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Critic's Choice


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Living in an intensely visual age, we often downplay the importance of sound. But as any musician or deejay will tell you, sound can be as persuasive as visual stimuli--even more so sometimes because we don't expect it to shake us to our roots. Each of the five pieces in this evening, curated by Mickle Maher, is meant to awaken us to some aspect of the power of sound. In Dead Level, for instance, performer Terri Kapsalis and musician John Corbett explore the ways music and sound effects shape film noir narratives. In a piece called #36 Buster Keaton and the Buddha, puppeteer Blair Thomas and composer Michael Zerang use both a recorded score and live sound effects, among them the banging of bells, to propel their sweet but enlightening puppet play. Not all the pieces are so successful, however. Geoff Buesing and Eric Ziegenhagen's Hello is a merely puzzling collage of urban sounds--buses rumbling by, storekeepers chattering, seagulls crying. And Jeff Dorchen and Zerang's fantasy about a man able to unlock sounds embedded in inanimate objects, Svejk the Stone Listener, is way too long, unfocused, and slow to hold our interest. But Maher's entry, The Hunchback Variations, more than makes up for the evening's two low points: performed with wry restraint by Maher and Colm O'Reilly, the piece begins as a postmodern parody of academic conferences and ends as a moving meditation on collaboration and the creative process. Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-281-0824. Through February 24: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 PM. $10; "free if you're broke."

--Jack Helbig

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