The Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars

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In Rock School, Don Argott's documentary about a Philadelphia after-school program for young would-be rock stars, founder Paul Green comes off like a cross between Buddy Rich and an overcaffeinated junior-high basketball coach, and some moviegoers took issue with his, um, unorthodox teaching methods--which usually involve screaming, swearing, and/or slamming doors. But kids are still lining up for classes at the school's 12 branches in the hopes of becoming the next Carlos Santana or Keith Moon, and Green gets results. The group of standout students he directs, the School of Rock All-Stars, has played more than 100 shows in grown-up venues like LA's Knitting Factory, attended Zappanale, the world's preeminent Frank Zappa festival ("If you can play Zappa, you can play anything," Green says in the film), and been joined onstage by the likes of Alice Cooper, Jon Anderson, and Eddie Vedder. Two 19-member groups of All-Stars, ranging in age from 11 to 17, are currently on the road performing songs Green's taught them: "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)," "Purple Rain," and the Sugar Hill Gang's "Apache," among others, with some Stooges thrown in for good measure. The tour's a testament to (if not vindication of) Green's uncompromisingly high standards. "We really try to put on a good show," Green said in a phone interview. "So it's not just kids playing covers." Thu 12/29, 6 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494 or 800-594-8499, $15. All ages.

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