Posted inArts & Culture

In Trousers

As part of its William Finn festival, Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago performs Finn’s seldom revived 1978 pop opera about a sexually confused adolescent, Marvin, and the females in his life: the teacher he has a crush on, the girl he dates, and the woman he marries–and eventually leaves for a man, as we learn in […]

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The Flaming Dames 2: Slippery When Wet

What kind of burlesque show might appeal to a jaded generation raised on scantily clad video babes? Why, one that features . . . scantily clad video babes! The New Millennium Theatre Company’s late-night extravaganza pits old-timey bawdy dames (including Amanda Krupman as an adorable Kewpie-doll moll) against the babes with big hair (and other, […]

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Orpheus Now

Field House Lab in its debut production, a world premiere, shows an admirable eagerness to embrace ambiguity: writer-director Gigi Buffington splinters the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice into a dozen stylized scenes, expanding its potential meanings. Orpheus, a singer who’s lost his voice after forsaking his true love, is in session with a saffron-garbed, chain-smoking […]

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William Finn and James Lapine’s musical is tricky. The protagonist–sexually ambivalent Marvin–is an immature kvetch trying to hold together an extended family that includes his ex-wife, their precocious son, the ex-wife’s husband (who’s also Marvin’s shrink), and Marvin’s boyfriend, who suffers from a mysterious malady we know is AIDS. (The story is set in New […]

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Decemberists, Okkervil River

I imagine that Colin Meloy was once the sort of arty, trench-coated high schooler his classmates wanted to either seduce or cram into a locker. His Portland-based indie-pop combo, the DECEMBERISTS, inspires a similar ambivalence: Meloy’s hyper-literary leanings often muck up an otherwise decent tune or engaging tale, and when he’s at his cloying, old-world-romantic […]

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Dresden Staatskapelle

The Dresden Staatskapelle, founded in 1548, is one of the finest orchestras in Europe, renowned for its luminous winds, lush string playing, and precise, well-blended sound. It returns to Chicago for the first time since 1987 to give a single performance of two Beethoven symphonies. The monumental Third, or Eroica, altered the direction of music […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In February the Houston Chronicle reported on 22-year-old Dallas artist James Sooy and his solution to the problem of glasses slipping down one’s nose: he had a piercing inserted through the bridge of his nose and attached his prescription lenses directly to it. Sooy hoped to market the idea, but an optometrist interviewed […]

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On their new No Wow (Rough Trade/RCA), the Kills sound more like classic P.J. Harvey than Polly Jean herself does these days. Though the London duo can’t match the complexity of Harvey’s lyrics, they know how to work with what they’ve got. In a deep-down sex-choked moan, singer VV (aka Alison Mosshart) conjures a mixture […]

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Woody Allen’s 1975 comedy is nominally set in ancient Greece, but it’s a New York Jewish sort of Greece like the one in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. And once the action starts leaking out into the present day–anachronisms piling up like crazy–the Greek part falls away and it’s just […]

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SFJAZZ Collective

On top of booking the San Francisco Jazz Festival every fall, nonprofit presenter SFJAZZ organizes events year-round; in 2000 it installed saxist Joshua Redman as the artistic director for its spring season of concerts. Last year it launched the SFJAZZ Collective, also under Redman’s direction, and this week the high-powered octet makes its Chicago debut. […]