Posted inArts & Culture

Beautiful Animals

JOSEPH HOLMES DANCE THEATRE at the Auditorium October 7 and 8 Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre is one of the hardest-working, most peripatetic troupes around. Each year they pop up in engagements all over the Chicago area–and around the country and, this year, out of the country (in Israel). But it’s fun to catch them in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

La Triviata

LA TRAVIATA Lyric Opera at the Civic Opera House September 26 and October 1, 5, 8, 12, 16, 21, 25, and 28 Let’s face it: not only is La traviata the least musically interesting of all the standard Verdi operas, it is also probably the least dramatic. Moreover, it is a work where the link […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Accused

Something of a first, this is a serious movie about rape, and as such might be said to represent penance of a sort for the crude milking of antifeminist sentiments in the previous film of producers Sherry Lansing and Stanley R. Jaffe, Fatal Attraction. Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster) is gang-raped in a bar, and Deputy […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sergei Kuryokhin

The music of Leningrad-based Sergey Kuryokhin is still revealing itself to me. After first discovering his brilliantly hip twisty-fingered pianistics on recordings Kuryokhin made as a member of Boris Grebenschikov’s rock band Aquarium (recordings that had to be smuggled out of the USSR by Westerners), I then moved on to his fascinating solo stuff, in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Maarten Altena Octet

I’m warning you up front: almost anything I say about this band will fail to capture the uniqueness of the experience, so plan on stopping by and figuring it out for yourself. Altena, a Dutch bassist whose prodigious technique is matched only by his iconoclasm, has jumbled together source music ranging from Mozart minuets to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Billy Bragg

In the grand leftist tradition of angry young geeks ranging from Antonio Gramsci to the Clash, British folk antihero Billy Bragg explores the tension between individual creation and collective consciousness by diving headfirst into the contradiction. Caught between punk anger and folk romanticism, between impersonal skepticism and the human touch, Bragg–whose hilariously self-effacing live performances […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Heaven on Earth

To the editors: Florence Levinsohn (“A Special Connection with God,” September 2), misses the essence of Judaism. Judaism is a religion of redemption in this world. The Western idea of heaven as a “construct of poets and philosophers” goes back to the Platonic idea of this world being an inferior imitation of the ideal world […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Where is Podunk? –Thomas Gruffydd-Hunter, Dallas You’re not the first guy to wonder about this, Tomaso. As a matter of fact, the search for Podunk, the archetypal jerkwater town, is one of the great adventures of philology, which, believe me, is not a field that has great adventures in abundance. Allow me to quote from […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

“If you believe you have a good idea, try it out on friends,” advises Paul Hawken in Success (October 1988). “If they say you have a wonderful idea, you may be in trouble: An idea everyone recognizes as great has probably arrived on the scene too late. But if your friends look confused and shrug […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Me and My Girl

About a year after King Edward VIII abdicated to many an American commoner, London audiences were treated to this piece of fluff about a Cockney tramp who inherits a noble title and tries to give it up to keep his fishmonger girlfriend. Me and My Girl ran for five years after its 1937 debut; its […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Midnight Oil

In the process of single-handedly atoning for Australia’s past contributions to popular music–the Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John, Men at Work–Midnight Oil may come to rank with U2 as the Commonwealth’s hard-rock leaders. Like U2, the Oil has a clean muscular sound; with four musicians, however, Oil’s sound is more ornate and the arrangements more diverse. […]