Posted inArts & Culture

Don Byron’s Music For Six Musicians

Simply put, Don Byron is the greatest living jazz clarinetist. But don’t think Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, or Buddy DeFranco; Byron’s a postmodernist on the level of the late pioneer John Carter, emboldening the instrument’s easy grace with a thorough assault on difficult sounds and textures. Like Henry Threadgill, Byron forges new territory as a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Natural Vision

National Exposure Photography Exhibition at ARC Gallery, through July 1 Though there are 72 works by 27 photographers from around the United States now on view at ARC Gallery’s third “National Exposure” show, the exhibit has a suprising cohesiveness, especially considering the approach taken by guest juror Sylvia Wolf. A photography curator at the Art […]

Posted inFilm

Groping in the Dark

Little Odessa Rating * Has redeeming facet Directed and written by James Gray With Tim Roth, Vanessa Redgrave, Miximilian Schell, and Edward Furlong Writer-director James Gray’s Little Odessa is a dark movie–so dark you can’t see a thing. Not only is the cinematography somber and moody, the screenplay is opaque. No illuminating artistic vision casts […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Island of the Dead

This 1993 follow-up to Russian film critic Oleg Kovalov’s feature-length compilation of eccentric found footage, Garden of Scorpions (1991), is as dreamy and experimental as its predecessor. It’s an intriguing reverie on prerevolutionary Russia, loosely organized around a tribute to the memory of silent superstar Vera Kholodnaya, who died in 1919 at the age of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Falling in Love With Love

Falling in Love With Love, National Jewish Theater. This 140-minute Richard Rodgers retrospective is a triumph for director Sheldon Patinkin, musical director Kingsley Day, and choreographer Linda Leonard, as perfectly packaged and solidly conceived as NJT’s superlative Irving Berlin tribute, Puttin’ On the Ritz. With brains and heart, Falling in Love With Love triumphantly showcases […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

It was a weekday afternoon in the parking lot of a gleaming urban strip mall. From stores with names like Work ‘n Gear, several people hurried to their cars carrying bulky plastic bags. “Mommy, I don’t waaaa-naaaa!” whined a sandy-haired boy of about five who was being half pulled, half dragged by a 40-ish woman. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ralf Gothoni

Ralf Gothoni is an all-purpose musician who’s been celebrated in Germany and his native Finland but is little known elsewhere. Now that he’s won the Gilmore award–the richest prize in classical music–he’s finally getting the exposure he deserves. Given every four years to a keyboardist, the Gilmore is doubly valuable for the North American concert […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Reel Life: Robert Frank’s quest for identity

There are no self-portraits in Robert Frank’s 1959 landmark photography book The Americans, a black-and-white study of anonymous citizens–politicians, cowboys, bikers, gamblers, mourners–across the country. The last shot in this beat-era document depicts Frank’s wife Mary and their kids Pablo and Andrea. They look half asleep in the front seat of their 1950 Ford coupe […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

We packed up the wife and child and dutifully marched off to the Cubs game last Sunday in observance of Father’s Day, but there was something very pro forma about the whole affair. The five-year-old didn’t clamor to see batting practice, not even with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Mike Piazza in town–unlike us as […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rawls & Luckett

Although not as well known as the Hi Rhythm Section or Booker T. & the MGs, Johnny Rawls and L.C. Luckett have credentials that are almost as impressive. They were session stalwarts in and around Memphis for years; they’ve toured with artists ranging from the late O.V. Wright to the still-sizzling Lynn White; their multiinstrumental […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

CERTAIN DISTANT SUNS 6/23, METRO In the liner notes to Happy on the Inside (Giant), a compilation of their first two EPs, Certain Distant Suns suggest that living 45 minutes outside of Chicago has isolated them from the “music scene” and allowed them to come up with something original. They neglect to mention how many […]

Posted inMusic

A Master’s Voice

Roscoe Mitchell’s New York-Detroit Connection HotHouse, June 10 From Louis Armstrong to Ornette Coleman, most of the major advances in jazz have been achieved by players in their 20s and 30s. But listening to elder statesman Roscoe Mitchell play rich and daring music makes me wonder what further surprises he has in store for the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sykes and Nancy

Charles Dickens’s novels have been natural sources for dramatic presentations–you don’t have to know the whole plot of one of his epics to enjoy a character or episode from it. But the London-based Oddbodies, consisting of actors Paul De Ville Morel and Tanya Scott-Wilson, don’t simply perform passages from the printed page; they may incorporate […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Far From the Edge

The Hundreth Monkey Polo Brothers through June 25 Short Hair/Real Job No Limit Productions throught June 24 Will and Testament Fredric Stone through June 25 Chicago Fringe Festival, at the Organic Theater In a land where Hollywood producers can’t get enough of militant black leaders and multiethnic lesbians, in a land where advertising executives use […]