Posted inStreet View

Beyond advanced style

“I kinda just threw this together,” says Gail Joanes, 73, while enjoying a sunny Saturday afternoon on the luxuriously fashionable Oak Street. “I went over to the Chicago History Museum, which I love, went to Twin Anchors for ribs, came back, and now I’m just shopping a bit, just relaxing,” she shares.  Though Joanes might […]

Posted inMusic

Senegalese legend Baaba Maal makes retro Afrofuturist music on Being

Senegalese superstar Baaba Maal has been recording for close to four decades, and at age 69 he still sounds relentlessly, almost eerily contemporary. While his first album, 1984’s Djam Leelii, features himself and his teacher Mansour Seck on acoustic guitars in a mesmerizing, fluid triumph of griot tradition, he’s since embraced electronics and transnational collaboration. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Black culture as a force for change

“Things Well Worth Waiting For” is a small-scale, deeply comprehensive exhibition that transports you to a different time where women wore flamboyant dresses, men drove classic cars, segregation prevailed, and the power of soul music was palpable. Photojournalist and activist Kwame Brathwaite was there, documenting it all—in words and in photographs.  Occupying two galleries at […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

The city in bloom

I have a personal tradition each vernal equinox of posting on social media some recorded version of “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” (This year I opted for Sarah Vaughan.) But the truth is, it’s hard to feel hung up when I look over this week’s spring theater and arts preview issue. (Feeling […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Steeped in history

In the most famous lines of his 1855 poem “Song of Myself,” Walt Whitman writes, “Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” After reading S. L. Wisenberg’s insightful new book, The Wandering Womb: Essays in Search of Home, it’s clear that she, too, contains […]

Posted inMusic

Joliet band Molder dig death metal right down to its bones

Joliet four-piece Molder know what’s awesome about classic death metal—and that includes its deliberately disgusting aesthetics. “I think some of it goes a little overboard and it’s a little silly, but to each their own,” guitarist and vocalist Aaren Pantke told Invisible Oranges last July, when Prosthetic released Molder’s second album, Engrossed in Decay. “It’s […]

Posted inTheater Review

Fire sale

What does material success look like to young people in 2023? Is it possible to attain the lifestyle they see in 80s TV shows? Is that something to aspire to? A talented Neo-Futurist troupe takes on capitalism, parents’ expectations, their own hopes and dreams, and whether it’s even possible to just get by in this […]

Posted inMusic

The ladies who sing from the back

The 2013 film 20 Feet From Stardom tells the stories of background singers who’ve supported stars such as the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Ray Charles, and Donna Summer. The movie, which won the best documentary Oscar the following year, focuses mostly on singers based in Los Angeles and to a lesser degree New York, among them […]

Posted inTheater Review

The pain of history

I cannot recommend this play without caveats. At least to Black people.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad play. As a matter of fact, it’s a very good play. It’s clever, well-written, timely, and it makes good use of unusual devices. The quality of the play is not the problem.  The problem […]

Posted inTheater Review

Interactive inclusivity

Filament Theatre’s Think Fast, Jordan Chase!, written by Sonia Goldberg and directed by Jamal Howard, is full of plot twists which weave in and out of schoolyard and fantasy. Addressing difficult social scenarios that kids encounter, it opens with a plucky Jordan (Christabel Donkor) and her majestic bestie Mahari (Joolz Stroop) on the playground. Relations […]

Posted inMusic

Improvisers Mats Gustafsson and Joachim Nordwall make blockbuster-worthy music on a new collaborative album

Free improvisers, experimental musicians, and foley artists differ in their methods, but practitioners of all three arts can unite around their attraction to sounds that’ll raise your hackles. This collaboration between improvisational woodwinds player Mats Gustafsson and electronic musician Joachim Nordwall (of the Skull Defekts and the iDealist) could soundtrack a bookshelf full of straight-to-video […]

Posted inTheater Review

Beckettian summit

Dame Peggy Ashcroft considered the role of Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s notoriously difficult Happy Days a “summit part,” one of those roles, like Hamlet or King Lear, that tests an actor’s mettle and proves her alpha status in the pack. (Ashcroft played Winnie in a 1975 production at the Old Vic Theatre in London.) Chicago […]