Posted inArts & Culture

The Psychology of Clumsiness

The Psychology of Clumsiness The first time I saw trained clown Drew Richardson perform, in 1989, I hated him. I hated his show, an ambitious but flawed attempt to explore the two sides of clowning, the mischievous trickster and the playful child. I hated that he called himself a “dramatic fool” because to my eyes […]

Posted inMusic

Paul O’Dette

PAUL O’DETTE Perhaps it’s because he started out playing rock ‘n’ roll guitar, but when Paul O’Dette plays the lute you’ll hear little of the conservative pomp and antiquarian bookishness of some of his colleagues’ performances. O’Dette’s readings of Baroque and Renaissance works are spunky, supple, and subtle; his complex picking and fingering has the […]

Posted inMusic

Dave Douglas Tiny Bell Trio

DAVE DOUGLAS TINY BELL TRIO In his decade-long career, New York trumpeter Dave Douglas has enjoyed the kind of meteoric ascent usually restricted to the pop world. In settings ranging from relatively straight jazz with pianist Horace Silver and saxist Vincent Herring through eclectic piecework with New and Used and Dr. Nerve to Yiddish jazz […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Amount of money in the current defense appropriations bill for programs that were neither requested by the Pentagon nor included in the House or Senate versions of the bill, but were quietly added at the last minute by members of the House-Senate conference committee: over $175 million, according to the “Weekly Defense Monitor” (October 16). […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Woman in Black

THE WOMAN IN BLACK, Blood Curdling Productions, at the Theatre Building. Stephen Mallatratt’s long-running London hit, based on Susan Hill’s book, uses traditional elements of the English ghost story as the core of a gimmicky actors’ showpiece. The derivative but spooky central tale involves a haunted house on a misty marsh, as the long-ago death […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Four Queens-No Trump

FOUR QUEENS–NO TRUMP, Onyx Theatre Ensemble, at the Edgewater Theatre Center. Playwright Ted Lange displays an irritating predilection for blandness, predictability, and superficiality in this play. And no wonder, given that he’s best known for his role as Isaac the bartender on The Love Boat. In Four Queens–No Trump issues are dropped as quickly as […]

Posted inFilm

Films by Joseph Cornell

Films by Joseph Cornell Outside the cult of cinema buffs (to which he belonged), few people know that box maker and collagist Joseph Cornell also made short experimental films. The Film Center owns prints of several, appropriately enough given the Art Institute’s fine collection of Cornell’s quirky, theatrical boxes; like the films, they re-create a […]

Posted inFilm

Dallas Doll

Dallas Doll This 1994 feature is much too goofy to qualify as an absolute success, but it’s so unpredictable, irreverent, and provocative that you may not care. Australian writer-director Ann Turner has a lot on her mind, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to plot out many of her quirky moves in advance. Imagine Pier […]

Posted inMusic

One Hit, 30 Years, 96 Tears

? & the Mysterians Empty Bottle, November 1 Before the radio waves were balkanized, before the LP crippled the 45 and the CD killed it, before we needed an alternative to the alternative, Top 40 was the melting pot of American popular music. Harry Belafonte rubbed elbows with Johnny Cash, Ritchie Valens’s “La Bamba” climbed […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dancing Across State Lines

Dancing Across State Lines “We do awkward things well–it’s the awkward aesthetic,” Zephyr Dance artistic director Michelle Kranicke says of the purpose of her all-female modern-dance troupe. Associate artistic director Emily Stein adds, “We want to find the beauty in things that are not pretty.” As Kranicke’s new solo and Stein’s new duet reveal, the […]