Posted inArts & Culture

Absolute Negritude

Absolute Negritude, Oui Be Negroes, at Bailiwick Repertory. Exploring the latitude and longitude of “negritude,” this latest revue by a primarily African-American troupe offers comic comments on an endangered heritage. Eschewing politics, the sketches instead skewer the contradictions of pop culture and the hypocrisies of history. A television executive (Hans Summers, the company’s token white) […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dirty Little World

Dirty Little World, Aha! Productions, at Viaduct Theatre. They don’t call it a punch line for nothing: the cardinal condition for comedy is that something snaps the tension between the apparent and the actual. The five comics in Aha!’s eighth revue display wizard timing, interact cunningly, and maintain complete control over their rubber faces. What’s […]

Posted inFilm

Hollow Rendition

Sleepy Hollow *** (A must-see) Directed by Tim Burton Written by Andrew Kevin Walker and Kevin Yagher With Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, and Christopher Walken. Tim Burton’s new movie is gorgeous–shot by shot it may be the most impressive thing he’s done. So I hope I’m […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Gorgeous George

Alcina at Lyric Opera, through November 29 King Arthur at Orchestra Hall, November 8 These days there’s a lot of enthusiasm for authentic, historically informed performances of early music; there’s almost none for staging early operas the way they were originally written. I’ve just seen new productions of a couple of the earliest operas, George […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Eternity and a Day

Winner of the 1998 Palme d’Or at Cannes, this rambling but beautiful feature by Theo Angelopoulos may seem like an anthology of 60s and 70s European art cinema: family nostalgia from Bergman and seaside frolics from Fellini; long, mesmerizing choreographed takes and camera movements from Jancso and Tarkovsky; haunting expressionist moods and visions from Antonioni. […]

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The Atomic View Motel

The Atomic View Motel, Boxer Rebellion Theater. There’s an art to writing satire without ruffling anyone’s feathers: you have to make the most commonly held beliefs sound rare and wonderful and never, never, never reveal anything new about the culture we live in. LA-based playwright Scott Seiffert has mastered this art. The Atomic View Motel […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Nonnarrative elements enrich the story line of this evocative feature, which follows a Florida juvenile-detention-center escapee as he attempts to get to Colorado or just stay free. Deceptively casual cinematography and acting confer a documentary feel on daringly scored sequences, as what could have been a hyperdramatic story becomes layered and meditative: deftly integrated minor […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Beijing Trio

In booking the newly formed Beijing Trio–which stars venerable drummer Max Roach and innovative Chinese-American pianist Jon Jang–the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival has scored the greatest coup of its four-year history. Roach’s involvement has predictably caused most of the buzz: the 75-year-old genius helped invent (and certainly perfected) bebop drumming on numerous Charlie Parker […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Keith Jarrett Trio

Since he’s one of the most popular artists in jazz, I don’t imagine many people need much introduction to Keith Jarrett. And although he’s also one of the most controversial, in part due to his onstage vocalizing and offstage opinions, I don’t think many people question his influence. Virtually every mainstream pianist since the 60s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bona Fide Conversation

Writer-performer Barrie Cole creates wonderfully contradictory characters at once playful and inhibited, verbally dexterous and inarticulate, intellectually strong and emotionally vulnerable. In the first of three monologues on this program, “Gasp,” she launches into a formalist deconstruction of the language worthy of Gertrude Stein, based on counting to 100, only to have her prose poem […]

Posted inMusic

Frankie Knuckles

Born in the South Bronx in 1955, Frankie Knuckles began his career in his teens, DJing alongside pre-house guru Larry Levan at a series of nightspots whose names provoke nostalgia even in dancers born too late to have been there: Nicky Siano’s Gallery, David Mancuso’s Loft, the Continental Baths, Better Days. In 1977 Knuckles moved […]