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Good Company

Steve Earle & the Del McCoury Band at the Vic, March 25 By Peter Margasak The first few times I listened to The Mountain, the new album Steve Earle recorded with the Del McCoury Band, I couldn’t stop thinking what poor use he’d made of the group he himself calls the “best bluegrass band working […]

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Circus Music

CIRCUS MUSIC, at the Playground. This manic three-person tour de force is fueled by the actors’ complete (but not always justified) self-confidence and the contagious goofiness of Ben Winters’s zany script. Succeeding more often than it flops, the show contrasts nine cartoony characters, most of them drawn distinctly enough to overcome any stereotypes they might […]

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Spot Check

DAVID BOYKIN OUTET 4/2, HEARTLAND CAFE In his book Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest, jazz writer Eric Nisenson takes some retrospective potshots at white lefty critics who tried to graft their own notions of what “revolutionary” black music ought to be onto the free jazz movement of the mid- and late 60s–particularly Frank Kofsky, […]

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Karen Mason

KAREN MASON The last time I wrote about Karen Mason–before a show at Lake Point Tower’s penthouse supper club, Cite, in 1997–I said that this Chicago-bred Broadway chanteuse was well on her way to a spot alongside the likes of Barbara Cook in the modern cabaret pantheon. Now, in time for her return to the […]

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Colin Mochrie

Colin Mochrie Though we Chicagoans still like to think of improv as our baby–born and raised here and still living close enough to mother Second City to visit on weekends–the form is really an international phenomenon now. And this expansion is likely to accelerate as shows like ABC’s version of the BBC hit series Whose […]

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Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson Only one song on Cassandra Wilson’s new Traveling Miles (Blue Note), her inventive homage to Miles Davis, actually features the instrument Davis played–“Run the Voodoo Down” incorporates some sweet, blues-imbued toots by trumpeter Olu Dara. But that’s exactly the sort of audacity that’s established the young jazz singer as one of the most […]

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Why We Have a Body

WHY WE HAVE A BODY, Great Beast Theater, at O Bar and Cafe. The Great Beast Theater has staged Clair Chafee’s remarkable play as a misguided cross between Tennessee Williams and Wendy Wasserstein. Granted, this story of four eccentric women has elements of family melodrama and wry feminist confession. But it also celebrates lesbian sexuality […]

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The Prophet of Bishop Hill

THE PROPHET OF BISHOP HILL, Chicago Dramatists. If you want to experience the power of theatrical hokum, go see David Rush’s The Prophet of Bishop Hill. With a lot of stagy courtroom dramatics and folksy historical reenactments, the play is about as hokey as can be. But Rush proves himself a master showman, creating an […]

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The Cry Trilogii

The Cry Trilogii, Fantod Theatre, at Strawdog Theatre Company. Tolstoy observed that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. But not the family members depicted in The Cry Trilogii, a new play by Guy J. Jackson that marks the debut of Fantod Theatre. Here two parents and three teenage children enact the same […]

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Zine-o-File

From the pages of Bitch ¥ Volume 3, Number 3 (3128 16th Street, Box 143, San Francisco, CA 94103; $3.25) Excerpts from: My Cups Runneth Over By Erin M. Pipes I didn’t start out in the world a hard-ass, I swear. I was the nice girl, Little Mary Sunshine. But you know what finally pushed […]

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Eddie Gomez

EDDIE GOMEZ In 1966, when 21-year-old Eddie Gomez first hit the spotlight as the bassist in Bill Evans’s famous trio, he transformed the future of his instrument. Gomez conceived of the bass not as a giant violin (which it is) but as a guitar: his pizzicato had the speed, dexterity, and feathery lightness of the […]

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Rabbit in the Moon

Rabbit in the Moon This documentary about the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II is less revisionist history than poetic memoir. Bay Area filmmaker Emiko Omori was 18 months old in 1942, when she and her family were shipped off to a detention camp; her film reconstructs the experience through interviews […]