Posted inNews & Politics

Garbage man

It’s one thing to review every movie from a pretentious, academic approach as the Reader normally does, but this time J.R. Jones didn’t even review the movie [The Rundown, Section Two] other than calling it “garbage.” Since “garbage” is a pretty subjective term and you pay this person to write reviews, shouldn’t we see a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Symphony of Sex

Symphony of Sex, Shakura Ensemble Ritual Theatre, at Theatre Building Chicago. At the end of her New Age performance piece, Shakura founder Blanche Blacke gives a monologue/lecture. “Sex as sin or sex as divine is a choice,” she says. Women must own their sexuality as divine, she maintains, because “a woman’s energy uplifts a man’s.” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Anna in the Tropics

Anna in the Tropics, Victory Gardens Theater. Like the Tolstoy character cited in its title, Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer-winning play aches with sensual yearning and an inchoate sense of foreboding. But instead of inhabiting the slate gray world of Anna Karenina’s Saint Petersburg, Cruz’s characters are wistful Cuban emigres in a humid Florida cigar factory in […]

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Available Jelly

You can still hear the scrappy street band in the Amsterdam jazz sextet Available Jelly, an offshoot of a Utah performance troupe that went to Europe in the 70s to play open-air festivals and stuck around. Working out a new composition or arrangement, each member typically devises his own lead or supporting part in the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rhinoceros Theater Festival

The Curious Theatre Branch’s ambitious yearly showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago’s fringe began as part of the Bucktown Arts Fest. Over the years it’s mushroomed from a neighborhood happening to an event of citywide significance–especially now that it’s been taken under the wing of the Department of Cultural Affairs as part […]

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Jeff Carter

Jeff Carter’s graceful Scaffold/Landscape is intended to evoke Indonesian rice fields. But the six particle-board terraces–edged in green carpet and supported by lengths of bamboo–are saved from being either campy or didactic by their size and placement. Rising from floor to ceiling in the corner of a room just off the main gallery at Vedanta, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jonathan Lethem

Childhood, often romanticized as a state of carefree and innocent play, is in truth lived according to an intricate set of rules: this stoop’s third base; those sneakers are the best; don’t ride your bike down that street or you’ll lose it to a bully. In his new novel, The Fortress of Solitude (Doubleday), Jonathan […]

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Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre

A few years ago Jason Ohlberg, founding artistic director of this six-year-old troupe, left town, putting Anna Simone Levin in charge. Now she’s taking a yearlong sabbatical to study choreography in Amsterdam, and the group is being headed by Jeffery Hancock (former artistic associate), Joanna Rosenthal, and Katherine Saifuku. Sometimes artistic turnovers aren’t good, but […]

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Psych Drama

Let There Be Light…! WNEP Theater Stage adaptations of movies often degrade the original, trivializing the work in the name of satire or camp or flattening nuances to make room for songs, special effects, monstrous scenery, or the adapters’ egos. Rare are the projects that actually transform a film into a work of drama that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wide Right

Chrissie Hynde fairly glowered at the strip malls and interstates of Akron in “My City Was Gone,” but Leah Archibald looks back on her own dying rust-belt burg, Buffalo, with far more conflicted feelings. On Wide Right (Poptop), the debut full-length from her band of the same name, Archibald cruises one more time past the […]