Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar Photo Caption

Bus Passing a Truck Driver, 57th Street, Chicago by Thomas Frederick Arndt is included in an exhibit of postwar American photography, “Visions of Hope and Despair,” opening this Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 237 E. Ontario. Curator Nadine Wasserman has structured the show to relate thematically to two other exhibits at the museum–an […]

Posted inFilm

Character Flaws

Major Payne * Directed by Nick Castle Written by Dean Lorey, Damon Wayans, and Gary Rosen With Wayans, Karyn Parsons, Steven Martini, Andrew Harrison Leeds, Joda Blaire-Hershman, Stephen Coleman, and Orlando Brown. It’s hard to remember when the mainstream releases have been as dismal as the offerings of the past few weeks. Admittedly, I haven’t […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fire in the Kitchen

Fire in the Kitchen’s music blends striking melodies, bristling guitar rock, and subtle experimentation. Led by singer/guitarist Bob Bannister, this NYC-area quartet has maintained a low profile over the last five years thanks to infrequent recording and touring. Its most recent release, Thrillsville (Brinkman), compiles old and newer material, nicely encapsulating the band’s numerous talents. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Greene With Envy

Reply to Ed Gold (“Bobwatch,” 1-27-95 Reader), on the macabre humor and insensitivity to the child Bob Greene calls “Joe” and others. Do you feel this child or any child is just a name on paper to be discarded after reading? It appears that the efforts of others to help those unable to change their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Anonymous 4

For almost a decade now the a cappella quartet Anonymous 4 have regaled audiences with dramatic and heartfelt evocations of 12th- and 13th-century Europe. Thoroughly researched and meticulously transcribed, the music on a typical program–from chants to multivoiced songs to complex polyphony–is built around a theme that illuminates its historical background. But it’s the exquisite, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Pirates of Penzance

Circle Theatre. Is there no end to the timidity of Chicago theaters? I didn’t think shows could get any more toothless or irrelevant. Then Circle Theatre came along with its sweet, charming, but ultimately trivial production of this Gilbert and Sullivan chestnut. (In a non-Equity storefront theater yet!) I suppose that given the current Kulturkampf, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Grant McLennan

As half the potent but unassuming songwriting force in Australia’s late great Go-Betweens, Grant McLennan created unapologetically smart and elegant pop gems. His superb new album Horsebreaker Star (Beggars Banquet), his third solo outing and his most accomplished, acquits him of any alleged reliance on partner Robert Forster. Recorded last year in Athens (Georgia, not […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bettie Serveert

There’s a weird, discombobulating quality to Lamprey, from Dutch rockers Bettie Serveert. Taken discretely, the record is impressive: singer Carol van Dijk has a supple, soaring voice, the band seems to have an enviable control of dynamics, and its slightly off-kilter command of English produces some felicitous wordplay. The discombobulating aspect is that this is […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nicholas Payton Quartet

When it comes to Nicholas Payton, the latest jazz trumpet wunderkind, comparisons to Louis Armstrong seem almost too easy–but also too obvious to ignore. Like Armstrong, Payton hails from New Orleans, and his trumpeting, especially onstage, often attains the hot tone and rawboned swagger that remain Armstrong’s trademarks. With his short, burly build Payton even […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Back in the distant 70s Ray Wylie Hubbard was among the first wave of Texas country outsiders, outlaws like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Billie Joe Shaver. But after Jerry Jeff Walker scored a hit with Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother,” Hubbard faded into relative obscurity, his name unknown outside of Texas. After […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

WAYNE KRAMER 3/24, DOUBLE DOOR Journeyman guitarist Wayne Kramer is often credited with inventing both heavy metal and punk rock during his stint in Detroit’s influential MC5 back in the 60s. Now that his more famous bandmates Rob Tyner and Fred “Sonic” Smith have died off and punk rock’s suddenly become a lucrative venture, the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Vitoria Williams

victoria williams Even a willing listener has to get through two small matters before appreciating Victoria Williams. One is the singer-songwriter’s voice: an expressive but slightly cartoony instrument that most will find an acquired taste. Second is to understand that much of her acclaim–great reviews and a host of big-deal famous-artist friends–is based specifically on […]