Posted inArts & Culture

I Think It’s Gonna Work Out Fine

I THINK IT’S GONNA WORK OUT FINE Black Ensemble There is something mysterious and fascinating, but also a little scary, about actors who impersonate celebrities. It’s as if, by imitating these famous people, actors were satisfying not only the audience’s desire to see remarkable imitations of life but also something deeper–a semireligious need to see, […]

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The Straight Dope

Can you tell me the meaning of “Ollie, Ollie oxen go free”? I’ve been playing hide-and-seek for years and don’t know what I’ve been saying. –Carolyn Henning, North Aurora, Illinois Aren’t we getting a little old for this, Carolyn? Then again, I don’t know that having parties to watch Twin Peaks is a dramatic step […]

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Homophobia Begins at Home

To the editors: Brent Stolks says that homosexuality can kill people mentally [Letters, June 8]. How does he know that? Has he had direct personal experience? His brief letter is a pitiful ejaculation of anger and spite. Where does it come from? Why would anyone write such a letter? Why bother? Why take this specific […]

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The City File

By that time you’d either be better or dead. “A walk-in patient at Cook County Hospital’s Fantus Clinic may wait up to eight hours to see a doctor,” reports the Metropolitan Planning Council in its Issue Brief (May 1990). “The waiting time for a non-obstetrical adult appointment at the city’s Englewood Neighborhood Health Center is […]

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Field & Street

The sport of bird-watching in America has been shaped largely by the guidebooks birders use to identify what they see. And the guidebooks have, to a considerable extent, been shaped by the kinds of optical equipment available for use in the field. Until early in this century, the shotgun was the principal tool of bird […]

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Maarten Altena Octet

Bassist Maarten Altena is one of the pioneers of the so-called “Dutch school” of jazz, which is to say he was one of the first to combine an American concept of jazz with a European style of composition. The result sounds like Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale gone berserk, a wildly eclectic smorgasbord of folk dance, […]

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Love and Hate

To the editors: “Brother Bill” and “Gauntlet” in your June 1 issue are antipodes. The former elicited tears whereas the latter only sadness because, after carefully rereading both, I found the word, love, used 14 times in the piece on Bill Tomes and not once in “Gauntlet.” Karen Hoffman Nolan did, however, use the word, […]

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Grant Park Symphony Orchestra

You have to hand it to artistic director Steven Ovitsky for coming up with one of the most unusual ideas ever for a Grant Park opening night: Borodin’s monumental Prince Igor, which, next to Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, is probably the most famous example of 19th-century Russian grand opera. Prince Igor is heard so rarely that […]

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Apparent Appearances

APPARENT APPEARANCES at the Playwrights’ Center Well, you’ve got Marcel Marceau for the highbrows and Red Skelton for the lowbrows, and that pretty much covers it for mime as far as American audiences are concerned. But Karen Hoyer’s “Apparent Appearances” expands the definition, combining elements from classical and vaudeville pantomime with a touch of Emmett […]

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Wrong Turn at Lungfish

WRONG TURN AT LUNGFISH Steppenwolf Theatre at the Apollo Theater Center Straight white male, middle-aged, pompous and gruff but caring underneath, seeks straight white female, 20s, good-looking, aggressive but vulnerable. Purpose: friendship, mutual education in humanities and humanity, intellectual discussions, repressed erotic attraction, dramatic fireworks leading up to satisfying conclusion. The description is Pygmalion, of […]

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City of Sadness

A remarkable and beautiful 160-minute family saga by the great Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien (A Time to Live and a Time to Die, Dust in the Wind) that begins at the end of Japan’s 51-year colonial rule in Taiwan and ends in 1949, when mainland China becomes communist and Chiang Kai-shek’s government retreats to Taipei. […]

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Baaba Maal & Dande Lenol

Listening to recordings of rising Senegalese superstar Baaba Maal, I’m struck by how this may be the first African dance music I’ve heard in which the most impressive aspect of the performance is not the band’s bubbling bouillabaisse of tropical rhythm–not the sexy hip-twitching drumbeats, the twinkly guitars, or the punchy horns–but rather the singer’s […]