Posted inArts & Culture

Balancing Act

The Balancing Act’s calm, cool, and collected appearance belies an almost hysterical amalgam of textures and influences rioting beneath the acoustic surface. Steely Dan rhythms appear in one song, Flying Burrito Brothers harmonies in the next. Similarly, as soon as you have one lyrical fixation pegged–floors, roofs, and furniture figure prominently on the group’s new […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The My House Play

THE MY HOUSE PLAY Wisdom Bridge Theatre The My House Play could be a pilot for a sitcom. It’s a little wacky like Ozzie and Harriet, a little blue-collar like All in the Family, and not too much in its own right. But then it’s in the nature of a sitcom to be innocuous. And […]

Posted inFilm

A Perversion of the Past

MISSISSIPPI BURNING no stars (Worthless) Directed by Alan Parker Written by Chris Gerolmo With Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, R. Lee Ermey, and Gailard Sartain. This whole country is full of lies. –Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddam” The time in my youth when I was most physically afraid was a period of six […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Social security: seniors organize to move Rostenkowski

Anne Knefel didn’t expect a big turnout on the rainy Saturday afternoon in November when the Guardians first met. And at first the meeting room at the Copernicus Foundation, a northwest-side social-service agency, was pretty empty. But slowly the seniors from nearby neighborhoods–like Portage Park, Jefferson Park, and Belmont Cragin–wandered in, until finally all the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Depressing Connections

THE AMERICAN CLOCK Court Theatre This has been the season of the two steps back. There’s revival and nostalgia everywhere you look. The Northlight Theatre adapts and stages Studs Terkel’s Depression-era reminiscence, Talking to Myself; Steppenwolf does likewise with John Steinbeck’s Dust Bowl manifesto, The Grapes of Wrath. Michael Butler restages Hair, the Organic hosts […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Little Dorrit

Conceivably the best and most serious Dickens adaptation ever filmed, Christine Edzard’s two-part, six-hour English movie tells the story as the novel does, from two consecutive points of view. Perhaps the greatest strength of the picture is its remarkably dense rendering of 19th-century England; no single art director or production designer is credited, but the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar Photo Caption

Two Arts and Crafts lampposts at Ravinia and the Miesian Ben Rose Auto Museum in Highland Park were two of the more obscure sites photographed by David Clifton for the Evanston Junior League’s book An Architectural Album: Chicago’s North Shore. The Queen Anne-style Ullman Strong house, pictured here, which was completed in 1896 in Kenilworth, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jazz Members Big Band

The Jazz Members Big Band charts have always been terrific: the band’s coleader, Jeff Lindberg, saw to that. The soloists, including the other coleader, trumpeter Steve Jensen, remain stellar. And I can think of only one other band in the country that can match these guys when it comes to studying and executing the music […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Why are there high tides twice a day when the earth rotates beneath the moon only once a day? In diagrams it appears the moon’s gravity causes the earth’s oceans to bulge (creating a high tide) not only on the side toward the moon, but also on the side away from the moon. I’ve heard […]