Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In February the Prostitute Information Centre in Amsterdam began offering a six-day course for around $160 on how to practice the trade in the Netherlands. Sessions include a survey of job opportunities, a field trip to a sex bar, a role-playing class with an actor portraying a customer, and a class on finances […]

Posted inMusic

Bhangra Ascending

Safri Boys Get Real (Multitone) XLNC R U Ready (Multitone) Various Artists What Is Bhangra? (I.R.S.) Various Artists Deep Into Jungle Territory (Multitone) Because the United States is a nation of immigrants–possessing a vibrant culture built from assimilation and cross-pollination–we tend to assume it’s the only melting pot on the planet. While it’s certainly true […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Blues Festival

Friday Front Porch Stage noon Othar Turner & His Rising Star Fife & Drum Band 1:30 David “Honeyboy” Edwards 2:15 Dave Myers 3:05 Robert Junior Lockwood with Junior Wells 3:30 Keb’ Mo’ 4:30 Detroit Junior Crossroads Stage 1 Gloria Thompson 2:30 Charlie Love & His Silky Smooth Band with Shirley Johnson 4:30 Carlos Johnson Petrillo […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Reel Life: ballpark for the common man

“I have never objected to being called ‘vulgar,’” proclaimed Bill Veeck in his autobiography Veeck–as in Wreck. The late baseball impresario pointed out that the insult’s Latin origin referred to “common people,” the sort he tried to please with giveaways, exploding scoreboards, and such gimmicks as midget batters and 1979’s backfiring “Disco Demolition.” Documentary filmmaker […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Gun Show

“They’re probably in those vans over there, filming all this,” says my host Jim, gesturing toward a small parking area. “There are a lot of feds here today.” The presence of ATF agents at the Lake County Sportsman’s Show is apparent even to a novice like me. Jim hits the gun show every month with […]

Posted inArts & Culture

James Kelly Choreography Project

It’s not every choreographer who can make dances to classical music and pounding industrial rock, to the king of pop and to traditional Irish tunes. James Kelly can do that and more–and thank goodness, since his ability to shift gears means that the five dances on this program, all his, are all entertaining in different […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Magic Flute

Mary Zimmerman is gaining renown for her visually dazzling, beguilingly clever theater adaptations of literary classics, and she’s shown a knack for seamlessly incorporating musical elements. Like her mentor Frank Galati, she ought to be a natural for opera, and her first crack at it is her staging of Mozart’s The Magic Flute for the […]

Posted inMusic

18th Dye

Combining a variety of Amerindie traits–hushed melodicism, controlled guitar noise, severe dynamic shifts–with a fanatically disciplined minimalism, Berlin-based 18th Dye seem to take the British approach to appropriating Yankee culture. The difference is that they aren’t capriciously chasing the latest fashions; as their new album Tribute to a Bus (Matador) proves, 18th Dye wear their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jest a Second!

Jest a Second!, Victory Gardens Theater. James Sherman’s play is so ready for prime time. All it needs is a corporate sponsor–Gerber’s might be a good choice. Jest a Second! is sweet, easily digested, and just might make you gag. Like its predecessor, the monster hit Beau Jest, it might not be earthshaking theater, but […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mississippi Juke Joint Caravan

Following the excitement generated by the blues documentary Deep Blues, the Oxford, Mississippi, label Fat Possum Records has spent the last three years releasing albums by the obscure but phenomenal bluesmen who fuel the raucous energy of the low-down juke joints in north Mississippi hill country. Regardless of style, most contemporary blues loses its urgency […]

Posted inFilm

A Door to the Sky

A young Moroccan woman who returns from Paris to her ancient hometown of Fez to see her dying father is unexpectedly pulled back toward Islam. “Am I in the 15th century or the 20th?” Nadia writes her French boyfriend, but when he visits she no longer wants to see him. Farida Ben Lyazid’s script evenhandedly […]