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Posted inArts & Culture

Look Back in Anger

LOOK BACK IN ANGER, Rogue Theater, at Breadline Theatre Laboratory. In 1956 John Osborne shook up the theater world with this bitter cry of postwar frustration, the play that both put “angry young man” in the lexicon and spawned the whole kitchen-sink subgenre. Nowadays many of its complaints seem tame, dated, or obvious, but the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Merrily We Roll Along

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, White Horse Theatre Company, at Chicago Dramatists. Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s 1981 musical adaptation of Kaufman and Hart’s 1934 play is built on a fascinating but potentially crippling gimmick: the story is told backward, moving from 1976 to 1957. Such a structure could easily devolve into an intellectual exercise–a regular […]

Posted inFilm

Art in Action

What do Takeshi Kitano’s Zatoichi and Michael Mann’s Collateral, both opening this week, have in common? Judging by what some of my colleagues have been saying, they’re both effective action movies directed by talented genre specialists. But I would argue that this description applies only to Collateral. Although Mann stretched himself somewhat with Ali, The […]

Posted inArts & Culture


FUR, Artistic Home. In the mid-90s, Nuyorican dramatist Migdalia Cruz was practically the resident playwright at Latino Chicago, but since 1997 her work has rarely been produced here. Now Luis Crespo has staged Fur at the Artistic Home. In Cruz’s inverted, poetic take on the story of Beauty and the Beast, pet shop owner Michael […]

Posted inMusic

Battle of the Bitter Boys

Morrissey You Are the Quarry (Attack) The Cure The Cure (Geffen) On April 13 the New York Post’s gossip page ran a story titled “Clash of the Britons.” What followed wasn’t a rundown of another sad scuffle amongst the royals, but rather a thumbnail summary of a bitter public feud between–ready for this?–Robert Smith and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

As others see our mayor. From Lisa Chamberlain’s report “Mayor Daley’s Green Crusade” in the July issue of Metropolis: “Seated at a long conference table surrounded by reports and memos, Daley’s locution ricochets from a grand vision of environmentalism to the vexing minutiae of urban life: the damaging effects of rock salt, poor drainage, abandoned […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Formed in 1986 during the second wave of American klezmer revivalism, New York’s Klezmatics are no purists: they’ll hybridize the sound of the shtetl with rock, vintage jazz, cabaret, or any other style that suits their fancy. They reach an expansive new plateau on their most recent release, Rise Up! Shteyt Oyf! (Rounder, 2003), which […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kenny Dixon Jr.

House-music producers have long put nostalgia up front–sampling songs from their parents’ childhoods, often tweaking them with low-pass filters, the audio equivalent of sepia tint. But Detroit’s Kenny Dixon Jr., who usually records under the name Moodymann, makes it the whole point of his work. Take the 1996 Moodymann 12-inch “The Day We Lost the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jon Mueller, Bhob Rainey, Jim Schoenecker

The liner notes to Papercuts (Crouton), a new recording by Milwaukee’s Jon Mueller and Switzerland-based American Jason Khan, both percussionists, say the music was “produced with various grades of handmade and commercial paper.” There are no beats or fixed rhythms, and four successive mixes have rendered the original sounds–those of crumpling, folding, fluttering, and otherwise […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Appointed principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra at 20, Lynn Harrell has since become one of a handful of upper-echelon soloists. His extensive discography includes a terrific recording on London/Decca of the Dvorak Cello Concerto, a lush, romantic masterpiece from a genre that’s surprisingly small. Nearly all the great composers wrote at least one concerto […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fillet of Solo

Live Bait Theater presents its ninth annual showcase of one-person performances. The event features work by an array of well-known fringe artists–among them David Kodeski, Stephanie Shaw, Susan Karp, and Edward Thomas-Herrera–as well as a crop of emerging talents, including real-life police officers involved in Live Bait’s Police-Teen Link program. The Fillet of Solo Festival […]