Posted inMusic

Chicago Jazz Ensemble

CHICAGO JAZZ ENSEMBLE In June composer and conductor William Russo led his Chicago Jazz Ensemble in a Navy Pier concert celebrating his own 70th birthday, and we might never hear this busy and accomplished band in better form. The performance justified a couple CJE trademarks that have raised eyebrows over the years: its lengthy programs […]

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Arab Strap

ARAB STRAP Pop stars from Frank Sinatra to the Spice Girls have cashed in by selling cotton-candy versions of sex and love. The Scottish duo Arab Strap, on the other hand, purveys graphic tales of cruelty, dysfunction, and promiscuity–the band’s even named for a device that helps sustain an erection. The Strap’s second album, Philophobia […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

When will average people feasibly be able to afford a commercial trip into orbit? –Mike, via AOL What’s your idea of average? If it’s people who have $98,000 they can plunk down for a three-hour ride in 2001 aboard a spacecraft that isn’t even built yet, there’s a company that’ll take your money right now. […]

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By Objects Possessed

Mark Arctander at Roy Boyd, through August 29 Yong Cheong Thye: Words and Images at Eastern, through August 9 John Hoft at Perimeter, through September 4 By Fred Camper Buying some books in New York once, I asked to have them shipped to Chicago. The clerk made some typically smug remarks about how no one […]

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Men Cry Bullets

Men Cry Bullets Gloria (Honey Lauren) publishes pseudonymous books that move the sensitive Billy (Steven Nelson). Because her jacket photos deliberately obscure her face, he doesn’t recognize her as the insanely jealous woman who disrupts his drag performance at a club where he hopes to be steadily employed. The characters in this beautiful story of […]

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Days of the Week

Friday 8/7 – Thursday 8/13 AUGUST By Cara Jepsen 7 FRIDAY “If I was writing about something that happened to me when I was 15, I would have to get through a certain amount of filter, whereas when I started writing in the voice of a girl, there was a heightened clarity,” says actor Paul […]

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Beastie Boys/ A Tribe Called Quest

BEASTIE BOYS/A TRIBE CALLED QUEST The Beastie Boys and A Tribe Called Quest–whose joint world tour makes a sold-out stop here this week–are probably at the peak of their popularity, but their new albums boot their groundbreaking days firmly into the past. At this point, I guess just maintaining relevance on such a large scale […]

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Money Mark/ Mix Master Mike

MONEY MARK/MIX MASTER MIKE For most of the last decade Money Mark (aka Mark Ramos-Nishita) has been content to make other people’s music. In the late 80s the self-taught keyboardist did session work for an obscure production team called the Dust Brothers and laid down parts on various Delicious Vinyl releases, including early singles by […]

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Kenny Garrett

KENNY GARRETT Alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett has plied his trade with Duke Ellington, hard-bopping Art Blakey, and fusion-era Miles Davis–and even in this age of sharply compressed history, that’s a helluva gamut. But the time spent with Miles makes the difference: Garrett, who’s only a year older than arch-neoclassicist Wynton Marsalis but sounds decades fresher, […]

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The Belmont Avenue Social Club

THE BELMONT AVENUE SOCIAL CLUB, Pyewacket, at Center Theater Ensemble. Bruce Graham’s two-act drama about backroom political deals tries very hard to matter. In an unnamed east-coast town, shadowy deal maker Fran Barelli–leader of the Belmont Avenue Social Club–must appoint a successor to corrupt councilman Petey, who’s just died. Barelli brushes aside overzealous young social […]

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Political Suicide

Mort Sahl Mort Sahl’s America (Dove Audio) By J.R. Jones Two summers ago Mark Crispin Miller wrote a cover story for the Nation about the “national entertainment state,” which he identified as the ownership of America’s major news outlets by Disney, Time Warner, General Electric, and Westinghouse. This creeping monopoly of electronic and print media, […]

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News of the Weird

Lead Stories According to Pat Rusin and her team of researchers at the University of Arizona, the toilet seat is actually one of the least bacteria-contaminated surfaces in the home. In results published in a June issue of New Scientist, three times as much bacteria was found on cutting boards and a million times more […]