Posted inArts & Culture

By the Hand of the Father

Why is it that no sooner do we escape the clutches of the past and begin living our own lives than we become nostalgic for the world we left behind? Or the world our parents left behind? This feeling must be especially strong among the children and grandchildren of recent immigrants, who long not just […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Phill Niblock

PHILL NIBLOCK When New York composer and sound artist Phill Niblock presents one of his drone-based tape pieces, he plays it back loud–gut-thumping, heart-stopping, tooth-rattling, flood-the-room-to-the-rafters loud. Such serious volume is required not just to fill the performance space but to tease out the ringing harmonics that are Niblock’s stock-in-trade. He’ll layer several tracks of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Something Cloudy, Something Clear, 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, and A Triple Shot of Williams

SOMETHING CLOUDY, SOMETHING CLEAR, 27 WAGONS FULL OF COTTON, and A TRIPLE SHOT OF WILLIAMS, Bailiwick Repertory. When a Tennessee Williams play isn’t done often, there’s a reason. Bailiwick’s three-show Williams festival stands as unfortunate proof of that. But one production suggests that these plays might just be waiting for the right interpreter. It’s 27 […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories According to police in West Vancouver, British Columbia, 64-year-old multimillionaire Eugene Mah and his 32-year-old son, Avery, are responsible for stealing hundreds of petty items from their upscale neighbors over the past three years, including garbage cans, lawn decorations, and even government recycling boxes. Mah’s real estate holdings have been valued at about […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Iktu Blas

Iktu Blas, Actors Gymnasium and Lookingglass Theatre, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. In Michael Montenegro’s new, darkly funny puppet play, one becomes a monster by abandoning one’s conscience in exchange for power, a process embodied in the interior world of the fictional Iktu Blas as he transforms himself into a dictator. Since the play […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Southern Cross

Southern Cross, Cenacle Theatre Company, at the Pilsen Theatre. Afram Bill Williams’s play, set in the early 70s, is so immersed in the Zap Comix aesthetic that you can practically see the voice balloons. Its characters are a mentally fragile housewife, a put-upon black houseboy, an airheaded flower child, two bigoted Mississippi rednecks on opposite […]

Posted inMusic

Local Record Roundup

Local Record Roundup TIM BARNES & GLENN KOTCHE Domo-Domo (Quakebasket) This limited edition vinyl-only release documents a pair of long duets performed in New York last year by two of Jim O’Rourke’s regular drummers. (Kotche, the Chicagoan, is also Ken Coomer’s recent replacement in Wilco.) Both are exercises in carefully articulated give-and-take, focusing on texture […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Memorandum

THE MEMORANDUM, Stage Left Theatre. This 1965 play by Vaclav Havel, about the bureaucratic dehumanization of communication, has all the classic strengths and weaknesses of eastern European absurdism. Mightily indebted to Kafka and Capek, its characters speak in ludicrously polished, overlogical paragraphs peppered with interjectory slapstick–though dread largely trumps humor. Its symmetrical structure of inversions […]

Posted inFilm

End Games

A few months ago, experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage went to New York from his Colorado home to present seven programs of new and recent films, six of them at the Museum of Modern Art, which has offered retrospectives of his work since 1970. Brakhage hasn’t been invited to Chicago in 20 years, even though he […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kaspar

Kaspar, TinFish Theatre. Playwright Peter Handke takes perverse pleasure in subverting an audience’s expectations. His best-known work, Kaspar, is a case in point: what begins as an allegorical account of 19th-century orphan Kaspar Hauser evolves into an exploration of language and reaches its height as an exercise in alienation. Like most of Handke’s work, Kaspar […]

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Jerry Steinhilber Trio With George Garzone

JERRY STEINHILBER TRIO WITH GEORGE GARZONE Chicago drummer Jerry Steinhilber plays busy: in less talented hands, his aggressive accents, crisp stick work, and vibrant colors (especially on cymbals) might sound intrusive. But even as a bandleader, Steinhilber knows how to walk the thin line between “active” and “overbearing.” His choice of bandmates helps keep him […]