Posted inArts & Culture

Una Pooka

Famous Door Theatre Company. A pooka, as fans of the comedy Harvey will remember, is a Celtic fairy who appears in animal form. In this 1989 play by Irish writer Michael Harding, the pooka poses as a priest, summoned to resolve the self-righteous bickering that divides the Kevitt family. They’ve gathered in Dublin to witness […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Flaco Jimenez

Texas accordionist Flaco Jimenez has been playing and recording a potent form of Mexican conjunto music for about 40 years. Around the time Jimenez was born, his father, the original Flaco, was a key figure in the evolution of conjunto from a polite and folksy idiom into a more boisterous and lyrical one. Flaco the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Love and Money

Joffrey Ballet at the Auditorium Theatre, January 24-29 I felt a twinge of confusion watching the crowd jump to their feet during the finale of Joffrey’s rock ballet Billboards. Prince’s bopping “Willing and Able” blasted through the Auditorium punctured by cries of “Bravo!” Ballerinas on pointe shook their behinds, and male dancers posed like so […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jacky Terrasson Trio

Since the Marsalis regime successfully pulled off its media putsch in the early 80s, jazz has increasingly been awash in talented but overhyped young players from Terence Blanchard to Joshua Redman. Not yet 30 years old, pianist Jacky Terrasson may suffer from the same PR disease, but one listen to his impressive debut as a […]

Posted inMusic

Abdullah Ibrahim Trio

When they film “The Dollar Brand Story,” they won’t have to dress up the plot. The facts will do just fine–from his birth (1934) and childhood in South Africa to his self-exile in Europe and then America to his mentoring by no less than Duke Ellington in the 60s to his conversion to Islam (and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ying Quartet

While growing up in Winnetka, the Ying siblings gravitated toward music but weren’t sure about a musical career. Phillip studied economics at Harvard before transferring to Juilliard, and Janet toyed with the idea of becoming a physician like her father. But eventually all four siblings ended up at the Eastman School pursuing graduate work in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Latcho Drom

This difficult-to-categorize masterpiece by Tony Gatlif (1993) is many things at once: a Gypsy “docu-musical” (actually an adroit mixture of documentary and fiction) in ‘Scope and stereo featuring musicians, singers, and dancers from India, Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain; an epic account of Gypsy migrations over the past thousand years; a political […]

Posted inNews & Politics

In the Name of My Father

Dear Editor: Not even members of my own (patriarchal) family seem to care as much as Michael Miner [Hot Type, January 6] and a couple of his readers about what–for them–has become a compelling and eternal question: Who is this Dennis Byrne, who writes those op-ed columns for the Sun-Times? Hell, I often don’t know […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Small Business Groans

Dear Reader: I am writing in response to P. Petrovak (Reader Letters, January 13, “Better Shop Around”). Just what the fuck makes him an expert on the retail music scene? I’d like to invite him to stop by my store and look at my invoices from major label distributors (known as one-stops in the biz). […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

“Chicago has, and is, an environment,” insists city Department of Environment commissioner Henry Henderson in Urban Naturalist (January-February). “It may look and feel different from unpopulated wilderness, which is usually associated with ‘ecology,’ but our Urban Environment is morally, ethically and in every other way an environment, and is due no less care, respect and […]