Posted inArts & Culture

Chi Lives: blues baby Gina Barge rediscovers her youth

Growing up in Chatham, Gina Barge often listened to her father–saxophonist Gene “Daddy G” Barge–reminisce about his days at Chess Records in the 1960s. There, he produced and performed with the Dells, Fontella Bass, and Muddy Waters, including on the latter’s notorious Electric Mud, the psychedelic 1968 record that enraged blues purists. Gene often played […]

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Regina

Regina, the protagonist of Marc Blitzstein’s eponymous 1949 operatic adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s play The Little Foxes, is a coldhearted southern schemer who plots against her greedy brothers and watches her husband die when she could save him by calling a doctor–unless she’s a strong-willed protofeminist with the courage to buck the patriarchy. Whether playing […]

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Cain

Cain, TinFish Theatre. The English Romantics’ contribution to dramatic verse is notably meager, though several wrote “closet dramas” never intended for full performance. Modern theorists make a good case that these were uniquely suited to transgressive discourse, and the shoe undeniably fits a certain clubfoot. Byron wrote two such plays. Manfred (1816) is the superior, […]

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Therese Zemlin

The two galleries at I Space where Therese Zemlin’s works are on exhibit are dark except for the light that comes from the small incandescent bulbs that shine through paper or film. For the impressive The Bed Project she placed 144 Japanese-style lanterns in a 12-by-12 grid on the floor; the lanterns’ frames are covered […]

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Chicago Book Festival

Chicago’s annual literary festival runs October 1 through 30, with readings and book signings by local and national writers, poets, and scholars as well as discussions, lectures, workshops, tours, and children’s activities at bookstores, public libraries, and other venues. Some events feature the city’s “One Book, One Chicago” selection, Tim O’Brien’s National Book Award-winning novel […]

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Rogers Sisters

Like a bunch of current New York bands, the Rogers Sisters combine influences so baldly as to dare you to reduce them to an equation–maybe something like (Gang of Four – the Fall) x (B-52’s + Bush Tetras) divided by Talking Heads. But their Purely Evil (Troubleman Unlimited) is so much more than the sum […]

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Ornette Coleman

Saxophonist Ornette Coleman always gets the credit for inventing free jazz. It’s true that he formally rejected the shackles of fixed rhythmic and harmonic structures in the late 50s, and that the epochal long-form recording he made for Atlantic Records in 1960 is actually called Free Jazz. These days, of course, it’s impossible not to […]

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Calexico

Calexico used to be a sideline for unrepentant instrumentaholics John Convertino and Joey Burns, but eight years down the road it’s their main gig. Who can blame them? The band affords them the chance to play whatever they want, both instrumentally–Convertino plays drums, vibes, guitar, piano, and accordion, while vocalist Burns can make anything with […]