Posted inArts & Culture

Charles McPherson

Alto saxist Charles McPherson is a safe choice to kick off the Jazz Showcase’s annual monthlong celebration of Charlie Parker, but nonetheless an exciting one. At 65 McPherson is still a perfect stand-in for Parker–a role he played on the sound track to Clint Eastwood’s film Bird. With his fat, almost fulsome tone and spectacular […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Garden State

A comic gem, this coming-of-age story reminds me of the great social satires of the late 60s and early 70s–small films like The Graduate and Harold and Maude, whose alienated heroes bring us along for the ride as they navigate the absurdities and hypocrisies of modern life. Writer-director Zach Braff (who appears on the sitcom […]

Posted inMusic

A.C. Newman

It wasn’t so long ago that Carl Newman had all but given up on a career as a musician, doing much of his playing as a product tester at a Vancouver guitar factory. His disillusionment was understandable following the untimely flameout of his mid-90s combo Zumpano. Hyped as the band that would lead Sub Pop […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dealer’s Choice

DEALER’S CHOICE, Steep Theatre Company. A poker game gives new meaning to risk-taking theater in Patrick Marber’s taut drama, which proves the value of losing when what’s at stake is more than money. As in Bleacher Bums, the players define themselves more through losses than gains, and a true father battles a false one for […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Glory in the Flower

GLORY IN THE FLOWER, Chicago Actors Studio. William Inge’s one-act and this production complement each other beautifully: the play is dated and discursive while the production is stagy and superficial. The central character comes from Inge’s better-known Bus Riley’s Back in Town, and the rest of the characters are also familiar: beaten-down salesmen, fighters who […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Six Organs of Admittance

Last year in an interview for Magnet, Ben Chasny claimed he had “bipolar tendencies.” The guitarist meant to contrast the ultraheavy rock he plays in the quintet Comets on Fire with the psych-folk tunes he writes for Six Organs of Admittance–which is usually just Chasny and his four-track, despite the name. (He says it comes […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Give us the real scoop. Did the Venona Project establish beyond a doubt that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed as spies in 1953 but proclaimed their innocence, were Soviet agents? –Jim D., Medford, Massachusetts Of the many revelations since the fall of the iron curtain, one of the least expected was that all […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Second City Unhinged

SECOND CITY UNHINGED, Second City E.T.C. The Tuesday-night lineup of “Second City Unhinged” features improv combos whose players abandon too much to the anarchy of improvisation. A surefire test of a troupe is how well the performers adhere to the all-important audience suggestion. As directed by Peter Gwinn, P.O.V. is a problematic long-form improvisation despite […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hannah and Martin

Bringing the high drama of intellectual history across onstage is generally a fool’s errand, but last year the TimeLine Theatre Company pulled it off with Stoppard-ian aplomb. In her take on the personal and professional relationship of philosophers Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger, playwright Kate Fodor skillfully juggles romantic, conceptual, and moral narratives–prickly, potentially mind- […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Friday 8/6 – Thursday 8/12 AUGUST 6 FRIDAY If the domestic job market’s got you down, don’t despair–you can always leave the country. In addition to workshops on jobs with the foreign service and resume writing, this weekend’s International Marketplace and Career Fair will have reps on hand from a wide range of employers, including […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dodie Bellamy

San Francisco writer Dodie Bellamy’s new collection Pink Steam (Suspect Thoughts Press) is billed as “fiction/essay/memoir” on the back jacket, but the copyright page states “This book is a work of fiction.” Which is it? Who cares! Whatever it is, it’s a blast. Bellamy, whose mind-bending 1998 novel, The Letters of Mina Harker, landed her […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pete Rock

Few producers did more to define the sound of early 90s hip-hop than Pete Rock, whose two albums with rapper CL Smooth (Mecca and the Soul Brother and The Main Ingredient) elevated crate digging to an art form with their seamless, looping grooves built from smooth horn charts, killer breakbeats, funky guitar licks, and other […]