Posted inArts & Culture

Planet of the Bisexuals

In this solo show, writer-performer David Chapman demonstrates self-deprecating wit and a keen sense of audience expectations, which he pointedly mocks or manipulates. Detailing a young man’s adventures as a “Kinsey refugee,” this autobiographical comedy has a structure dictated by the solar system, which inspires Chapman’s anecdotes and analysis of his sexual confusion. Though he’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jeff Libman

“Excuse me, where are you from?” Amadou Tandina, who came to the U.S. from Burkina Faso in 1997, tried everything to get people to stop asking him that question. He wore a suit, read the Wall Street Journal on the train, slipped into a dark sports bar to catch a Bulls game. Nothing worked. “I […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Betrayal

Harold Pinter’s 1978 play enlivens the old story of a young wife having an affair with her husband’s best friend by telling it backward, setting each scene earlier in time than the one before–a device that allows full hindsight into the waning of the illicit couple’s ardor. Bob Bills Productions gives Betrayal a tidy staging […]

Posted inMusic

Alexei Borisov

Russian journeyman Alexei Borisov began playing music in the early 80s as the front man of the Centre, one of the Soviet Union’s first new wave bands, before founding the pioneering industrial dance outfit Notchnoi Prospekt. Since the 90s, however, he’s gravitated toward electronic music of various stripes, particularly techno and abstract experimentalism; this performance, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jimbo Mathus & Knockdown South

Former Squirrel Nut Zippers front man James “Jimbo” Mathus does to roots music what first-wave punks did to 60s rock ‘n’ roll. Mathus’s latest album, Knockdown South, released earlier this year on his label of the same name based in Clarksdale, Mississippi, is an audacious mess that combines fractured, macho honky-tonk, trance-blues psychedelia, neo-funk, primitive […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Common

Perhaps someday Stereolab and P.O.D. will sound at home on the same hip-hop album, but I suspect the voice you’ll hear rapping over them will not belong to Common. Some artists are born to blaze trails, and others are born to regroup after adventurous miscues like Electric Circus. Since that 2002 album, Kanye West has […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Break of Day

Flashes of wit can’t rescue Elizabeth Brown-Guillory’s domestic drama from wearisome predictability. Of course the grandfather’s indigestion turns out to be a heart attack, his homophobia reflects a secret past experience, and he makes peace with his son, who then reconciles with the grandsons. The dialogue substitutes earnestness and armchair psychology for genuine emotion and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Julia Mayer and Janet Schmid

Both these choreographers avoid the well-worn grooves of modern dance–their movement is refreshingly off the map. Janet Schmid’s quartet Pilotless, set to a soundscape of swings aimlessly creaking and a lounge-act version of “Happy Birthday to You,” is matter-of-fact but evocative because the movement seems so instinctual, whether one dancer is inchworming across the floor […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

When I was in college my brother told me that Ludwig van Beethoven was partially black. He said that it was common knowledge when Beethoven was alive that he was of “Moorish” complexion and ancestry. What’s the scoop? Was he black, or–more to the point–was he pure white? –Chris Crutchfield, Saint Paul, Minnesota Beethoven black? […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Estrogen Fest

“Estrogen Fest 2005: Changing the Rules!” runs through 6/5 at the Storefront Theater in Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph. Presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in conjunction with Prop Thtr, this annual showcase of women’s performance features artists in the fields of theater, spoken word, poetry, dance, and music. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues

This revue brings out everything that’s playful, melancholy, romantic, sexy, and joyful about blues music. Based on a concept by Ron Taylor with a book by Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Taylor, and Dan Wheetman and choreography by Donald McKayle, the Tony-winning It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues is directed by Myler for Northlight […]