Posted inArts & Culture

Hamlet

This interactive 130-minute staging of the Danish downer by Stranded Lot, a very new troupe, features a ton of unfocused energy and inarticulate emoting. There’s no fixed seating, and the peripatetic audience circulates around the sanctuary to follow the company’s deconstructed version. Nine actors throw themselves into the work, employing masks, TV monitors, ladders, assorted […]

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Michael Columbia

“Dog Dog Camel,” the lead track on this Chicago duo’s new Stay Hard EP (on Galapagos4’s Alabaster imprint), kicks off like a Day-Glo hybrid of Nintendo bonus-level music and the sound track to a B-grade spy movie. After a few seconds, though, they drop in a surprise: the stylized, semi-improvised pop electronica on their two […]

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Hip-Hop Theater Festival

Last September the Museum of Contemporary Art had to postpone its first-ever participation in the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, which organizes showcases nationwide. But the varied lineup of local and national talent scheduled now suggests the wait was worth it. Thursday night features festival founder Danny Hoch in Till the Break of Dawn, which unites a […]

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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 […]

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Amina Figarova Sextet

It’s surprising enough that pianist Amina Figarova–a woman born in the mostly Muslim nation of Azerbaijan–would gravitate to American jazz, let alone develop such a centered, compact style of improvisation. On a series of discs going back more than a decade, she neatly twines the influences of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, but even so, […]

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And Then There Were None

In Agatha Christie’s adaptation of her novel, ten strangers converge on a secluded island retreat at the invitation of the owner, whom no one has met in person. As they begin to die off–in a fashion consistent with the “Ten Little Indians” nursery rhyme–and seeing no one else on the island, they start to suspect […]

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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 28 Gunther Murphy’s 1638 W. Belmont | 773-472-5139. $10. 7:30 Policies and Procedures8:00 5th Wall8:30 Ascot Fire9:00 Lost Anthem9:30 Pettit Project10:00 […]

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Major Stars

The Major Stars have always had the power of a wrecking ball, but there’s no denying that on their last album, 4, they sounded like they’d hit a wall they couldn’t obliterate. Great as the record was, it stuck to a well-established formula: Wayne Rogers would sing a beautifully melancholy tune, which then gave way […]

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Art & Audiobooks

Chicago Public Library chipublib.org or 312-747-4300 You can get more with your Chicago Public Library card than just the latest Stephen King. For example, each branch library offers a limited number of Great Kids Museum Passports–passes good for general admission to ten local museums, including the heavy hitters on the lake. Despite the name, only […]

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Professional Amateurs

Enough Stupid’s hour of sketches feels longer. The title refers to the offbeat characters–puny, Arnold-idolizing bodybuilders, a ninth-grader singing about her period a la Andrew Lloyd Webber–but also applies to the comedians, who sometimes stumble over lines, miss blocking marks, and overprepare jokes with paltry payoffs. Glacial fade-ins don’t help the slow pace. Still, a […]