Posted inMusic

Sun Ra Arkestra

When Sun Ra died three years ago many feared that his Arkestra, one of the longest-running, most entertaining and adventurous jazz bands in history, would also be relegated to memory. The deaths of vital members June Tyson and John Gilmore made the picture even bleaker. Considering, however, the way the Arkestra operated in its last […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wild World

John Spear at Illinois Art Gallery, through November 8 at Ten in One Gallery, through November 23 John Spear’s two paintings titled Adrift, with their lone figures on rafts in a stormy sea, certainly recall Homer’s The Gulf Stream, while the sea’s froth echoes Delacroix, and the streaked sky Gericault. And Spear acknowledges these influences. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In October self-described virgin Doreen Lioy, 41, exchanged vows in San Quentin prison’s waiting room with 13-time murderer Richard Ramirez (California’s notorious “Night Stalker”). It’s the first marriage for both. She wore white; he wore blue. She was raised Roman Catholic; he’s a satanist. His guests included three relatives; her family refused to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Francis Wong

Music festivals organized around nonmusical factors are strange animals. When all the participants are black or female or Asian–anything but white men, really–the implication is that the music they create constitutes its own category. Such is the case with this weekend’s Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, which actually covers cultures as disparate as Korean and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Article Incomplete

Dear editor, Your article “Fanning the Flames” by Grant Pick portrays Assyrians most unfairly [October 18]. It is sad that the Reader, which I’ve respected in the past, has to engage in a subtle form of race-baiting which does damage to a persecuted community as the Assyrians. Nowhere do you note in your article that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Trouble in the Lab

The Viewing Room Steppenwolf Theatre Company From the beginning, the folks at Steppenwolf have been better known for the quality of their acting than for their material. Even when their plays were strong–as when they revived Sam Shepard’s True West and Lanford Wilson’s Balm in Gilead in the early 80s–their productions were stronger. Over the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Missed McEntire Music

It’s puzzling that almost all coverage of musician/engineer John McEntire–including Peter Margasak’s career overview (Post No Bills, October 18)–fails to mention his tenure in the band Seam. McEntire and Bundy Brown joined Seam together in 1991 and played on some of the band’s most acclaimed recordings: the Kernel EP, and “Road to Madrid,” from the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Watch Dog

Watch Dog, Chicago Actors Ensemble. Playwright David Gilbert made his splash as a screenwriter with the 1984 break-dancing movie Beat Street, then taught screenwriting at DePaul for nearly a decade. So it’s no surprise that Watch Dog seems a film script masquerading as live theater. The short, punchy scenes jump from location to location every […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Born in the USA

Born in the USA, North Avenue Productions, at the Chicago Dramatists Workshop. The so-called Asian-American experience is a far more complex phenomenon than our statistic-simple society would have us believe: Ulan Bator is as distant from Singapore as the building of the railroads is from the fall of Saigon. This diversity is reflected in the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Critical Omission

To the editor: Not to pick nits with myself, but it occurs to me that in my efforts to be overprecise, I robbed Ann Peebles, Al Green, and producer Willie Mitchell of almost a decade’s worth of achievement in my October 18 Critic’s Choice. To set the record straight: buoyed by Mitchell’s studio wizardry, Peebles […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Astral Project

When the mainstream media focus on modern New Orleans jazz, they rarely see past the Marsalis clan and friends; this explains why you may never have run across the members of Astral Project–five of the Crescent City’s best and most versatile players. The rhythm section has worked together for almost two decades, appearing on dozens […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Ignoring Assyrian Integrity

In your October 18 issue, I was extremely disappointed by the contents of Grant Pick’s article titled “Fanning the Flames.” Displaying the mug shots of the two gang members on the front page as if they committed the crime of the century. The article was a class act of sensational journalism. The final analysis of […]