Posted inArts & Culture

Bootleg Islam

It’s not quite “My Big Fat Persian Wedding,” but Iranian-American Negin Farsad’s autobiographical comic monologue about a trip back to Tehran in 1999 for a female cousin’s nuptials does tread some familiar ground as this all-American party girl confronts old-world traditions. A hit at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival, Bootleg Islam has a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Andrew Morgan

Though he moved to Chicago in 2001, Andrew Morgan spent most of the subsequent years elsewhere, bouncing from his native Kansas City, Missouri, to Oxford, England, to Lawrence, Kansas, to Los Angeles to Harvard University before finally settling back in Lincoln Park in June. He began recording Misadventures in Radiology, his ambitious solo debut, at […]

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Confessions of a Mormon Boy

Writer-performer Steven Fales has an extraordinary story to tell. Born gay and Mormon, he married, had kids, and underwent “reparative therapy” in an effort to go straight. Finally he gave up, suffered through divorce and excommunication, and descended into a vortex of drug addiction and self-destruction as a sex worker in New York City. But […]

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Michel Doneda, Jack Wright & Tatsuya Nakatani

Fifty-year-old French saxophonist Michel Doneda has been a presence in European improv circles for decades, but he’s relatively unknown in the U.S. He favors heavy abstraction and precise extended technique, not the fireworks better-known European free-jazz reedists like, but recently he’s found a natural niche within the bustling electroacoustic improv scene. On Strom (Potlatch), a […]

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Neko Case, Sadies

Like a photograph of a movie star’s good side, Neko Case’s last studio album, Blacklisted (2002), was a perfect but incomplete picture of her outsize talent. The noirish production on the album spotlighted her dynamic, expressive vocals and emphasized an atmosphere of unease, but it also gave short shrift to the earthy humor and unbridled […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I keep hearing claims that the Salem witchcraft trials were the result of poisoning by grain infected with ergot fungus, which caused convulsions and other symptoms that the simple souls of the day interpreted as signs of demonic possession. Any truth to this, Cecil?–Daniel L., Kenosha, Wisconsin Not likely. While it’s rarely possible to prove […]

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Tony Fitzpatrick

Tony Fitzpatrick’s gorgeous new book, The Wonder: Portraits of a Remembered City, Volume I (La Luz de Jesus/Last Gasp), reproduces 30 of the Chicago artist’s cryptic, symbol-laden collage-drawings, which include ephemera like postage stamps, nudie pinups, and matchbook covers from long-gone local hotels and taverns. Evoking a romantic era that Fitzpatrick remembers from tooling around […]

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George Flynn

George Flynn Before coming to Chicago in 1977 to chair DePaul University’s composition department, George Flynn had been studying and teaching at Columbia University. The new-music scene in Manhattan was then divided into two camps: an uptown group associated with Columbia and Charles Wuorinen that focused on 12-tone and serial music, and a downtown group […]

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The recent re-formation of Cleveland pop legends the Raspberries is the most unlikely concert event this side of the Pixies reunion last year–and, for those who regard power pop as a religion, a moment on par with the Second Coming. The group broke up in 1974, after a postshow fistfight between singer Eric Carmen and […]

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The Lesson

Have you heard the one about the timid professor and the sexpot student? At first this familiar scenario is key to director Terry Domschke’s interpretation of Eugene Ionesco’s classroom classic, and it works quite well: Katie Korby as the seductive pupil, Joseph Schuman as the mousy academic, and Sylvia Grady as his matriarchal housekeeper establish […]