BIG JAMES & THE CHICAGO PLAYBOYS Trombonist Big James Montgomery and his Chicago Playboys can claim direct descent from the group that backed west-side soul-blues singer Little Johnny Christian, and as Otis Rush’s band they’ve proved adept at straight-ahead blues. Their true calling, however, is best summed up by the title of their debut CD, […]
Devil in a Woodpile at the Hideout, November 10 By Pat Daly Sweet home Chicago. So sweet my tummy hurts. For anybody who has scoured the city’s blues emporiums during the past ten years in search of some shred of the rumor of the ghost that was the Chicago blues, those three words undoubtedly cause […]
weisberg.qxd To the editor: As a regular visitor to Chicago and a longtime fan of Bob Wills, I was tickled to read Linda Ray’s article on Wills and the recent Pine Valley Cosmonauts tribute to him (“The Pioneer’s Spirit,” October 23), especially since its appearance in the Rock, Etc. section neatly anticipated the recent announcement […]
With a little arm twisting, Stuart McCarrell managed to put a memorial to Nelson Algren in the middle of hostile territory.
The Illinois Supreme Court tells bicyclists the roads are meant for cars.
Lips Together, Teeth Apart Circle Theatre By Adam Langer One of the most common and irritating forms of criticism today is revealed in such remarks as “We’ve seen this before” or “It’s been done already.” An abundance of literature has made possible a never-ending game of comparison to earlier plays or books. American family dramas […]
Pleasant T. Rowland was frustrated. Shopping for a gift for a niece, she was dismayed by the neon frenzy and hype of Barbie dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids. In 1986, Rowland, a former schoolteacher and TV reporter, fought back. She founded the Pleasant Company in Middleton, Wisconsin, to produce a line of historical novels and […]
Chicks, CollaborAction Theatre Company, at Stage Left Theatre. In Grace McKeaney’s depressing universe, kindergartners are well acquainted with the world’s harsh imperfections. Knowing this, their teacher in this one-woman show tries to efface her own problems–which include loneliness, caring for a father gradually slipping into Alzheimer’s, loneliness, and the fear that she’s wasting her life–in […]
Of all Yvonne Rainer’s films, this 1972 first feature most clearly bridges her formidable career as an avant-garde dancer and choreographer and her subsequent work as an experimental filmmaker. Its 14 fiction and nonfiction episodes chronicle and/or comment on Rainer’s performances, using sound and intertitles in various inventive and unorthodox ways and concentrating on issues […]
The folks at the Factory Theater have to be a little nervous about leaving their comfy Rogers Park storefront, where they resided for six years, and renting long-term from Footsteps Theatre in Andersonville. Given that only four people showed up for the Factory’s grand reopening last week, I’m guessing some nerves are seriously frayed at […]
All Coons Look Alike To Me, Oui Be Negroes, at Live Bait Theater. This production isn’t as offensive as its title might suggest. Inspired by the lyrics to a popular turn-of-the-century song (mocked to great comic effect in a vaudeville routine at the show’s beginning), All Coons Look Alike to Me cleverly deconstructs the evolution–or […]
The Lynching Of Leo Frank, Pegasus Players. The gruesome case of Leo Frank is so fraught with political and social import that it would be hard to imagine any sort of dramatic treatment being dull. Nevertheless Robert Myers comes perilously close in his dutifully researched but leaden play. Here the 1915 lynching in Atlanta of […]
Yeah, but did Saint Jerome ever bat .400? “Shared memories hold us together as families, as baseball fans, as Catholics,” writes Cathy O’Connell-Cahill in U.S. Catholic (November). “Our history of Catholic heroes and heroines–saints, I mean–is much more fascinating and a lot longer than the history of major-league baseball, but while baseball makes better and […]
The Lyric’s first singles soiree was a smash. But will the same crowd show up when the singing starts?
Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s 1930 opera–an expansion of their first collaboration, the 1927 Mahagonny-Songspiel–was inspired by hedonistic, politically unstable Weimer Berlin. But their mythic metropolis Mahagonny, where men are made slaves to their carnal appetites in the name of individual freedom and where the only capital crime is not having money to pay for […]