Posted inArts & Culture

The Days of Our Lives

This program includes seven autobiographical videos by six Chicago women, all students or recent graduates of Columbia College or the School of the Art Institute. In six of the tapes a voice-over narrates a personal story. In Karen Christopher’s Scar Dance we hear about a near-fatal childhood injury and get too many views of the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Artist For a Day

By Derrick Mathis “The fucking chocolate bars keep falling off!” I blubber to no one in particular. Scrambling on my hands and knees I rifle through the toolbox that one of the gallery owners has loaned me. I’ve been at it for 20 minutes. It’s 3:45 and the opening begins at 5. I still have […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Wrens, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, at Footsteps Theatre. Great acting requires a great moral dilemma the way an Indy car needs high-octane fuel. Playwright Anne McGravie, with the help of directors Karen Kessler and Scott M. Verissimo, eventually pushes Rivendell’s stellar seven-person cast to the brink of a moral chasm and into overdrive. But it takes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Luc Houtkamp

LUC HOUTKAMP Alone onstage Luc Houtkamp pushes at the edges of even postfreedom lyricism, as he painstakingly investigates the gamut of sounds uniquely possible on the tenor saxophone. This is sonic exploration stuff, reminiscent of Roscoe Mitchell’s rigorous a cappella exploration of previously unclaimed badlands on the saxophone landscape. (Many tenor players, for example, work […]

Posted inFilm

A.K.A. Don Bonus and La Senorita Lee

It’s the children of immigrants, more often than not, who shoulder the burden of assimilating, of reconciling different sets of values and customs. The hour-long documentary A.K.A. Don Bonus matter-of-factly details the troubled life of a Cambodian-born high school kid named Sokly Ny (whose nickname is the film’s title). For over a year the 18-year-old […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Reel Life: memories of a massacre

On June 10, 1942, Nazi soldiers surrounded the Czechoslovakian village of Lidice. They killed the men outright–192 of them–and sent the women to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Of the 105 children in the village all but a handful were murdered; these few, with Aryan features, were reserved for adoption by Germans. The Nazis reduced the buildings […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Be Like Martha: My Secret Obsession With Martha Stewart By Todd Savage I recall the first time I saw Martha, on her how-to-do-a-perfect-Thanksgiving PBS program. As she set the dinner table, she announced that each guest would be served his or her soup in an antique, turkey-shaped, glass candy dish. Now it’s one thing to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tommy Flanagan Trio

TOMMY FLANAGAN TRIO A Tommy Flanagan album of some years back bore the title Jazz Poet, and that characterization remains remarkably appropriate today. Though Flanagan improvises his lines, his pianistic utterances can have the carefully worked, judiciously edited quality of hard-won verse. His solos often contain internal rhymes–musical phrases that echo previous or forthcoming ones–and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ensemble Modern

ENSEMBLE MODERN Perhaps the most versatile and least doctrinaire of all the midsize groups devoted to promoting contemporary music, the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern is embarking on its first U.S. tour, with a cutting-edge program whose title, “From Adams to Zappa,” identifies two of its seminal collaborators. The Bay Area minimalist John Adams began working with […]