Posted inArts & Culture

Damon Short Quintet

Percussionist and composer Damon Short has been an active part of the local jazz community since settling here in the late 80s, and before that he participated from the relative proximity of Rock Island, where he was born. Under his own steam Short recorded a set of sessions in 1990 with a group that included […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fanshen

Bailiwick Repertory. In his 1970 book, William Hinton revealed the village of Long Bow, 400 miles southwest of Beijing, as a microcosm of a rapidly changing China. David Hare’s stage adaptation transformed that historical record into a Brechtian parable, its subject the community who fanshen (“turn over”) centuries of tradition in three pivotal years, 1946 […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Family Restoration Works–Just Not in Illinois

Until recently, “family preservation” had a very specific meaning. It usually was preceded by “intensive” and it referred to programs that rigorously followed the rules set down by the first intensive family preservation program, Homebuilders in Washington State. A Homebuilders intervention is brief, no more than six weeks, which has prompted critics to label it […]

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When Heck Was a Puppy: The Living Testimonies of Folk Artist Edna Mae Brice

Based on several stories by southern folk artists and some from actress Tekki Lomnicki’s own life, this quasi-interactive, multimedia play written by Michael Blackwell, Lomnicki, and Nancy Neven Shelton tells the story of a brave, buoyant woman who battles several demons from her past on a bus ride to New Orleans. Featuring gospel music, slides, […]

Posted inMusic

Praised And Confused

Fishbone Vic, March 11 Digable Planets Metro, March 11 Hype isn’t always a good thing. It’s not a new idea, but it struck me as I watched one of the most hyped groups of the early 90s perform exactly the way they sound on their latest album: hesitant and confused. The irony was that I […]

Posted inNews & Politics

“Follow the Money”

When reporters cover government or industry they know they must “follow the money.” Yet when covering the child welfare system, that famous admonition often is ignored. Critics of family preservation are quick to charge that governments establishing family preservation programs are doing so only to save money. But often the financial incentives favor keeping children […]

Posted inMusic

Art of Darkness

Elektra Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall, March 15 Strauss’s Elektra is a savage treatment of a savage story, expressed in a brutal musical language that he never utilized again. Warm, winsome family comedy it’s not. The saga of the House of Atreus, the original dysfunctional family, is a study in barbarous relationships. Clytemnestra–mother of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Hat Tricks

Raymond Hudd has no customers in his north-side hat shop, and he’s not expecting a rush anytime soon. “No one dresses up anymore,” he says, shrugging. “It’s not like it used to be.” Give the 70-year-old Hudd an opening–almost any fashion faux pas will do–and chances are he’ll launch into a peevish dissertation on the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Billie Whitelaw

Though best known to Americans from such movies as The Omen (she played the nasty nanny), The Krays, and Hitchcock’s Frenzy, Billie Whitelaw is one of England’s most highly regarded stage actresses; distinguished for her classical and modern roles at the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, she’s the authoritative interpreter of the stripped-down […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Telethon

Live Bait Theater. The telethon is in full swing, with emcee Bobby Astor shepherding a motley parade of entertainers through their paces, jerking tears and donations with all their smarmy might. But tonight there’s a dissenter in the ranks: Jane Piercy, a young woman in a wheelchair who declares Astor’s spectacle to be counterproductive to […]