Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Have you ever considered the puzzle of doubling ancestors? Everybody has two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, and so on back through time, with the number of ancestors doubling in each generation. Go back 30 generations and the number of ancestors tops one billion. Eventually we arrive at a time when we have more […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dizzy Gillespie With Sam Rivers

It’s one thing for a 70-year-old trumpeter–who happens to be the most historically important jazzman living. and who not incidentally still sounds terrific–to continue touring, as Gillespie has done. But it’s quite another to find him employing the talents of a revolutionary from another jazz era (Sam Rivers) in what promises to be a quite […]

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The City File

Sounds we never expected to hear: The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that one of its engineers has hooked up a stethoscope to a loudspeaker and a computer in a system “so sensitive that he’s been able to hear, in a few seconds, the movements of a single one-day-old maggot in a grapefruit.” “At least […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Green

Fifteen years ago, Jeff Lescher was just another kid in my Boy Scout troop. These days, the raspy, crafty singer-guitarist leads Green, an aggressive pop trio whose recent debut album ranks among the western suburbs’ finer cultural achievements. Part primal squawker, part brooding balladeer, Lescher writes songs with a casual flair that spares his wit […]

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Show Business

“Come on Jimmy. You don’t want to watch this.” “Yes I do.” “Come on–let’s go find your mother.” “I wanna watch the puppet show.” “You’re gonna be bored.” Jimmy doesn’t look the least bit bored. It is his father who is shifting his weight and looking distractedly at young women in shorts and bathing suits. […]

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The Sports Section

The score was New York Mets 17, Chicago Cubs 5 going into the bottom of the sixth. That’s the setting–or, as it is more commonly referred to in the analysis of humor, the setup–for the joke. The joke’s background, its reference point, is that back in the days when Jack Brickhouse was broadcasting for the […]

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The Woolgatherer

THE WOOLGATHERER Element Theatre Company at the Chicago Actors Project William Mastrosimone, more widely known for his play Extremities, takes a lighter look at boys and girls together in The Woolgatherer. But this time seduction, not rape, is the dramatic premise. There are two characters, Rose and Cliff. Rose is a reclusive dime store candy […]

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So Human It Hurts

WAITING FOR LEFTY Cactus Theatre at the Broadway Arts Center The moment we enter a theater it’s us against them: the audience, strangers intent on effacing themselves in the dark, are literally opposed to the actors, extroverted creatures from the Dressing Room Beyond who play make-believe for high stakes. Most plays work to make us […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Ring of Truth

To the editors: Congratulations on the wonderful article by Larry Rand, “How I Lost the Vietnam War” [June 26]. I saw the comment by your reader who considered it an insult to the men who fought over there. I don’t understand why it is not obvious that people who objected to the war did not […]

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Fear of Judaism

To the editors: As a Conservative Jew, presumably I am dangerously close to demonstrating “cultlike” behavior because I choose to keep kosher, attend services on Shabbat (Sabbath), and observe other traditional Jewish rituals. Curiously, in the world of Florence Hamlish Levinsohn, author of “The Importance of Being Jewish” [August 7], only Reconstructionist and Reform Jews […]