Posted inFilm

Two Bits

A poor 12-year-old boy (Jerry Barone) living in south Philadelphia in 1933 needs a quarter to attend the opening of a deluxe movie palace; his grandfather (Al Pacino) announces that he plans to die the same day. James Foley directed this autobiographical script by executive producer Joseph Stefano, whose best known previous script is that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Light Opera Works

Perhaps the most famous and beloved operetta of all time, Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus is quintessential Viennese schmaltz disguised as a lighthearted cautionary tale against overindulgence. Its narrative is convoluted, as marital infidelities, friendly rivalries, and assorted past grievances are aired at a masked ball on New Year’s Eve. And of course on the morning […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sheila Jordan

Think of Sheila Jordan’s voice as a (thankfully, miraculously) wayward child who has managed to resist even the most benign adulterations. That’s how it retains an odd power to recast traditional notions of beauty and merit. Like Billie Holiday–whom she resembles in spirit though not in style or manner–Jordan rejects the merely pretty. Instead she […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Critics’ Picks

For those hoping to catch up on their theatergoing during the holiday fortnight, Reader critics offer their recommendation of shows running at least through New Year’s; check Theater listings for schedules, prices, addresses, and phone numbers. American Divine Dolphinback Theatre Company’s beautifully mounted, superbly performed show features three separate programs of one-acts by Joe Pintauro, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Excuse me, officer, don’t you have more pressing business than writing me that speeding ticket? According to John Sullivan in the Chicago Reporter (September), “The Illinois State Police is breaking the law by failing to count hate crimes. …State police have been unable to solve the maddening computer glitches that have left [their aggressive new […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Second City

Six months ago, Pinata Full of Bees was the funniest and most daring show Second City had produced in years, with its edgy cruel sense of humor, its constant tweaking of the audience, and its mock rally against Blockbuster–much like something the hipper Upright Citizens Brigade would do. I really wondered how the show would […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Is there a biological reason for men to feel sleepy after orgasm? My girlfriend says there is some scientific basis for this. If so, is there any hypothesized rationale for this occurrence in terms of human evolution? –Chuck R., Chicago Before we drag Darwin into it, Chuck, we’d better make sure we have a genuine […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago a Cappella

Chicago a Cappella is the latest addition to the city’s burgeoning collection of excellent unaccompanied choruses. Only three years after its founding this versatile nine-member group is about to release its first CD and plans a subscription season for 1996. Its strengths include well-schooled voices (the roster features respected soprano Carol Loverde, alto Terry Sullivan, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar Photo Caption

In 1531, the Nahua Indians of Huejotzingo, a town southeast of Mexico City, sued the Spanish colonial government for excessive taxation. Since the conquest ten years earlier, they’d been forced to furnish Spanish officials with such items as corn, chili peppers, beans, bricks, lumber, and limestone. Although they had paid similar taxes to previous rulers, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hans Brinker

New Tuners Theatre, at the Theatre Building. It’s very much the gooey holiday confection it was last year, but there’s still something to recommend in this incarnation of Mary Mapes Dodge’s 1867 classic about the young speed-skating demon whose honesty and Puritan work ethic enable his family to prosper. Visually stunning, this production has been […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bottle Rockets

When the Bottle Rockets’ second album, The Brooklyn Side (TAG/Atlantic), came out early this year, the band from Festus, Missouri, started a wave of terrific records by country-dabbling rock bands like Wilco, Son Volt, and the late Jayhawks. Many young rockers have adopted the same rural lyricism, earnestness, and twang, but no band has pulled […]