Posted inArts & Culture

The Freedom of the City

THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY, Mary-Arrchie Theatre. Mary-Arrchie has made a typically ambitious choice with Brian Friel’s politically sophisticated The Freedom of the City. Director Richard Cotovsky successfully juggles the many layers of the story, which involves the last eight hours in the lives of three civil-rights demonstrators slain in the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre […]

Posted inMusic

Frank Gratkowski

FRANK GRATKOWSKI Reedist Frank Gratkowski may not get confrontational as quickly as his contemporaries in the German avant-garde, but he’s no less adventurous. The restrained, chamberlike quality of his playing translates as well to jaggedly mathematical improvisations as it does to long, gently burnished ones. His instruments of choice–clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax, and soprano […]

Posted inMusic

Monstress of Rock

PJ Harvey at the Vic, October 28 In the October 26 issue of the New Yorker, in the occasional department called “A Critic at Large,” Hilton Als wrote such a misguided meditation on PJ Harvey and the dire state of popular music that I found myself wondering what exactly a writer has to do to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories Questionable judgment: In September a Tennessee appeals court rejected a woman’s challenge to a ruling that she said endangers her 12-year-old son. The court decided that the child’s father could continue unsupervised visitation. “There is not one whisper of anything improper in [the father-son] relationship,” the judges reassured the woman, “except for ‘butt-facing’ […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Shattered Ideals

Jason Salavon: Stacked and Sorted at Peter Miller, through November 28 Noah Loesberg: Safety is No Accident at Bodybuilder and Sportsman, through November 21 Dick Detzner: Corporate Sacrilege at Yello, through November 29 By Fred Camper Questioning authority is common among contemporary artists, but to do it well requires intelligence and skill–evident in the work […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Orpheus Descending

ORPHEUS DESCENDING, Trap Door Theatre. Watching Tennessee Williams’s Orpheus Descending is like drinking orange juice concentrate straight from the can: it’s much of a muchness. This reworking of his first Broadway play, Battle of Angels, focuses on sultry vagrant blues singer Val, who wanders into a dry goods store in a small southern town. Lady, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Inherit the Wind

INHERIT THE WIND, Boxer Rebellion Theater. Maybe the devil made the Boxer Rebellion do it. James Robert Peters has dared to update Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s brilliant re-creation of the 1925 Clarence Darrow/William Jennings Bryan “monkey trial,” apparently without permission. Altering the dialogue to include references to Tom Brokaw and the Web, this […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Serengeti Plane

SERENGETI PLANE, Center Theater. Stephen P. Daly’s new play, set in a Chicago probation office, seems an awkward imitation of the hit 80s cop show Hill Street Blues–a clutter of short scenes, tough characters, and rambling, overlapping plots without any clear resolutions. Innovative camera work and fabulous scripts made this structure work on TV, at […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: I am a happily married 32-year-old male. Everything is great between my wife and myself, except that she doesn’t like that I love hot young women to look at my nipples. There are times when, without my wife around, I take my shirt off outside and wait for women to walk my way. […]

Posted inMusic

Jazz Members Big Band with John Von Ohlen

JAZZ MEMBERS BIG BAND WITH JOHN VON OHLEN Despite his gigs and recording dates with small groups, John Von Ohlen has never shed the title “big-band drummer.” Nor should he: although a whiff of anachronism accompanies the phrase, it’s an enviable distinction. Many otherwise excellent percussionists simply can’t keep a 12- to 18-piece orchestra humming […]

Posted inFilm

Remaking History

Shulie Rating *** A must see Directed by Elisabeth Subrin With Kim Soss, Larry Steger, Rick Marshall, Eigo Komei, E.W. Ross, Marion Mryczka, Ed Rankus, Kerry Ufelmann, and Jennifer Reeder. By Jonathan Rosenbaum What is it about American culture that compels the film industry to do remakes? The compulsion has been growing over the past […]

Posted inMusic

Shemekia Copeland

SHEMEKIA COPELAND “You have to signify to qualify,” Shemekia Copeland’s father, the late bluesman Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, told her. And Turn the Heat Up, her 1998 debut disc on Alligator, would’ve made her daddy proud: from its first note Copeland exudes sass and self-assurance far beyond her 19 years. Her potent voice is simultaneously dusky […]