Posted inArts & Culture

ICP Orchestra

Pianist Misha Mengelberg, the leader of this ten-piece dadaist powerhouse, plays some Monkish chords on his recent solo album Senne Sing Song (Tzadik) that lag so far behind the beat you could tie them to the rhythm section like tin cans to the bumper of a wedding limo. The 70-year-old Dutchman is anything but lazy, […]

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

There are two chief gripes about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The first is that Pitchfork likes them, which carries even less water as an indictment than it does as a recommendation. But I can at least see where the complainers are coming from on the second point, which is that Alec Ounsworth can’t sing. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Raise the Sports Bar

Mike: Nice commentary on sports columns [Hot Type, March 17]. I’ve noticed for a while now that newspaper sports sections–and most mainstream sports coverage–is almost entirely proscriptive, once they get beyond reporting the scores. There are more moral judgments in a couple of sports pages than in a year’s worth of religion coverage. If the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Romance

David Mamet’s 2005 courtroom burlesque is filled with profanity, racial and religious invective, and homophobic shtick. But the only shocking thing about it is the inept way the usually masterful playwright juggles these elements. The action involves a Jewish defendant, his Jew-hating Christian attorney, a stoned judge, and a closeted gay prosecutor whose sissy boyfriend […]

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The Cocktail Party

T.S. Eliot’s seldom produced 1950 Tony winner delivers a bracingly intelligent combination of Noel Coward-like repartee, philosophical paradoxes, and deep-dish ponderings on identity, the pitfalls of marriage, and the possibility of change. In the manner of Frank Capra, the story revolves around three semicelestial “guardians” who help three failing souls find salvation in either resignation […]

Posted inNews & Politics

A Poor Choice

Thank you for covering the efforts of the local radical activist group Pomegranate Radical Health Collective [Chicago Antisocial, March 17]. I thought it was good of you to share your own experiences–the more openness and dialogue, the better. I did find one aspect of the analysis disconcerting. The film made a point that Jane mostly […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Neko Case

The songs on Neko Case’s 1998 solo debut, The Virginian, were rooted in catchy honky-tonk and retro pop, but ever since she’s been fruitfully working toward a distinctive synthesis of styles. With her latest and best album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti-), she’s arrived at an amalgam of southern soul, black gospel, spaghetti-western twang, […]

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Zizek!

“I’m almost tempted to say that making me popular is a resistance against taking me serious,” says Slavoj Zizek in this entertaining 2005 portrait of the Slovene cultural theorist and “academic rock star.” It’s a characteristic utterance, and his charisma is such that the meaning registers despite the faulty grammar. Whether he’s ruminating in his […]

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The Clearing

In Helen Edmundson’s play, the devotion of an English husband and an Irish wife living in Ireland is put to the test when Oliver Cromwell wages war on Irish rebels in the mid-17th century. This couple isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, to believe that love can transcend a community’s ethnic tensions. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Golden Corral

Joe Steiff’s poignant solo show about growing up gay in rural Appalachia is sad and funny, the nostalgia cut with a keen hindsight that’s piercingly honest. An old-fashioned storyteller, he spins his tale in a soothing voice that takes us into his hometown of 300 souls, where there are guns in the glove box, people […]

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Mistero Buffo, Comic Mysteries

A Marxist screed in two parts by Dario Fo. Part one: a kind of visual lecture on medieval class war, organized around the figure of the jongleur–a traveling entertainer who spoke the subversive truth by seeming to be mad. Part two: Christ’s passion, dramatized from a prole-peasant point of view. As directed by John Szostek […]