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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thursday, May 8, 2008

If used correctly, orchestral instruments have a place in contemporary pop music. Before assholes like the (eye-patch wearing pirate) singer from Kansas and Dave Mathews ruined it for . . .
Monday, May 12, 2008

Theater Review

Obesity and self-image are very serious issues in this country that rarely get directly addressed in contemporary drama. While Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig does very little to rectify this, these issues come to the center of a story so rarely that it ends up being very provocative. Renaissance Theaterworks ends its current season with the romantic drama, now through May 18.
Friday, May 9, 2008

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Much of the crowd at last night’s sold-out Swell Season show was lured by one song: “Falling Slowly,” the endearingly modest ballad that the duo of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova memorably performed during the Academy Awards (and for which they took home an Oscar.) Having to live up to the expectations of that vulnerable, fish-out-of-water performance night after night must surely prove a challenge for the . . .
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Theater Reviews

It’s that “perfect period” in the mid-20th Century circa 1959: Eisenhower was president, Ed Sullivan was introducing a nice young man by the name of Elvis Presley to millions of viewers glued to the new medium of television, and kids, for the most part, still listened to their superiors—parents included (the ’60s are just around the corner). Perfect timing for 12-year-old Rudy Pazinski to question his catechism teachings—and life in general—at the hands, literally, of the militaristic Sister Clarissa.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Art Review

A collaborative performance and mixed media installation at UWM's Union Art Gallery, “Implosion: Cultural Integration and Transformation,” attempts to draw a through-line among disparate cultures using the lightning rod of religious iconography. Rather than focusing on Abrahamic, monotheistic religious expressions, artists Leandro Soto, Raoul Deal, and René Maldonado, in collaboration with Nigerian dramatist Awam Amkpa, ask viewers to consider the feminine roots of polytheism.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Theater Reviews

Revivals of the King Arthur legend can usually be rated in terms of historical accuracy or the imagination with which they push the legend further into fantasy. Broadway Across America’s Spamalot, which ended its brief stint at the Marcus Center on May 4, gleefully defies either category. In fact, its main purpose is to offer a musical take on another version of the King Arthur story: the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Although it departs from the film at times, especially in its upbeat finale . . .
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Amor, Dolor y Lagrimas (Smithsonian Folkways)

Many of the rhythms associated with Mexican music are represented on this CD by one of that country’s top mariachi bands. That the genre has become associated with a tourist brochure image of Mexico is unfortunate, given its potential for soulful expression. Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano lives up to that potential . . .
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

One Hell of a Ride (Columbia/Legacy)

The selections on Willie Nelson’s four-disc career retrospective support everything we suspected: With few exceptions, the material he recorded in Nashville in the 1960s was undistinguished, assembly-line work. It was only when he broke away from country conventions and headed south to Austin, Texas, with the ’70s . . .
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Third (Mercury/Island)

Third justifies its 11-year buildup in that it’s not the type of work you quickly digest before moving on to the next thing. Portishead’s bleak outlook and laser-like ability to hone in on human loneliness mean that you’re taking on the weight of the world when you listen to one of their records. That these records contain almost too much . . .
Thursday, May 1, 2008

Grinning at the recent past

History is memory writ large, with as many authors as disagreements, as many recurrences as digressions. Like personal memory, the larger narratives of history are always forgetful and are telling for what they omit as well as what they include. The enigmatically titled . . .

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