Posted inArts & Culture

Head of Femur

Republican presidents reliably provoke spiteful dissent and woe-is-me wallowing from independent-minded musicians, but if the land of indie rock were Middle Earth, Head of Femur would be its hobbits: like Sam and Frodo they seem to feel a duty to keep their chins up, even when everything around them reeks of evil. On their debut […]

Posted inMusic

Rebel to the End

Gary Stewart 1945-2003 Country star Gary Stewart died the week before Christmas, an apparent suicide. His frequent collaborator and wife of 41 years, Mary Lou Stewart, had passed away just weeks before. Stewart broke into the music business in 1968 as a songwriter but by 1975 was better known as a singer, with a string […]

Posted inNews & Politics

TRG Music Listings

Rock, Pop, Etc. Concerts AMERICAN ENGLISH (BEATLES TRIBUTE) Sat 1/24, 8 PM, Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University, Stuenkel Rd. & Governors Hwy., University Park. 708-235-2222. SANDY ANDINA Free in-store performance. Fri 1/16, 8 PM, Borders Books & Music, 1500 16th, Oak Brook. 630-574-0800. BEN ARTHUR, JENNIFER MARKS Tue 1/20, 10 AM, Wheeling High […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

In America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues With African Americans (Warner Books), Harvard African and African-American studies chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. tackles an issue long debated within the black community: how to bridge the gap between its haves and have-nots. The book attempts to answer the question through interviews with 44 Americans across the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

French Gray

FRENCH GRAY, Azusa Productions, at Heartland Studio Theater. “I was born to glory,” says the only character in this one-woman show, the doomed Marie Antoinette. It’s the last hour or so of her life, and she’s reflecting on it in her cell–a chilly, claustrophobic place well evoked by Andrew Glasenhardt’s set. In Josef Bush’s well-researched […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Howard Tate, Bettye LaVette

I wonder whether 30 years from now well-meaning musicologists will be resuscitating second-tier rappers like Memphis Bleek and Masta Killa, who’ll thrill genteel audiences as reliably as the annual “rediscovery” of some minor R & B or soul “legend” (e.g., Solomon Burke) gooses the authenticity fetish of today’s bourgeoisie. Journeyman blues singer Howard Tate slipped […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story According to a December Atlanta Journal-Constitution report, Derek Leroy McSmith of Clayton County, Georgia, has filed 10,618 open-records requests with the Forest City government since April, at one point asking for 835 items in a single day. Each request must be logged in and processed, and for months a city clerk has been […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sportswriters: Masters of Their Universe; Never Having to Say You’re Sorry; Flack’s Wet Dream; News Bite

Sportswriters: Masters of Their Universe One of the joys of being a sportswriter is that you get to do things journalists are never ever supposed to do, like manufacture the big story before you write it. You can even boast about doing it. War isn’t contingent on the correspondents who cover the fighting, but without […]

Posted inArts & Culture


For years indie-rock bands have known that breaking up orderly pop songs with the chaos of noise is a good recipe for tension: early recordings by the Grifters floated maddeningly from fuzzed-out haze to sharp tunefulness and back again, and the debut from Apples in Stereo had a careening energy that threatened to trample the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Billy Boy Arnold

Harpist Billy Boy Arnold played with some of the biggest names in Chicago blues history, but he remained a medium-size one himself. Born here in 1935, Arnold grew up idolizing John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, the Tennessee-born harpist who laid down the template for the urban blues style in the 30s and 40s. After taking […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Human Interest Story (or the Gory Details and All)

A HUMAN INTEREST STORY (OR THE GORY DETAILS AND ALL), Walkabout Theater Company, at Breadline Theatre. Writer-director Carlos Murillo’s investigation into how television shapes our perception of America pivots around a real-life event: the suicide of Pennsylvania state treasurer R. Budd Dwyer, who blew his brains out during a televised press conference. Nearly 17 years […]

Posted inFilm

Past Lives, Present Puzzles

Universal Hotel **** (Masterpiece) Directed and written by Peter Thompson. El Movimiento *** (A must-see) Directed by Peter Thompson Written by William F. Hanks and Thompson. Peter Thompson, who teaches photography at Columbia College and makes personal, autobiographical documentaries, is a major, neglected filmmaker. He’s made five films, and the latest, El Movimiento, his only […]