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Art Facts: erasing the line between art and craft

At one time the art world drew hard distinctions between the fine arts (painting, sculpture, works on paper) and crafts (ceramics, glass, wood, metal, and fiber). But in the last half century–since the founding of the American Craft Council, which is holding its 50th-anniversary celebration here this weekend–those distinctions have increasingly blurred. Functionality has traditionally […]

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The Triumph of Love/Caligula

THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE Court Theatre CALIGULA European Repertory Theatre at Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, Baird Hall It’s good to start big. And Charles Newell, Court Theatre’s newly appointed associate artistic director, makes a strong debut with this rare revival (in every sense) of Pierre Marivaux’ foolishly wise, sadly happy The Triumph of […]

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Susannah

In 1954, Carlisle Floyd finished his first major opera, Susannah, when he was 27. The works eventually became the most produced of American operas. By updating and transplanting the apocryphal tale of Susannah and the Elders to the Tennessee hills, Floyd fashioned a beguiling musical parable, a wry indictment of small=town pettiness and hyprocrisy. Susannah […]

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Maryam’s Pregnancy

MARYAM’S PREGNANCY Hidden Theatre at Splinter Group Studio Set in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, Maryam’s Pregnancy revolves around an unwed pregnant girl who is forced into hiding in order to stay alive because her moral crime is punishable by stoning. Staying alive means enduring the last seven months of her pregnancy in the dark, […]

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Syl Johnson

Chicago soul legend Syl Johnson started out as a blues guitarist, working with such greats as Magic Sam, Junior Wells, and Elmore James. But he soom immersed himself in the youthful, affirming cadences of soul music: his first major hit, “Straight Love, No Chaser,” showcased his brash, slightly hard-edged way with a melody. Then in […]

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Dance of Life

DANCING AT LUGHNASA Goodman Theatre The time is August 1936 in rural County Donegal, and Lugh–the Celtic god of the harvest–is being honored with the pagan festival of Lughnasa. In the back hills there’s dancing and ritual and lovemaking–a joyous catharsis that’s darkly mysterious and sometimes dangerous, given the strength of the energies released. In […]

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Images of Uncertainty

SUSAN ROTHENBERG: PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS at the Museum of Contemporary Art, through October 24 For a horrible second or two after you trip on a broken sidewalk you’re completely in flux–with arms flailing and bags flying, you don’t know whether you’re going to catch yourself or fall. But that’s a minor anxiety compared to life’s […]

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29th Chicago International Film Festival: The Week’s Worth

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8 Rudy A worthy addition to the “faith, grit, and hard work conquers all” genre that includes Rocky and Hoosiers (which was directed by David Anspaugh and written by Angelo Pizzo, the same team that created Rudy). This is a surprisingly involving, deceptively straightforward story of an average–maybe less-than-average–guy who dreams of going […]

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In the House of Sargon

IN THE HOUSE OF SARGON Michael Zerang at Link’s Hall, through October 9 Michael Zerang is a skilled, creative performer who’s always worth watching because he so relentlessly challenges himself, experimenting in new and exciting ways. And he’s provided an entertaining, enjoyable, and at times strange evening of performance art with his premiere of In […]

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Radney Foster

Radney Foster looks like the kind of guy whom rockabilly bonehead Ronnie Hawkins would’ve affectionately called “Peabody:” clipped hair, wire specs, his nose poised to bury itself in a book. And while it’s true Foster’s eloquent country-rock solo debut Del Rio, TX 1959 proves he’s a literate type, his boyish, bookworm looks are a welcome […]

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Three Flat Walkup

THREE FLAT WALKUP Curious Theatre Branch What amazes me most about Curious Theatre writers is the way they mix rich, musical language with morbid, ugly images. No group can wax poetic about rats the way Curious can. No theater is better at turning an ordinary romantic betrayal into an underground, worm-infested odyssey. And no company […]

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Are You Being Helped?

IT’S SHIFTING, HANK Goat Island at the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ Gymnasium, through October 10 In this time of liquidation sales, of mass firings and closings, of people choosing whether to pay the rent or the electric and phone bills, there may well be a feeling of helplessness about the simplest things. And […]