Posted inArts & Culture

In the Land of the Deaf

This extraordinary 1992 French documentary by Nicolas Philibert, which plunges the viewer into the world of deaf sign language, required Philibert to rethink such basic documentary techniques as framing, editing, and sound recording and mixing. All the sign language is subtitled in English, but the text seems to offer only a fraction of what’s being […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet

The faddish days of like-instrumented ensembles–tuba trios, kazoo quartets, Casio quintets–are hopefully now past. What’s left are a few resilient ensembles, especially those still at work in the fruitful saxophone-quartet genre. Given the variety of tonal, rhythmic, and textural possibilities open to reed players, it’s easy to forget that a sax quartet operates on one […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Eleventh Dream Day with Ira Kaplan

With Rick Rizzo and Janet Bean occupied with parenting, Bean and Douglas McCombs heavily involved in other projects–Freakwater and Tortoise, respectively–and the recent departure of guitarist Wink O’Bannon, Eleventh Dream Day is sadly inactive these days, which alone would make this appearance a pretty big deal. What makes it even bigger, however, is that the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Stone Temple Pilots

The Stone Temple Pilots have a unique niche in today’s popular music as perhaps the most critically despised best-selling rock band since the halcyon days of Grand Funk. Several factors contribute to this status. First, there’s the overheated iconoclasm of indie alternative rock, which makes scapegoats, particularly popular ones, necessary. Second, STP sound an awful […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

BAD LIVERS 8/12, LOUNGE AX On their second album, Horses in the Mines (Quarterstick), these Austin oddballs continue to breeze through bluegrass and old-timey music with a punkish irreverence and energy. This fast-moving banjo, guitar, and double bass trio escapes the dreaded rootsy jokehole syndrome epitomized by yahoos from Mojo Nixon to the Rugburns with […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Amazing Stories

TEN TIMES PEOPLE ATTEMPTED TO ROB ME AND OTHER THINGS Michael H. Brownstein at the Heartland Cafe Studio Theatre, through August 27 THE ELSE AND OTHER PIECES Barrie Cole at the Heartland Cafe Studio Theatre, through August 26 I keep a copy of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden on my desk, next to my computer, to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Strike Up the Band

STRIKE UP THE BAND Pegasus Players at the Ivanhoe Theater “We hope there’ll be no other war / But if we are forced into one– / The flag that we’ll be fighting for / Is the Red and White and Blue one!” So goes the verse from George and Ira Gershwin’s ever-popular march “Strike Up […]

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Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight: that’s the spirit behind this hilarious reworking of Shakespeare’s most famous play. Written in a perky 60s style that recalls Richard and Robert Sherman’s Disney film scores, Jeff Richmond and Michael Thomas’s musical doesn’t coast on kitschy smugness or gross-out grotesqueness like so many spoofs; instead it offers a series of […]

Posted inMusic

Scam the Sham

TURBAN RENEWAL: A TRIBUTE TO SAM THE SHAM AND THE PHARAOHS VARIOUS ARTISTS (NORTON RECORDS) OK, we’re maybe a little tired of tribute records. Who hasn’t been toasted yet? Bubble gum’s a bit underrepresented: the 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Cowsills, the Bay City Rollers are still virgin territory. How ’bout a Barry White tribute? It’s […]

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TARTUFFE, Humble Ambitions, at Cafe Voltaire. This “Bible Belt” Tartuffe relocates Moliere’s still-scathing satire of religious hypocrisy in a fundamentalist household, where true believer Orgon is fleeced out of his home and hope by a holy-rolling, pulpit-pounding fraud. Humble Ambitions makes a shrewd but obvious choice: like scum from a pond, today’s Tartuffes ooze from […]

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Historical Harp Society

The harp, whose lineage can be traced to the time of the pharaohs, is enjoying a revival of sorts these days. Revered by many folk cultures, it’s been snubbed for almost two centuries by most European composers, who preferred the volume and versatility of the similar-sounding harpsichord (although a few Romantic composers like Berlioz employed […]

Posted inFilm

The Way It Was

**** WOODSTOCK (Masterpiece) Directed by Michael Wadleigh With Richie Havens, Country Joe and the Fish, Joe Cocker, Sha Na Na, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Ten Years After, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, Janis Joplin, the Who, John Sebastian, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix. Michael Wadleigh’s epic documentary Woodstock (1970) has been reviewed often as […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In letters to the Journal of the American Medical Association in May, two physicians referred to hundreds of their patients who’d complained of bloating and upper abdominal discomfort and had been prescribed various ineffective gastrointestinal procedures. However, noting that among their patients with these complaints abdominal girth exceeded pants size by an average […]