Posted inArts & Culture

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands, Victory Gardens Theater. It’s not the future that two middle-aged brothers, once members of Wichita’s answer to the Fab Four, had in mind for themselves. Steven Burns is a balding soccer dad with teenage children when his younger brother, Michael, turns up one day to announce that he’s left his wife […]

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Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage

Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage, Defiant Theatre, at the Viaduct Theater. Following their physically ambitious Sci-Fi Action Movie and the challenging Cleansed, the offbeat slicksters at Defiant take a step back with a relatively modest effort. Playwright “Jane Martin” does some original things with affectionate distance and matter-of-fact goriness, but Guns is eminently recognizable, […]

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The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Bailiwick Repertory. Playwright Paul Rudnick, the king of gay quips, is devastatingly funny in this 1999 play, now premiering in Chicago. But as in Jeffrey, Rudnick also attempts something more weighty, exploring the existence of God, the basis for moral behavior, and whether love endures. The first act reimagines […]

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Hans Grusel’s Krankenkabinet

San Francisco experimental electronic composer Thomas Day has a master’s from Mills College, has won recognition from Meet the Composer and the American Composers Forum, has written for the Berkeley Symphony, and is currently the sound director for Capacitor, an award-winning “group of interdisciplinary movement artists.” But he’s also collaborated with no-wave vet Arto Lindsay, […]

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No Doubt

Three cheers for Gwen Stefani: in 15 years as front woman for No Doubt, she’s unabashedly sported extra pounds, bad hair, zits, braces, and small boobs and aired her dirty laundry over the radio waves–and her public still adores her. No Doubt have no shame when it comes to image overhaul; they’ve got genre wanderlust, […]

Posted inMusic

Holly Golightly

Best known as one of Thee Headcoatees, the British girl group programmed by DIY overachiever Billy Childish, garage-blues enthusiast Holly Golightly has released a flood of albums, EPs, and singles under her own name since 1994. But this show, rescheduled from September, will be her first in town since Thee Headcoatees disbanded in 2000, and […]

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Giant Sand

Giant Sand’s recent Cover Magazine (Thrill Jockey), a charmingly erratic all-covers album, is surely the slightest record ever produced by Howe Gelb’s twisted Tucson roots-rock combo. But it’s a logical step: Since the late 80s the band’s guiding muse has been impulsiveness, if not quite improvisation; songs collapse into chaos, lyrics trigger free association, interludes […]

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Hearts: The Forward Observer

Hearts: The Forward Observer, Northlight Theatre. Willy Holtzman’s drama leaves a deep impression in less than 90 minutes, depicting with amazing specificity the experiences of Donald Waldman, a tough Jewish soldier in World War II. Alternating gripping war vignettes with games of hearts played over the next 40 years or so, the playwright introduces Waldman’s […]

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In Print: can one muckraker change the course of national politics?

Bicontinental muckraker Greg Palast says his first undercover investigation was at the University of Chicago, spying on economists Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger. In 1975 Palast was a graduate student in the business school and investigating machine hacks and utilities for labor unions. His aim was to learn the business better than the businessmen, and […]

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Hood

In England in the early 90s, a handful of bedroom-bound four-trackers–among them Flying Saucer Attack, Crescent, and Hood–rejected the giddy, hedonistic dance pop of “Madchester” scenesters like the Happy Mondays, instead making alienated, inward-looking music that reflected the grim landscapes, grimmer weather, and bleak economic prospects they’d grown up with in the country’s postindustrial north. […]

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Rez Abbasi-Christian Howes Quartet

Since arriving in New York in the late 80s, Pakistani-born, California-raised guitarist Rez Abbasi has quietly earned a respected place in the city’s music scene: guitar aficionados admire his clean, sparkly technique, and his contemporaries in jazz (such as saxist Gary Thomas, trumpeter Tim Hagans, and pianist Kenny Werner, who’ve all joined him on disc) […]