Posted inArts & Culture

Mustard’s Retreat

MUSTARD’S RETREAT Ann Arbor-based folkies Michael Hough and David Tamulevich, better known as Mustard’s Retreat, have a talent for transforming quotidian details–household chores left undone, snow accumulating beneath a darkening sky, a roadside phone booth–into poetry; the lucidity and resonance of their images recall William Carlos Williams’s dictum “No ideas but in things.” Some of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pitz and Joe

PITZ AND JOE, Red Hen Productions, at Angel Island. Anyone thrust into the position of caretaker will identify with Dominique Cieri’s autobiographical play about a brain-damaged man and his sister. And anyone who’s witnessed neurological decay will find the flashbacks from the simple, syllable-slurring Joe (Doug MacKechnie) to his nimble, gifted former self heartrending, and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories Isn’t it “Kill the referee”? In February, after a youth basketball game in Fayetteville, Georgia, that featured much bickering over referee Oliver Lewis Wood’s “bad calls,” Wood pulled out a knife and stabbed the coach. The referee, who by day is a Baptist minister, was arrested; the coach, who by day is a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

RHONDA VINCENT & THE RAGE Singer and mandolinist Rhonda Vincent, 38, has been playing bluegrass music since she was six, starting in her family’s band, the Sally Mountain Show, in Kirksville, Missouri. In the mid-80s she was hired by aging Nashville mainstay Jim Ed Brown (of “Pop a Top” fame) and after six months with […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Statuette (A Hollywood Musical)

STATUETTE (A HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL), WNEP Theater. Hollywood is full of juicy, sleazy stories: sex scandals, mysterious deaths, careers destroyed. But you wouldn’t know it from WNEP’s new show, a dreary two-and-a-half-hour musical based on John Kane’s novel about five actresses vying for an Oscar. Kane’s 1998 Best Actress is out of print, but judging by […]

Posted inMusic

The Producers

The Producers Hip-hop gets a lot of its personality–not to mention some of its endemic problems–from the swaggering confidence best expressed in that time-tested convention the battle rhyme. But though Ed Zamudio, aka Panik from the local collective the Molemen, is one of the hottest producers on the Chicago underground hip-hop scene, he describes his […]

Posted inArts & Culture


This month the Film Center is presenting a retrospective series on Canadian avant-gardist Joyce Wieland (1931-1998), whose best films are wonderfully loose and gently poetic in examining ordinary things–consistent with the way feminism celebrates daily life–but also tend to superimpose some conceptual element, creating a fascinating contradiction between lyrical and structural filmmaking. In Solidarity (1973) […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Two Wheels Good

“Everybody makes it out to be some kind of superhuman feat, and it’s not,” says Randy Neufeld, who has ridden his bike to work all winter, even on the snowiest and coldest days. He’s the executive director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, so it’s his job to persuade more commuters that bicycle transportation is a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chuchito Valdes Afro-Cuban Ensemble

Chuchito Valdes Afro-Cuban Ensemble No, it’s not a misprint. The same week that the grand old man of Cuban jazz, pianist Jesus “Chucho” Valdes, performs solo at Orchestra Hall, his son–pianist Jesus Valdes Jr., aka Chuchito–plays the first of several upcoming engagements with a Chicago band built around his considerable talents. A child prodigy raised […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Let’s say that someone (for the sake of argument, me) had been engaging in sex with a set of identical male twins. And let’s say I suddenly found myself quite unexpectedly pregnant. If I decided to have the baby, would there be any way to tell which of the twins was the father? –Twin Lover […]

Posted inMusic

Beyond Reason

Is there something valuable about the way things sound when they sound like they’re going wrong? …. it’s a whole way of making music, not just challenging but gut-level exciting, and people can actually get good at it.

Posted inArts & Culture

Music Notes: these magic moments

“God, I can’t get enough of these guys!” Gerry Chodkowski sighs and gazes at a video monitor, where a ghostly trio of Chicago blues legends holds forth: Big Walter Horton, perched atop a small amplifier, blows swooping harmonica bends over Floyd Jones’s tub-thumping bass lines. Behind them drummer Playboy Venson, cigar jutting rakishly from his […]

Posted inFilm

The World is Watching

Suzhou River ** Directed and written by Lou Ye With Zhou Xun, Jia Hongsheng, Hua Zhongkai, Yao Anlian, and Nai An. By Jonathan Rosenbaum Suzhou River, a first feature playing this week at Facets Multimedia Center, is an affecting, romantic, and fascinating mood piece from China. It’s been getting a bit of flak from critics […]