Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on March 14, 2003 · Page 7-8
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · Page 7-8

Chicago, Illinois
Issue Date:
Friday, March 14, 2003
Page 7-8
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123456 8 CHICAGO TRIBUNESECTION7NRWMARCH14,2003 FRIDAY TheBestGame InTown. SM 1-888-4EMPRESS Only 45 Minutes Southwest of Chicago! Take I-55 South to I-80 East. Exit Empress Rd. South to Route 6 East. ©2003 Argosy Gaming Company. Must be21to enter casino.Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Need not be present to win. Complete rules available at any Empress Preferred Club. Trademarks are used with permission of Volkswagen of America, Inc. Today’sYour LastChance ToEnter! Pick up your entry today! Grand Prize drawings held each Sunday,now through March 30th. Don’t miss your chance to drive away in a 2003 VOLKSWAGEN NEW BEETLE. Empress Preferred ® Club members receive one FREE entry each promotion day at any Empress Preferred Club. Earn additional entries by playing your favorite slots or table games. VAGINA APOLLO THEATER • FOR TIX 773-935-6100 2540 N Lincoln • Ticketmaster 312-902-1500 • • Groups 773-472-6878 “SEXHAS NEVER BEEN FUNNIER!” THE NEW YORK TIMES “HILARIOUS & OUTRAGEOUS!” ASSOCIATED PRESS *Call the Apollo box office to reserve. Must mention this ad. Limit four discounted tickets. Not good with any other offers or discounts or on previously purchased tickets. Limited to availability. Only valid on Tue & Wed shows thru 03/19/03. VAGINA BY EVE ENSLER THE MONOLOGUES GET $15 OFF EACH TICKET * VALID ON TUESDAY, MARCH 18 & WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19 (MUST MENTION THIS AD) By Steve Knopper Special to the Tribune Papillon Soo was never a rapper, but she supplied one of the most influential lines in hip-hop history: “Me so horny! Me love you long time!” The actress who played a Da Nang hooker in Stanley Kubrick’s movie “Full Metal Jacket” wound up sampled—and immortalized—in the 2 Live Crew hit “Me So Horny.” What made Luther Campbell, the impresario of dirty Florida rap, decide to use the sexy soundbite? “I was watching the movie, man!” says the rapper, frontman of 2 Live Crew, which performs Tuesday at the Riviera Theatre. “That’s how I make records. I get it from everywhere. I was looking at this lady—‘me so horny, me so horny!’—that was so funny to me. That was just off the wall. “If a good army movie is on, man, I can’t go to sleep,” Campbell adds, by phone from the Miami office of his longtime label, Luke Records. “I just sit there and look at it.” Campbell, 40, knows something about war. Although he has been a businessman for 20 years—trafficking in dirty hip- hop CDs, racy “freakshow” movies and online soft porn, among other things—he’s still best known for his political battles of the early ’90s. After 2 Live Crew released 1989’s cartoon- ishly sexy album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be,” public officials and prosecutors picked it up as an example of moral decay. In response, Campbell declared himself a First Amendment martyr with his 1990 hit “Banned in the U.S.A.”—followed by a huge victory when a federal appeals court overturned a Florida court’s obscenity decision. “You would have thought, given that he won, it made the world a little bit safer for hip- hop and speech in general,” says longtime Crew supporter Dave Marsh, editor of the free-speech zine Rock and Rap Confidential. “But the actual response from the American public was to go out and elect Tipper Gore’s husband. Rather than ushering in a new era of free speech, it was actually a last stand—maybe.” Of course, those battles played out more than 12 years ago, and the 2 Live Crew never quite had the lyrical muscle to maintain its star power in a constantly changing hip-hop world. So Campbell is diversifying. “I’ve been basically primed up to be the next Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt,” he says, referring to the mercurial publishers of Playboy and Hustler magazines. “That’s what I’m trying to do— get people around me who have that vision. The world is about urban right now, and that’s what I can bring to the whole game.” Like every other veteran pop star in the world, with the possible exception of rocker Carlos Santana, Campbell complains that it’s impossible, without serious payola money, to place new releases on the radio or MTV. “But right now I do just as many