Posted inFilm

Abyss Full of Tricks

THE ABYSS ** (Worth seeing) Directed and written by James Cameron With Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, John Bedford Lloyd, Leo Burmester, Todd Graff, and Kimberly Scott. To satisfy these new cravings of human vanity, the arts have recourse to every species of imposture; and these devices sometimes go so far as to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

De La Soul

De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising is for my money the landmark hip-hop album of ’89, a captivating tapestry of sound, color, and rhythm that makes the vast majority of gold-bedecked MCs seem pretty lame by comparison. Like other hiphoppers, De La Soul raid the pop/rock past for grooves and other fragments to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lowell Fulson

The career of Lowell Fulson exemplifies the evolution of the blues from an indigenous folk music to a popular art form. Born in Tulsa in 1921, Fulson played in an Oklahoma string band in the late 30s. He traveled throughout western Oklahoma and Texas, eventually teaming up with the legendary singer Texas Alexander, whom he […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jerome Kern’s Second Coming

SUNNY Grant Park Symphony and Chorus at Orchestra Hall Artistic archaeologists are slowly reclaiming our musical past. Pianist-scholar Joshua Rifkin helped to revive Scott Joplin’s fame with his historic 1970 recordings of nearly forgotten rags; a few years later William Bolcom and Joan Morris released two recordings of grand old vaudeville showstoppers. A recent revivalist […]

Posted inArts & Culture


TREATMENT Lookingglass Theatre at the Edge of the Lookingglass In four months of operation Lookingglass Theatre has built up something of a reputation as a venue for the kind of performances that used to be confined to Lower Links, Randolph Street Gallery, and Chicago Filmmakers. Their latest production, British playwright Jonathan Moore’s Treatment, is an […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Does the Tribune Love Its Free-lancers?; Saying No to Woodstock; Our Flagging Vigilance

Does the Tribune Love Its Free-lancers? The trouble with Chicago magazines, speculated James Warren recently in the Tribune’s Tempo section, could be “editorial ennui.” It could be a lack of “a cohesive community here of magazine editors and writers . . .” It could be umpteen other things. One of which could be that “Chicago […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Impossible Playwright

KRAPP’S LAST TAPE and PLAY Element Theatre Company at the Chicago Actors Project Cast a cold eye on life, on death. –W.B. Yeats Of all the unsmiling Irish eyes, no one, not even Yeats, casts a colder eye than Samuel Beckett. He’s the peerless master of the withering perspective. The sky turns as gray as […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Phil Krone’s Big Dog

To the editors: Like everyone else who has dealt with Phil Krone, Florence Hamlish Levinsohn seems rather overwhelmed at times [July 14]. I can appreciate that. In the eleven years I have known Phil he has variously educated me, threatened me, cajoled me, inspired me, entertained me, confided in me, flattered me, baited me, criticized […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

A couple questions: (1) Is there any scientific evidence that crystals emit power or store energy? (2) Is it possible to create a comic book-type flashlight so bright the briefest exposure would cause permanent blindness? –Xah Lee, Montreal, Canada (1) Sure crystals emit power–the power to enrich gemshop owners beyond their wildest dreams. The wholesale […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Pfaffian Code

To the editors: Over the years, syndicated columnist William Pfaff has marred any number of curious tales in telling them. His work ranks among those most heavily indoctrinated with Cold War ideology, often to the point of sheer embarrassment. To cite just one of his many ludicrous examples: Back on June 11, Pfaff’s “The power […]