Posted inArts & Culture

Spoon River Anthology

I can’t think of a better way to meditate on our “national values” this election season than by seeing this stark, intimate production by Theo Ubique Theatre Company. Edgar Lee Masters’s 1915 volume of verse epitaphs–essentially monologues by the unquiet souls in a central Illinois cemetery–ripped the veil from small-town passions and hypocrisy; in 1963 […]

Posted inMusic

Holly Golightly, The Tough & Lovely

Holly Golightly first made a splash in the early 90s with Thee Headcoatees, a raucous ladies’ auxiliary to Billy Childish’s most famous combo. The gehls tried gamely to look like they were being teensploited by the garage guru, playing punk covers and Childish’s tunes. But since ’94 Golightly has also had a for-real solo career, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Seek Wonder

Grand-scale Hollywood illusions have their place, of course, but nothing compares to magic tricks performed right before our very eyes. Supposedly taking his cue from Dutch prestidigitator Rednow Kees–whose name is “seek wonder” spelled backward–Sean Masterson delivers legerdemain all the more impressive for being low-tech. Assisted at this family-oriented show by eager audience volunteers (and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

What the –?

A bunch of Topless Humans Organized for Natural Genetics crashed a reception for the NanoCommerce 2004 conference at McCormick Place last week. The five guys and four gals from THONG lined up in front of the podium facing the assembled scientists and businesspeople, stripped down to their thongs, and turned around to reveal the slogan […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Incredible String Band

Just a couple years after the Beatles raised eyebrows with a single sitar, this Scottish combo made two of the most fearlessly and promiscuously eclectic folk albums of all time. The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion (1967) and The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter (1968) burst at the seams with far-flung influences: Balkan, Indian, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Select Media Festival 3

This third annual “exploration of international movements in the digital underground of electronic media” runs Saturday through Thursday, October 16 through 21, at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Admission is $9, $5 for Film Center members; for more information call 312-846-2600. Alterations of Everyday Life Shorts from Japan and the U.S. 75 min. a Saturday, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Streetcar Named Desire

Michael Menendian’s perfectly cast staging of Tennessee Williams’s domestic tragedy for Raven Theatre abounds in discoveries. Nick Keenan’s evocative sound design renders the seedy French Quarter setting painfully audible, and Liz Fletcher makes us taste the insanity in Blanche’s shabby-genteel fantasies. Mike Vieau plays Stanley Kowalski with a territorial brutality rather than the usual smoldering […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Interpol

These suave, soulful ghost hunters haven’t learned many new tricks since the release of Turn On the Bright Lights in 2002, but they’ve gone a long way toward mastering the old ones. Almost every track on Antics (Matador), their brand-new second album, captures the incandescent image of an apparition equal parts Ian Curtis, Psychedelic Furs, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Shadow Worlds: Silent Experimental Films

The truly silent cinema of avant-gardists requires no accompaniment–silence deepens the viewer’s imaginative involvement. In Sidney Peterson’s neosurreal The Cage (1947) an artist (played by two different actors) removes his eye in an attempt to stop seeing conventionally, and the result is a deranged romp through San Francisco that includes reverse motion, anamorphic squeezing, inanimate […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

What’s up with popups? I don’t mean the thing that happens when a batter gets too far under a fastball, I mean those maddening advertising windows that crowd your computer screen when you surf the Web. It can take several minutes to swat down the lot of them, giving that animated bimbo–you know the one–a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Gaby Kerpel

Argentinean composer Gaby Kerpel got his professional start in music in the late 80s with multimedia performance groups like De la Guarda, and an acquaintance of mine who saw a recent New York gig where Kerpel performed material from his solo debut, Carnabailito (Nonesuch), says he’s brought a theatrical element to his own work as […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Joint Effort

Robert Davis and Michael Langlois are unusual not only because they collaborate but because their paintings, based on photographs, have a steamy, soft-edged sensuality opposed to the cool distance of most works painted from photos. A portrait of emperor Haile Selassie seems to vibrate with an almost out-of-control lushness and depth despite its apparently sedate […]