performances, maybe more, than I did before. I do hit videos now. People are like, ‘How can he fill up a club?’ and the crowd is going crazy.” “I’m doing it in a different way,” Campbell adds. “I’m doing it with creativity.” And sex. Where Luther is concerned, you can never forget about the sex. Luther Campbell and his 2 Live Crew are still live, still hot. MUSIC NOTES The Crew still has plenty of life left 2 Live Crew, with Insane Clown Posse and Anybody Killa When : 6:30 p.m. Tuesday Where : Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave. Price : $29; 312-559-1212 By Sid Smith Tribune arts critic The plucky, inimitable Eifman Ballet consistently wins a mix of critical approval and audience popularity that’s the envy of dance troupes everywhere. Formed in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1977 and unable (for political reasons) to tour the West until the late ’80s, the company has been garnering passionate, loyal American fans ever since. These include many Chicagoans, who since 2000 have been catching the company in its annual appearances here at the Auditorium Theatre. In its three engagements so far, the contemporary ballet troupe has shown off founder Boris Eifman’s highly theatrical but tragic extravaganzas. His “Red Giselle,” for instance, followed the travails of a classical ballerina who fled the Russian Revolution only to wind up in a mental hospital. Last year, “Tchaikovsky: The Mystery of Life and Death” focused on the tortured life of Tchaikovsky, while Hamlet and Don Juan are among the mythical icons at the heart of Eifman’s other pieces. But Eifman, the veteran cre- ator of more than 40 ballets, is bringing a comedy when the troupe begins its engagement Wednesday at the Auditorium. “Who’s Who,” playing here just after its world premiere in Boston, is deliberately uplifting, he- says—his gift, in a sense, to repay all the American kindness sent his way since first visiting here. “We’ve taken a lot of positive emotions back with us to Russia after each American visit,” Eifman says in a telephone interview via a translator. “After Sept. 11, I decided to bring a more optimistic, more energetic work compared to my tragedies. I wanted to give America something to feel good about.” “Who’s Who” tells the story of Alex and Max, two dancers with the Russia’s Imperial Theater who flee the Revolution in 1917. Unemployed and pursued by American gangsters, they take jobs in an American nightclub disguised as women. “Some Like It Hot” and Billy Wilder are unmistakable inspirations. But Eifman says that’s only a smidgen of his influences. “The movie’s very popular in Russia, where it’s known as ‘The Only Women in Jazz,’” he explains. “I’ve always been impressed by it, though I never dreamed it would someday inspire a ballet. But the disguise is really about the only point of intersection.” Eifman was drawn to 1920s America and the Jazz Age thanks to a wealth of artistic sources. The score of “Who’s Who” includes music by Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Dave Brubeck and Benny Goodman. There’s also music by Samuel Barber and Sergei Rachmaninoff. The latter two, more traditionally classical composers, inspire two sides of a dream. “The Barber inspires the dark side, about the two guys’ past,” Eifman says, “and the Rachmani- noff, taken from his American years, underscores the lighter side, when the young man expresses his heart to his beloved. “I’ve listened to more than 1,000 CDs of American jazz,” Eifman says. “It’s impressive, a new kind of music. My aim was to find a new kind of choreographic language to go with it. It’s the story of immigrants seeking a different life, hoping with joy to realize their dreams.” The two men leave Russia more for artistic than political freedom. Eifman himself suffered years of repression and restraint under his old government. “This is not my story,” he says. “But emotionally, I’m close to these two guys. I understand what’s going on with them.” But is drag a bit daring for Russian art? “These days,” Eifman says, revealing a hint of his impish wit, “in our theater, anything’s possible.” DANCE SCENE Moved by jazz, Eifman gets happy The Jazz Age inspired Boris Eifman’s “Who’s Who” and makes up most of its score. “Who’s Who” When: Wednesday through March 23 Where: Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy. Price: $37-$67; 312-902-1500 By Rick Reger Special to the Tribune For many rock fans—especially those