Posted inArts & Culture

Etta James & Houston Person

You may never have asked a musical question along the lines of, “How could anyone possibly turn a hoary burlesque-era tune like ‘Ma, He’s Making Eyes at Me’ into a blues?” Nonetheless, you’ll find the answer on jazz singer Etta Jones’s new album Reverse the Charges (on Muse). In fact, I’d bet you could plug […]

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The Blue Hour City Sketches/The Vermont Sketches/Sexual Perversity in Chicago

THE BLUE HOUR CITY SKETCHES and THE VERMONT SKETCHES Walking Company at Stage Left Theatre SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO InFusion Productions at the Factory Theatre All manner of mystical meanings have been attributed to the plays of actor-turned-playwright Harold Pinter, but his characters’ communications are not so much deliberately cryptic as they are literal transcriptions […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Of a Fire in the Garbage

Jimmy Weinstein, the editor of the lefty newspaper In These Times, had never thought much about garbage cans. He hadn’t cared for the old metal cans that used to be strewn about the alleys. Stenciled “Compliments of some alderman,” they stunk of the Machine. He was glad when the city replaced them with standardized plastic […]

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Hellcab Does Christmas/Rage!!! Or, I’ll Be Home for Christmas

HELLCAB DOES CHRISTMAS Famous Door Theatre Company at Jane Addams Center Hull House I hate Christmas. Not just because what little spiritual message it still conveys–Be nice to people (for a change)–has been overwhelmed by the materialist message: Buy! Acquire! Gimme! But also because none of the traditional holiday theater events–the various Nutcrackers and Christmas […]

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Television

Nostalgia sucks; and for obvious reasons, it’s even worse when punks are involved. With this in mind, beware Television reunion concerts. Two things about the group can’t be overstated: the allure of its original recordings–the glorious Marquee Moon (1977) and Adventure (1978)–and its symbolic importance. The albums rang, and still ring today, with an eerie […]

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Two Original One-Acts: “The Spider” and “Cue Line”/Marred Bliss (More Short Plays at Sheffield’s)

TWO ORIGINAL ONE-ACTS: “THE SPIDER” AND “CUE LINE” Conquest Theatre Company at Cafe Voltaire MARRED BLISS (MORE SHORT PLAYS AT SHEFFIELD’S) at Sheffield’s School Street Cafe The title of Conquest Theatre Company’s first venture–“Two Original One-Acts”–isn’t exactly a barn burner. But then neither are the one-acts, actors’ exercises written by and for the artists of […]

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Archy and Mehitabel

ARCHY AND MEHITABEL Center Theater “The action of our play takes place on the seamy side of the Big Town,” says the authors’ introduction to Archy and Mehitabel. “The time is now, or any time.” Certainly the time is now for this clever, neglected chamber musical; a flop in its 1957 Broadway premiere under the […]

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The House of Blue Leaves

THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES Court Theatre John Guare doesn’t make things easy on the people who produce his work. His characters are bundles of neurotic contradictions, his plots spin giddily out of control, and his dense language is full of images that appear and disappear like mysterious little dreams. Add to all this Guare’s […]

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Juilliard String Quartet With Benita Valente

After 45 years in the business, the Juilliard String Quartet is still without question the greatest quartet. Despite its longevity–a record that bests the Budapest’s and the Guarneri’s–the Juilliard sounds just as fresh, intense, and intellectually invigorating as ever. Much of the credit, of course, goes to Robert Mann, its first violinist and artistic guardian. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Everybody has heard that in the early days of radio broadcasting, there were people who received broadcasts through their teeth. A psychologist who is writing about it in a forthcoming book told me that he could find no actual or authentic case. I recall the play Something for the Boys in 1944 with Ethel Merman, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

House of Cash

To the editors: I have a correction to David Whiteis’s November 13 review of the recent Johnny Cash concert: Cash’s “posh Nashville estate” (which is actually in nearby Hendersonville) is not called “Cashville.” It is called the House of Cash. And it is posh. I know this because I attended the same Nashville elementary school […]