Posted inNews & Politics

Rock Stinks, Part 2

To the editors: I wholly concur with Art Naebig’s letter [October 18] concerning Rock music and I find his imagery to be particularly apposite. It so happens, however, that in our post-Watergate era many ideals of the mid-century counterculture have found widespread acceptance in some form or another. Rock music, previously execrated for the wrong […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cyrus Hayes

Chicago soul music tends to fall into one of two categories: light, danceable pop (Jan Bradley’s “Mama Didn’t Lie,” Dee Clarke’s “Raindrops”) or churchy testifying (the music of Otis Clay, McKinley Mitchell, or Lee “Shot” Williams). Cyrus Hayes combines these extremes and adds a healthy dollop of blues, blowing a boisterous harmonica and prodding his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

John Webber Quartet

In jazz, the strength of any ensemble comes from the linkages formed within the rhythm section, and the heart of every rhythm section lies in the interplay between bassist and drummer. This may be an elementary lesson in jazz anatomy, but it helps explain why this pickup band should sound healthier than most. Bassist John […]

Posted inNews & Politics

I Like Mike II

To the editors: I read your recent article on Michael Pensack [October 11]. Just for the record, I think he’s doing good service for tenants. Although I can’t speak to the serious allegations being made against him, he has frequently given me free advice over the phone that has been very helpful to me. Richard […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Work of a Master

I’m sitting in my office one afternoon when a young man I’ve never seen there pokes his head in the doorway. He’s wearing Bermuda shorts, a black-and-white T-shirt promoting somebody’s band, has long brown hair tied behind his neck in a single tightly wound braid. The look is at once clean-cut and 90s-hip. He’s carrying […]

Posted inMusic


It’s possible that the only true survivors–emotionally, musically, and politically–of the great initial blast of British punk are the Mekons. The music of their convincing early onslaught has evolved over the last six or so years into an unassailable melange of modern British postpunk and Hank Williams-era C & W, and the result is an […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Brutal Poetry

HERE IS MONSTER Next Lab In the Next Lab’s first production in their 40-seat “black box,” Dexter Bullard took an interesting but weak script–John Godber’s episodic, essentially plotless Bouncers–and transformed it into a first-rate production. The play ran for nine months and earned Bullard a reputation as one of Chicago’s up-and-coming young directors, a reputation […]

Posted inArts & Culture


MOMENTA at the Ruth Page Foundation Theatre November 1 and 2 Momenta is the only group I know of in the Chicago area that is dedicating its energy, imagination, and scarce funds to authentic re-creations of vanished dances by important American choreographers. Stephanie Clemens, Momenta’s artistic director, began the project three years ago to acquaint […]