Posted inArts & Culture

Triage

When the Vandermark 5’s players aren’t navigating their leader’s rigorous compositions, they play in groups that offer plenty of elbowroom. Four of the performances on Triage’s new album, Twenty Minute Cliff (Okkadisk), nudge the ten-minute mark, and none of them feature the complex voicings and sudden time changes that mark the 5’s work. But the […]

Posted inFilm

Ghosts of Hollywood

Truly original art tends to defy generic categories, and Pat O’Neill’s 35-millimeter, 73-minute The Decay of Fiction (2002), which Chicago Filmmakers is presenting this Saturday night at Northwestern University’s Block Cinema, is no exception. Inarguably an experimental work, it also reeks of classic Hollywood. The credits list O’Neill as producer, director, and editor and George […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Stories Needing Telling

“Black history is undervalued across the board,” says Morris “Dino” Robinson, a graphic designer pressed into the history business. Robinson was researching his family’s background in the mid-1990s when the publisher of the Clarion, a monthly newspaper, asked him to write an article about African-American history in Evanston for Black History Month. “I didn’t think […]

Posted inArts & Culture

At Wit’s End

At Wit’s End, Northlight Theatre. This new musical, set in 1929, asks us to believe that the Algonquin Round Table celebrated its tenth anniversary of bitching and feasting by putting on a show that depicted the birth of the New Yorker as the by-product of a lengthy stalking. Delivered with juicy details is the very […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fluke/Maximum Party Zone Are Go!

Fluke and Maximum Party Zone Are Go!, ImprovOlympic. Prop comedy may be single-handedly responsible for the decline of Western civilization. It’s certainly the bane of sketch comedy, where it shifts focus away from genuine human connection toward funny hats and gorilla suits. Maximum Party Zone–Bill Arnett, Danny Mora, and Bobby Mort of the ImprovOlympic house […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lecture Notes: Evanston’s black history finds its voice

“Black history is undervalued across the board,” says Morris “Dino” Robinson, a graphic designer pressed into the history business. Robinson was researching his family’s background in the mid-90s when the publisher of the Evanston Clarion, a monthly newspaper, asked him to write an article about African-American history in Evanston for Black History Month. “I didn’t […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories According to Time magazine, food workers at the UN’s New York headquarters called a wildcat strike the morning of Friday, May 2, so that the building’s five restaurants were unstaffed and shuttered at lunchtime; at 1 PM a “high-ranking UN official” ordered the facilities unlocked so that hungry staff members could take what […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Neil Michael Hagerty

Neil Michael Hagerty is a stylistic drifter: as a member of Royal Trux and more recently as a solo artist, he’s floated from weird psychedelia to primitive preblues ditties to Rolling Stones raunch and back again. His sprawling third album, Neil Michael Hagerty & the Howling Hex (Drag City), plays up his peripatetic tendencies: it’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Game/Place/Show

Game/Place/Show, Neo-Futurists, through June 28. It would be a leap of faith to believe that game shows open a window on the world–though they do promote the idea that escape from the prison of drab mediocrity is possible, even easy. Game shows require viewers to identify deeply with the people and contests they’re observing, an […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rocket From the Tombs

I’m not even going to try to promise that this will be good–but if you were ever a fan of America’s punk roots, how could you pass it up? Founded in part by the talented Peter Laughner, a passionate Velvets and Iggy fan who wanted to ignite some of that wildness in Cleveland, this Ohio […]

Posted inMusic

Local Record Roundup

.22 The Worker (Roydale) I wince when folks talk about the “Chicago sound”–there are just too many different kinds of music in town for such a generalization to make sense. But some styles do prevail more than others. For instance, elements of the first Tortoise record–nimble bass melodies, wide-open drumming–have spread like dandelion seeds over […]