Posted inArts & Culture

Rebirth Brass band

Founded by tuba player Philip Frazier while he was still in high school, the Rebirth Brass Band has been playing deep funk–minus the guitar and distressing slap bass–for 19 years. They started out busking on New Orleans street corners and have since taken dozens of trips to Europe, Japan, and Africa; later this month they’re […]

Posted inNews & Politics

That Blasphemous Cartoon

Sirs: We wish to express the most categorical protest possible against Garret Gaston’s blasphemous cartoon “La Petite Camera, Papal Makeover” in the Chicago Reader [June 21]. A “new recipe for communion” is proposed using chocolate chips. Our Lord crucified is blasphemed. The pope is portrayed dispensing “red hot birth control pills,” asking forgiveness for “the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

David “Fathead” Newman

First, that nickname: it goes back more than 50 years, to when saxophonist David Newman botched some ill-remembered riff in high school band and his exasperated music director started calling names. But the epithet has stuck, for the same reason that big guys get called “Pee Wee”: it conveys the real quality by pointing to […]

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Life and Nothing More . . .

Known less accurately as And Life Goes On…(to distinguish it from Bertrand Tavernier’s Life and Nothing But), this 1992 masterpiece by Abbas Kiarostami uses nonprofessional actors to restage real events. Accompanied by his little boy, a film director from Tehran drives into the mountainous region of northern Iran, recently devastated by an earthquake that’s killed […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Orchestra Baobab

Cuban music is shot through with African rhythms brought over by slaves–and in an improbable circle of influence, Cuban sailors who took their favorite records to Africa in the 40s worked a profound change on the music there. Congolese rumba, or soukous, remains the most famous instance, but Cuban sounds also turned up in Senegal, […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

GET UP KIDS, SUPERCHUNK 7/12, METRO; 7/13 & 7/14, HOUSE OF BLUES In the bio accompanying the Get Up Kids’ new On a Wire (Vagrant), front man Matthew Pryor makes a lot of excuses for the lack of new releases over the last two years or so, laying most of the blame on the usually […]

Posted inArts & Culture

1776

1776, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Apparently the founding family was as dysfunctional as any, if you can believe the steamy squabbles depicted in this gently satirical musical. With a supple script by Peter Stone and serviceable if trivial music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards, this work goes beyond patriotic tableaux in its depiction of the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Luftwaffe

Stage shtick might not seem like a dangerous thing to take too far, but the members of Luftwaffe have without a doubt passed the point of no return. J1 Statik and B9 Invid are a self-styled two-man nihilist militia, adhering to the credo “Solipsist before all else.” They live in a world where, according to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Why I am a Catholic. “As a young Catholic woman, I’ve kind of gotten used to the Catholic Church not reflecting me,” writes Heidi Schlumpf (U.S. Catholic, July). “Its language doesn’t include me, its homilies hardly ever pertain to my life, and many of its jobs are not open to me. My disconnection seems to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Playing Dumb With Jill Benjamin

Jill Benjamin’s exploration of dating and other painful rituals has apparently gained several IQ points since its run last fall, thanks to some innovative rewrites, Ron West’s restaging, and Benjamin’s peas-in-a-pod chemistry with new partner Brian Shortall. Here’s the trick as I see it: instead of parading a string of drawn-out Love, American Style scenarios, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Marketa Lazarova

Czech filmmaker Frantisek Vlacil (1926-’99) may have been eclipsed in the West by his countrymen Milos Forman and Jiri Menzel, but his body of work from the 60s and 70s has earned him a solid reputation at home: Marketa Lazarova (1966), which kicks off a weeklong Vlacil retrospective at Facets Cinematheque, was recently voted the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The field of conducting, despite decades of progressive rhetoric and collective soul-searching, is still very much dominated by men. I can count on my fingers the number of internationally prominent women conductors (Eve Queler and Jane Glover leap to mind), and in Chicago, only Barbara Schubert has a regular gig (with several U. of C. […]

Posted inMusic

Flashes on the Horizon

Lightning Bolt at the Fireside Bowl, July 7 When you find something that makes your heart stop for a second and your face get hot and your brain go no way, something that’s the absolute tits, there’s a schism: Do I share this or do I keep it to myself? Holding back means it’s yours […]