Posted inNews & Politics

West Side Stories

Sears was a few blocks away, at Homan and Arthington. In 1930 half the neighborhood worked there. The girls called it the finishing school, and the boys called it the big house. The first time I applied what I did was I changed my birth certificate. The woman said, “Did you bring your birth certificate?” […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

BUSKER SOUNDCHECK 12/27, EMPTY BOTTLE This Chicago power trio kicks off its new EP, Wesley Lee Roth (Full Groan), with “It’s 3,” an insanely catchy wintertime reply to Blue Cheer’s version of “Summertime Blues.” Near the end of the second verse, call-and-response vocal lines slide into hilariously dead-on three-part calypso harmony over a bluster of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

Late this summer we saw a kid on a train platform wearing a new Bulls T-shirt. It made no reference to the most recent championship, nor to last season’s record 72-win campaign. It read, simply but assertively, in large block letters: STAY FOCUSED. Maybe we knew before then that the Bulls had an effect on […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Police Scanner

Wednesday, December 11, 11:40 AM Dispatcher: Anyone who had their car parked in front of the station–somebody plowed into ’em, they’re all messed up. If your car was parked in front of the station, call in. We don’t need to give plates or anything, you know who you are. Call in. 1014: Them boys are […]

Posted inMusic

Amateur Hour

The Rough Guide to Rock (Rough Guides/Penguin) By Jim DeRogatis As a high school senior and aspiring rock writer, I had the opportunity to interview one of my heroes, rock critic Lester Bangs, two weeks before he died in his sleep from an overdose of Darvon in the spring of 1982. “What makes your opinion […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Call of the Wild

The Nutcracker Joffrey Ballet of Chicago at the Rosemont Theatre, November 27-December 8 Nuts & Bolts: A Jazzy Nutcracker for the 90s Joel Hall Dancers at the O’Rourke Center of Truman College, December 6-15 By Joseph Houseal In the last half century The Nutcracker–originally a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann and later a ballet by Petipa […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In October, Miriam Flores, serving six years for robbery in Mexico City, was selected as Miss Mexico Jailhouse in a pageant that featured 14 of the city’s female inmates. During the same month, Pham Ngoc Tam won first place in a nationwide beauty contest for female prison guards held near Hanoi, Vietnam. (A […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: I read your column every week, and it seems like all your mail is from people who think you’re evil incarnate. You must hate going to work in the morning if all you ever get are complaints! Doesn’t anyone ever send you a well-deserved compliment? I guess not, so here’s a bunch: I’m […]

Posted inMusic

Out There

Jazz the World Forgot (Yazoo) In the liner notes to his new album, Bug Music (Nonesuch), clarinetist Don Byron describes the revisionism that has relegated the music of Raymond Scott and John Kirby–to whom, along with Duke Ellington, the album pays tribute–to the margins of jazz history. Citing a Flintstones episode in which a Beatles-like […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Holiday

Holiday, Impulse Theatre Company, at Bailiwick Arts Center. Despite its advanced age, Philip Barry’s hit of the ’28-’29 Broadway season remains charming and sweet if not particularly profound. Though Holiday isn’t nearly as frantic or funny as Barry’s better-known screwball comedy The Philadelphia Story, it wins us over with its strong characters, nicely wrought dialogue, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Jimmie Dale Gilmore Austin’s Jimmie Dale Gilmore is one ornery sumbitch. Thwarting the very real possibility of gaining a larger audience after the terrific, expansive Spinning Around the Sun, he waits three years to release the current Braver Newer World. When it arrives, turns out he’s swapped the gently burnished country rock of the previous […]

Posted inArts & Culture

One Fine Day

Michael Hoffman (Restoration, Soapdish) directs Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney in a beautifully contrived romantic comedy with a Manhattan setting that’s exploited to the utmost. A veritable anthology of the perils of single parenting–demanding jobs, cellular phones, busy schedules, transportation hassles–this works a lot better than most Hollywood fluff because the leads are so good […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

What is deja vu and why does it occur? –Eric Palmer, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania I could have sworn I’d answered this question before. However, having scoured the files, I guess it just seems like I did. Is this a deja vu experience? No, this is an out-to-lunch experience. I feel it’s important to make these fine […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Holger Czukay

Holger Czukay As a founding member of the German art-rock band Can, bassist Holger Czukay set a standard for the next three decades of experimentation. Various members of Can have occasionally collaborated since the group disbanded in 1978, and the whole band even re-formed briefly in 1986, but it’s Can’s mind-boggling work from 1968 to […]