Posted inFilm

Strangers in Elvisland

MYSTERY TRAIN ** (Worth seeing) Directed and written by Jim Jarmusch With Youki Kudoh, Masatoshi Nagase, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Cinque Lee, Nicoletta Braschi, Elizabeth Bracco, Joe Strummer, and Rick Aviles. Mastery is a rare commodity in American movies these days, in matters both large and small, so when a poetic master working on a small […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

The sixth man is basketball’s version of a military technique dating back to Napoleon: the use of fresh troops, held in reserve, to swing the battle at a critical moment. The Boston Celtics have made a tradition of the sixth man, from John Havlicek in the 60s right up to this season, when Ed Pinckney […]

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Fathers and Other Strangers

FATHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS Chicago Theatre Company Fathers and Other Strangers is about silence. The silence that falls between us when we desperately need to connect. The silence that keeps us suspicious and ignorant of each other. The silence we impose upon ourselves, so we don’t have to acknowledge our own weaknesses and failures. The […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Finally, the library in West Garfield Park will be renovated. That’s the good news.

Jane Byrne was mayor when the city first promised the residents of West Garfield Park a renovated library. That was in 1979 and the West Garfield Park facility–the Legler Library, at 115 S. Pulaski–was in lousy condition. Today, conditions are not much better (despite $100,000 in makeshift improvements): the branch is marred by peeling paint, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story Mr. Coke Is It, 59 (whose name was Fred Koch before he changed it legally), was found competent for trial in September on several charges involving mischief with his automobile in Brattleboro, Vermont. The court psychiatrist said Mr. It suffers from “mood swings” but is “enjoying the opportunity for the upcoming legal confrontations.” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Babtunde Olatunji

Learning to hear the drum as a lead instrument is crucial to understanding most traditional African music and can be hard for Americans who habitually consider the drummer a mere timekeeper. Drummer-singer Babatunde Olatunji was among the first to introduce the complex subtleties of west African drumming to an American audience. Born and raised in […]

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The Winter’s Tale

THE WINTER’S TALE Goodman Theatre There’s a clicking sound in the darkness just before the Goodman Theatre production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale begins–a sound like some kind of mechanism being wound up. In a moment the lights go on and we can see Mamillius, the young prince of Sicilia, turning a key in a […]

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Flying

Traffic is deadlocked at the intersection of Clark, Diversey, and Broadway, and as a driver struggles to negotiate a right turn he is suddenly greeted by a short man who, thrusting himself into the middle of the now moving traffic, raises his right arm high above his head, and then pushes his left forward in […]

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In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe

IN PERPETUITY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE Element Theatre Company at Chicago Actors Project Eric Overmyer savors the twilight zone. In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe is populated with creatures of the night: ghostwriters for strange, marginal publications whose business hours are midnight to dawn, mystical Chinese gangsters, powerful white supremacists, and a Russian bisexual vampire. Moreover, his […]

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A History of the American Film

A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN FILM Pegasus Players When Christopher Durang’s play with music A History of the American Film was first produced in 1978, the mainstream critics jeered, calling it sophomoric and shallow, a collection of old college-show jokes trying to pass itself off as a play. (The New Republic critic thought a better […]

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Personal Bits

CHOREOGRAPHERS SAMPLER at MoMing Dance & Arts Center February 2, 3, and 4 There’s something new under the sun, and it’s happening at MoMing. For several years MoMing has hosted “Dance for $1.98” (the original price was a buck), intended for new and emerging choreographers. Now there’s “Choreographers Sampler,” for experienced choreographers, a joint project […]

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Hokum From New York

My friend Mike arrived in Chicago with his friend Hokum. Hokum’s a New Yorker and smelled like one–a scent that seems to combine cigarette smoke with sauerkraut. His prickly face made him look like a porcupine with an excessive hair-loss problem. Hokum had it in mind that he should be granted a complete tour of […]

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Eric Schneider

Eric Schneider might be labeled a traditionalist–except that he’s got his ears open to newer sounds than those of the bebop masters who shaped his concept of the saxophone. But you can’t just call him a bebopper and be done with it either, because his comprehension of the swing saxophone giants is sure and prevalent. […]