Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Can operatic sopranos really break glasses with their high notes? What note does the trick? How come they don’t break windows and eyeglasses and whatnot at the same time? Can women do this better than men? Can I learn how? Or have I been the victim of an elaborate hoax? –Vox Clamantis, Chicago I dunno–you […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Class Unconsciousness

To the editors: To paraphrase University of Chicago Nobel laureate Milton Friedman: Nothing could be more damaging to the capitalist system than for its corporate managers to actually believe all that garbage their PR departments have concocted about the keen social consciousness with which they run their industries. Friedman’s point is well taken. It also […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Words you will not hear uttered by any candidate for governor during the next seven months. Illinois Department of Corrections Director Kenneth McGinnis on the already grossly overcrowded state prisons (25,865 adults in space for 18,734 as of March 30, with a net increase of almost 100 a week): “Obviously, there are not enough construction […]

Posted inArts & Culture

New Ground

LYNDA MARTHA DANCE COMPANY at the Dance Center of Columbia College May 4, 5, 11, and 12 In the 11 years since she founded her company, Lynda Martha has been pretty consistent in presenting dances–whether by herself or by guest choreographers–in a style that might be loosely identified as the modern-jazz idiom. The works that […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

The idea of naming official state birds grew out of the first great American environmental movement. This began late in the 19th century and continued well into the 20th. It numbered among its achievements the founding of the national forest system and the creation of laws protecting songbirds from capture or killing. The campaign for […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Presumed Guilty

Michael Niederman’s hour-long Chicago-made documentary about the 1968 murder trial and conviction of Dr. John Branion Jr. The film does an excellent job of persuading us that Branion was convicted of killing his wife on the basis of insubstantial, inconclusive, and even contradictory evidence, largely because of an inadequate defense and the various racial tensions […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jacques and His Master

JACQUES AND HIS MASTER Commons Theatre What with the fall of Czech communism and the ascendance of the new theatriarchy led by Vaclav Havel, American audiences expect a political kick from Czech plays. We want a taste of the martyrdom of 1968, the resurrection of 1990. We want a piece of the glory that is […]

Posted inMusic

Keyboard in Limbo

MALCOLM BILSON at the Scottish Rite Cathedral May 5 Although Bach is said to have heard an early prototype of the fortepiano when he visited Frederick the Great, it apparently made little or no impression on him, for he never wrote for the instrument. Bach was an old man near the end of his life […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Andre “Big Voice” Odom

“Big Voice” Odom, also known as B.B. Odom, has been a Chicago blues stalwart for nearly 30 years with his passionate, gospel-drenched vocals and flamboyantly emotional stage manner. He started out in the 60s with guitarist Earl Hooker, a master craftsman whose limited singing ability necessitated the inclusion of a strong vocalist like Odom on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Only You

ONLY YOU Griffin Theatre Company Love is two minutes fifty-two seconds of squishing noises. It shows your mind isn’t clicking right.–Johnny Rotten Timothy Mason’s love farce Only You fobs off five cartoons as characters, then asks us to care about them. No thanks, not when this playwright imagines that he gives a female character depth […]