Posted inArts & Culture

Miss Saigon

MISS SAIGON, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. This in-the-round staging of Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil, and Richard Maltby Jr.’s pop opera proves it’s possible to do Miss Saigon without Broadway-style spectacle–and that sans spectacle (like the original Broadway production’s famous helicopter) the material is pretty shallow. Resetting the story of Madama Butterfly to the mid-1970s, Miss […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Crime of Omission

Dear editor, I was disappointed in the recent article on Lee Robin (“Is This Man a Monster?”) dated July 27, 2001. As a psychotherapist who also went to grade school and high school with Mr. Robin, I felt that Ted Kleine missed a valuable opportunity to educate the public on bipolar disorder (also known as […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Squarepusher

SQUAREPUSHER In the mid-90s, when Englishman Tom Jenkinson first started releasing music under the name Squarepusher, it was difficult to know what to think of him: with his absurdly busy drum programs and hyperkinetic, Jaco Pastorius-inspired electric bass, he seemed to be making drum ‘n’ bass for Weather Report’s old fans. But over the years, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hamlet

Critic Robin Wood recently cited this stunning 1964 Russian version of Shakespeare’s tragedy as the only one that “could be claimed as having the stature, as film, that the play has as theatre,” and it’s easy to see what he means. Shot in black-and-white ‘Scope, in dank interiors and seaside exteriors every bit as atmospheric […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chance Dance Fest

Bob Eisen is an elder statesman in the giddy, fluid world of improvisation–a Minister of Silly Walks, though improv shouldn’t be described so flippantly of course. He started the Chance Dance Fest in 1990 and has performed in it every year since; now he returns from New York (where he moved last September) for the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Danielle Howle

DANIELLE HOWLE In the late 80s and early 90s, Danielle Howle sang in the South Carolina band Lay Quiet Awhile, which counted artists as disparate as the Indigo Girls and Fugazi among its fans–the group’s sole album, produced by Fugazi engineer Don Zientara, came out on Amy Ray’s Daemon label. Though Howle’s music has since […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ladyfest Midwest

This multidisciplinary arts festival–“organized by women but open for everyone to attend,” a press release proclaims–is a four-day showcase of theater, performance, dance, music, film and video, and visual art. Ladyfest Midwest runs August 16 through 19 at various venues. Performing-arts offerings–ranging from poetry and dance to puppetry and stage combat–are listed below; consult the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Childe Byron

CHILDE BYRON, Eclipse Theatre Company. It’s difficult to see what draws Chicago theater companies again and again to this creaky, humorless play–this is the third production I’ve seen in recent years. Playwright Romulus Linney, one of America’s most celebrated boring playwrights, invents a needlessly elaborate framework to examine the life of seminal romantic poet Lord […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Stage Smarts

Hubbard Street 2 is two things: the training company of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and its community-outreach arm. On July 20, at a free performance for elementary school kids at the Vittum Theatre, these two missions collided. That would be a matter of indifference if education in the lively arts hadn’t been largely sloughed off […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The First Teacher

Following the deep freeze of the Stalin era, the Soviet Union enjoyed a creative thaw that began in the late 1950s, around the time of the Sputnik launch, and lasted until the invasion of Prague in 1968. The relaxation of cultural policies, combined with a pride in national achievements and greater influence from the West, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ladyfest Midwest

The film and video component of this multidisciplinary arts festival Thursday through Saturday, August 16 through 18, at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln, 773-348-2143; Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 773-278-1500; Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 773-509-5050; Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee, 773-342-4597; and Local Grind, 1585 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3490. Unless otherwise noted, all screenings will […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kenny Burrell

KENNY BURRELL At 70, guitarist Kenny Burrell probably shouldn’t sound as good as he does: though his instrument makes few physical demands, at least compared to trumpet or drums, the passing years still take their toll. But the style Burrell introduced a half century ago has proved extraordinarily durable–all he has to do is invoke […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Teenage Sports Parade Goes to College!

Teenage Sports Parade Goes to College!, Teenage Sports Parade, at Second City, Donny’s Skybox Studio. Will the world ever run out of postpubescent boys doing poo-poo, butt-fucking, bearded-guy-in-a-dress mega dreck? You want to violate taboos? Great. Move consciousness forward. Whatever. But please, find some new material! For anybody who isn’t bored to death with these […]