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 […]
Techno tycoon David Prince/You have to be there.
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 […]
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 […]
The five Pulitzer Prize jurors in the Public Service competition made two piles. One consisted of 20-some entries on the general theme of violence against children. At the top of this stack was “Killing Our Children” from the Chicago Tribune. Several other entries took up race relations. Best in the jurors’ eyes was a study […]
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 […]
Trumpeter Randy Brecker belongs in the top echelon of modern jazzmen. When you really listen to his best work, it’s difficult to count many trumpeters who do a better job of putting tone and technique to the service of imaginative improvisation. Brecker has a pure, brash tone and an unshackled technique, and he uses them […]
A Living Legend of the Negro Leagues
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 […]
A true giant of free jazz returns to Chicago. Once described as “apocalyptic,” German saxophonist and clarinetist Peter Brotzmann has used off-the-chart virtuosity and a restless search for new sounds to construct a richly detailed and even stunning style. At times he sails into an ocean of overtones with shrieks of passion and delight; he […]
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 […]
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 […]
Jeffrey Ortmann and his fiscally impaired Wisdom Bridge Theatre are limping from Howard Street to the Ivanhoe Theater in Lakeview.
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” […]
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 […]