Posted inArts & Culture

A Life in the Theatre

This funny, moving revival of David Mamet’s wry 1977 one-act perfectly captures the clipped rhythms, cryptic pauses, casual profanity, and semantic precision that are hallmarks of a writer for whom drama lies in character and language rather than action. Thematically, too, this is quintessential Mamet, charting the evolving relationship between an ambitious youngster and his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ray Price

Ray Price, a crucial figure in country who transformed it in the 50s and 60s with hits like “Crazy Arms,” “Heartaches by the Number,” and “City Lights,” still performs and records today, at age 80. A Texas native, he began playing out shortly after a stint as a marine during World War II, though his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hot Chip

I apparently hear something in Hot Chip that a lot of other people don’t. I’ve been loaning their 2004 debut, Coming On Strong (released in the U.S. last year on Astralwerks), to some of my more strictly indie-rock friends, but the filter-swept keys and dance beats seem to be a little too “techno” for them. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Marc Ribot

For more than a decade New York guitarist Marc Ribot has been recording tunes by the soul-searing free-jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler. It’s a tough gig: Ayler’s compositions have an instantly recognizable spiritual tinge, but no musician has ever really captured the essence of his performances, where faith collided with unbridled expressionism. Ribot’s obsession reached its […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ask the Dust

Robert Towne, screenwriter of Chinatown, reaches further back into Los Angeles history for this dreamy adaptation of John Fante’s autobiographical novel about his early years as a struggling writer. Set in the Bunker Hill neighborhood during the Depression, it focuses mainly on the hero’s troubled affair with a Mexican waitress, played out as a kind […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Raizel Performances

A winning evening by recent Northwestern grads, “The Piners Prom” marries a suite of loosely related dances to live renditions of Motown standards. The cozy gallery space has been outfitted with bleachers and a clutch of small evergreens, evoking a box social in a small mountain town with surprising success. The skilled, energetic performers–fetching in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Last Five Years

La Costa Theatre Company’s remarkably rich 90-minute revival of Jason Robert Brown’s dramatic song cycle (which premiered five years ago at Northlight) honors the innate theatricality of its 15 supple songs. Chronicling the ill-fated marriage of promising novelist Jamie and driven actress Cathy, his songs run forward from their first date to the final breakup […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Psyche

Can an inquisitive teenage girl and a love god find happiness together? Writer-director Valerie Black-Mallon’s account of the Psyche and Eros myth refers to Romeo and Juliet, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Access Hollywood, yet adheres to the story with uncanny accuracy. Narrated in a contemporary tabloid vernacular mingled with classical verse and hip-hop rhymes, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Find Me Guilty

Director Sidney Lumet has always been inspired in his handling of courtroom dramas and New York crime stories, especially when they involve racial antagonism and ethnic loyalty. This mix turns up in all his theatrical screenplays: Prince of the City, Q & A, Night Falls on Manhattan, and now this audacious account of one of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories Readers’ choice: While camping in the Mojave Desert near Baker, California, in January, 26-year-old artist Trevor Corneliusien locked a heavy chain tightly around his ankles in order to model for a drawing of shackled feet he’d planned to do, but he soon realized that he’d lost the key. According to authorities, Corneliusien finished […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Orion Ensemble

The five members of the Orion Ensemble, founded in 1992 and now in residence at Roosevelt University, play with great technical assurance and musicality. They gave an outstanding performance of Shostakovich’s Trio no. 1 in November, and their gusto and wonderful phrasing can be heard in their new CD of lesser-known contemporaries of Brahms. Their […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Wine at Hotels

Hotel Allegro 171 W. Randolph 312-236-0123 Everybody knows fancy hotels have a free evening wine hour for guests in the lobby, but who knew that when you crash they don’t care? I was talking to the wine pourer while waiting for a friend at the Hotel Allegro recently and confessed that I wasn’t actually staying […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Shotgun Wedding

Chris Garcia Peak’s fractured fairy tale is set in a bleak dystopia where fascists have outlawed both kinds of gayness, homosexuality and frivolity, forcing an eccentric family to choose between marrying off a lesbian sibling or seeing her sent to conversion-therapy camp. Peak proves dexterous at mixing genres–satirical farce mingles with absurdism and pop culture […]