Posted inArts & Culture

In Performance: the healing arts

Paul McComas felt like he had to do something positive after Kurt Cobain’s suicide. McComas, a video and performance artist, created a Nirvana tribute band called Lithiumand decided to stage a benefit concert series called Rock Against Depression (RAD). “The goal is youth outreach,” says McComas, who’s 34. He hopes the concerts have sent a […]

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Skeletons in the closet: Louisa May Incest and Calamity Jane Sends a Message to Her Daughter

Skeletons in the Closet: Louisa May Incest and Calamity Jane Sends a Message to Her Daughter, Green Highway Theater, at Cafe Voltaire. Carolyn Gage is a remarkable playwright, uncompromising in her feminist politics and memorable characters. And Green Highway’s production of Louisa May Incest and Calamity Jane Sends a Message to Her Daughter honors Gage’s […]

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Sonny Rhodes

SONNY RHODES The Hawaiian-style lap steel guitar is a lesser-known but delightfully idiosyncratic element of the Texas blues tradition, arguably the most diverse and esoteric in the country. Sonny Rhodes, who learned to play from lap steel pioneer L.C. “Good Rockin” Robinson in the early 60s, combines the distinctive instrument with one of the quirkier […]

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King Henry IV: The Shadow of Succession

King Henry IV: The Shadow of Succession, Court Theatre. Stark white lighting on a stage bare except for one severe Quaker chair, where a cadaverous king sits and laments in sepulchral tones distorted by artificial-echo amplification. Peter Sellars directing Endgame? No, it’s Court Theatre’s King Henry IV: The Shadow of Succession, a “reinterpretation” of Shakespeare’s […]

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Spirit Stream Storm

This program of 35-millimeter experimental films selected by Bruce Posner is a mixed bag, though there’s no denying the intensity of the works. That may be part of the problem: including musical interludes between clusters of films is a good idea, but it backfires because two of the interludes are as aggressive as the films, […]

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Spot Check

CHISEL, POEM ROCKET 1/26, EMPTY BOTTLE Chisel’s new album, 8 A.M. All Day (Gern Blandsten), finds the spunky Washington, D.C., trio delivering hopped-up pop that looks to the early Jam for inspiration but actually suggests a low-rent, impatient, indie-rock Oasis. Hooks abound, but the annoying earnestness of guitarist Ted Leo’s vocals and the group’s overly […]

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All I Have to Do

All I Have to Do, Footsteps Theatre Company. This unassuming hour-long piece tells us something we already know: that dreams are reservoirs that feed our lives. Writer-director Jennifer Evans Ward frames a night of danced dreams in which a Sleeper navigates the globe, diving into underwater caves and flying over oceans, with the same woman’s […]

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Wasp in a Lampshade

Wasp in a Lampshade, Transient Theatre. Given the wide array of crimes, fetishes, and assorted perversions in David Wesley Graham’s pair of one-acts, it’s remarkable how unaffecting they are. By focusing on hopelessly disaffected deviates whose violent acts illuminate their alienation, Graham hopes to force us to reevaluate the labels “victim” and “criminal.” But by […]

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Vermeer Quartet

VERMEER QUARTET Long-established chamber groups, such as Chicago’s Vermeer Quartet, go through creative ups and downs. Right now the Vermeer is riding high, with its interpretations and caliber of playing somewhat reminiscent of the Juilliard in the 70s. Part of the reason is the addition a couple of seasons ago of the German-trained second violinist […]

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Jeckyll & Hyde

Jekyll & Hyde, Shubert Theatre. As a kid I used to love movies like Horror of Dracula and The Pit and the Pendulum: with their lurid sexuality, garish violence, hokey plots, cliched characters, tacky faux-Victorian design, and hilariously hammy acting, these Hammer and American-International releases were campy fun at one or two bucks a pop. […]

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In Performance: the healing arts

“I’m a writer who tries to include clinical psychology in my material,” says Paul McComas, explaining why Lithium, his Nirvana tribute band, actually tried between songs to educate the audience about the symptoms of depression and the warning signs of potential suicides. Now working in video and theater, McComas, who studied literature and psychology at […]