reminded me of something Luciano Pavarotti said a couple of years back–before he embarked on his latest and most successful weight-loss campaign. Pavarotti admitted that he had given up the role of Ferrando […]

Posted inArts & Culture

LAPD Inspects Chicago

LAPD INSPECTS CHICAGO Los Angeles Poverty Department at Randolph Street Gallery The first scene in LAPD Inspects Chicago shows what the Los Angeles Poverty Department does best: create arresting moments drawn from the real lives of the homeless. A quiet, reserved young man (Ameir Tahir) inadvertently crosses the path of another more aggressive young man […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Enclosed is an article extolling the virtues of colonic irrigation. After reading it we are convinced that removing our primal fecal matter will cure all that ails us, although we’re a little apprehensive about the “lighted viewing tube” that seems to figure in the process. Can you tell us more? –The Sluggish Colons, Baltimore, Maryland […]