Posted inMusic

Disco without shame

Disco will probably always be a dirty word. When the Bee Gees came through town to promote a comeback album a couple of years ago (it flopped), the local press was condescending–the Bee Gees, it seemed, still had to live down their status as the kings of disco. And kings they were, of course: during […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences could not determine the origin of the 50 pounds of “meat-like” mass found in the grease trap of a McDonald’s restaurant in Clanton, Alabama, in June. It was determined to be cellulose, in “skin-like” strips that were highly absorbent, “had the color and feeling of an old […]

Posted inArts & Culture


DREAD Epiphany Theatre Ensemble at Blue Rider Theatre Let’s get the bad news out of the way: Dread is a vanity production, directed by the author, Richard Ritter, and featuring him and his wife, Catherine Ritter, in the only two roles. They seem to have very little training as actors, however, for they recite most […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lou Donaldson

It’s interesting that Lou Donaldson is the son of a minister, because there’s definitely a preaching quality about his alto saxophone soloing. Donaldson came up during the bop era and, perhaps inevitably for an altoist of his generation, he began as a Charlie Parker-styled lyricist. By the late 1950s, though, a new, dramatic sense of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Miriam’s Flowers

MIRIAM’S FLOWERS Latino Chicago Theater Company at the Firehouse Miriam’s Flowers begins, literally, with a scream. It comes after several minutes of mellow preshow music, mostly early-70s disco, right on the beat, just when we expect a gleeful falsetto trill from the singer. Suddenly the room is dark and a teenage girl awakens abruptly from […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Kellogg consortium: Is the Park District trying to take over the neighborhood advisory councils?

It’s not as though the Chicago Park District needs more problems, what with trees dying in Lincoln Park and so many inner-city parks a shambles. Yet once again it’s the target of accusations by outraged activists who feel the bureaucracy is trying to take control of policies and practices beyond its domain. At issue is […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kings-X Tyrannosaurus Rex Constantinople

If the Fleischer Brothers had created a bookish, boho older sister for Betty Boop, she would have looked a lot like Jenny Magnus–black-haired, dark-eyed, fair-skinned, with a thin, rubbery, Chaplinesque body and arching inked-in eyebrows capable of communicating every emotion from skepticism to surprise to delight. In performance Magnus moves with a cartoonlike grace, her […]

Posted inFilm

Domestic Politics

THE GUARDIAN ANGEL **** (Masterpiece) Directed by Suzanne Osten Written by Madeleine Gustafsson, Etienne Glaser, and Osten With Philip Zanden, Etienne Glaser, Malin Ek, Bjorn Kjellman, Gunilla Roor, and Lena Nylen. Once in a great while a film of such startling originality crops up that one is jolted into realizing how much of the cinema’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Palpable Surfaces

TOI UNGKAVATANAPONG at Artemisia We think of sight as the most important means of experiencing paintings and sculptures–and in the case of representational painting, which relies heavily on visual illusions, sight is primary. But the sense of touch plays a major if not always obvious role in both the creation and understanding of works of […]