Posted inMusic

Sex and Violins

Dirty Three Double Door, March 22 By Monica Kendrick There’s something about the very sight of a member of the violin family that makes a lot of people assume they’re in for something fundamentally different from rock ‘n’ roll. Perhaps it’s a middle-class association of the fluttering bow with the fear of coughing loudly; perhaps […]

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Jan Erkert & Dancers

Jan Erkert & Dancers Jan Erkert is the best kind of magician, conjuring up feeling without ever grabbing for heartstrings or resorting to throbbing violins. Instead the dry, hard, everyday facts of the dance accumulate until they’re like a mound of stones on the heart–and we’re forced to notice our own sorrow. Then, just as […]

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Divided States

DIVIDED STATES, Chicago Dramatists Workshop. Fuck Jesse Helms. Thanks to that senile tool of the tobacco industry and his rabid cohorts, everyone in America thinks the National Endowment for the Arts is a subversive organization eager to fund the most dangerous, most outrageous art it can find. But even before he arrived on the scene […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City Council Follies

Alderman Dorothy Tillman can find any excuse to talk about marching with Martin Luther King. Last week the excuse was the City Council debate on extending health benefits to partners of gay city employees. Tillman poured out the standard litany of her experiences fighting discrimination against a minority. Then she loudly exhorted everyone to discriminate […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Wierd

Lead Stories 9 Medical breakthroughs: In February surgeons removed a cataract from the eye of the National Zoo’s six-foot-long Komodo dragon Muffin in the hope that she would better see the studly male Friendty and thus be more likely to mate with him. In January doctors in Johannesburg, South Africa, performed spinal surgery on a […]

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Life After Death

The Designated Mourner Steppenwolf Studio Theatre By Albert Williams Gil Scott-Heron sang that the revolution would not be televised, but in Wallace Shawn’s play The Designated Mourner it is. Jack–the protagonist of this odd, darkly comic, and ultimately chilling cautionary tale–can recall the day he saw his wife Judy killed on-screen, one more victim of […]

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John Abercrombie Trio

John Abercrombie Trio When guitarist John Abercrombie inaugurated this trio in 1992–comprising light-fingered drummer Adam Nussbaum and Dan Wall, one of the handful of organists defining a new approach to the Hammond B-3–you could have blown most people over with a Leslie speaker. (That’s the spinning loudspeaker that gives the organ its three-dimensional vibrato.) The […]

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Freak

Freak John Leguizamo’s new solo show is a work in progress–which, Leguizamo told his fans at the show I saw last weekend, means “you’re very privileged to see me suck.” Certainly this ever-changing “semi-demi-quasi-pseudo-autobiography” has its spotty patches–but it has wonderful ones too, and even when he falters Leguizamo is a high-voltage performer with a […]

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Profound Confusion

Nuclear Family Factory Theater By Justin Hayford Since Factory Theater first staked out its lonely storefront turf in Rogers Park four and a half years ago (opening with an adaptation of Reefer Madness), it’s been easy to see the company as the Johnny Come Lately to the drunken fratboy theater circuit inaugurated by Annoyance and […]

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Ronnie Earl

RONNIE EARL Guitarist Ronnie Earl, one of today’s most versatile and sophisticated blues stylists, started out in the 70s in the Boston area, where he sat in with visiting Chicago luminaries like Otis Rush and Big Walter Horton. He eventually signed on with Roomful of Blues, a New England-based band that specialized in the kind […]

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Lisa Germano

Lisa Germano There’s something undeniably suffocating about Lisa Germano’s old records, the way her sweet, fragile voice struggles to free itself of thick, murky textures and subject matter so brooding and dark it makes John Cassavetes look like Walt Disney. Her most recent record, Excerpts From a Love Circus (4AD), lets a little more light […]