Posted inArts & Culture

On Stage: mystical music

Composer Elodie Lauten has consulted the I Ching–the ancient Chinese “Book of Changes”–every day since 1975. “At this point,” she says, “I no longer have to consult the book for the reading.” Composer John Cage made the I Ching famous among musicians by throwing coins to arrive at random procedures for his music. Lauten, however, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pierre Dorge & New Jungle Orchestra

Let’s see now: Danish jazz guitarist, committed to small-group introspection and influenced by Arabic and Balkan music as well as the compositions of Thelonious Monk, visits Africa; he gets hooked on the rhythms and the sweet percussive sound of the kora, a 25-string gourd instrument that sits somewhere between a harp and a lute; he […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In March eight Connecticut legislators and almost three dozen other guests got diarrhea and stomach cramps from eating food at a reception sponsored by lobbyists for the Connecticut Food Association. Meanwhile, a legislator in Maine introduced a bill to force lobbyists on duty in the statehouse to wear oversize name tags that are […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Free Associates

Housed in the Ivanhoe Theater’s “catacombs,” whose faded brick walls partially mortared with bones date from when the Ivanhoe was a restaurant with a medieval theme and the cellar was a dungeon fun house, the Free Associates have carved a niche for themselves among Chicago’s improv groups. Though they rely on the customary draw of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Don’t Kill Bill

Dear Editor: After reading Mark Antal’s letter published April 21, I wanted to stick up for Bill Wyman. The reason Bill is attacked in so many letters is that music criticism involves OPINION, and Bill has no problem expressing his. He doesn’t necessarily flow with the consensus, and because of that, I look forward to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kurt Elling

A star is born. Vocalist Kurt Elling’s first album–Close Your Eyes, due on Blue Note in a week or so–should generate plenty of buzz on the national jazz scene, almost as much as the press hype for him has created in Chicago. Elling just may be the real thing. His commanding, charismatic baritone would easily […]

Posted inArts & Culture

FSK

FSK’s music ambivalently critiques the Americanization of their native Germany. Like Wim Wenders’s 70s films, they celebrate American pop culture’s growing worldwide hegemony even as they criticize and undermine it: on their album In Dixieland the last line of “Yankee Go Home” pleads, “And take me with you.” FSK is short for Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle, which […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Open City

Dear Ms. True: As chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley, I read your cover article about information policies under the Daley administration [May 5] with amazement and dismay. The article contained startling errors, omissions, and mistaken assumptions. I’d like to set the record straight on a number of counts. About Mayor Daley’s commitment […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kate & Anna McGarrigle

The McGarrigle sisters leapt onto the folk-rock scene in the mid-70s, after Linda Ronstadt had a hit covering Kate’s “Heart Like a Wheel.” As a singing-songwriting team their output over 20 years has been limited and sporadic, but each McGarrigle record is packed with more than a single LP’s worth of warm charm, memorable tunes, […]

Posted inFilm

A Great Day in Harlem

There are only a few great jazz documentaries, and each has a style all its own. This one-hour 1994 dissection of a 1958 group photograph of 57 key jazz musicians, one of the opening attractions of the four-day Silver Images Film Festival, is special both as oral history and as a survey of the art. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

In Praise of Bureaucracy

Dear Reader: Just a few lines about the Michael McGuire injury claim [“Burned,” April 28]. I have been a City of Chicago employee for 32 years and I have seen a number of cuties try to screw the taxpayers out of an undeserved pension. He hurt himself playing games and now he wants the taxpayers […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

How do banks profit from automated-teller machines? ATMs have sprouted up all over during the last couple decades, and their convenience can’t be beat. But I thought banks make their money holding on to our money, so why would they bother doing something that would make it so easy for us to take our money […]