Posted inArts & Culture

Cracker

Cracker, at ImprovOlympic. At its best, Cleetus Friedman’s “hip-hop theater” is innovative, laugh-out-loud funny, and thought provoking. A selection of favorite pieces from two previous one-man shows, Cracker combines comic character sketches with rhyming raps; DJ Savage on the turntable gives the show a stylish acoustic backdrop. In his opening bit, Friedman tells the audience […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Attack of the Anti-Chain Gang

Scene: Intersection of Damen, Milwaukee, and North avenues, 1:57 on the morning of Saturday, April 21. The sidewalks are packed with clubgoers. The streets are wet and gleaming from an earlier shower. Three couples, plus or minus a person, stand on the corner in front of the Starbucks coffee shop entertained by one of their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Silver Images Film Festival

Presented by the Chicago-based documentary production and distribution company Terra Nova Films, the eighth annual Silver Images Film Festival runs Saturday, April 28, through Friday, May 18, at Bethany Hospital, 3435 W. Van Buren; Dominican Univ., 7900 W. Division, River Forest; Gene Siskel Film Center, Columbus Drive at Jackson; Good Shepherd Hospital, 450 W. Highway […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sandra Hall

SANDRA HALL Sandra Hall’s 1995 debut, Showin’ Off, combined ribald roadhouse boogies and sultry, sophisticated soul blues in more or less equal measure. Since then the Atlanta-based singer has upset that balance, throwing herself with gusto into the role of big, bad, red-hot hoochie mama–but as she proves on the forthcoming Miss Red Riding Hood, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

For Beauty’s Sake

Beyond the Easel at the Art Institute of Chicago, through May 16 By Janina Ciezadlo I find myself defending the paintings in “Beyond the Easel” at the Art Institute of Chicago against the accusation that they’re too pretty. Many contemporary observers consider decorative art unworthy of consideration because it’s apparently outside the formal and philosophical […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chris Smither

CHRIS SMITHER Chris Smither got his start in Boston in the mid-60s, as part of the acoustic blues revival, and it shows: he seasons his guitar playing with string bends, flatted fifths, and major-minor harmonic tension between his simultaneous lead and bass lines; his willowy picking is strongly influenced by Piedmont bluesmen like the Reverend […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rajesh Mehta & Paul Lovens

RAJESH MEHTA & PAUL LOVENS Trumpeter Rajesh Mehta was born in Calcutta, raised in New Jersey, and educated on both coasts, and since 1992 he’s been living in Europe. But it doesn’t do justice to his boldly original music to label it merely multicultural–multiexperiential is more like it. Mehta had already earned an engineering degree […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Petty Crime

Sunday, March 18, 6 PM, 900 block of West Wolfram. Criminal trespass. Couple awoke Saturday morning and noticed that their bottle of olive oil had been uncorked. Woman replaced cork, but discovered Sunday morning that it had been removed again, and again early Sunday evening. Police advised couple to change their locks. Saturday, March 24, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar Sidebar

“We used to be a city that was relatively inexpensive,” says Josh MacPhee. “But Chicago is catching up real fast.” This weekend at public sites all over town, the Department of Space and Land Reclamation, a loose-knit group of more than 100 artists and activists, will launch a flurry of guerrilla “reclamation projects” aimed at […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rodney Crowell

RODNEY CROWELL Rodney Crowell’s recently reissued Diamonds & Dirt (Columbia, 1988), the first country album to produce five number-one singles, wasn’t just a smashing success. It was also damn good, a polished mix of rockabilly, old-fashioned honky-tonk, and Beatlesque pop, all sung with a lilt reminiscent of Roy Orbison. And in his heyday, Crowell was […]