Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

When I sought to buy Marilyn Monroe stamps recently, the clerk at my local post office substation said they didn’t have them. “I’ve been trying to get them for some time,” I responded. “When do you expect to have some?” “I really can’t say,” she replied. “They were due five days ago. They might be […]

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Harry Allen Quartet

Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young: for all intents and purposes, the history of the tenor saxophone begins with these two dialectical opposites, whom the players of the 1940s drew upon in creating a tenor tradition that would serve jazz for the quarter century. Hawkins was the thesis, with his swaggering tone, pronounced vibrato, straightforward rhythms, […]

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Marcel Khalife

Each of the three recordings I’ve heard by Lebanese composer and oud player Marcel Khalife contains an odd amalgam of musical styles that include traditional Arabic sounds, thick strains of the Western classical tradition, pop melodies in the Tin Pan Alley mold, and the sprightly bounce of classic Hollywood film scores. Extremely popular among Palestinians […]

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Chicago Sinfonietta

The Chicago Sinfonietta, a multiethnic, midsize orchestra that has won accolades for the quality of its playing, is also a tireless advocate of diverse programming. No mainstream ensemble in town has proffered a program as unusual and politically correct as the Sinfonietta’s this weekend. It features a curtain-raiser by an eminent African-American (the overture to […]

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Prisoners of Meaning

Baubo Performance Project, Christine Munch, Rebecca Rossen, and August Tye at the Athenaeum Theatre, Second Stage, November 3 and 4 When choreographers hope to “say something” they often abandon abstract dance, which is assumed to be about nothing, for dance theater, with its texts, mime, and elaborate costumes, props, and sets. Yet it’s a difficult […]

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Household Poisons

Jennifer Krauss: Homing In at Wood Street Gallery, through November 25 Steven Carrelli at Wood Street Gallery, through November 25 While both male and female artists deal with home and family life, it’s no surprise that women artists more often depict the home as a troubling, intimidating, or entrapping place. Jennifer Krauss, in her six […]

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September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill

This innovative, well-researched tribute by Larry Weinstein to one of Germany’s great modern composers elevates the music-video format to a new height: it’s a seamless sequence of some of Weill’s greatest and most obscure musical numbers, sung by celebrities from the rock and opera worlds, as well as his philosophical ruminations. Imaginatively filmed in a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

Early in the second half of the Bulls’ season-opening game against the Charlotte Hornets last Friday, Dennis Rodman– vastly outsized by the man he was assigned to guard, seven-foot George Zidek–tried to give ground and draw an offensive foul. The bush-league scabs officiating the game in place of the striking National Basketball Association referees made […]

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Black Is…Black Ain’t

Marlon Riggs, who made the controversial Tongues Untied, was dying of AIDS while working on his last film, Black Is …Black Ain’t. His crew completed it after his death. Shots of an ill Riggs speaking to the camera add poignancy to images, presumably taken earlier, of him running nude through a forest, proud, independent, alone. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Wyman Top 10

To the editors: The ten most embarrassing moments in Bill Wyman’s history: 10. Answering that ad that said, “Music Critic Wanted.” 9. Taking Liz Phair seriously. 8. Referring to himself in the third person as “Hitsville.” 7. Ever using the word “alternative.” 6. Hardly ever responding to letters. 5. Sound Opinions. 4. Giving up on […]

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Chicago Baroque Ensemble

Louis XIV lavished money and honors on his favorite artists, and leading the pack of musicians at Versailles was Jean-Baptiste Lully, a prodigious composer who established the graceful, dignified tone that would dominate French music for years. In this “Music From Versailles” sampler the Chicago Baroque Ensemble–well-respected for its scholarship, fluid playing, and sensible period-instrument […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

PASTELS 11/10, METRO Scotland’s Pastels have been delivering deliriously off-kilter pop for over a decade now, serving as spiritual inspiration for dozens of raw pop bands predicated on varying degrees of naivete (Beat Happening, Vaselines, and Teenage Fanclub, to name a few). With their latest album, Mobile Safari, about to see domestic release on Up […]

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Being at Home With Claude

Journeymen, at Cafe Voltaire. Burrowing beneath the tabloid trappings, Quebec dramatist Rene Daniel Debois probes the tortured psyche of a male hustler who’s just killed the one john he loved. What results is a taut psychological mystery that, sadly, rhapsodizes over a hoary theme–you always hurt the one you love, a cliche that O.J. may […]