Posted inMusic

Spot Check

COUCH 5/11, SCHUBAS This instrumental outfit from Germany, which has just released its fourth album, Profane (its second in the U.S., via Matador), is compared fairly often to Tortoise, and with good, if not great, reason: both are fine examples of happy nerd power, using pop sensibilities to create music that’s perceived as something other […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra

ELMHURST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Composer Frank Ferko has a talent for revitalizing and transforming centuries-old, little-trafficked genres, from a cappella sacred music to solo organ pieces. One of his more impressive projects of the the past decade is his research on 12th-century German abbess Hildegard von Bingen. He’s composed the ten-movement Hildegard Organ Cycle, based on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Catch-22

CATCH-22, American Theater Company. Competence in one medium is no guarantee of competence in another. Joseph Heller was a great novelist whose brilliant, funny Catch-22 managed to capture the heartbreaking absurdity of war. But he was an awful playwright. His obvious, awkward stage adaptation strains for the laughs he won so gracefully in the novel. […]

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True Books

When Someone You Love is Kinky, by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt (Greenery Press, $15.95). Synopsis: The authors of The Ethical Slut and The Bottoming Book encourage openness between sexual oddballs of all sorts–sadomasochists, foot fetishists, scarification fans–and the people who love them. No peccadillo is too shameful to confess, they argue, and representative […]

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Eros in Thanatos and Down in the Mouth

Eros in Thanatos and Down in the Mouth, Dramatist Revolutionary Army, at Wing & Groove Theatre. The second of these two one-acts is too fragmented to work, but at least playwright Dominique Gallo makes a serious effort to communicate. Jaimie-Lee Wise’s direction is sharp and rhythmic, particularly in the comic and largely wordless first half. […]

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No Se, No Se

No Se, No Se, I Don’t Know!! Productions, at the Cornservatory, through June 1. Looking around the small Cornservatory space, an enterprising producer might say, hell, for 20 bucks I could keep a full house in cheap beer for a whole show. The link between macrobrews and comedy is well established, but handing out cans […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

No orangutanburgers? “Families who visit Brookfield Zoo in Chicago need not eat animals while they enjoy viewing those on display,” reports the Environmental News Network (www.enn.com), touting the zoo’s partnership with Whole Foods Market in creating the vegetarian Eco Cafe. No word yet on the sensibilities of vegetarians who prefer their animals unconfined as well […]

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Fascia

Fascia, Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre, at Chicago Dramatists. Shepsu Aakhu’s new play, directed by Mignon McPherson Nance, is both frustrating and emotionally satisfying. Its goal–to tell the story of five generations of a troubled African-American family simultaneously–is often undermined by an obstinate insubstantiality: it’s difficult to pin down the action and characters. […]

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Cuong Vu Trio

CUONG VU TRIO In the last few years plenty of jazz musicians have pushed their improvisations into the realm of electronic dance music: pianist Craig Taborn has played in the Innerzone Orchestra with Detroit techno whiz Carl Craig, for instance, and drummer Jim Black can sound like a sentient drum ‘n’ bass program. Vietnamese-born trumpeter […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Passionate Thief

Facets Multimedia Center’s two-week retrospective on the Italian comedian Toto (1898-1967) continues with a rare local screening of this trenchant 1960 social drama, adapted from two stories by Alberto Moravia and directed by Mario Monicelli (Big Deal on Madonna Street). The film reunited Toto with the magnetic Anna Magnani, his frequent stage partner during the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

A friend and I were playing Nintendo, the original eight-bit system, and we played Duck Hunt, a game that requires a “light gun.” I was wondering: How exactly does the Nintendo game “know” where you are pointing the gun on the screen when you shoot ducks?!? Very mind-boggling! –Matt You’re going to give yourself such […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hungry Hearts

Hard Times Lookingglass Theatre Company at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts By Kerry Reid Bread and circuses are scarce in Charles Dickens’s grim Coketown. Sustenance is hard to come by for those who labor in the textile mills, and fun is forbidden to the miserable Gradgrind children, whose utilitarian middle-class father believes only […]