Posted inArts & Culture

Johnny Sayles

Texas-born Johnny Sayles is one of that generation of Chicago singers–including Tyrone Davis, Otis Clay, and the late McKinley Mitchell–who, during the 60s, carried on the southern soul tradition of gospel-drenched fervor while the local soul scene drifted toward light, danceable pop tunes. Sayles cut his teeth in the south with the rough-and-ready Ike Turner […]

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Subconscious Messages

JANA HAIMSOHN at Randolph Street Gallery You know that moment right before you fall asleep when odd, surreal images walk into your daytime thoughts? Saturday night, after seeing Jana Haimsohn’s performance at Randolph Street Gallery, I was dozing off when this image of her crept in. She was dancing in her wily African way when […]

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Johnny Griffin

Spontaneous, immediate, and urgent as a rocket taking off–Johnny Griffin’s music gives a terrific sense of the importance of right now, this very moment. Tops among the big-sounding, aggressive Chicago tenor saxophonists of the 40s, he started in Lionel Hampton’s big band, became one of the best hard boppers with Thelonious Monk and Art Blakey […]

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Improv Without Anxiety

CHRIS AIKEN at Link’s Hall April 10 and 11 Improvisers must walk a peculiar line between safety and risk–they can’t make the audience anxious that they’re going to mess up, but they can’t play things too safe or what they’re doing will seem dead. I felt I was in good hands, however, as the performers […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Special ed: as the school board moves to cut costs and “mainstream” more students, private contractors fear for their future

When John (not his real name) first showed up at the Southern School a few years ago, he was so miserable he wanted to kill himself. “This was a teenager who had been sexually abused by his mother,” says Michael Johnson, education director at the north-side private school for children with emotional and learning disabilities. […]

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Life After Death

To the editors: Cecil Adams’s explanation of the Near-Death Experience [March 27] was a fair one, noting all opinions on the subject. I’d just like to add one fact and one question for pondering. The fact is that Emanuel Swedenborg, on whom the Reader just carried a huge article [Janaury 24], wrote all about this […]

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A Cocktail of Flowers: The Life and Afterlife of Doll Baby/The Weird Sisters in Recital

A COCKTAIL OF FLOWERS: THE LIFE AND AFTERLIFE OF DOLL BABY at Club Lower Links THE WEIRD SISTERS IN RECITAL Chicago Actors Ensemble In the United States the chanson realiste tradition, with its highly romanticized glimpses of life on the seamy side, has been largely carried on by female entertainers whose stories reflected–or were imagined […]

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The Next Generation Project

THE NEXT GENERATION PROJECT at Link’s Hall April 3-5 Chicago’s many showcases for new choreographers often carefully state that they show “emerging” artists. “The Next Generation Project,” sponsored by Jan Bartoszek’s Hedwig Dances, also carefully states its purpose: to present the best choreographers to emerge from the other showcases–the promising choreographers who may form the […]

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Prospect

PROSPECT Latino Chicago Theater Company Liza’s been waiting at this bar for Vince for hours, and she’s getting ticked off. So she strikes up a conversation with Scout, who’s been buying her drinks all night. Scout’s a Mexican computer programmer who’s been struggling with his racial identity (his real name is Mario), and though he […]

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Pocket Full of Posies

POCKET FULL OF POSIES Wysiwyg Theatre Company at Angel Island A playwright this bad should at least have the modesty to tackle a tiny subject. In Pocket Full of Posies, a new work, local playwright Joseph Savit pretends to confront a growing problem–the unwillingness of private hospitals to treat high-risk patients–but doesn’t even approach enlightening […]

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The Sports Section

Basketball has replaced baseball as the sport of choice; at least in my life it has. Football, of course, remains Chicago’s obsession, but basketball has caught and, I believe, surpassed baseball as the sport that mirrors our lives. Its hectic pace, leading up to unexpected epiphanies, is both how our lives seem and how we […]

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Lonnie Brooks

Guitarist Lonnie Brooks’s Louisiana roots are usually more hinted at than proclaimed these days–a droning harmony, deceptively propulsive slow shuffle, or a long shimmering phrase reminiscent of Guitar Slim. Mostly, he’s a hard-driving contemporary bluesman, with a distinctive, high-pitched voice and a penchant for meticulous arrangements and well-crafted lyrics. Brooks used to play country music, […]

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Roadside Prophets

The acting is raw and unglued, the guest-star appearances of aging 60s icons (Arlo Guthrie, Timothy Leary, David Carradine) are self-conscious and arch, and the sprawling episodic construction is underlined by conceptions that are sentimental to a fault. But this odd little road movie–a first feature written and directed by Abbe Wool, who cowrote Sid […]

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Gertrude Stein and a Companion

GERTRUDE STEIN AND A COMPANION Borealis Productions at Strawdog Theatre According to a recent biography of Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway said that when Alice B. Toklas entered Stein’s life, Stein stopped looking like a beautiful peasant woman and started looking like a Roman emperor. And indeed, the enduring image of Stein is grave and commanding. […]