Posted inArts & Culture

Sunnyland Slim

Sunnyland Slim sometimes struggles a bit under the weight of his 87 years–his legendary voice has become almost as frail as his body, which for so long seemed to defy the laws of nature and time–but he wears the mantle of Chicago blues patriarch with dignity and retains the stylistic individuality that’s distinguished him since […]

Posted inNews & Politics

A Copy, Right?

About two months ago, the benevolent souls at Motorbooty magazine sent several copies of our new issue to the Reader, hoping for critical hosannas or at least a well-aimed missive. Among countless other gut-busting gems, the issue features a parody of Apple’s well-known “What’s on Your PowerBook?” ad. The parody lists a number of hypothetical […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana has cropped up on the sound tracks of at least a dozen movies in the last 20 years, most notably as exhortations to battle in Excalibur and Glory. In writing what he described as “profane songs for singers and chorus, to be sung to the accompaniment of instruments and magical images” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Bay at Nice

at Turn Around Theatre. Some productions around town are entertaining, but few could be classified as fine art. Veteran Chicago director June Pyskacek’s production of David Hare’s The Bay at Nice, however, comes awfully close: this kind of grace, wit, and intelligence are rare. Watching this all-too-brief meditation on art and artifice is like being […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Huun-Huur-Tu

Just over a year ago, on one of last winter’s most bitterly cold nights, Huun-Huur-Tu, the strange folk ensemble from Tuva, a small region in southern Siberia just north of Mongolia, made its Chicago debut with a fascinating exposition of khoomei (throat singing)–a haunting vocal style in which the singers sound as if they’re simultaneously […]

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Jackie Allen With Melvin Rhyne

A renaissance will always lure an audience; but organist/pianist Melvin Rhyne’s spirit and authority would draw a crowd even if he weren’t experiencing an international resurgence. In the last three years Rhyne has recorded several albums for the Dutch label Criss Cross (one of them featuring the young tenor sensation Joshua Redman) and appeared as […]

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Pushin’ Up Roses

Nine months ago it was a promising mess. After a major overhaul, which lopped off nine-tenths of the melodrama, Nomenil’s first piece, Pushin’ Up Roses, delivers on that promise. In this condensed version of their bit of theatrical mischief, writers Allen Conkle and Courtney Evans still refuse to play nice: they create an absurdly fetid, […]

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Before Sunrise

Richard Linklater goes Hollywood–triumphantly and with an overall intelligence, sweetness, and romantic simplicity that reminds me of wartime weepies like The Clock (1945). After meeting on a train out of Budapest, a young American (Ethan Hawke) and a French student (Julie Delpy) casually explore Vienna for 14 hours. What emerges from their impromptu date has […]

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Oscar Remembered

Oscar Remembered Writers’ Theatre-Chicago. It takes a formidable intellect to tackle Oscar Wilde’s legacy. The man moved between dramatic gems like The Importance of Being Earnest and critical treatises like The Decay of Lying as gracefully as he commanded the great London dinner parties to which he was always invited and over which he unfailingly […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Did the Swiss army really use the Swiss army knife? –Matthew Steiner, via the Internet But of course. I know this because I heard it from one Tanya, a Swiss citizen living in the U.S. whose father served in the Swiss army. Tanya confirms that her dad was issued a regulation Swiss army knife not […]

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Lisa Goethe

To play contemporary music compellingly an instrumentalist must have a fanatical belief in the new and an arsenal of newfangled techniques. Flutist Lisa Goethe, who trained at the University of Illinois in Urbana, has both qualities–as followers of the local music scene know from her regular performances at venues such as HotHouse. At the end […]

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Hokum Pocus

Ricky Jay & His 52 Assistants Steppenwolf Studio Theater Ricky Jay’s evening of card tricks is a lot of fun. In fact, let’s make this absolutely clear at the very beginning, it’s a hoot! a triumph! two thumbs up! a nonstop magical mystery tour! utterly absorbing! an amazing! fantastic! incredible! not to be missed! display […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Elementary education. Among the classes offered this season by the Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago: “The ‘How To Boil Water’ Series.” A ray of hope for Gardner, or is it Burris? Political analyst David Fremon writes in Illinois Politics (December) that while voter registration in Chicago’s 20 predominantly black wards is almost the same […]