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Posted inArts & Culture

On Exhibit: regarding the pyramids

Egypt’s pyramids baffled even ancient Egyptians: ruins of a third dynasty (2686-2613 BC) funerary temple in Saqqara impressed and mystified nineteenth dynasty observers many centuries later. Hieroglyphic graffiti at the site include kudos from visitors, as well as critiques of other graffiti: “My heart is sick when I see the work of their hands,” wrote […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

The moment that convinced me the Bears were for real this season no doubt prompted many fans to abandon all reservations. It was, of course, the fake field goal against the Washington Redskins two Sundays ago, so beautifully designed and executed it plays again and again in the mind’s eye. Brian Urlacher, the young middle […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ricky Allen

Chicago singer Ricky Allen only had one national hit–the torrid 1963 single “Cut You A-Loose”–but in his heyday his local drawing power rivaled Muddy Waters’s. On Allen’s records from the 60s, he evokes both the uptown slickness of Sam Cooke (occasionally emulating Cooke’s trademark yodel) and the gospel-infused fervor of Solomon Burke–and even on a […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

BAD EXAMPLES 1/4 & 1/5, FITZGERALD’S I was never a huge fan of the Bad Examples–front man Ralph Covert’s sappy streak might not have been as baby-butt naked as it is on the solo album he dedicated to his daughter, but couched in Beatles-esque melodies it’s in some ways worse. Quite a few people were, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

David Boykin Expanse

Thirty-some years ago, New York’s jazz vanguard was dominated by blustery saxophonists modeled on Ayler and Coltrane. Then a new saxophone style from Chicago hit free jazz like a missile. Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton’s staccato articulation and leaping wide intervals soon became a signature sound of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Behind the Facade

Loren Robare started photographing old movie theaters back in 1978, while she was working on her MFA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When she moved to Chicago in 1982, the year after the ornate Uptown Theatre at Broadway and Lawrence was shuttered, she became fascinated with the building. She finally got access in […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Saxophonist Dave Rempis is best known so far as a member of the Vandermark 5, where he replaced Mars Williams back in 1998. His initial contributions on alto brought a hint of west-coast cool to the group’s molten performances, but before long he added tenor to his arsenal and cranked up the heat. The quintet’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

New Budapest Orpheum Society

This local cabaret collective takes its name from the Budapest Orpheum Society, a Jewish troupe that flourished in Vienna from the early 1890s until the 1930s. The original group’s brand of cabaret was just as biting, bohemian, and risque as that originating in Paris (usually regarded as the birthplace of the form), but according to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Suburban Motel–Adult Entertainment/Criminal Genius

Suburban Motel–Adult Entertainment/Criminal Genius, Ulysses Theatre Company, at the Athenaeum Theatre. The setting of these two George F. Walker one-acts–part of the Canadian playwright’s six-piece “Suburban Motel” series–seems a magnet for characters down on their luck and suffering from depression, dubious morals, or downright stupidity. In the gritty drama Adult Entertainment Max, a cop with […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Def Harmonic

The focal point of Def Harmonic’s recent Travel Suggestions (Wobblyhead) is meant to be the jazz-slinky delivery of rappers Jason Todd and Lunaversol (think Digable Planets), but by far the most interesting thing about the record is Todd’s crisp, austere production. By mixing tough programmed breakbeats with live bass lines and a steady flow of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Brightness (Yeleen)

Souleymane Cisse’s extraordinarily beautiful and mesmerizing fantasy is set in the ancient Bambara culture of Mali (formerly French Sudan) long before it was invaded by Morocco in the 16th century. A young man (Issiaka Kane) sets out to discover the mysteries of nature (or komo, the science of the gods) with the help of his […]