Posted inArts & Culture

Devdas

In a recent New York Times piece lamenting our curiously joyless summer blockbusters, Neal Gabler reminded us that the purpose of films is to give pleasure, whether they take the form of comedy or tragedy, inspire amusement or reflection. Hollywood may have forgotten this principle, but the production numbers in this 2002 Indian musical take […]

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True Confessions

Catholic School Girls Journeymen at Holy Covenant United Methodist Church Whether it was a collective epiphany or something in the water, 1982 brought a higher-than-average offering of nun-centric theatrical exploration, from Jonathan Pielmeier’s dark, distressing Agnes of God to John R. Powers’s musical frolic Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? Casey Kurtti’s Catholic […]

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Night Fractal

Night Fractal, Tangerine Arts Group, at the Performance Loft, through February 23. Writer-director Alexis Macnab’s program note for her movement-based performance piece reads: “There are connections everywhere. There is truth in every story.” What she fails to realize is that things that are true aren’t necessarily compelling. Macnab attempts to weave together a hodgepodge of […]

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The Affairs of Cellini

Produced by Darryl Zanuck for the fledgling 20th Century studios, this inspired wisp of Hollywood candyfloss (1934, 80 min.) opens with the absurd spectacle of dithering Frank Morgan–the wonderful Wizard of Oz–playing Alessandro de’ Medici, tyrannical duke of Renaissance Florence. The duke’s cousin (an impeccably droll Louis Calhern) urges him to do away with roguish […]

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Words

Words, Second City Outreach Program and DMG Freedom, at Donny’s Skybox Studio, through March 8. Not your usual Second City show, this second entry in the “Words” series combines actors, improvisers, dancers, and one very powerful poet in a celebration of Black History Month. As directed by Claudia Wallace and Dionna Griffin (who also improvise […]

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David “Chainsaw” Dupont

Too many modern blues guitarists try to make up for their lack of innovation by memorizing the postwar canon, revving everything up to hyperspeed, and swamping it in distortion–as if to convince listeners that being bludgeoned is a transcendent experience. Mississippi-born David “Chainsaw” Dupont takes a different approach. There’s a craftsman’s logic to even his […]

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City File

“More than half of all U.S. container traffic now passes through the Chicago area, so much that our region has emerged as the world’s third busiest intermodal hub, surpassed only by the great Asian seaports of Hong Kong and Singapore” (“Critical Cargo,” an April 2002 report from the Business Leaders for Transportation and the Metropolitan […]

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Ibrahim Ferrer

Given this Cuban singer’s keen understanding of pre-Castro styles and his rags-to-riches comeback story, 1999’s Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer was guaranteed to impress world-music sentimentalists. But Ferrer has taken a great leap forward with his forthcoming album, Buenos hermanos (due March 18 on World Circuit/Nonesuch), perhaps buoyed by his success and a […]

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Maria Pages

Anyone who saw flamenco artist Maria Pages in Riverdance is bound to remember her: her dancing cut like a knife through the bloated heart of that overproduced show. (As I recall, she was supposed to represent “the birth of fire.”) Born in Seville in 1963, tall, somewhat raw-boned, she was outstandingly supple, powerful, and precise; […]

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Datebook

FEBRUARY 7 FRIDAY Cantes de ida y vuelta, or “round-trip songs,” are a type of flamenco that dates to the early 20th century, when traveling Spanish musicians brought new ideas back from places like Cuba and South America. Though purists dismissed the variant as inauthentic, the original flamenco, developed by 16th-century Gypsies in southern Spain, […]