Posted inArts & Culture

Chris Smither

Chris Smither is a folk legend who’s finally stepping into the mainstream, and he’s revealing that there are more sides to his musical personality than a lot of his old admirers ever knew. Smither is the wry, bluesy philosopher who penned “Love Me Like a Man” for Bonnie Raitt. His gutsy guitar style combines the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Music People: China on his mind

When he was 17, Bright Sheng heard for the first time the folk songs of the remote Chinese province of Qinghai. In 1971, the People’s Republic was in the chaotic depths of the Cultural Revolution. Along with millions of his generation, the Shanghai native who’s Lyric Opera’s current composer-in-residence was dispatched to the countryside in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Wall of Water

THE WALL OF WATER Parallax Theater Company at the Calo Theater What would you get if you took every French farce, every 70s American sitcom, every Neil Simon comedy, scrambled all the pages, fed them into a scanner, and asked a computer to come up with a new play for the 90s? You might very […]

Posted inArts & Culture

California E.A.R. Unit

For decades New York City and vicinity have furnished the country’s best and brightest contemporary-music performers; but more and more, the west coast is putting up fairly stiff competition. The ten-year-old California E.A.R. Unit, in residence at the LA County Museum of Art, is fast acquiring a reputation for its versatility with instruments and the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story From the “Police Log” of the Arizona Daily Sun (in Flagstaff), August 1: An officer was sent to an apartment complex because of a “family fight in progress.” A witness said he heard a male voice and then heard what sounded like a female voice reply. The officer arrived to find one middle-aged […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Folger Consort/Newberry Consort

The Folger Consort and the Newberry Consort in concert on consecutive nights is a pleasure comparable to a joint recital by Pavarotti and Domingo. Both among the world’s top early-music ensembles, the D.C.-based Folger and our own Newberry have long mastered the art of breathing life into medieval and Renaissance music, and their performances tend […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bloc Studies

SOWERS OF MYTH at the Chicago Cultural Center It would be a shame if the exhibit hall on the fourth floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, with its high coffered ceiling and tall windows overlooking Grant Park, were ever to close permanently. Here Chicagoans have been introduced to the work of local painters and sculptors […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Grace of Mary Traverse

THE GRACE OF MARY TRAVERSE Pig American Productions at Transient Theatre Nowadays the brutality of a play is no liability. If anything it’s taken as proof of hard-eyed integrity and unflinching zeal to expose or explore. That’s the charitable explanation for The Grace of Mary Traverse (1985), a sprawling, violent, turgid modern melodrama by Timberlake […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Grady Freeman & the Family Band

The south side used to be known for its Sunday blues–at Florence’s Lounge, Louise’s South Park Lounge, and the rest of the circuit. In recent years that tradition has faded somewhat, but harpist Grady Freeman seems determined to change that situation. Freeman sings in an expressive vibrato reminiscent of Rice Miller, and his harp blowing […]