Posted inNews & Politics

The referendum on Con Con: Does Illinois need a new constitution?

“We have thrown off the shackles of an archaic and restrictive constitution, and gained the freedom to deal effectively with the problems confronting Illinois,” said Governor Richard Ogilvie in 1970 after voters did away with a century-old constitution. Gone was a bulky document that included specifics on warehouses and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. In […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Robert Ashley

In 1985 the Museum of Contemporary Art presented an anniversary commission at the Goodman Theatre, an opera by composer and performance artist Robert Ashley called Atalanta (Acts of God). The work exemplified Ashley’s longtime interest in the coordination between musical ideas and visual media–in this case, video. Now Ashley returns to Chicago for the local […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Antony and Cleopatra

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA Shakespeare Repertory at the Ruth Page Theatre I suppose it’s only natural to find Shakespeare Repertory’s Antony and Cleopatra and Goodman Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet shacked up together in my mind. After all, they’re both Shakespearean, they opened nine days apart, and they’re basically about the same thing: a love that can’t […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bird

Clint Eastwood’s ambitious and long-awaited biopic about the great Charlie Parker (Forest Whitaker), running 161 minutes, is the most serious, conscientious, and accomplished jazz biopic ever made, and almost certainly Eastwood’s best picture as well. The script (which accounts for much of the movie’s distinction) is by Joel Oliansky, and the costars include Diane Venora […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Basically Bach

With the incredible growth and expansion of the City Musick since its 1985 inception, it’s easy to forget that there is another period instrument ensemble in Chicago that is one season older: Basically Bach. The City Musick is trying to build a permanent orchestra of Chicago-area players; Basically Bach hires many of its players from […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bad Blood

The distinctive and unusual talents of French filmmaker Leos Carax have relatively little to do with story telling, and it would be a mistake to approach this, his second feature, with expectations of a “dazzling film noir thriller,” which is how it was described for the Chicago Film Festival last year. Dazzling it certainly is […]

Posted inMusic

More Songs About Politics and Sex

Halfway through his show at the Riviera, Billy Bragg, as is his wont, digressed into a short monologue before his new song “Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards.” This song is the standout track on Bragg’s new record, Workers Playtime; it’s a luminous, transcontinental fantasy that begins in Cuba, rockets out to a nuclear test […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I heard about a strange sexual practice the other day that I hope you can tell me more about. It seems a boy was found dead with a rope around his neck, but he hadn’t purposely killed himself. Apparently he was masturbating at the time of his death and hanged himself in order to heighten […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Sea of Celluloid: Our coverage of the 24th Chicago International Film Festival Continues

The 24th Chicago International Film Festival, now into its top-heavy second week, is offering 60-odd programs this week, reviews and descriptions of which can be found below. It’s particularly pleasing that the festival has managed to squeeze in filmmakers as important as Jean-Luc Godard and Raul Ruiz this week (although the latter is represented only […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

“Not long ago I found myself in the uncomfortable position of needing a dollar to get home,” writes Joshua Henkin in the Chicago-based socialist newsweekly In These Times (September 28-October 4). “Left with no other alternative, I approached a well-dressed, middle-aged woman and explained my predicament. She promptly handed me the money, no questions asked. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Gizmos for the Gullible

Robert McCoy was having problems with his Shocker Box. He flicked several of the switches that protruded from the large wooden cabinet, but instead of a buzzing sound, there was dead silence. A few people in the audience chuckled. For a moment I thought McCoy was going to kick the Shocker Box like my dad […]