Posted inArts & Culture

Hunger and Gaiety

HANSEL AND GRETEL Ballet Chicago at Steppenwolf Theatre, through April 24 Ballet is notoriously airy. Dancers work as hard as they can to give the impression they’re not earthbound, and many story ballets involve otherworldly creatures, Wilis and enchanted swans and nutcracker princes. So it’s strange to choose as the basis for a story ballet […]

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Bailter Space

The marriage of pop melodies and loud electric guitars is hardly new, but it is continually renewed; Husker Do did it in the mid-80s by making the noise rawer and the hooks catchier, and My Bloody Valentine did it more recently by distorting the guitars into a candied sonic morass. Bailter Space, a migratory trio […]

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Dan Boadi & Ghanatta

Highlife is one of the classic 20th-century West African pop music genres, a style sometimes hard to define precisely since it encompasses such diversity. Originally a 1920s blend of homegrown rural rhythms and Western colonial military music sprinkled with miscellaneous Caribbean and ballroom jazz influences, highlife gradually evolved to become the dominant dance music of […]

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Back From the Dead

BEATRICE AND BENEDICT Chicago Opera Theater at the Athenaeum Chicago Opera Theater has apparently returned from the grave. After last year’s financial difficulties–the final production of the season, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, was canceled–it seemed unlikely that a COT production would ever again see the light of day. However, a number of angels (including COT board […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

In a discussion of product liability in Restatement of Torts I came upon this passage: “Many products cannot possibly be made entirely safe for all consumption…. Ordinary sugar is a deadly poison to diabetics, and castor oil found use under Mussolini as an instrument of torture.” My question: what did Mussolini do with the castor […]

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Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Back when he went to Senn High School, Lar Lubovitch was plain old Larry. Now not only is he artistic director of a New York-based troupe celebrating its 25th anniversary, but he has choreographed for the likes of New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the White Oak Dance Project, and ice dancers–the […]

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The City File

Cute. Ann Wiens in the New Art Examiner (April) recalls a discussion last year in which “the panelists were artist/activists whose work addresses ecology and the environment. An audience member asked where beauty fit into their work. After a long, uncomfortable silence one of the panelists said, ‘It really isn’t a concern. Is there another […]

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Dimitris Marinos

Formed just two weeks ago by local composer C.P. First and two other Northwestern-prepped musicians, the Chicago 20th Century Music Ensemble is the latest addition to the city’s burgeoning new-music scene. While other groups make a point of showcasing area composers, this one, according to cofounder Todd Sullivan, intends to cover the “broadest possible spectrum” […]

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Clowns Plus Wrestlers

It’s a simple idea, really–making an avant-garde play about avant-garde plays–and so well executed here that it traces a new direction in the avant-garde. Clowns Plus Wrestlers incorporates many of the most current ideas in avant-garde theater: a fragmented plot made up of several miniplots that intentionally go nowhere, New Vaudevillian clowns, text appropriated from […]