Posted inArts & Culture

Daniela Mercury

Daniela Mercury became a superstar in Brazil by making the deep Afro-Brazilian rhythms of her native Bahia appealing to a broad audience, layering her powerful voice and frothy pop melodies over the thundering beats. (Her good looks and dance skills didn’t hurt either.) Mercury’s music, called axe (pronounced ah-shay), is an exuberant mishmash of samba, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Once Upon a Mattress

Paula Scrofano as a villainous queen bent on sabotaging her son’s marital chances by imposing impossible tests on his would-be brides brings a needed flourish to Ray Frewen’s colorful but spark-deprived production. We know it’s a lightweight musical comedy, but the characters shouldn’t. Too often the love stories here play out predictably, with little genuine […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Two Men, One Message

Lisa Stone remembers the first time she visited Jesse Howard, a self-taught artist who festooned his Missouri farm with hand-painted signs. “He called his place ‘Sorehead Hill,’” says Stone, curator of the School of the Art Institute’s Roger Brown Study Collection. “He was one hell of a sorehead. We’d be standing by the side of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sonny Fortune

When the splendid and underappreciated saxist Sonny Fortune played at Jazz Showcase in 2003, he drew from his 2000 album In the Spirit of John Coltrane, throwing himself into a full-tilt reexamination of his relationship to his primary inspiration. For Continuum, recorded later that year for his Sound Reason label, Fortune paid homage to saxist […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chu-Fang Huang

This past July 23-year-old Chu-Fang Huang, who’d already won numerous smaller prizes, was a finalist in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and in August she took first place in the Cleveland International. Huang, who was born in China but has lived in the U.S. since 1998, is a graduate of the Curtis Institute and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Special All-Updates Edition The Moscow Cats Theatre, described in News of the Weird in 1998, is still going strong in Russia, and now founder Yuri Kuklachev has brought 26 of the troupe’s 120 trained house cats to New York City for weekend performances through October at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center. Their tricks include front-pawstands […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Artists’ Month

Most exhibits cited in the program for this city-organized observance are listed under Galleries, here or at www.chicagoreader.com. For a full schedule, see chicagoartistsmonth.org or call 312-744-6630. Among this week’s highlights: Chicago Art Open This exhibit of work by nearly 300 locals, presented by the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, closes Fri 10/21, with 6-10 PM reception, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Charlotte Hug

Though she sometimes uses electronics to expand her palette, Swiss violist Charlotte Hug finds more primitive, organic ways to create sounds on her most recent solo album, 2003’s Neuland (Emanem). By either moistening or slackening the hairs of her bow, she broadens and deepens her music, generating dual lines and unleashing double-stops that sound like […]