Posted inTheater Review

Pleasant posies

My daughter tells me she likes the 1989 movie version of Steel Magnolias because you can have it running in the background while you do other things, and still more or less follow the plot. The 1987 play the movie is based on has the same virtue. You don’t really have to use all your […]

Posted inArts & Culture

What Cézanne saw

“Cézanne, he’s the greatest of us all.”—Claude Monet to Georges Clemenceau in conversation, cited in translation in The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné (trans. John Rewald, Abrams, 1996). There are some entities and influences on our work that we take for granted, as though they were always there and it’s impossible to conceive […]

Posted inTheater Review

Lead in the water

I hardly ever start reviews this way, but trust me: stop reading this and hop online to get tickets for Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s cullud wattah, now in its local premiere at Victory Gardens under Lili-Anne Brown’s direction. It’s a profound, poetic, scabrous (and beautifully acted) piece of theater that hits at so many levels that I […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Taking the drama and dance outdoors

I spent most of the 90s in the Bay Area, where outdoor theater in the summer is a given, and the weather generally cooperates (if you’re not facing the threat of forest fires, that is). But in Chicago, extreme heat and thunderstorms go with the territory. Despite Mother Nature and other logistical challenges, outdoor theater […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Prince of the Mag Mile

“Prince: the Immersive Experience” begins with purple light through stained glass. Guests in groups of ten to 15 are led through double doors to a replica of the “When Doves Cry” music video set: portraits hung on purple walls, bouquets scattered on the floor, and a white claw-foot tub to pose behind. The only thing […]

Posted inMusic

For his first album in 11 years, dance-music veteran Ron Trent enriches deep house with help from around the world

Chicago dance-music veteran Ron Trent creates deep house that can keep a dance floor jumping for hours while simultaneously maintaining an intoxicating tranquility. Since the early 90s, Trent has built a reputation for appealing both to house heads who treat Marshall Jefferson’s “Move Your Body” as a commandment and drone devotees who thrive on meditative, […]

Posted inMusic

Acoustic guitarist Glenn Jones savors the bittersweetness of memory

Vade Mecum translates from Latin as “go with me.” When Glenn Jones makes such an offer, anyone who appreciates a vivid musical trip shouldn’t think twice. The 68-year-old guitar and banjo player from Cambridge, Massachusetts, began working as a solo acoustic musician in the early 2000s, after spending years playing with surf-meets-experimental-rock combo Cul de […]