Posted inArts & Culture

Ice-T/Body Count

Ice-T, onetime south-central LA street hood and now the chief practitioner of a searing hip-hop subgenre called gangster rap, is a stolid rapper and a fairly unimaginative writer. He has yet to come up with a classic track, though his work on the title theme from Colors and his contribution to the New Jack City […]

Posted inMusic

Before Violins

ORPHEUS BAND Bond Chapel January 11 The viols, the dominant instruments in Renaissance and Baroque Europe, nearly became extinct in the early 19th century, replaced decisively by the violin family. Why? The recent season opener of the Orpheus Band, local specialist in Baroque string and vocal music, offered some tantalizing clues. The viola da gamba–a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Information Please

“The Soviet people did not want bread; they wanted information!” Helen Teplitskaia slaps the table to make her point. “The easiest way to control people is to deny them access to ideas, to limit what they can hear and see, prevent them from reading books and magazines that do not follow Communist thinking. “But,” she […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Oyster Princess

Ernst Lubitsch’s first feature-length comedy (1919), about an American millionaire trying to acquire a noble title for his daughter by marrying her off to a Prussian prince, is an unalloyed delight–a perfect rejoinder to those critics who maintain that Lubitsch only found “the Lubitsch touch” after he moved to Hollywood in the 1920s. The satire […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Just One World

JUST ONE WORLD at the Organic Theater This is a season for millennial musicals. Court Theatre’s The Mystery Cycle: Creation is a collage of Bible stories linked by themes of creation, destruction, and self-sacrifice. Now comes Just One World, an often-charming pop cantata that stirs up elements of Amazonian creation mythology, Aesopian fable, Christian day-of-judgment […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wild Space Dance Company

WILD SPACE DANCE COMPANY at Link’s Hall January 31 and February 1 It can be hell, trying to be a postmodern dancer in Milwaukee. As in the cultural deserts of other small midwestern cities, you have to find good dancers, sympathetic critics, an audience, and funding. And with so few models and colleagues, a choreographer […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Last Season/Stops

THE LAST SEASON ETA Creative Arts Foundation STOPS Element Theatre Company at the Project When Jackie Robinson made his decision to accept Branch Rickey’s invitation to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers–thereby becoming the first black man to compete in the hitherto all-white major leagues–his move was hailed as a giant step toward equality. It also […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Chamber Musicians

In the mid-30s Benny Goodman became music’s first crossover phenonmenon, moving impressively from jazz to the classical staple. He later credited his success to basic training in “classical” techniques in Chicago, where he was born in 1909. The King of Swing’s debut as a classical clarinetist, with the venerable Budapest String Quartet, resulted in a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Breaking New Ground

ZEPHYR DANCE ENSEMBLE at the Weinstein Center for the Performing Arts January 31 and February 1 Mime can be deadly in dance. A little goes a long way: the occasional naturalistic gesture may provide the hook for a dance, and a gesture out of context can be piquant, a stimulant to the imagination. But whole […]