Posted inArts & Culture

The Bride and the Beast

The Bride and the Beast, Chicago Dramatists Workshop. Producer, writer, director, and all-around psychotronic guy Michael Flores bills his latest foray into kinda campy, kinda pop, ever so slightly amusing theater as an adaptation of Ed Wood’s The Bride and the Beast, even though the 1958 grade-Z film was actually directed by Adrian Weiss from […]

Posted inFilm

Godard in the Age of Video

Soft and Hard (A Soft Conversation Between Two Friends on a Hard Subject) **** (Masterpiece) Directed and written by Anne-Marie Mieville and Jean-Luc Godard With Godard and Mieville. A 48-minute video that’s premiering in Chicago ten years after it was made, Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Mieville’s Soft and Hard (A Soft Conversation Between Two Friends […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cathedral Singers

The 20-member Cathedral Singers, a youthful choir founded four years ago by composer Richard Proulx to record a wide variety of choral music, has already released ten CDs on the Canticum label that demonstrate a versatility and assurance usually associated with veteran ensembles. The fluidity and clarity of the group’s singing can also be heard […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Starting Place

An American radical based in Paris since the 70s, Robert Kramer is an important independent filmmaker who has been almost completely ignored in this country, though many French critics regard him as one of our major artists. His best known work includes such ambitious features as The Edge, Ice, Milestones, and Route One, as well […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

ELECTRAFIXION, ECHOBELLY 11/17, METRO Perpetual prima donna, English celeb, and former Echo & the Bunnymen crooner Ian McCulloch has reunited with Will Sergeant, his old band’s guitarist, to form Electrafixion, a brazen attempt to cash in on the alternative-rock frenzy with loud, leaden, ponderous muck. One listen to their debut, Burned (Sire), plainly establishes what […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ms. Cinderella

Ms. Cinderella, Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre. Not all new theater deserves support–especially when it runs no risk and breaks no ground. This shallow musical purports to give a feminist spin to Perrault’s classic fantasy, aiming for the kind of fractured fairy-tale hipness of Into the Woods, A Change in the Heir, and Once Upon a Mattress. […]

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True Books

Title: Unfinished Lives, “Concept by Michael Viner” (Dove Books: 1995) $19.95. Synopsis: Fictional accounts of what would have happened if Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, Kurt Cobain, Anne Frank, Nicole Brown Simpson, and other famous people who died early, had instead lived. Monroe sheds her movie star persona and, with the help of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cowws Quintet

One of the basic tenets of European improv is to avoid the obvious, like quoting, hitting upon grooves, and reactionary interplay. Rudiger Carl’s mind-rattling Cowws Quintet turns this notion on its head with its most recent album, Grooves ‘n’ Loops (FMP), the title of which indicates the kind of improvisations engaged in by this freewheeling […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Joan Armatrading

I wonder why Joan Armatrading has never titled one of her albums Smoke and Mirrors. That phrase neatly captures the specifics of what she does: she uses the billowing smoke of her voice to convey her often remarkable songs, which so accurately mirror a wide range of emotional states. But it also describes the shifty […]