Posted inArts & Culture

War Wounds

Trojan Women Goodman Theatre Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it’s going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? –Barbara Bush, interviewed March 18, 2003, […]

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Identity

The Usual Suspects syndrome–a Hollywood mania for thrillers whose twist endings turn the whole narrative sock inside out–has resulted in a lot of bad movies in the past few years, scripted by writers so intent on their climactic switcheroos that they neglect everything else in the story. But this devious little mystery by Michael Cooney, […]

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Daniele D’Agaro

Italian saxophonist and clarinetist Daniele D’Agaro is so well-rounded it’s ridiculous. His working units in recent years have included the three-tenor Trio San Francisco with Tobias Delius and Sean Bergin, a quintet performing previously unheard Don Byas tunes (with Han Bennink on drums and Benny Bailey on trumpet), a duo with a church organist reviving […]

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs

On Tuesday the Yeah Yeah Yeahs release their first full-length, Fever to Tell, but already I feel as if I’ve been hearing about them forever. The New York trio became the subject of a yearlong bidding war (Interscope won) on the basis of a self-released EP, Master, and a heavy dose of image mongering; most […]

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Rumpelstiltskin Revisited

Rumpelstiltskin Revisited, Lifeline Theatre. Guy J. Jackson’s saucy adaptation for children five to eight puts a socialist spin on the Rumpelstiltskin story. Here Rumpelstiltskin (Daniel Hickey, who, like the other two actors, plays a variety of roles) is a spoiled boy living in fairy tale Germany whose mother buys him whatever he wants. He grows […]

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An Injury to One

Academics have long been prone to misapply the adjective “Brechtian” to B movies and sterile avant-garde exercises alike, but Travis Wilkerson’s experimental documentary about the 1917 murder of Frank Little, a radical union organizer who fought Montana mining interests, is a film that genuinely merits the term, even if it’s not a drama in the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Datebook

APRIL 25 FRIDAY “Behold the monstrous human beast / Wallowing in excessive feast!” wrote Charles Jennens in the libretto for Belshazzar, Handel’s oratorio about the king of Babylon. Music from that scene will be part of Wine, Women & Song, tonight’s program by Ars Musica Chicago. Also included among the baroque-era arias, songs, and cantatas […]

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Kiwi Black

Kiwi Black, Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre, at Victory Gardens Theater. Playwright Shepsu Aakhu’s latest work shows what it’s like to want the world for a child without having the means to provide it. And protecting one’s child from the injustices of the world is a responsibility Aakhu (who’s also a parent and […]

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Jef Scharf

The cluttered mess that is Jef Scharf’s show at Dogmatic is mirrored in his hand-drawn, hard-to-read checklists, each of which is different; mine says “Please begin on the other side”–on both sides. And the sprawl of imagery haunted by greed, aggression, terrorism, and war mirrors the uncertainties of our time. An untitled installation consists of […]

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Jazzdance by Danny Buraczeski

When I watched the video of Danny Buraczeski’s most recent dance, Las Cuatro Estaciones (“The Four Seasons”), I was surprised. Was this the same choreographer whose work I’d seen in the summer of 1994, when his Minneapolis-based troupe performed Swing Concerto as part of the Jazz Dance World Congress? That piece–one of the highlights of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I know you probably don’t know yet, and aren’t too keen on finding out (I quote, “Just don’t ask me to explain ‘Stairway to Heaven’”), but just what is the song “Stairway to Heaven” about? My two favorite songs are “Hotel California” and “Stairway to Heaven.” You explained HC very well, but S2H remains a […]

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Hooked on Kids’ Lit

Dear editor, My sons (15 and 12) and I were delighted with Andrew Davis’s film Holes, based on the delightful novel by Louis Sachar. I’m glad your reviewer, J.R. Jones, liked it too [“Hotter Than Potter,” April 18]. And this isn’t the first criticism of the Harry Potter novels I’ve seen. As a 43-year-old balding […]

Posted inMusic

25 Suaves

A tip o’ the hat to the unapologetically antagonistic Mr. Velocity Hopkins (aka Pete Larson) on the ten-year anniversary of having the guts and good taste to release music people didn’t know they wanted to hear until years after the fact. Larson cofounded the Bulb label with Jim Magas in Ann Arbor in 1993, and […]