Posted inArts & Culture

Phantom Rats

PHANTOM RATS Free Street Theater A few years ago they called this stuff the “new vaudeville.” It must have been a short-lived renaissance, since you don’t hear that term used anymore; but while it lasted, clowns, mimes, jugglers, contortionists, and certain types of magicians made bold attempts to crash the legitimate theater. The challenge was […]

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Happy End; Big River

HAPPY END Court Theatre BIG RIVER Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre One of the most valuable functions that a nonprofit, institutionally based theater can perform is the revival and reinvestigation of neglected, historically interesting works. The Court Theatre’s staging of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s 1929 musical Happy End, produced in conjunction with the University of Chicago’s […]

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Life in the Food Chain

SPEED-THE-PLOW Remains Theatre Ensemble at Wisdom Bridge Theatre “. . . because the scene was written [by David Mamet] in a serious manner and yet the style is funny” –Robert De Niro, as quoted by Gene Siskel, explaining why he’d had a tough time with a scene in a movie he was working on. You’ve […]

Posted inMusic

A celebration of sex

The lounge at the East of the Ryan Motel on 79th Street is not what you’d expect from a nightclub with a reputation for elegance and sophistication. The ceiling is low, the wooden walls mostly unadorned. Customers sit at long, cafeteria-style tables. Despite a few sparkling chandeliers, which add a touch of class to the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Doris Humphrey–Lost Works

DORIS HUMPHREY–LOST WORKS Momenta at the Academy of Movement and Music March 11, 12, 18, and 19 The reconstruction of dances by past masters is vitally important to our understanding of how those masters shaped and influenced the dance we see today–whether classic ballet or modern dance. The recovery of that ephemeral past is also […]

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Siegel-Schwall Band

In the late 1960s and early ’70s, the Siegel-Schwall Band was one of the hottest tickets in town. Evolving from a curiosity–a white-fronted blues band that jammed on the south side–to a cult item to a concert attraction, Siegel-Schwall played with artists ranging from Howlin’ Wolf to the Jefferson Airplane to the San Francisco Symphony. […]

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Who Shot JFK?

WHO SHOT JFK? at the Roxy “There were no fingerprints on the murder weapon.” –Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry, shortly after Lee Harvey Oswald’s arrest “The thing I am most concerned about . . . is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.” –J. Edgar Hoover, November […]

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Smooch Music

SMOOCH MUSIC at the Goodman Theatre Studio Love stories are just propaganda for an idealized notion of romance. According to this propaganda, two people in love are united by some sort of mysterious, erotic attraction that transcends all other human activity. Love is pure; love is sweet; love conquers all. But the romantic entanglements I’ve […]

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Smokey Smothers

Smokey Smothers is a gentle, profoundly resilient man with a deep, abiding love for the blues and an ability to overcome personal setbacks that have endeared him to a new generation of blues fans in the 1980s. Featured for some years with his band, the Ice Cream Men, Smokey is currently working in a solo […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Missing the Point

To the editors: I was disappointed in Steve Bogira’s February 17th article, “The Press: Beautiful Women.” Mr. Bogira related a conversation with a friend over an article in the Tribune titled “Chicago’s Most Beautiful Women.” The intent of the article was to show that women who donate time to help others have beautiful inner qualities. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

For years I’ve been hearing about fantastic carburetors that can give your car up to 200 mpg. But supposedly the automakers and Big Oil won’t allow them to come to market because they’d wreck the industry. The people who tell you this are usually conspiracy buffs who offer it as an example of how the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Dead Sea Scrolls

To the editors: Let me set Cecil Adams straight on something: In the 20 January 1989 “The Straight Dope” you say, regarding the Dead Sea scrolls, that they “contain copies of major chunks of the Old Testament (although nothing of the New) . . .” The “scrolls proper,” i.e., the Qumran library, is as you […]