Posted inArts & Culture

Hedwig Dances Performance Company

Amy Alt, one of Jan Bartoszek’s dancers, said during an open rehearsal that she had some misgivings when she first heard about the choreographer’s new piece: since it was about midlife and focused on the cha-cha, Alt imagined anguished married couples dancing around suburban living rooms. But as one observer at the rehearsal remarked, “If […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Best o’Buckets

Beckett’s short plays may be less frequently performed than his longer, better known works, but these curt, astringent little morsels (maybe a minute long, maybe 15 minutes) have a simplicity and purity that make them in some ways more satisfying: Beckett, who spent his career paring down his language and simplifying his vision, manages to […]

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Splendor In The Grass

As You Like It Shakespeare Repertory, at the Ruth Page Theater Fresh breezes blow through Shakespeare’s most vernal comedy. What A Midsummer Night’s Dream is to summer, As You Like It is to spring (though, like love, it suits all seasons). Both comedies employ rustic retreats–a wood near Athens, the Forest of Arden–as the perfect […]

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Bruno De Filippi

In most hands, the jazz harmonica remains a somewhat limiting instrument, with an unwieldy design that would seem to defy its practitioners’ creativity. But the harmonica–especially the chromatic model, which contains all the sharps and flats of the scale (unlike the little Marine Band blues harmonicas)–also has a vocal, arioso quality. In the right hands, […]

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Walking In Her Footsteps

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Shubert Theatre, through May 14 The dance world is so small that it can become incestuous. What’s more, the relationship between choreographer and dancer tends to be very cozy, more intimate than the one between composer and musician or playwright and actor: the choreographer is often limited, inspired, or […]

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Crown Royals

The fate of pure funk in the postfusion era has been rather gruesome. Jazz-funk figureheads like drummer Billy Cobham and bassist Jaco Pastorius gave the verb “to funk” new meaning: their pyrotechnic excesses called forth a solipsistic cult of speed, flash, and technique for technique’s sake. But at one time funk was a minimalist art. […]

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The Chill Ascends

Jim Seibert began making his haunting short The Chill Ascends as four separate films. The first intercuts the faces of a child and an older woman, gradually merging pictures of Seibert and his paternal grandmother and including vaguely frightening images of an upstairs corridor and a ball rolling on the floor. The second shows an […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Junkyard God

It’s 9 AM, Easter Sunday. At the gate of the Star Auto Rebuilders & Parts junkyard at 61st and State three dogs sprawl on a ratty blue sofa, poking at a piece of rancid meat. Stuff spills out of the yard onto the sidewalk–a kitchen sink, an old tricycle, pieces of rope, hubcaps. A man […]

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Corey Harris

Corey Harris is a member of the small but growing coterie of young African American bluesmen who’ve eschewed flash and fashion for the emotionally rich but musically challenging (and commercially risky) subtleties of the acoustic tradition. Harris mixes and matches influences with a genre-jumping abandon that some might find distracting: he’ll punctuate a languorous half-shuffle, […]

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Mia Chung

Young Asian and Asian American performers these days tend to be from well-to-do families that value the Western classical tradition: encouraged at an early age to take up an instrument, they’re often weaned on the toddler-friendly Suzuki method. And even though Asian households don’t always consider a career in music a desirable profession, parents and […]

Posted inFilm

Neither Noir

Kiss of Death Rating ** Worth seeing Directed by Barbet Schroeder Written by Richard Price and Eleazar Lipsky With David Caruso, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicolas Cage, Helen Hunt, Stanley Tucci, Michael Rapaport, and Ving Rhames. The Underneath Rating *** A must see Directed by Steven Soderbergh Written by Sam Lowry (Soderbergh) and Daniel Fuchs With […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Do you know anything about the “whole language” approach to reading? It’s used at my daughter’s grade school, and other mothers tell me it’s all the rage. But parts of it strike me as weird. Phonics seems to be out, for one thing. When I told my daughter to “sound out” a word in a […]

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Goo Goo Dolls

The Goo Goo Dolls are one of those unlucky bands who are a lot better than fair but not much more than pretty good. Like that of their latitudinal compatriots Soul Asylum and the Replacements, the Buffalo threesome’s output teems with hooks and swelling choruses, and boasts both dynamic song construction and an assaultive guitar […]