Posted inArts & Culture

The Madman and the Nun

It’s no surprise that Stanislaw Witkiewicz’s aggressively irrational plays were largely unknown when he committed suicide in 1939 (the Nazis were closing in on his native Poland from one direction, the Russians from another). Not only were his absurd scripts several decades ahead of their time, but the author was dismissed as a madman thanks […]

Posted inNews & Politics

We Pay, They Play

Lynn Becker hit many points in his column about Millennium Park [“Inspiration or Exception?” September 3]. He also took the time to explain the many expensive mistakes that occurred during construction. Becker correctly points out that the Gehry stage is but a variation on his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. For this we can thank […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Utah Phillips

Born in Cleveland in 1935, Utah (born Bruce) Phillips helped shape American folk music for the generations following the WWII-era ascent of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Like those two icons, Phillips emphasizes working-class tales; a card-carrying Wobbly, he’s performed and written countless pro-union tunes. But Phillips’s politicized approach, a product of his experiences in […]

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Red Krayola

In 1967 at the Berkeley Folk Music Festival, the Red Krayola bombarded a crowd that’d gathered to hear Doc Watson and Janis Ian with squalls of feedback, prompting a reviewer for the Berkeley Barb to observe that the band “did nothing but get audiences uptight.” He meant it as a put-down, but that embrace of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

From the Vice President

In this week’s very nice story about local filmmaker Rosie Vargas Goldberg [Culture Club, September 3] I was identified as a vice president of Independent Film Producers. I am, in fact, vice president of the Independent Feature Project/Chicago, the local chapter of the nationwide IFP organization. For more information about the IFP, please visit www.ifp.org […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Roots

Depending on what you read, The Tipping Point (Geffen), the seventh album from Philadelphia hip-hop icons the Roots, is either an overt grab for mainstream success or simply uninspired. Neither charge is totally baseless. Measured against the high standard of the Roots’ previous work–particularly Phrenology (MCA, 2002), their most ambitious and progressive effort so far–the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Margasak Picks on Little Girls

We wanted to thank you for your fine coverage of this year’s Chicago Jazz Fest [Section Three, September 3]. It seems for the past several years that Peter Margasak has had the role of informing your audience background information about the various artists that play the stages. “Master” Peter’s comments on 13-year-old Susan May reached […]

Posted inArts & Culture

How to Brandish a Weapon

HOW TO BRANDISH A WEAPON, Hermit Arts, at Prop Thtr. Given all the debate about national security, Hermit Arts picked a propitious time to examine the subjects of violence and domination. Eight writers and six actors have managed to collaborate on this show without indulging in obvious pieties, instead providing plenty of off-kilter humor and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Guilty As Charged

GUILTY AS CHARGED, Perfect Gentlemen, at ImprovOlympic. Dave Taylor, who does clueless well, and tall, goofy Jeff Madden present an intermittently amusing hour-long revue. These are quirky character-based sketches from the first bit, in which humorless antagonists pompously proclaim the adiposity of their opponent’s mother, to the last, in which Madden exploits his 2 percent […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nick Lowe, Geraint Watkins

Years ago people used to call Nick Lowe “Basher”–he had a reputation as a fellow who liked to play hard, drink hard, and get his business in the studio over with quick. But then Curtis Stigers covered his tune “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” on the Bodyguard sound track, which would eventually […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Well of the Saints

THE WELL OF THE SAINTS, Irish Repertory, at Victory Gardens Theater. The casting of a real-life husband and wife, Brigid Duffy and Charles Gerace, as Mary and Martin Doul–blind, homely beggars convinced they’re blessed with gorgeous marriage partners until a wandering holy man restores their sight and they flee each other in disgust–encapsulates the strengths […]

Posted inNews & Politics

TRG Music Listings

Rock, Pop, Etc. Concerts JASON ANDERSON, SWIMMER MISSING, HELIGOATS, RABBITS All-ages. Fri 9/10, 8 PM, 2315 Gallery, 2315 W. Huron. www.mpshows.com. ERYKAH BADU, NINA SKY 18+. Fri 9/17, 8 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee. 877-259-5299 or 312-559-1212. TONY BENNETT Fri 9/10, 8 PM, Star Plaza Theatre, I-65 & U.S. 30, Merrillville, Indiana. 773-734-7266 or […]

Posted inArts & Culture

M83

On its second album and U.S. debut, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (Mute), the French instrumental duo M83 uses 80s keyboard technology to create electronic effects and melodic bombast that recall the crossover work of early synthesizer pioneers like Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre. (A computer is used only once, to cut up […]