Posted inMusic

Bits, Bytes, and Boulders

BITS, BYTES, AND BOULDERS What does “electronic music” mean nowadays, when just about every composer under 50 works on a synthesizer and electronic gizmos have liberated almost all musicians from the confines of acoustical space? This concert, a survey of some recent trends grown from the postwar tradition of electronic music, doesn’t offer any ready […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Trivial Pursuit

tulchin.qxd To the Editor: After reading your charming cover story on Les Grobstein and his amazing memory for all kinds of trivia–top songs, you name it–in addition to sports [October 24], I just have to ask Ben Joravsky: Les reminisced that Jack Quinlan, the sports announcer, died the weekend of Les’s bar mitzvah. Does he […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

GERALDINE FIBBERS 11/14, LOUNGE AX It was only two months ago that California’s Geraldine Fibbers last made Lounge Ax quiver. But listening again to their dazzling, bloodthirsty Butch (Virgin) and recalling the startling guitar interplay between front woman Carla Bozulich and avant-noise nail-polish guru Nels Cline, I have to admit that even if they played […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Industrial-Strength Wilderness

The Lake Calumet Region: The Juxtaposition Between the Natural and Built Environment at the Graham Foundation, through November 20 By Fred Camper One of my favorite places in Chicago is the heavily industrialized area between Lake Michigan and Lake Calumet on the far south side. The feeling of wildness there is the opposite of a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Flight Courier Service

Flight Courier Service Over the past five years the members of the Cook County Theatre Department have been puttering around in their near-south-side loft, largely ignored by mainstream press and audiences alike. Yet they’ve mounted ten peculiar, beguiling shows with a total budget of less than $10,000. From the hesitant fumblings of their debut, Swing […]

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Bureaucratic Bungling

Sing for Your Supper Stage Left Theatre By Jack Helbig Established in 1935 as part of Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, the Federal Theatre Project provided employment to the writers, actors, composers, costumers, set designers, and directors who’d been thrown out of work by the Depression, subsidizing “free, adult, uncensored” theatrical productions. These were located across […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

SWEENEY TODD, THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, Effective Theatre, at the Athenaeum Theatre. The 1979 Broadway premiere of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s musical was an epic-scale production by director Harold Prince, who emphasized the parallels between the show’s penny-dreadful plot–about a mad barber who slits people’s throats and his companion, Mrs. Lovett, who […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Agit-Slop

ÁChe-Che-Che! (A Latin Fugue in 5/8 Time) Latino Chicago Theater Company By Carol Burbank In his director’s note, Juan A. Ramirez complains about Chicago theaters’ idea of “Latino/Hispanic theater,” which he says “looks like a cross between a made-for-TV movie and the Gabriel Garcia Marquez collection at Crate and Barrel. Shame on you.” But he […]

Posted inMusic

Ricky Skaggs

RICKY SKAGGS Ricky Skaggs made his mark as the first bluegrass artist to successfully cross over to the mainstream country market, blending the style seamlessly with gospel and hard 50s country under a shiny pop surface. Although he’s never entirely abandoned his roots–which include cutting his musical teeth in a duo with Keith Whitley, playing […]

Posted inArts & Culture

True Books

One Jump Ahead: Challenging Human Supremacy in Checkers, by Jonathan Schaeffer (Springer, $34.95). Synopsis: The Chinook checkers-playing computer program is developed and guided toward its “final dramatic showdown” with Marion Tinsley, the world checkers champion. Representative quote: “Game twenty-two was almost a repeat of game twenty. Same result (draw). Same heartache. After five moves, Chinook […]

Posted inMusic

Band for Sale

Chumbawamba Tubthumper (Republic) By Douglas Wolk The members of the band Quixote, interviewed in the most recent issue of the zine Punk Planet, were asked “What is ‘selling out’?” They replied: “Very simple… Chumbawamba.” Obviously an outfit called Quixote is bound to have higher ideals than most of us. A hundred people asked the same […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Triple Espresso

TRIPLE ESPRESSO, at the Mercury Theater. The trio of talented vaudevillians in Triple Espresso come perilously close to turning into the same sort of bland, wholesome entertainment they seek to satirize–the acts employed to liven up trade shows, conventions, and Elks Club meetings. Unwilling or unable to succeed as a legitimate variety act, singer-pianist Michael […]