Posted inArts & Culture

Chamber Opera Chicago

This enterprising group has put together a triple bill of early 20th-century operatic one-acts that unveils three disparate faces of love: the essential loneliness of the human soul, ardor cooled by deception and jealousy, and ironic bemusement. Yet all three derive their narrative drive from the discovery of a secret. In Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle (1911), […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Futile Attraction/Private Eye

FUTILE ATTRACTION and PRIVATE EYE One Day Short Theatre at Cafe Voltaire In the great tragic romances, wisdom about love is hard won. After killing Desdemona in a jealous rage, Othello cries out that he should be remembered as a man who loved “not wisely, but too well.” Both he and Desdemona learn the wages […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mordine & Company Dance Theatre

Our image of a dancer is of a young, lithe, healthy, beautiful animal–an image of perfect youth. When a dancer grows old, she cannot move like a young animal anymore, and she is often pushed behind the scenes into other roles. This tragedy echoes the everyday tragedy of many middle-aged women, who in their youth […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bach Week in Evanston

Over half a century J.S. Bach churned out at least 1,200 compositions; the surviving works alone fill 60 volumes, published by the venerable Bach Society. According to my calculations, that’s enough material for the popular Bach Week in Evanston to last well into the next century. Every spring since 1974 this multiconcert event, hosted by […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Robin Williamson

There’s a not-very-subtle distinction between treating a folk music tradition as a fragile heritage to be sheltered against corruption and treating it as a tough, grizzled system of roots that serves as a sturdy foundation for perpetually changing bursts of inexplicable greenery. Living traditions, oral or otherwise, change over the years like any living thing, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Romeo and Juliet/Henry Faust

ROMEO AND JULIET Folio Theatre Company Not a hint of a concept lurks behind Folio Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet. In what by today’s standards amounts to a nontraditional production, Alec Wild has set the play in–yes!–its proper time and place. No directorial indulgences color or corrupt the lines–this love tragedy goes back to basics, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Showbiz

SHOWBIZ Wisdom Bridge Theatre My high school and grammar school drama coaches are best remembered for their screaming fits, one for throwing a chair across the stage during a particularly frustrating rehearsal, and another for getting drunk on opening night. One, however, was a professional. If Mr. Smith yelled, his voice resonated and shook the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Blunting the Cutting Edge/PR War

Blunting the Cutting Edge Scholars foresee an epochal disaster–one of the world’s great civilizations spiraling toward the black hole of Generation X (aka the twentysomethings or twentynothings), not just an inferior generation but the most ignorant and useless in history. One such scholar was the late Allan Bloom of the University of Chicago, whose The […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Saturday Morning Live

SATURDAY MORNING LIVE Win One Productions at the Factory Theatre I am either the perfect person or the worst person to write about Win One Productions’ Saturday Morning Live. This hour-long original comedy revue spoofs all the Saturday-morning children’s shows I used to watch. Not the ones I took only a passing interest in, like […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sock Monkeys

Pretty much everything about the Sock Monkeys is in their name: unabashed amusement, athleticism, grace, collaboration, a certain impishness, a little tribal je ne sais quoi, and even a sort of fuzzy warmth. This four-person collective twirls somewhere between postmodern dance and performance art, integrating movement, text, wonderfully absurd props, music, and notions both serious […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Leading Light

HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO at the Civic Opera House, through May 9 Twyla Tharp is known for intelligent novelty: her dances skim by in a blur of clever invention. Yet in her 1982 Nine Sinatra Songs she seems to purposely skirt cliche–to walk up to it, stick her tongue out in its face, and walk […]