Posted inArts & Culture

The Glass Ceiling

The Gut Girls Mary-Arrchie Theatre By Carol Burbank The idea that Americans can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps is so strong that we have some trouble imagining class identity, much less acknowledging the oppressive stereotypes that obscure working-class culture. As a result good contemporary plays about working-class people are rare. Sure, we have […]

Posted inMusic

Two by Weill

TWO BY WEILL Written in 1929 to capitalize on their previous year’s hit, The Threepenny Opera, Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s musical Happy End flopped in its premiere, and its jumbled script has dissuaded many a theater from attempting to revive it in the years since. Fortunately there’s an alternative. The Happy End Songspiel (sung […]

Posted inMusic

Stanley Turrentine

STANLEY TURRENTINE Now nearly 65, and having spent two-thirds of his life in the public ear, the tough-talkin’ tenor man Stanley Turrentine just keeps steaming along. Grounded in the hard bop of the 1950s, Turrentine quickly learned to apply the harmonic sophistication of that idiom to the simple, catchy yearnings of Motown and its various […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Little Too Quiet

Hedwig Page, Seaside Librarian Nancy Andrews at the Athenaeum Theatre, through May 30 By Justin Hayford She has an uncanny knack for cataloging, learned the Dewey decimal system before she could read, and loves homemade periwinkle stew. She is Hedwig Page, seaside librarian, title character in Nancy Andrews’s new performance piece–and one of the least […]

Posted inFilm

The Woman of Fire ’82

The Woman of Fire ’82 In 1982 Korean director Kim Ki-young released a second remake of his pioneering 1960 film The Housemaid, in which a married couple bring a country girl into their household as a maid–a move that leads to havoc and ends in tragedy. In this version Kim has streamlined the narrative, added […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Here at the End of a Century

HERE AT THE END OF A CENTURY, Blue Star Performance Company, at the North Lakeside Cultural Center. This is only its second production, but the Blue Star Performance Company has already carved a bold niche for itself as one of Chicago’s foremost practitioners of site-specific theater. Last year the group staged Caryl Churchill’s complex Light […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Beautiful Thing

BEAUTIFUL THING, Famous Door Theatre Company, at the Theatre Building. There are essentially two kinds of plays in the canon of mainstream gay theater these days: facile discussions of “issues” by men in various states of undress and adolescent coming-out pity parties. The former, marketed to gay audiences, are superficial but harmless while the latter, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Trib Pro Quo/ Rights of the Right

By Michael Miner Trib Pro Quo In March David Shaw of the Los Angeles Times published a three-part series examining the eroding barrier between the news and business concerns of American newspapers. The first installment dwelled on changing times at the Chicago Tribune, and it told this story: “Last fall, the Tribune entered into a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Finish school–save a life. Suburban-based Pediatrics magazine (May) reports that a Tennessee study found that children five and younger are 19.4 times more likely to die in a fire if their mother has less than a high school education. Not always avant-garde. Frank Lloyd Wright’s “omission of a spire from Unity Temple was also consistent […]

Posted inMusic

Tatsu Aoki

TATSU AOKI Tatsu Aoki stays busier than your garden-variety polymath: in addition to recording and performing regularly, the bassist teaches film production at the School of the Art Institute, and his organizing skills–put to good use booking the annual Asian American Jazz Festival and several other concert series–would put Martha Stewart to shame. And even […]

Posted inMusic

Peter Kowald

PETER KOWALD A right-hand man of blustery Teutonic reed titan Peter Brštzmann in the 60s and 70s, bassist Peter Kowald long ago set out to broaden his horizons. The 1991 CD Duos (FMP) collects some of the fruits of that journey: pieces from the three vinyl LPs, Europa, America, and Japan, on which Kowald smoothly […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

It’s a miracle! No, I don’t have stigmata, I haven’t tasted a Circus Peanut and enjoyed it, and I haven’t heard Steve Miller apologize for ripping off other artists. What has happened is that I’ve found relief for my asthma in a medication known as a steroid (Azmacort). I assume it’s not the same kind […]

Posted inMusic

An Adventurer Plays it Safe

Bjork at House of Blues, May 18 By Peter Margasak Most of us yearn for stability and safety. We want to be in control, and we want to know what comes next. The workaday trials blandly described in most country songs appeal to so many Americans because they so closely mirror our own familiar problems. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Late Nite Catechism

LATE NITE CATECHISM Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan in Late Nite Catechism offer a critique of American Catholicism (our rituals, our guilts, our traditions, our guilts, our schools, our guilts–oy, our guilts) even a devout believer could love. No wonder the show has been such a popular success, both here and in regional productions around […]