Posted inMusic

Spot Check

BLONDES 2/5, HEARTLAND CAFE This trio of light-haired ladies has been harmonizing at Chicago cabarets for years now–some of Sarah Motes’s compositions on the group’s self-released debut, Try, date all the way back to 1989. At times the cheese is overwhelming, but gutsier tunes fall somewhere between the Roches and the Go-Go’s–and I gotta love […]

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Magnificent Irreverence: Ladylike Performance Festival 2

Magnificent Irreverence: Ladylike Performance Festival 2 There’s nothing ladylike about Stanya Kahn as she performs Delirium–but then that’s the point of the “Ladylike Performance Festival,” to blow the concept to smithereens. In a stocking cap, dark glasses, and a string bikini made of extrawide rubber bands, Kahn lolls in a tiny galvanized tub of water […]

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Group Efforts

You Are Not Here at the Neo-Futurarium, through February 27 Full Moon Vaudeville at the Museum of Contemporary Art, January 30 By Carol Burbank Group shows are notoriously difficult. It’s not just a matter of choosing a theme, choreographing breaks and scene changes, and making sure everyone has the same aesthetic. It’s also a matter […]

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European Union Film Festival

European Union Film Festival The European Union Film Festival runs Friday, February 5, through Sunday, February 21, at the Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Admission is $6, $3 for Film Center members. For more information call 312-443-3737. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5 Bandits Katja von Garnier directed this 1997 German feature about four music-making […]

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Big TV

BIG TV, Free Associates, at the Ivanhoe Theater. As Mark Gagne relates in his director’s notes, Big TV began as “an insider’s view” of Chicago’s improv scene–and elements of the urge to skewer remain, but they’re the weakest moments in this dark cautionary tale. Director Gagne and his nine cast members are out to gore […]

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Manson: The Musical

MANSON: THE MUSICAL, Annoyance Theatre. When I first saw this musical about Charles Manson and his “family” in 1990, the show had a dark, subversive quality–accentuated by the Annoyance’s raggedy digs–that added to its power and comedy. Nine years later, the many jokes about oral sex are frankly a little tired. And the Annoyance folks […]

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The Blood Knot

THE BLOOD KNOT, Excaliber Shakespeare Company of Chicago, at Heartland Studio Theater. It’s not easy to stage Athol Fugard’s metaphorical play about the conflicts between white and black South Africans: his convoluted and poetic politics make the plot’s logic of fear difficult to follow. And actors need to tread lightly between the play’s often conflicting […]

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Music of the Baroque

MUSIC OF THE BAROQUE For years Music of the Baroque has been among the most consistently intelligent and accessible ensembles in Chicago. And even when it’s financially strapped–this season its revival of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo was canceled due to poor advance ticket sales, and the group will mount only seven programs–it lavishes as much attention on […]

Posted inFilm

Bone

Bone A home invasion goes awry in this stingingly provocative 1972 movie about a Beverly Hills TV personality, his wife, and their encounter with a philosophical would-be thief and rapist. Threatened by the stranger, the heavily leveraged couple–who say their son is in Vietnam as if this makes up for their failings–take the opportunity to […]

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Dave Myers & Kim Wilson

DAVE MYERS & KIM WILSON Guitarist and bassist Dave Myers was a founding member of the Aces, a band that in the 50s freshened Chicago blues with the swing and harmonic sophistication of jazz. Left to himself, though, he specializes in just the kind of down-home Delta shuffle the Aces helped make commercially obsolete. Lately […]

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The Chambermaid

The Chambermaid Originally titled The Chambermaid on the Titanic, this 1998 French film by Bigas Luna is at once a delightful piece of romantic whimsy and a meditation on the duplicity inherent in storytelling. Horty, a French foundry worker, wins a trip to Southampton to witness the sailing of the Titanic; a ship’s chambermaid knocks […]

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Larry Coryell Trio

Larry Coryell Trio Every time I think Larry Coryell has settled down, he proves me wrong. The guitar wizard’s most recent visit came on the heels of Spaces Revisited, a return to his early days playing rock and fusion with the Free Spirits and the Eleventh House. Last year he released Cause and Effect (Tone […]