Posted inArts & Culture

As the World Burns

THE CONDUCT OF LIFE Organic Theater The whole head is sick, / And the whole heart is faint. –Isaiah 1:5 Maria Irene Fornes has a way of knocking your socks off without removing your shoes. It’s as if a fire had blown over you and burned the fabric away. You’re just left standing there, stunned […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Oh, Yoko

“Holy leapin’ Lennon,” I said to myself as the escalator reached the second level of Water Tower Place. Hundreds of people were queued up in front of the Merrill Chase Gallery, the line curving out around the escalators, past the elevators in the mall’s central section, and down to Lord & Taylor. An exhibit of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Two questions. Often Soviet authorities will brand a person as a “cosmopolite” in order to signify his or her lack of good Soviet citizenship. Why? What pejorative connotations does this word have in their minds? Second, they often seem to use “hooliganism” as a specific criminal charge like theft or assault, although the term as […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

How do you keep deer from eating rare plants? Gary Horn, a volunteer steward at Salt Creek Prairie in western Cook County and an employee of Brookfield Zoo, tried scattering human hair around the plants, then lion hair, and finally succeeded with his “ultimate weapon,” reports Natural Area Notes (February 1988)–leopard droppings. “According to Gary, […]

Posted inFilm

Waters in the Mainstream

HAIRSPRAY *** (A must-see) Directed and written by John Waters With Ricki Lake, Divine, Leslie Ann Powers, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Ruth Brown, Sonny Bono, Debbie Harry, and Shawn Thompson. As John Waters is the first to point out, Hairspray is “a satire of the two most dreaded film genres today–the ‘teen flick’ and the ‘message movie.’” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fetchin Bones

I thought I would never ever want to hear another one of those quirky Amvets-dressed, North Carolina-based rock acts again, but I changed my mind recently after seeing Fetchin Bones whip up a dance groove far more powerful than their LPs would lead you to expect. Mind you, their forte is not the cold, hard […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Johnny Frigo

Does life begin at 71? That’s the age at which Chicago violinist Johnny Frigo has returned to the national recording scene–as a guest artist on the album Triple Treat II (Concord CJ-338)–and he seems to be more in demand than at any time in the last 20 years. Blame it on his classic style, full […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Some Things You Need to Know Before the World Ends: A Final Evening With the Illuminati/A Change in the Heir

SOME THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS: A FINAL EVENING WITH THE ILLUMINATI at the Truman-O’Rourke Center for the Performing Arts A CHANGE IN THE HEIR New Tuners Productions Why is it? “When we’re talking to God, we’re praying. When God talks to us, we’re schizophrenic.” Now that will give you something […]

Posted inArts & Culture


MACHINAL Lifeline Theatre Mrs. Jones’s death at the end of Machinal is redundant–she’s never really been alive at any point in the play. A shapeless bag of suffering pumped full of self-pity and guilt, she finally bursts during the courtroom scene, providing a feeble climax to this languid drama. I was delighted to see her […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hugo Largo

You might argue that Hugo Largo must be insufferably arty, that their eccentric instrumentation (violin, two bass guitars, no drums) is eccentric for no good reason. But I would strongly disagree. It isn’t only that more and more as I grow older I find myself craving the sound of bands without drums. No, it’s mostly […]