Posted inNews & Politics

The Fox and the Hounds

The Fox and the Hounds Last week’s interrogation of Jerry Springer by the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Police and Fire produced some choice moments–which you probably missed if you weren’t glued to Court TV. For one thing, it was the first time in recent memory that Alderman Dorothy Tillman arrived on time. Normally she […]

Posted inMusic

Chaos Spoken Here

Chaos Spoken Here When U.S. Maple went into the studio to record its first single back in 1995, says guitarist Todd Rittmann, he thought the band was on to something. He just didn’t know what. “I wasn’t sure what the hell it was,” he says. “It was a new feeling for me to record music […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Gospel Festival

FRIDAY, JUNE PETRILLO MUSIC SHELL 6:00 PM “Gentlemen of Song” featuring Daryl Coley, Youth Edition, and Marvin Sapp There was a time in the mid-80s when Oakland-born vocalist Daryl Coley did commercial jingles and sang on albums by secular artists such as Ramsey Lewis and Nancy Wilson. But having been raised in a devout Christian […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Gingham Dog

The Gingham Dog, Phoenix Ascending. In Lanford Wilson’s 1968 play about an upwardly mobile interracial couple breaking up after three years of marriage, neither Vincent nor Gloria can articulate the cause of their rift. He blames his wife’s new Afrocentric activism. She blames the urban-renewal projects sponsored by her husband’s employers. But the real reasons […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Polish-American Symphony Orchestra

POLISH-AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA In 1995 Polish conductor Wojciech Niewrzol Victor, a new transplant to Chicago’s western suburbs, founded the Naperville Chamber Orchestra and began to recruit top graduates from local conservatories. Now the NCO serves as the nucleus of the Polish-American Symphony Orchestra, which convenes whenever a score calls for something bigger than a chamber […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Unholy Mess

Dear editor: Carol Burbank’s review of The Passion Follies (May 21, 1999) mimics its subject in its irreverence toward Christianity. Ms. Burbank describes this triptych of plays in which the “queer satire makes buffoons of the Apostles, the Pharisees, and even the Virgin Mary” as “remarkably respectful spoofs of Christ’s earthly career.” It is obvious […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Robbie Hardkiss

ROBBIE HARDKISS Given the techno diaspora’s tendency toward psychedelic excess, it’s surprising that more DJs and producers don’t flaunt the connection between 90s beat science and 60s studio wizardry more explicitly. Lots of them pursue disorienting effects and mind-warping sounds–most notably the producers of the squiggling, wriggling, giggling, manipulated-bass-line acid sound–but few go all the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Prince Paul

PRINCE PAUL Nothing in hip-hop is more tired than macho gangsta boasting–which makes Prince Paul’s recent “hip-hopera” A Prince Among Thieves (Tommy Boy) all the more amazing. Producer and auteur Paul (aka Paul Huston) expands the humorous, concise hip-hop skit writing he used to killer effect on De La Soul’s earliest stuff and his own […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In March both the Miss Thailand and the Miss Tiffany Universe beauty contests were televised nationally for the first time, the latter being a competition for male-to-female transsexuals. In a poll viewers said that at least one of the Miss Tiffany Universe finalists made Miss Thailand look “positively mousy” and that Miss Tiffany […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Beautiful Helen of Troy

BEAUTIFUL HELEN OF TROY Light Opera Works’ playful English-language version of Jacques Offenbach’s 1864 operetta La belle Helene might be subtitled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Iliad.” Director-choreographer Peter Amster’s near burlesque production amusingly updates the saucy spoof, in which the fabled Greek beauty Helen’s romance with the Trojan prince Paris […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Queen Be

The Queen Be, at the Preston Bradley Center for the Arts. Local actress Clara Abellard wrote, directed, produced, and stars in this misguided autobiographical piece, which attempts to present her transition from awkward adolescence to spiritual enlightenment as a sort of epic hero’s journey. It takes a fair amount of ego to present one’s life […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Beth Orton

BETH ORTON What a difference a hyphen can make. Someone somewhere once called Beth Orton a “techno-folkie,” and through critical echolalia the tag has stuck to her like bubble gum. Whoever came up with it, it’s a publicist’s dream: since the release of her 1997 album, Trailer Park (Dedicated), she’s been pitched like a Hollywood […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Roscoe Mitchell & the Note Factory

ROSCOE MITCHELL & THE NOTE FACTORY Now that the Art Ensemble of Chicago is pretty much on autopilot, restless reedist and composer Roscoe Mitchell is doing his most exciting work with his outside projects. Last year he presented his monstrous mid-70s percussion-heavy sound study “The Maze” as part of a historical concert at the Museum […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sun-Times Pitches Woo/So Called Experts

By Michael Miner Sun-Times Pitches Woo Next Friday the Sun-Times advertising department decides whether to join Big Labor. Some 180 employees will cast secret ballots that could turn them into the newest unit of the Chicago Newspaper Guild, itself a small part of the massive Communications Workers of America. Sun-Times management abhors unions, and it’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Questions of Balance

Charles Ray at the Museum of Contemporary Art, through July 4 By Fred Camper There’s a feeling of disaster–past, present, or impending–in many of the pieces in the midcareer Charles Ray retrospective now at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Chicago-born Los Angeles artist is best known for his mannequinlike figures, but Firetruck (1993), a […]