Posted inFilm

Parker Gets Personal

THE COMMITMENTS *** (A must-see) Directed by Alan Parker Written by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, and Roddy Doyle With Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle, Johnny Murphy, Andrew Strong, and Colm Meaney. Depending on the source, British director Alan Parker is either a fraud or a visionary, an opportunist or a provocateur, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Solomon Burke & Benny Lattimore

Solomon Burke is that rare “living legend” whose talent more than justifies his myth. Everything about Burke–his flamboyant onstage manner, his overwhelming physical presence–is larger than life. Burke was crowned “King of Rock ‘n’ Soul” by Baltimore DJ Rockin’ Robin in 1964, and since then he’s seldom appeared without the trappings of royalty–crown, flowing robe, […]

Posted inFilm

A Few Things Well

A LITTLE STIFF *** (A must-see) Directed and written by Caveh Zahedi and Greg Watkins With Zahedi, Erin McKim, Watkins, Patrick Park, Mike McKim, and Beat Ammon. Minimalism seems to be getting a bad rep in some quarters these days, mainly from critics who identify that movement with the 70s and think that artistic styles […]

Posted inArts & Culture

American Heritage

HUBBARD STREET DANCE COMPANY at Ravinia August 28 and 29 Jazz choreographer Bob Fosse’s work demands superb ballet technique, physical strength, and a dash of theatrical flair–all qualities that have earned the Hubbard Street Dance Company a loyal following. And Fosse’s hard-driving style has profoundly influenced Hubbard Street founder and artistic director Lou Conte. So […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Joseph Jarman Quartet

The mostly expatriate Art Ensemble of Chicago–one of the most famous acts to come out of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians–seldom comes here to play anymore, and neither do its two saxophonists, Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell, who continue to maintain careers separate from the group. So it’s almost miraculous that they’ll […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar Photo Caption

Chicago’s own beloved Mr. Imagination, shown here in full regalia and surrounded by his work, is one of the artists from all over the U.S. whose work will be included in “Personal Voice: Outsider Art and Signature Style,” an exhibition the American Center for Design is hosting in conjunction with the annual meeting of the […]

Posted inMusic

Notes From a Jazz Fest

Variety has been essential to the spirit of the Chicago Jazz Festival ever since the first one 12 years ago. Chicago’s festival is a smorgasbord of music, and the quality of the music has remained high indeed. This quality is largely due to the festival’s seeking out of original musicians–players and composers who create from […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

In a recent review of Thomas Laqueur’s Making Sex I read that Renaldus Columbus discovered the clitoris in 1559. I can’t make sense of this. Wasn’t it right under his nose the whole time, so to speak? Who discovered the penis? And who was Renaldus Columbus, anyway? Any relation to Chris? –Mark Lutton, Malden, Massachusetts […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Small Talk

To the editors: I wrote for the Reader for five years, for the Sun-Times for ten, and (to the best of my knowledge) my penis was never a topic of journalistic discussion. Now that I’ve been gone for a few months, it has made its way into your letters column twice in the last couple […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Things you could get a heart attack just thinking about. Professional ice cream taster John Harrison on his family ties to the industry: “My blood runs 16 percent butterfat.” It makes a difference where you live, judging from Com Ed figures unearthed by Lisa Capitanini and James Ylisela Jr. in the Chicago Reporter (July/August): “Chicago’s […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Modern Degeneracy

To the editors: Fred Camper certainly covered many historical and aesthetic issues raised by the show “‘Degenerate Art’: The Fate of the Avant-garde in Nazi Germany” [August 9]. And though he made it clear that he thought that many of the works displayed were excellent examples of the modern idiom (and far superior to the […]