Posted inArts & Culture

Chuck Hedges Swingtet

CHUCK HEDGES SWINGTET For history-minded clarinetists like Chuck Hedges, Benny Goodman’s small groups of the mid-30s are like the Holy Grail. While leading his sleek yacht of a big band, Goodman also cut loose in the swing era equivalent of cigarette boats: a trio, a quartet, and other combos that emphasized improvisation over arrangement. And […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bailiwick Repertory Directors’ Festival

Bailiwick Repertory Directors’ Festival Bailiwick Repertory’s 11th annual showcase of projects by emerging directors features programs of one-acts, ranging from one to three per evening, that run the gamut from established classical and contemporary selections to avant-garde rarities and untested original material. The fest runs through August 25 at Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

How do you tell a guy you really love that he’s trying too hard in bed? My boyfriend and I have been together for just under a year. He was a virgin before we got together, and I wasn’t. Without exaggeration, he is the best sex I’ve ever had. Initially I enjoyed our forays into […]

Posted inArts & Culture

June of 44

JUNE OF 44 June of 44 edged away from its abrasive indie-rock roots on last year’s impressive Four Great Points, subtly employing electronics and strings, turning down the volume, and occasionally breaking free of ye olde four-four, but on the recent Anahata (released, like all the band’s work, by Quarterstick), the quartet has convincingly taken […]

Posted inArts & Culture


IQU Instrumental electronic musicians have it tough onstage: when you’ve only got a DAT and a Powerbook to work with, it’s hard to do something that’s interesting to watch; it’s even hard to improve on your albums, except by making everything louder. But IQU (pronounced “ee-koo”), a hyperactive trio based in Olympia, Washington, has absorbed […]

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Calendar Sidebar

In 1928 Stalin proposed the creation of a Soviet Jewish Autonomous Zone in Birobidzhan, a remote marshy area on the Chinese border. Beginning in 1934, thousands of Soviet Jews–along with Jewish leftists from the U.S. and other countries–were drawn to the region by the promise of freedom to express their cultural identity. Life there was […]

Posted inMusic

Splinter Group

U.S. Maple at Lounge Ax, August 13 By Monica Kendrick Ever since I first saw them, three or four years ago, I’ve thought of U.S. Maple as one of the greatest bands Chicago has produced this decade; I’ve even got a streak of the fan’s how-could-anyone-not-see-that certainty about it. If the struggling Skin Graft roster, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Prettied Up

Love, Janis at the Royal George Theatre Center Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Circle Theatre By Jack Helbig Janis Joplin’s life seems ready-made for mythologizing. Recordings of her raw, ragged, bluesy singing retain their power more than 30 years after they were made. And her life outside the recording studio–the drinking, the […]

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You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN, Phoenix Ascending, at the Athenaeum Theatre. After last November’s overblown Broadway tryout at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, this utterly charming, less-is-more production is refreshing. Irrepressible and even innocent, director Stephen R. Roath’s revival celebrates the sassy spirit of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts people and […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

BONEY JAMES 8/20, SKYLINE STAGE Saxist James’s latest, Body Language (Warner Brothers), has the dubious distinction of being the only contemporary-jazz record I’ve heard that does violence to a Janet Jackson tune. I’m sure music like this–so smooth it leaves a trail like a slug–is getting somebody laid as I write, but it’s not anybody […]

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A Long Play’s Journey Into One Act, Eugene O’Neill Unscripted

A LONG PLAY’S JOURNEY INTO ONE ACT, EUGENE O’NEILL UNSCRIPTED, Free Associates, at the Ivanhoe Theater. Eugene O’Neill’s turgid melodramas are ripe for the kind of respectful ridicule the Free Associates have already freely heaped on Tennessee Williams, Charlotte Bronte, and the Bard. Their latest 90-minute improvisation has despair to spare and guilt galore, replicating […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“Gay organizing is far from achieving its potential in some surprising areas of the country,” writes Doug Ireland in the Nation (July 12), describing Chicago as a “paradigm” for this failure. “The Second City’s mayor, Richie Daley, has managed to co-opt much of the gay community with a shrewd combination of patronage and symbolic gestures: […]