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Case of the Decompressed Cosmonauts

To the editors: One of Cecil Adams’s recent columns dealt with the issue of explosive decompression [March 22]. Although your information was good, you should have mentioned the case history of near rapid decompression which killed three cosmonauts in 1971. Below is an excerpt from my 1990 book, Almanac of Soviet Manned Space Flight. “At […]

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The Straight Dope

THE SILENT TREATMENT Everything you said about silent movies [April 12] was either wrong or semi-wrong. [The question was why the action moves so fast in silents; I said they were shot at 16 frames per second but today’s equipment can only project them at 24. –C.A.] Sixteen frames per second was not the standard […]

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Museum Piece

I LITUANI Lithuanian Opera Company at Morton East High School Sorting through the debris of previous generations in search of novelty is nothing new to modern opera companies. The midden heaps most frequently mined for hidden gems are the 17th and 18th centuries; the discards of the 19th century are too close in time to […]

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The City File

The chemicals are still winning. Number of commercial growers of organic fruits and vegetables in Illinois: 113. Number of commercial growers who use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides: 16,783 (Illinois Research, Fall/Winter 1990). This week only! Special on Tribune-fed beef! The Animals’ Agenda (June) reports that “the University of Illinois is researching ways to make cattle […]

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Samuel Magad

Sam Magad is a familiar figure at Chicago Symphony’s subscription concerts: he’s the gent wearing dark shades in the first chair of the violin section–near the edge of the stage, only a few steps left of the podium. A CSO concertmaster since 1972, the Chicago native–whose affiliation with the orchestra started when he was 11–has […]

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Civic Orchestra of Chicago

A concert debuting four brand-new compositions comes only once in a long while; that such a concert should take place in Orchestra Hall is almost unprecedented. The Civic Orchestra–and not its parent, the Chicago Symphony–is the audacious presenter here, in cooperation with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Foundation, and the quartet of […]

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Dorothy Donegan

Ravinia’s inaugural “Jazz in June” series has received kudos for booking Oscar Peterson (who plays Saturday night) but hardly a nod for also booking the only pianist who might be able to outplay him. Then again, that’s the story of Dorothy Donegan’s career. A combination of factors keep her underrecognized: When she broke into jazz […]

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Monster in a Box

Spalding Gray is charming and cruel. He doesn’t look charming and cruel; charming and cruel is tall and handsome and strong, in the Bronze Aryan manner of a Calvin Klein model. With his smallish build, his surprised eyebrows, and those plaid back-to-school shirts he seems to want to turn into a trademark, Gray evokes something […]

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The Adored and the Adorned

THE ADORED AND THE ADORNED Bailiwick Repertory Do sex and politics ever mix? For millions of gays and lesbians this is not an academic question. Sometimes it seems as if no mere “orientation” can ever bind gays and lesbians together. They’re a sexual minority defined not by choice but by biology that cuts across sexes, […]

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Kimbrough’s limbo: a high school for the handicapped is lost on the List

Parents and teachers at Wilson Occupational High School had begged central office officials for almost two years to buy them a new building–their current quarters were the third floor of a northwest-side grade school. Earlier this year they got their wish: a building was purchased, architectural plans were made, and funding was secured from various […]

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The Lisbon Traviata

THE LISBON TRAVIATA Bailiwick Repertory Being rejected by a lover is painful for anyone. But for a middle-aged male homosexual living in the age of AIDS, rejection is more than humiliation and hurt–it carries the threat of lifelong loneliness and celibacy, alleviated only by extremely risky sexual encounters. This threat is chilling, and the emotions […]

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Jim Cooper Quartet

With his debut album just hitting the racks and two decades of jazz dues all paid up, vibist Jim Cooper is on the verge of establishing himself among Chicago’s jazz perennials. His unquestioned control of the mainstream idiom has made him a valued sideman in a variety of contexts; when he leads his own groups, […]