Posted inArts & Culture

Jesse Davis

Over the last 15 or 20 years, the alto saxophone has reclaimed some of the luster it ceded–to the tenor (in the 50s and 60s) and the soprano (in the 70s and 80s)–through the well-documented efforts of several diverse players: Tim Berne, Donald Harrison, Steve Wilson, and Chicago’s Ernest Dawkins. Why isn’t Jesse Davis on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Confessional

Confessional, Stage Actors Ensemble, at the Performance Loft. The setting of this late Tennessee Williams play is a shabby seaside tavern in southern California–a kind of final frontier. One by one the people who frequent this establishment break from their customary discourse to address us directly; a motley crew, they’re connected by their solitariness, transience, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Children’s Humanities Festival

The Children’s Humanities Festival now stands on its own, having started nearly a week earlier than its parent fest, the Chicago Humanities Festival (see separate sidebar). Events run through November 3 at the following venues: Chicago Historical Society, 1601 N. Clark; Quigley Preparatory Seminary, 103 E. Chestnut; and Walter Payton College Prep, 1034 N. Wells. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!

We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, Breadline Theatre. As the stock market heads downward and one big company after another totters, Dario Fo’s 1974 agitprop script–played against a background of economic stagnation, mass layoffs, and plant closings–is suddenly, frighteningly apropos. That makes it all the more surprising that this production seems so utterly divorced from […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The View From the Back Seat

Dear Mike [Miner]: Funny thing: I’ve just read your portrait of Debra Pickett [Hot Type, October 11], the new starlet of our morning tabloid, shortly after I came across her rabbit punch at Chicago cabbies. Prelude to her column: I am slightly older than Ms. Pickett. Often these days, instead of my usual bus ride […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Stars of the Lid

When they started out in the mid-90s, Stars of the Lid used the most basic equipment–guitars, effects pedals, and a four-track cassette recorder–in their Austin living rooms to create gorgeously textured drones. Since then Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie have accumulated more gear, but they’ve also moved to separate cities; they recorded last year’s epic […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Worlds Apart

Charles LeDray at the Arts Club, through December 21 Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Kubelka once explained his artistic motivation: deeply unhappy with the world, he sought a form of paradise in his precise, jewel-like, labor-intensive short films. Charles LeDray’s 28 extraordinary works at the Arts Club, many of them miniature reproductions of everyday objects, including […]

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The Aspidistra Code

The Aspidistra Code, Steep Theatre Company, at Bailiwick Repertory. As if to prove he’s a kick-ass writer who can stake his testosterone levels against the likes of Mamet and Tarantino, Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe offers a 90-minute marathon of drinking, smoking, screaming, gallows humor, gambling, tall tales, petty squabbling, and–inevitably–gunfire. O’Rowe holds the audience hostage […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Payola’s Victims

To the Reader: I am mystified by your decision to front-page Cliff Doerksen’s article “Same Old Song and Dance” [October 11]. Doerksen’s thesis seems to be that payola has always been with us, there’s nothing wrong with it, and in any case, if we tried to change it, it would only get worse. Where is […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Me Tarzan, You Jane

Me Tarzan, You Jane, Emerald City Theatre Company, at the Apollo Theater. This appealing musical will amuse youngsters and oldsters alike with its simultaneously smart and silly riffs on the classic Tarzan movies. Packed with goofy sight gags and pratfalls as well as clever one-liners and sly allusions, it gently lampoons the films’ familiar formula, […]