Posted inArts & Culture

The True Ballad of Fall’s Blessings

A cross between Nicholas Nickleby, HBO’s occult Carnivale series, Charlie Daniels’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” any number of fairy tales, and lots of other things I can’t quite put my finger on, The True Ballad of Fall’s Blessings has the makings of an endearingly eccentric entertainment. It should be a hell of a […]

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Me and You and Everyone We Know

Fresh, likable, and stylishly low-key, this wistful and sexy romantic comedy marks the feature-directing debut of conceptual artist Miranda July. There are a lot of strong performances by relative unknowns, but what really holds things together is a certain sustained pitch of feeling about loneliness. July plays a shy video artist, supporting herself as a […]

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Annie

When indie rockers start blogging mash notes to superficial Europop, I get a smidgen suspicious: Why go spelunking in the vast recesses of the Internet for catchy trifles when you can just switch on the radio? Maybe some folks are so snobby they can only enjoy the thrill of pop when it doesn’t have the […]

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Chicago Country Music Festival

The Country Music Festival in Grant Park is traditionally the only block of thematically linked programming during the Taste of Chicago. The headliners, who play the Petrillo Music Shell, are typically current, former, or potential mainstream radio staples, while most of the acts on the Taste Stage can only dream about that kind of airplay–that […]

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Chicago Dance Crash

Sometimes reinventing the wheel is a good idea. Though Chicago Dance Crash’s evening-length Tribulation and the Demolition Squad has plenty of precedents in theater and pop culture, it also feels fresh and unique. And I’ve seldom seen a dance so effectively blend story and movement, thanks to writer-choreographer Mark Hackman’s nuanced, likable protagonist, who delivers […]

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Put the Nuns in Charge

Attention, Late Nite Catechism fans: Sister’s back with a vengeance. Patricia Musker (alternating with Lynda Shadrake) brings her chop-busting A game to this spin-off of the long-running homage to old-school nunnery. Good material abounds in Sister’s Golden Rule seminar, in which she scrutinizes cell phone yakking and modern assholiness (woe betide anyone showing up five […]

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Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Mahler composed his First Symphony when he was only 28, yet it has many of the features that characterize his later work–a huge orchestra, vastness, an inseparable relationship with song. The second lied from his Songs of a Wayfarer forms the primary, joyful theme of the first movement, which emerges out of an amorphous haze […]

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Dirty Projectors

Now that there’s no point waiting for Michael Jackson’s “Live From Corcoran” collaboration with Charles Manson, the Dirty Projectors’ The Getty Address (Western Vinyl) pretty much has the Weirdest Release of 2005 title sewn up. The loosely defined group, led by Yale dropout Dave Longstreth, caught my attention with its 2003 album The Glad Fact–first […]