Posted inNews & Politics

Pampering Terrorists?

To the editors: It is ironic when a writer’s attempt to refute his critics merely proves what the critics have been saying all along. And Tom Johnson’s response (June 28) to Joel J. Sprayregen’s criticism did just that. Oddly, Sprayregen never criticized Johnson, who only interviewed Dr. Louise Cainkar [May 10], the subject of Sprayregen’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kronos Quartet

Say what you will about the Kronos Quartet’s punk-chic posturing: few contemporary-music quartets rival them in adventurousness or vitality. Or in political correctness: a typical program of theirs is more often than not a paragon of multiculturalism. The crowded lineup for their latest Ravinia appearance includes works by composers with names like Maraire, El Din, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Music Kills a Memory

Music Kills a Memory has opened and closed four times since January–the last time in New York, last month–which must go to show that you can’t keep a good act down. Jeff Citation winner Paula Killen plays Jane, a dweebish woman caught up in a series of abusive relationships. At a sex addicts’ support group, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Milly’s Orchid Show

Andrew Dice Clay wasn’t invited to be in this month’s edition of the popular off-the-wall country-western vaudeville show, so I guess it’s safe to assume Nora Dunn will show up as announced. The comedy monologuist famous for her appearances (and nonappearances) on Saturday Night Live will take on the persona of an unemployed scat singer […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Picking Miss Polonaise

“SOLIDARNOSC,” proclaims the sign out front. “Illinois Division Polish American Congress, Mutual Aid Association, Social Service Center.” Saturday-afternoon traffic streams by steadily here on Milwaukee north of Foster. Animated conversations in Polish, incomprehensible to me, halt abruptly in the front office when I enter to inquire about the Miss Polonaise Competition. A woman politely directs […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Portrait of a Shiksa

PORTRAIT OF A SHIKSA Live Bait Theater The title is telling. Sharon Evans’s sweet, clever, and sometimes very funny comedy doesn’t relay the story of its ex-cheerleader heroine so much as it offers a picture of her–or rather a collage, pieced together from fragments of snapshots, glossy publicity stills, and a few self-portraits idly sketched […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Erwin Helfer and S.P. Leary

It’s a little hard to believe, but pianist Erwin Helfer–he of the boyish grin, high-propulsion bass patterns, and self-proclaimed devotion to the old Chicago and New Orleans piano greats who were his mentors–is over 50, pushing toward elder-statesman status himself. All that means is that his buoyant love affair with blues and boogie-woogie has slowly […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In March, Florence Schreiber Power, a 44-year-old administrative law judge in Ewing, New Jersey, on trial for shoplifting two watches, had her psychiatrist testify that she was under stress at the time of the incidents. The doctor said Power did not know what she was doing “from one minute to the next,” for […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Johnny Littlejohn

For years Johnny Littlejohn has been hailed as one of the few contemporary slide guitarists worthy of carrying the traditionalist mantle of Muddy Waters and the other Chicago bluesmen who virtually reinvented the venerable form in the 50s. Despite that, he remains something of a well-kept secret. He doesn’t maintain the stinging ferocity usually associated […]