For most of the 90s Chicago hip-hop has had to struggle to be heard. Rap acts Crucial Conflict, Do or Die, and Twista have all made successful recordings for major labels in the last few years, but their heavily synthesized sound and gangsta tropes are miles away from the elemental two-turntables-and-a-microphone style that’s a staple […]
STEVE REICH Of the holy trinity of American minimalism, Terry Riley may be more brashly original and Philip Glass more ardently lyrical, but it’s Steve Reich who has best explored the style’s potential for dramatic storytelling. Reich often incorporates his music into multimedia presentations that draw on history for their emotional resonance–a technique that reached […]
Destiny Rating *** A must see Directed by Youssef Chahine Written by Chahine and Khaled Youssef With Nour el-Cherif, Laila Eloui, Mahmoud Hemeida, Safia el-Emary, Mohamed Mounir, Khaled el-Nabaoui, Abdallah Mahmoud, and Ahmed Fouad-Selim. The Adopted Son Rating *** A must see Directed by Aktan Abdikalikov Written by Abdikalikov, Avtandil Adikulov, and Marat Sarulu With […]
ANDY BEY When velvet-voiced baritone Andy Bey released last year’s ravishing Shades of Bey (Evidence), he overcame the second-biggest obstacle on his road back to grace after two decades of obscurity: he proved that Ballads, Blues & Bey, the 1996 album announcing his return, hadn’t been a fluke. Even those of us who fondly remember […]
By Michael Miner Schmich’s Smash My friend A.E. Eyre despairs. The unsung wordsmith, who would sell his soul to turn a phrase that lives forever, has just seen how it’s done. The song that’s sweeping the nation was tossed off one afternoon by a Chicago columnist who made herself immortal without trying. “Life is just […]
CESAR ROSAS Soul Disguise (Rykodisc), the solo debut from Los Lobos cofounder Cesar Rosas, reveals who’s been fighting hardest to keep the roots showing on the veteran East LA group’s increasingly multifaceted records. In fact, if David Hidalgo had only chipped in some vocals here and there, I could easily file this album among middle-period […]
To this day I maintain the confused respect for Christianity I acquired in my youth, when out of concern for my reputation as well as my everlasting soul, I began to go to church.
Brilliant Traces, Piven Theatre Workshop. Despite its unusual premise–a distraught young woman in a wedding dress stumbles into a lone oil rigger’s remote cabin during a blinding Alaskan snowstorm–Cindy Lou Johnson’s Brilliant Traces has the undeniable atmosphere of a therapist’s office. To distract us from reading ahead in this narrative, the technical team must convince […]
The Music in My Head by Mark Hudson (Jonathan Cape) The Music in My Head: Indispensable Classics and Unknown Gems From the Golden Age of African Pop (Stern’s Africa) By Kevin John Last week I had a dream in which I was on a bus in Senegal. I didn’t know anyone on the bus and […]
Rutherford & Son, Annex Theater Company, at the Boxer Rebellion Theater. From a purely historical standpoint, Githa Sowerby’s 1912 melodrama is of some interest as an example of the populist fare beloved by working-class audiences in turn-of-the-century Britain. And the play’s cynicism about domestic life–a common attitude among the more progressive playwrights of the time–has […]
Forces of Nature Rating * Has redeeming facet Directed by Bronwen Hughes Written by Marc Lawrence With Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck, Maura Tierney, Steve Zahn, and Blythe Danner. By Gina Fattore Forces of Nature, starring Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock, was the highest-grossing movie in the country the weekend it opened. Thousands of moviegoers–I’m guessing […]
More black people are buying homes, but they’re all buying in the same places, reports the Woodstock Institute in a recent press release. If anything, home-owner segregation is getting worse. “By 1995-1996, 45 percent of African-American home buyers were moving into neighborhoods in which at least 75 percent of buyers were African-American, compared with only […]
ROBBIE HUNSINGER QUARTET Call it the miseducation of Robbie Hunsinger: a classically trained double-reed player, proficient on the oboe and several of its cousins, takes a left turn from Music of the Baroque and sinks waist deep in Chicago’s fertile avant-garde–performing with Ken Vandermark, Georg GrŠwe, and legendary visitors like Evan Parker and Joseph Jarman. […]
Every year, politics that favor the poor get a little less popular. Will this month’s runoff election finally depose Uptown’s patron saint of the disadvantaged?
GOURDS When I first learned that Austin’s Gourds were covering the Snoop Doggy Dogg hit “Gin and Juice,” I felt a little sick that this truly twisted roots band would resort to Weird Al-style novelty tricks. In fact, on last year’s EP Gogitchyershinebox (Watermelon), they made a great song out of it, a skittering, mandolin-driven, […]