Posted inMusic

Slow Ride

Slow Ride Listening to the Nerves’ third album, if you’re familiar with their first two, is like watching a horse race in slow motion. The local trio’s 1998 debut, Nerves, crammed 13 songs into 27 minutes with the trebly tension of the Stooges’ original Raw Power mix. And while the 1999 follow-up, New Animal, cranked […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

HIDEOUT BLOCK PARTY 9/22, THE HIDEOUT Late last week after way too much news I ventured out to a couple shows, where I ended up in conversations with club owners who’d had qualms about staying open but had ultimately decided that providing gathering space for their communities might be the most helpful thing they could […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Power from the People

Energy Bath at the Hideout, September 13 and 14 I’ve never felt like a bigger idiot than I did on Wednesday night after last week’s terrorist attacks. There I was, sitting behind the piano at my weekly Gentry gig tossing off lightweight Cole Porter ditties while 5,000 people lay crushed beneath 50,000 tons of rubble. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

World Music Festival

Noon, Daley Center “BUILD THE PEACE” CELEBRATION An hour-long observance of Peace Day, featuring performances of traditional African and Mexican dance by the Najwa Junior Dance Corps and Ehecatl respectively. Noon, Welles Park NATIVE AMERICAN EQUINOX CELEBRATION This year’s annual event, presented by the Old Town School of Folk Music, involves the construction of a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots, Lifeline Theatre. You may remember the fairy tale: a father divides his property among his three sons, leaving the third only a donkey, a cow, and a talking cat. The cat (played here with sharp cheerfulness by Jill Stephens) demands a pair of boots and through his cleverness wins his master a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Time and Time Again

Fortinbras Defiant Theatre at the Viaduct Theater Arcadia Hypocrites at the Viaduct Theater The two plays at the Viaduct represent diametrically opposed views. Tom Stoppard in Arcadia argues that truth and the past are essentially unknowable and that to search for them is futile while Lee Blessing in Fortinbras asserts that truth is essential and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Billy Harper

When I listen to saxophonist Billy Harper, I often recall the title of his mid-70s album Black Saint–a powerful image of strength and spiritualism in a music world too often ruled by false gods. (Not coincidentally, the record was the first release from the now famous Italian label of the same name.) Harper’s tenor thunders […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit, Attic Playhouse. Noel Coward’s 1941 play, written during the blitz in London, wryly mocks death–and so may be unusually appropriate this fall. Unfortunately director James Bagnall’s bland production ignores the play’s dark underpinnings, instead focusing on the drawing room comedy, though not well. Geoff Isaac is zombielike as Charles, the middle-aged novelist and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Say the Right Thing

Say the Right Thing “Frankly,” Tribune columnist Clarence Page told me by E-mail, “I envy those who were able to react with remarkably measured, cold-blooded reason on the first day. I couldn’t do it.” There’s no need to say on the first day of what. Cold-blooded reason is the normal mode that columns are written […]

Posted inArts & Culture

SBD: Silent But Deadly

SBD: Silent But Deadly, at the Second City, Donny’s Skybox Studio. At this point, solo performer Brad Steuernagel hasn’t done enough homework to achieve his goals as a physical comedian. During one of the lulls in his latest one-man show, SBD: Silent but Deadly, he gushes on and on about Rowan Atkinson’s influence on his […]