Posted inArts & Culture

Los Van Van

LOS VAN VAN There’s quite a bit of boasting on Los Van Van’s new Llego . . . Van Van (“Van Van Is Here”) (Caliente/Atlantic): on the opener, “Permiso que llego Van Van,” no less than the Afro-Cuban saints are singing the group’s praises, and on “La bomba soy yo” lead singer Mario “Mayito” Rivers […]

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Scavenger Stunts

Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs (Merge) Holy Modal Rounders Too Much Fun! (Rounder) Randy Newman Bad Love (Dreamworks) By Josh Goldfein In this post-queer, post-feminist, post-rock, post-enthusiasm age, when nothing can’t be said and everything has been, it’s awfully hard to be a self-aware pop artist. Can’t shock ’em, can’t rock ’em, can’t tell ’em […]

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Friday 9/17 – Thursday 9/23 SEPTEMBER By Cara Jepsen 17 FRIDAY As a young man in the late 19th century George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff traveled through the Middle East studying spiritual traditions. The Armenian philosopher came to believe people must break out of their ordinary “sleeping” state to achieve greater awareness, a school of thought that […]

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The Road to Mecca

THE ROAD TO MECCA, Remy Bumppo Productions, at Victory Gardens Theater. Athol Fugard’s beautifully textured drama offers a tale of thwarted friendship and an allegory about an embattled artist in the closed world of apartheid South Africa. As multifaceted as the colored glass ornaments that bedeck Miss Helen’s fanciful home in the arid Karroo, the […]

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Swine Song

Morning, Noon and Night Spalding Gray at the Goodman Theatre, September 7-12 By Laura Molzahn Spalding Gray is a pig. Charming, articulate, funny, but a pig. So what? you might ask. You’re not married to him. Oh, but I am (or was for 25 years, until my husband’s death two years ago–and no, I did […]

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Magnetic Fields

MAGNETIC FIELDS “More than love, I think,” the Magnetic Fields’ songwriter Stephin Merritt said in an interview last year, “I care about popular music.” On the band’s extraordinary new 69 Love Songs (Merge)–a three-CD collection that in fact contains 69 love songs–he often directs his serenades to beloved music instead of beloved people: one acoustic […]

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World Music Festival

SEPTEMBER 21 TUESDAY NOON DALEY CENTER PLAZA San Jose Taiko This California-based group, formed in 1973, takes some liberties with the rigorously choreographed, highly acrobatic art of taiko drumming. As practiced by Japanese groups like Kodo, taiko is pulverizing stuff, the elaborate rhythms hammered out on the huge barrel drums with militaristic precision. San Jose […]

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Aaly Trio

During several tunes on Live at the Glenn Miller Cafe (Wobbly Rail), the new recording from the AALY Trio with Ken Vandermark, you can hear the audience erupt in midperformance cries of delight. Vandermark and the trio’s leader, Swedish reedist Mats Gustafsson, have developed a palpable connection–the album’s first cut, Vandermark’s “Unit Character,” opens with […]

Posted inNews & Politics


My September 10 story about Ed Magnus’s Prairie Avenue mansion contained an error: the Chicago Architecture Foundation owned the John J. Glessner House from 1966 until 1994. Since then the Glessner House Museum, a private, nonprofit corporation, has owned, managed, and provided educational programming for it. Sarah Downey

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Avalon String Quartet

AVALON STRING QUARTET The Avalon String Quartet is well ahead of schedule: not only have its young players developed uncommonly mature interpretive voices, but since forming in 1995 it’s adapted to one personnel change and won a string of competitions juried by veterans. The Strad, a magazine for string professionals, mentioned its first performances, and […]