Posted inArts & Culture

Bangles

Bangles The 80s chart toppers have returned to spirit us back to that weird transitory period between the coiffed girl groups of the early 60s and today’s mistrustful riot grrrls. The Bangles sprouted from LA’s paisley underground scene in the early 80s, compatriots of the Three o’Clock, Rain Parade, Green on Red, and the Dream […]

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Richard Buckner

RICHARD BUCKNER On his last release, Since, Richard Buckner turned out one sad-sack story after another, chronicling the narrator’s pathetic romantic fumblings. The lyrics on his new album, The Hill (Overcoat), are a dramatic improvement, but unfortunately Buckner didn’t write them: each of the 19 tracks is named after a poem from Edgar Lee Masters’s […]

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Rhinoceros Theater Festival

This annual showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago’s fringe began as part of the Bucktown Arts Fest; now it’s produced by the Curious Theatre Branch. Taking its name from surrealist painter Salvador Dali’s use of the term “rhinocerontic” (it means real big), the Rhino Fest, now in its 11th year, features shows […]

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The Cherry Orchard

THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Hypocrites, at the Viaduct Theater. It may take a good 15 minutes to acclimate to Sean Graney’s rambunctious production of Chekhov’s turn-of-the-century masterpiece about a family waylaid on their doomed estate: Graney turns Chekhov’s famous inaction positively madcap. But what seems jarring at first quickly becomes natural as this intelligent cast finds […]

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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, Bowen Park Theatre. With new artistic director Maggie Speer at the helm, Bowen Park Theatre opens its season with an auspicious production of this well-worn classic. Here Verona is a hood where bored teenagers neglected by their status-conscious parents have nothing better to do than look for trouble, where even playful roughhousing […]

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Chris Lee

CHRIS LEE This self-effacing, unassuming Brooklynite bowled me over at the South by Southwest festival in March: his scrappy soul-pop originals share with Jeff Buckley’s songs an effortless grace and deep-seated power but never devolve into the late singer’s annoying histrionics. On Chris Lee, the debut album released recently by New York indie Misra Records, […]

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Reader to Reader

A friend from New York was visiting Chicago for the first time, in part to look at architecture. We viewed buildings by Louis Sullivan and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and on a warm August Sunday drove out to see the Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park and River Forest. We got out of […]

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Channeling Welk

Steve Cooper was seven years old the first time he saw The Lawrence Welk Show on television. He’d already had a few piano lessons and proved to be a whiz at reading and transcribing music, and Welk’s bubbliciously happy music made a strong impression. Years later, the grown-up Cooper, a teacher and professional musician who […]

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City File

Even if the McCain-Lieberman Media Violence Labeling Act of 2000 were constitutional, it would backfire, argues Ronald Rotunda, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, in the Legal Times (August 14). It would require makers of movies, video games, and music (but not TV programs) to label their wares according to the […]