Posted inArts & Culture

A Conceived Notion

A CONCEIVED NOTION Oneness Productions at Unity in Chicago One thing I have to say about the creative minds behind A Conceived Notion: they’re no slouches. Everything in Vita Dennis’s play speaks of professional integrity–from Pamela L. LaBrosse’s pristine set to Ed Tossing’s original music, not one production detail has been overlooked. Such attention to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Von Freeman

Twenty years ago this month the Reader published a cover story on tenor saxist Von Freeman, who at the time remained something of a south-side secret despite his startlingly original and exuberant style. A few things have changed: Freeman, who had just issued his first album (after three decades of performing), has since released or […]

Posted inMusic

Liz Phair: growing up in public

The Metro’s sound system was booming out Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back” when Liz Phair and her band took the stage Saturday night. It seemed like a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of the backlash that’s followed her sudden celebrity. If fans came to see her shine, detractors came to see her fail. What I saw was […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story According to several news reports, the latest drug craze in some U.S. cities is methcathinone, or “cat,” which is manufactured with various industrial chemicals, including battery acid and Drano–thus requiring police to treat all the manufacturing and sales sites they raid as toxic-waste dumps. Symptoms of use include sweating, quivering, shaking, and long […]

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Triple Threats

DARK FRUIT Pomo Afro Homos at Randolph Street Gallery, through September 26 URBAN ARCHAEOLOGY Eric Leonardson and Ensemble at N.A.M.E., September 17 and 18 Pomo Afro Homos (“Post Modern African American Homosexuals”) have sold out all their performances here, and it’s not hard to see why: Dark Fruit, about the experiences of black gay men, […]

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Pinter’s Progress

THE DWARFS Feral Theatre at A Red Orchid Theatre BETRAYAL Northlight Theatre It’s a shame Harold Pinter is often recognized less for his words than for the spaces he leaves between them. With all the copycats churning out pause-laden domestic dramas, one almost forgets there’s more to Pinter than people saying “Mmmm” and “Ahhh” and […]

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Nathaniel Rosen and Ian Hobson

Cellist Nathaniel Rosen and pianist Ian Hobson are both on the faculty of the music school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and have both taken on hectic concert schedules. Rosen, who won a Naumburg prize in the late 70s, is one of the best young soloists around, though his star hasn’t quite ascended […]

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Shadowlands/Hard Times

SHADOWLANDS Interplay HARD TIMES The Public Trust Theatre Company at Urbus Orbis “All is not well”–the stark truth of that understatement haunts C.S. Lewis, the British scholar-theologian who haunts Shadowlands, William Nicholson’s wrenching tale of love found late and lost. In this 1990 drama (originally a BBC teleplay), Lewis’s happy but doomed marriage to Joy […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Nu Fishing

The No Fishing signs appeared around the lagoon on the landfill at Northwestern sometime in the late 1980s. The university brought in a dredger and a contractor to remove silt and generally upgrade the lagoon, which connects to Lake Michigan at its north and south ends. Even with the silt buildup and the worsening summer […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tribal Tech

In a time when the word “fusion” describes instrumental rock and roll (and “jazz” is routinely applied to guys like Kenny G and Fourplay), Tribal Tech stands out like a diamondback in a pile of cotton balls. The original fusion of the early 70s wedded musical complexity to raw energy, in the process becoming jazz’s […]