Posted inArts & Culture

Damnation

This is my first encounter with Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr (Family Nest) and I hope it won’t be my last. People who don’t have much use for the existential gloom of Antonioni and Tarkovsky are advised to stay away, because many of the hallmarks of that relentless black-and-white style and vision–lots of rain, fog, and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Moliere in Hollywood

THE MISANTHROPE Goodman Theatre When I think of Shakespeare I think perfect. I mean, Hamlet may have something wrong with it, theoretically, but I don’t know what it is. Hamlet’s Hamlet; it’s not something you pick apart, it’s something you discover. It has its own completeness. Its own necessity. There’s no second-guessing it. It’s just […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The gang that couldn’t run straight: Dawn Clark Netsch and Woody Bowman in the Democratic debacle of 1990

This being that crucial time of year when candidates across the state hire staff, raise money, and otherwise gear up for the primaries in March–the Democrats are busy committing political hara-kiri. There’s no rational explanation. That’s just the way it is in Illinois. Republicans almost never have a contested primary; when they do, the candidates […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Delegates of the Gods

The scholarly Reverend Alfred Momerie of the Church of England came to Chicago in September 1893 to take part in the first World’s Parliament of Religions. Afterward. he called it “the greatest event so far in the history of the world.” Over 17 days, a total of perhaps 150,000 people gathered in what is now […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Art Facts: Robert Peters and the call of the authentic

Up on the fourth floor of the Public Library Cultural Center, there’s a series of partitioned spaces filled with strange objects and constructions–“site-specific installations,” as they’re known in the art world. Such works, built specifically for a particular site and often creating an environment into which the viewer enters, are not readily salable commodities. Indeed, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

L.V. Johnson & Joanna Graham

The list of contemporary guitarists who consider themselves proteges of B.B. King seems endless, but Chicago’s L.V. Johnson augments his stylistic debts with a welcome eclecticism and a considerable amount of grit. Johnson may be better known to local listeners as soul singer Tyrone Davis’s longtime bandleader; he penned “Are You Serious,” one of Davis’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hotel Universe

HOTEL UNIVERSE Center Theater Hotel Universe is like an episode of thirtysomething written from an existential perspective. Seven self-absorbed young people sit on the terrace of a house in the south of France, brooding about a suicide they recently witnessed. (The young man turned, smiled, said “I’m off for Africa,” and dove to his death […]

Posted inMusic

Face It, It’s Opera

THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER IN CONCERT at the Auditorium Theatre October 17-22 I have no doubt that composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will be known to future generations as the most successful opera composer of the second half of the 20th century. Few, I suppose, would question his unparalleled success. Not only is his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Amen Corner

THE AMEN CORNER Kuumba Theatre The dramatic works of James Baldwin are not easy to perform. He was a brilliant prose writer with an ear for the music of words, and his plays tend to be massively overwritten. Characters say the same things seven or eight times in language too splendid to consider editing (I […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Doris Humphrey: Late Works

DORIS HUMPHREY: LATE WORKS Momenta at the Academy of Movement and Music October 21, 22, 28, and 29 Momenta is continuing its mission of restoring to life in the theater the lost dances of Doris Humphrey–along with Martha Graham, a founding mother of American modern dance. Last spring, Momenta reintroduced several of her lost early […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Two questions. First, does it bug you when people write you questions on bar napkins, like I am? Second, as we leave a stoplight in our cars and look at the wheels of the car next to us, we notice that when the RPMs reach a certain point we get the optical illusion of reverse […]