Posted inArts & Culture

Oscar Chavez

Oscar Chavez’s 30-plus-year career, during which he’s released more than 70 recordings, has made his name something of a household word in Mexico; he’s known for both his interpretations of traditional songs and his own compositions, many of which feature satirical political comment. I’ve heard this guy described more than once as a sort of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Smoke Kills

Dear editor: Re: “Let’s Ban Smoking Outright,” March 18 Twenty years or so ago I met Mrs. S. As the old saying goes, “we hit it off,” in an immediate liking of one another. It was my first contact as a chaplain with a person with lung cancer. She was in her late fifties. One […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

They stand in the morning sun. Twenty fourth-grade students. Binoculars pressing into their eye sockets. Sue Friscia points across the baseball field behind the school to where a group of throaty seabirds squat. “Uhhh. Ring-billed gull,” one child shouts. Nineteen others chorus the same answer a second later, “Ring-billed gull.” Friscia is a science resource […]

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Bruce Cockburn

Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn’s tuneful folk-pop is notable for both its restrained tastefulness and its author’s humane decency. Whether incorporating eclectic world-beat influences (as on his 1980s records) or working from a country-blues foundation with the help of producer T-Bone Burnett (on 1991’s Nothing but a Burning Light and the new Dart to the Heart), […]

Posted inNews & Politics

People Who Matter

Dear Neil Tesser, Thanks for yet another piece on a musician who fucking matters, namely Marilyn Crispell [Rock Etc., April 15]. To listen to her or others of kindred spirit–here and gone–is to walk with finger jade in hand inside pocket: something precious. Meanwhile, “men in suits” parade, hands in pockets, diddling themselves. R.M.P. Chicago […]

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Not From Around Here

THE SHAME-MAN, EL MEXI-CANT & EL CYBER-VATO COME TO CHICAGO IN SEARCH OF THEIR LOST SELVES (OR THE IDENTITY TOUR) Guillermo Gomez-Pena, James Luna, and Roberto Sifuentes at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, April 29 and 30 A young man known in current parlance as a cholo, wearing a red bandanna around his forehead, […]

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Tribune on the Cutting Edge

Dear Reader: I found the Reader’s article about Ken Parish Perkins [Hot Type, April 15] quite interesting because although I had known nothing about him, his name had left a lasting impression after I read his review of Middlemarch: “While I have yet to read it [the book]–somebody’s gotta watch these shows, you know–it couldn’t […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Opera Factory

The zarzuela, a folk opera still wildly popular in Spanish-speaking countries, hit a new height in craftsmanship a century ago when Tomas Breton’s La verbena de la paloma premiered in Madrid. Never mind the slight plot; the music is delightful and fiery and the lyrics are amusingly sardonic. It’s easily the most familiar of all […]

Posted inNews & Politics

End of the Line

He got on the Ravenswood el at Armitage–an elderly, birdlike man, smartly dressed, with an impeccable white goatee. He took the seat next to mine and fussed for a few moments with his worn leather briefcase. I didn’t pay him much attention. He seemed normal enough. He looked like a music teacher, or a curator […]

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Stuart Moxham

In 1979, as the principal songwriter and instrumentalist for the Welsh minimalist pop trio Young Marble Giants, Stuart Moxham was the architect of a sound that still influences pop. Like punk rock, the Giants’ music was a stripped-down alternative to the bloated flab that dominated the 70s: a couple of instruments playing simple parts over […]

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The Public

THE PUBLIC StreetSigns Chopin Theatre/At the Gallery A nude draped in red lies on a bed upended like a gravestone and recites the last words of Christ. Juliet awakens in her tomb and questions the purpose of her recent adventures. A chorus of white horses mock her notion of love and threaten to assault her, […]

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I Married a Munchkin

For three decades local filmmaker Tom Palazzolo has shown a remarkable knack for placing the rituals and personages of working-class America into startlingly revelatory and quirky perspective. The subject of his latest documentary portrait is Mary Ellen St. Alban, a midget actress with a glamorous past. She started out in vaudeville as a toddler and […]