Posted inArts & Culture

Train Is Comin’

TRAIN IS COMIN’, Chicago Theatre Company. With an ensemble as uniformly excellent as the ten performers the Chicago Theatre Company has assembled and gospel music as stirring as the 25 or so songs included here, all it takes is the basic skeleton of a plot to create compelling theater. And that’s what playwright McKinley Johnson […]

Posted inFilm

Chicago’s Own: Creating Light

Chicago’s Own: Creating Light Thomas Gosser’s Ingredients is the best thing on this program of local experimental work and one of the strongest first films I’ve ever seen. Given a class assignment to make his own movie camera out of ordinary materials, Gosser built a box whose imperfect functioning becomes a key element in the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Vile Governess and Other Psychodramas

THE VILE GOVERNESS AND OTHER PSYCHODRAMAS, Mom and Dad Productions, at the Playground. Well-executed parody transforms the serious into the frivolous yet remains true to the style and form of the original. The Vile Governess and Other Psychodramas, supposedly spoofing Henrik Ibsen, does neither particularly well. Playwright Stewart Lemoine’s three one-acts might as well be […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Puppetry Festival

Chicago Puppetry Festival Theater Dank’s three-week festival of national and local puppetry opened last weekend with inspired, uneven, but often brilliant performances. The ongoing centerpiece of the festival is Theater Dank’s dreamy, coarse, lyrical Succubus, which brings an ancient myth about soul stealing to life with tin puppets, film, and handheld homunculi. Last weekend’s best […]

Posted inFilm

The Ugly Truth

20 Dates Rating ** Worth seeing Written and directed by Myles Berkowitz By Bill Stamets Humiliation is one of the ugly little motors that drive Hollywood, a karmic sump pump that drains the egos of stars and fans alike. We elevate actors into icons so we can savor their make-believe beauty and mythic lives and […]

Posted inMusic

Joe & Mat Maneri

JOE & MAT MANERI The story of Boston reedist Joe Maneri is a classic tale of artistic perseverance. In the mid-40s Maneri was playing jazz clarinet in a group that was experimenting with 12-tone improvisation when Josef Schmid–a composer, conductor, violinist, keyboardist, and former student of Alban Berg–walked in on a performance. Schmid would become […]

Posted inMusic

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

BIG SANDY & HIS FLY-RITE BOYS With the possible exception of Ronnie Dawson, there isn’t a better rockabilly act on the planet than Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys. Revivalists though they are, their contagious love of the music, their skill with its subtleties, and the persuasive croon of Big Sandy (aka Robert Williams) himself […]

Posted inMusic

Asian Dub Foundation

ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION Two years ago Cornershop’s When I Was Born for the 7th Time reminded us here in the States that Britpop could encompass more than sulky white boys in suede jackets. Now Asian Dub Foundation, a quintet of Anglo-Indian rabble-rousers, has crossed the pond with its first major-label release, the high-powered Rafi’s Revenge […]

Posted inMusic

Moses and Aron

MOSES AND ARON Pierre Boulez claims that in postwar Paris, works by the Second Viennese School–music that had been branded decadent by the Nazis–likewise ran afoul of French nationalism and were rarely performed. Unhappy with this cultural conservatism, he took it upon himself to learn the 12-tone technique pioneered by Schoenberg, which had been the […]

Posted inMusic

Women Who Swing–Chicago

WOMEN WHO SWING–CHICAGO At century’s end, you’d think we’d have left the need for all-girl bands in the dust. But most women still have to play a little bit better than their male bandmates to get the same respect–which means it never hurts to turn a spotlight on their efforts. I can’t promise that a […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

I’m on vacation, so here’s one of my “greatest hits” columns. My girlfriend and I only see each other on weekends. To overcome the overwhelming desire to jerk off during the week, I have discovered that I get great pleasure urinating on myself. I don’t know how this happened–one morning I just did it. About […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“When [Henry Chandler] Cowles’ [University of Chicago] dissertation was published in 1899, it attracted national and international attention to the area at a time when many believed the [Indiana] dunes to be a wilderness wasteland full of sand and mosquitoes, ideal for industrial development and sand mining,” writes Kim Holsen in “Singing Sands Almanac” (Spring). […]