Posted inArts & Culture

Frank Abbinanti

Composer Frank Abbinanti came of age in the 1960s, when art and politics were all but inseparable. He studied piano with Frederic Rzewski, a disciple of Cage and Stockhausen who wrote a piece called The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, and his composition teachers were Ralph Shapey and Ben Johnston, both men of originality […]

Posted inArts & Culture

ZZ Packer

Some of the eight stories in ZZ Packer’s debut collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (Riverhead), feature ambitious young African-Americans looking to improve their lives: in “Our Lady of Peace” idealistic Lynnea moves from rural Kentucky to Baltimore to teach inner-city kids; in “Geese” Dina travels to Tokyo “in the hopes of making a pile of money.” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Laurel Canyon

In her first feature, High Art (1998), writer-director Lisa Cholodenko created a convincing milieu of media professionals who were both sexy and unpredictable. This sophomore effort is even better, confronting two uptight lovers (Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale) with the rock music scene when they graduate from Harvard Medical School and head west to complete […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

News you won’t read in the dailies, which appear to be systematically forgetting about public housing (“The View From the Ground,” March 4): “Soon after the city launched the ‘Plan for Transformation’ [of the Chicago Housing Authority] in 1999, it summarily disbanded the 270- member CHA police force. At that time, city officials reassured CHA […]

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Neo! A Matrix Musical

Neo! A Matrix Musical, Bulldog 17 Productions, at the Holy Covenant United Methodist Church. Extracting four words from my original review of this production, Bulldog 17 has emblazoned on its current poster “A late night hit!” What I actually said was that those looking to produce a late-night hit could learn something from this show, […]

Posted inMusic

Jazz and Pop

The Bad Plus These Are the Vistas (Columbia) The theory behind Herbie Hancock’s 1996 album The New Standard was sound: contemporary pop-rock songs can facilitate jazz improvisation in much the same way as older standards like “Night and Day” and “Body and Soul,” even if their harmonic makeup provides less to work with. But in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Euchre: It’s Sophistimocated!

Dear Reader, I too played euchre while at a midwest college, and I was excited to read Ted Kleine’s take on the card game as played by midwest-college grads in Chicago bars [February 28]. But I found the article’s “farmer’s cards” slant offensive. With all respect to the stoic German farmers who immigrated with the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Datebook

MARCH 28 FRIDAY Anti-Americanism in the Middle East “is driven not only by the blind hatred or religious zealotry of extremists, but also by frustration and anger with U.S. foreign policy among the mainstream Muslim world,” says Georgetown University professor John L. Esposito, the founding director of the school’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, in his […]

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Chicago Jazz Orchestra

Duke Ellington’s aide-de-camp Billy Strayhorn, who wrote some mighty beautiful tunes and whose elegance and refinement surpassed even the master’s, has been the subject of a revisionist campaign in recent years. Because Ellington sometimes succumbed to the odious yet common jazz bandleader’s practice of taking sole composer’s credit for works his colleague coauthored or wrote […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

What is the bottom line with Koko the gorilla’s ability to learn sign language? I know she only communicates through her handler, who seems to engage in a great deal of subjective translation. I saw an excerpt in Harper’s Magazine of a supposed Internet chat with Koko a few years ago that made me rather […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Know-It-All Editors

Peter, Regarding the “Postscript” in your current column about Greg Kot’s “Overrated/Underrated Rock Group” [Post No Bills, March 21]: The information about Rick Rizzo and Red Red Meat was added in editing here and was not run by Kot before publication. The editors of Chicago regret the error. Jan Parr Special Projects Editor Chicago magazine