Posted inArts & Culture

Aimee

Aimee, Billy Goat Experiment Theatre Company, at the Broadway Armory. This isn’t the first piece of biographical theater to feature a flamboyant babe from the sticks who achieves celebrity by acting as the charismatic conduit between the downtrodden and a powerful but uncommunicative guy–in this case God. It’s easy to see how the life of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sole

More Beat poet than beat junkie, Bay Area rapper Sole has a tendency to stuff twice as many words into every line as should reasonably fit, which makes his vocal delivery a little overwhelming–he doesn’t flow, he floods. He’s also more philosophical than your average MC: “My whole perspective relies solely on questions that can’t […]

Posted inArts & Culture

ICP Orchestra

The Netherlands’ mighty ICP (Instant Composers Pool) Orchestra mixes freewheeling improvisation and composed material like no other, with every member given the latitude to try to alter the direction of a piece or improvisation. An ICP performance is one of the most exciting experiences in jazz, and it’s also one of the messiest–the music really […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bireli Lagrene

France’s Bireli Lagrene started playing guitar and listening to Django Reinhardt records when he was four, in 1970. By the time he cut his first record, at 13, he was immersed in Django’s 30s Gypsy jazz dialect: the machine-gun single-note lines, the stinging line-ending vibrato, the fat chords charging up the fretboard. Now Lagrene found […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Irshad Khan

It’s not surprising that so many of the greatest Indian classical musicians, from Anoushka Shankar to Amjad Ali Khan, are the progeny of other famous musicians. Mastery of the tradition requires the kind of rigorous day-in, day-out study that a university education isn’t likely to provide. Sitar master Irshad Khan is no exception–he’s the son […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Taking Care

Taking Care, Steppenwolf Theatre Company. This latest offering from Mia (Chagrin Falls) McCullough would be ruined by an intermission: 90 minutes of total immersion effectively communicate seven years in the lives of Ma, a Jewish mother in her 80s, and Benny, her mentally ill son. In set designer Russell Poole’s familiar three-room apartment, time both […]

Posted inNews & Politics

TRG Music Listings

Rock, Pop, Etc. Concerts BEANS, BOBBY CONN, JOHN HERNDON, BEN STOKES perform at the digital-arts showcase Version>03: Technotopia vs. Technopocalypse. Fri 3/28, 8 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. 312-397-4010. BIG WU 18 & over. Sat 3/22, 8 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage. 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212. FRANK BLACK Free in-store performance. Sat […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Oscar Brown Jr. & Dee Alexander

If there were a griot laureate of Chicago, the position would probably belong to Oscar Brown Jr. Brown speaks for the African-American everyman. In his lyrics and poems his themes include the bittersweet joys of fatherhood (“Dat Dere,” written for his son, the late Oscar “Bobo” Brown III, when Bobo was a boy), the battle […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane’s no member of the Elmore Leonard school of crime fiction, where the violence is delivered with a rim shot and a wink. No breezy nonchalance softens his grim outlook. And no Miami sunshine washes the streets of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, the racially mixed strip of real estate that separates the twin drug-and-gun ruins […]

Posted inFilm

What’s Up, Doc?

It’s notoriously difficult to evaluate the way most documentaries treat their subject matter, because one has to assess what’s included in light of what’s left out—something we aren’t usually qualified to do. I’m much more comfortable evaluating documentaries on how well they draw us into their subject matter and on how well they work as […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Time in a Bottle

Brian Collier: Earth and Water at Artemisia, through March 29 After seeing Brian Collier’s two installations at Artemisia, I wasn’t surprised to hear him call Robert Smithson “a huge influence.” Both bring natural materials into the gallery in sculptural installations, though Smithson’s works create modernist paradoxes: the formal and conceptual ambiguity of, say, rocks in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Stick to Zoning

Dear Reader, Your coverage of local issues is unparalleled in its excellence–when I want to know if those plucky community activists have succeeded in thwarting the plans of those evil capitalists to build a Home Depot on the swamp, I know just which free weekly to pick up. However, as Kitry Krause’s March 7 cover […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Beast on the Moon

Beast on the Moon, Lincoln Square Theatre, at the Berry Memorial United Methodist Church. There are a few false notes in Richard Kalinoski’s 1995 script about survivor’s guilt among Armenians after the Turks’ attempted 1915 genocide, but none in Leah Rose’s performance as the refugee bride of an Armenian who made it to America without […]