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Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Improv Festival

“Improv as Theater,” the theme of the ninth annual edition of this sprawling showcase of performers from around the world, links improvisation to its roots and emphasizes its potential–and rightly so. When Viola Spolin taught character games to the folks who went on to found Second City, she called the form improvisational theater. This year’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cowboy Jack Clement

In 1954 Cowboy Jack Clement became a staff producer at Sun Records, recording Jerry Lee Lewis’s epochal “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On,” along with a host of sides by the likes of Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, and Charlie Rich. But by 1959 he’d ditched Memphis for Nashville, working as songwriter and producer at RCA […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Notorious Bettie Page

Writer-director Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol) and cowriter Guinevere Turner (Go Fish) offer a refreshingly open-minded take on the 50s pinup/porn queen, effectively played by Gretchen Mol as a good-natured airhead. The film captures the garish colors and wispy black and white of home movies and lurid magazines of that period, and there’s something […]

Posted inArts & Culture

International Pop Overthrow

Chicago’s version of the annual International Pop Overthrow festival features two weeks of pop and rock at multiple venues. The fest runs through May 6; see chicagoreader.com or internationalpopoverthrow.com for a complete schedule. FRIDAY 21 Gunther Murphy’s 1638 W. Belmont | 773-472-5139. $10. :00 Barry Holdship :30 Cyclones 9:00 The Hatch 9:30 Majesty 10:00 Kelly’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Joffrey Ballet

The company returns to its roots with a program called “Cool Vibrations.” Robert Joffrey first toured with his troupe in 1956 with the express purpose of delivering American-style ballet to the masses. In 1973 he commissioned a piece from talented unknown Twyla Tharp, who used music by the Beach Boys. Deuce Coupe is the earliest […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dustbowl Gothic

The unprecedented 1930s drought turned rich midwestern farmland into barren desert. Think of American Gothic as the “before” picture. First exhibited in 1930, Grant Wood’s iconic painting of a lean farmer–posed with his pitchfork and sturdy wife–depicts the hard, fruitful way of life that would be wiped out over the next decade. Dustbowl Gothic takes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kristoff K. Roll

It’s hard to tell exactly what the French duo Kristoff K. Roll does to make its richly textured music, and that’s part of the point. Jean-Christophe Camps and Carole Rieussec started their careers in the 80s studying acousmatic music, a close cousin to musique concrete’s manipulations of found sounds, before they began working together in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Latino Film Festival

The International Latino Cultural Center presents the 22nd Chicago Latino Film Festival with screenings Friday, April 21, through Thursday, May 4, at Chicago State Univ., 9501 S. King Dr.; Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski; Dominican Univ., 7900 W. Division, River Forest; Facets Cinematheque; Gene Siskel Film Center; Landmark’s Century Centre; Little Village Lawndale […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Threepenny Opera

A few minutes of this clumsy, emotionally threadbare production may convince you Madison’s Nonsense Company (formerly based in San Diego) shouldn’t make theater. For three and a half hours, ten nonactors stumble through Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s 1928 classic, showing little regard for aesthetic unity or psychological credibility. But as the nonsingers in Cook […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Cuppa Joe

Peet’s Coffee and Tea 1000 W. North 312-475-9782 To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Peet’s is offering a free cup of coffee or tea every day in April from 1 to 3 PM. Plus, if you stop in on a Friday and buy anything after 1 PM, you’ll get a free quarter pound of coffee to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Metal Head

Brett Richards loves stone and metal, and it shows in the attention to detail and visual appeal of his 13 abstract and figurative sculptures at All Rise. What attracts him is “the permanence of the material and the fact that you need so much more power than just the strength of your hands to form […]