Posted inArts & Culture

Down From the Mountain

The bluegrass-heavy sound track from the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? topped Billboard’s country chart for 26 weeks, selling more than four million copies. As a result, veteran bluegrass and old-timey performers like Ralph Stanley are achieving new recognition from a broader audience, as are upstarts like Gillian Welch, and mainstream country stars […]

Posted inFilm

Voice Mail from Hell

The Mothman Prophecies *** (A must-see) Directed by Mark Pellington Written by Richard Hatem With Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing, Lucinda Jenney, and Alan Bates. The sublimely weird montage of electromagnetic motifs that opens Mark Pellington’s supernatural thriller The Mothman Prophecies reminded me of the first line from William Gibson’s Neuromancer: “The […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I’ve decided to install a water-filtration system in my house. As background, the EPA’s attempt to reduce the nation’s polluted air by introducing an additive into our gasoline supply has had the unintended effect of polluting the groundwater in the wells and reservoirs of 49 states. The culprit is methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ferdydurke

Ferdydurke, at the Chopin Theater. This adaptation of Witold Gombrowicz’s 1937 absurdist satirical novel, Ferdydurke, by two Polish companies, Teatr Provisorium and Kompanie Teatr, is strictly for people who know the original–and know it well. For others these random scenes are just baffling. Though the piece throws off lots of theatrical heat with its broad […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dave Mowers: Hot August Nights

What doesn’t happen in this one-man show, late of the New York Fringe Festival, is almost as remarkable as what does. Writer-performer Dave Mowers has a talent for understated character impressions, but his range never becomes the topic. He’s unabashedly gay, which figures strongly in his reminiscences of adolescence, but sexuality issues never dominate. And […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar

Friday 2/8 – Thursday 2/14 8 FRIDAY Bill Fick’s large linoleum prints of grotesque, multilegged creatures making lewd gestures and brandishing weapons share wall space with Dana De Ano’s drawings of hybrid, stunted animals and people from fairy tales and coloring books at Gallery 312, 312 N. May, where Ordinary Icons opens tonight with a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fifedom: Pair o’ Dese & One o’ Dose

Fifedom: Pair o’ Dese & One o’ Dose, Side Project, at the Side Studio. Playwright Michael R. Fife’s trio of one-act parodies is certainly airtight thematically: all three targets involve sexual stagnation. Of course 1930s film noir, Merchant-Ivory costume dramas, and Harold Pinter works are sitting ducks, but Fife does well at peeling away their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

European Union Film Festival

The fifth annual European Union Film Festival runs Friday, February 8, through Thursday, February 28, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Admission is $8, $4 for Film Center members. For further information call 312-846-2800. All films will be shown in 35-millimeter prints, and those marked with an * are highly recommended. FRIDAY, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

FordSaliba Dance Ensemble

Even fledgling dance makers like Sarah Ford and Gabrielle Saliba, who recently started their own company, have choreographic casts of mind. Ford’s is distinctly musical: her taste is good, and she sings the counts when giving the dancers their notes during a rehearsal. Her Prey, for three women and one man, is based on contrast: […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nowhere to Go

Native Son Stage Actors Ensemble at the Performance Loft Soon after Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder, before anyone realized that her ex-husband’s trial would be the national Rorschach test on race, some folks at a party were discussing why O.J. would have done it. Finally a man with impeccable liberal credentials dismissed the question: “Reversion to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Zbigniew Karkowski

In 1992, Swedish-Polish composer Zbigniew Karkowski, a one-time student of Iannis Xenakis, accused his peers of having lost touch with reality: “The so-called art music written today must be taken in a large cultural setting as a revolt against certain kinds of tradition. It doesn’t have any intrinsic meaning and as a consequence in order […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Lisbon Traviata

The Lisbon Traviata, Circle Theatre. In Terrence McNally’s artfully self-aware 1985 tragedy, about an opera lover who brings a fifth-act catastrophe on himself, the final dialogue exactly parallels the death scene in Carmen. But little else in this tabloid tale is grand. It’s the late 80s; AIDS has made early death common. Stephen, a possessive […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Honk!

Honk!, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. In this season’s earlier musical adaptation of “The Ugly Duckling,” Everything’s Ducky, the duckling was a girl and the solution was a makeover. Here, the duckling is a boy and the solution is to accept being different–a far more attractive message delivered in a far more attractive package. But despite […]