Posted inArts & Culture

Lonely Planet

LONELY PLANET, Equity Library Theatre, at the Players Workshop. “Anything said or done about AIDS that does not give precedence to the knowledge, the needs, and the demands of people living with AIDS must be condemned.” Douglas Crimp’s seminal bit of cultural criticism may be untenably extreme, but if it will prevent anyone from ever […]

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Girl To Be Named Later

GIRL TO BE NAMED LATER, Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre, at the Victory Gardens Studio Theater. The best part of this show is the live music group Obaki, a three-person ensemble that pushes this sluggish play forward with its jazzy, subtle riffs and melodies. Nambi E. Kelley’s story, about a young girl whose […]

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Black Power Failure

Servant of the People!! The Rise and Fall of Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party National Pastime Theater By Carol Burbank The volatile, violent rise and fall of the Black Panther Party represents one of the most theatrical stories of activism in the 60s. And Chicagoan Robert Alexander’s new play Servant of the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News Of The Weird

Lead Stories Woe unto the perfectionist: U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey of Miami resigned in May after he reportedly bit a topless dancer on the arm. He’d supposedly gone to the nightclub where she worked to drown his sorrows after losing the big “Los Muchachos” cocaine-smuggling case. And in May in North Brunswick, New Jersey, police […]

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In Print:Artbabe draws ’em in

Jessica Abel’s Artbabe comic books are peopled with hipsters sporting tattoos, piercings, trendy haircuts, and smart clothes. To someone flipping through the book for the first time, the characters might seem a little superficial, negative, depressed–or all three. On closer inspection, though, you find that they share your dreams and insecurities. “People may be put […]

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Hello Photo

Almost a decade ago two friends wrote me letters from India that left me scratching my head in amazement, wondering what to make of the fact that the music of Michael Jackson was emanating from boom boxes amid the traditional Indian music and dance of a village festival. Now Nina Davenport has fleshed out the […]

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Ron Surface Duo

Ron Surace treats the piano with respect, and it responds in kind, issuing lines that lilt and chords that balance almost perfectly at their centers. Surace has a light, assured touch, and he creates classic solos that feature spinning treble lines, block-chord interludes, imaginative leaps, and a constructive use of space–often as not on his […]

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Behind the Mask

David L. Page: Compulsive Obsessions at ARC Gallery, through June 29 L.L. Balmuth: Tin Goddess at Artemisia, through June 29 By Fred Camper At first I thought David Page’s ten recent sculptures and four prints at ARC were paraphernalia from some bondage and discipline club: each sculpture, whether a mask or full-body outfit, looks like […]

Posted inMusic

Bad Time Stories

Henry Rollins, Exene Cervenkova, Michael Gira, Don Bajema & Tricia Warden Vic, June 16 By Jack Helbig Onstage Henry Rollins looks too perfect, as if he’s been digitally enhanced by some west-coast art director: dimpled chin, high cheekbones, intense eyes, major eyebrows, angular haircut, muscular neck. And his body–shirt stretched tight across his broad shoulders […]

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Weak with Anger

Zephyr Dance Ensemble at the Harold Washington Library, June 15 By Terry Brennan The Zephyr Dance Ensemble bills itself as Chicago’s only all-women repertory dance company. It’s an interesting marketing approach both because it accurately describes them–their dancers, choreographers, and even lighting designer are women–and because it promises dance that’s possibly feminine, possibly feminist. Exactly […]

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Passion

PASSION, Pegasus Players. Stephen Sondheim’s most unabashedly romantic musical is also his lamest–a musically derivative, dramatically unconvincing soap opera that wouldn’t have made it past its first backers’ audition if not for the composer’s name. This pseudooperatic adaptation of Ettore Scola’s 1981 film Passione d’amore concerns an unattractive, neurotic divorcee named Fosca (Anne Tolpegin, whose […]

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Shape Shifters

Daniel Bodner at Roy Boyd Gallery, through July 6 Approaching the Figure at Roy Boyd Gallery, through July 6 By Mark Swartz For more than ten years Daniel Bodner has concentrated on painting a single male figure, rendering him over and over again in different colors and dimensions. So who is it? Bodner doesn’t work […]

Posted inMusic

Folk Heart

“1963 was the last time a great car was built in America & these Belvederes have it & they have it all.” So reads part of outsider folkster Michael Hurley’s most recent newsletter, in which he’s hawking a couple of Plymouths for $400 each. If it seems like a strange item to find in a […]

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John Butcher

Using the jaw-dropping extended technique of Evan Parker as a starting point, fellow British saxophonist John Butcher has done much to advance free improvisation. An agile, diverse musician, Butcher has proved his mettle in a variety of contexts. On Spellings his group Frisque Concordance–with pianist Georg Grawe, drummer Martin Blume, and bassist Hans Schneider–provides a […]