Posted inArts & Culture

They Might Be Giants

John Flansburgh and John Linnell, better known as They Might Be Giants, have made a career of writing bite-size, ridiculously catchy tunes, and a quick look through their songbook reveals a playful preoccupation with grade-school subjects: science (“Why Does the Sun Shine?”), American history (“James K. Polk”), art (“Meet James Ensor”), geography (Linnell’s solo album […]

Posted inArts & Culture

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

Director Sam Jones set out to document a recording project by the innovative and critically acclaimed country-rock band Wilco, then stumbled onto one of the bigger music stories of 2001 when Reprise Records decided the album wasn’t a moneymaker and abruptly dropped the band from its roster. This black-and-white film is beautifully shot, and its […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Black Pirate

Two-strip Technicolor–in which red orange and blue green exposures of the same action were fused into a single length of celluloid–was being used in silent films as early as 1922, but this rousing 1926 swashbuckler was the first full-length two-strip feature. Douglas Fairbanks stars as a Spanish nobleman who loses his father in a pirate […]

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Going Nowhere

Spectrum Dances 2002 at the Duncan YMCA Chernin Center for the Arts, through August 4 Even though a choreographer can communicate constraint by having a dancer hesitate, hobble, or stay her own hand, an entire evening on limitation shows it’s not an ideal subject for an art form that consists of bodies moving. Yet being […]

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Jack O’Shea in Cas O’Blanca

Jack O’Shea in Cas O’Blanca. Hairy Calahan Productions, at the Chicago Actors Studio. The third installment in the O’Shea series centers on a WWII-era Nazi plot to feminize the American GI. Needing a truly butch test subject, the evil Dr. Schnausinger naturally selects cartoon-noir hero Jack, who’s down-and-out in north Africa. Amid the riot of […]

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King Kong

It’s hard to imagine a route that’d take a musician from underground rock at its most serious and severe to goofy song suites about barnyard animals, but bassist and singer Ethan Buckler has traveled it. As the bassist for Louisville’s Slint, Buckler contributed to the influential album Tweez in 1989; the following year he formed […]

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Karrin Allyson

Jazz singer Karrin Allyson scored the biggest commercial success of her career with last year’s Ballads, which contained covers of all the songs that appeared on John Coltrane’s famous 1962 recording of that title; next week she’ll release another thematic disc, In Blue (Concord), on which she explores the most familiar hue in popular music. […]

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Joi

On her 1994 debut, The Pendulum Vibe, and its never-released follow-up, Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome, Atlanta soul singer Joi Gilliam Gipp delivered a wild strain of funked-up rock ‘n’ soul that positioned her as an outsize freak channeling the intense spirit of 70s soul-funk diva Betty Davis. This certainly differentiated her from the pack, but she […]

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Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation, at the Playground Theater. The Playground is often an incubator for new talent–and it’s all too obvious that the ensemble members in the late-night revue Lost in Translation are in the early stages of their comedy careers. Their sketches, directed at a brisk pace by Joe Janes, just aren’t very funny: the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Poison in the System

As a psychiatric social worker, I applaud the objective coverage of schizophrenia by [Grant] Pick [“A Tale of Ordinary Madness,” June 7]. However, I disagree with the angle that Stanley Wissner’s focus on heavy metals was obsession and paranoia. The Pfeiffer Treatment Center in Naperville has an impressive track record of returning to high functioning […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Karita Mattila

Finnish soprano Karita Mattila has a voluptuous, glowing, dramatic voice, with a stage presence to match. Her international career began in earnest when she won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1983, and in the mid-90s she rose rapidly into the first tier of opera singers worldwide, becoming a confident and disciplined diva, […]

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All Over the Place

Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting at the Art Institute, through September 8 Picturing things, taking a view, is what makes us human; art is making sense and giving shape to that sense. It is like the religious search for God. –Gerhard Richter, 1962 I can communicate nothing…there is nothing to communicate…painting can never be […]