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Posted inArts & Culture

Playing With Eternity

Rodney Graham at the Renaissance Society, through November 12 This summer, Rolling Stone’s Original Hot List selected “Doing Something You’re Unqualified to Do” as 1995’s hot career move, facetiously citing such achievements as the Fashion Cafe started by Elle, Claudia, and Naomi and the directorial debuts of artists David Salle and Robert Longo. The magazine […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Fountainhead

Stanley Tigerman has picked King Vidor’s 1949 version of Ayn Rand’s novel as the first in a series of four films selected by four local architects. By some accounts Frank Lloyd Wright’s writings helped inspire the book, whose lead character, Howard Roark, is a visionary architect who brooks no compromises and ultimately blows up one […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Surface Noise

Stomp at the Shubert Theatre, through November 26 Stomp is truly an end-of-the-millennium phenom, a postapocalyptic vision of dust and dirt, urban signage, industrial detritus, garbage, and disaffected wage slaves. From the moment its performers wander onstage pushing their brooms to the final pandemonium of crashing trash cans, Stomp is ruled by the sense that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

David Schumacher

Those who yoke themselves to the deep power of the ponderous, once-thought-to-be-ungainly baritone saxophone–which David Schumacher handles as if it weighed no more than a pocket trumpet–fall into two camps. There’s the Gerry Mulligan school, which emphasizes the feathery quality of the instrument’s upper registers, and then there’s the school that jumps right into the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pink Freud, Dark Side of the Womb (The Significance of Everyman)

Invisible Productions, at Cafe Voltaire. Dina Renee Lucia’s first play is well cast and intelligently acted. But it needs significant rewriting: Pink Freud is a smug melodrama with overwritten philosophical interludes about two sisters who sacrifice their partnership in their jealous search for the perfect man. Wallowing in their unsatisfying relationships and loneliness, the characters […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

As a professor at the University of Chicago and composer in residence for both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera, Shulamit Ran wields unprecedented influence on the local music scene. Though she’s championed contemporary music, her taste is fairly conventional, veering toward the latest fads propagated by the east-coast academic establishment, and her own […]

Posted inMusic

Dark Secrets

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Shostakovich: Symphony no. 13 “Babi Yar” (London) Dmitry Shostakovich, who was born in 1906 and died in 1975, spent his entire career working in, with, and around the repressive Soviet system. This original and inventive composer, endowed with a strong satirical streak, found himself both lionized and censured by cultural commissars whose […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In an August story on improvements to the city’s waste treatment plant, the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reported on the use of hard-shell diving suits that are used by “pilots” who jump into the tanks to monitor the effluent. The suits provide air for up to 48 hours, contain voice and video […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Molar is the Medium

Don Stahlke: Teeth and Fruit at Aron Packer Gallery, through November 5 Two years ago Don Stahlke moved to Chicago from Evansville, Indiana, where he’d studied art in college, and got a job as a veterinary technician. He became interested in the dog and cat teeth he saw extracted, and some of the pet owners […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Francis Wong

Although saxophonist Francis Wong lives in the San Francisco area–where he cofounded the musicians’ cooperative Asian Improv Arts–he holds a special place in his heart for Chicago. As explained to this writer for the liner notes for his new album of duets with Chicago bassist Tatsu Aoki, the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative […]

Posted inArts & Culture


TinFish Productions, at Heartland Studio Theater. Horror is engendered primarily by Things Unseen, which makes it difficult to produce in an externalized medium like the stage. It comes as no surprise, then, that the stories in TinFish Productions’ second annual Halloween show, Storytellers, concerned with the characters’ behavior–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The New Catacomb” and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Farrakhan Furor/Newsbites

Farrakhan Furor Journalism tells us “what?” but rarely adds “what now?” A million words written after the Simpson verdict and the Million Man March proclaimed a sea change in the relationship between blacks and whites. Yet hard as it peered at the horizon, the reportage established nothing about what those roiling waters will wash ashore. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Aria da Capo

Aria da Capo, National Pastime Theater. Although Edna St. Vincent Millay’s fantastical farce was written for adults, National Pastime Theater’s production uses this poetic, playful one-act to introduce a younger audience to theatrical styles and devices. In Millay’s script, a sort of director-producer-higher power named Cothurnus allows actors to perform according to his divine whims. […]