Posted inArts & Culture

Greg Osby

Alto saxophonist Greg Osby has spent his career looking forward. In the late 80s he was a key player in Brooklyn’s M-BASE crew, a group that combined jazz improvisation with other African-American forms, from hip-hop to funk to soul. On his own he sought to collaborate more directly with hip-hop artists, and while I don’t […]

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Masked and Anonymous

“Rene Fontaine” and “Sergei Petrov,” the credited screenwriters of this mannerist fantasy, are pseudonyms for star Bob Dylan and director Larry Charles, a veteran of Seinfeld. In fact, every character talks like Dylan, and his character, a legendary singer called Jack Fate who turns up between prison terms to perform a benefit concert, is a […]

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Asterisks

Asterisks, at the Playground Theater. Sketch-comedy shows often try to find humor in the familiar. But Asterisks stands out for how well its three writer-performers exaggerate what we say and do in everyday life–without overdoing it. Eric Hunicutt, Jamie Newland, and Paula Pazderka are funniest in their 70 minutes of scenes (and one tacked-on song) […]

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Petty Crime

Saturday, July 5, 4 PM, 4500 block of North Sheridan. Robbery. 42-year-old male was approached on sidewalk by three unknown male offenders. One brandished corkscrew and appropriated victim’s backpack, fleeing east. Bag contained pair of jeans and bottle of shampoo. Wednesday, July 9, 9:30 AM, 4100 block of North Marine. Battery. 33-year-old female offender in […]

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Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof, Light Opera Works, at Northwestern University, Cahn Auditorium. “To life” indeed. There’s a ton of it, not to mention heartbreak and wisdom, in William Pullinsi’s warm revival of this nearly flawless musical. Its universality comes from specifics–its scripture-citing, God-fearless milkman rich in daughters and poor in everything else. Isolated its setting […]

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In the Distance

Peter Stephens: Paris-Buffalo, 1900-2003 at Zolla/Lieberman, through August 21 Thomas Metcalf at Gescheidle, through August 23 Peter Stephens’s 15 paintings and works on paper at Zolla/Lieberman are based on photographs that have a certain grandeur and are distanced by time: Eugene Atget’s turn-of-the-century documentations of France’s monuments and parks and painterly photographs by Wilbur Porterfield, […]

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Sweet Home Evanston

Bill Gilmore sold his share of B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted in 1998, moved to Evanston, and started looking for a site there that would make a good club. It took longer than he anticipated to find one. “Evanston was dry until the mid-70s,” Gilmore says. “There weren’t any old bars to take over.” In the meantime, […]

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Datebook

AUGUST 15 FRIDAY Over the last two years Fast Forward Film Festival organizers Sean U’Ren and Adam “Atom” Paul have staged nine competitions and watched more than 200 short films. This weekend they’re dusting off some of their favorites for a second look. “We decided to have a retrospective because there were a lot of […]

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Great Nitty Gritty

Great Nitty Gritty, at Kennedy-King College. Intended to be performed by teenagers for teenagers, this 1982 musical by jazz musician Oscar Brown is surprisingly sturdy and saccharine free despite its do-gooder antiviolence message. Even better, it stars 38 youths in the Gallery 37 program who represent an explosion of talent. About half the ensemble are […]

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The Ride Down Mt. Morgan

The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Equity Library Theatre Chicago, at Breadline Theatre. The oversexed bigamist at the center of Arthur Miller’s 1991 play, Lyman Felt, might be Willy Loman after a self-help workshop. A bastard for the ages, Felt is a ruthless, calculating salesman who justifies his transgressions by maintaining that “the first rule of […]

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The Straight Dope

Your recent column on Marshall McLuhan was terrific, and it led me to wonder about another darling of the 60s, in the field of psychology: Whatever became of B.F. Skinner? I recall all the fun we had torturing rats in “Skinner boxes” and thinking that we were all just messes of “operant conditioning.” Like your […]