Posted inArts & Culture

Alagazam . . . After the Dog Wars

ALAGAZAM … AFTER THE DOG WARS at Blind Parrot Theater In his first of many tiresome monologues, carnival huckster Cyrus Grifter introduces his cast of freaks, including the Human Animal, Siamese Twin Pinheads, Rooster Man, the Bearded Lady, and others. These freaks, Grifter promises, will give us a perspective on our pain. This is the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Book of Blanche

THE BOOK OF BLANCHE White Noise at the Roxy Television-based humor always strikes me as comedy’s line of least resistance. Spoofing the boob tube is a thankless, pointless task because TV thrives on its own hip irony; no matter how you mock it, TV always ends up its own worst parody. Besides, television takeoffs are […]

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La Perichole

La Perichole is certainly the most outrageous of Offenbach’s famous comic Operas. Its improbable plot is loosely based on a true-life scandal in 18th-century Lima involving a stuffy Spanish viceroy and a temperamental Peruvian actress: he was so possessive of her that his nickname for her was “perra chola” (“native bitch,” hence the title) (The […]

Posted inNews & Politics


I saw a dead man on Lake Shore Drive the other day. Some firemen were pulling him out of the wreck of a white car that lay across the northbound lanes with its roof torn off. You could see the dead man’s shoes flopping from side to side as the firemen struggled with his body. […]

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Bucket Number Six

The Chicago-based Bucket Number Six is a semiacoustic folk-rock trio with a special talent for catchy understatement. Front man Doug Hoekstra’s talky singing does take some getting used to, but he’s a first-rate songwriter who specializes in droll, rough-hewn evocations of a slightly sentimentalized America in which Mark Twain or Thomas Hart Benton might feel […]

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Mark Colby/Frank Caruso

If you look at the lineup, you figure you know the band; after all, the combo of saxophone, electric bass, percussion, and one of those ubiquitous multipurpose keyboards–which has come to spell “fusion”–can be found in high-tech nightclubs all across this great land. What sets Mark Colby and Frank Caruso apart from the pack is […]

Posted inFilm

Looking for America

UNCOMMON SENSES Directed and written by Jon Jost. The film essay, as opposed to the documentary, remains in some respects the most neglected of contemporary film genres, by filmmakers and audiences alike, perhaps because it is seldom acknowledged as a film form at all. The only recent mainstream examples that come to mind are the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Shoot to Kill

Mayor Daley relished the year 1967. Around the country, blacks trapped and packed in steaming, stinking ghettos lashed out–in Newark, in Detroit, in more than 140 cities that summer. Not in Chicago, though. In Chicago, we had programs–“positive, constructive programs,” Daley said. In his successful bid to bring the Democratic National Convention to Chicago, he […]

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Double Exposure

DOUBLE EXPOSURE at Victory Gardens Studio Theater I went to see Double Exposure just a couple of hours after sitting through Eight Men Out, John Sayles’s new film about the 1919 Chicago White Sox, the team that threw the World Series. So naturally, my mind was full of baseball analogies: Double Exposure is like a […]