Posted inArts & Culture

Pick-ups and Hiccups

Even the best Chicago-based improv troupes can suffer from lassitude, knowing they don’t have to try too hard because their fellow improvisers in the audience will stick with them no matter what. Jill Benjamin and Seth Meyers are a little different, however: ImprovOlympic alums, they really earned their chops before paying crowds at the Amsterdam-based […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Last year drummer Bill Stevenson clocked his 20th year with the hardcore outfit that began as the Descendents, and while his band has never really grown up, his concept has never really grown old either. SST labelmates Husker Du, the Minutemen, and Dinosaur Jr mixed hardcore with psychedelia, funk, and 70s guitar rock, respectively, but […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Charles Lloyd Quartet

Charles Lloyd Quartet You won’t find a more aptly titled album than Charles Lloyd’s new Voice in the Night (ECM), his eighth since ending a self-imposed exile from stage and studio in the late 80s–and arguably his best in 30 years. Lloyd’s tenor belongs to the twilight, with its dusky timbre, shadowy articulation, wing-flutter phrases, […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

I’ve been going out with a guy I’m in love with for two years. I’m 16, he’s 18. He says it would be OK for me to do things with other people, short of any actual sex acts. The person I have the most interest in besides my boyfriend is one of his closest friends […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Measure for Measure

MEASURE FOR MEASURE, Shakespeare’s Motley Crew, at the Athenaeum Theatre. With its reputation for launching full frontal attacks on the Bard, Shakespeare’s Motley Crew would seem the perfect company to tackle the volcanic passions and roiling-boil plot of Measure for Measure. Lechery has overrun Vienna, so the ineffectual duke hands power over to his deputy, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Donald Neale

DONALD NEALE The most significant composer to emerge from Cuba, Ernesto Lecuona left behind an astonishing legacy when he died in 1963. But of his 400 songs, 170 solos for piano, 80 theatrical works, and 30 orchestral pieces, by a conservative count, only a handful are still regularly performed outside his country. Conservatory trained, he […]

Posted inFilm

A Scene at the Sea

A deaf garbageman finds a broken surfboard on his route, repairs it, and, with the support of his girlfriend, practices until he can ride a wave. There isn’t too much more plot in this exalting 1991 movie by writer-director Takeshi Kitano (Fireworks), which is silent in spirit. Shigeru (Kurodo Maki) and Takako (Hiroko Oshima), who’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Neville’s Island

Neville’s Island, Cenacle Theatre Company. Tim Firth’s four middle managers on a corporate-sponsored retreat are appropriately dismayed when their boat capsizes, stranding them on a foggy island in Britain’s Lake District. Cold, hunger, and boredom take their toll on the men, but they’re haunted more by the conviction–fueled by such films as Lord of the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Dreamlife of Angels

This first feature by Erick Zonca is more typical than exceptional as an example of French cinema’s recent trend toward realistically depicting regional life, and its sex scenes have been trimmed to satisfy the puritanical, studio-run Motion Picture Association of America (which wouldn’t dream of interfering with the genocidal mayhem of the blockbusters). But this […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Sea & Poison

Fresh from a showcase in Wales, Goat Island returns to Chicago with the American premiere of The Sea & Poison, a complicated, sardonic, grueling journey through the landscapes of propaganda and war. With ritualistic intensity, director Lin Hixson and her courageous performers move smoothly from task to task: two men talk about their rubber-frog offspring […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bern Nix

BERN NIX Like his mentor and former employer Ornette Coleman, guitarist Bern Nix cares about few things more than melody. This is most palpable on his lone recording as a leader, Alarms and Excursions (New World), a 1993 trio date with Fred Hopkins on bass and Newman Baker on drums. But once you’ve picked his […]