Posted inArts & Culture

Ghost Watch

GHOST WATCH Chicago Actors Ensemble Remember James Pike? He was the Episcopal Bishop of California who got a little flaky in the 60s and ended up renouncing the Church. One of his excesses, at least insofar as the Episcopalians were concerned, was his involvement with the occult: he hired mediums to help him get in […]

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Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown

Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown sometimes seems bent on packing elements of every imaginable facet of American black popular music into each set, in a kind of Texas roadhouse version of the eclectic dilettantism of Taj Mahal. But beneath the occasionally jarring musical shifts–from blues to country swing to bluegrass to hillbilly to funk–lies one of the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I have long been interested in the “Philadelphia Experiment,” which was supposedly conducted by the U.S. Navy during World War II as one of the three “city projects.” The Manhattan Project, of course, was the development of the atomic bomb; the Philadelphia Experiment supposedly involved the use of magnetism to bend light rays and thus […]

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The City File

Everyone talked about the oil crisis during the 1970s, but nobody around here did much about it, to judge from these tidbits in Transportation Facts (September 1987), newsletter of the Chicago Area Transportation Study: between 1970 and 1980, the average Chicagoland commute lengthened from 6.9 to 7.9 miles; mass transit ridership declined; car commuting increased; […]

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Jeeves Takes Charge

P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie and Jeeves stories–vignettes in the lives of the ultimate English twit and his protective, pluperfect valet–pulled off the neat stunt of satirizing the British upper classes while amusing them at the same time. In bringing Wodehouse’s writings to the stage, Edward Duke broadens the material’s base of appeal not by cheapening it […]

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How to Save a C-Note

To the editors: David Sudnow’s method of teaching piano (“Let Your Fingers Do the Thinking,” October 2) sounds suspiciously like the “think method” created by Professor Hill in The Music Man. I would suggest that anyone interested in learning by this method save their $100 and tune in to this great old musical next time […]

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Stand By Your Man

EDWARD II Absolute Theatre Company When Bertolt Brecht presented his adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II in 1924, the issue of sexual freedom was a pressing one in his society. The sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld–socialist, homosexual, Jew–was heading (and providing the intellectual documentation for) a campaign to repeal Germany’s sodomy law, while on the far right […]

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Holes in the Ground?

To the editors: In your lead story “Bury My Heart at Lot 23” [October 2], Lucille Keating, the bouncy white-headed grandmother, may be a gracious hostess, but her remark, “If I had known this was an Indian burial ground, I would have cut down on my fertilizer bill,” tells us much more about her. As […]

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Exit the King

EXIT THE KING Gallery Theatre Company Picture Jerry Lewis as the ruler of the world. Now imagine that he is told he has only one and a half hours to live. He has one last chance to mug, whine, and do pratfalls. Thanks to some unfortunate casting, the Gallery Theatre has turned Ionesco’s absurdist classic […]

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Rotten Cards

To the editors: For my money (and particularly when free) there is no current writer more incisive to read on baseball than Ted Cox. Furthermore, he is exactly right about the Saint Louis Cardinals [The Sports Section, October 2]. Any good Cubs fan should, as does Cox, despise the Cards–for about the last 79 years, […]

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Field & Street

I harvested my northern drop seed grass last weekend. The panicles were full of seeds, all but two, which had already dropped theirs. The 20 or so flowering stalks on the three plants will produce a couple of tablespoons of cleaned seed. This will be mixed with seeds from more than 100 other prairie plants […]

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Boomers Know Best

To the editors: Having just read the August 14 “Letters” column I have made some interesting comparisons. Being a 21-year-old college student I have to admit that your generation did make some major breakthroughs with civil rights. But national and state lawmakers want to tell us what rock groups are “good” to listen to, scientists […]