who came of age in the ’70s—the two most dreaded words in the concert experience are “drum solo.” Few things bring a great show to a grinding halt more effectively than a drummer pounding out the florid, often vapid series of stock rhythms that make up the typical drum solo. So understandably, some might approach one of drummer Chris Cutler’s solo performances with trepidation. However, Cutler’s thoughtful, inherently musical approach to percussion and the astounding range of sounds produced by his hybrid electric-acoustic kit ensure that his concerts are like nothing most music fans have ever heard before. Although Cutler is little known among the general public, he’s a veritable legend among progressive rock and avant-garde music aficionados. Over his 30-year career, the British percussionist has performed with a who’s who of rock innovators including Henry Cow, Gong, the Art Bears, the Residents, Peter Blegvad and Pere Ubu. While Cutler’s avant-garde credentials are impeccable, he’s always made it a point to perform in a wide range of contexts, from straightforward pop to free improvisation. “I’ve always approached playing music the way an actor ap- proaches a role,” says Cutler. “I like to take on different roles as long as I think the play will be good. And I shamelessly try to work with people who are better than I am.” Regardless of the context, Cutler’s distinctive drumming has always been instantly identifiable. Capable of both airy, raindrop lightness and crashing intensity, Cutler’s stick work also approaches rhythm in a way that rarely adheres to basic three- and four-beat patterns. “I’ve always found Chris Cutler’s playing to be really interesting,” says drummer/multi- instrumentalist Thymme Jones of the Chicago art-rock band Cheer-Accident. “He plays through rhythms in a unique way and thinks in elongated terms where he’s clearly structuring what he’s playing over multiple measures.” Another one of Cutler’s distinctive traits is his longstanding interest in incorporating distortion into the sound of his drumming. As far back as the mid-’70s, Cutler was placing objects on his kit and manipulating the tape recordings of his drum parts to alter the sound of his drums. “I’ve always been concerned with sound as much as with rhythm, to the point where I don’t think you can separate the two,” says Cutler. “I like distorted sounds because I think they’re complex and full of character. That’s why an oboe, which involves acoustic distortion, has more harmonic complexity than a flute or why ECM jazz records sound so gutless and anemic compared to Jimi Hendrix.” Although Cutler uses electronics to modify the sound of his drums, he shuns drum machines and synthesizers because he finds them unresponsive and inflexible. Instead, he has developed a hybrid kit in which the sound of his standard acoustic drums is processed. Despite the comparative simplicity of Cutler’s kit, it produces an astonishing range of tone color and allows him to create improvised soundscapes— rather than mere drum solos— that encompass sustained tones, tonal layering and variable pitching. Listening to the fascinating improvised compositions on Cutler’s remarkable new CD “Solo” (ReR Megacorp), it’s hard to believe that music of such harmonic complexity and depth was produced live, in real time, using just a modified drum kit and assorted percussion odds and ends. However, Cutler is quick to point out that he doesn’t believe in using his orchestra of sounds as simple “party tricks.” “I approach all of my performances from a ‘compositional’ perspective,” says Cutler. “I think in terms of large-scale structures, and my hybrid kit gives me massive sonic resources to draw upon. That makes solo improvisations particularly interesting and stimulating for me.” Those performances are no less surprising and stimulating for audiences. In large measure that’s because Cutler’s aesthetic is founded on thoughtful music making rather than novelty. “Chris Cutler never sounds contrived or pedantic,” adds Jones. “He always sounds like he’s totally inside whatever he’s playing.” MUSIC NOTES Giving the drummer some is fine with Chris Cutler Chris Cutler When : 9 p.m. Wednesday Where : Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave. Price : $10; 773-525-2508 Chris Cutler believes in manipulating the sound of his drums, even though he doesn’t like synthesizers or programming.

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