Posted inArts & Culture

On the Right Track

On the Bum, or The Next Train Through Big Game Theater at the Preston Bradley Community Center Neal Bell is one of those intensely irritating contemporary playwrights who become so obsessed with creating eccentric characters and making up evocative, poetic speeches that their stories go to smash. Bell’s Ragged Dick, for example, features the odd […]

Posted inNews & Politics

We Supported Siegel

Dear Editor, What a pleasure it was to see Irene Siegel back after her long absence from the Chicago art scene [June 9]! And what a pleasure it is to see a feature about a Chicago area artist as the front page feature of the Reader, instead of junkies, masturbation machines, foreskin restorations, or crotch-grabbing […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fred Anderson

Fred Anderson’s career has already spanned three decades, but over the last couple of years it’s shifted into high gear. In the 60s he was a charter member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and since then he’s divided his time between making a living and honing his very personal approach to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ernest Dawkins

In the mid-70s Chicago’s venerable Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians began to experience a slow and steady decline, brought on both by the emigration of its most influential members and, paradoxically, by the organization’s own successes–in gaining wider acceptance for its music, the AACM obviated one of the reasons for its formation. But […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Ready-to-Wear Politics

To the editors: Tom “Mr. Smuggypants” Frank is obviously exercising his “inalienable American right to be ignorant of history” when he claims that the ironic phenomenon of counterculture-inspired corporate advertising has occurred “sometime in the recent past” [Capital Lies, June 23]. 7UP became the Uncola more than 20 years ago so that the Woodstock generation […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

All three solo acts featured in this all-concerto affair led by erstwhile Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra head maestro Zdenek Macal have previously appeared in the Ravinia Festival’s Rising Stars series, which showcases the talents of classical musicians who are expected to be among the best and brightest of the next generation. Chicago native Jennifer Koh is […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Georg Grawe

German pianist Georg Grawe is a fascinating study in the impact of Cecil Taylor on European sensibilities. GrŠwe discovered Taylor through fellow German Alexander von Schlippenbach, the influential free-jazz pianist Grawe grew up listening to, and this filtration process has yielded a particularly invigorating approach. Like most post-Taylor pianists, Grawe blurs the line between composition […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Rich Crybabies

To the editor: Those guys protesting the city’s decision to raise fees at the public tennis courts at Waveland and to bring in a private firm to manage the courts [Neighborhood News, June 23]–is it possible to imagine a bigger bunch of rich crybabies? I can’t. They live on Lake Shore Drive, and they’re complaining […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Michael Hurley

Michael Hurley is one of America’s few genuine oddball geniuses, a ragtag troubadour who delivers weird bits of wisdom nonchalantly, as cranky afterthoughts. Deliriously eclectic, he’s a folkie only by default: ignoring stylistic purity, he’ll amble from a lazy blues to some raw old-timey tune without pause. He favors acoustic guitar–though he also plays banjo, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ivan and Abraham

Director Yolande Zauberman says the two boys in Ivan and Abraham, her first fiction film, are each “on the edge of…different worlds.” The same might be said of all the characters in this richly evocative, often disturbing depiction of Jewish and Christian life in 1930s Poland. Abraham is friends with Ivan, a Christian who lives […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lolita de Lares

Lolita de Lares, Latino Chicago Theater Company. On March 1, 1954, two men and a woman took their seats in the visitors’ gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives. Moments later, the woman rose and called for the freedom of Puerto Rico, and all three opened fire. Five congressmen were wounded; and the three rebels, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

When It Rains

The U.S. premiere of a beautifully inflected 12-minute jazz fable by Charles Burnett. It’s distinctly different from his recent The Glass Shield and closer to the feeling of Killer of Sheep, his first feature, though the poetic narration represents a real departure. This is one of those rare movies in which jazz forms directly influence […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Who Killed Johnny Maze?

At a time when arts education is considered a luxury and building prisons is regarded as the only practical response to crime, a company like the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit does double duty. It not only provides talented, eager, disadvantaged kids with increasingly rare writing, directing, and performing experience, it also provides a clear-eyed […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

While rereading Moby-Dick recently I came across a reference to something called the Pythagorean maxim. We were all forced to learn the Pythagorean theorem in grade school, but this was something new. In my Norton Critical Edition the footnote says, “The Pythagorean injunction is to avoid eating beans, which cause flatulence.” Inasmuch as you are […]