Posted inArts & Culture

Von Freeman

When Chicago tenor saxophonist Von Freeman turned 80 a couple years ago he was feted in grand style, with birthday concerts at Symphony Center and the Chicago Jazz Festival, an honorary doctorate from Northwestern, an award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and a street renamed in his honor. But he refuses […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mercan Dede

A lot of electronic music producers look upon the music of the Middle East as useful sample fodder–nothing evokes exoticism as instantly as a melismatic minaret wail or a twangy oud figure tossed into the mix. Talented Asian producers like Karsh Kale, Bally Sagoo, and DuOud work at a higher level, thanks to a real […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nellie McKay

Nellie McKay, who just turned 20, is apparently one of those freakishly sheltered children, native mostly to Manhattan, who reach voting age with little awareness of and even less affinity for the mass culture of their generation. But while her influences may be unfashionable among her contemporaries, there are plenty of adults willing to pat […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Weddings of Mass Destruction

WEDDINGS OF MASS-DESTRUCTION, GayCo Productions and Second City Theatricals, at Victory Gardens Theater. Edgier than GayCo’s usual sketch shows, this revue focuses on gays and lesbians marrying in Massachusetts. More broadly, the topic is the quest for ordinariness–which makes for interesting debate on where the gay community is going. One man laments the loss of […]

Posted inMusic

Morrissey

The patron saint of misunderstood artistes was stuck with the racist tag by no less an arbiter than NME back in 1992, after he released “The National Front Disco” and cavorted onstage with a Union Jack. Morrissey is still taken for a conservative from time to time, and I imagine Oscar Wilde is banging his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chris Dorland

Chris Dorland’s Human Potential is a moving tribute to and critique of modernism’s utopian dreams. A circular balcony with a few spectators hangs above a vast city whose circular shape suggests our planet. The city’s hub-and-spokes plan and the boats regularly spaced in the river suggest a desire for perfection; but since the city is […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

As others see our mayor. Roxanne Qualls, former mayor of Cincinnati and board member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, speaking to a June 26 session of the Chicago-based group’s annual meeting: “Richard Daley is perhaps the greatest mayor this country has seen in decades. I’m not aware of any other city that has […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Drinking & Writing 5

DRINKING & WRITING 5, Neo-Futurists, at T’s Bar-Restaurant. Lots of writers drink, lots of people read, and lots of people will pay for the right to drink while watching a show about writers who drink. This is the lightweight premise for both “volumes” of the Neo-Futurists’ Drinking & Writing. And the two shows are amusing […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Millennium Park Grand Opening

The city’s new lakefront open-air arts center on Michigan between Randolph and Monroe makes its long-awaited official debut with a weekend of free performances. A sampling of theatrical, dance, and multimedia attractions follows; see Fairs & Festivals in Music listings or log on to www.millenniumpark.org for more information. FRIDAY, JULY 16 Pathway Performances Spontaneous performances […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Datebook

JULY Friday 16 It’s four years behind schedule and cost a lot more than it was supposed to, but who’s quibbling? The weekend-long Millennium Park Grand Opening kicks off today with music, dance, and performance to celebrate the transformation of a former rail yard into 24.5 acres of landscaping, art, and architecture. From 5 to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Lesson Before Dying

A play about racism and wrongful application of the death penalty may not be the most upbeat way to spend a summer evening on Lake Michigan, but A Lesson Before Dying is worth it. Originally performed as part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Arts Exchange program, Romulus Linney’s fleet stage adaptation retains the power, humor, and […]