Posted inMusic

Arthur Blythe

ARTHUR BLYTHE The fat, blowsy sound of alto saxist Arthur Blythe collars listeners like an outsize uncle’s bear hug. And though he varies its timbre, from sweet barbecue to dark menace, it informs everything he does, from his fast, wide vibrato–which lets him swing hard even when camped on a single note–to rococo turns of […]

Posted inFilm

Life on the Edge

Drifting Clouds Rating ** Worth seeing Directed and written by Aki Kaurismaki With Kati Outinen, Kari Vaananen, Elina Salo, Sakari Kuosmanen, Markku Peltola, and Matti Onnismaa. By Jonathan Rosenbaum It might be risky to generalize about national character after visiting a country for only a week, but the particular kind of self-deprecating humor in all […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Grand Delusions

The Adventures of Don Quixote Oak Park Festival Theatre By Jack Helbig Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote is one of those fat classics few have read. Yet everyone knows the book’s premise: mentally unstable Spaniard living centuries after the age of chivalry deludes himself into thinking he’s a knight of old and goes on a […]

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Leon Fleisher

LEON FLEISHER Almost 33 years ago, when Leon Fleisher’s career was in the midst of a spectacular ascent, the pianist was struck by a mysterious ailment that rendered his right hand too clumsy to play. (Long thought to be psychosomatic, the problem was later diagnosed as repetitive stress syndrome.) It was tragic: he was regarded […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Eclipsed

Eclipsed Last week in these pages I praised Eclipse Theatre’s revival of Jean Cocteau’s The Infernal Machine. Sadly, the show was shut down–or rather, burned out–last weekend. A July 4 fire in the basement of the storefront theater at Leavitt and Charleston destroyed the company’s costumes, while the tiny street-level playing area sustained heavy smoke […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Schlippenbach Trio

SCHLIPPENBACH TRIO Although billed as such, this isn’t actually a performance by the Schlippenbach Trio, which always has been and probably always will be pianist Alex von Schlippenbach, saxist Evan Parker, and percussionist Paul Lovens; founded in 1970, it’s the oldest working group in European free improv and still one of the most powerful. In […]

Posted inFilm

Partners in Crime

Funny Games Rating ** Worth seeing Written and directed by Michael Haneke With Susanne Lothar, Ulrich MŸhe, Frank Giering, Arno Frisch, and Stefan Clapczynski. The Beyond Rating * Has redeeming facet Directed by Lucio Fulci Written by Fulci, Dardano Sacchetti, and Giorgio Mariuzzo With Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, and Maria Pia Marsala. By Lisa Alspector […]

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Piece Work

Steven Foster at Carol Ehlers, through July 25 Susan Coolen: Birds, Bones, and Feathers at Lallak + Tom, through July 25 By Fred Camper Contemporary photographers who work in series challenge the modernist idea of the photograph as an autonomous, self-sufficient object, suggesting instead that no single composition is perfect or unique. In Steven Foster’s […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

Great athletes are blessed with what seems to be an extra set of senses. They have a sense of the action, usually displayed as a feel for where the ball is and where it’s going, and a sense of pace, for conserving energy and then putting on a burst at the proper moment. Put those […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

STEVE RILEY & THE MAMOU PLAYBOYS 7/10, FITZGERALD’s Those square folkies who booed Dylan for plugging in at Newport were wrong in the specific, but not unjustified in their fear of the impending ubiquity of rock music. While traditional regional music still hasn’t been wiped out by a long shot, going electric sure isn’t the […]

Posted inFilm

Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals Good-natured but haunting, elliptical and repetitive as narrative but extremely likable, this is a poignant and sometimes funny story about two young Native American men (Adam Beach and Evan Adams) who travel from their Idaho reservation to Phoenix to retrieve the ashes of an estranged father of one of them. Directed by Chris […]

Posted inMusic

Urban Gothic

Handsome Family at Metro, July 4 By Monica Kendrick I’ve been snarked at, both in print and in public, for my unwillingness to embrace the whole of alternative country–a sin to which I’ll readily confess, but not because I don’t understand the contemporary appeal of traditional rural music. It’s obvious: hillbilly tunes and Delta blues […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Seeker: A Thrift-Shopper’s Diary

Today my obsession is old country-and-western music. Already this morning I’ve crawled butt-up in a skirt across the filthy floor to retrieve some records that had fallen beneath the bins. But the first two thrift stores bottomed out, and I can feel my early-morning ardor fading. And this Unique, so busy by noon, has such […]