Posted inArts & Culture

Isobel Campbell

Since expatriating from Belle & Sebastian, where she sang and played cello, Isobel Campbell has flirted with twee on her solo disc Amorino and with indie chamber pop as the front woman of the Gentle Waves. On her latest, Ballad of the Broken Seas (V2), she collaborates with man of many bands Mark Lanegan, whose […]

Posted inArts & Culture

St. Scarlet

Quirks, kitsch, tics, and tears combine in Julia Jordan’s comedy, now receiving its midwest premiere under Rick Snyder’s direction. The play revolves around three squabbling Irish-American siblings in rural Minnesota awaiting their mother’s death. But Jordan doesn’t so much create characters as indicate dialects–the Cummins clan speaks in a patois that’s equal parts Lucky Charms […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 3 AKIMBO Partly a team of Melvins-esque sludge sculptors, partly a lean-and-mean pan-metal outfit, this Seattle power trio churns and surges through Forging Steel and Laying Stone (Alternative Tentacles), its fifth album, with a carnivorous glee. With just a pinch of droll wit, too–for all of Akimbo’s Mastodon-ish modernity, a couple of licks on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Douglas Century

Coming to Douglas Century’s new biography, Barney Ross (Schocken/Nextbook), you might be forgiven for thinking, “Barney who?” You wouldn’t be alone. Though his life was chronicled in lurid detail in the 1957 movie Monkey on My Back, “in this great blue-collar city where he was once one of the most famous of sportsmen,” Century writes, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Fear Factor

Not only was the article “Born Bad?” unable to answer the question whether or not pit bulls can be safe, it gave far too much credit to foolish no-kill shelters and abusive trainers with their remote-control laziness. Dogs do not need to be “dominated” by an alpha but taught what is expected of them and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Serpent Woman

A talented traditionalist, Carlo Gozzi tried to save the Italian commedia dell’arte tradition by writing witty new material for it. This Levantine fantasy was a hit for him and the form in 1762, and it retains a peculiar charm as adapted and directed by Devin Brain for the Tantalus Theatre Group. Dark and comic by […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Eames Era

The Eames Era is a likable band. Just likable: they’re not ingratiating, arresting, magnetic, or particularly overwhelming. So anybody who demands mighty revelations or raw passion from art won’t get much satisfaction out of Double Dutch (C Student), the first full-length from the Baton Rouge indie-pop quintet. I’ll admit that the band’s curious lack of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Slices of Light

William Betts’s ten paintings at Peter Miller were made by machine using pixel-high slices he chose from his digital photographs. In most cases he began with images of nature. “I’m attracted to gardens–to the formality of their intersection between man and nature,” he says. Threshold and Bird’s Eye View were made from photos of the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Early Man, the Sword

Closing In (Matador), the full-length debut from EARLY MAN, passes over contemporary extreme-metal subgenres in favor of classic headbanger stuff like Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath, and Mercyful Fate, not to mention Diamond Head and some other NWOBHM acts. Guitarist and vocalist Mike Conte has known drummer Adam Bennati since they were kids in Columbus, Ohio, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Rugai’s Folly

Steve Brownstein’s statements in “Born Bad?” are the cornerstone of the pit bull argument and reflect this city’s response to damn near everything controversial: stronger law enforcement. Let’s take a look at two other law-enforcement priorities in Chicago. The first, which is hinted at by Brownstein, is illicit drugs sale/use. I don’t know about you, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jason Stuart

Journeyman movie and sitcom actor Jason Stuart has always had flair. He came out on Geraldo in 1993, and since then he’s unabashedly celebrated flaming gayness in very funny stand-up routines. Like Jack in Will & Grace, Stuart’s fond of jazz hands, snappy gestures, and “the f word” (fabulous); his energetic delivery complements a slick […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Killers

Bizarre and gleefully sadistic, John Olive’s deranged noir is what might have resulted if David Lynch and John Webster had ever collaborated on a trashy dark comedy. Set in the 1950s, the play revolves around a writer of pulp fiction living in a run-down boardinghouse filled with desperate, half-mad lowlifes who could have crawled from […]