Posted inArts & Culture

Mahwash & Ensemble Kaboul

The U.S. military’s rout of the Taliban in 2001 scarcely restored Afghanistan to peace and prosperity, but some things have changed for the better. One of the first images the media brought us after the fall of the fundamentalist Islamic regime was that of Afghans listening to music–a thing forbidden by the mullahs, who destroyed […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mathieu Werchowski

The influence of musique concrete, composition based on recordings of noninstrumental sounds, runs deep in French improvised music. Players like pianist Sophie Agnel and guitarist Pascal Battus use extended technique to distort the sounds of their instruments beyond recognition. Jerome Noetinger and Lionel Marchetti, both accomplished musique concrete composers, forgo conventional instruments altogether and perform […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

Like so much of Chicago, the rehabbed Soldier Field puts its best face toward the lake. Seen from the east, the curved glass exterior of the stadium bowl is contained by the distinctive columns of the old stadium. The effect is jarring, but the separate parts almost unite, in the manner of an elegant new […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Michael Ferris Jr.

Labor-intensive art often gains meaning from the very act of its making: if thousands of beads are arranged to depict a kitchen, the viewer is at least impressed by the obsessive effort. Michael Ferris Jr. takes this self-reflective process a step further in his show of five inlaid-wood sculptures and eight paintings at Aron Packer. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Metal Urbain

Cherished by record collectors today but loved by only dozens in its prime, Metal Urbain is one of the few memorable French bands of the late 70s. While most of their fellow avant-gardists were imitating British punk, these guys were off on their own trip, incorporating homemade synths and drum machines–newfangled contraptions at the time–into […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Can you teach foundation officers new tricks? The journal of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Responsive Philanthropy, seems to have some doubts. An article in the fall issue reiterates findings of a 1997 study by the group since confirmed in a follow-up analysis: “Conservative foundations often work in a similar and well-coordinated fashion. For […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

FIREWATER 11/7, EMPTY BOTTLE Firewater’s upcoming covers album, Songs We Should Have Written (Jetset)–featuring obvious calls like “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Paint It Black,” and Tom Waits’s “Diamonds and Gold” as well as pleasant surprises like Robyn Hitchcock’s melancholy, nostalgic “I Often Dream of Trains”–is entertaining enough, but these New Yorkers never dig into the standards […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar Sidebar

Portraiture, not analysis, is Robbie Conal’s strong suit. Reared during the 60s, he made his reputation as a guerrilla poster artist in the Reagan years, then scored a regular art column with the LA Weekly in the late 90s. In the recently released Artburn, a bong-table book named after his Weekly page, his gruesome, fleshy […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Grey Ghost

We’re now five years or so into the laptop era of improvised music, during which ever greater numbers of players have attempted to incorporate electronic elements into their improv work. Some use a computer as an extra tone source, setting a preprogrammed pattern of notes in motion, then picking up another instrument and playing along; […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Oneida

There’s more than a touch of Krautrock hypnosis in the huge, ultrarepetitive riffs and rhythmic patterns banged out by Oneida, but the Brooklyn trio also goes beyond the minimalism of Neu! and early Kraftwerk. Their forthcoming album, Secret Wars (Jagjaguwar), artfully balances speaker-shredding bombast and lean precision, complicated by a variety of catalytic elements–a whiff […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Datebook

NOVEMBER 7 FRIDAY “I can’t put on a resume that I’ve been raped, beaten, and sexually abused by men,” says former prostitute Brenda Myers. “You can’t get a job with that.” Myers spent 25 years working the streets before coming to Genesis House for help seven years ago. Now a leadership development coordinator for the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Heather Woodbury

The beauty of Heather Woodbury’s performances is the way she summons up many different characters just by changing the tone of her voice, adding a few accessories, and modifying her body language. In her impressive multinight piece, What Ever (An American Odyssey in 8 Acts), she’s able to flip between the ten main characters and […]