Posted inNews & Politics

French Connection

In a private room above Blackbird restaurant at noon on a recent weekday, the French Government Tourist Office regaled a group of American freelance writers, French diplomats, and travel professionals with lamb vol-au-vent, pinot blanc, and a TV ad that featured a string of celebrities squawking “J’aime la France!”–the office’s catchphrase for 2002. Between courses, […]

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Lumpkin’s Big Top

Lumpkin’s Big Top, New Millennium Theatre Company, at the Theatre Building Chicago. This annoyingly inept mediocrity is the ur-example of why playwrights should never direct their own scripts. Chicago writer Thurston Cobb religiously respects every imbecilic stereotype and blatant plot point in his relentlessly unfunny, egregiously repetitious “comedy,” an expose of a TV kids’ show […]

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Woyzeck

Woyzeck European Repertory Company at the National Pastime Theater Over the past several months many Americans have stared at the stony face of Andrea Yates, wondering how this picture of Christian middle-class normalcy could have committed infanticide. Her insanity plea was not only expected but welcome, opening up the chasm of mental illness to separate […]

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The Mooney Suzuki

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Nuggets, Lenny Kaye’s classic compilation of late-60s garage rock, and even die-hard fans of the genre–myself included–must admit that at this point a quartet of kids playing fuzz-toned R & B is about as threatening as a handful of seniors getting together to play hot jazz. But these […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Is it true, as a fun-fact list making the rounds via E-mail claims, that a pregnant fish is called a twit? –Bob Ebisch, Denver We debated this one in the office. Little Ed was of the opinion that a twit is somebody who believes what he reads on E-mail lists. But Jill insisted that, as […]

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Maestros

Both James Fei and David Novak, together known as Maestros, have pretty highbrow musical pedigrees: they’ve each played saxophone with Anthony Braxton, and Fei has studied with contemporary composers like Alvin Lucier, Steve Mackey, and Paul Lansky. But these New Yorkers happily deflate the pretensions that often go hand in glove with such a background. […]

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Calendar

Friday 3/29 – Thursday 4/4 MARCH 29 FRIDAY Puppeteer Damien Hinojosa says his current show, Carnival of the Dead–which he organized and directed with his sister Raven–is a bit like a Latin American street carnival: “festive but also a little macabre.” It was inspired, he says, by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano’s Century of the Wind […]

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A Piece of Bone

A Piece of Bone, Circle Theatre. In Aline Lathrop’s play, being given its world premiere by Circle Theatre, a dysfunctional family gathers after the suicide of one of its members. The fact that the man had a wildly successful career, a doting wife, and a devoted mistress and, like Prospero, owned his own island makes […]

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Mirette

Mirette, Journeymen, at the Storefront Theater. Musicals for children are tricky to pull off, and the team of Elizabeth Diggs (book), Harvey Schmidt (music), and Tom Jones (lyrics) is only partly successful in this 1998 endeavor. The heroine is a perfect role model for girls: the brave, resourceful Mirette (Heather Marie Johnson) lives in 1899 […]

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How to Manage Fear

It’s hard to describe Lucky Pierre’s work, which is uniquely heady, playful, and perplexing. Like their previous collective efforts, their newest piece–How to Manage Fear–is based on a tiny slice of pop culture. Yet somehow the group extracts from the car chase in the 1968 film Bullitt enough material to make this show’s 70 minutes […]

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King Chango

The raucous but rather generic ska punk of this New York rock-en-espanol band’s 1996 debut got a thorough rethinking–as did the lineup–on their most recent album, 2000’s The Return of El Santo (Luaka Bop). It blended roots reggae, dancehall, ska, funk, hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, and various Latin American styles with a slick pop sensibility […]