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Grace and the Guys

Grace Lai was perched on a stool next to a fire hydrant near State and Grand the wintry afternoon when I first noticed her. Surround-ed by plastic bags, she looked plump and misshapen in her multiple layers of winter clothing. Strapped securely under her chin was a bright plastic hard hat. On her lap she […]

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Whatever Happened to B.B. Jane?

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO B.B. JANE? Circle Theatre at Synergy Center In her 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp’” Susan Sontag states, “The whole point of camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious. . . . One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious.” Certainly no show in town this side […]

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Borders of Blandness

JESSE HICKMAN: THE COUNTY SERIES at Klein Art Works If you open up a U.S. road atlas and trace the lines delineating the counties of any state, you’ll have an excellent idea of the shapes Jesse Hickman employs in his series of paintings on wood panels, straightforwardly titled “The County Series.” In fact, this entire […]

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Breaking Wood

BREAKING WOOD at Raven Theatre The program note on Whitney Empire, the author of Breaking Wood, reads: “Although sharing the same past, Whitney Empire no longer resides in Susan MacNeil’s body” (MacNeil is the actor in this one-woman show). MacNeil, according to the program, has a black belt in kyokushin karate, a Korean-based school of […]

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The Straight Dope

Why are residential toilet seats always round, and public toilet seats always “U” shaped? Who started this practice? –R.G., Jacksonville, Florida Three times readers have sent me this question in the space of four months. You people really have to start getting out of the house. Public toilets are designed the way they are for […]

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HR

HR’s newest album, Singin’ in the Heart, is the culmination of his evolutionary search for the beatific reggae moment. HR (for “Human Rights”) was originally the nom de thrash of Paul Hudson, founder and lead singer of the rude and exciting reggae/hard-core band the Bad Brains. Now HR is the name of his band as […]

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Chicago Ensemble

George Crumb’s Powerful Vox Balaenae (“Voice of the Whale”), an unusual work inspired by the singing of the humpback whale, traces the evolution of the giant mammal–and mankind itself–through various geological ages. The players are required to wear black masks, and the setting is bathed in blue light. Among the work’s more interesting features are […]

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Pointless Pilobolism

ISO AND THE BOBS at the Civic Center for Performing Arts February 20-25 People don’t like to be told they shouldn’t have been enjoying themselves–especially if they thought they were having a good time. So I’m sorry, but I think everyone who cheered ISO and the Bobs at the Civic Center last week was shortchanged. […]

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The City File

Lead sentences we never got past, from Earth Day ’90 Chicago: “Environmental journalists, in an act of upping the anti on scientific literacy, have the unique position of bonding the widest variety of subjects…” “Young black males make up only 5 percent of the city’s population but are the victims in 34 percent of the […]

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Jubilation! Dance Company

JUBILATION! DANCE COMPANY at the Dance Center of Columbia College February 23 and 24 Jubilation! Dance Company, like ISO and the Bobs last week at the Civic Center, was cheered heartily by its audience. This Brooklyn-based troupe, the fourth company to appear in the Dance Center’s series “Present Vision/Past Voice: The African- American Tradition in […]

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Field & Street

My first visit to the Calumet marshes was in the summer of 1982. My guide for the trip was Larry Balch, an expert birder who is now the immediate past president of the American Birding Association. I had known about the marshes for some time before that first visit, but I didn’t know exactly where […]

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WFMT’s Silly Friends

To the editors: The recent letters on WFMT [Feb- ruary 16] have not put the silliness in the proper perspective. It seems the Friends of WFMT are writing to the media to express a narrow point of view, which they are welcomed to, provided they get the facts correct. If a business is to grow […]