Posted inArts & Culture

Jaap Blonk

JAAP BLONK As serendipitous or profound as improvised music can be, it’s not always the most scintillating thing to watch. That’s why a live show by Dutch sound artist Jaap Blonk–an extreme vocal acrobat who takes great pride in the strange expressions he can twist from his singular mug while he’s performing–is a treat. (Check […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Eastville

EASTVILLE, Writers’ Theatre Chicago. History is wasted on the young. Every fifth-grader, in the north at least, learns about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. But what they seldom hear is that, in the eyes of the law, Tubman was a criminal. Leading runaway slaves to Canada was a federal offense in direct violation of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Comfortably Numb

COMFORTABLY NUMB Megaraves have a tendency to crumple under their own weight–a la the disastrous Big Top tour of ’97–but this one looks quite likely to deliver on the promise of its hyperbolically impressive lineup. Organizers and costars Terry Mullan, who’ll DJ, and Woody McBride, who’s slated for a live PA, are veteran promoters who […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Comedy Festival

FRIDAY, May 14 5:30 Screening of Let Me In–I Hear Laughter at Village Theater, 1548 N. Clark. 6 Screening of Harold and Maude at Village Theater. 7:30 Screening of Hey Anthony at Village Theater. Black Humor at Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln, with Lewis Black. “The Psychopath Not Taken” at Second City Mainstage, 1616 N. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Paul McKee & John Fedchock

PAUL MCKEE & JOHN FEDCHOCK Stick two trombones in front of a rhythm section and most people imagine one of two scenarios: the exacting give-and-take of J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, the bop-era ‘bone men whose onstage jousting sounded less like a pitched battle than a sophisticated conversation, or the longest four minutes of a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

The average Chicagoan lives 71.5 years–but where are the average Chicagoans? According to Natalie Pardo in the Chicago Reporter (April), “The mostly white, middle-class residents on the city’s Northwest Side can expect to live 75 to 80 years. For the mostly poor African Americans on the South Side, the life expectancy is around 60 years.” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fluttering Light: Films by Steve Polta

The films of young Bay Area artist Steve Polta have the trappings of generic avant-garde cinema–fuzzy, abstract images often accompanied by an ambient sound track–but they’re genuinely entrancing, actively engaging the viewer in piecing them together. In his sound films, vague blobs of color and the occasional hint of a landscape combine with sounds that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Works by George Perle

WORKS BY GEORGE PERLE American composer George Perle, who turned 84 last week, has devoted much of his career to refashioning Schoenbergian atonality to his own ends. Perle’s an authority on Alban Berg, and his affinity for that most lyrical exponent of Schoenberg’s Second Viennese School has led Perle’s detractors to dismiss his music as […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I was a little disappointed by your recommendation to use so many chlorine products in your column on toilet plumes [April 16]. Chlorine is an extremely toxic chemical and is listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act as a hazardous air pollutant. It’s also on the EPA’s Community Right-to-Know list, and in 1993 the American […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Owners

Owners, Strawdog Theatre Company. Though easily the least complex of her plays, Caryl Churchill’s first full-length work nonetheless merits some interest as a harbinger of things to come. Like many of her early works, Owners is set in working-class London in the 1970s, and the character of Marion–an ambitious, self-involved executive–sets the stage for Churchill’s […]

Posted inMusic

Techno Recluse

Techno Recluse “The techno scene is supposed to be forward thinking, but I don’t think that happens all that much,” says Chicago house giant Cajmere, who performs here this weekend as his techno alter ego, Green Velvet. “When I got into the music, you always wanted your stuff to sound different and refreshing. I know […]