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Tribune cultural criticJoan Didion, thin as a stick and insubstantial as vapor, was true to her aura: She didn't show up. Thus a last-minute switch was required early Saturday for patrons of the Chicago Humanities Festival. Instead of Didion, whose prose is pulled so taut...
Tribune arts criticThey're not writing songs like Richard Rodgers' anymore, his melodies some soft and silken, some light and comic, some darkly haunting never topped in grace or craft. If Irving Berlin's tunes epitomized the art of simplicity, if George Gershwin's...
Special to the TribuneIt was a measure of the Chicago Humanities Festival's scope and audacity that its hefty Saturday lineup included talks by three unorthodox women who emerged from their disparate fields to serve as outspoken gadflies. Of the trio each given an hourlong...
Tags: Globalization, Family, Glenda Jackson, Academy Awards, Elections
Special to the TribuneThroughout the 1920s and '30s Jelly Roll Morton bragged about everything from romantic prowess to creation of an American music called jazz. His own life seemed to refute those boasts as personal demons haunted him while racism and unscrupulous publishers...
Tribune Arts CriticWho says the suburbs don't swing? In recent years, listening rooms as far-flung as Pete Miller's Steak House in Evanston and Fond de la Tour in Oak Brook have featured top-notch Chicago artists on a regular basis. Meanwhile, collegiate performing arts...
Tribune Arts WriterIf it hadn't been for Cole Porter, the world never would have heard Fred Astaire caressing "Night and Day," Frank Sinatra swinging "I've Got You Under My Skin" or Ella Fitzgerald wrapping her plush and glorious voice around "Begin the Beguine." More...
++++++++++++++++++++ || Hot summer picks: - "Movin' Out" - "Summer Sketchbook" - "The Old Man's Friend" - "A New Brain" - "Indulgences in the Louisville Harem" - "Winesburg, Ohio" - "The Life and Times of Tulsa Lovechild: a Road Trip" - "A...
Tribune theater criticBroadway tunesmith Jerry Herman may, in fact, qualify as Broadway's last surviving village smithey. His songs are old-fashioned, shamelessly direct, Cupid-like attacks on your heart, and your spirits. You can tell he writes things like "Hello, Dolly!" and...
Tribune arts criticMore than a century after his birth, Irving Berlin still holds a towering position in American culture, and not only because his "God Bless America" re-emerged as our unofficial national anthem after Sept. 11. Last week, the indispensable musical...
Tribune music criticHistory is heavy with composers who left it to others to hoe the frontiers of music while they patiently tilled its conservative traditions. Such a composer was John Alden Carpenter, who lived and worked in Chicago his entire career, wrote a substantial...
Tags: Bruno Walter, Virgil Thomson, Langston Hughes, Finance, Death
To help you sort through the dozens of offerings of the Chicago Humanities Festival, Tribune critics offer a few suggestions. "Powder Her Face": 8 p.m. Nov. 3 and 7 p.m. Nov. 4, Museum of Contemporary Art (there's a panel discussion of the work 5 p.m....
Tribune arts criticIt takes a bold conductor to champion a work that was unjustly maligned at its premiere (in 1943) and has been mostly ignored ever since. Yet William Russo feels strongly enough about Duke Ellington's magnificent "Black, Brown and Beige" to have invested...
Tags: Duke Ellington, Music Industry
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Original site for Chicago Humanities Festival topic gallery.