Posted inArts & Culture

Medicine

There’s plenty of noise on Medicine’s second album, The Buried Life–all the hissing, whirring, crashing, and scraping make it seem as if the record were recorded in a large, disturbing shop class–but it also reveals a delicious pop sensibility. Band leader Brad Loner’s guitar playing ranges between killer riffing (“Something Goes Wrong”), air-raid-warning dramatics (“I […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Secret Garden

Mistress Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? In this 1991 Broadway musical based on the classic children’s novel, young Mary Lennox’s secret garden–a metaphor for the hidden hearts of two emotionally wounded children and their reclusive guardian–blossoms beautifully. The reasons include a lyrical score flavored with Celtic and Indian elements; a witty, never […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Moscow Vrtuosi

The Russian chamber orchestra Moscow Virtuosi was put together in 1979, shortly after founder Vladimir Spivakov returned from the Ravinia Festival. At Ravinia, the well-regarded violinist had made an auspicious conducting debut; back in Moscow, heartened by the reception, he became a full-time maestro heading an ensemble of first-chair musicians from various top-rank Russian orchestras. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Benny Green Trio

When pianist Benny Green performs one of his dead-on homages to Wynton Kelly and Tommy Flanagan–who largely defined the progressive jazz piano of the 1950s–it’s enough to snap your head around. (After all, Kelly died in 1971; and while Flanagan remains among jazz’s great keyboard men, at 67 he no longer displays the electrifying exactitude […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Checking out the new library boss

Just a few weeks after being named library commissioner, Mary Dempsey did something her immediate predecessors in their years of power had never done–she met with the people who use the libraries the most. Since her appointment in December, Dempsey, a corporate lawyer and professional librarian, has had several extended discussions with many of the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mose Vinson

Keyboard veteran Mose Vinson is a throwback to the days when jukes throughout the Delta and honky-tonks along Beale Street resonated with the sounds of pianos, string bands, jug bands, guitars, and the occasional harmonica. Vinson’s playing incorporates virtually all of those influences, although these days he tends to concentrate on gently flowing melodic improvisations […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Once a Cop

Technically Once a Cop is a sequel to the 1992 Supercop, which teamed Jackie Chan with the equally acrobatic Michelle Yeaoh, but in spirit it harks back to the martial-arts costume epics of the 70s that featured virtuous women warriors torn between duty and love. It’s also a vehicle for Yeaoh, who reprises the role […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Inti-Illimani

This veteran Chilean folk group hit the world stage during the heady days of the Allende regime in the late 60s, when it looked for a while as if ideas, goodwill, and a liberated human spirit could actually transform society. The CIA-backed Pinochet coup took care of that dream, but Inti-Illimani have carried on, even […]

Posted inArts & Culture

It’s the Acting, Stupid

RICHARD II Goodman Theatre In the second act of Richard II, when the feckless, self-pitying king is about to be deposed by implacable Bolingbroke–the rival he’s banished, whose land he’s confiscated–Richard delivers his ironic assessment of kingly greatness. Sobered by imminent peril, grander in despair than he ever was in glory, Richard says: “Within the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

State of Denial

THE STATE I’M IN: A TRAVELOGUE Paula Killen at the Goodman Studio, January 26-30 Paula Killen has a gift. Not as an actor. Though she’s good, there are dozens of women in Chicago who can act circles around her. Not as a semiautobiographical writer-storyteller. Again, Chicago has a plethora of witty, intelligent storytellers–Cheryl Trykv, Jenny […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dapples and Grays

DAPPLES AND GRAYS Stage Left Theatre at the Organic Theater Company Greenhouse, Lab Theater The title of David Rush’s new play may be insipid–Dapples and Grays–but the playwright has made many bold, even brutal choices. In a botched suicide attempt, Brian swallowed a bottle of sulfuric acid and is now in the hospital. His gullet […]