Posted inArts & Culture

Wrapped in Mystery

Ron Grenko at Beret International, through May 17 Joe Litzenberger at Tough, through May 17 By Fred Camper In recent years conceptual and minimal art have converged, as artists have used minimalist approaches to hint at content. Both forms, however, require a heightened level of viewer participation; art that seems intentionally incomplete enlists the viewer […]

Posted inMusic

Johnny Griffin Quartet

JOHNNY GRIFFIN QUARTET Like the swallows flocking to Capistrano, the return of the great tenor man Johnny Griffin signals a seasonal shift: if the Little Giant is in Chicago, you know it must be spring. (And you certainly can’t tell from the temperature.) Griffin comes home at the end of every April to play the […]

Posted inFilm

Death And The Maiden

Kissed Rating ** Worth seeing Directed by Lynne Stopkewich Written by Stopkewich and Angus Fraser With Molly Parker, Peter Outerbridge, Natasha Morley, and Jay Brazeau. By Lisa Alspector No filmmaker or storyteller is obliged to have had sex with a dead body to tell a story about a necrophiliac. But unless she examines her personal […]

Posted inMusic

World’s Largest Hip-Hop Show

WORLD’S LARGEST HIP-HOP SHOW The mostly east coast participants on this hyperbolic ten-act bill avoid bland G-funk, and there’s no lip service paid to a prospective non-hip-hop audience: the lineup is designed strictly for heads. New York’s Mobb Deep, veterans of the Queensbridge scene that’s also produced Nas and Big Noyd, are the nominal headliners, […]

Posted inFilm

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow play best friends who decide with some trepidation to attend their high school reunion. Despite the aggressive silliness of this enjoyable comedy, the emotional focus on the painful social experience of high school makes the film real and immediate, and the flavorsome dialogue in Robin Schiff’s script gives the leads […]

Posted inFilm

Burden Of Truth

Sling Blade Rating *** A must see Directed and written by Billy Bob Thornton With Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, John Ritter, J.T. Walsh, Natalie Canerday, Lucas Black, James Hampton, Rick Dial, and Robert Duvall. By Jonathan Rosenbaum There is no point in rendering something realistically unless it is to make it more meaningful in an abstract […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mordine & Company Dance Theater

It’s one of the vanities of the young to believe that one’s own generation has discovered corruption, when each generation simply rediscovers it. In 1927 Kurt Weill wrote Mahagonny-Songspiel in collaboration with Bertolt Brecht; in the late 60s the Doors covered a song from this avant-garde opera; and in 1981 Shirley Mordine used the music […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Signifying Nothing

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Shubert Theatre, through May 11 By Laura Molzahn Sometimes dance goes down easy–too easy. It can be served up as a theatrical delicacy, a gourmand’s treat composed of beautiful people, spectacular movement, lively music, and intriguing designs. But I find the cream-puff approach to choreography increasingly unpalatable. Maybe it’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

History’s highs and lows

Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup was a popular way to treat teething, “nervous,” and colicky babies in the mid-1800s. The product worked because it was laced with opium. At the time, GOM–God’s Own Medicine–was a legal, over-the-counter drug prescribed to treat coughs, diarrhea, fever, consumption, arthritis, alcoholism, and nervous disorders. The party ended in 1914, when […]

Posted inMusic

Pavement

PAVEMENT With its most recent album, Brighten the Corners (Matador/Capitol), Pavement has settled gracefully into normalcy, making musical peace with its middle-class roots. Sometimes the intersecting guitar lines of Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg hark back to the jagged architecture of previous efforts, and the band’s hooks remain delightfully off-kilter. But the new album is […]