Posted inMusic

World’s Biggest Bar Band

Hootie & the Blowfish New World Music Theatre, August 13 Despite reaching multiplatinum status and packing stadiums across the country, Hootie & the Blowfish are nothing more than a bar band. But that’s their appeal. Their music is uncomplicated, catchy, and familiar. While the charts are increasingly dominated by angst-ridden groups that often strive to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

We’re All Disconnected

Dear Doorika, at Chicago Filmmakers According to child psychologist Jean Piaget, children under the age of ten months have not yet developed a sense of object permanence. If you place a favorite toy in front of a seven-month-old and then conceal it behind a piece of cardboard, for example, the infant will not search for […]

Posted inNews & Politics

On the Community Poicing Beat/Echoes of the Times/Michael VerMeulen

“Community policing,” the new doctrine here in Chicago, is hard to get a grip on. Sentiment conjures up the amiable constable of yesteryear strolling down an urban lane, woolgathering with local merchants while cocking an eye at young miscreants gathered on the corner. But that’s not what it is. “Simplistic, sensationalized, and at times downright […]

Posted inFilm

Our Girl in Burma

Beyond Rangoon ** (Worth seeing) Directed by John Boorman Written by Alex Lasker and Bill Rubenstein With Patricia Arquette, U Aung Ko, Frances McDormand, Spalding Gray, Tiara Jacquelina, and Victor Slezak. Reviewing Salvador Dali’s autobiography half a century ago, George Orwell wrote that Dali “grew up in the corrupt world of the 1920s, when sophistication […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tharp’s Mistake

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at Ravinia Festival, August 23-26 The problem with a choreographer as inventive and versatile as Twyla Tharp is that she makes too many kinds of dances too damn well. She’s been feeding her old works to Hubbard Street for five years now–a cornucopia of some of her best pieces, dating back […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Studs in Suds

The Vortex press release read, “Those choosing to participate in the foam party will check their clothing in our check room.” I’d heard about foam parties from a friend who lives in South Beach, where they’re all the rage: a bunch of guys on a dance floor in their skivvies get all hot and bothered, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Jazz festival

Chicago Jazz Fest offers free musical performances on two stages in Grant Park: the Jackson Stage (Jackson and Lake Shore Dr.) and the Petrillo Music Shell (Columbus and Jackson). For information call 744-3315. Friday Petrillo Music Shell 6pm Kurt Elling & Trio New with Edward Petersen 6:55 Stanley Turrentine Sextet with Javon Jackson Cassandra Wilson […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Jailbait, Factory Theater. Ever since Factory cofounder Sean Abley started getting gigs with other theater companies, it’s been an open question whether his erstwhile partner Amy Seeley (who directed Abley’s long-running late-night hit Bitches) could do it on her own. Her last solo effort, Beaver Hunt, had moments of the old Factory brilliance (such as […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tenor Madness

The description “Tenor Madness” stems from a famous Sonny Rollins blues of 1956–a recording that paired his saxophone with that of the other major source of inspiration for tenorists of the postbop era, John Coltrane–and ever since it has regularly popped up as a catchall phrase for battle between the saxes. But that original matchup […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Eddie Palmieri

In the last 30 years few if any musicians have extended the language of Latin jazz as much as pianist Eddie Palmieri. While the confluence of the mambo craze and the rise of bebop in the 40s brought striking fusions in the music of Dizzy Gillespie and Machito, by the late 50s Latin jazz had […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Velvet Jam

Horn men gather round Fred Anderson’s place every Sunday to listen or to jam to the house band that plays from five to nine. From outside it doesn’t look like a temple. It’s just a narrow storefront squeezed between buildings north of Cermak Road on Indiana Avenue. The Velvet Lounge–a spot in the universe that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Unclean Thoughts

Players To Be Named Later, at Trap Door Theatre. Having gazillions of supportive friends is almost always a blessing, but in improv it’s a curse. When a crowd of family members and best friends hoots and hollers and applauds everything you do onstage, you’re liable to get a little sloppy. Which is precisely what happened […]