Exene Cervenka | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Exene Cervenka


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The vicious and unrelenting X defined a genre and a scene (LA punk) in a way few bands ever get the opportunity to do. Singer-songwriters Exene (Cervenka) and John Doe, sickened romantics, celebrated nausea, poverty, and spit and violently assailed love and sex in the rawest imaginable terms ("Johnny Hit and Run Paulene"). Ten years later, the pair has split up; both are now involved with others and both are parents to boot. But Exene has a solo album out, Old Wives' Tales, and is touring with a small band that includes latter-day X guitarist (and Wives' producer) Tony Gilkyson. The record is a surpassingly melodic manifesto on what can only be called post-postpunk feminism and romanticism. Countrified and calm, dreamy and measured, Old Wives' Tales retains the old-time Cervenkan charm ("Biggest Memory") and the spit as well ("He's Got a She," with Gilkyson providing the John Doe-like harmonies). Plus you get "Leave Heaven Alone" in which a godless punk is reduced to pleading in the face of enormity. Saturday, 7:30 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage; 929-5959.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Frank Gargani.

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