Posted inArts & Culture

One of Two Cities

THE PERFECT CITY: PHOTOGRAPHS OF CHICAGO BY BOB THALL at the Art Institute of Chicago, through December 4 I find the title of this exhibit almost as engaging as Bob Thall’s photographs. “The perfect city” is so distant from the other epithets associated with Chicago, and yet there is an inherent ideal, a geometric beauty […]

Posted inNews & Politics

A Sellars Market

“When you prick us . . . ” It was with some amusement that I read the three or four reviews (including this paper’s [October 21]) of Peter Sellars’s production of The Merchant of Venice. Why, for a moment there, I thought I was reading Hamlet . . . so much handwringing and equivocation in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Joe Morris Trio

Boston’s Joe Morris is one of a handful of contemporary jazz guitar practitioners who have carved out a wholly distinctive style, and over the course of a half dozen albums he’s honed his deliciously lean attack to razor-edged sharpness. Through his clean, pure tone you can still hear a trace of James “Blood” Ulmer’s influence–particularly […]

Posted inNews & Politics

It’s Only Rock and Roll

Bill Wyman– I was utterly disgusted with your recent review of the Jimmy Page/Robert Plant Unledded special on MTV [Hitsville, October 21], for the simple reason that the article had little, if anything, valid to say about the music. Instead, you spent the whole time deriding them, especially Page, because he’s older now than he […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Super 8 1/2

Despite its self-deprecating camp and convoluted plot, there is an appealing honesty to Bruce LaBruce’s Super 8 1/2. The director plays Bruce, an over-the-hill porn star trying to restart his flagging career, in part by acting in a documentary about him by an up-and-coming lesbian filmmaker. We see footage from his porno loops and scenes […]

Posted inNews & Politics

List of Grievances

Editor: Your classical music critic Ted Shen gets away with some strange writing, often, one guesses, because there’s no one on staff who really cares enough about the classics to check some of the writing he so authoritatively tosses off. But the recent commentary, printed in the Reader Critic’s Choice prior to the August 14 […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bradley Williams

You don’t see Brad Williams’s name on the marquee very often. He’s made himself so valuable an accompanist–not only to Chicago artists (Von Freeman, singers Jackie Allen and Kirsten Gustafson) but also to visiting dignitaries (such as vocalist Sheila Jordan, who sings his praises whenever she can)–that you almost forget his ability to lead a […]