Posted inMusic

Ada

Microhouse–a genre the Village Voice rightly described as minimal techno disguised as house music–has gotten a lot less micro of late. The most common adjustment has been to plant microhouse’s subtle beats and incrementally shifting textures underneath songs that are already popular. Sometimes this tactic fails–Superpitcher released a god-awful cover of “Fever” earlier this year. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cicero Blake

Chicago’s Cicero Blake was already a 20-year veteran of doo-wop, soul, and R & B when, in the mid-70s, he wrapped his gritty but sweet tenor around “Dip My Dipper,” a minor R & B classic that helped define the era’s soul-blues style. The song’s written as a slow-grinding ode to illicit sex, but Blake’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Toward a Political Modernism? Critical Japanese Cinema of the 1960s and 1970s

Presented by the University of Chicago Film Studies Center, this ambitious four-day conference “explores the poetics and politics of ‘independent’ cinema in 1960s and 1970s Japan,” with papers and panel discussions featuring some of this country’s best scholars of Japanese cinema. It also includes screenings of films that “contested dominant narratives of Japan’s first modern […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Site Unseen

Hospital wards are terrifying places, as anyone who’s spent time in them knows. Unfortunately for director Kairol Rosenthal, she has. And when she and dancer Asimina Chremos were scouting out the Chicago Cultural Center’s nooks and crannies to create a piece for “Site Unseen,” an evening of site-specific performances and installations, the sterile yet dingy […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pixies

We called it college rock for a reason. The Pixies sounded like they’d cobbled their lyrics together after batting around in-jokes in a dorm lounge at 4 AM and dressed like they’d grabbed yesterday’s clothes off the floor after waking up late for Intro to Psych. Hindsight’s 20/20, of course, but it sure seems this […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jungalbook

In adapting Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Books for young audiences, Edward Mast transposes the action from a rain forest to a modern city. Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther thus become denizens of an urban jungle where only harsh tribal justice prevents complete mayhem. It’s one thing for wild animals to argue over a […]

Posted inFilm

About Baghdad

Shot in July 2003, this collectively made video documentary is by far the most comprehensive account I’ve seen of how Iraqis view the U.S. war and occupation. The main interlocutor, a poet and novelist with an Iraqi father and an American mother, doesn’t conceal his opposition to President Bush, but the spectrum of positions is […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Lesbian in the Pantry

The title character in this pocket-size musical by Greta Mae Productions is the imaginary friend of eight-year-old Lucy–a relationship eliciting the jealous disapproval of her mother, who’s long since ceased believing in fairies of any type. The metaphors in Joe Latessa’s hour-long fairy-tale opera, using a score dominated by waltzes, prove elusive. But in this […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Mozart adored the clarinet, and his clarinet concerto is probably the most beautiful ever written for the instrument, with its glorious themes, magnificent orchestration, and tender love song of a second movement. Completed two months before Mozart’s death, it was written for his clarinetist friend Anton Stadler and the newly invented basset clarinet, basically a […]