Posted inMusic

The man who knew too much

It’s sometimes forgotten that there’s a strong link between the blues, white folk music, and country and western. In the first half of the 20th century, different musical and cultural traditions coexisted uneasily throughout the south and intertwined in complex ways. The black plantation musician of the 1920s led a dual life. He played blues […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Johnny “Clyde” Copeland

Johnny Copeland has managed to harness the furious energy of modern hell-bent-for-leather blues guitar and fit it into the sophisticated tradition of his Texas roots. Copeland led the house band at Shady’s Playhouse in Houston in the early and mid-50s; there he came into contact with the music of such greats as Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, […]

Posted inFilm

License to Feel

DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES **** (Masterpiece) Directed and written by Terence Davies With Freda Dowie, Pete Postlethwaite, Angela Walsh, Dean Williams, Lorraine Ashbourne, Debi Jones, Michael Starke, and Vincent Maguire. An autobiographical film about growing up in a Catholic working-class family in Liverpool in the 40s and 50s. Achronological glimpses of a traumatic family life, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

One of the more felicitous Chicago Symphony appointments of recent years is that of Michael Morgan as assistant conductor. Only 31, the Oberlin-trained maestro has made tremendous strides since joining the orchestra in ’86. Poised, intelligent, and keenly astute, he is starting to fashion his own musical personality–that benchmark of true musicianship. Interpretively, he may […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Who’s Responsible for Illinois Magazine?; Mapplethorpe in Chicago: The Lucky Moment

Who’s Responsible for Illinois Magazine? The other day we uncovered a specialist in a kind of journalism we’d never heard of. Gretchen Reynolds calls what she does “custom publishing.” That is, she creates magazines to order, laboring in an anonymity even vaster than the usual editor’s. Pick up Illinois, the superslick magazine she just put […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Decapitated Dancer

ISADORA DUNCAN SLEEPS WITH THE RUSSIAN NAVY Torso Theatre at the Victory Gardens Studio Theater Torso Theatre. Nice name. And so appropriate for the company performing Jeff Wanshel’s Isadora Duncan Sleeps With the Russian Navy. ‘Cause what’s a torso, after all? It’s that section of the body where you keep your heart, your lungs, your […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

There’s probably nothing much of any real value that can be added here to the Cubs’ recent exploits. The Cubs’ rise to first place has had to be experienced to be believed, and it seems almost everyone has followed the team in one way or another–if not by actually getting out to a game, then […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Big Sports

To the editors: What gives? In an article of July 14, 1989 (I believe it was “Neighborhood News” about the Wrigley beer ban failure), your writer stated that the Tribune Company has eliminated Ladies Day at Wrigley Field apparently for greedy reasons. Lo and behold, I just picked up a Cubs schedule and it lists […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Woolgatherer

THE WOOLGATHERER Transient Theatre at Dreamerz Opposites attract–but in a good play they’d better do more than that, or you lack the conflict to fuel a plot. It’s the fact that opposites usually repel before they can connect that provides the kind of friction that a lot of mainly two-character plays–Marty, Birdbath, Danny and the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Another Silly Mistake on Death Row

To the editors: The inherent inconsistencies of the death penalty, which all too often lead to wrongful executions, were intelligently and appropriately conveyed in the Reader’s July 28th article, “A Capital Blunder.” In this case, two men sat on death row in Illinois for four years. During their trial, a lack of evidence strongly suggested […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Service Organization

To the editors: When Craig Bradley [“A Surgeon’s Gift,” August 4] says, “Lots of other doctors are doing third-world work. Ophthalmologists were among the first, treating cataracts,” he’s probably referring to the seva foundation. Seva has performed tens of thousands of cataract operations in Nepal and India. At Himalayan altitudes, the ultraviolet can lead to […]