Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Chamber Choir

A most intriguing holiday musical offering, this Chicago Chamber Choir potpourri features a pair of unusual sacred pieces that are seldom played nowadays. Oratorio de Noel (for chorus, soloists, harp, and organ) by Saint-Saens borders on the camp in its mock solemnity punctured by rousing exhortations from the organ. The third grouping of Gustav Holst’s […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I recently heard that spy satellites can read the headlines off the newspaper of a person sitting on a park bench. How powerful are these satellites? Can they see through walls? –Todd Schaffer, Columbus, Ohio Give me a break. Though the Pentagon isn’t exactly bubbling over with details about things like this, we are fortunate […]

Posted inFilm

The China Syndrome

EMPIRE OF THE SUN * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Steven Spielberg Written by Tom Stoppard With Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, and Nigel Havers. THE LAST EMPEROR **** (Masterpiece) Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci Written by Bertolucci and Mark Peploe With John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O’Toole, Ying Ruocheng, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

If Chicago were ice cream, what would it taste like? So far, the entries in the “Create a Chunk of Chicago” contest sponsored by Steve’s Ice Cream have included “Prairie Crunch” (creamy french vanilla filled with corn candies and granola), “The Chicago Fire” (cinnamon hearts in chocolate ice cream), and “Chicago Bears” (strawberry ice cream […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Talent Pool

Seventy young Chicago actors, male and female, gathered recently in a sweltering, humid room for final callbacks. They were told to take their clothes off and were made to do things no director had ever demanded of them before. They had to take a dive just to be considered for the job. If they could […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Dining Room

THE DINING ROOM Zebra Crossing Theatre What I remember from childhood is eating. A healthy preoccupation with consuming food. My family may have had its troubles from time to time, but when we sat down to meals, people ate. Voices were sometimes raised, but food was still passed around and swallowed with a passion, if […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

Our gray squirrels are looking plump and sleek this time of year. Their fur is luxuriant, by squirrel standards, their tails broad and bushy, and as they leap about, their bellies hit the turf with every bound. City squirrels live by the same seasonal rhythms as wilderness squirrels, and ours are getting ready for hard […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Homesick James

Woven like an erratic tapestry through the history of the Chicago blues is the legend and musical personality of Homesick James. A figure on the Chicago scene as early as 1936, Homesick finally got to cut some sides for the Chance label in 1951; crudely exciting, with his fiery, slashing slide guitar buoying up his […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Unfair to White Racists

To the editors: White racism has always been a favorite topic of your paper. The article “Who Killed Carlos Portis?” [December 4] was another example of that. What I’ve often wondered though is why your paper has never done a story about black racism. There certainly is no shortage of that in this city. In […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Jester

Jose Alvaro Morais’s first feature, O bobo, winner of first prize at the Locarno Film Festival, is set in 1978 during the onset of the right-wing backlash against the Portuguese revolution. A group of friends are staging a play adapted from Alexandre Herculano’s novel The Jester–a mythic romance built around scenes from Portuguese history–in the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Errors of Faith

To the editors: Considering how few Catholics there are today who know what their Church teaches, it was not surprising to find several errors in Cecil Adams’s November 20 column [The Straight Dope] on the disrespectable popes. After all, Catholic “theologians” who distort and tailor official doctrines to suit their own tastes abound, and it […]