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Posted inArts & Culture

Concertante di Chicago

Often noted as the best local example of a new breed–the conductorless chamber ensemble–Concertante di Chicago is also remarkably imaginative in its programming. In this salute to two titans of American music, the group has picked a couple of relatively early obscurities from the composers’ oeuvres. Aaron Copland’s Quiet City is a modest charmer long […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fathom Blazer

FATHOM BLAZER Doorika For Doorika’s first two productions in Chicago, North of the Lake and In a Way It Was a Crisis, this ensemble created for itself two beautifully enigmatic scripts that resisted all attempts at interpretation yet offered up endless resonant layers of association. Though the performances and staging were first-rate, the texts were […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Flamenco Dance Concert

A FLAMENCO DANCE CONCERT at Angel Guardian Theatre November 15-17 In the early days of postmodern dance, long before ex-Reader critic Sally Banes had even coined the term, Yvonne Rainer was just saying no to the spectacle of dance. By eliminating the traditional trappings–costumes, props, lighting, and the like–she was saying yes to what was […]

Posted inMusic

International Exchange

LANDSCAPES OF THE MIND at Fullerton Hall, Art Institute November 17 Before last month Joan Tower, one of our country’s leading composers, didn’t know anything about the work of Ada Gentile, one of her Italian counterparts. Given the increasing insularity of communities of composers, new-music venues now tend to serve as exclusive outlets for musical […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dewey Redman

Tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman gained his greatest recognition from his mid-70s stints with Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett, and the fact that he could shine in both those contexts simultaneously says a lot about him. But the issue here goes deeper than stylistic versatility; in fact, Redman’s tightly wound but nonetheless labyrinthine solos sounded strikingly […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

There’s something oddly appealing about these Bears of the 90s. Like George Bush, they want to be described as kinder and gentler–more street smart and savvy–but what they really are is more neurotic and fallible. Even so, that only makes them more recognizably human. Where the 1985 Bears were take-no-prisoners marauders, demanding a certain worshipful […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Emphasizing Ugliness

HEDWIG DANCES at Link’s Hall Studio November 22-24 Chicago’s performance poets tend to add performance-art elements to their readings. One young poet at the Green Mill’s poetry slam wore swimming fins and a diving mask, though he admitted it was just an attention-getting stunt. Another poet punched and kicked a blow-up sex doll while reciting […]

Posted inFilm

Die Yuppie Scum

THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS *** (A must-see) Directed and written by Wes Craven With Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, A.J. Langer, and Ving Rhames. For Hollywood this has been a season of surprises, mostly disappointing ones. This is the time of year when what passes for “serious adult” films –not dramas necessarily, but […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In May in Jacksonville, Florida, a man tried to rob Charlie’s Supermarket wearing a paper bag over his head to disguise his identity. When the bag shifted, moving the eyeholes, the man nervously told the clerk, “Give me the register.” The clerk sought clarification of the instructions, but the robber’s voice was muffled […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fruitcakes in Love

HOLIDAY MEMORIES Northlight Theatre Charles Dickens, speaking through the character of Ebenezer Scrooge’s nephew Fred, called the Christmas season “the only time I know . . .when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ideograms in a New Language

MARTIN PURYEAR at the Art Institute The sculptures of Martin Puryear, 40 of which are on display in his current midcareer retrospective at the Art Institute, etch themselves on the viewer’s perception with the precision of a scalpel. Bold, often large forms in wood or metal are not as simple as they might seem at […]