Posted inArts & Culture

New-Trad Octet

Reedist Jeff Newell, founder of the New-Trad Octet, left Chicago for Brooklyn in the mid-90s, and has since put together a second, entirely different lineup that performs under the same name in New York–but the NTO remains essentially a Chicago creation, and it never sounds better than in the city of its birth. In part […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Khaled

Until September 11, it looked like 2001 was going to be a banner year for Arabic pop in the United States. A new album by Algerian singer Cheb Mami was positioned to exploit his cameo on Sting’s hit “Desert Rose.” Mondo Melodia–the world music imprint of Ark 21 Records, owned and operated by former Police […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Scotty Moore & Lee Rocker

Elvis Presley’s singles for Sun Records in 1954 and ’55 may have introduced the most celebrated voice in rock ‘n’ roll history, but it shared the grooves with another one, equally bright and innovative: Presley would never again enjoy (or permit) anything quite like the creative dialogue he carried on with guitarist Scotty Moore. Moore […]

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Sketch Fest

This two-month showcase of Chicago sketch comedy features more than 30 local ensembles–some well established, some new to the scene–representing a remarkable range of styles and viewpoints, with two to four groups sharing the bill at each performance. Participating troupes include Annoyance Productions, Weaselicious, Brick, ÁSalsation!, GayCo Productions, the WNEP Theater, and many others; the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Carlo Actis Dato

In the 1980s, when the Italian improvising scene really made its bones, no one had a bigger impact than reedist Carlo Actis Dato. He can make a battering ram of a baritone saxophone, with a sound that’s even and forceful in the upper and lower registers, and his precise attack lets him articulate sawtooth lines […]

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The Subject

The Subject, Atlantis, at Improv-Olympic. The stakes have risen for fully improvised shows. Where it used to be enough to play a few improv games, now players have got to improvise for 20 or 30 minutes at a stretch to get even a smattering of applause. Atlantis raises the bar again in this show, which […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

CONCRETE BLONDE 2/8, VIC This literate and soulful Los Angeles trio broke a lot of hearts when they broke up in 1994, and not many bands have straddled mainstream style and underground substance with as much class or skill since. Front woman Johnette Napolitano has stayed busy, if not famous, playing with Holly Vincent in […]

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43 Plays for 43 Presidents

43 Plays for 43 Presidents, Neo-Futurists. Like the Neo-Futurists’ “Hall of Presidents”–hung in the entranceway to the performance space are paintings by various artists that memorialize and/or ridicule our nation’s 43 commanders in chief–this hit-and-run presidential cavalcade has an audacious charm. As conceived by Andy Bayiates, the two-hour show profiles each of our country’s leaders […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Booze for Sale

When we included Bella Domani in the selection of new places that ran in the restaurant listings February 1, we mistakenly identified it as BYO. In fact, the Lincoln Square storefront got its liquor license in mid-December. You don’t have to bring your own after all. The editors

Posted inArts & Culture

Lynn Arriale Trio

At her Jazz Showcase debut a year and a half ago, Lynne Arriale hand delivered to a Chicago audience the same news that her 2000 disc, Live at Montreux, and a flood of flattering notices in the international press had just telegraphed to the world: she’s created a strong-willed, willowy-voiced piano persona, the result of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Est. 1957

It was great to see the University of Chicago Folk Festival get the coverage it deserves with the wonderful photo spread in last week’s Reader [February 1], but there was one small factual error in the accompanying copy. Not to pick too fine of a nit, but the Old Town School of Folk Music first […]

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Funny Valentines

Funny Valentines, Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park. D.R. Anderson’s comedy premiered in 1981, but it might as well have been 1951. Featured are an infantile male, Andy Robbins; his nurturing ex-wife (about to give birth to the baby they conceived just before divorcing); a helpful family friend; a scantily clad nympho; and a clueless mother-in-law. […]